Upcoming Event

Kay Redfield Jamison at the Cambridge Public Library


Fires in the Dark:
Healing the Unquiet Mind

in conversation with DR. ARTHUR KLEINMAN


May 30, 2024
6:00 PM ET
(Doors at 5:30)


Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138


$0.00 (Free RSVP Required) $20.19 (book included)

Harvard Book Store and the Cambridge Public Library welcome KAY REDFIELD JAMISON—Dalio Professor in Mood Disorders and professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire—for a discussion of the paperback release of her book Fires in the Dark: Healing the Unquiet Mind. She will be joined in conversation by DR. ARTHUR KLEINMAN—author of The Soul of Care and professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School.


RSVP for free to this event or choose the "Book-Included" ticket to reserve a paperback copy of Fires in the Dark and pick it up at the event. Kay will sign copies of her new book after the presentation.


About Fires in the Dark

“To treat, even to cure, is not always to heal.” In this expansive cultural history of the treatment and healing of mental suffering, Kay Jamison writes about psychotherapy, what makes a great healer, and the role of imagination and memory in regenerating the mind. From the trauma of the battlefields of the twentieth century, to those who are grieving, depressed, or with otherwise unquiet minds, to her own experience with bipolar illness, Jamison demonstrates how remarkable psychotherapy and other treatments can be when done well. She argues that not only patients but doctors must be healed. She draws on the example of W.H.R. Rivers, the renowned psychiatrist who treated poet Siegfried Sassoon and other World War I soldiers, and discusses the long history of physical treatments for mental illness, as well as the ancient and modern importance of religion, ritual, and myth in healing the mind. She looks at the vital role of artists and writers, as well as exemplary figures, such as Paul Robeson, who have helped to heal us as a people. Fires in the Dark is a beautiful meditation on the quest and adventure of healing the mind, on the power of accompaniment, and the necessity for knowledge.

Praise for Fires in the Dark

"In this loose sequel to a bestselling memoir of bipolar illness, Jamison, a writer and a psychologist, explores the process of prying a mind from disease or despair. Healing, she writes, depends on “harvesting the imagination” and navigating “the balance between remembering and forgetting”; it also, crucially, relies on support . . . Jamison emphasizes the importance of recognizing a diversity of sources of fortitude and models of accompaniment." —The New Yorker, “Best Books of 2023”

“Jamison, the exquisite chronicler of her own unquiet mind, reflects on the process—and adventure—of healing in this beautiful cultural, historical, and creative exploration of what makes us whole. She introduces us to the groundbreaking work of World War I physicians working with shell-shocked soldiers; delves into public grieving; and brings in the mythic patterns and imaginative literature we need as touchstones for relief. Jamison’s elegant prose, imbued with personal warmth and deep humanity, is itself a solace, lighting the way on the path that leads us to a more peaceful present and imaginative future.” —Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk To Someone and co-host of the Dear Therapists podcast

“Like all of Kay Redfield Jamison’s books, Fires in the Dark is a wonderful blend of rigorous scholarship and intimate address. As she tracks the history of American (and, specifically, Baltimorean) medicine through the First World War, explores the relationship between war poets and early healers of the mind, then explores their influence and effect in wider as well as more personal settings, she creates a history of healing, which is at once thrilling in its scope and deeply touching in its particular details.” —Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, 1999–2009

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Dr. Arthur Kleinman
Dr. Arthur Kleinman

Dr. Arthur Kleinman

Arthur Kleinman, MD, author of The Soul of Care: The Moral Education of a Husband and a Doctor (Penguin/Viking 2019), is one of the most renowned and influential scholars and writers on psychiatry, anthropology, global health, and cultural and humanistic issues in health and medicine. Educated at Stanford University and Stanford Medical School, Kleinman has taught at Harvard for 48 years. He is currently a professor of global health and social medicine and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He has been the Victor and William Fung Director of Harvard University’s Asia Center (2008 – 2016); Chair, Department of Social Medicine (1990-2000); and Chair, Department of Anthropology (2004-2007). Kleinman is the author of six other books, including The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition, widely taught in medical schools. His co-edited volumes include Reimagining Global Health with the late Paul Farmer and Jim Kim, his former students. He was the senior editor of the first World Mental Health Report, Director of the Out of the Shadows Report on Mental Health for the World Bank, and editor of the Fall 2023 issue of Daedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, on Mental Health. Kleinman is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a past member of NIH’s Council of the Fogarty International Center and Council of Councils. Amongst his awards are the Franz Boas Award from the American Anthropological Association, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Tanner Lectures, an Honorary Doctorate from York University in Canada, and election to Honorary Academician of Academic Sinica in Taiwan. He is also a Distinguished Lifetime Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Kleinman currently directs a project on Social Technology for Global Aging and Eldercare in China at Harvard that involves faculty and students from six of Harvard's schools as well as a number of his former students who are now professors in China. Kleinman has mentored more than 100 PhD students and more than 200 postdoctoral fellows.

Photo Credit: Torben Eskerod

Kay Redfield Jamison
Kay Redfield Jamison

Kay Redfield Jamison

Kay Redfield Jamison is the Dalio Professor in Mood Disorders and a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, as well as an honorary professor of English at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She is the coauthor of the standard medical text on bipolar disorder and author of An Unquiet Mind, Night Falls Fast, Exuberance, and Touched with Fire. Her most recent book, Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Dr. Jamison is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She is a recipient of the Lewis Thomas Prize, the Sarnat Prize from the National Academy of Medicine, and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship.

Photo credit: Tom Traill


Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138

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