Rebecca Skloot is an award winning science writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; Prevention; Glamour; and many other publications. She specializes in narrative science writing and has explored a wide range of topics, including goldfish surgery, tissue ownership rights, race and medicine, food politics, and packs of wild dogs in Manhattan. She has worked as a correspondent for WNYC’s Radiolab and PBS’s Nova ScienceNOW. She and her father, Floyd Skloot, are co-editors of The Best American Science Writing 2011.

rebeccaShe has worked as a correspondent for NPR’s Radiolab and PBS’s NOVA science NOW, and is a contributing editor at Popular Science magazine and guest editor of The Best American Science Writing 2011. Her work has been anthologized in several collections, including The Best Creative Nonfiction. She is a former vice president of the National Book Critics Circle, and has taught creative nonfiction and science journalism at the University of Memphis, the University of Pittsburgh, and New York University.

Skloot is the founder and president of The Henrietta Lacks Foundation, which has been featured in the New York Times. She has a B.S. in biological sciences and an MFA in creative nonfiction. She financed her degrees by working in emergency rooms, neurology labs, veterinary morgues and martini bars. She has taught creative writing and science journalism at the University of Memphis, the University of Pittsburgh, and New York University. She currently gives talks on subjects ranging from bioethics to book proposals at conferences and universities nationwide.

Skloot lives in Chicago but she regularly abandons city life to write in the hills of West Virginia, where she tends to find stray animals and bring them home. She is also an avid knitter, a family tradition passed on from her mother, Betsy McCarthy, a professional knitter whose story was recently featured on Your Life Calling With Jane Pauley.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Skloot’s debut book, took more than a decade to research and write, and instantly became a New York Times best-seller. She has been featured on numerous television shows, including CBS Sunday Morning, The Colbert Report, Fox Business News, and others, and was named One of Five Surprising Leaders of 2010 by the Washington Post. The Immortal Life was chosen as a best book of 2010 by more than 60 media outlets, including Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, O the Oprah Magazine, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, People Magazine, New York Times, and U.S. News and World Report; it was named The Best Book of 2010 by and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick. It has won numerous awards, including the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, and two Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year and Best Debut Author of the year. It has received widespread critical acclaim, with reviews appearing in The New Yorker, Washington Post, Science, and many others.

Her book lends itself to a multitude of themes from poverty, African American history, racial inequality, Jim Crowism, slavery, history of medicine, history of Johns Hopkins University, medical ethics, scientific research, genetics, oncology, bioengineering, legal propriety, and much much more…Her book offers a moving exploration of a poor, African American family’s struggle to understand hoe the cancer cells of their matriarch, Henrietta Lacks, were taken, used, and sold for medical research without their knowledge or approval. More than 50 years after her death, her cells are still being used in labs around the world. Part personal history and part investigative journalism, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks can readily be adapted for use in various disciplines, including Science, Nursing, Business, Ethics, Math, English, History, and Social Science. Here’s a link to the book’s website for more details:

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For early portions of Immortal Life see New York Times (p.341). Rebecca Skloot’s early stories related to the book are the following:

  1. Patti Cohen, New York Times
  2. Sue De Pasquale, Johns Hopkins Magazine
  3. Sally Flecker, Pitt Magazine
  4. James Ryerson, The New York Times Magazine
  6. Invisible Institute

    The Immortal Book Project of Rebecca Skloot