HarperCollins Speakers Bureau
HARPERCOLLINS SPEAKERS BUREAU
THE PREMIER LECTURE AGENCY FOR AUTHORS

Todd Johnson

Best-Selling Author of The Sweet By and By

SPEAKING TOPICS

  • A Novelist at 40: My Crooked Path to Becoming a Writer
  • Southern Families, Southern Stories: Jewels at the Dinner Table
  • Finding the Sacred in the Ordinary: Writing as Spiritual Practice
  • Writing the Voice of the Other: The Audacity to Become Someone Else
  • The Gift of Aging: Saving Our Stories from Extinction

TRAVELS FROM

Connecticut

"Todd Johnson commands the podium as if it were his designated pulpit. His combination of wit, sincerity and literary talent guides the audience from riotous laughter to a realization that life is as pleasant as we make it. His range of conversation makes him a perfect opening act or final keynote speaker. Either way, he is sure to please. "
-- Robie Scott, Charleston Post and Courier Annual Author Luncheon, Charleston, SC

Todd Johnson is the best-selling author of The Sweet By and By (Morrow), a story about five southern women of different ages and from different backgrounds whose lives come together in a journey of courage, hope, and humor. The book is a recipient of the Connecticut Book Award for Fiction. Hailed by Southern Living as "quite simply one of the most beautifully written books you'll ever read," The Sweet By and By has been chosen as a People "Great Reads for Your Book Club" Pick, a Real Simple Entertainment Selection, and a Books-A-Million Book Club Pick. Johnson is a perfect keynote speaker for writing conferences, southern groups, libraries, and multi-generational women's groups.

Forced by circumstance into each other's lives, Margaret Clayton and Bernice Stokes have become late-life best friends. Old in years but young in spirit, the two women meet in an eastern North Carolina nursing home, where, at first glance, the sameness of each day creeps into every page of the calendar. For Margaret and Bernice however, this time of life marks the beginning of an unlikely and amazing journey of friendship. Lorraine, their plain-spoken African-American nurse both protects and provokes them under a watchful eye, along with her "star" daughter April, an aspiring doctor, as well as Rhonda, the longneck Bud-swilling beautician who does their hair once a week. Sassy and irreverent at every turn, Margaret and Bernice break all the rules as they approach their final destination, even when faced with the challenges of their indifferent families and fragile memories. Along the way, all five women learn to reconcile their respective pasts, find forgiveness, choose hope, and above all, relish in the joy of life.

Johnson is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, where he grew up performing in choirs, bands, and orchestras from the time he could walk. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with honors in history and receiving his master's from Yale Divinity School, Johnson moved to New York City where he became one of the most sought-after studio singers in the business. He has recorded myriad of national jingles for television and radio, as well as having performed with such renowned artists as Garth Brooks, Celine Dion, Natalie Cole, Tony Bennett, Barry Manilow, Sarah Brightman, Marc Anthony, and Al Jarreau. Turning his energies to his longstanding love of theatre, he received a 2006 Tony Award nomination as a producer of The Color Purple on Broadway.

A longtime New Yorker, Johnson now lives in a 250-year-old farmhouse in Litchfield County, Connecticut, where dogs and horses rule. He has served as a guest lecturer at Emory University and is a frequent contributor to Litchfield Magazine.

Speaking Endorsements:

"Todd Johnson may live in Connecticut, but he is, just like The Sweet By and By, oozing with Southern charm. Before meeting Todd, I could not have imagined the man who could so clearly write in four distinct female voices. After hosting Todd at our annual Southern Voices Conference in Hoover, Alabama, I think I finally understand. Todd's greatest strength as a speaker and writer is in his ability to establish connection, and, frankly, he could write in any voice he so chooses. Within minutes of meeting him, you'll think he's a long lost, albeit extremely interesting, friend. He'll dazzle your audience with stories of producing a Broadway musical and enchant them with simple tales of love for his grandparents. He may even sing a jingle or two. Todd is one of a kind. He's talented, intriguing, gracious, and somehow, unpretentious. His passion for literature and gift for storytelling is unmatched and apparent in his presentation. But, warning: Having Todd at your event may raise the bar for any guest you host after that. He's that great."
-- Amanda Bonner, The Hoover Library, Birmingham, AL

"Todd Johnson commands the podium as if it were his designated pulpit. His combination of wit, sincerity and literary talent guides the audience from riotous laughter to a realization that life is as pleasant as we make it. His range of conversation makes him a perfect opening act or final keynote speaker. Either way, he is sure to please. "
-- Robie Scott, Charleston Post and Courier Annual Author Luncheon, Charleston, SC

"Todd Johnson was engaging and gracious to every single soul who came to hear him speak when he was a guest for the Readers and Writers series here at the E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center at Ball State University and the audience adored him! Since we had a little extra time he allowed me to plan another program for him at Westminster Assisted Living Community where he brought the house down (as it were)! I look forward to having him back!"
-- Kathryn Kennison, Ball State University, Muncie, IN

"Todd Johnson was one of three authors at the Susan B. Anthony Project annual Authors' Luncheon in 2009. The event, with 200 guests, raises funds for survivors of domestic and sexual violence in NW Connecticut. Todd Johnson was delightful to work with. He was a spirited, dynamic speaker and our audience found him very engaging."
-- Nancy Rogers, Susan B. Anthony Project, Torrington, CT

Praise for The Sweet By and By:

"I am in love with this book - the language, the story, the sass."
-- Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help

"Quite simply one of the most beautifully written books you'll ever read. The story plays like music in the heart."
-- Southern Living

"Feisty Bernice and Margaret may be in a nursing home, but don't count them out. Steel Magnolias fans will love this one."
-- People

"Read The Sweet By and By. In his debut novel, Todd Johnson explores the lives of five Southern women who are unexpectedly connected to each other. While most of the action takes place in a nursing home, their stories never fall short of livelihood."
-- Real Simple, "Entertainment Picks"

"He made me laugh and cry...Johnson's five women are as convincing as Reynolds Price's Kate Vaiden and Allan Gurganus's Lucy Marsden...Pure Southern music."
-- Raleigh News and Observer

"Heartfelt and stunning...a genuine page-turner."
-- Adriana Trigiani, author of Brava, Valentine

"The women of The Sweet By and By have found a devoted muse in Todd Johnson."
- Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple

"Packed with so much poignancy readers might want to keep tissues handy...This is a novel not to be missed."
-- Las Vegas Review-Journal

"Nothing short of amazing...I had a whole new perspective on both living and dying after reading this stunning novel."
-- Birmingham News

"Save a place for this debut novel...Moving back and forth in time, Johnson does a fine job of illustrating the rich inner lives of those imprisoned by failing mental or physical health...Strongly recommended."
-- Library Journal

"Johnson's novel is a welcome look beyond statistics to other, less tangible aspects of aging: what friendship and connectedness across generations can do for the quality of life - both for the young and the old."
-- AARP Bulletin

"Hilarious and heartrending. If I live long enough, I want Lorraine to be my nurse, April to handle my affairs, Margaret and Bernice as my bunkmates, and I surely hope Rhonda can do my hair. Also, if my life were a book, I'd want Todd Johnson to write it."
-- Sharon Randall, Scripps Howard News Syndicate