Common Book Conference on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Common Book Conference on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Published: November 20, 2013

The Common Book is a UW Bothell initiative that engages first year students, faculty and community members in the reading and discussions over one book.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

This year’s Common Book is “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Author Rebecca Skloot spent a decade tracking down facts about cells that were taken from a poor African American tobacco farmer without her knowledge. Bought and sold by the billions, those cells became the foundation of some of the greatest innovations in medicine, yet Lacks’ family is unable to afford health insurance.

First year student Feruza Ghias says the Common Book experience has been very enriching for her, “I am grateful for the experience,” she says. “I got a lot out of the discussions when other students shared their own interpretations and understanding of historical references from Henrietta Lacks lifetime. I also learned a lot about different topics.”

In fact, students and faculty of B CUSP 134 have covered a number of topics through the study of this single book, including poverty, privacy, research, science, race, class, gender and social justice.

This Friday, the students of B CUSP 134 will take the lead in the book’s discussion at the fall Common Book Conference. Students will discuss and present works on the story behind the HeLa cells and how they’ve revolutionized the medical field.

The fall conference is one of many Common Book events planned for UW Bothell’s 2013 academic year. Other programming will include author lectures, performing arts events, and visual arts exhibits.


Book Discussion: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


Friday, November 22, 2013
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.


University of Washington Bothell
North Creek Events Center
18115 Campus Way NE
Bothell, WA 98011