outdoor headshot of adrienne with her arms flexed
Photo by Anjali Pinto


adrienne maree brown grows healing ideas in public. Through her writing, which includes short- and long-form fiction, nonfiction, spells, tarot decks and poetry; her music, which includes songwriting, singing and immersive musical rituals; and her podcasts, including How to Survive the End of the World, Octavia’s Parables and The Emergent Strategy Podcast, adrienne has nurtured Emergent Strategy, Pleasure Activism, Radical Imagination and Transformative Justice as ideas, frameworks, networks and practices for transformation. Her work is informed by 25 years of social and environmental justice facilitation primarily supporting Black liberation, her path of teaching somatics, her love of Octavia E Butler and visionary fiction, and her work as a doula. She is the author/editor of several published texts including Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds (2017), Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good (2019), and Grievers (2021) and Maroons (2023) the first two novellas of her speculative fiction trilogy. After a multinational childhood, adrienne lived in New York, Oakland and Detroit before landing in her current home of Durham, NC.

Books & Projects

adrienne is the author of Fables and Spells: Collected and New Short Fiction and Poetry, The Journal of Radical Permission with Sonya Renee Taylor, (Berrett Koehler, 2022), Grievers (the first novella in her fiction trilogy for the Black Dawn imprint at AK Press), Maroons, Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation, We Will Not Cancel Us and Other Dreams of Transformative Justice, the NY Times Bestseller Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, the movement classic Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds published by AK Press in 2017. She is also the co-editor of the anthology Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements with Walidah Imarisha, published by AK Press in 2015, and co-editor of the out of print How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office. She collaborated to put up To Feel A Thing: A Ritual for Emergence (a musical ritual co-commissioned by OSF-Ashland and St Louis Rep Theater) at Hollandfest 2023.

Her upcoming projects include Loving Corrections (pre-order from AK Press, August 2025), Ancestors (book 3 of the Grievers trilogy, Spring 2025) and  She is on the team of the Lineages of ChangeTarot Deck (AK Press, 2023) along with 16 Black oracles and artists weaving Butler and other Black feminist teachers’ wisdoms into the ancient knowledge of the tarot.


adrienne was awarded the Auburn Institute’s Spiritual Resilience Fellowship in its inaugural year, 2019-2020. In 2022 she was awarded the Jack P Blaney Award for Dialogue from the Simon Frasier University Center for Dialogue and the Barry Dym Champion for Change Award from the Institute for Nonprofit Practice. She attended the Clarion Sci Fi Writers Workshop and the Hedgebrook Writers Residency in 2015, and Voices of Our Nation in 2014 as part of the inaugural Speculative Fiction Workshop. She was a 2013 Kresge Literary Arts Fellow and a 2013 and 2015 Knights Arts Challenge winner, writing and generating science fiction in and about Detroit. She was the Ursula Le Guin Feminist Sci Fi Fellow, and a Sundance/Time Warner 2016 Artist Grant Recipient.

Learning Community

adrienne studied with generative somatics Teacher Training for a decade to deepen her healing, embodiment, doula and facilitation work. She is part of the Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity extended team, at the intersection of political education, community organizing, somatics and black love. She is a graduate of the Somatics and Social Justice Cohort, Somatics and Trauma year-long, Rockwood’s Art of Leadership year-long training, and Robert Gass’s Art of Change year-long training, where she learned and developed models for action, community strength, movement building and transformation.

Work History

adrienne was the facilitator of the founding year of the Detroit Narrative Agency (DNA), supporting Detroiters to shift the narratives of the city towards justice and liberation. She has facilitated the internal healing and visionary development of organizations throughout the movement (most recently BYP100, Movement for Black Lives, the Rising Majority and Black Lives Matter. She has also worked with Building Equity and Alignment for Impact Initiative, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Chorus Foundation, Correctional Association of NY, Young Women United, Positive Women’s Network, Black Mesa Water Coalition, INCITE!, the Young Women’s Empowerment Project in Chicago, New Orleans Parents Organizing Network, ColorofChange.org and Detroit Summer). adrienne was a co-facilitator for the Detroit Food Justice Task Force, facilitator for Detroit Future, and the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, as well as part of the faculty for the Center for Whole Communities. She partnered with Engage to facilitate a year-long Community of Practice on Networks and Decentralizing Leadership, 2011-2012. She was the executive director of The Ruckus Society from 2006-2010, and sat on their board through 2012. She was also a National Co-Coordinator for the 2010 US Social Forum. Though she no longer does board work, adrienne is proud to have spent time on social justice organization boards including The Ruckus Society, Allied Media Projects, Third Wave Foundation, and Common Fire, as well as many others. adrienne began her work life at the Harm Reduction Coalition, and was a co-founder of the League of Pissed Off/Young Voters (and co-editor of How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office). 

formative spaces

Harm Reduction Coalition

adrienne’s first social justice job was as the Training Coordinator at the Harm Reduction Coalition, where she learned principles of non-judgment and self-determination that have shaped her entire life.

The Ruckus Society

The Ruckus Society trains organizers and communities in nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience, supporting movements for climate justice, indigenous sovereignty, Black life and global liberation struggles. adrienne was thrilled to be a part of their organizational leadership in a period of immense transition.

generative somatics

Somatics is the study of the body in its wholeness, with an orientation towards healing from trauma towards an integrated, centered life. generative somatics approaches this deep work through a lens of social justice and collective vision. amb was a student and teacher with generative somatics for a decade of scholarship and development.

Allied Media Projects

Allied Media Projects cultivates media for liberation, and has been a space of immense experimentation and learning and community for adrienne during the development of emergent strategy, pleasure activism and radical imagination.

Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity

BOLD is a space for somatics, political development and organizing training for Black organizers looking to transform the conditions of our people worldwide.


In the lead up to the US Social Forum in Detroit in 2010, adrienne fell in love with Detroit, and moved there for twelve years of life scholarship, emergent strategy, learning how to make a way out of no way, and mentorship by elders who offered prophetic wisdom, including Grace Lee Boggs. adrienne came of age in NYC in the 90s-00s, got wowed by Oakland for a few years, but really understood the role of movement shifting and cultural organizing from her time in Detroit. Now she has migrated south to the land of her ancestors for her next stage of learning.

stylized gemstone

“We must transform ourselves to transform the world.”

—Grace Lee Boggs

select appearances

No One Can Mess With adrienne maree brown’s Sense of Self

Stylelikeu Interview. JUNE 18, 2022

Interview with sonya shah On Pleasure Activism

CIIS Public Programs. February 12, 2021

Pleasure Activism

The Laura Flanders Show. May 13, 2019

How to Support Harm Doers in Being Accountable

Barnard Center for Research on Women, October 10, 2019