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School Visits, University Lectures, Professional Speaking


"I think the most important thing to understand about a visit from Amy King is not just moment when she is there in front of you, but the ripples she leaves behind. She has a way of making everyone feel seen, heard, loved that isn't easily forgotten."

—Kate McNair, Teen Services Coordinating Librarian, Johnson County Libraries, KS

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A.S. King has spoken about many subjects to many people of many ages in schools, libraries, and educational institutions around the world. She's pretty sure her mission on Earth is to empower people, whether it was her years teaching adults how to read or her message to high school students about their pasts, their futures, and their "personal suitcases."

These days, most of her school presentations center around positive connection with trusted adults, self-esteem, and facing trauma, all wrapped up in a discussion about how learning to write and communicate effectively is the most important life skill. But Amy can talk about anything, really. She has been a visual artist, a tradesperson, a literacy teacher and trainer, an MFA professor, a curriculum designer, library trustee and policy writer, youth activist, journalist, self-sufficient farmer, and has been trained in mental health first aid and trauma resilience, and has long been a compassionate speaker to school communities in crisis. 


Check out her menu of school and community presentations below. 

To request an in person or virtual speaking engagement, please contact Christie Hinrichs at Authors Unbound, by clicking below. 


School Presentations for All Ages

How to Write a Good Life: An Exploration of Your Personal Suitcase

A 40-60 minute high-energy school assembly or library program. Amy asks students to consider their past experiences and explains how to use them to positively shape their future and learn from mistakes rather than be defined by them. This is Amy's most popular "Who packs your suitcase?" presentation that has helped tens of thousands of students take control of who they allow in their decision-making space. Recommended for grades 8-12.


In this high-energy assembly program, Amy talks to students about the science of smartphone addiction, and how to shift phone usage from the endless scroll into something more creative and useful--art! With the rise of TikTok and other creative social media, the youth of today know the power of creativity--Amy aims to get them to think bigger into the world of visual art, film, music composition / performance, and writing available right there on their phones. Grades 6-12+

What Do Friendship and Pollution Have in Common?

Exploring Me and Marvin Gardens

A 30-45 assembly program about how friendships form, what a healthy one looks like, and how to best take care of people and places we love. The talk, followed with a hearty Q&A is perfect for a school or community that’s read Me and Marvin Gardens and wants to further explore the environmental science or the social science themes within the novel. Additional curriculum and school-wide activity guides available. Recommended for grades 3-7.

Your Voice Matters—What is Intellectual Freedom and Why Is It Important?

Exploring Attack of the Black Rectangles

A 40-50 minute assembly what intellectual freedom is and how we can protect it in times of political divisiveness. Amy talks about her experience as a library trustee facing book challenges, as an author dealing with book bans, and as a parent whose child’s book was censored. A non-partisan conversation about voting, reading, and what you can do if your freedom to read is targeted. Additional curriculum and school-wide activity guides available. Recommended for grades 3-8.

Short Intellectual Freedom Programs!

It doesn’t have to be Banned Books Week to get Amy into your classroom / library to talk to students about their freedom to read, banned books, why it’s important to VOTE, why intellectual freedom matters, and how to work inside your community to protect it. This program can be used as an add-on to a school visit.

How to Write a Novel in Three Easy Steps—An Exploration of Process

In this humorous, compassionate talk, Amy describes the writing process and what it takes to write a good novel. She also talks about WHY writers write. Do you have what it takes? This presentation can be for any age group and can be used as an add-on to a school visit.

University Incoming Freshman Reads

Amy's novel Dig. (among others) has been used at several universities as an incoming freshman read. The book deals with whiteness and privilege and helps incoming college students connect with a wider worldview and make new connections inside of themselves which help them move forward in their educations and lives in a more confident space.

