Read with Smith Center

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April 6 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Carla Stillwagon, Kiersten Gallagher & Erin Price

Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaouad

Welcome to “Read with Smith Center,” a community of book lovers diving in to current and relevant book material.

Our upcoming book selection is Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaouad. 

Read the description from Amazon Smile:

In the summer after graduating from college, Suleika Jaouad was preparing, as they say in commencement speeches, to enter “the real world.” She had fallen in love and moved to Paris to pursue her dream of becoming a war correspondent. The real world she found, however, would take her into a very different kind of conflict zone.
It started with an itch—first on her feet, then up her legs, like a thousand invisible mosquito bites. Next came the exhaustion, and the six-hour naps that only deepened her fatigue. Then a trip to the doctor and, a few weeks shy of her twenty-third birthday, a diagnosis: leukemia, with a 35 percent chance of survival. Just like that, the life she had imagined for herself had gone up in flames. By the time Jaouad flew home to New York, she had lost her job, her apartment, and her independence. She would spend much of the next four years in a hospital bed, fighting for her life and chronicling the saga in a column for The New York Times.
When Jaouad finally walked out of the cancer ward—after countless rounds of chemo, a clinical trial, and a bone marrow transplant—she was, according to the doctors, cured. But as she would soon learn, a cure is not where the work of healing ends; it’s where it begins. She had spent the past 1,500 days in desperate pursuit of one goal—to survive. And now that she’d done so, she realized that she had no idea how to live.
How would she reenter the world and live again? How could she reclaim what had been lost? Jaouad embarked—with her new best friend, Oscar, a scruffy terrier mutt—on a 100-day, 15,000-mile road trip across the country. She set out to meet some of the strangers who had written to her during her years in the hospital: a teenage girl in Florida also recovering from cancer; a teacher in California grieving the death of her son; a death-row inmate in Texas who’d spent his own years confined to a room. What she learned on this trip is that the divide between sick and well is porous, that the vast majority of us will travel back and forth between these realms throughout our lives. Between Two Kingdoms is a profound chronicle of survivorship and a fierce, tender, and inspiring exploration of what it means to begin again.

We will begin the book discussion on Tuesday, March 16th and continue through April (6th & 20th). Please register to be notified of the pages to prepare for each session. We also encourage you to join if only for the vibrant discussion!


Read with Smith Center will meet Bi-Monthly on Tuesdays from 12:00-1:00pm.

Upcoming Dates: 

  • April 6 & 20
  • May 4 & 18
  • June 8 & 22

Click here to choose Smith Center for Healing and the Arts as your charity of choice when you shop on Amazon Smile!


About Carla Stillwagon

Carla serves as the Cancer Support Program & Retreat Coordinator at Smith Center. During her time at the center, Carla has been inspired to further develop her commitment to the arts and their invaluable role in healing and community. She is excited to share her favorite pastime, reading, in this group and hopes to hear all about your favorite things to read!

About Kiersten Gallagher

As the Cancer Support Program Director, Kiersten fully believes that through the arts we can expand our perspectives and explore new fulfilling ways of being. She invites you to make our space your own refuge, to circumvent your daily routine to spark creativity, to take time for introspection, and draw outside the lines.

About Erin Price, LICSW

Erin serves as Smith Center’s Director of Young Adult and Psychosocial Support Programs. She is trained in Integrative Patient Navigation, a Project LEAD graduate, and holds a Masters in Social Work. A seven-year breast cancer survivor, Erin is passionate about providing support and community to other cancer survivors, especially young adults. She works with Smith Center’s DC Young Adult Cancer Community and is also actively involved in the cancer community through Young Survival Coalition, Critical Mass, the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates, National Breast Cancer Coalition, and the DC Cancer Action Partnership.

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