Press ReleasesThoughts & Things

Welcome to Dragon Talk Is a Love-Letter to People Who Play D&D

D&D podcast hosts Shelly Mazzanoble and Greg Tito shine a spotlight on the D&D community in their new book

Each week for the past seven years, Dragon Talk hosts Greg Tito and Shelly Mazzanoble have sat down with D&D fans and creators to share their love of the World’s Greatest Roleplaying Game. Turns out, D&D aficionados come from all walks of life and backgrounds: game designers, actors, streamers, screenplay writers, psychologists, teachers, map- and merry-makers, cosplayers, and cosmographers. Each guest has found inspiration, creative freedom, and, in some cases, identity and community all from their experiences playing Dungeons & Dragons. Welcome to Dragon Talk: Inspiring Conversations about Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Love to Play It (University of Iowa Press, December 22) is a collection of essays penned by Greg and Shelly delving into interviews that personally impacted and inspired them.

Writing this book reinforced what I love about working on the D&D team,” said co-author Shelly Mazzanoble, Senior Brand Manager for D&D. “Not only do we get to sit down weekly with some of the most talented, passionate, and prolific creators, we get to work every day on this incredible, iconic game that has been such a positive force in the lives of its players and fans. I’m grateful to be a part of this amazing community.”

In the book, Shelly and Greg share their personal connection to the game, along with a brief history of the D&D community and the authors’ role within it as hosts of Dragon Talk. Then the spotlight shifts to select guests the podcast has interviewed in the last decade or so through essays that display the breadth and diversity of the people who call themselves fans.

People who play Dungeons & Dragons have a special quality to them,” said Greg Tito, who is also the Senior Communications Manager for D&D and the author of this press release. “Stepping into the role of a crafty wizard, a brave paladin leader, or an anthropomorphic artificer around a table with your friends allows you all to shape a shared narrative. And though D&D players are having fun in an imaginary world, real social memories are made, and empathy is engaged.

Welcome to Dragon Talk is the perfect gift for a D&D fan in your life to give them an insight into the inner workings of the D&D brand they won’t read anywhere else. It’s also a fantastic guide for those looking to get into the vibrant, creative community, or those just curious about how and why the fandom has grown to include so many entertainers and storytellers from Hollywood and Broadway to Twitch and YouTube.

Preorder Welcome to Dragon Talk now from the University of Iowa Press, online retailers, and your local bookstore. The official publication date is December 5, 2022, but fans might receive it early if they order now. The unabridged audio edition of Welcome to Dragon Talk, read by Greg and Shelly, will be available everywhere you can download ebooks, including Amazon, Audible, Spotify, audiobooks.com, iTunes, Google Play, Kobo, and OverDrive.

Advanced praise for Welcome to Dragon Talk:

Shelly and Greg are the Regis and Kathie Lee of Dungeons & Dragons (or Kelly and Ryan, for the younger generation). They’ve been hard at work collecting the backstories of all the game’s biggest names from long before its modern renaissance, and this book is a fun and heartfelt peek behind the curtain at the game’s current champions and eccentric personalities.” — Joe Manganiello, actor, writer, producer, D&D collaborator, and disciple of Tiamat

From education to interpersonal growth to creating lasting friendships and more, the many uplifting values of D&D are recounted wonderfully by Shelly and Greg, who have grown with the game and with their many Dragon Talk interviews. This is a truly enjoyable, uplifting, and educational read . . . just like playing D&D!” — R. A. Salvatore, author, of Glacier’s Edge

Greg and Shelly know that a game is only as good as its gamers. Through Dragon Talk, they’ve been able to boost voices and raise awareness of how creative and inventive the Dungeons & Dragons community can be. Always engaging and entertaining, Dragon Talk is at the forefront of what D&D is right now and hopefully will be far into the future, and Welcome to Dragon Talk is a gladly received addition.” — Jim Zub, comic writer, Avengers, Conan the Barbarian, Dungeons & Dragons

Welcome to Dragon Talk highlights the fascinating history of Dungeons & Dragons and the multitude of ways it continues to impact the cultural zeitgeist. Mazzanoble and Tito have expertly crafted this book of essays . . . bring[ing] a fascinating examination of the game—part historical survey, part airing of skeletons, part cheerleader. This book will appeal to many different audiences and is accessible for those who have never played and want to learn why people love to talk about D&D.” — Booklist


Welcome to Dragon Talk: Inspiring Conversations about Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Love to Play It