• Birth—November 22, 1970
• Education—B.S. Bates College; Ph.D, Harvard University
• Currently—lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Lisa Genova is an American neuroscientist and author of fiction. She graduated valedictorian, summa cum laude from Bates College with a BS degree in biopsychology and received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University in 1998.
Genova did research at Massachusetts General Hospital East, Yale Medical School, McLean Hospital, and the National Institutes of Health. She also taught neuroanatomy at Harvard Medical School fall 1996.
Genova married and gave birth to a daughter in 2000. Four years later she and her husband divorced, and Genova began writing full-time. To hear Genova tell it:
When I was 33, I got divorced. I’d been a stay-at-home mom for four years, and I planned to go back to work as a health-care industry strategy consultant. But then I asked myself a question that changed the course of my life: If I could do anything I wanted, what would I do? My answer, which was both exciting and terrifying—write a novel about a woman with Alzheimer’s (Cape Cod Magazine.).
In 2007 she self-published her first novel, Still Alice, which went on to became a major best seller and award winning film. Since then, Genova has written three other fictional works about characters dealing with neurological disorders.
Genova's debut novel follows a woman suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Alice Howland, a 50-year-old woman, is a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned linguistics expert. She is married to an equally successful husband, and they have three grown children. The disease takes hold swiftly, changing Alice’s relationship with her family and the world.
Self-published, Genova sold copies of the book out of the trunk of her car. The book was later acquired by Simon & Schuster and published in 2009. It appeared on the New York Times best seller list for more than 40 weeks, was sold in 30 countries, and translated into more than 20 languages.
The book was adapted for the stage by Christine Mary Dunford and performed by Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre Company in 2013.
A 2014 film adaptation starred Julianne Moore as the lead and co-starred Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, and Kate Bosworth. Moore won an Oscar for Best Actress.
♦ Left Neglected (2011)
Genova's second novel tells the story of a woman who suffers from left neglect (also called hemispatial or unilateral neglect), caused by a traumatic brain injury. As she struggles to recover, she learns that she must embrace a simpler life. She begins to heal when she attends to elements left neglected in herself, her family, and the world around her.
♦ Love Anthony (2012)
Offering a unique perspective in fiction, this third novel presents the extraordinary voice of Anthony, a nonverbal boy with autism. Anthony reveals a neurologically plausible peek inside the mind of autism, why he hates pronouns, why he loves swinging and the number three, how he experiences routine, joy, and love. And it is the voice of this voiceless boy that guides two women in this powerfully unforgettable story to discover the universal truths that connect us all.
♦ Inside the O'Briens (2015)
In her fourth novel, Genova follows Joe O'Brien, a middle-aged Boston policeman diagnosed with Huntington's. There is no cure, and the disease is progressive and lethal. The story revolves around the fallout on Joe's family, including his daughter who is at risk for carrying the genes.
TV and film
Since her first novel was published, Genova has become a professional speaker about Alzheimer's disease. She has been a guest on the Today Show, Dr. Oz, CNN, PBS News Hour, and the Diane Rehm Show. She appeared in the documentary film To Not Fade Away. It is a follow-up to the Emmy Award-winning film, Not Fade Away (2009), about Marie Vitale, a woman who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at the age of 45. (Adapated from Wikipedia. Retrieved 4/6/2015.)
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