Valerie Fraser Luesse

Valerie Fraser Luesse, Author and Senior Travel Editor for Southern Living
Title: Former Senior Travel Editor (Retired)
Education: Auburn University (B.A., English) and Baylor University (M.A., English)
Location: Birmingham, AL
Expertise: Southern Humor, Southern Music, History and Culture of the Gulf Coast, Deep South, and Outer Banks

As one of the few Southern Living writers with close ties to both the founding editors and the current editorial team, Valerie has a unique perspective on the magazine's readership and its powerful impact on the region.


  • Appeared on the magazine's first audio collection of Southern Journal essays
  • Served as liaison between editors and the communications team at the University of Alabama, which conducted over a decade of readership studies to pinpoint the needs and priorities of the Southern Living audience
  • Wrote major feature stories exploring Southern culture, including a special editorial section on the Gulf Coast post-Katrina, which won the Writer of the Year Award from the Southeast Tourism Society in 2009.

Honors and Awards

  • Southeast Tourism Society Writer of the Year 2009
  • Christy Award for Best First Novel, 2018


Valerie Fraser Luesse spent 10 years in corporate communications, representing Southern Living and several of its sister magazine's to the media, and one year as a corporate executive editor for creative development before moving to Southern Living as creative development director. She subsequently was senior writer for Southern Living Travel before leaving the magazine to freelance and then returning as Senior Travel Editor in 2016. Her experience in representing Southern Living to the press and engaging in extensive audience studies helped her shape her own stories and work with other editors to tailor editorial content to the needs and priorities of readers.


Valerie received a liberal arts education with a concentration in English literature at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, before completing her master's degree in English at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where her thesis dealt with collective and individual memory in the novels of Eudora Welty.

About Southern Living

Southern Living, a Dotdash Meredith Brand, celebrates the food, homes, places, and culture of the South. We reach 7.2 million readers a month. Our content is written by experienced journalists and fact checked for accuracy. Learn more about us and our editorial guidelines.

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