Author(s): Anne Boyer
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. A week after her forty-first birthday, Anne Boyer was diagnosed with highly aggressive triple-negative breast cancer. For a single mother living payslip to payslip who had always been the caregiver rather than the one needing care, the catastrophic condition was both a crisis and an initiation into new ideas about mortality and the gendered politics of illness.
A twenty-first-century Illness as Metaphor, as well as a harrowing memoir of survival, The Undying explores the experience of illness as mediated by digital screens, weaving in ancient Roman dream diarists, cancer hoaxers and fetishists, cancer vloggers, corporate lies, John Donne, pro-pain 'dolorists', the ecological costs of chemotherapy, and the many little murders of capitalism. It excoriates the pharmaceutical industry and the bland hypocrisies of 'pink ribbon culture' while also diving into the long literary line of women writing about their own illnesses and ongoing deaths- Audre Lorde, Kathy Acker, Susan Sontag, and others.
Genre-bending, angry, profoundly humane and deeply affecting, The Undying is an unmissably original book of heart, intellect and fierce insight into the sicknesses and, occasionally, the perverse glories of our contemporary world.
Winner Pulitzer 2020 - General Non Fiction
Anne Boyer is a U.S. poet and essayist. In 2018 she was the inaugural winner of the Cy Twombly Award for Poetry and the recipient of a Whiting Award in non-fiction/poetry. Her books include A Handbook of Disappointed Fate (2018) as well as several volumes of poetry, including The Romance of Happy Workers (2008) and the CLMP Firecracker Award-winning Garments Against Women (2016). Normally based in Kansas City, Missouri, she is the Judith E. Wilson Fellow at Cambridge for 2018-2019.