Sunday, September 23 , 2018, 7:03 pm | Partly Cloudy 62º

 
 
 
 

Author Abraham Verghese Inspires Anacapa School’s AP Literature Students

He talks with the class about his life, career and acclaimed novel

It’s not often that high school students have the opportunity to meet a best-selling author, but that’s what happened recently when the students in Anacapa School’s AP Literature class spent an inspiring hour with Dr. Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone.

Under the sponsorship of Northern Trust and as guests of the Santa Barbara Chapter of the California Literary Arts Society, the students enjoyed a private session with the author followed by a luncheon at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.

In preparation for meeting Dr. Verghese, students read and discussed his acclaimed novel, which is listed on the New York Times best-seller list.

Teacher Peggy Lauer said the students were all enthusiastic about the book on several levels. They were particularly drawn to Dr. Verghese’s stellar prose, his compelling characters and the intriguing Ethiopian setting. They were also curious about the political events of the civil war in Ethiopia, which served as a backdrop for part of the novel.

Dr. Verghese engaged the students, putting them at ease right away by first finding out about them individually, including each one’s favorite book. A professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Verghese is comfortable and skilled in his interactions with students, and he quickly drew them into a lively exchange.

With his open, cordial and friendly demeanor, he welcomed their questions about his life, his techniques as a writer, and his role as a practicing physician and medical school professor.

“His affable personality was welcoming,” senior Brenda Renteria said, “and I think it allowed our class to have a meaningful conversation with him.”

After the class’ private session with the author, there was more “book talk” at the literary society’s luncheon. Before beginning his talk, Dr. Verghese remarked to the audience that they needn’t worry about the future if the Anacapa students are going to be in charge.

While Dr. Verghese talked about his childhood in Ethiopia and the development of his career, the heart of his speech reflected one of the important messages of his novel — his conviction that doctors need to listen to their patients. He expressed his concern over the abbreviated time doctors can spend with their patients in a system where technology seems to have taken over. He told the audience that, in his teaching of medical students, he stresses the importance of the doctor taking a full history and doing a complete hands-on examination of the patient before ordering tests. The students especially took to heart Dr. Verghese’s assertion that one of the most important treatments of a patient is “administered by ear.” That therapy is, he said, “words of comfort.”

In class the next day, the Anacapa students expressed their feelings of inspiration. They felt they had indeed been in the presence of a wise man.

“I felt almost star-struck,” senior Molly Snyder said.

Junior Gazal Homayouni described the impact that reading the book and meeting the author had had on her: “Dr. Verghese said that he wanted to become a surgeon after reading Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham, and I think that Cutting for Stone has made me even more interested in entering the medical field.”

— Sheryn Sears is executive administrator for Anacapa School.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >