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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: The book

UMW's Common Read 2015-2016

This guide is from 2015, and is no longer being maintained. Some of its information is outdated and some of its links are broken.

The book

On this page you'll find information about the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, including reviews of the book and interviews with author Rebecca Skloot.

An official Reader's Guide for this book is available on Skloot's website. The Reader's Guide is a good place to start your exploration of the book.

Book reviews

Skloot's writing process

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is not told in chronological order. Instead, it uses three interwoven narratives. In this video, Rebecca Skloot talks about why and how she structured the book in this way.

More videos about Skloot's writing process are available on her YouTube channel:

In addition to these videos, you may also be interested in the following interviews, in which Skloot describes some of the decisions that she made while writing The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks:

Book tour videos

Videos of Rebecca Skloot promoting her book.


The Colbert Report


HealthTalk with Dr. Manny Alvarez


The Tavis Smiley Show

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Peter Catlin

The foundation

The Henrietta Lacks Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides funds to individuals who have been subjects of scientific studies either against their will or without their knowledge, or to the surviving descendents of such individuals.

The foundation was created by Rebecca Skloot. Skloot donates a portion of the profits of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks to the foundation.

For more information about the Henrietta Lacks Foundation, see this New York Times article.


In this interview, aired on the NPR radio show Talk of the Nation, Rebecca Skloot talks about how The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is being used as a common book at many colleges and universities.

The Lacks family

Official website of the Lacks family

The surviving members of the Lacks family responded to the publication of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by launching this website. The website is maintained by Henrietta's son David "Sonny" Lacks, Jr.