Author Rebecca Skloot Mar. 29

The best-selling author will autograph copies of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks following talk.


By Renee Svec

Special to USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Mar. 22,  2011)—Rebecca Skloot, award-winning science writer and author of the best-seller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks will speak at the University of South Florida Mar. 29, 7 p.m. as part of the University Lecture Series.


This event is free to students, faculty, staff and the general public, and will be held in the ballroom of the Marshall Student Center. Copies of her book will be available for sale before the lecture and a book signing with audience members will follow.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Skloot’s debut book, took more than a decade to write but quickly became a New York Times best-seller. The nonfiction book recounts the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor southern African American tobacco farmer, whose cells – taken without her knowledge – were the first human cells grown in a lab and kept alive outside the body. They are credited with being at the source of many significant medical and scientific breakthroughs, as well as the formation of a multi-million dollar industry. Lack’s cells, now known as the HeLa cells, have been replicated by the billions, yet neither she nor her family benefited financially. Lacks’ grave remained unmarked until May 2010.  Her children couldn’t afford health insurance and many members of her family still aren’t covered according to press reports. 


In her career, Skloot has specialized in narrative science writing and has explored a wide range of topics. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; Columbia Journalism Review; and many other publications. She also works as an editor at Popular Science magazine and has worked as a correspondent for NPR’s “RadioLab” and PBS’s “Nova Science NOW.”


For more information about this event, visit, or contact Renee Svec at 813-974-5383 or