The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Rebecca Skloot

10.22.2012

Rebecca Skloot

Rebecca Skloot is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Her award winning science writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; 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, co-edited The Best American Science Writing 2011.

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 currently working on a new book about the human animal bond. 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.

Best Selling author Rebecca Skloot presents her book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks."  

"In The Immortal Life, Skloot tells the story of a young black woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951—and left behind an inexplicably immortal line of cells known as HeLa. Henrietta Lacks, whose cells—harvested without her knowledge or consent—contributed to scientific advancements as varied as the polio vaccine, treatments for cancers and viruses, in-vitro fertilization, and the impact of space travel on human cells. The story is also about her children, who were later used in research without their consent and who’ve never benefited from the commercialization of HeLa cells, though the cells have helped biotech companies make millions of dollars. Part detective story, part scientific odyssey, and part family saga, The Immortal Life’s multi-layered approach raises fascinating questions about race, class, and bioethics in America.  

The book was released in 2010 and is still in the top 5 on the New York Times bestseller list for paperback nonfiction."