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Skloot to speak at Prizery

South Boston News
Rebecca Skloot
SoVaNow.com / April 12, 2010
Rebecca Skloot, author of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” will appear at the Prizery, in South Boston, on Sunday, Nov. 7 to discuss her best-selling book, which recounts the life of poor Clover woman whose death laid the foundations for modern medical research.

“We are very excited about her visit,” said Library Director Rhonda Griffin, who arranged the date with Skloot. “Her book has been on the New York Times best seller list for weeks. It is thrilling to have an author of her caliber visit our area.”

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” tells the story of the black sharecropper from Clover who died from an aggressive form of cervical cancer. Before Lacks’ death, researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore took tissue samples that subsequently produced the first cells to be grown outside the human body. HeLa cells, named after Henrietta Lacks, became widely used in medical research and spawned a multi-billion industry.

Medical pioneer's identity restored in pages of bestseller

Skloot, a science writer and first-time book author, recounts Lacks’ upbringing in Halifax County in the book’s early scenes and then shifts to the story of her descendants, who received no payment for HeLa research and for many years had no knowledge of Henrietta Lacks’ place in modern science.

The Library Book Club will be discussing “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” at the April 26 meeting at the Halifax Public Library at 6:30 p.m. The Book Club is open to everyone.

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