About Rebecca Skloot and “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”

About the Author

What do goldfish surgery, helper monkeys, food addictions and human tissue ownership have in common? They are all topics explored in science writer Rebecca Skloot’s work.

While taking a community college biology course at the age of 16, Skloot learned about Henrietta Lacks and her immortal cells, known as HeLa, cultured by scientists and used in research around the world. Her curiosity about the woman behind this line of cells grew as she gave up her long-held goal of becoming a veterinarian and discovered an aptitude for writing. Skloot has a B.S. in biological sciences and an MFA in creative nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; and many other publications, and she is co-editor of “The Best American Science Writing 2011.” “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is her first book.
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Thank You for Celebrating Ten Years of One Read

Sonny Lacks visits the One Read "Art of Science" exhibit Thank you to everyone who read or listened to Rebecca Skloot’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and joined us for one of this year’s outstanding One Read events. The closing program, a visit with David “Sonny” Lacks, proved inspiring for many in our community, and Mr. Lacks was a charming guest. He graciously accepted thanks from several people who waited in line to share with him their personal stories and to express gratitude for his mother’s contributions to science.

At that evening’s event, we announced your favorite One Read selection from the past 10 years. “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen narrowly beat Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” winning the top spot by just one vote.

As we plan for 2012, we’d like to know what book you think would make a great choice for the community’s next One Read. Starting November 1, you can nominate a book online, at any of our library facilities or on the bookmobile.

What an amazing 10th anniversary edition of One Read! Thanks again for your support and participation.


2011 One Read Flash Fiction Contest Winners Announced

As part of this year’s One Read program, we challenged writers to tell a story beginning with “There’s a photo on my wall of a woman I’ve never met,” the opening line from Rebecca Skloot’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” We received tales of unknown mothers, forgotten movie starlets, dementia and incredible loss. Thank you to everyone who entered. Our overall winner was James Forr, and Becky Greer received an honorable mention.

We are pleased to share with you their stories. Read More

Winners of “The Art of Science” Exhibit Announced

The Art of Science Exhibit at the Columbia Public LibraryAs part of the 2011 One Read program, we invited Missouri artists to contribute works inspired by the human body, the strange beauty of a cell viewed through a microscope or other intersections of art and science.

Professional artist and president of the Missouri Watercolor Society’s Board of Directors George “Papa” Tutt judged the artwork submitted, and we are pleased to announce the following winners. Read More