Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Who Gets to Be the Hero? Children’s Fiction & Narrative Pediatrics with Dr. Sayantani DasGupta

March 20, 2018 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

“Who Gets to Be the Hero? Children’s Fiction and Narrative Pediatrics,” a talk by Sayantani DasGupta

Listen to a podcast of the event on iTunes U


For our March Narrative Medicine Rounds, we welcome Sayantani DasGupta, MD MPH, who teaches in the Master’s Program in Narrative Medicine, the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, and the Institute of Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. Dr. DasGupta will be speaking about writing her novel, The Serpent’s Secret, which is the first book in the new Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series just published by Scholastic Press.


March Narrative Medicine Rounds are co-sponsored by the Program in Narrative Medicine and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race and Reflexions: The Literary and Fine Arts Journal of Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. DasGupta, the daughter of Indian immigrants, wanted to share her love of books with her own kids but was saddened by the lack of heroes that looked like her family and neighbors. She decided to write her own stories, returning to the folktales filled with bloodthirsty demons and enchanted animals that she heard on childhood trips to India. The Serpent’s Secret is the result, an imaginative, rollicking adventure novel with a butt-kicking (but very reluctant) main character.

Originally trained in pediatrics and public health, Dr. DasGupta is also the author, co-author or co-editor of several books, including a book of Bengali folktales, The Demon Slayers and Other Stories (Interlink 1995), and the seminal book Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (Oxford 2016). The Serpent’s Secret is her first novel for children and is based on the Bengali folktales she heard as an immigrant daughter. Learn more about her work at or on twitter

Co-sponsoring our March Narrative Medicine Rounds is the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (CSER), which is Columbia University’s main interdisciplinary space for the study of ethnicity and race and their implications for thinking about culture, power, hierarchy, social identities, and political communities.

The Center also offers a wide range of public programming, including Artist at the Center, Indigenous Forum, and the Latino and the Transnational Asian/American Speaker Series. CSER’s most recent spaces include the Media and Idea Lab and Gallery at the Center, a space dedicated to curating artistic and thematic exhibits around the Center’s key areas of interest.

The other co-sponsor, Reflexions, is the Literary and Fine Arts Journal of CUMC. The journal features health and non-health themed poetry, fiction, narratives, photography and art. Submissions are accepted from CUMC students, faculty, alumni and staff, who also are involved in the selection, editing and layout process. Reflexions is published annually and is widely distributed throughout the hospital and Columbia academic community. Please address inquiries and submissions to



March 20, 2018
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


Division of Narrative Medicine in the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics
Tel: 212.305.1952 | Fax: 212.305.9349


CUIMC School of Nursing, 560 West 168 St.,1st Floor Rooms 104/105
630 W. 168th Street, 4th floor
New York, NY 10032 United States
+ Google Map