AUGUSTA — Two people related to the subject of the best-selling book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” will be at the Augusta Civic Center on Saturday to talk about the book and their family’s history.

In “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” which is this year’s A Capital Read selection for a book to read and discuss as a group, author Rebecca Skloot tells the story of Lacks, a poor black tobacco farmer known to scientists as “HeLa.” Her cells were taken without her knowledge in 1951 and used to help develop the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization and more. Her cells, according to a news release, have been bought and sold by the billions, but she remains largely unknown.

A film adaptation of the book, in which Oprah Winfrey stars and was the executive producer, premiered recently on HBO.

The book, according to the release, tells the story of the collision of ethics, race, medicine, scientific discovery and faith healing, and a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.

Two members of the Lacks family will be in the north wing of the Augusta Civic Center at 2 p.m. Saturday for a conversation about the book.

Copies of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” are available at Lithgow Public Library, Bangor Savings Bank’s Augusta locations, and The Holocaust and Human Rights Center at the University of Maine at Augusta, while supplies last.

For more information, call Lithgow Public Library at 626-2415 or visit

The event is free and open to the public.

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