At the Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau we are thrilled to represent some of the most acclaimed speakers who motivate and inspire audiences across the globe. From bestselling authors and social justice activists, to business leaders and award-winning journalists, our Women’s History Month speakers believe in their causes and take audiences with them on their mission.
Jennifer Egan is the author of five books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad. Her latest novel, Manhattan Beach, is a New York Times best seller, which the Boston Globe heralds as “Egan’s most remarkable accomplishment yet.” It is Egan’s first historical novel and it delves into the world of World War II era New York, with the story of a young woman who becomes the first female diver in the Brooklyn Naval Yard, navigating a world populated by gangsters, sailors, bankers, and union men. As engaging as one of her characters, Egan captivates crowds with tales of her early days as a struggling writer, her approach to storytelling, and her ultimate success as one of today’s most innovative authors.
Ariel Levy is the author of the New York Times-bestselling book The Rules Do Not Apply, a gorgeous, heartbreaking memoir about one woman overcoming dramatic loss and finding reinvention. In Levy’s poignant but humorous talks, she shares her remarkable story, and offers her insights on the shifting forces in our culture that made her journey possible—both what has changed, and what is eternal.
Born in the mountains of Idaho to a father who opposed public education, Tara Westover was never put in school. She spent her days working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife. When she grew older, seeking to escape a violent older brother, she taught herself enough algebra and grammar to pass the college admissions exam, and when she was seventeen, she set foot in a classroom for the first time. After that first taste of education, she pursued learning for a decade, ultimately completing a visiting fellowship at Harvard and earning a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. Author of the New York Times-bestselling memoir, Educated, Westover shares her inspiring story in lectures that tackle empowerment, education, and the reinvention of self that occurs when one overcomes abusive relationships.
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.
Activists and Advocates
As a leading seismologist for the USGS for thirty years, Dr. Lucy Jones has been at the forefront of scientific research for decades, and her outstanding initiatives to create earthquake warnings and disaster scenarios have become integral to keeping Californians safe. Hailed as “the Beyoncé of earthquakes, the Meryl Streep of government service, a woman breaking barriers in a man’s world,” Dr. Jones delivers passionate lectures about our civilization’s history of natural disasters, the importance of women in science, how scientists can effectively communicate their findings to policymakers, and how we can make our societies more resilient to future disasters.
Sarah McBride is the National Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign and one of America’s leading public voices in the fight for LGBTQ equality. McBride made history as the first openly trans woman to intern in the Obama White House, and to address a major party convention, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in 2016. Now as a spokesperson for the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, Sarah has become one of America’s most public voices in the fight for LGBTQ equality. From Delaware to North Carolina to Texas, McBride is working to resist the politics of hate and to move equality forward.
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.
Clemantine is a storyteller and human rights advocate committed to inspiring others through the power and art of storytelling. Her personal account of her childhood in Rwanda, displacement throughout war-torn countries, and experiences in various refugee camps have encouraged myriads of people to persevere despite great odds. With no formal education before the age of 13, Clemantine went on to graduate from Yale University with a BA in Comparative Literature. Clemantine now uses stories drawn from her experiences to catalyze change and create community.
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.
In a career that spanned thirty years, Sherry Lansing made her mark as one of the most celebrated executives in the film industry. As president of production at 20th Century Fox, Lansing was the first woman to head a major motion picture studio, putting her unique stamp on ambitious projects like Nine to Five and Chariots of Fire. As Chairperson and CEO of Paramount Pictures, she oversaw more than 200 films, including Academy Award winners Forrest Gump, Braveheart, and Titanic. An inspiring speaker, Lansing draws on her career and philanthropy to deliver powerful lectures on leadership and making a difference.
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.
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.
Amanda Lucidon is an award-winning documentarian, filmmaker, and former White House photographer known for documenting First Lady Michelle Obama. A collection of Lucidon’s images of the First Lady, Chasing Light, was released in 2017 to great acclaim. Lucidon speaks about her time working for one of the most politically significant presidential administrations in recent history and what photographers can reveal about their subjects.
Lauren Markham is the author of The Far Away Brothers, the true story of identical twins who, at the age of seventeen, traded El Salvador’s gang violence for the trials of life as undocumented immigrants in Oakland, California. An accomplished journalist, educator, and advocate for immigrants and refugees, Markham is an authority on international refugee issues and Central American and child migration in the United States.
Younger Audiences & Parenting
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.
After winning the 2014 National Book Award for her New York Times-bestselling adolescent memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson went on to publish the adult novel Another Brooklyn, which was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award in Fiction. Woodson is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a recipient of the NAACP Image Award, was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation, and most recently was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. She gives stirring lectures that delve into the inspiration behind her books and explore important issues of race, gender, and bullying.
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