Author, Chef, Activist & Teacher
Born and raised in Nashville Tennessee, Harvard graduate Caroline Randall Williams is an award-winning poet, young adult novelist, and cookbook author as well as an activist, public intellectual, performance artist, and scholar. She joins the faculty of Vanderbilt University in the Fall of 2019 as a Writer-in-Residence in Medicine, Health, and Society while she continues to work and speak to the places where art, business, and scholarship intersect, moving people closer to their best lives and corporations closer to their ideal identities. She has spoken in twenty states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and West Virginia, in venues that range from as small as a classroom in a neighborhood school to as large as the Superdome mainstage during Essence Fest. To every speaking engagement Caroline brings a fierce intelligence, disarming charm, a touch of glamour, and a depth of lived experience that belies her thirty-one years. She has taught in two of the poorest states in the union — Mississippi and West Virginia — and she has been educated at two of the richest universities on the globe — Harvard and Oxford. She is an accomplished artist on the page and on the stage, and she is a successful entrepreneur with an exceptionally diverse investment portfolio that includes ownership stake in a nationally acclaimed restaurant and Facebook stock purchased so early it is still profitable. Read More >
Food & Family
Q&A with Caroline Randall Williams
This talk examines what it means to actually do the work of making people from diverse backgrounds feel welcome in shared space. Caroline uses everything from Shakespeare to Soul Food to engage the audience in a conversation that is ultimately all about empathy.
Caroline uses her many experiences as a co-writer and co-creator across many disciplines to discuss what it takes to make working together work.
Caroline has lived and taught in wildly diverse spaces, from the backroads of the Mississippi Delta to the mountains of West Virginia, and she always works to find a way to connect, with her students and with her sense of place. It has allowed her to come to some uniquely helpful insights about the types of conversations we need to be having and how to go about this important work.
Caroline discusses how the blues is at the heart of our collective cultural identity.
Caroline is a cookbook author, a journalist, a poet, a professor, a performer, and finds a way for each hat she wears to inform the others. Engaging with your divergent gifts allows you to be your most successful self.
The food we eat tells stories. We can come to know so much about ourselves, our history, and how we interact with the world, simply by coming to the literal (and figurative) table.
"Caroline Randall Williams spoke at Creative Mornings Nashville on Inclusivity and had everyone in the audience mesmerized with her talk. She knows how to engage an audience and hit them hard with the truth. A truth they may feel uncomfortable facing or discussing, but a truth they knew all along. Hearing Caroline illuminate each person with these truths leaves the audience feeling unified, ready to help and make changes! After you hear Caroline your life will never be the same! And if it is the same… you weren’t listening!!!"
"Caroline Randall Williams is a bold voice, a keen thinker, unbowed by convention. I’ve watched her step to the podium many times to charm and inspire and challenge audiences. She does this work with a joy and serious of purpose that has made her a trusted and beloved collaborator for the Southern Foodways Alliance."
"Want a new and inspiring take on diversity? Invite Caroline Randall Williams."
"In forty years in public schools, serving as a teacher, principal, I have attended hundreds of author events in elementary and middle schools. Caroline Randall Williams’s Recipe Poem workshop enthralled students and amazed teachers who couldn’t believe how many hard skills she was able to impart-- while being utterly entertaining and truly inspiring to students and faculty."
"Caroline Randall Williams taught us methods that moved us beyond our poetic paralysis. We were her willing students, listening and watching her transform from our beloved teacher to our beloved muse."
"Want to get some stodgy old guys to think about Shakespeare, women, ballet, poetry, and a few other things in a new and positive light—get Caroline Randall Williams up on the stage."