Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

November 12, 2021 • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Despite our lunchtime scheduling of this conversation, you may want to watch on an empty stomach! Authors Dr. Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen join Dr. Ina Park (Strange Bedfellows: Adventures in the Science, History and Surprising Secrets of STDs) for an informative and shockingly fun conversation on PATIENT ZERO: A Curious History of the World’s Worst Diseases.
From the masters of storytelling-meets-science and co-authors of Quackery, Patient Zero tells the long and fascinating history of disease outbreaks—how they start, how they spread, the science that lets us understand them, and how we race to destroy them before they destroy us. Written in the authors’ lively and accessible style, chapters include page-turning medical stories about a particular disease or virus—smallpox, Bubonic plague, polio, HIV—that combine “Patient Zero” narratives, or the human stories behind outbreaks, with historical examinations of missteps, milestones, scientific theories, and more.

Learn the tragic stories of Patient Zeros throughout history, such as Mabalo Lokela, who contracted Ebola while on vacation in 1976, and the Lewis Baby on London’s Broad Street, the first to catch cholera in an 1854 outbreak that led to a major medical breakthrough. Interspersed are origin stories of a different sort—how a rye fungus in 1951 turned a small village in France into a phantasmagoric scene reminiscent of Burning Man. Plus the uneasy history of human autopsy, how the HIV virus has been with us for at least a century, and more.

FREE virtual program, but donations are gratefully accepted. REGISTER HERE.
Signed copies of Patient Zero will be available for purchase through the Mark Twain Store; proceeds benefit The Mark Twain House & Museum. Books will be shipped after the event. We regret that we are NOT able to ship books outside the United States as it is cost-prohibitive to do so.
About the Authors:
Lydia Kang is an author and internal medicine physician. She is a graduate of Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine, and completed her training at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She lives with her family in the midwest. Follow her on Twitter @LydiaYKang and Instagram @LydiaKang.

Nate Pedersen is a writer, anthologist, and lecturer in Portland, Oregon. He is the co-author of Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything with Lydia Kang, published by Workman, which NPR dubbed a best science book of 2017. Nate also edited the Lovecraftian anthologies The Starry Wisdom Library: The Catalogue of the Greatest Occult Book Auction of All Time, (PS 2015) and Sisterhood: Dark Tales and Secret Histories (Chaosium 2021). A follow-up to the Starry Wisdom Library, entitled The Dagon Collection, is slated for 2021 or 2022 from PS.

About the Moderator:
Dr. Ina Park is an associate professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, Medical Consultant at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of STD Prevention, and Medical Director of the California Prevention Training Center. She lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband and two sons.  Strange Bedfellows is her first book.
Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are made possible in part by support from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, and the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign and its Travelers Arts Impact Grant program, with major support from The Travelers Foundation. For more information call 860-247-0998 or visit marktwainhouse.org


November 12, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Categories:
, ,


The Mark Twain House & Museum
View Organizer Website