Add speakerRemove speakerSpeaker added

Domenica Ruta

Author of the New York Times-bestselling memoir With or Without You

  • About Domenica Ruta

    Domenica Ruta is the author of the acclaimed memoir With or Without You, hailed by The New York Times Book Review as “a luminous, layered accomplishment.” She is a graduate of Oberlin College and holds an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. She was a finalist for the Keene Prize for Literature and has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Blue Mountain Center, Jentel, and Hedgebrook.

    In With or Without You, Domenica illuminates her unconventional and chaotic coming of age. She speaks about the power—and sometimes stranglehold—of mother-daughter relationships and the painful realities of trauma and addiction. Domenica’s story is that of an exceptional individual beating the odds and finding redemption from her past.

  • Speaking Topics

    The Gifts of Trauma and Failure

    Domenica Ruta takes an in-depth look at the physical, emotional, and spiritual traumas that inspired her memoir and how she has used life’s little failures to live authentically and become the writer she is today.

    My Literature of Sorrow

    Drawing inspiration from Hemingway, Vonnegut, Mallick, Rilke, and Rapp, Domenica Ruta shares the wisdom she’s gleaned from master wordsmiths and the ways in which they’ve shaped her own ability to combat her past through her writing.

    Everyone Is Addicted to Something

    We all have addictions. Sometimes these addictions are funny and benign, though sometimes lives are painfully derailed by these urges. Drawing on her life experiences, Domenica Ruta delivers a thoughtful exploration of what addiction means in our lives, and how the startling truths they reveal have the power to change us.

  • Praise for Domenica Ruta


    We were all incredibly impressed with Domenica this week, and it was an amazing treat to have her on campus. The students and faculty all responded positively. She was more than welcome at College of DuPage.

    The College of DuPage

    Everything was great. Domenica was super with the students. They were very engaged. The evening reading went well also. She had lots of really great advice. It was a successful day.

    Bloomsburg University

    Praise for Last Day

    A beautiful portrait of humanity in the shadow of a dying Earth . . . Ruta delicately sketches the large cast of characters—as well as their dreams, fears, and failures—with care. She’s able to pinpoint certain universal feelings with precision.

    Kirkus Reviews

    After making a splash with her memoir, With or Without You, Ruta returns with an inventive first novel. . . . An entertaining and clever speculative tale.


    Last Day is a galaxy unto itself, a profound and incisive slice of our world on the edge of its inevitable end from a brilliant voice in American fiction.

    Amelia Gray, author of Isadora

    Domenica Ruta has collected seven disconnected lives—each one heartbreaking and hilarious, flawed and exalted—and masterfully ties them together using rituals of loss and celebration. Last Day travels from outer space panoramas to palm-sized minutia, every paragraph punctuated with curious truths. I devoured this book and, much like the world itself, I didn’t want it to end.”

    Adam Nemett, author of We Can Save Us All

    Domenica Ruta’s empathy is broad and deep, her prose fine-grained, her humor sharp but tender. Last Day is a life-affirming antidote to these pre-apocalyptic times.

    Teddy Wayne, author of Loner

    In this woven novel, we humans are love, are destruction, are wish and want. Domenica Ruta has created a portrait of humanity in a moment that is both the end and the beginning, and this novel is urgent and true and filled with such beauty.

    Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and No One Is Here Except All of Us

    Praise for With or Without You

    Freakishly brilliant, brilliantly freakish, this is one of the best memoirs I have ever read. Domenica Ruta has done something every artist with a failed family must do. She has created herself.

    Gary Shteyngart

    This book is a luminous, layered accomplishment.

    The New York Times Book Review

    This engrossing, lyrical debut…marks the arrival of a blazing new voice in literature.

    Entertainment Weekly

    The intensity of the clear-eyed manner in which Ruta conveys her abiding frustration with the parents who failed their child so casually and monumentally is exceedingly powerful stuff.


    A sharp portrayal of recovery from a lifetime of pitfalls and the love that held it all together.

    Kirkus Reviews

    Bracingly funny and poignant.

    The Boston Globe
  • Books by Domenica Ruta

  • Media About Domenica Ruta

Request Fees
and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Domenica Ruta travels from New York, NY

Similar Speakers

Cheryl Strayed

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

Gary Shteyngart

New York Times-bestselling author of Little Failure, Super Sad True Love Story, Absurdistan, and Our County Friends

Paula McLain

New York Times-bestselling author of The Paris Wife, Circling the Sun, Love and Ruin and When the Stars Go Dark