Rebecca Skloot is a science writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; Columbia Journalism Review; and many other publications. She specializes in narrative science writing and has explored a wide range of topics, including goldfish surgery, tissue ownership rights, race and medicine, food politics, and the perils of packs of wild dogs in Manhattan. She is also a contributing editor at Popular Science magazine, and has worked as a correspondent for NPR's RadioLab and PBS's Nova ScienceNOW. Her writing has been widely anthologized; read a selection on the stories page of this site.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, her debut book, took more than a decade to research and write, and instantly became a New York Times best-seller. She has been featured on numerous television shows, including CBS Sunday Morning, The Colbert Report, Fox Business News, and others. Her book was named a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick for Spring 2010, and received widespread critical acclaim, with reviews appearing in The New Yorker, Washington Post, Science, Entertainment Weekly, People, and many others. Dwight Garner of the New York Times said, "I put down Rebecca Skloot's first book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, more than once. Ten times, probably. Once to poke the fire. Once to silence a pinging BlackBerry. And eight times to chase my wife and assorted visitors around the house, to tell them I was holding one of the most graceful and moving nonfiction books I've read in a very long time...It has brains and pacing and nerve and heart."
Skloot served for eight years on the Board of Directors of the National Book Critics Circle, where she was a vice president and judge for their yearly book awards. In 2006, she launched Critical Mass, the blog of the National Book Critics Circle. She now blogs at Culture Dish, hosted by Seed Magazine.
Skloot has a B.S. in biological sciences and an MFA in creative nonfiction. She financed her degrees by working in emergency rooms, neurology labs, veterinary morgues and martini bars. She has taught in the creative writing programs at the University of Memphis and the University of Pittsburgh; she's also taught science journalism in NYU's graduate Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She currently teaches writing workshops and gives talks on subjects ranging from bioethics to book proposals at conferences and universities nationwide.
Skloot lives in Memphis and visits New York City often. She regularly abandons city life to write in the hills of West Virginia, where she tends to find stray animals and bring them home.