LISTEN to today's conversation with featured guest
Instant New York Times bestselling memoirist, novelist and host of the hit podcast, Family Secrets, shares her story about the staggering family secret uncovered by a genealogy test: an exploration of the urgent ethical questions surrounding fertility treatments and DNA testing, and a profound inquiry of paternity, identity, and love – now in paperback
In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history—the life she had lived—crumbled beneath her.
This shocking revelation propelled Dani into a journalistic and personal quest that resulted in her latest memoir, INHERITANCE — the book she was literally born to write. Chronicling Dani’s journey to unlock the hidden story of her own identity, INHERITANCE, which became an instant New York Times bestseller in hardcover, is a gripping exploration of the secrets we keep from one another—out of shame, for self-protection, or in the name of love—and how to answer the fundamental question: What makes us who we are?
Dani Shapiro discusses:
· Her writing process for INHERITANCE and why she was driven to start writing in real time as the story was unfolding.
· How her own sense of identity -- a central theme of INHERITANCE – has changed over the course of her DNA discovery to now, as well as how it has affected so many readers on their own journeys of secrets and identity.
· Her advice to the millions of people who will take personal DNA tests (as many as 50 million are estimated to have received personal DNA test kits such as 23&Me and Ancestry for holiday gifts this past season alone). She shares her thoughts on how these tests have affected our society in both good and worrisome ways.
· Her hit podcast, Family Secrets, now in its third season, with over 7 million downloads.
INHERITANCE is a book about secrets—secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in—a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.
About the Author
DANI SHAPIRO is the author of the memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Also an essayist and a journalist, Shapiro's short fiction, essays, and journalistic pieces have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, Vogue, O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, the op-ed pages of the New York Times, and many other publications. She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, the New School, and Wesleyan University; she is cofounder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. Shapiro is the host of the hit podcast, Family Secrets. She lives with her family in Litchfield County, Connecticut.