One More Page veteran Tim Wendel (SUMMER OF ’68) and award-winning novelist Leslie Pietrzyk (THIS ANGEL ON MY CHEST) will be in conversation, discussing their most recent works: SILVER GIRL, a novel set in the ’80s; and CANCER CROSSINGS: A Brother, His Doctors, and the Quest for a Cure to Childhood Leukemia, the true story of Tim’s brother and his medical journey in the late ’60s.
About CANCER CROSSINGS:
When Eric Wendel was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 1966, the survival rate was 10 percent. Today, it is 90 percent. Even as politicians call for a “Cancer Moonshot,” this accomplishment remains a pinnacle in cancer research.
The author’s daughter, then a medical student at Georgetown Medical School, told her father about this amazing success story. Tim Wendel soon discovered that many of the doctors at the forefront of this effort cared for his brother at Roswell Park in Buffalo, New York. Wendel went in search of this extraordinary group, interviewing Lucius Sinks, James Holland, Donald Pinkel and others in the field. If there was a Mount Rushmore for cancer research, they would be on it.
Despite being ostracized by their medical peers, these doctors developed modern-day chemotherapy practices and invented the blood centrifuge machine, helping thousands of children live longer lives. Part family memoir and part medical narrative, Cancer Crossings explores how the Wendel family found the courage to move ahead with their lives. They learned to sail upon Lake Ontario, cruising across miles of open water together, even as the campaign against cancer changed their lives forever.
“For as long as I have followed his work, Tim Wendel has always chosen a distinct path of intimate stories within big topics, those subjects revealed by his superb way of getting at the particular. This riveting book … is no different. Bravo!”
— Filmmaker Ken Burns
About Tim Wendel: A writer-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University, Tim Wendel is the author of 12 books, including Summer of ’68, Castro’s Curveball, Red Rain and High Heat, which was an Editor’s Choice selection by The New York Times Book Review. He lives outside of Washington, D.C.
About SILVER GIRL:
A nameless young woman starts her freshman year of college with one goal in mind: survival. Newly transplanted to the big city of Chicago, she is one of the rare few to leave her small working class town in Iowa, let alone for a prestigious university. She is not driven by academic ambition, nor is she a social butterfly. Her true gift is an ability to understand the needs of others, and to reflect back the version of themselves they wish to see, rendering herself invisible. Deftly, she conceals her deeply troubled past–especially from her charismatic yuppie-in-the-making best friend and roommate. For a while, she assimilates, living a new life not in any way her own. But the mask she wears cannot hide her secrets forever, and at some point she will be truly seen, possibly for the first time in her life. Set in the early 80s, against the backdrop of a city terrorized by the Tylenol Killer, a local psychopath rumored to be stuffing cyanide into drugstore meds, Silver Girl is a deftly psychological account of the nuances of sisterhood. Contrasting obsession and longing, need versus desire, Leslie Pietrzyk delves into the ways class and trauma are often enmeshed to dictate one’s sense of self, and how a single relationship can sometimes lead to redemption.
About Leslie Pietrzyk: Leslie is the author of two novels, Pears on a Willow Tree and A Year and a Day, as well as a short story collection, This Angel on My Chest, which Jill McCorkle selected as the winner of the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and which was a finalist for the 2016 Library of Virginia Award for Fiction. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in many journals, including The Sun, Shenandoah, Iowa Review, TriQuarterly, New England Review, and the Washington Post Magazine. Excerpts from SILVER GIRL have been published in The Hudson Review, Gettysburg Review, Cincinnati Review, Midwestern Gothic, and River Styx. She has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and, most recently, the Hawthornden Castle Writers Retreat in Scotland. She currently teaches fiction at both the Converse College low-residency MFA program and the Johns Hopkins MA Program in Writing.