David Maraniss was born August 6, 1949 in Detroit, Michigan and lived in several cities during his early childhood, including Detroit, Cleveland, New York, and Bettendorf, Iowa.

When he was eight, his family settled in Madison, Wisconsin where he lived for the rest of his school years, attending Madison West High and the University of Wisconsin. His journalism career began in college when he covered high school sports and student antiwar protests for the Madison Capital Times. He turned to radio in 1972 covering City Hall for WIBA, and was named Newsman of the Year by the Madison Press Club a year later. In 1975, he moved to Trenton, New Jersey where he covered state and national politics for the Trenton Times. In 1976, he won two New Jersey Press Association first prize awards for column writing and coverage of a prison riot.

Maraniss began his career at The Washington Post in 1977. He covered Maryland politics for two years then became Maryland editor, deputy Metro editor and Metro editor. In 1983, he returned to reporting and won The Newspaper Guild Front Page Award for 'The Committee', a year-long series on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He moved to Austin, Texas in 1985 and served as the Post's Southwest Bureau Chief for seven years covering the region as well as national politics and sociology. In 1989, Maraniss and Rick Atkinson were awarded the Hancock Prize for 'The $150 Billion Catastrophe', their series on the savings and loan scandal. In 1990 Maraniss won The Gold Medal of the National Conference of Christians and Jews for 'Hard Choices in Black and White', his series on integration in American institutions.

Maraniss moved back to Washington in 1993. For his articles on Bill Clinton during the 1992 presidential campaign, he won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. He is the author of First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton, Tell Newt To Shut Up (with Michael Weisskopf), The Clinton Enigma and When Pride Still Mattered : A Life of Vince Lombardi.

He is currently writer-at-large on the national staff the Washington Post. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife Linda. They have two grown children.

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