Speaking topics

Regional history and writing topics

David has given talks on historical and writing topics at Fort McHenry, St. Mary’s College, Opsail, the Baltimore Book Festival, the Chesapeake Folk Festival, the Chestertown Book Festival, libraries and community groups. Please contact him at david@davidhealey.net if you would be interested in having him as a speaker.

You may also use the contact form here.

Speaking Topics

Echoes of World War II. The WWII era had a huge impact on the Maryland and Delaware region, with thousands of young men and women suddenly finding themselves in uniform to serve our country. Closer to home, the war prompted production of tanks and munitions, the construction of a massive Navy base, guards at Turkey Point lighthouse, German POWs working the farm fields, and rumors of Uboats just off the coast. This talk explores the many WWII stories and memories that still echo down the years.

Heroes & Villains of 1812. This talk offers an overview of the War of 1812 in the northern Chesapeake Bay, with a special focus on the personalities of the conflict, including Kitty Knight, Joshua Barney, John O’Neill and Admiral Cockburn.

Delmarva Legends & Lore. Did you know about the Marylander who fought a fatal duel with Andrew Jackson? Or how shipwrecked explorers on Assateague Island resorted to cannabilism? This talk offers a look at the sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic history of the Delmarva Peninsula—the land between the bays.

Civil War Legends & Lore. Maryland was a region of divided loyalties during the Civil War era, which gave rise to spies, bitter politics and desperate actions. Learn about the Maryland woman who was Lincoln’s secret cabinet member, the slavecatcher who almost got the war off to an early start, and enduring legends such as the “caveman of the Civil War.”

Great Storms of the Chesapeake. In the last four centuries, the Chesapeake Bay region has experienced legendary hurricanes, gales, blizzards, fogs and freezes. Learn the stories behind this stormy weather and how it forever changed the lives of Marylanders and in some cases, changed the course of history.

First Lines: Getting Started with Your Creative Writing Project. Sometimes you want to start writing a novel, short story or memoir, but don’t know where to begin or what to do with your completed manuscript. This motivational talk and workshop introduces writers to techniques to get them started writing, and offers tips on the publishing process from finding an agent to creating an ebook.

1812 in the Maryland Imagination. Part history program, part creative writing program, participants will learn about this war that inspired the writing of “The Star Spangled Banner” and become “time travelers” through their own writing to get in touch with the people and events of two centuries ago.

Keepers of the Light. There’s a great deal of romance associated with operating a Chesapeake Bay lighthouse, but the lightkeepers of the 19th and early 20th centuries faced a variety of challenges ranging from storms to Confederate raiders to boredom. This program highlights some of the anecdotes of Chesapeake Bay lightkeepers, including the stories of Fannie Mae Salter at Turkey Point Light and of John O’Neill, whose defense of Havre de Grace against British attackers gained generations of his family a job keeping the light on.

Writers on the Chesapeake. The Chesapeake Bay has inspired more than its share of stories, from George Alfred Townsend’s “Tales of the Chesapeake” to Edna Ferber’s “Showboat” to James Michener’s 1978 bestselling “Chesapeake.” This talk touches on the writers who have called the Chesapeake Bay region their home, and the enduring stories they have told about the area.

Your Story, Your Times. For anyone who has been thinking about starting a memoir or just writing down some of their experiences growing up to share with children and grandchildren, this program will help you get started with writing exercises and an overview of the memoir process. This is a great program for writing groups or seniors looking to share their memories.

Previous speaking engagements:

ThrillerFest 2015 & 2016 Panelist, New York City

International Thriller Writers Online Panelist

OpSail 2012 Norfolk, Va.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Chaney Visiting Scholar in American History, Spring 2011

Harford County Public Library

Cecil County Public Library

Kent County Public Library

Downrigging Weekend

Lions Clubs

Cecil County Retired Classroom Teachers Association

Cecilton Seniors

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Fort McHenry National Military Park

Chestertown History Day

Chestertown Book Festival

Historical Society of Cecil County, Md.

Historical Society of Talbot County, Md.

Historical Society of Kent County, Md.

Sons of Confederate Veterans

Cecil College

Washington College

Baltimore Book Festival

Civil War Expo

Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, Havre de Grace, Md.

Elk River Yacht Club



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