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    April 19, 2011

    Tavis Smiley Interviews Rebecca Skloot on PBS

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    “So thrilled I got to go back on the Tavis Smiley show this week for a follow-up about the response to The Immortal Life and where things stand today,” shares Rebecca. “Tavis is such a great interviewer – we covered questions readers often ask at events, & much more that hasn’t been covered in other interviews.”

    Watch the full episode. See more Tavis Smiley.


    March 31, 2011

    WYSO Host Vick Mickunas Interviews Rebecca Skloot

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    In this interview with Vick Mickunas – creator of the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO, the NPR affiliate in Dayton, OH – Rebecca Skloot describes the difficulties she faced in reconstructing the life of Henrietta Lacks and the amazing story of the HeLa cells which continue to flourish in laboratories around the world.

    Listen to the WYSO interview with Rebecca Skloot.


    March 28, 2011

    The Immortal Life Called a ‘Riveting Book’ and an ‘Amazing Feat’

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    In Colette Bancroft’s recent profile of Rebecca Skloot in the St. Petersburg Times, Rebecca describes the Immortal Book Tour: “I left my house on Jan. 29, 2010, and I’m still going.”

    Rebecca describes the journey that took her from writing a paper in a creative writing class at CSU to bringing the story of Henrietta Lacks to the world: “I wanted to show that there are human beings behind every sample,” Rebecca says, “but there is a human being behind every scientist, too.”

    What Skloot, 38, does in her riveting book is an amazing feat in itself. She tells the complex scientific side of the story with clarity and confidence, and she tells the moving human story of Henrietta and the family she left behind — a family the author grew close to — and the scientists who developed the HeLa cell lines with compassion and respect.


    March 21, 2011

    JAMA Calls The Immortal Life ‘An Irresistible Read’

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    The Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed The Immortal Life in its March 16, 2011 issue. Here’s an excerpt:

    With a sensitive heart, a knowledge of science, an investigative reporter’s zeal, and a novelist’s skill, Skloot combines biography, medicine, science, detective thriller, social critique, and medicolegal inquiry. This layered approach is at once moving, sad, funny, and deeply unsettling…an irresistible read.

    The trajectory of the HeLa cells from Lacks’ cervix to an underfunded laboratory at Johns Hopkins, to thousands of laboratories around the world, to huge commercial enterprises, and eventually to the most important scientific discoveries in the 20th century, including the polio vaccine, chemotherapy, and gene mapping, is riveting. But the book is much more than a mesmerizing scientific chronicle.

    More than a compelling human story, it is also a well-written science story that compels the reader to consider many important questions: Do individuals own their bodies? How much are they entitled to know about research conducted using their bodies? Who should share the financial benefits derived from scientific advances made using body tissues and other materials?


    March 19, 2011

    Author Nick Hornby Calls The Immortal Life ‘Extraordinary’ and ‘Breathtaking’

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    Nick Hornby‘s Stuff I’ve Been Reading column in the March/April issue of The Believer features his experience reading The Immortal Life.

    Riveting, beautifully written, and, yes, educational. I learned stuff. I learned so much stuff that I kept blurting it out to anyone who’d listen…Extraordinary…breathtaking…the author knows what she has, and what she has is a gold mine of material dealing with class, race, family, science, and the law in America. In fact, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, like Adrian Nicole LeBlanc’s incredible Random Family, is about pretty much everything…(I suspect that…the subject matter grew richer and richer with each year of contemplation.) Skloot tells brief, vivid, and astonishing stories of medical-ethics cases…If I come across a book as good, as gripping, as well constructed, and as surprising as this in the rest of 2011, I will be a happy and grateful man. Read more…

    The Believer is a McSweeney’s publication, a monthly magazine featuring book reviews, interviews, and essays that “give people and books the benefit of the doubt.”


    March 17, 2011

    Virginia State Lawmakers Pass Resolution Honoring Henrietta Lacks

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    On February 18, 2011, Virginia state lawmakers, Johns Hopkins leaders, and officials from the American Cancer Society joined together in Richmond to celebrate the life of Henrietta Lacks. A ceremony was held in honor of Henrietta; among other things, they presented Henrietta’s family with a framed copy of a house resolution that was voted into the record.

    RESOLVED, That the House of Delegates, during Black History Month, celebrate the life of Henrietta Lacks, in honor of all who have ever faced discrimination and exploitation, and her amazing legacy, which has altered medical research and care and relieved the suffering of untold millions.

    Read the full record of Virginia House Resolution No. 74.


    March 15, 2011

    Coastal Carolina University Selects The Immortal Life for 2011 ‘Big Read’

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    Coastal Carolina University’s “Big Read” is a summer reading program designed to encourage intellectual dialogue among students, professors and the University community. Since it was initiated in 2004, its purpose has been to create a singular introductory learning forum across various disciplines, and to facilitate creative and critical thinking on a common theme.

    Visit our Community Reads/FYE page to learn about the more than 50 communities, colleges, and universities that are reading The Immortal Life together.


    March 12, 2011

    Random House “Common Reads” Connects Schools and Communities to The Immortal Life

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    Common Reads is a program developed by Random House, Inc. dedicated to bringing readers and teachers the latest in common reading programs at high schools, universities, and within communities. The Immortal Life is central to their outreach in 2010-11 as readers, teachers, and students across the country gather together to discuss The Immortal Life. We hope you’ll join them!

  • Download and print Random House ‘Common Reads’ feature (PDF)
  • For more on how your community and/or school can get involved with The Immortal Life, and for invaluable resources to make your discussion lively and informed, visit our Community Reads/FYE (First Year Experience) page.


    March 10, 2011

    The Immortal Life Fans Gather for Special Event at Barnes & Noble

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    Last night’s Barnes & Noble Upstairs at the Square event with Rebecca and Cubic Zirconia was a blast! Fans from all over New York City – and beyond – joined us for a evening of music and celebration.


    March 9, 2011

    Rebecca Skloot & Cubic Zirconia at Barnes & Noble’s Upstairs at the Square

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    Tonight Rebecca shared the stage with Cubic Zirconia, who performed songs from their CD, Follow Your Heart. The special event was part of Barnes & Noble’s Upstairs at the Square series, which is held at the NYC Union Square flagship store.

    To all those who came, thank you for making it a very special night. To all of you who couldn’t be there with us, watch this video – you’ll feel like you were there!


    Named by more than 60 critics as one of the best books of 2010

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    The Henrietta Lacks Foundation

    The Henrietta Lacks Foundation strives to provide financial assistance to needy individuals who have made important contributions to scientific research without their knowledge or consent.