Student Response: 

"I was in a . . . class that required me to [attend your event] about your book Dig, At the time I had no idea who you were, or anything about your writing. You lit a spark in me that day, . . . the way you spoke about issues in this country made me reflect on my values, you were the one to push me to do more research, to formulate my own opinions. Thanks to you I'm coming into my own. Your words impacted me a lot that day, you gave me hope that the world isn't totally full of hateful people, so thank you :)"

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Keynotes, Lectures, and Conference Events

Engaging Keynotes, Educational Panels, and Lectures

Amy is an experienced speaker, panelist, and workshop leader. She has spoken at national events including the National Book Festival, American Library Association's Annual Conference, National Council of Teachers of English, Assembly on Literature for Adolescents, many state library and ELA educator conferences, and literary festivals around the world. She also speaks to larger organizations in the field of mental health and runs professional development for teachers and other professionals.

She is known as a passionate, personal speaker who weaves her life experience into lectures that explore the wider implications of art, the artist's life, and who we are truly serving with our work.

See below for examples of Amy's programming for organizations, universities, and professional development.

Teen Literacy Is the Solution to Everything 

In these times of widespread violence, hate, and fear, we look to teenagers as harbingers of a brighter future. Teen literacy has always been important, but as fifteen generations of unresolved shame and dishonesty splits our nation into factions and leaves more than half of the adult population more pliable due to limited literacy skills, teen literacy is the only way out. The truth is the solution—but how do teens find it when so many adults pedal their own version?

We Are Mental 

In this 90 minute multi-media master class for educators, Amy talks about teaching students who have experienced trauma, self-care writing for educators, and how emotions and effective writing have always been tied to each other. This is a hands-on talk, and attendees will experience the "A.S. King Character Creation Wizard."

What is Art? And How Do We Make It? (And Once We Make It What Do We Do With It? And Once We Do Something With It, Where Do We Put It? And Once We Put It Somewhere, Will We Be Happy?)

A feel-good university lecture about how art and the business of publishing meet. (Or don’t meet.) And how to surf feelings of failure and success in our work while figuring our true place within our field. It’s also about why we write and why we write for children, finding inspiration and how to stay inspired, money, and happiness. And through all this, the lecture attempts to encourage writers to deepen their characters through inspired visits to art museums, a variety of food trucks, and of course, through their own personal trauma.


Life of an Author—Exciting Students & Writers Through Career Conversation

A one to two hour long discussion and Q&A about the life of a published author and publishing business. For writer’s groups and conferences, consider ‘Finding Your Writer’s Middle Finger: An examination of persistence, voice, and breaking traditional writing rules’ based on Amy’s popular blog series.

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Let A.S. King Write You a Speech Your Audience Will Remember

Amy is known for her inspiring, passionate speeches for special events, professional conferences, and celebrations. Her subject matter is wide and fine-tuned to your specifications. Her goal is to leave your audience in a warm, compassionate blanket of thought alongside an injection of inspiration and insight--all while discussing the adversity of your clients, students, or members head-on. 

"Art is pain made beautiful."—A.S. King

Do you want your audience to feel loved and seen?

Get Amy.

(And bring tissues.)

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"We have hosted Amy several times at my public library in suburban Kansas City. It is hard to paint these events with a broad brush as Amy is a master of lectures, workshops, and interviews for a variety of audiences. Each event is uniquely tailored for the moment and the audience, something you don't often see in speakers in my experience. No matter the format or the audience, Amy fosters a safe and creative space with her vulnerability, humility, and humor. She connects with students by being genuinely interested in their opinions, questions, and wellbeing. In large events and assemblies, Amy has a way of making everyone feel seen, as evidenced by the long line of teens who stay late while chairs are being stacked and lights turned out to share a private word with her. 

I think the most important thing to understand about a visit from Amy King is not just moment when she is there in front of you, but the ripples she leaves behind. She has a way of making everyone feel seen, heard, loved that isn't easily forgotten. To this day, at the mention of her name, teens, teachers, and librarians who were in the room are transported back to that moment. The memories make us laugh (and cry) but most of all they make us feel connected to something bigger than ourselves.

I cannot recommend her highly enough and look forward to having her back to Kansas City again soon."

—Kate McNair, Teen Services Coordinating Librarian, Johnson County Libraries, KS


What People Are Saying

"Amy's natural and honest bearing, fascinating biography, and her sheer love and respect for teenagers was evident and helped prompt the lively and intelligent questions."

—Leslie B. Patient, Dean of Student Life, Ranney School, NJ

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