Belkin, Lisa 1960-

views updated

BELKIN, Lisa 1960-

PERSONAL: Born 1960; married; children. Education: Attended Princeton University.

ADDRESSES: Home—Westchester County, NY. Agent—Karpfinger Agency, 357 West 20th St., New York, NY 10011.

CAREER: Journalist and author. New York Times, Washington, DC, bureau, news clerk, then reporter in New York, NY, 1982-87, national correspondent in Houston, TX, bureau, 1987-91, health care reporter in New York, 1991-93. Reporter on Fresh Air, National Public Radio.

AWARDS, HONORS: American Medical Writer's Association Book of the Year, 1993, for First Do No Harm; Kaiser Family Foundation fellowship, 1993-94; Front Page Award; John Barlow Martin Award for Public-Interest Magazine Journalism.


First Do No Harm, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1993.

Show Me a Hero: A Tale of Murder, Suicide, Race, and Redemption, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1999.

Life's Work: Confessions of an Unbalanced Mom, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.

Contributor to New York Magazine; contributor of column "Life's Work" to New York Times.

SIDELIGHTS: Lisa Belkin is a former correspondent and medical reporter for the New York Times. Her first book, First Do No Harm, which takes its title from the Physician's Hippocratic Oath, was published in 1993. Belkin spent three years with the ethics committee at a major metropolitan hospital in Houston, Texas, where she observed the daily struggle with questions of life and death. The committee had to make decisions on patients such as a child born with spina bifida, an extremely premature baby, and a man with a gunshot wound through the spinal cord. Belkin recounts the conversations and heartaches of these patients as well as their doctors and their families.

Belkin's second book, Show Me a Hero: A Tale of Murder, Suicide, Race, and Redemption, is a narrative about the federal court-ordered public housing plan that had the city of Yonkers, New York, in a shattered state in the late 1980s. Belkin covered the story for the New York Times and later wrote the book. The court order stated that the city was required to build public housing in its predominantly white districts. The city's eastside community firmly opposed the order and incurred hundreds of fines by ignoring it until Yonkers was nearly bankrupt. Belkin interviews various people who help give her book its personal tone, including a black mother who will do anything to get her children out of the westside projects, the mayor, and eastside residents who opposed the order. A Publishers Weekly critic called Show Me a Hero a "gritty slice of urban politics, racial tension, and the difficulties inherent in realizing the American dream."

After leaving her job as a correspondent, Belkin began writing for the New York Times as a columnist by penning "Life's Work." The column, which focuses on being a working mother, prompted her 2002 book Life's Work: Confessions of an Unbalanced Mom. This book is a collection of over fifty selections from Belkin's column, and in it she maintains that no one can give one hundred percent to both work and family. "Written with wit and perspective, these short takes on integrating home and job will be balm for guilt-stricken parents and harried workers," noted a critic for Kirkus Reviews.



Book, May-June, 2002, Steve Wilson, review of Life's Work: Confessions of an Unbalanced Mom, p. 84.

Booklist, March 15, 2000, review of Show Me a Hero: A Tale of Murder, Suicide, Race, and Redemption, p. 1337; April 15, 2002, Vanessa Bush, review of Life's Work, p. 1365.

Howard Law Journal, spring, 2001, Jonathan L. Entin, review of Life's Work, pp. 375-398.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2002, p. 300.

Library Journal, April 1, 1999, Linda L. McEwan, review of Show Me a Hero, p. 115; May 1, 2002, Rachel Collins, review of Life's Work, p. 120.

Publishers Weekly, February 8, 1999, review of Show Me a Hero, p. 207; March 25, 2002, review of Life's Work, p. 52.


Time-Warner, (July 21, 2003).*