Ms. Fadiman—who is perhaps best well known for her book on the cultural conflicts between a Hmong family and the American medical system—will speak about and read from some of her work on November 3 at 7:00 p.m. in the Phillips Stevens Chapel.
Ms. Fadiman’s 1997 book on Lia Lee, a Hmong child with epilepsy, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: a Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures, won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest, and the Salon Book Award. According to a 2012 New York Times article, the book has also sold almost 900,000 copies and is required reading in university classes on medicine, social work, anthropology, and journalism.
“As a result, Lia’s story, as few other narratives have done, has had a significant effect on the ways in which American medicine is practiced across cultures, and on the training of doctors,” the article notes.
Ms. Fadiman is the author two books of essays: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader (1998), a book about books and all the many ways a reader can interact with them; and At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays (2007), a collection of essays on such topics as Coleridge, postal history, and ice cream. She also edited Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love (2005) and the Best American Essays 2003 (2003).
Her work has appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, and The New York Times, among other publications, and she has won National Magazine Awards for both reporting and essays. Ms. Fadiman has also edited a literary quarterly, The American Scholar, and two essay anthologies. As Francis Writer in Residence at Yale University, she teaches nonfiction writing and serves as a mentor to students who are considering careers in writing or editing. In 2012 she received the Brodhead Prize for Teaching Excellence.
“Know what you are trying to say,” Ms. Fadiman told the YaleNews during an interview about her craft and teaching style. “If you don’t, all the gorgeous prose in the world won’t help you, because it will just be pretty embellishment around an empty core.”