Rebecca Skloot

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Rebecca Skloot
Rebecca skloot 2010.jpg
Skloot at the 2010 Texas Book Festival
Born September 19, 1972 (1972-09-19) (age 43)
Springfield, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation Science writer

Rebecca L. Skloot /ˈsklt/ (born September 19, 1972) is a freelance science writer who specializes in science and medicine.[1] Her first book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010), was one of the best-selling new books of 2010, staying on the New York Times Bestseller List for over 2 years, eventually reaching #1 [2] and optioned to be made into a movie by Oprah Winfrey.[3]


Rebecca was born in Springfield, Illinois. She is the daughter of poet, novelist, and essayist Floyd Skloot[1] and Betsy McCarthy, a professional knitter and pattern book author. Skloot said "in the Pacific Northwest, [her] roots [are] half New York Jew and half Midwestern Protestant."[4] She received her high school diploma from Metropolitan Learning Center in Portland, Oregon.[5] After attending Portland Community College and becoming a Veterinary Technician, she received a BS in biological sciences from Colorado State University, and an MFA in creative nonfiction[1] from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a former vice president of the National Book Critics Circle[6] She has taught creative writing and science journalism at the University of Pittsburgh, New York University, and the University of Memphis.[7] She lives in Chicago, Illinois, with her long-time boyfriend, David Prete, an actor, author, and theater director.

Skloot has published over 200 featured stories and essays.[1] Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, Discover, and New York magazine.[6] Skloot is also a contributing editor at Popular Science and has worked as a correspondent for NPR's Radiolab and PBS's NOVA scienceNOW.[1]

Her first book, the #1 New York Times Bestselling The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010), is about Henrietta Lacks and the immortal cell line (known as HeLa) that came from her cancer cells in 1951.[1] It was named a New York Times notable book, and selected as a best book of the year by more than 60 publications. It is being made into an HBO film produced by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball.[8]

Her second book, exploring the science and ethics of human-animal relationships, is under contract with Crown Publishing Group.[9]

Skloot is an atheist.[10]


Rebecca Skloot talks at the University of Missouri in March 2014.




Select articles


  1. ^ a b c d e f Jessica Teisch, "Floyd Skloot & Rebecca Skloot", in Bookmarks, May/June 2010.
  2. ^ "Best Sellers: Paperback Nonfiction: Sunday, June 10th 2012". The New York Times. June 10, 2012. Retrieved 2016-02-10. 
  3. ^ "Oprah and Alan Ball to Make Film of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for HBO", May 12, 2010.
  4. ^ Lopez Torregrosa, Luisita. "The Making of a Bestseller: Rebecca Skloot and a Great Obsession". Politics Daily. Retrieved August 16, 2013. 
  5. ^ [1] Portland Public Schools[not in citation given]
  6. ^ a b "Official Website: Bio". Being Wicked. Retrieved March 17, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Rebecca Skloot profile". University of Memphis: Department of English. Retrieved March 17, 2010. 
  8. ^ Oprah and Alan Ball to Make Film of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, May 12, 2010
  9. ^ New Skloot Book Announcement October 13, 2011
  10. ^ Long, Karen R. (February 7, 2010). "In 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,' writer Rebecca Skloot shows us science's unsuspecting benefactor". The Plain Dealer (Cleveland). 

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