Thursday, May 14, 2015

5 books that capture commencement speeches by women

Commencement ceremonies often feature women speakers, but their speeches are less frequently published than those of male speakers. So if you're looking to give a new graduate a gift that will help her emulate a great woman speaker--and inspire her at the same time--consult this list of books that capture commencement talks by an impressive array of women speakers:
  1. Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination is the latest entry in this category, publishing the words of author J.K. Rowling in a now-viral Harvard commencement address.
  2. Unlike many anthologies, The World Is Waiting for You: Graduation Speeches to Live By from Activists, Writers, and Visionaries includes commencement speeches from several women speakers: Gloria Steinem, Anna Quindlen, Marian Wright Edelman, Barbara Kingsolver, Toni Morrison, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Martha Nussbaum, Isabel Wilkerson, Ursula K. Leguin, and Cecile Richards. In fact, the gender ratio tilts slightly in favor of the women included in this collection.
  3. A Short Guide to a Happy Life preserves Anna Quindlen's planned 2000 commencement address at Villanova University, which was never given. It's one of my all-time favorite speeches, and a favorite gift I give.
  4. Remembering Who We Are: A Treasury of Conservative Commencement Addressesincludes addresses by Marilynne Robinson, Carly Fiorina, and Mary Eberstadt--otherwise, it's a mostly male speaker collection.
  5. This is Your Moment: Inspirational Commencement Speeches shares commencement speeches by Barbara Bush and Hillary Clinton, the lone women among a male-centric collection. But it's an audio version, which may prove inspiring in a different way.
  6. Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life was a Chicago Tribune column by Mary Schmich that went viral--and was falsely attributed to author Kurt Vonnegut, a frequent commencement speaker. Never actually given as a commencement speech, the book is nonetheless a charming one.
Got a panel coming up? Whether you're a conference organizer, speaker, or moderator, you'll have a better panel--and a sparkling discussion--if you plan with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. At just $3.99 in all ebook formats, it's like having a coach with whom you can prepare and bring on stage with you.