Louise Steinman is a writer and literary curator. Her work frequently deals with memory, history and reconciliation. Her book, The Souvenir: A Daughter Discovers Her Father's War was cited as “A graceful, understated memoir… that draws its strength from the complexities it explores.” (New York Times Book Review) and “…an intimate and powerful story of the effects of war.” (James Bradley, author, Flags of Our Fathers). The book won the 2002 Gold Medal in Autobiography/Memoir from ForeWord Magazine and has been the selection of several all-city and all-freshman reading programs. The book chronicles her quest to return a war “souvenir” to its owner and-- in the process-- illuminates how war changed one generation and shaped another.
Her first book, The Knowing Body: The Artist As Storyteller in Contemporary Performance (North Atlantic Books)—was hailed by the L.A. Times as a “dazzling study of the performing arts.” The Knowing Body is based on two decades of Louise’s experience as a performer/director with So&So&So&So interdisciplinary theater troupe, and as a dance/theater critic for publications ranging from Willamette Week to High Performance, Oakland Tribune and others.
Her most recent book, The Crooked Mirror: A Memoir of Polish-Jewish Reconciliation was published in hardcover, Nov 2013 by Beacon Press and the paperback is now available. She has given talks and lead dialogue groups about the book around the United States and in England.
Her essays and feature articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, New York Times Syndicate, L.A. Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, Salon.com, Washington Post and other publications. Her features have included profiles of Zen rabbis, elevator operators, artists, memoirists, combat veterans, translators, filmmakers, and an innovator in deaf education. “Ordinary bodhisattvas,” she calls them.
She has curated the award-winning ALOUD at Central Library series for the Los Angeles Public Library. (www.aloudla.org) for the past twenty-two years. She frequently interviews visiting authors. Among interviewees are Helen Macdonald, poet Jane Hirshfield, Terry Tempest Williams, Aleksandar Hemon, Salman Rushdie, Father Patrick Desbois, Diane Ackerman, Maira Kalman, Roz Chast, Susan Griffin, Eva Hoffman, Adam Zagajewski, Maxine Hong Kingston, Michael Ondaatje, and others. (you can find podcasts on itunes, type in Los Angeles Public Library.) Louise is also co-director of the Los Angeles Institute of the Humanities at USC. She was Senior Creative Advisor for the Sundance Institute Arts Writing Program and is a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Ms. Steinman was a 2013 and 2015 resident artist at the Robert Rauschenberg Residency on Captiva Island, Florida, where she wrote "On an Island: Doing Rauschenberg Time."
She lives in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles on a north-facing slope with her husband, sculptor Lloyd Hamrol, two persnickety cats—Oona and Fredo, and a lot of tomato plants.
My LATimes review of Samuel Kassow's "Who Will Write Our History," about Emanuel Ringelblum, historian of the Warsaw Ghetto
"Two Faiths Nourish the Wisdom of the Heart"
Article on Bearing Witness at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Los Angeles Times (43.5KB)
"The Truth Shall Set You Free"' My interview with psychologist on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (51.5KB)