Michael Lesy
Nonfiction Writer
Amherst, MA
2006 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by The Todd and Betiana Simon Foundation.

Michael Lesy earned his BA in theoretical sociology from Columbia University, MA in American social history from the University of Wisconsin, and PhD in American cultural history from Rutgers University.

Lesy has published 13 books of history, biography, and narrative nonfiction. His most recent book, Repast: Dining Out at the Dawn of the New American Century, 1900-1910 (2013), written in collaboration with his wife, Lisa Stoffer, was inspired by the New York Public Library’s Buttolph Menu Collection. Many of his books have been based on historic photographs, gathered in archives; several have been based on oral histories, gathered during fieldwork. His first book, Wisconsin Death Trip, has remained in print since 1973. His book, Murder City (2007), grew out of a Hampshire College tutorial.

His books have been made into operas, plays, dance performances, and films. In 2013, Lesy was the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.

Portrait photo courtesy artist.