Author • Writer • Former Reporter
2016 Speaker • 2017 Speaker • 2018 Speaker

San Francisco, CA

“After swearing six ways from Sunday never to sweat the blood necessary to write another book, my latest denial is scheduled for publication in 2018, to be followed, should I love so long, by a third that I divined years ago but dismissed then revisited. Decision-making is not my strong suit.” So declares Ellen Sweets, author and former reporter whose beat included topics from fires, fights and homicides to food writing. She began her career at her father's black weekly newspaper, the St. Louis American. She has reported for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Dallas Morning News, the Denver Post, the Austin American-Statesman, the Texas Observer, Edible Austin and Texas Co-Op Power.

Sweets’ honors include the James Beard Foundation Award for food writing. Her first book, Stirring It Up With Molly Ivins, detailed her 20-year friendship with the late political columnist—chronicling the unabashed civil libertarian's formidable cooking skills. Recipes from the Molly memoir ranged from saumon en papillote and clafouti aux cerises to chili and baked pork chops—all prepared with the same attention to detail that Molly devoted to skewering a political recalcitrant. Sweets detoured from journalism to serve as the executive director of the St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency, managing a multimillion dollar budget and a staff of 30 investigators devoted to tracking compliance with the city's minority hiring practices. From there she zigzagged again, to edit corporate publications for AT&T Bell Laboratories.