Guest post by: Thea Cooper
Thea Cooper, Co-Author of Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin and the Making of a Medical Miracle, appears at Wordstock Festival on Sunday, October 10th at 2pm on the Wieden + Kennedy Stage
Q: What motivated you to write BREAKTHROUGH?
A: It all began with an article in The New York Times Magazine in 2003, which described in a general way the discovery of insulin. The article was brought to my attention by a colleague, Arthur Ainsberg. I thought how strange it was that although today diabetes affects many more people than polio does, the name Banting is not as well known as the name Jonas Salk. We started doing research.
The research was very exciting. It felt like detective work. We visited medical centers, universities, libraries, archives, and other sites of significance located in twenty-five cities and towns in eight states and four countries over the course of five years. What a cast of characters we discovered! In life as well as in literature, I’m fascinated with people who make unexpected choices. The story of Breakthrough is positively rife with them.