Speakers for Women’s History Month


At the Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau we are thrilled to represent some of the most acclaimed female author speakers who motivate and inspire audiences across the globe. From bestselling authors and social justice activists, to business leaders and award-winning journalists, our female motivational speakers believe in their causes and take audiences with them on their mission.

Bestselling Authors

Lidia Yuknavitch

Lidia Yuknavitch writes fearless and daring fiction describing the lives of complicated women, including her own. Her most recent novel, the acclaimed The Book of Joan, used science fiction to explore the complexities of gender and sexual identity, and her memoir, The Chronology of Water, has been widely praised for its vivid writing and profound honesty. Yuknavitch’s writing is not just exquisite to read, but delves into the beauty of not fitting in and how it can lead to one forging their own creative path. As she fearlessly owns her past, accepting her status as a misfit and blazing her own path towards the future, she inspires women everywhere to do the same.

Lidia Yuknavitch

Award-winning author of The Small Backs of Children and The Chronology of Water.

Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail has been a mainstay on the New York Times bestseller list since it was published in 2012. Wild came to the big screen in 2014 with the opening of Jean-Marc Vallée’s adaptation of the book starring Reese Witherspoon. The movie earned rave reviews and numerous award nominations.

Strayed’s deeply personal story about her journey of loss and recovery, inspires audiences around the world. Her lectures sparkle with warmth and candor as she tells how one impulsive decision turned her life around. Strayed is an ideal speaker for corporations, universities, associations, lecture series, and any venue looking to motivate their audience with a brave and exceptional voice.

Cheryl Strayed

Author of the #1 New York Times-bestselling memoir Wild and “Dear Sugar” columnist

More bestselling authors: Geraldine BrooksGillian Flynn


Carlotta Walls LaNier

A recent inductee to the National Women’s Hall of Fame, Carlotta Walls LaNier is a key protagonist in one of the most gripping watershed moments of the Civil Rights Movement. LaNier was the youngest member of what became known as the Little Rock Nine – a group of nine African-American students who integrated Little Rock High School in 1957. An icon of perseverance and strength, Carlotta Walls LaNier’s keynotes reflect on history while inspiring hope for the future. LaNier has received the Congressional Gold Medal as well as the NAACP’S Spingam Medal.

Carlotta Walls LaNier

Youngest of the Little Rock Nine, civil rights advocate, National Women’s Hall of Fame inductee

More inspiring activists: Masha GessenKristen IversenIsabel Wilkerson

Leadership Experts

Joanna Barsh

Joanna Barsh, a Director Emeritus of the Leadership Development Program at McKinsey & Company, gives empowering talks on women’s issues and leadership. Grow Wherever You Work: Straight Talk to Help With Your Toughest Challenges, Barsh’s latest book, was written based off of more than 250 interviews with rising leaders and professionals and answers the ultimate question: “how do real people succeed in the real world of work?” Barsh was once the New York City Commissioner on Women’s Issues and has served as a professional trailblazer for the women who plan to follow in her footsteps.

Tara Mohr

Founder of the acclaimed global Playing Big leadership program and expert on women’s leadership and well-being

More leadership speakers: Ping Fu

Motivational Speakers

Melissa d’Arabian

Melissa d’Arabian is best known as the winner of season five of The Next Food Network Star, but she is many more things: an MBA graduate and former corporate finance professional, television host, bestselling author, speaker, writer, and mom of four. Her dynamic lectures mirror the breadth of her background, as she talks about family, cooking, business, leadership and other topics especially close to her heart. After losing her mother to suicide in college, it was her group of female friends who supported her and inspired her to move on. Now living in a home bustling with four little women, d’Arabian is passionate about connecting with other women on their paths to success.

Melissa d’Arabian

Celebrity chef, TV host, and bestselling author

More motivational speakers: Dr. Christine CarterJane Fonda


Lauren Markham

In her latest release, The Far Away Brothers, Lauren Markham writes about the struggles that two young immigrant boys face as refugees in the United States after fleeing from El Salvador. Markham herself is a journalist whose works have appeared in The Guardian, VICE, The New Yorker, and VQR. Markham frequently discusses the hot topic of immigration and youth migration as well as urban education and foreign policy. Lauren is a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in writing program.

Lauren Markham

Journalist and author of The Far Away Brothers

Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen has published several critically-acclaimed books such as Perfect Rigor, Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot, and The Future is History. Gessen is regularly published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, and Slate. She currently resides in Moscow, Russia and writes about her experiences as a woman under the rise of Vladimir Putin.

Masha Gessen

Russian and U.S. journalist, activist, and author of the National Book Award-winning The Future is History

Bethany McLean

Bethany McLean is a columnist for Slate, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and spent thirteen years at Fortune, where she was an editor-at-large. In early 2001, McLean was one of the first reporters to raise questions about Enron, with her story “Is Enron Overpriced?” She and fellow Fortune senior writer Peter Elkind exposed the Enron scandal and wrote the national bestseller The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, which went on to become an Oscar-nominated documentary. In her writing and lectures McLean, a former Goldman Sachs analyst and co-author of the national bestseller All the Devils Are Here digs deep into the financial crisis, business ethics, and her experience working on Wall Street. In a November 2014 Vanity Fair article, McLean charted the breakdown of the relationship between Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates, and looked at the challenges and opportunities facing Microsoft’s third C.E.O. Satya Nadella.

Bethany McLean

Vanity Fair contributing editor and co-author of All the Devils are Here and the national bestseller The Smartest Guys in the Room


More journalists: Dr. Sheri FinkRebecca MeadHanna Rosin

Younger Audiences & Parenting

R.J. Palacio

R.J. Palacio took the children’s literature world by storm with the publication of her debut novel, Wonder, a #1 New York Times bestseller that has sold over 1 million copies in North America. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” and in a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, it is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. Her lectures explore the impact of kindness in the world and whether parents —knowingly or unknowingly—teach their children that kindness is somehow incompatible with having a competitive edge.

R. J. Palacio

#1 New York Times bestselling author of Wonder

More speakers for young adults and parents: Dr. Shimi KangJacqueline Woodson

Please contact us about booking our female author speakers to come to one of your future events.

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