“Ellen Forney's presentation was powerful, engaging, and deeply personal.” – JoAnna Schilling, PhD, President, Cypress College

Ellen is a dynamic speaker who connects with audiences of a wide range of ages and interests. She speaks about mental health, bipolar, comics, memoir, and graphic medicine, and also offers a variety of comics workshops. To book or for more information, please email speaking @ellenforney.com

WATCH Ellen’s TED talk, "Finding balance in bipolar”

In her intensely personal, funny, and inspiring presentation, Understanding Bipolar Through Comics, Ellen Forney discusses her firsthand experience and creative work on struggling, coping, and thriving with bipolar disorder. Integrating images from her New York Times bestselling graphic memoir,  Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me, and its companion book,  Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice From My Bipolar Life, a manual for maintaining mental health, she offers company, encouragement, and coping tools that anyone, with or without a mental illness diagnosis, can use to stay on an even keel.

Ellen’s talks are often accompanied by a hands-on comics workshop. With years of experience as a comics instructor at Cornish College of the Arts, she leads participants through the fundamentals of telling personal stories in comics.

Ellen has given presentations at numerous universities, conferences, and other venues, including TEDxSeattle, Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, Dartmouth College, and University of Southern California; as keynote speaker at the Comics & Medicine Conference at Johns Hopkins, the John R. Milton Literary Festival, and “The Incredible Intensity of Just Being Human” conference and art exhibition; University of Washington, as part of the Health Sciences Schools’ choice of Marbles as their ‘Common Book’; “Composing Disability” Symposium at George Washington University, Women In Medicine Conference, Beijing International Literary Festival, San Diego Comic-Con, and many others.

To book or for more information, email speaking@ellenforney.com


“Ellen Forney's presentation was powerful, engaging, and deeply personal. In her talk, she shared her own journey with mental illness with refreshing honesty, humor, and authentic detail, leaving a strong impact on the students and staff who were fortunate to hear her.” – JoAnna Schilling, PhD, President, Cypress College

“Ellen Forney’s story is a compelling one and she delivers it with warmth and compassion. The audience - which included US House Rep Jim McDermott - was truly inspired by her talk.   For those who had no firsthand experience with bipolar disorder, she offered an in-depth introduction. For those who have struggled with mental illness themselves, she made them feel less isolated and that it is okay to speak out.” - Leonora Clarke, Manager of Service Learning, “Common Book” Program Organizer for the University of Washington Health Sciences schools

“It was such an honor and a pleasure to meet Ellen and attend her keynote talk and workshop. Students and faculty from across the disciplines found it an exciting and illuminating experience that greatly enhanced our John R. Milton Writers' Conference. As was evident from the productive conversations about mood disorders and the medium of comics that took place after Ellen’s visit, it was a truly beneficial experience for our entire campus community.” - Leah McCormack, PhD, MFA, Professor, University of South Dakota

“I went to one of Ellen’s workshops this fall at the University of South Dakota writers' conference. I did a version of that workshop with my students this spring, and it was an absolute hit. I saw sides of them that just don't come through in writing alone. It was a tremendous teaching tool - and more importantly, loads of fun.” – Marissa Kleinhans, Master Teacher of English, Northern State University

“It was wonderful to be able to hear the author's perspective and I appreciated that she had a presentation that went beyond what was contained within the book alone. I learned a lot about storytelling as a form of understanding and building empathy, which is something I hope to continue to engage with in my career.” – Miranda Delawalla, University of Washington Master of Public Health student

To book or for more information, email speaking@ellenforney.com