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Dr. Abraham Verghese: Literature and Medicine

Host Marcia Franklin talks with Dr. Abraham Verghese, a professor at the Stanford School of Medicine and an author of both fiction and non-fiction works. They discuss not only the themes of his work, but also his thoughts on healthcare reform and ways for doctors to establish better working relationships with their patients.

Verghese’s first book, My Own Country, was a poignant chronicle of how his life was changed by working with AIDS patients in rural Tennessee. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He went on to pen another non-fiction work called The Tennis Partner, about a doctor’s struggle with mental illness and drug addiction. He is also a frequent contributor to magazines and journals, writing articles about medical ethics.

In his first novel, Verghese turned his focus to a work of fiction, Cutting for Stone. It is set in Ethopia, where he grew up. The expansive book follows the saga of two Indian brothers as they learn more about their past. With medicine as its backdrop, it also allows Verghese to explore some of what he views as the best and worst aspects of his profession.

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Originally Aired: 12/10/2009

The interview is part of Dialogue’s series, “Conversations from the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference,” and was taped at the 2009 conference. Since 1995, the conference has been bringing together some of the world’s most well-known and illuminating authors to discuss literature and life.

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