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Upcoming Speakers

Every year, the Schoenfeldt Distinguished Writers Series is committed to bringing two noteworthy guests to University of Portland.

Rebecca Skloot

Rebecca Skloot

Writer and journalist Rebecca Skloot spent ten years exploring a link between medicine, sociology, and ethics when she traced a connection between medically important cancer cells and their overlooked origin in a poor black tobacco farmer. Her effort produced The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which has sold more than 2.5 million copies to date, and was recently made into an HBO film produced by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball. Part detective story, part scientific odyssey, and part family saga, The Immortal Life raises fascinating questions about race, class, and bioethics in America.

The Immortal Life was selected as a best book of 2010 by over 60 media outlets including The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The American Library Association, People, The Washington Post Book World, O, The Oprah Magazine, and The Boston Globe. It has enjoyed more than four years on The New York Times bestseller list, was listed on of Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime, and has been translated into more than 25 languages. More than 250 communities, schools, and universities have chosen The Immortal Life for their common read programs.

Rebecca Skloot, who lives in Chicago, has a BS in biological sciences and a MFA in creative nonfiction. She has written more than 200 feature articles, personal essays, book reviews, and news stories. Her work has been anthologized in several collections, including Best Food Writing and Best Creative Nonfiction. She served as co-editor of The Best American Science Writing 2011 and has worked as a correspondent for NPR’s Radiolab and PBS’s Nova ScienceNOW. Skloot is currently working on a new book about the human-animal bond.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is University of Portland's 2018 ReadUP selection, and Skloot will join UP for a talk February 26, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in the Buckley Center Auditorium.