Eric Utne and Jeri Reilly are passionate advocates for breaking through the stereotypes about older people and older age. Their goal is to help create awareness and excitement about the life stage between adulthood and advanced old age—a stage of life that is distinct and rich with possibilities for personal satisfaction and social transformation. They feel called to write this book, and they believe their collaboration, which brings both the female and male perspectives to their work, can help generate a cultural shift.
Both authors have been deeply involved in the major social and political movements of their times beginning with grassroots community work in the late 60s and 70s. They are continuing to research both classic and cutting-edge literature on aging, attending national conferences on aging and encore careers, and interviewing peers and professionals in the field. Their book will be grounded in solid research and written in accessible language with humor and seriousness, fact and story, and a critique of what is and an alternative vision of what can be.
Eric Utne is the founder of the eponymous Utne Reader. His name has been a New York Times crossword puzzle clue 40 times in the last 18 years. Journalist, publisher, public speaker, and entrepreneur, he is the founder or cofounder of three magazines, starting with East West Journal in the 60s, New Age Journal in the 70s, and Utne Reader in the 80s. He now writes a back page column for Utne Reader, teaches social entrepreneurship at the University of Minnesota, and serves as emeritus board member of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. For the last five years he has been working on a project about “Becoming an Elder,” including writing articles about the subject in Utne Reader and elsewhere, gathering and reading much of the relevant literature, bringing millennials and boomers together in Community Earth Councils, and traveling to conferences to meet many of the experts in the field. As a result, he’s now an established name in the fields of vital aging and intergenerational community building. His memoir is forthcoming from Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House.
Jeri Reilly is a former speechwriter and an award-winning essayist. Her work has been published by the Minnesota Senior Federation, the Minnesota Historical Society, Milkweed Editions, and in two anthologies of Irish history published in Ireland. She first began to explore the significance of the later stages of life after reading James Hillman’s The Force of Character and the Lasting Life. She holds a degree in history from the University of Minnesota.