Thursday, 6:00 pm EDT June 10, 2021
Online via Zoom
Suzanne Koven, a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Anita Diamant, an author and journalist from Massachusetts, come together for a special event celebrating their two new book releases focusing on women’s health. In her memoir Letter to a Young Female Physician, Koven offers deep reflection on her career spent as a physician—touching on feelings of “imposter syndrome;” her roles as doctor, mother, and daughter; and more. Diamant illuminates the ways in which menstrual injustice limits opportunity and threatens livelihoods in Period. End of Sentence. The two authors will discuss the launch of these latest nonfiction projects in a conversation moderated by Dr. Perri Klass, a professor of journalism and pediatrics at New York University. Klass’s writings include both nonfiction and fiction titles, among them: A Good Time to Be Born and Treatment Kind and Fair: Letters to a Young Doctor.
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Anita Diamant is the bestselling author of the novels The Boston Girl, The Red Tent, Good Harbor, The Last Days of Dogtown, and Day After Night, and the collection of essays, Pitching My Tent. An award-winning journalist whose work appeared in the Boston Globe magazine and Parenting, and many others, she is the author of six nonfiction guides to contemporary Jewish life. She lives in Massachusetts. Visit her website at AnitaDiamant.com.
Perri Klass is a professor of journalism and pediatrics at New York University, codirector of NYU Florence, and national medical director of Reach Out and Read. She writes the weekly column “The Checkup” for the New York Times and her new book is A Good Time to Be Born (W.W. Norton, 2020).
Suzanne Koven was born and raised in New York City. She received her B.A. in English literature from Yale and her M.D. from Johns Hopkins. She also holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars. After her residency training at Johns Hopkins Hospital she joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School and has practiced primary care internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for over 25 years. In 2019 she was named inaugural Writer in Residence at Mass General. Her essays, articles, blogs, and reviews have appeared in the Boston Globe, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, New Yorker.com, Psychology Today, the L.A. Review of Books, the Virginia Quarterly, STAT, and other publications. Her monthly column “In Practice” appeared in the Boston Globe and won the Will Solimene Award for Excellence in Medical Writing from the American Medical Writers Association in 2012. Her interview column, “The Big Idea,” appears at the Rumpus. Suzanne conducts workshops, moderates panel discussions, and speaks to a variety of audiences about literature and medicine, narrative and storytelling in medicine, women’s health, mental healthcare, and primary care. Suzanne’s essay collection, Letter to a Young Female Physician, will be published by W.W. Norton & Co. in 2021.
Period. End of Sentence.
By Anita Diamant
Published by Scribner
From beloved New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist Anita Diamant comes a timely collection of essays to help inspire period positive activism around the globe.
When Period. End of Sentence. won an Oscar in 2019, the film’s co-producer and Executive Director of The Pad Project, Melissa Berton, told the audience: “A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education.” Continuing in that revolutionary spirit and building on the momentum of the acclaimed documentary, this book outlines the challenges facing those who menstruate worldwide and the solutions championed by a new generation of body positive activists, innovators and public figures.
Including interviews from people on the frontlines—parents, teachers, medical professionals, and social-justice warriors —Period. End of Sentence. illuminates the many ways that menstrual injustice can limit opportunities, erode self-esteem, and even threaten lives. This powerful examination of the far-ranging and quickly evolving movement for menstrual justice introduces today’s leaders and shows us how we can be part of the change.
Fearless, revolutionary, and fascinating, Period. End of Sentence. is an essential read for anyone interested in empowering women, girls, and others around the world.
To learn more about The Pad Project, go to ThePadProject.org.
Letter to a Young Female Physician
By Suzanne Koven
Published by W. W. Norton
A poignant and funny exploration of authenticity in work and life by a woman doctor.
In 2017, Dr. Suzanne Koven published an essay describing the challenges faced by female physicians, including her own personal struggle with “imposter syndrome”—a long-held secret belief that she was not smart enough or good enough to be a “real” doctor. Accessed by thousands of readers around the world, Koven’s “Letter to a Young Female Physician” has evolved into a deeply felt reflection on her career in medicine.
Koven tells candid and illuminating stories about her pregnancy during a grueling residency in the AIDS era; the illnesses of her child and aging parents during which her roles as a doctor, mother, and daughter converged, and sometimes collided; the sexism, pay inequity, and harassment that women in medicine encounter; and the twilight of her career during the COVID-19 pandemic. As she traces the arc of her life, Koven finds inspiration in literature and faces the near-universal challenges of burnout, body image, and balancing work with marriage and parenthood.
Shining with warmth, clarity, and wisdom, Letter to a Young Female Physician reveals a woman forging her authentic identity in a modern landscape that is as overwhelming and confusing as it is exhilarating in its possibilities. Koven offers an indelible account, by turns humorous and profound, from a doctor, mother, wife, daughter, teacher, and writer who sheds light on our desire to find meaning, and on a way to be our own imperfect selves in the world..
About this series
Our On America series brings writers, journalists, activists, and change-makers together to reflect on the critical issues of our times. Who are we and who are we becoming? How do the stories we tell shape who we are as a nation? Will we rise to the challenges we face?
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