Countdown to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks & Press Roundup

i-756a963781e23e72f9c66932eb63fd1d-phpmVPArgPM.jpgAfter ten long years, the serious countdown has begun for the publication of my book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which will be on sale nationwide exactly SEVEN DAYS from today.  I've been posting about my impending book tour, and all the great coverage the book has been getting, on Twitter and Facebook, but thought I'd also post a bit of a press round up here, and an update, for those who (gasp) don't spend all of their time in those places. 

If you don't know what my book is about: it tells the story of a poor black tobacco farmer whose cancer cells -- taken without her knowledge -- became one of the most important tools in medicine, with disastrous consequences for her family. Please take a moment to read the full description of the book here.

So far, it's gotten incredible pre-publication press, for which I am very thankful: There is a big excerpt of the book in the February issue of O, the Oprah Magazine, as well as a small one in Publishers Weekly. The current issue of Wired has this great visual map showing the myriad ways HeLa cells have contributed to science, and the current issue of Popular Science features The Immortal Life as its book of the month, and The Five Reasons Henrietta Lacks is The Most Important Woman in Medical History. The LA Times named  mine as A Face to Watch in 2010, and the Chicago Tribune said, among other things that, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, to be published next
month by Crown, beautifully epitomizes what's so wonderful about
today's science writing for a lay audience." The Immortal Life has  been chosen as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick for spring of 2010, and it's gotten starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal and Kirkus. It's also gotten some really wonderful blog reviews, for which I'm very grateful.

And there's more to come soon: I'll be featured on Fresh Air with Terry Gross on February 2nd (check for local air times here), then Weekend All Things Considered on 2/6 (check for local air times here), and the Bob Edwards show soon after that. The Immortal Life will also be featured in Essence, Discover, Nature, Better Homes & Gardens, Vogue, Mother Jones,, AARP, Huffington Post, New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, and more.  To read all of the coverage to date, visit the "press" page of my website.

For those who missed the news of my book tour saga ... have a look at this article, The Immortal Book Tour, about my decision to organize a grassroots book tour for myself, which starts MONDAY with this public launch event, which I'm very excited about. I will be on the road speaking at universities, libraries, museums and bookstores nationwide from next Monday until June 1st (how does a person pack for such a trip? I have no idea!).  Please have a look at my full tour schedule to see if I'm coming to your town, which I probably am, and mark your calendars accordingly (events being added regularly, so please check back).

For those who want to follow what's going on with the book and the tour: I will be posting stories from the road here. To keep up with news related to the book, subscribe to the news updates on my website. Facebook is a great way to follow what's going on with me, so you can friend me there, and/or you can follow news about the book by becoming a "fan" of Henrietta Lacks

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the book is now available for
pre-order. Quite a few wonderful bloggers have written posts (like this one)
about why it's important to pre-order my book if you're planning to buy
a copy (and I didn't even ask them to do this! As I said, I've been
very lucky, and I'm very thankful.) So go to your favorite indy store
or visit your favorite online store, order your copies, and please
spread the word about my book, and my tour. 

Photo credit here.

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Lots of excitement here at Culture Dish:  The final cover for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has arrived (see left). And ... <drum roll> ... the the book's first pre-publication review has hit the press:  In the issue coming out this Monday, Publishers Weekly gives The Immortal Life a…
Yes, that's right, we here at Culture Dish are actually STILL ALIVE! Though you wouldn't know it from our feed.  <brushing off cobwebs> ... After a bit of down time, Culture Dish is back.  The last several months have been jam packed with pre-publication craziness with my book, The Immortal…
Lots of excitement and news about my book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (aka HeLa), which hits stores February 2nd (after ten years in the works). It just got a starred review in Publishers Weekly and in Booklist, and was chosen as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers title for…
Hella HeLa! Skloot is PWned, as it were. I learned late last night that author Rebecca Skloot was to be featured on the cover of this week's issue of Publishers Weekly. So, I clicked on the site this morning before the coffee was even done brewing and there is our wordsmithing hero. I know that…

Good luck on your book sales: Towards that end I purchased the book at, it ships in February

By OftenWrongTed (not verified) on 26 Jan 2010 #permalink

If people can, also try to get hold of Adam Curtis' 1997 documentary on Henrietta Lacks called The Way of All Flesh:

It was the first time I'd heard of the amazing story.

By RichardPrins (not verified) on 26 Jan 2010 #permalink

Last night driving home from work I heard the rebroadcast of your interview with Bob Edwards. As luck would have it, I was on my way to my bookclub meeting; we agreed to add THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS to our list for May. Our newest member is a retired geneticist who has worked with hela cells in the lab. Best of luck to you!

Bob Edwards in the morning. The book downloaded on my Kindle later that morning and off I go.
What a story.
Karen Lucey

By Karen Lucey (not verified) on 09 Feb 2010 #permalink

And one more post. I forgot about the clinical trial at NYU Hospital 9 years ago when I had stage 3 melanoma. After a little research yesterday, I am also a receiver of HeLa cells from the 2 years of vaccine therapy. How honored I feel.
Still alive!
Karen Lucey

By Karen Lucey (not verified) on 13 Feb 2010 #permalink

Good luck on your tour. I hope you are visiting Chicago in June, it's a great event and would love to get an autograph!