Born in Greenville, Mississippi, Curtis Wilkie was educated in public schools of Mississippi and graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1963 with a bachelorâ€™s degree in journalism. He served as reporter and editor on the staff of the Clarksdale Press Register 1963-69 in the Mississippi Delta at a time when the civil rights movement was at its height. He received a Congressional Fellowship from the American Political Science Association and worked on Capitol Hill 1969-71 as a legislative aide in the offices of Sen. Walter F. Mondale (D-Minn.) and Rep. John Brademas (D-Ind,). He served as reporter and editor on the staff of the News-Journal papers in Wilmington, Delaware, 1971-74.
Wilkie joined the staff of the Boston Globe in 1975 and served as a national and foreign correspondent for that paper until retirement at the end of the 2000 presidential campaign. He covered eight presidential campaigns (seven for the Globe) and served as White House correspondent 1977-82. He also served as chief of the Globe's Washington bureau.
In 1984, Wilkie established the Globeâ€™s Middle East bureau and lived in Jerusalem 1984-87. He covered numerous wars and conflicts overseas including 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon; terrorist bombings of US Marines in Beirut as well as siege of Yasser Arafat in Tripoli, Lebanon, in 1983; civil war in Lebanon throughout the 1980s; first Palestinian intifada, 1988-89; Romanian revolution 1989-90; first Gulf War 1991; civil war in Somalia, 1993. In 1993, Wilkie established Globeâ€™s Southern bureau in New Orleans and covered regional and national affairs from there until retirement.
Wilkie has written numerous articles for national magazines such as The Nation, The New Republic, Newsweek, Playboy, George, Washington Journalism Review. Many articles published in the Boston Globe Magazine. He is the co-author, with the late Jim McDougal, of â€œArkansas Mischief: Birth of a National Scandalâ€ published by Henry Holt 1998; author of â€œ Dixie: A Personal Odyssey Through Events That Shaped the Modern Southâ€ published by Scribner 2001; co-author, with six others, of â€œCity Adrift: New Orleans Before and After Katrinaâ€ published by LSU Press 2007.
He was a journalism professor in residence at Louisiana State University (2003). He was appointed to Kelly G. Cook chair in the department of journalism at the University of Mississippi (2004). Wilkie was given the Special Award for Excellence in Non-Fiction Writing by the Fellowship of Southern Writers (2005).
Wilkie has served as visiting professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi since 2002. He was appointed to become the first Overby Fellow with the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi in 2007.
Wilkie and his wife, Nancy reside in Oxford, Miss., and New Orleans, La. He has three grown children, Carter, Leighton & Stuart.