Book for October 2015
The book was awarded the National Academies Best Book of the Year Award, the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Young Adult Science Book award, and the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, awarded annually to an outstanding work of fiction or non-fiction on the theme of health and medicine. It also won the Heartland Prize for non-fiction, among others, including a Salon Book Award, and a 100 New York Times Notable Books of the Year. The paperback edition had spent 75 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list.
The book was adopted as a common reading text at more than 125 universities and was widely taught in high school, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral classrooms.
Rebecca is the daughter of poet, novelist, and essayist Floyd Skloot and Betsy McCarthy, a professional knitter and pattern book author. Skloot said she "grew up white and agnostic in the Pacific Northwest, my roots half New York Jew and half Midwestern Protestant." She got her high school diploma from Metropolitan Learning Center in Portland, Oregon. After attending Portland Community College and becoming a Veterinary Technician, she received a BS in biological sciences from Colorado State University, and an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a former vice president of the National Book Critics Circle She has taught creative writing and science journalism at the University of Pittsburgh, New York University, and the University of Memphis. She lives in Chicago, Illinois, with her long-time boyfriend, David Prete, an actor, author, and theater director.
Skloot has published over 200 featured stories and essays. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, Discover, and New York magazine. Skloot is also a contributing editor at Popular Science and has worked as a correspondent for NPR's Radiolab and PBS's NOVA scienceNOW.
Her first book, the #1 New York Times Bestselling The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010), is about Henrietta Lacks and the immortal cell line (known as HeLa) that came from her cancer cells in 1951. It was named a New York Times notable book, and selected as a best book of the year by more than 60 publications. It is being made into an HBO film produced by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball.
Her second book, exploring the science and ethics of human-animal relationships, is under contract with Crown Publishing Group.