Happy Birthday, Anne Lamott!

“Can we skip the introduction?” is how writer Anne Lamott begins her conversation at the 2024 Writer’s Symposium by the Sea. “We’ve already lost a lot of time. We’re losing more second by second.” Time might have been on her mind, given that she turned 70 just days before her fourth appearance at the Writer’s Symposium.

New York Times bestselling author Anne Lamott recently celebrated this milestone birthday, and her wit and humor quickly shone through. “I really think they know who I am,” she quipped, prompting cheers from the audience. Lamott’s most famous book is probably “Bird by Bird,” and when host Dean Nelson mentioned that she’d been quoted on the TV show Ted Lasso, she had a surprising response: “I was watching Orange is the New Black and there was this very intense, scary Russian cook…and she read…from ‘Bird by Bird.’ I couldn’t process it at first because I thought it sounded so familiar. Then little by little, I realized it, and that was so cool.”

In this funny and spirited conversation, Lamott discusses grief, addiction, hope, faith, and love. Reflecting on grief, she shared, “Grief is like the it girl. My first book was about the loss of my father to brain cancer when I was 25, and the book came out when I was 26. I’ve been writing about it for a long time because I actually think that the reason people and countries and families are so troubled and scared and screwed up is because we were never allowed to do grief.”

Stick around to the end of the interview, and you’ll hear the audience sing “Happy Birthday” to their beloved author.

Watch A Conversation with Anne Lamott to hear more from this inspiring author.