Book events and signings

Speaking gig update: While COVID has drastically impacted travel for book festivals and conferences, I’m still doing a lot of video conferencing interviews and events for local libraries. To keep up to date, follow me on Twitter @papergirlmacy. Hopefully soon we’ll all be vaccinated and can gather together once again to talk about books and writing. For more information or to request an interview or a reading, please contact Lena Little at Lena.Little@hbgusa.com. To request a lecture, please contact Tom Neilssen at Tom@Brightsightgroup.com. 

A few recent virtual events included:

One of my favorite readings, cramming the super-cute Chop Suey Books in Richmond's Carytown, home of Won-Ton, the store cat. November 2014
One of my favorite readings, cramming the super-cute Chop Suey Books in Richmond’s Carytown, home of Won-Ton, the store cat. November 2014.

• Longwood University, President’s Lecture Series, Jan. 23, 2020.

• Boston University’s Power of Narrative conference, March 20-22, 2020.

• Aspen Institute, Winter Words Event, Aspen, CO, March 31, 2020.

• Bowling Green Station University, College of Education and Human Development, April 9 and 10, 2020, Bowling Green, Ohio.

• National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, Nashville, April 13, 2020.

• National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Maryland, Baltimore Convention Center, April 23, 2020.

• Baltimore County Public Library, April 24, 2020.

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For a follow-up audio documentary, Patricia Mehrmann (right) and I went to Las Vegas twice in 2018 to help her find closure on the murder of her 28-year-old heroin-addicted daughter. On October 3, 2019, “Dopesick: Finding Tess,” produced by Emily Martinez, will release as a six-part series on Audible Original. | Photo by Emily Martinez

From the Richmond Dispatch, Jan. 25, 1884

From an 1884 letter from a Richmond doctor to the Daily Dispatch, imploring citizens to understand that opioid addiction spares no one. The post Civil War epidemic led forty years later to a medical community and criminal justice crackdown on doctor-led (or iatrogenic) addiction. For most of the last century, painkillers were reserved as end-of-life/cancer treatment or for post surgical care — until pharmacy-funded “pain as the fifth vital sign,” and OxyContin came along. Archives courtesy of the Library of Virginia.

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Tess Henry, an honor roll student who loved poetry, playing sports, the essays of David Sedaris and rescue dogs, asked me to chronicle her story of becoming addicted to prescription opioid pills and, later, heroin in 2015. I dedicate this book to her, “our poet,” and so many others whose efforts to access addiction treatment repeatedly were thwarted by indifference and rigid treatment ideologies.

To inquire about a lecture, please e-mail Tom Neilssen at tom@brightsightgroup.com. Thank you.

The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people.

—Walt Whitman (1819-1892)