Author of ‘Brain on Fire’ to talk about her ‘month of madness’

Susannah Cahalan, an award-winning author, will speak at Yale on Friday, Feb. 21 as a Poynter Fellow in Journalism.

Susannah Cahalan

Cahalan will give a talk titled “Brain on Fire: Anti-NMDA, A Clinical and Case Perspective” at 10:15 a.m. at the Connecticut Mental Health Center Auditorium, 34 Park St. 

As a young reporter at the New York Post, Cahalan experienced Anti-NMDA, a rare form of an autoimmune disease that closely simulates severe mental illness. After being nearly incapacitated by the illness, she was properly diagnosed and treated, making a full recovery.

Cahalan used her fight with Anti-NMDA as the basis for “Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness,” a best-selling autobiographical work that won widespread critical praise. Her writing on the disease has also been featured in such publications as The New York Times, Scientific American, and Glamour.

Today, Cahalan works at the New York Post and continues to speak about her experience and raise awareness about the autoimmune disease and about mental illness more generally.

The Poynter Fellowship in Journalism was established by Nelson Poynter, who received his master’s degree in 1927 from Yale. The fellowship brings to campus journalists from a wide variety of media outlets who have made significant contributions to their field. Among recent Poynter fellow are Jill Abramson, Nathaniel Rich, and James Bennet.

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