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Susannah Cahalan biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Susannah Cahalan

Susannah Cahalan

How to pronounce Susannah Cahalan: Cuh-HAY-lan

Susannah Cahalan Biography

Susannah Cahalan is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, a memoir about her struggle with a rare autoimmune disease of the brain. She writes for the New York Post. Her work has also been featured in the New York Times, Scientific American Magazine, Glamour, Psychology Today, and other publications. She lives in Brooklyn.

Susannah Cahalan's website

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Interview

Susannah Cahalan discusses her latest book, The Great Pretender, and what she hopes people will learn from reading it.

What drew you to this topic? Did you go looking for such an explosive story, or was it luck?
It started from a highly personal place. When I first read David Rosenhan's study, his experience with depersonalization and labeling rang so true to my own experience. But chancing upon that explosive story (as you describe it!) was total luck. When I was writing the book, I didn't see these issues as a positive thing for the narrative—I worried that this book was done with!

Why do you feel it is important or urgent for readers to be discussing Rosenhan and his work?
Even though Rosenhan's study is now almost fifty years old, so many of the questions that he raises in it—how to distinguish "sanity" from "insanity," how to treat serious mental illness, the role of context in diagnosis—have remained with us. Rosenhan's study crystalizes the importance of asking these questions and the importance of being honest and open about the limitations in answering them.

What was your favorite part of researching the book? Of writing it? What was the biggest surprise?
I had such a joyous time writing this book—mostly because of the extraordinary people I met—among them David's close friend and confidant Florence ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Susannah Cahalan at BookBrowse
The Great Pretender jacket Brain on Fire jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Susannah Cahalan but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Edward Bullmore

    Edward Bullmore

    Prof Edward Bullmore, MB PhD FRCP FRCPsych FMedSci, trained in medicine at the University of Oxford and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London; then in psychiatry at the Bethlem Royal & Maudsley Hospital, London. He moved ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Great Pretender

    Try:
    The Inflamed Mind
    by Edward Bullmore

  • Charlie English

    Charlie English

    Charlie English is a former journalist for the Guardian, where he held several positions including arts editor and head of international news. A fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the author of two previous books, ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Great Pretender

    Try:
    The Gallery of Miracles and Madness
    by Charlie English

We recommend 5 similar authors

View all 5 Readalikes

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