Upcoming Schedule

Feb 24, Rotary Club of Richmond
Mar 5, St. Catherine’s School, Richmond, VA
June 5-7, 2015 BIO Conference, National Press Club, Washington, DC



Past Appearances

An inspirational speaker, Dean frequently addresses corporate, academic, educational, and book club audiences around the country about his research adventures in Africa, Europe, and China; about his toils and triumphs in unravelling history’s mysteries; and about the joy of writing. Dean is the chief storyteller in two History Channel documentaries, including Skeletons on the Sahara, a two-hour special documentary based on his book. He has participated in many interviews and frequently appeared on national print, radio, and television media. You can contact him through this website.


“Your program got exceptionally outstanding reviews.” —Virginia Festival of the Book

“People really responded to how thoughtful, enthusiastic and engaging you were. For those who might not have read the book I suspect they will be inspired to do so now, and I’ve had a couple of people tell me as much. I particularly appreciated your thumbnail sketch of Wang Quanyuan’s bio, which I thought was quite moving and went a long way toward explaining why these women’s stories needed to be told.” —Thomas Minnick, Thompson, Siegel & Walmsley, LLC

“Thank you for sharing your experiences in Africa and your experiences developing Skeletons on the Zahara with our students. They loved you! We had a long conversation yesterday about your presentation, and hands down,you were their favorite speaker—ever. For this I am very grateful.” —Mark Dozier, teacher, D. S. Freeman H. S. Center for Leadership, Government, and Global Studies



Speaking and Media Highlights

TEDxCharlottesville 2014

National Convention of State Supreme Court Chief Justices and Administrators, The Greenbrier, WV, 2014

ABC “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings”

BBC Radio 4, “Front Row”

National Public Radio, “Morning Edition”

National Public Radio, “Talk of the Nation” with Neil Conan

“Fishin’ Zone Radio Show” with Stephen Sloan/200 stations

Banff Mountain Book Festival 2010 Lecturer

20th James Branch Cabell Lecture, Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond. Junior League of Richmond 55th and 65th Book and Author (CNBC)
University, Charlotte, North Carolina.2nd annual TEDxCharlottesville, at the historic Paramount Theater

Christopher Newport University, Keynote Speaker

California Literary Society/Northern Trust, Invited Speaker, Seven City Tour

Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, Master’s Class Instructor

The Nelson Toast, Army and Navy Club, Washington, D.C

Society of the Four Arts,  Palm Beach, Florida

Virginia Commonwealth University, James Branch Cabell Lecturer

35th Queens University B&A, Beverly Clarke Author

Christopher Newport University Writers Conference keynote lecture

Longwood University Leadership Forum, 2014

University of Mary Washington, Chappell Great Lives Lecture, 2014

Mary Baldwin, International Cafe, 2012

The Collegiate School, Whitfield Lecturer, 2013

St. Christopher’s-St. Catherine’s Schools baccalaureate speaker, 2012

St. Mark’s School of Texas, Literary Festival, 2012



Dean at Christopher Newport University. (Photo courtesy of Terry Cox-Joseph)



Past Speaking Engagements, by State

Alabama: Emmet O’Neal Library, Birmingham. California: California Literary Society Invited Speaker: Rancho Santa Fe, La Jolla, Desert Communities, Newport Beach, Beverly Hills, Santa Barbara; San Francisco Maritime Museum, San Francisco Library, St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco; California Club Distinguished Speakers Series, Los Angeles; Huntington Library, Pasadena. Florida: Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach. Nevada: California Literary Society invited speaker: Las Vegas. Connecticut: Mark Twain House; Connecticut River Museum; Fairfield Library, Connecticut Historical Society; Trumbull Library; Mystic Seaport Museum. Georgia: Piedmont Driving Club, Atlanta. Illinois: University of Chicago Club, Chicago. Morning talk at Stateville Prison, Illinois. Luncheon at the Chicago Club. Evening lecture at the Adventurer’s Club of Chicago.

Dean with the Riley family at the Tennesssee Williams Literary Festival in New Orleans.

Louisiana: Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, New Orleans. Trumbull Library; Wethersfield Museum. Maryland: Maryland Club, Baltimore; North American Society for Oceanic History Conference, St. Michael’s. New York: New York Yacht Club; South Street Seaport Museum; Long Island University, C.W. Post, Hutton House Lecturer; The University Club; The Half King; Doane Stuart School, Albany. North Carolina: UNC-Chapel Hill, English Department. Charlotte Country Club’ Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Raleigh, United Arts Council Fundraiser. Ohio: Mercer County Historical Society. Rhode Island: Redwood Library and Athenaeum Patrick O’Brian Conference, Newport. Texas: Dallas Arts & Letters Live “Literary Cafe,” Dallas Petroleum Club; Bayou Club, Houston; St. Mark’s School of Texas, Literary Festival, Dallas.


Virginia: Granta Panel, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond; The Richmond Academy of Medicine; The Woman’s Club, Richmond; The Tuckahoe Women’s Club; The Colonial Dames, Richmond; J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College “Around the World through Books Series”; James River Writer’s Conference (2003-2011), Christopher Newport University Writers’ Conference, keynote speaker, 115th Annual Meeting of the Virginia Bar Association Author Reception; University of Richmond Osher Institute lecturer, Fishing Bay Yacht Club, Sweet Briar Book Club; The Virginia Festival of the Book; Library of Virginia (broadcast on C-SPAN Book TV); Mariners’ Museum Lecture Series, Newport News; Mary Baldwin College (International Cafe), Stanton; Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg; Longwood College, Farmville; Hanover Courthouse Book & Author Lunch; Diversity Book Club, Richmond; The Southern Women’s Showcase: Richmond Times-Dispatch Author Panel; Randolph Macon College; Rappahannock Community College Book & Author ; Richmond Rotary Club; River Road Presbyterian Church, Richmond; University of Richmond Book Club. Westminster Canterbury Forum, Richmond; Virginia Historical Society. Virginia Writer’s Club; Williamsburg Regional Library, Lit-Flick Series”; Chesapeake Writers Conference; Richmond Downtown Kiwanis Club. High schools: Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for Arts and Technology; D. S. Freeman High School Leadership Center, Henrico; St. Catherine’s School, St. Christopher’s School, The Collegiate School, Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School, Richmond.
Washington, DC: Army and Navy Club; The Asia Society at Sidwell Friends School. West Virginia: Tamarack, Beckley; The Greenbrier, White Sulfur Springs; Kanawha County Public Library and St. Albans Branch Library, Charleston. 
Calgary, Canada: Banff Mountain Book Festival.



Upcoming Schedule

One of the pleasures of writing books is connecting with people through the work. I really enjoy speaking and forming relationships with audiences in person. I usually show images from one or more of my research journeys in Africa, China and Appalachia. I try to be aspirational. The goal is to transport the audience and to get them thinking and dreaming.

Saharan Outhouse on the Move.