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Siddhartha Mukherjee

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The Cancer Historian

When Siddhartha Mukherjee’s book The Emperor of All Maladies won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction, it surprised no one. His eloquent book is lauded for ‘examining cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective and a biographer’s passion’. It chronicles human beings’ struggle with the disease for the past 4,000 years. Mukherjee, born and raised in Delhi, is a bestselling writer who is also an oncologist and professor at Columbia University’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. The 41-year-old is a bestselling writer who followed up his undergraduate degree at Stanford University with a PhD at Oxford and a medical degree at Harvard. He began thinking of writing the book after one of his patients, who had stomach cancer, told him she was willing to go on fighting but needed to know what she was fighting. He is married to the MacArthur award-winning artist Sarah Sze and is personable enough for a New York journalist to gush, “He looks less like a scientist than like the leading man in a Bollywood musical.” Since the book, he has gone back to days split between his patients and cancer research.

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