Corrigan, Kelly 1967-

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Corrigan, Kelly 1967-


Born August 16, 1967; daughter of George and Mary Corrigan; married Edward Lichty; children: Claire and Georgia. Education: Attended University of Richmond; San Francisco State University, master's degree.


Home—Near San Francisco, CA. Agent—c/o Andrea Barzvi, ICM, 10250 Constellation Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067.


Writer and columnist. Worked for nonprofit organizations for ten years.


The Middle Place (memoir), Voice/Hyperion (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to periodicals, including O magazine. Founder and author of Circus of Cancer Web site.


Kelly Corrigan was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, three months before her father also received a cancer diagnosis. Corrigan had breast cancer, and doctors found tumors on her father's bladder. In her first book, The Middle Place, Corrigan presents a memoir of her life coupled with an exploration of the battles she and her father fought with cancer. Much of the book revolves around the issue of being in what Corrigan calls the "middle place," that is, being a parent and having one's own parents still alive."

Writing in the book's prologue, the author comments on the many times she called "home" to talk to her parents, noting the birth of her first child and the time she called them three years later to tell them she had cancer, something she learned just a few days before her oldest daughter's third birthday. The author writes: "And that's what this whole thing is all about. Calling home. Instinctively. Even when all the paperwork—a marriage license, a notarized deed, two birth certificates, and seven years of tax returns—clearly indicates you're an adult, but all the same, there you are, clutching the phone and thanking God that you're still somebody's daughter."

The author began her memoir as a series of e-mails to friends and family and then as the Web site Circus of Cancer. "One night, in the midst of it all, she wrote seven pages about her father," wrote Bob Minzesheimer for USA Today. "It took 20 minutes. ‘I felt like I was writing against the clock. It was like I had to explain my father to people who had never meet him—his sense of humor and everything.’" Minzesheimer added: "Nearly word for word, it became the prologue to her book."

In her memoir, Corrigan mixes the story of her and her father's battle with cancer with her life growing up. Reflecting on her past, she recalls her very close ties to her father and mother, but especially to her father, whom she calls "Greenie." Writing for, Camillie Peri noted: "In the book, Kelly—whom her father calls ‘Lovey’— often verges on hysteria as she trolls sites like the Bladder Cancer Web Cafe, cleans the scum from her daughters' sippy cups, and urges her brothers to get their father seen at Johns Hopkins while Greenie and her mother, Mary, put their faith in God and the doctors in their Philadelphia suburb."

Throughout the book, the author examines the meaning of family and faith. She writes of her father's undying faith and devotion to the Catholic Church compared to her own more agnostic perspective, although she still calls herself a Catholic. "If you asked my dad, he'd assure you that heaven exists and boy are you gonna love it," the author notes in an essay titled "Doubt inside My Doubt," which first appeared in O magazine and is reprinted on the author's home page. "Just like if you asked him why I got better, he'd say something about how God wants me to be here. I tell him I got better because there was an antidote, namely four chemotherapies, each an impressive creation of man." Ultimately, both Corrigan and her father recover from cancer.

The Middle Place received many favorable reviews. "Those learning to accept their own adulthood might find strength—and humor—in Corrigan's feisty memoir," wrote a contributor to Publishers Weekly. A contributor to the Gift of Green Web site wrote: "Parts [of the book] are heartbreaking—a preview of life's future events flicker by as a preview to a play that we can only hope a parent won't miss. This is not a puritanical piece of work either. There is drinking, and swearing, and without a doubt, I will never be able to look at pair of Guess jeans in the same way again."



Corrigan, Kelly, The Middle Place, Voice/Hyperion (New York, NY), 2007.


Library Journal, May 1, 2008, Ilka Gordon, review of The Middle Place, p. 116.

O magazine, January, 2008, Cathleen Medwick, "The Daughter's Dilemma," interview with author, p. 144; May, 2008, Kelly Corrigan, "Doubt inside My Doubt."

Publishers Weekly, October 22, 2007, review of The Middle Place, p. 47.

USA Today, January 7, 2008, Bob Minzesheimer, "Cancer Puts Author Kelly Corrigan, Father in the ‘Middle.’"


Blog Critics, (August 28, 2008), Lesa Holstine, review of The Middle Place., (August 28, 2008), Camille Peri, "Talking with Kelly Corrigan."

Circus of Cancer, (August 28, 2008), author profile.

Every Woman's Voice, (August 28, 2008), brief profile of author.

Gift of Green, (August 28, 2008), "Gift of Green Reviews … Kelly Corrigan's The Middle Place."

Huffington Post, (August 28, 2008), Ashley Van Buren, "Kelly Corrigan's Living in The Middle Place."

Jayne's Breast Cancer, (August 28, 2008), Jayne England Byrne, review of The Middle Place.

Kelly Corrigan Home Page, (August 28, 2008), author profile., (August 28, 2008), Barbara Bamberger Scott, review of The Middle Place.

Writing Canvas, (August 28, 2008), review of The Middle Place.