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"A heartfelt, personal story of the gradual awakening of a woman who comes to see that preferring the 'human to the perfect' does not alienate her from authentic spirituality but allows her to live more fully."

Kathleen Norris,
author of The Cloister Walk

Past Appearances

A Room of Her Own Foundation Retreats: Mary Johnson is Creative Director of AROHO Retreats, held at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM. Since 2003, Johnson has taught extensively during these biannual, week-long retreats, together with writers including Marilynne Robinson, Leslie Marmon Silko, Joy Harjo, Rita Dove, Kate Gale, Breena Clarke, Bhanu Kapil, Lesley Hazleton, Meredith Hall, Denise Chavez, Kim Addonizio, Dana Levin, and many others.  Video available.


Mary presented Mother Teresa and Rome: A Love Story to the Italian Club at Boston College, Oct. 23, 2014.

Mary moderated a poetry reading at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica, Oct. 14, 2014. The evening featured readings by three winners of AROHO's To the Lighthouse Prize:Genevieve Kaplan, Jessica Piazza, and Leia Penina Wilson.

Mary returned to the Hobart Festival of Women Writers September 5-7, 2014 and presented a workshop on Memoir Writing.

Mary lead the Spring Celebration the Humanist Hub at Harvard on April 20, 2014.

Mary spoke to The Psychology Club at Ohlone College February 21, 2014.

Mary was pleased to be invited to the opening of the Humanist Hub at Harvard on December 8, 2013, and joined in offering a toast at the end of the day.

Mary gave the homily to the inaugural gathering of The Sunday Assembly of Greater Boston November 5, 2013

"Writing Inconvenient Truths" presentation to the Monadnock Writers Group in Peterborough, NH, September 21, 2013

Featured speaker and workshop presenter at the 2013 Festival of Women Writers at Hobart Book Village in Hobart, New York, September 6-8, 2013

Many Women, Many Voices Writing Retreat: At the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia, co-sponsored by the Philadelphia Writing Project and the A Room of Her Own Foundation, May 11, 2013

Frederick, MD: I enjoyed a visit at the Spring Ridge Visitor's Center, May 6, 2013. The local paper had a nice article.

Groton Reads and Writes 2013: Joined the participants for the closing session of this annual event, we talked about Sharing Stories, April 10, 2013

NH Writer's Day, April 6, 2013: Presented a workshop called Life's Million Pieces: Constructing a Faithful Narrative for Your Memoir

Red Hen Press New York Reading Series at Cornelia Street Cafe: March 21, 2013

San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, March 11, 2013: Writers on Writing, presented courtesy of Prof. Camille Dungy

AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Convention, Boston, March 6-9, 2013. Two panels: Religion and Stories: Heretics and Humanists Shift the Perspective and I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (about developing a writing community).

University of Wisconsin Continuing Education, Madison, WI, November 11, 2012: Writing Life Stories, co-taught with Bridget Birdsall

Carnegie-Stout Library, Dubuque, IA, November 9, 2012: Slide Show, Reading, Q&A

Featured Speaker at the Wisconsin Book Festival, Capitol Theater, Madison, WI, November 8, 2012: Losing Mother Teresa, Finding Myself

Keynote speaker, AROHO Day Conference for Women Writers, Austin, TX, October 6, 2012: “Facing Our Fears as Women Writers”

“Following, then Leaving, Mother Teresa,” New England College, Henniker, NH, September 26, 2012: Presentation, Q&A, book-signing, reception

An Ethic of Love Panel, Humanist Community at Harvard, Cambridge, MA, September 9, 2012: Kick off panel for the Harvard Humanist Community's 2012-2013 Speaker Series, with panelists Greg Epstein, Mary Johnson, Meredith Goldstein, Michael DeDora, and Tom Matlack. Video available 

Nia Studio Event, Albany, NY, April 29, 2012: “Mary Johnson on Finding Inner Freedom.” Reading, discussion, book sales and signing

