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Amy Hill Hearth

New York Times Best-selling Author, "Having Our Say"

New York Times Best-selling Author, "Having Our Say"

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Amy Hill Hearth Biography

Amy Hill Hearth is a New York Times Bestselling Author and an American Library Association “Notable Book” and Peabody Award Winner.

She is the author of the novel, Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society, as well as seven non-fiction books including Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, a blockbuster bestseller which spawned a Broadway play and television film. She is the co-author of Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters by the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society was a book club pick for Simon & Schuster, a Reader's Digest Select Edition and a main selection of the Pulpwood Queens, Kathy L. Murphy's Texas-based international book club which has more than 600 chapters. Reader’s Digest Brazil published the Portuguese-language edition in November 2014 with a first printing of 50,000 copies.The sequel, Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County, will be published by Atria Books/​Simon & Schuster in September 2015.

Having Our Say, called a "classic oral history" by Newsweek magazine, remains a staple in American classrooms. The book is the story of two very wise centenarian sisters, Sarah L. and A. Elizabeth Delany, whose father was born into slavery in the American South. The book was a New York Times Bestseller for more than two years. (It was also a Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Publisher's Weekly bestseller.)

Ms. Hearth was the advisor and consultant to Producers Camille O. Cosby and Judith R. James for the Broadway play adaptation of Having Our Say, which earned three Tony Award nominations including Best Play. Ms. Hearth served again as advisor and consultant when Dr. Cosby and Ms. James produced an award-winning telefilm adaptation of the book starring Ruby Dee, Diahann Carroll, and Audra McDonald. Ms. Hearth's role was portrayed in the film by Amy Madigan ("Field of Dreams," "Places in the Heart").

Ms. Hearth began her career in the newspaper business. Having Our Say, in fact, began as a feature story she wrote about the then-unknown Delany Sisters for The New York Times. As a reporter who had always been interested in telling the stories of older people, she eagerly followed up on several leads to locate the mysterious, reclusive pair. When she finally met them, her dream of an interview almost didn't work out, as she later told The New York Times in a story published on April 2, 1995: "They didn't think they were important enough. I had to convince them and gave this little impromptu speech - that I thought it was very important that people from their generation be represented, especially black women who hadn't had much opportunity. I guess my enthusiasm rubbed off."

Ms. Hearth is a thirteenth-generation American whose ancestors fought for independence in the Revolutionary War. She has some Native American (Lenni-Lenape) ancestry as well, and was given the Native name "Smiling Songbird Woman" by the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indians in a tribal ceremony in 2010 in honor of the oral history she wrote about their tribal matriarch,Strong Medicine" Speaks: A Native American Elder Has Her Say.

Ms. Hearth is a 1982 graduate of the University of Tampa, where she earned a B.A. in Writing and was editor of the college newspaper. Her first newspaper job was assistant arts and entertainment editor at The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass. Her first fulltime reporting job was in Florida atThe Daytona Beach News-Journal (where she met her future husband, a native of Naples, Fla., when she interviewed him while pursuing a story). After relocating to the New York area, she wrote 88 bylined news and feature stories for The New York Times including her September 22, 1991 article on the Delany Sisters, "Two Maiden Ladies with Stories to Tell" - the story that would change her life and theirs.

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  • What topics does Amy Hill Hearth speak about?

    Amy Hill Hearth is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include Authors, Diversity, Motivational, Personal Growth.
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    Amy Hill Hearth generally travels from an undisclosed location, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
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Amy Hill Hearth is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Amy Hill Hearth for your event is available upon request. Amy Hill Hearth generally travels from and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Kecia M. Thomas, Nesha Pai, Kate White, Olympia Vernon and Iyanla Vanzant. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Amy Hill Hearth for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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