February 7, 2022

Florence Williams

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes FLORENCE WILLIAMS—the award-winning author of Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History and The Nature Fix—for a discussion of her latest book, Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey. She will be joined in conversation by CLAIRE DEDERER, the New York Times bestselling author of Love and Trouble and Poser


When her twenty-five-year marriage unexpectedly falls apart, journalist Florence Williams expects the loss to hurt. What she doesn’t expect is that she’ll end up in the hospital, examining close-up the way our cells listen to loneliness. She travels to the frontiers of the science of “social pain” to learn why heartbreak hurts so much and why so much of the conventional wisdom about it is wrong.

Searching for insight as well as personal strategies to game her way back to health, Williams tests her blood for genetic markers of grief, undergoes electrical shocks in a laboratory while looking at pictures of her ex, and ventures to the wilderness in search of awe as an antidote to loneliness. For readers of Wild and Lab GirlHeartbreak is a remarkable merging of science and self-discovery that will change the way we think about loneliness, health, and what it means to fall in and out of love.

About Author(s)

Florence Williams is the author of Breasts, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and The Nature Fix. A contributing editor at Outside Magazine, her writing has appeared in the New York TimesNational Geographic, and many other outlets.

Claire Dederer is the New York Times bestselling author of two critically acclaimed memoirs: Love and Trouble and Poser, which was translated into 11 languages, optioned for television, and adapted for the stage. Dederer is at work on Monsters, a nonfiction book investigating good art made by bad people, forthcoming from Knopf. Dederer is a long-time contributor to the New York Times. Her essays, criticism, and reviews have also appeared in The Paris ReviewThe AtlanticThe NationVogue, and many other publications.