Finding Your Narrative: At the Crossroads of Memory, Journalism and History
Presented by Steve Luxenberg


1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
State Library

Your story has holes in it. What story doesn’t? But you’re worried that the holes will defeat you. The people you interviewed can’t remember important details. Or you’re writing about a time long past, and no one is alive who can answer your many questions. The historical record is imperfect or incomplete. Some figures have left behind diaries and letters, while others have left behind scraps—or nothing at all. How can you extract a coherent narrative from the unruly mess that history and journalism often offer? This workshop will tackle the essential questions of nonfiction writing. Where does a story begin? Where does it end? How do you prevent the narrative from sprawling? How do writers neutralize those infuriating weaknesses inherent in every story—or better yet, turn them into strengths that, yes, might make the narrative better?

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Steve Luxenberg is an award-winning author and Washington Post associate editor. During his newspaper editing career, Luxenberg has overseen reporting that has earned many national honors, including two Pulitzer Prizes. His new nonfiction book Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation was published in February to critical acclaim. James Goodman, in The New York Times Book Review, wrote: “Absorbing. . . . so many surprises, absurdities and ironies. . . . Segregation is not one story but many. Luxenberg has written his with energy, elegance and a heart aching for a world without it.” As a work in progress, Separate won the 2016 J. Anthony Lukas Award for excellence in nonfiction writing.



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