4 Questions: Theresa Brown (author of The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives)

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Pittsburgh author Theresa Brown, RN, works as a clinical nurse. Her regular column appears on the New York Times opinion pages as well as on the Times Opinionator blog. She has also been a contributor to the popular “Well” section of that paper and writes for CNN.com and other national media.

Brown received her BSN from the University of Pittsburgh and, during what she calls her past life, a PhD in English from the University of Chicago. Before becoming a nurse she taught English at Tufts University — and we were lucky enough to score this interview with her on the eve of the paperback launch of The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives (Classic Lines – May 15).

In addition to her Classic Lines launch party, Brown will be speaking at Whitehall Public Library (May 4), Dormont Public Library (May 25), and Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures (June 21).

Start Reading The Shift

Paperback Book Launch…


What comes to mind when you think of Pittsburgh?

Bridges, of course, and nice people–real people–that strange accent, more great culture than I would have thought possible in a city of this size, and all the trees. I love my adopted city.

What books are on your nightstand?

Edith Pearlman’s Honeydew. I’ve read all but the last two stories–I’m saving them. Also, The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore; Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast: Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road; and Banjo by Claude McKay. My son read McKay’s book in his college English class and thought I would like it; it’s about music, race, slavery, and belonging, I think.

Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film?

Ooooh! What a fun question. Remembrance of Things Past, by Marcel Proust. It would be the longest, most beautiful movie ever. But maybe not enough happens…

Who would you most want to share a plate of pierogis with?

Jeff Romoff, UPMC CEO. I’d like to tell him that he could still be a very rich man without nickel and diming the people of Pittsburgh over wages and access to health care.


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