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Nora  McInerny

Nora McInerny

Author & Host of Terrible, Thanks for Asking Podcast


A reluctant grief expert and “notable widow” (her words), Nora McInerny miscarried her second baby, lost her Dad to cancer and also lost her husband, Aaron, to a brain tumor all within 6 hellish weeks in 2014. Called “The Anne Lamott for the emoji generation,” (Rebecca Stouffer, Modern Loss) Nora has used her creative energies, humor and interviewing skills towards the exploration of all things terrible, leading a new cultural conversation on emotional honesty and empathy. Read More >

A prolific creator, Nora wrote the critically-acclaimed memoir It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) (HarperCollins Dey Street Books), hosts the award-winning podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking by American Public Media, started the Hot Young Widows Club, founded the non-profit organization Still Kickin and writes essays published in Elle, Cosmopolitan, Time, Slate and Vox. She is also the author of The Hot Young Widows Club: Lessons on Survival from the Front Lines of Grief (TED Books) and her new book No Happy Endings: A Memoir.

As a speaker and podcast host, Nora connects with wide-ranging audiences in the millions through her authentic and honest portrayal of common human experiences. Though she addresses challenging and uncomfortable topics like death, illness, mental health and trauma, she does so with a light touch, using her disarming humor and wit to break down the barriers that often isolate people who are going through terrible things. In this way, Nora’s audiences experience a full range of emotions, often laughing and crying simultaneously, leaving them feeling both grounded and inspired. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

TED: We Don’t “Move On” From Grief. We Move Forward with It.

Walk In My Shoes

What's the Worst that Could Happen

Recovering Perfectionist

Timing is Nothing at All

It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too)

Speech Topics

Finding Meaning in Work

Can we really “check our feelings at the door” when we come to work? How do we approach people with humanity and kindness while still getting our jobs done? In this presentation by keynote speaker, Nora McInerny, you will learn how to bring your humanity to work, even when work includes the most messy/beautiful parts of life. You will learn specific language to use (and not to use) with colleagues and clients who are going through difficult times.

Still Kickin: Living a Life of Resilience & Joy After Loss

Bummer alert! Everyone you love will die. What does it mean to live with this perspective? How can experiencing the very worst bring out the best in you? Without ever “moving on” or “getting over it,” how can you live better -- and love better -- right now?

What's the Best That Can Happen? Building a Brave, Beautiful Life (Even When it Sucks)

Nora McInerny was a 31-year-old mother when her husband Aaron died of brain cancer. There’s no road map to follow when you find your life has fallen apart, but Nora embraced the brokenness and remade her life. She quit her comfortable marketing job, wrote a book with HarperCollins, started a non-profit and a podcast with American Public Media. Fear, setbacks and loss are a part of life, but they don’t need to be what defines your life.

Not (Just) a Sad Story: A Patient’s Experience with Cancer, Life & Death

There’s nothing funny about brain cancer. But Nora and her late husband laughed all the time during his treatment. No one wants to be just another sad story, and even the most tragic moments in life have an element of humor. In her talks around humor, grief and loss, Nora walks caretakers and healthcare providers through a more complex version of the patient experience, inviting audiences to laugh and cry alongside her, and reminds us of the humanity within the human body.

Better than Fine: How Honesty Can Bring Us Through the Loneliness of Tragedy

Why do we ask “how are you?” when we don’t want to know the real answer? And why do we always say “fine” even when the truth is that things are anything but fine? In her work as the host of the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking, Nora shares the universal truths that make loss and suffering less lonely. She invites audiences to consider a less isolating, more honest answer to the question “how are you?” An answer that builds empathy and connection within the most human of experiences: suffering.