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Hood, Frederick Reads host Rebecca Skloot

Friday, April 6, 2012

FREDERICK, Md.—Hood College and Frederick Reads will co-host a conversation between a best-selling author and an award-winning journalist Thursday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Weinberg Center in Frederick.

Michele Norris, host of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," will interview Rebecca Skloot, noted science writer and author of the New York Times bestseller "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." The free event is part of the College's annual Center for the Humanities Colloquium series and the annual Frederick Reads series, and is supported in part by the William J. and Wilma M. Haines Lecture in Biomedical Ethics and the Robert D. and Barbara E. Hanson Fund for Enhancing Communities.

Skloot has received international acclaim for her investigative research into the extraordinary journey of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cells, taken without her knowledge in 1951, became one of the most important tools in medical research. Lack's riveting story is linked to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans; the birth of bioethics; and medical advances in vaccine development, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization and more.

Skloot's debut publication was awarded the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, awarded annually to an outstanding work of fiction or nonfiction on the theme of health and medicine. It was selected as on of the 100 New York Times Notable Books of the Year and a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Books of 2010, among others. Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball, in conjunction with HBO, are planning a film version of the book.

Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; and many other publications.

Norris is one of the most respected voices in American journalism. She has interviewed world leaders, Nobel laureates, Oscar winners, American presidents, military leaders, influential newsmakers and astronauts traveling in space. She earned an Emmy and Peabody award for her contribution to ABC News’ coverage of 9/11. Her book, "The Grace of Silence: A Memoir," reveals her search for and discovery of long hidden family secrets that raise questions about her racial legacy and sheds new light on America's complicated racial history.

This year the College's colloquium series, which is funded in part by a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant, explores the past, present and future of the book, along with the numerous cultural changes it has weathered during its 2,000-year history. The Frederick Reads events focus on how medicine can inspire and inform while recognizing that not everyone benefits equally from advances in the field.

Seating at the Weinberg Center is available on a first come, first served basis. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Rebecca Prime, Ph.D., Sophia M. Libman NEH Professor of the Humanities, at prime@hood.edu.