Gail Sheehy


A world-renowned author, journalist, and popular lecturer, Gail Sheehy has changed the way millions of women and men around the world look at the stages of their lives. In her 50 years as a writer she has interviewed thousands of women and men and written 17 books. Her earliest revolutionary book, Passages, was named by a Library of Congress survey one of the ten most influential books of our times. Passages remained on The New York Times Bestseller List for more than three years and has been reprinted in 28 languages. Five other books on the passages theme revisit the stages of adult life and illuminate for Understanding Men’s Passages, The Silent Passage (menopause); Sex and the Seasoned Women, and Passages in Caregiving.

Sheehy is also a journalist who has covered national and world leaders and broken many cultural taboos. She culminated a decade of following Hillary Clinton for Vanity Fair with the biography, Hillary’s Choice, exploring the personal ambitions and vulnerabilities that drive the world’s most public woman. She has written about the character and psychology of presidential candidates from Robert Kennedy to Barack Obama and world leaders from Margaret Thatcher to Saddam Hussein.

Here is what a New York Times book reviewer and Princeton professor Elaine Showalter wrote about the impact of Sheehy’s books:

In 1976, in her best seller Passages, the journalist Gail Sheehy invented a new way of thinking about the phases of adult life…[as] ‘a series of developmental stages and tasks, critical turning points along the life cycle when one’s opportunity for growth is also heightened‘ […] Women embraced Sheehy’s thinking and incorporated it into their expectations…. The New York Times June 7, 1998

Passing 70, she figured it was about time she turned the lens on herself: she had to write a memoir about her own passages. The book is called DARING: My Passages. It will be published in September 2014 by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. I hope it inspires young women to dream big, take risks, outlive the early failures, and build toward success with meaning and social purpose by midlife.