HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Gail Sheehy

Author, Journalist, and Lecturer


  • Women Who Dare
  • Building a Movement of Daring Women
  • Passages in Caregiving
  • Seasoned Women Pursuing the Passionate Life
  • Adventures of the Spirit: Feeding the Soul in Second Adulthood
  • Journalism: Then and Now


New York

World-renowned author of 17 books, journalist, and popular lecturer, Gail Sheehy has changed the way millions of women and men around the world look at the stages of their lives. Her revolutionary book, Passages, was named by the Library of Congress one of the ten most influential books of our times. Published in 1976, it remained on the New York Times bestseller list for more than three years and has been reprinted in 28 languages.

Candid, insightful, and powerful, Daring: My Passages (William Morrow) is the story of the unconventional life of a writer who dared . . . to walk New York City streets with hookers and pimps to expose violent prostitution; to march with civil rights protesters in Northern Ireland as British paratroopers opened fire; and to seek out Egypt’s president Anwar Sadat when he was targeted for death after making peace with Israel. Always on the cutting edge of social issues, Sheehy reveals the obstacles and opportunities encountered when she dared to blaze a trail in a “man’s world.”

Daring is also a beguiling love story of Sheehy’s tempestuous romance with and eventual happy marriage to Clay Felker, the charismatic creator of New York magazine. As well, Sheehy recounts her audacious pursuit and intimate portraits of many 20th century leaders, including Hillary Clinton, Presidents George H. W. and George W. Bush, and the world-altering attraction between Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Sheehy reflects on desire, ambition, and wanting it all - career, love, children, friends, social significance - and lays bare her major life passages: false starts and surprise successes, the shock of failures and inner crises; betrayal in a first relationship; life as a single mother; flings of an ardent, liberated young woman; her adoption of a second daughter from a refugee camp; and marriage to the love of her life and their ensuing years of happiness, even in the shadow of illness.

Now stronger than ever, Sheehy speaks from hard-won experience to today’s young women. Her fascinating, no-holds-barred story is a testament to guts, resilience, smarts, and daring, and offers a bold perspective on all of life’s passages.

As a literary journalist, Sheehy was one of the original contributors to New York magazine. A contributing editor to Vanity Fair since 1984, she won the Washington Journalism Review Award for Best Magazine Writer in America for her in-depth character portraits of national and world leaders, including both Presidents Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and Mikhail Gorbachev. Sheehy is a seven-time recipient of the New York Newswomen’s Club Front Page Award for distinguished journalism.

One of the most popular speakers on the lecture circuit, Sheehy, who was named AARP’s Caregiver Ambassador in 2009, offers dynamic programs based on her groundbreaking investigations and observations of the lives of men and women within different phases of their lives and how they can enjoy them to the fullest.

Praise for Gail Sheehy:

“You were beyond an engaging speaker – you were a mensch!! The outpouring from the audience which numbered close to 150 (a huge turnout in ABQ) has been nothing short of spectacular in their reviews of you and your talk.”

—Phyllis Wolf, Arts & Culture Program Director, JCC of Greater Albuquerque

 “Gail Sheehy is one of the best and most engaging speakers I have had the privilege of hearing at the Library!  She is an incredible woman and all said they could have listened to her for another hour!!! Her presentation was a show stopper.”

Jocelyn Glatthorn, Community Engagement Librarian, New Canaan Library

 “Gail was excellent. We were thrilled to hear her captivating stories. One could hear a pin drop.”

—Helena Shayer, Executive Administrator, Nassau Region of Hadassah

Praise for Daring: My Passages:

“I can’t remember reading a book like this in years, a personal memoir of such high literary skill and knife-edge drama. Gail Sheehy has given me another reason to stay on track, to live like the woman I want to be, as she has, over and over finding her way to the spot where life is lived—in the flesh, in the mind, and in the heart.”

—Judy Collins, Singer, Songwriter, and Author

“The love story of two superstars in the final great moment of American magazine journalism.”

—Tom Wolfe, Journalist and Bestselling Author of The Bonfire of the Vanities

“Gail Sheehy dares to examine her own passages with the same insight, fearlessness, and compassion she brought to her groundbreaking journalism. Through adversities and triumphs alike, she demonstrates the grit and courage it takes to outlast life’s challenges.”

—Arianna Huffington, President of Huffington Post Media group and Author

“The anecdotal life of a pioneering and hardworking journalist who plunges into everything with energy and curiosity. After a lifetime of writing about other people, she takes on the most difficult assignment: herself. It’s an irresistible read.”

—Gloria Steinem, Cofounder of Ms. Magazine, Writer, and Feminist Organizer

“Gail Sheehy’s work always combines the care of a scholar and the sensibility of a novelist. Her memoir is a thrilling read.”

— Erica Jong, Author of Fear of Flying and twenty-four other books

“Gail Sheehy says that what she cares about most is honesty, and this remarkable memoir is proof. She [reveals] a woman lightly freckled with flaws and fears who dares to live a full life. I dare you to put it down. I couldn’t.”

— Meredith Vieira, Journalist and News Correspondent

“An astonishing book! I was there for a good deal of it—the pride, the passion, and the pain of New York (the magazine and the city) that we loved and lost…Those were the days, my friend; we thought they’d never end. They did, but Gail Sheehy brings them alive again.”

— Richard Reeves, lecturer, syndicated columnist, and author

“Gail takes us behind the scenes of New York magazine as only one who was there could do.”

— Milton Glaser, Cofounder of New York Magazine

“Insightful and colorful, this is a riveting tale of life, love, and literary Manhattan. Gail Sheehy has a sharp eye for people and a gift for storytelling. She provides an intimate look at the powerful, squirrelly, and loyal people she has known and the genius editor she loves. A delightful and entertaining book.”

—Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute and Author of Steve Jobs