Author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks to Speak at President’s Convocation

Sept. 5, 2012                       

Rebecca Skloot
Rebecca Skloot

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.—On Wednesday, Sept. 12, Rebecca Skloot, the author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks will be the guest speaker at Illinois Wesleyan University's President's Convocation.  The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 11 a.m. in Westbrook Auditorium of Presser Hall (1210 N. Park St., Bloomington).

Skloot's debut book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a 2010 New York Times best seller, chronicles the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor tobacco farmer whose cancer cells were used for scientific research, without her knowledge. Despite the contribution Lack's cells made to numerous scientific advancements, even after her death, neither Lacks or any family members were compensated.

All incoming students read the book for the Summer Reading Program, which is part of "Turning Titan," the new student orientation program at IWU. Students met in discussion groups with faculty and staff to share their impressions of the book.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, was chosen as the best book of 2010 by more than 60 media outlets, including Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, O The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, People Magazine, New York Times and US News and World Report.

The book, which is being translated into more than 25 languages, also received the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the National Academies of Science Best Book of the Year Award, American Association for the Advancement of Science Best Young Adult Book Award, the Welcome Trust Book Prize, and two Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year and Best Debut Author of the Year.

Ms. Skloot has a bachelor of science degree in biological sciences and a master's degree in creative nonfiction.

Contact: Sherry Wallace, (309) 556-3181