Book Me For A Lecture, Reading or Writing Workshop!

Lectures & Speaking Topics

Since my first memoir was published by Dutton/Penguin in 2006, I have lectured around the country, making audiences laugh and reflect on topics ranging from the writing process, using humor to overcome tragedy, diversity and discrimination, and redefining one's life. I believe that laughter can be a magical way to learn/teach.

My lectures and readings range from 30 minutes to an hour.

I also teach my unique, personalized writing workshops for students, lit/writing classes, writers groups, etc. (please see my platform, or visit, for more information regarding these writing workshops).

Below is a sample of my lectures and topics, which I tailor and personalize for each audience. I can also develop a speech or lecture specifically for your group, students, organization, readers, or company.

In addition, I also can tailor a talk and book reading, including essays from any (or all) of my five books. (These can range from G to PG to R.)

To book a lecture or speaking engagement, please contact Gary Edwards at

Some of the topics I speak on include:

There's a Place for Us

In this lecture, I discuss how I was bullied for being gay in rural America and then battled sexual discrimination in the workplace, how I used humor as uniter and defense mechanism to overcome those odds, and why – based on my nearly two decades of experience in university, college and prep school administration – bullying and discrimination continues and what must be done to stop it. (I also lecture on how to achieve diversity in student bodies, administration, faculty and boards.)

Fear Factor

Americans – writers, especially – are defined by their fears today, rather than their passion. I will discuss how to “fuggetabout fear” and turn it into “Free Every Artistic Response”, and how you can change your life, pursue your passion, and write what calls to you.

The Three H's

In this lecture, I will discuss how “The Three H’s” – humor, heart and honesty – are the keys to memoir writing (and life), and how the art of writing funny and poignant (combining the lyrical punchline and the heartrending moment) can be achieved via the H’s.

Fat Boys Shouldn't Wear Ascots

I will discuss – with humor and sensitivity, and by sharing insight and exercise/lifestyle/eating tips – how I lost over 100 pounds and has maintained my weight loss for nearly two decades by connecting the physical to the spiritual, intellectual, social and emotional.

Other general topics include:

-Following Your Dreams

-Taking Risks

-Rural vs. Urban America

-Courage in All Situations

-Humor in Life to Overcome Obstacles

-Education (Speaking to public and private school boards, administration and faculty, and parent groups on how to handle difficult parents, and embrace diversity in school administration

-Learning to Understand Your Parents and Grandparents (a large focus of my memoirs)

-Writing (the process, overcoming fear and finding your voice)

Sampling of Past Keynote & Speaking Engagements

Cities Visited
(lectures, keynotes, writing workshops, readings, events)


Los Angeles
Palm Desert
Palm Springs
Rancho Mirage



Ann Arbor
Grand Haven
Grand Rapids
Traverse City

Kansas City
St. Louis

Blowing Rock



New York City





Book Festivals & Events
The Erma Bombeck Humor Writers Workshop (Toledo, Ohio; the largest humor writers conference in the nation)
The Post and Courier Fall Book and Author Luncheon (Charleston, South Carolina;the largest book event in the Southeast)
Pulpwood Queen's Book & Author Festival (Jefferson, Texas)
Oklahoma Center for Poets and WritersTulsa Writes! (Tulsa, Oklahoma; city-wide writing focus that culminates city’s yearlong focus on literature that begins with Tulsa Reads!)
Booksmart Tulsa
High Country Festival of the Book (Blowing Rock, NC)
Chicago’s Printers Row Lit Festival
Wisconsin Book Festival (Madison, Wisconsin)
Write Michigan (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
GR Reads! (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Summer Book Series)
Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Palm Springs Writers Guild
Palm Springs Book Expo
Kalamazoo Library Author Holiday Expo

Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists Residency (The Art Institute of Chicago's summer school)

Chicago Public Library/Cultural Center
Grand Rapids Public Library
Palm Springs (CA) Public Library
Rancho Mirage (CA) Public Library
Kalamazoo (MI) Public Library
Tulsa (OK) Public Library
Lansing (MI) Public Library System

Universities & Colleges
University of Chicago
Oklahoma State University
University of Tulsa
University of California-Riverside
Kalamazoo Valley Community College
Grand Valley State University

LGBT Groups
Dennis R. Neill Equality Center (Tulsa, OK)
Kalamazoo LGBT Resource Center
Chicago LGBT Center
Grand Valley State University LGBT Resource Center
Common Language-Gay/Lesbian Resource Center (Ann Arbor, MI)
Until Love is Equal (Holland, MI)
International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association

Animal Rescue Organizations
Humane Society of the United States (New York City)
Wishbone (West Michigan; "4 Paws 4 A Cause" Kickoff Gala)
Cascades (MI) Humane Society ("Unleash Your Heart Gala")
Bissell Pet Foundation - (Bissell Blocktail Party)