Cheryl Strayed

Author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Wild and "Dear Sugar" columnist

  • About Cheryl Strayed

    Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Wild. At age 22, Strayed found herself shattered by two major life events: her mother’s sudden death from cancer and the end of her young marriage. After hitting rock bottom, Strayed decided to confront her emotional pain by trekking over 1,000 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. Wild tells the amateur hiker’s tale, peppered with the colorful characters she encounters along the way, as she struggles to find inner peace and stability. Cheryl’s story inspired Oprah Winfrey to revive her tremendously popular book club, with Wild as its inaugural selection for the launch of Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. The story also inspired producer and actress Reese Witherspoon to bring Wild to the big screen in 2014.

    Cheryl’s personal struggles and story of survival motivate and inspire crowds. She is a dynamic speaker, and her moving rhetoric resonates with audiences of all sizes.

    Strayed is also the author of The New York Times bestseller Tiny Beautiful Things, a collection of her widely popular Dear Sugar columns, and the critically acclaimed novel Torch, a finalist for the Great Lakes Book Award. Her writing has appeared in The Best American EssaysThe New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Allure, The Missouri Review, Creative Nonfiction, The Sun and elsewhere. Her books have been translated into 26 languages around the world.

    Cheryl Strayed holds an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She is a founding member of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and serves on its board of directors.

  • Speaking Topics

    A Wild Life

    In her memoir Wild Cheryl Strayed describes the sometimes harrowing, other times hilarious stories behind her solo wilderness trek on the Pacific Crest Trail and the personal journey that led her there. In this talk, Strayed will discuss what she learned about how we bear the unbearable, how we move from grief and anger to acceptance, and how we keep walking even when it seems impossible to stand.

    The Sweet Life: Stories from "Dear Sugar"

    In 2012, Cheryl Strayed revealed that she was the voice behind the popular (and unorthodox) online advice column "Dear Sugar" on In this talk, Strayed will share stories about what she's learned in the course of encouraging readers to live large, love hard, and be brave enough to break their own hearts.

    Rules to Write By

    In this lecture about the less-craft oriented elements of writing, Cheryl Strayed will share the "rules" and practices she's learned to live by and rely upon as a writer—from how to write with guts to keeping the faith when it seems all has failed.

  • Video

  • Praise for Cheryl Strayed

    Cheryl’s event was a huge, huge success. It was truly amazing. She was gracious, funny, inspiring, and generous with the students at the school visit and with her fans that evening. It was one of the best nights we’ve hosted in a long, long time. Truly a special evening

    Seattle Arts and Lectures

    Cheryl was one of the best speakers I have ever seen at Stanford or anywhere else, and this was something I heard again and again from faculty, deans, and students for many days. What struck people the most, especially students, was the combination of smarts and genuine, disarming warmth. What struck me most was how she elevated the whole room, and as corny as this might sound, it felt by the end of the evening that we had all received a blessing, in that old sense of an authorization and empowerment.

    Stanford University

    Cheryl’s presentation was extremely well-received, and quite a number of attendees lined up at the audience microphones for the Q&A period. In addition to questions about Wild, many thanked her for coming and commented on her other books as well. Several made reference to Tiny Beautiful Things and her Dear Sugar columns, and asked when the columns might return. One audience member even commented how Cheryl’s book had helped her cope with the loss of her own mother. Cheryl was very gracious to all who approached her, and accommodated all who wanted books signed, both during our reception and on stage afterward. We would definitely recommend her to any other organization seeking a similar presentation.

    Assistance League of Salem

    What an absolute delight it was hosting Cheryl at our college. She couldn’t have been classier – she made the students feel completely at ease even though they were meeting their ‘idol.’ She was warm, compassionate, articulate and really listened to them. And of course the public interview and book signing was a huge success. Cheryl stayed until the very last person in the line got his book signed and even gave everyone a hug before she got back in her car.

    Los Medanos College

    Our event with Cheryl Strayed was beyond words—AMAZING! She was incredibly kind, genuine, authentic, and caring. We are so very grateful that she was willing to share her personal journey with our community of learners. She touched so many lives today—beyond what she will probably understand. What she shared was such a gift. I couldn’t be more happy with hosting her on campus.

    Rasmussen College

    The event could not have been better. It was everything I’d hoped for and more, and apparently, the audience thought so too. All of the evaluations gave the event the rating of ‘excellent’. The house was completely full. Cheryl had the audience absolutely captivated. You could have heard a pin drop. She was disarmingly honest, funny, personable, enlightening, charming, and amazingly gracious. I would recommend her as a speaker in a heartbeat.

    Oregon City Public Library

    The event was beyond successful. The retreat participants were practically floating on air as they loaded onto the buses on Sunday to go home. Much of the success of the retreat can be directly attributed to Cheryl, who gave her all during her stay. Her keynote lecture was very well thought out and inspiring. The next day many people reported to me that it had far exceeded their already high expectations.

    Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat

    Praise for Wild

    Spectacular. Wild is at once a breathtaking adventure tale and a profound meditation on the nature of grief and survival...Strayed’s load is both literal and metaphorical—so heavy that she staggers beneath its weight. Often when narratives are structured in parallel arcs, the two stories compete and one dominates. But in Wild, the two tales Strayed tells, of her difficult past and challenging present, are delivered in perfect balance. Rather, it started out as an experience that was lived, digested and deeply understood.

    The New York Times Book Review

    A rich, riveting true story...Reading her matter-of-fact take on love and grief and the soul-saving quality of a Snapple lemonade, you can understand why Strayed has earned a cult following as the author of Dear Sugar, a popular advice column on its vivid descriptions of beautiful but unforgiving terrain, Wild is a cinematic story...Our verdict: A.

    Entertainment Weekly

    One of the most original, heartbreaking and beautiful American memoirs in years...The unlikely journey is awe-inspiring, but it’s one of the least remarkable things about the book. Strayed, who was recently revealed as the anonymous author of the Dear Sugar advice column of the literary website The Rumpus, writes with stunningly authentic emotional resonance—Wild is brutal and touching in equal measures, but there’s nothing forced about it. She chronicles sorrow and loss with unflinching honesty, but without artifice or self-pity.

    NPR Books
  • Books by Cheryl Strayed

  • Media About Cheryl Strayed

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  • 212 572-2013
  • Cheryl Strayed travels from Portland, OR

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