Anne Fadiman

Author of "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures"

Francis Writer in Residence

National Book Critics Circle Award Recipient

Anne Fadiman is an author, essayist, editor, and teacher. Her first book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, tells the story of an epileptic Hmong child and her family living in Merced, California. Fadiman's sensitive, incisive treatment of the unbreachable gulf between the Hmong and American medical systems won her a National Book Critics’ Circle Award. The Washington Post called the book “an intriguing, spirit-lifting, extraordinary exploration.” In 2009, it was chosen by the Young Adult Library Association as one of its recommended titles for all students (the list, which includes a number of adult titles, is revised every 5 years and used by educators and librarians across the country). Spirit is frequently chosen by colleges, libraries, and communities for First Year Experience and All Read programs.The book continues to be taught at universities both as literary journalism and as a casebook for cross-cultural sensitivity in general; it is also widely read by medical practitioners who wish to offer more effective care to patients from other cultures. In 2019, it was named as one of Slate’s 50 Best Nonfiction Books of the Past 25 Years. As the inaugural Francis Writer in Residence, Yale University’s first endowed appointment in nonfiction writing, Anne Fadiman serves as both a professor in the English department and a mentor to students considering careers in writing or editing.

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