Tables of Content Fundraiser, Rutland Free Library, Rutland, VT, April 28, 2012: Cocktails and dinner with New England authors 

“Following, then Leaving, Mother Teresa,” Nashua Public Library, Nashua, NH, April 12, 2012:  Reading, Q&A, signing, reception

New Hampshire Writers Project, Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, NH, March 31, 2012: “Writing through our Fears” 

Spring 2012 Authors Series, Mount Mary College, Milwaukee, WI, March 27, 2012: Reading and Q&A

Tucson Festival of Books, Tucson, AZ, March 10, 2012: “Sex, Saints, and Sinners:  Two Incredible Stories” Panel with Donna Johnson, author of Holy Ghost Girl

Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, Tucson, AZ, March 8, 2012: Evening reading and discussion, reception

Local Authors’ Night, Nashua Public Library, Nashua, NH, February 23, 2012: Featured Presenter

Benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Portland, ME, February 17, 2012: Reading and Discussion. NBC television interview preceding event

Address to Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard, Cambridge, MA, January 29, 2012: Secular Sermon. Covered by The Harvard Crimson

Goddard College, Plainfield, VT, January 10-11, 2012: Visiting Alumna Writer. Master Class: “Writing Beyond the Senses: Finding Words for the Transcendent.” Panel on Transforming Personal Experience to Public Memoir, Video available. Evening reading, with Q&A and reception

Incubator 145 Salon Series, Boston, MA, November 13, 2011: Master Class and Creative Session

Lamar University, Beaumont, TX, October 24-25, 2011: Address to combined Creative Writing classes: “The Writing Life.” Address to Sociology of Religion class (relocated to an auditorium due to public interest): “Commitment Mechanisms and the Missionaries of Charity.” Evening reading, with Q&A and reception. Covered by The Cardinal Cadence

Texas Book Festival, Austin, TX, October 22, 2011: Discussion moderated by Robert Faires, arts editor for The Austin Chronicle. Covered by The Austin Statesman Columbia County Arts Walk, Hudson Opera House, Hudson, NY, October 9, 2011: Reading with Dara Lurie, discussion. WGXC audio available

Brooklyn Museum Elizabeth Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn, NY, September 25, 2011: Slides, reading, discussion moderated by feminist historian Debra L. Schultz. Video available

New Hampshire Writers Project, Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, NH, March 5, 2011: “Writing Beyond Your Senses”

Pendle Hill Conference Center, Wallingford, PA, February 18-21, 2011: “Freedom to Write” Workshop 

Women & Creativity Conference, National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, NM, March 6-7, 2010: “Wild Nights” Writing Workshop, “Writing it Bare: Shedding Fear in A Room of Your Own” 

Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference, Chicago, IL, February 12, 2009: “Show Me the Money” Panel with Mary Johnson, Mira Bartok, Meredith Hall, Summer Wood

MacDowell Downtown Presentation, Peterborough Historical Society, March 8, 2008: “An Unquenchable Thirst: A Work in Progress”

Readings: Mary Johnson has read from An Unquenchable Thirst at the following bookstores and other venues: 

  • Vroman's, Pasadena, CA: March 16, 2013
  • Collected Works, Santa Fe, NM: March 15, 2013
  • Las Placitas Community Library, Placitas, NM: March 15, 2013
  • Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM: March 14, 2013
  • Changing Hands, Tempe, NM: March 13, 2013
  • Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA: March 12, 2013
  • Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA: March 10, 2013
  • Bookwoman, Austin,TX: October 6, 2012
  • Open Studio, Groton, MA: May 20, 2012
  • Nia Yoga Studio, Albany, NY: April 30, 2012
  • The Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH: November 12, 2011
  • Bikram Yoga Studio, Nashua, NH: November 5, 2011
  • Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT: October 7, 2011
  • Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, NH, with Lou Ureneck: September 29, 2011
  • Designwares, Nashua, NH: September 27, 2011
  • The Toadstool Bookshop, Peterborough, NH: September 24, 2011
  • RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, NH, September 22, 2011
  • Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, NH, September 21, 2011


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