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Terry  McMillan

Terry McMillan

Best-Selling Author

Terry McMillan

Best-Selling Author


One of America’s most beloved and critically-acclaimed authors, Terry McMillan became the empowering voice of a generation of women with her New York Times #1 bestsellers Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Known for “irreverent, pitch perfect tales of women’s lives,” McMillan’s seven bestsellers are rich in fearless wisdom, heart-touching characters and unforgettable stories of friendships, healing, intergenerational bonds and women saving their own lives. A passionate champion of growing older by looking joyously forward, McMillan boldly rejects the concept of “mid-life crisis.” Instead, she evangelizes that anyone, at any age, can “change lanes” to reinvent themselves, overcome obstacles, get out of ruts and pursue postponed dreams. As a speaker, artist and woman of hard-won wisdom, McMillan challenges us to tap into our passions, defeat our demons, take care of our whole selves, and never, ever take happiness for granted.

McMillan’s newest novel, It’s Not All Downhill from Here, will be published in March of 2020. The novel focuses on a group of women who went to high school together, but later went down different paths. However, after a loss, they reunited. McMillan illustrates the many challenges these women face and how they pull themselves up through the power of friendship and forgiveness.

McMillan first encountered the power of words, storytelling and the works of James Baldwin while shelving books as a public library page at the age of 14. She became the first in her family to attend college, earning degrees from UC Berkeley and Columbia University. As an aspiring writer and single mother in New York City, McMillan started her days before dawn, writing as much as she could before it was time to get the baby ready and take the train to work. She edited on the subway and rewrote during her lunch break, editing again on the ride home. McMillan’s hard work and commitment paid off. Her first novel, Mama, received critical acclaim, including an American Book Award. Her second novel, Disappearing Acts, immediately sold more than two million copies. McMillan wrote Waiting to Exhale during her tenure as a professor at University of Arizona. The hardcover release spent more than 38 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list and became a Grammy and MTV Movie Award-winning blockbuster. Her next #1 bestseller, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, was also turned into a hit major motion picture. McMillan’s next book, A Day Late and a Dollar Short debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List. Her body of work includes the bestsellers The Interruption of Everything, Getting to Happy, and Who Asked You? Her latest book, I Almost Forgot About You is the inspiring story of a woman who shakes things up in her life to find greater meaning—personifying the author’s empowering messages about reinvention at any age. In all, McMillan’s books have sold millions of copies worldwide. Four have been made into major motion pictures and made-for TV movies. McMillan is an Essence Lifetime Achievement Award winner, a featured guest in Oprah’s Life Class and has appeared on shows ranging from The View and Tavis Smiley to The Daily Show.

As a speaker, McMillan dives into the many themes of her books and shares her own personal journey through challenges, relationships, addiction and health issues. With signature sass and disarming authenticity, she connects to audiences through powerful storytelling and a constant credo: It’s never too late to become the person that you want to be.

Speaker Videos

It’s Not All Downhill from Here

Take a Risk on Yourself

Literature can Change Lives

Hoping for the day when Labels don't Exist

Put Your Heart Into Your Writing

Terry McMillan Speaks About New Book: 'Getting To Happy'

UNF MLK Scholarship Luncheon

Speech Topics

It’s Not All Downhill From Here: Change at Any Age

Terry McMillan’s latest novel, It’s Not All Downhill From Here, addresses that challenging moment in life when you feel like giving up and resigning yourself to thinking your best days might just be behind you. Even the strongest amongst us, like McMillan’s protagonist Loretha Curry, struggle with aging, tragedy and change – worst of all, when they all seem to happen around the same time. Drawing on the voices of diverse and powerful women, McMillan weaves together a compelling story of strength and joy in the face of later-in-life challenges, proving that personal empowerment and loving support can see us through the darkest of days into a brighter future than ever imagined. Sure to resonate with anyone who has faced a crossroads in life, this moving talk draws on Loretha’s inspiring journey to show that it is never too late to become who you want to be, that family is worth fighting for and that our best days are yet to come!

The Mother of Re-invention: An Evening with Terry McMillan

Aging with Passion: It’s Not All Downhill from Here

Reinventing Yourself at Any Age

Owning Your Journey to Better Health

Overcoming Addiction: A Writer’s Reflections