Cuesta College’s Book of the Year program for 2017 is set to kick off this month. This year’s book is New York Times bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, written by award-winning science journalist Rebecca Skloot. The non-fiction narrative details the little known life story of an African-American woman who died of cancer but whose cells - harvested without her knowledge or permission in the 1950s - launched a medical revolution. Two members of the Lacks family will appear at Cuesta College for a presentation and book-signing event on April 12, 2017.

The 2017 program begins on October 24 with a reception at Old San Luis BBQ Co., located at 670 Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo, from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

“We are excited for the community to come enjoy some great local BBQ fare while learning about this year’s Book of the Year program,” said Book of the Year Program Committee Chair and Cuesta College Librarian Carina Love. A portion of the proceeds of the event will benefit the Book of the Year Program.

Now in its ninth year, the annual Book of the Year Program includes workshops, book discussions, and other activities leading up to the event featuring the Lacks family on April 12, 2017.

“Henrietta’s descendants speak candidly and poignantly about the Lacks family experiences and the grandmother and great-grandmother whose cancerous cell tissue has become a foundation for the multimillion dollar industry that sells human biological materials,” said Love. “The family’s visit to Cuesta College puts a personal face to big issues such as the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over informed consent.”

The April 12th event will be open to the public and held in Cuesta College’s Cultural and Performing Arts Center (CPAC) from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Tickets go on sale February 1, 2017, and will be available for purchase online at or by calling (805) 546-3198. General admission is $5.00; students and veterans are free with reservation by calling (805) 546-3190.

A calendar will be released in January 2017 detailing the full schedule of Book of the Year program events.

The Book of the Year Program is a project of Cuesta College’s Academic Senate in partnership with San Luis Obispo County Public Library SLO Reads. For more information, please visit, follow the Book of the Year program on Facebook and Twitter or contact Carina Love at