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University of Portland Clark Library

ReadUP 2018: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Home

Book Sample

Get a taste of the book by reading the prologue here: The Woman on the Photograph  

Special Features

Check out some of the special features for the book on the author's website. Find photos not included in the book insert, interviews with the author and videos talking about the author's writing process

Our Book

Cover of the Book The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksWriter and journalist Rebecca Skloot spent ten years exploring a link between medicine, sociology, and ethics when she traced a connection between medically important cancer cells and their overlooked origin in a poor black tobacco farmer.  Her effort produced The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which has sold more than 2.5 million copies to date, and was recently made into an HBO film produced by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball.  Part detective story, part scientific odyssey, and part family saga, The Immortal Life raises fascinating questions about race, class, and bioethics in America.


The Immortal Life was selected as a best book of 2010 by over 60 media outlets including The New York TimesEntertainment Weekly, The American Library Association, People, The Washington Post Book World, O, The Oprah Magazine, and The Boston Globe. It has enjoyed more than four years on The New York Times bestseller list, was listed on of Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime, and has been translated into more than 25 languages.  More than 250 communities, schools, and universities have chosen The Immortal Life for their common read programs.


Rebecca SklootRebecca Skloot, who lives in Chicago, has a BS in biological sciences and a MFA in creative nonfiction.  She has written more than 200 feature articles, personal essays, book reviews, and news stories. Her work has been anthologized in several collections, including Best Food Writing and Best Creative Nonfiction. She served as co-editor of The Best American Science Writing 2011 and has worked as a correspondent for NPR’s Radiolab and PBS’s Nova ScienceNOW.  Skloot is currently working on a new book about the human-animal bond.


ReadUP Events

Friday, November 3, 2017
Last day to pre-order free copy of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Monday, November 13, 2017
Book available for pick-up at the Clark Library Service Desk (for staff, faculty, and students living off-campus). Students living in dorms can pick-up books from their hall director.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Book Discussion Group led by Fr. Charlie Gordon, CSC
12-1 p.m. | Library Conference Room

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Book Discussion Group led by Fr. Charlie Gordon, CSC
12-1 p.m. | Library Conference Room

Thursday, February 22, 2018
Book Discussion Group led by Fr. Charlie Gordon, CSC
12-1 p.m. | Library Conference Room

Monday, February 26, 2018
Schoenfeldt Distinguished Visiting Writers Series presents Rebecca Skloot
7:30 p.m. | Public Lecture | Buckley Center Auditorium | Free

Movie Adaptation

In 2017, an adaptation of The Immortal Life was produced, starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne. The Clark Library has the DVD

Cover of the movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Starring Oprah Winfrey










Watch the trailer: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2017) | Official Trailer | HBO | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798
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