Charles Monroe-Kane is a natural raconteur, and boy, does he have stories to tell. Born into an eccentric Ohio clan of modern hunter-gatherers, he grew up hearing voices in his head. Over a dizzying two decades, he was many things—teenage faith healer, world traveler, smuggler, liberation theologian, ladder-maker, squatter, halibut hanger, grifter, environmental warrior, and circus manager—all the while wrestling with schizophrenia and self-medication. 

From Baby Doc’s Haiti to the Czech Velvet Revolution, and from sex, drugs, and a stabbing to public humiliation by the leader of the free world, Charles burnt through his twenties and several bridges of youthful idealism before finally saying: enough. And it's all detailed in his memoir, Lithium Jesus.

Charles is a Peabody award-winning journalist with over 18 years of on-air radio experience. Charles has been podcasting, editing, producing, and interviewing for the national show on public radio, "To the Best of Our Knowledge," for 15 years. In addition to radio, he hosted Wisconsin Pubic Television's Director's Cut for 5 years. 

Charles believes in journalism through interviews, reporter pieces, nature guides, garden gnomes, storytelling, essays, poetry, and fiction.

​ He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Speech topics

Finding Your True Narrative

Before he graduated high school, Charles Monroe-Kane was a faith healer in places like China, the Philippines and Haiti. After earning a degree at a Christian college, Charles, as he puts it, "broke up with God." Soon after, he moved to Europe and got caught up in a life of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll, while also launching a record label, running a circus, smuggling money for the Italian mob—all while wrestling with being bipolar. Charles says it took more than two decades to be able to tell his story right. Why? Because we often lie about our past—and not just to make ourselves look like heroes in the bar as we relive our glory days. More often than not we turn ourselves into the self-deprecating goat. Neither version allows us to be our true selves. Monroe-Kane has lessons to share about embracing our contradictions, clinging to hopeless romanticism and ‘paying it forward’ to find a more authentic life.


• How to embrace our contradictions and reconcile with our past selves

• Letting hopeless romanticism liberate you from a cynical world

• How to be a ‘grey hero’ in a black-and-white world

Charles Monroe-Kane is a master storyteller with a hard edge but a big heart who blends engaging charm with unflinching frankness. Charles will be the voice in your head saying, “Do more, be more, live more. And fear less.


Lithium Jesus: A Memoir of Mania 

In a memoir that blends engaging charm with unflinching frankness, Monroe-Kane gives his testimony of mental illness, drug abuse, faith, and love.

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