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"The Wire" Creator David Simon to Speak at Goucher

Release date: September 24, 2008

David Simon — the Baltimore-based journalist, author, and writer-producer of television that takes on criminal justice and urban issues — will speak on Wednesday, September 24, at 8 p.m. in Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium.

This event is free and open to the public. Tickets must be reserved in advance, however, by calling 410-337-6333 or by e-mailing boxoffice@goucher.edu.

Born in Washington, D.C., Simon came to Baltimore after graduating from the University of Maryland to work as a police reporter at The Baltimore Sun. In 1988, after four years on the crime beat, he took a leave of absence from the newspaper to write Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets.

Published in 1991, the book inspired the Emmy-winning television series Homicide: Life on the Street, which was broadcast from 1993 to 1999. Homicide gave Simon his first work in television — initially as a writer and later as a producer.

In 1993, Simon took a second leave from The Sun to research and write The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood. Co-authored with Edward Burns and published in 1997, the book is a true account of life in a West Baltimore community dominated by an open-air drug market. The New York Times named The Corner a Notable Book of the Year.

Simon then co-wrote and produced The Corner as a six-hour miniseries for HBO. That production, which aired in 2000, won an Emmy as the year’s best miniseries. Simon and his co-writer David Mills also won the Emmy for best writing in a movie or miniseries.

Simon came back to many characters and incidents from Homicide when he created The Wire for HBO. The show was originally set to be a police surveillance drama about protracted investigations of violent drug dealers. The show’s narrative mushroomed, however, and each of the show’s five seasons took on a different aspect of American society, starting with the drug scene, then unemployment, local politics, education, and ending with the media. Simon served as the show’s executive producer and head writer throughout its run.

His most recent television production was an adaptation of Generation Kill, a book written by Rolling Stone journalist Evan Wright chronicling his experience as an embedded reporter with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The seven-part miniseries aired this July on HBO.

Simon is now working on a project about musicians in post-Katrina New Orleans. The show will focus on a working-class neighborhood and will go beyond the music scene to explore issues of political corruption, the public housing controversy, the criminal- justice system, and the struggle to regain the tourism industry after the storm.

Simon left The Sun in 1995 but continues to work as a freelance journalist and author, writing for publications such as The Washington Post, the New Republic, and Details magazine. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, novelist Laura Lippman.