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Guest Name
Steve Luxenberg
Guest Occupation
Investigative Journalist, Newspaper Editor, Author, Writer, Lecturer, Actor
Guest Biography

Steve Luxenberg, an associate editor at The Washington Post and author of the award-winning Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret, has worked for more than 30 years as a newspaper editor and reporter.

Steve’s journalistic career began at The Baltimore Sun, where he worked for 11 years. He joined The Post in 1985 as deputy editor of the investigative/special projects staff, headed by assistant managing editor Bob Woodward. In 1991, Steve succeeded Woodward as head of the investigative staff. Post reporters working with Steve have won several major reporting awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes for explanatory journalism.

From 1996 to 2006, Steve was the editor of The Post’s Sunday Outlook section, which publishes original reporting and provocative commentary on a broad spectrum of political, historical and cultural issues.

Steve has given lectures, talks and workshops about his book, journalism issues and nonfiction writing at conferences, universities, book festivals and discussion forums, and has made occasional guest appearances on radio and television. He also has a TV “credit”: Look carefully, and you’ll see him as an extra in the fifth and final season of HBO’s dramatic series, “The Wire,” which aired in 2008. (Hint: Episode three.)

Annie’s Ghosts was named to The Washington Post’s Best Books of 2009 list and was honored as a Michigan Notable Book for 2010 by the Library of Michigan. It was  featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and on the Diane Rehm Show. Other media coverage included articles or reviews in as Parade, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, the Buffalo News, the Jerusalem Post.

Several community libraries have selected Annie’s Ghosts for a “One Book/One Community” event, hosting discussions about the book and then inviting Steve for a concluding talk and discussion. The Buffalo News picked Annie’s Ghosts as the January 2011 selection of its Buffalo News Book Club, a monthly feature that promotes one book to the newspaper’s readers.

After the publication of Annie’s Ghosts, Steve was chosen to deliver the 2010 Horace W. Davenport lecture at the University of Michigan. He was also the keynote speaker at the following events: the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s annual Washington gala “Unmasking Mental Illness,” the annual meeting of the Maryland Mental Health Association, the 2009 meeting of the Fellows in Mental Health Journalism at the Carter Center in Atlanta, the 2010 Issues on Aging conference at Wayne State University, and the 2010 Writers at the Beach conference in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Steve also has spoken at the Aspen Institute and at the 2010 Michigan Judicial Conference, moderated a panel discussion at the 2010 MentalHealthAmerica annual conference, and lectured at the National Council on Community Behavioral Healthcare’s 2010 Mental health and Addictions Conference.

Steve has also given talks and readings at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Towson University, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City, as well as public libraries in California, Michigan, New York and Florida. His talk about his research methods for Annie’s Ghosts has become popular among genealogy groups.

In his current role as a Post associate editor focusing on special projects, Steve directed a team of reporters that examined the federal government’s offshore drilling policy and  regulation of the oil and gas industry as part of the newspaper’s coverage of the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April 2010. Steve also oversaw in-depth stories on the causes and consequences of the financial crisis that unfolded in 2008. One of those projects, on the rise and fall of insurance giant AIG, was a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Steve is a graduate of Harvard College. He grew up in Detroit, where Annie’s Ghosts primarily takes place. He and his wife, Mary Jo Kirschman, a former school librarian, live in Baltimore. They have two grown children, Josh and Jill.