Cody Keenan


Cody has written with President Barack Obama since 2007, working his way up from deputy pirate to chief speechwriter. He’s been named the “Springsteen” of the Obama White House, even though he can’t play an instrument, and Obama calls him “Hemingway” for reasons that have little to do with his talent or seasonal beard (ask him sometime). Even British GQ got in on the action, naming Cody one of the “35 Coolest Men under 38 (and a Half),” ahead of Ryan Gosling, but behind Tom Hardy. 

In truth, Cody is more comfortable behind the scenes, shaping the stories of our time—whether moments of national tragedy or expansions of civil rights. He served as a young aide to the legendary senator Edward M. Kennedy. Cody holds a master’s degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. from Northwestern University, where he now teaches a popular course on speechwriting. His own commencement addresses at NYU in 2015 and Northwestern in 2018 were highlighted as some of the year’s best.

Born in Wrigleyville, Cody finally got to write his dream speech just four days before Obama left office—one welcoming the World Champion Chicago Cubs to the White House. To his wife Kristen’s enduring embarrassment, their White House courtship was documented on CNN. Today, they live in New York’s West Village, where they just had their first child. 

Cody’s first book, Grace was published in October 2022 and instantly became a New York Times bestseller.