Marya is a favorite for public speaking, expert panels, and workshops. She has appeared at institutions including Harvard, Yale (as a two-time Distinguished Fellow), Vassar, Columbia, and many others. She also regularly speaks at medical and psychological organizations, treatment centers, and mental health events. Versatile, experienced, and knowledgeable, her audience members and workshop attendees say they leave her events feeling inspired toward personal and social change. Writing workshop attendees say her events are exciting and challenging, and fire them up to write in a new way.
Marya is also available for independent study courses and manuscript editing.
To book Marya for lectures for an event at your school or organization, to take an independent study course with her, or to hire her to edit your manuscript, please email her team at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
An experienced teacher of writing and a member of the creative writing faculty at Northwestern University, Marya inspires her students with her talks and workshops on memoir, novel, creative nonfiction, and journalism. Focusing on broadening students’ knowledge of their genre and encouraging them to take risks in their writing, she uses both her own and other writers’ work to show students the huge range of possibility in literary work. Combining unique writing exercises with discussion, students are involved in the process from the very beginning. These workshops and lectures bring life to the genres, and light a fire under students to expand and deepen their own writing.
Marya’s talks about mental illness jump in with a reading from her bestselling memoir Madness: A Bipolar Life, which sets the stage for her story of being nearly beaten by, but ultimately triumphing over, severe and persistent mental illness. Audiences of this presentation often have many questions about what the different mental illnesses are, what they feel like, and how we can be supportive to people who have them; this presentation is a lively, fascinating way to educate the general audience, while also speaking directly to listeners who suffer from mental illness themselves. This is an inspirational presentation, and in it Marya testifies to the real possibility for healthy, satisfying lives for mentally ill people. She talks about both action and acceptance, and urges listeners to think about how they can reach recovery in their lives. In the discussion period that follows, people have the opportunity to ask a wide range of questions about mental illness, how to support people with mental illness, and how to approach specific challenges in the struggle. This portion of the presentation is often full of laughter, identification, and hope
A two-time Hazelden Books author, Marya is experienced in speaking about a wide range of issues relating to addiction and recovery. In her years of sobriety, Marya has had the great opportunity to work with many people—of all backgrounds, ages, and types of experience—as they have found their way to a sober life. It’s not an easy task, and anyone who’s dealt with addiction knows first-hand the great need to know that there are people with stories like theirs. The essence of recovery is the story: we share “experience, strength, and hope” by telling and hearing stories about where we have been. This presentation, which Marya has given everywhere from treatment centers to school classrooms, begins with her story of years of drug and alcohol addiction, focusing on the particular needs of the audience to whom she’s speaking. In treatment centers, she can talk about the challenges of early sobriety and how to navigate them; in schools she can talk about the pervasive problems with drugs and alcohol in peer groups; at conventions she can talk about the joys and rewards of a sober life, as well as any specific recovery-related topic that group wants to focus on. The discussion period following these presentations is always vibrant, exciting, and hopeful, and is a key part of the experience.
Although Marya no longer lectures on eating disorders, in the past her presentations began with a brief reading from her classic Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia. She then moved into her own story, talking about what it’s really like to live with an eating disorder. This was of great use not only to people with eating disorders, who benefit from a feeling of identification, but to friends, family, and professionals who encounter eating disorders in their daily lives and in their professions. The heart of this presentation, though, was Marya’s approach to the topic of our entire culture’s engagement in the eating disorder game—the way each of us, eating disordered or not, are affected by media messages, social norms, and our own obsessions with body and food. Eating disorders aren’t just something that happen to teenage girls—they happen to men and women of all ages and backgrounds, and they happen for a reason. Marya challenged audiences to ask themselves the question of how they, too, are engaged in an eating disordered culture, and how they can begin to change that in their own lives. The question and answer period that followed the talks allowed for great dialogue, and never failed to be an exciting and vital part of the presentation.