Curwood was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and brought up as a Quaker in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where his mother, Sarah Thomas Curwood, was a sociology professor at Antioch College. He went to high school at Westtown School in Westtown and was an undergraduate at Harvard University, graduating in 1969.
In 1970, as a writer for the Boston Phoenix, Steve broke the story that Polaroid's instant photo system was key to the apartheid pass system in South Africa. Steve moved on to the Boston Globe as an investigative reporter and columnist and shared the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service as part of the Boston Globe's education team.
His production credits in public broadcasting include reporter and host for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered, host of NPR's "World of Opera", producer for the PBS series The Advocates with Mike Dukakis, and creator, host and executive producer of Living on Earth, the prize-winning weekly environmental radio program heard for more than 25 years on public radio stations  and distributed by Public Radio International (PRI) since 2006.
Acting roles include Randall in the Loeb Drama Center's production of Slow Dance on the Killing Ground.
- An Uncommon Hero: One Mother Who Fought to Protect Her Child from Sexual Abuse ISBN 978-0-446-51448-4
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