Events include an online book discussion, scheduled for January 24th, and a campus visit from the author, scheduled for Wednesday, February 27th.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a non-fiction book about Lacks, a tobacco farmer from Clover, Virginia. Without her consent, cancer cells taken from Lacks' body were used for medical research. The cell line is still alive (hence the "immortal" of the title), and researchers continue to profit from it while Lacks' family cannot afford their health insurance. The book deals with the issues raised by medical ethics, class and race.
On Tuesday, February 12th at 7:30 p.m., Henrietta's son David "Sonny" Lacks will be at St. Mary's College's Madaleva Hall for a question-and-answer session. The event is free.
Author Rebecca Skloot will visit St. Mary's O'Laughlin Auditorium on Feb. 27th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students, $8 for faculty and staff and $10 for the general public. They can be purchased from St. Mary's Moreau Center, online or by calling 574-284-4626. Skloot will sign copies of her books after the event.
Those who wish to join the online chat on Thursday, January 24th, can do so at www.friendfeed.com. The real-time Web chat will begin at 9 p.m. (Eastern) and last approximately one hour. A St. Mary's alumna, Lisa Maxbauer Price, will moderate the discussion. After creating a FriendFeed account or logging in, participants look for the "OneBookOneSaintMarys" group, and can then talk to the moderator or to each other. Another online group discussion is planned for April 24th.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was originally published in 2010. That same year, Oprah Winfrey and producer Alan Ball (perhaps best known for the TV series True Blood, based on Charlaine Harris's vampire novels) planned a film based on the non-fiction work.
Proceeds from sales of the book benefit the Henrietta Lacks Foundation, initiated by Skloot, which provides need-based grants for medical, dental and educational expenses, particularly to the families of those who may have been harmed by unethical medical research.