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Narrative Medicine Rounds: “Children’s Fiction and Narrative Pediatrics,” A Talk by Sayantani DasGupta


Mar 20, 2018 - 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.


Faculty Club of Columbia University Medical Center, Physicians & Surgeons Building, 630 W. 168th St., 4th Floor, New York, NY

Due to expected inclement weather, this event has been rescheduled from March 7 to March 20.

For our March Narrative Medicine Rounds, cosponsored by the Program in Narrative Medicine and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, we welcome Sayantani DasGupta, MD MPH, who teaches in the master’s program in Narrative Medicine, the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, and the Institute of Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. Dr. DasGupta will speak about writing her novel, The Serpent’s Secret, which is the first book in the new Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series just published by Scholastic Press.

Dr. DasGupta, the daughter of Indian immigrants, wanted to share her love of books with her own kids but was saddened by the lack of heroes that looked like her family and neighbors. She decided to write her own stories, returning to the folktales filled with bloodthirsty demons and enchanted animals that she heard on childhood trips to India. The Serpent’s Secret is the result, an imaginative, rollicking adventure novel with a butt-kicking (but very reluctant) main character.

Originally trained in pediatrics and public health, Dr. DasGupta is also the author, coauthor, or co-editor of several books, including a book of Bengali folktales, The Demon Slayers and Other Stories (Interlink 1995), and the recent Principles and Practices of Narrative Medicine (Oxford 2016). The Serpent's Secret is her first novel for children and is based on the Bengali folktales she heard as an immigrant daughter. Learn more about her work at www.sayantanidasgupta.com or @sayantani16.

The Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (CSER), cosponsor of this month’s Rounds, is Columbia University’s main interdisciplinary space for the study of ethnicity and race and their implications for thinking about culture, power, hierarchy, social identities, and political communities. The Center also offers a wide range of public programming, including Artist at the Center, Indigenous Forum, and the Latino and the Transnational Asian/American Speaker Series. CSER’s most recent spaces include the Media and Idea Lab and Gallery at the Center, a space dedicated to curating artistic and thematic exhibits around the Center’s key areas of interest.

Narrative Medicine Rounds are lectures or readings presented by scholars, clinicians, or writers engaged in work at the intersection of narrative and health care. Rounds are held on the first Wednesday of each month during the Spring and Fall terms from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and are followed by a reception. Rounds are free and open to the public; no RSVP is necessary. Students, staff, faculty, patients, friends, and interested others are warmly welcome to attend.


Sayantani DasGupta, MD MPH, faculty, Master of Science in Narrative Medicine program