BLP Conversation Series: Austin Ratner & Joseph E. LeDoux

Welcome to the “BLP Conversation Series,” featuring dialogues between people whose lifework, like BLP’s mission, explores the creative territory at the intersection of the arts and sciences, and has become a testament to how science and the humanities can join forces to educate and inspire.


In our inaugural BLP Conversation, Austin Ratner, author of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature award-wining novel The Jump Artist, speaks to Joseph E. LeDoux, professor and director of the Emotional Brain Institute at NYU, about the brain-mind and art-science divides. Their conversation traverses the more provocative theories of biology, psychoanalysis, and technology—from emergent properties to Freud to the Singularity. While LeDoux, a neuroscientist, discusses the neurological complexities of fear, Ratner—a trained physician who left the field to focus on writing—comes to terms with his own fear of one day being replaced by a novel-writing robot. Continue reading…

Bellevue Literary Press board member Jan Vilcek, MD, PhD receives the National Medal of Technology and Innovation

“It’s clearer than ever that our future as a nation depends on keeping th[e] spirit of curiosity and innovation alive in our time. These honorees are at the forefront of that mission.”

—President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama honored Jan Vilcek, MD, PhD with a prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation during a White House awards ceremony on February 1. This year eleven individuals received this medal, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government upon scientists, engineers, and inventors. We are deeply grateful to Dr. Vilcek for his service on our board—and for the contributions he has made to the arts and science communities throughout his extraordinary career.

“A Book Can Change the World”: Gordon Weiss on The Cage

As a publisher, it is one thing to believe that our books can change the world, but it’s an extraordinary feeling when those responsible for focusing attention on global affairs discover a book that guides their thinking. With The Cage: The Fight for Sri Lanka and the Last Days of the Tamil Tigers, we have published such a book. As diplomat Charles Petrie, who investigated the United Nation’s role and responsibilities during the Sri Lankan conflict, said:

“When I was commissioned to do this report, the first thing I was handed was a copy of The Cage. Weiss’s scrupulously balanced account should serve as a guidepost for decision-makers and scholars of international affairs. A book can change the world.”

Read more from Gordon Weiss about why he wrote The Cage:

My objective in writing The Cage was to challenge the myth that few civilians had been killed during the crushing of the Tamil Tigers by Sri Lankan government forces in 2009. I wanted to argue that given the nature of the long civil war, it was in some sense predictable that the conclusion of the war would be extremely vicious.

I had also been thinking about, or dealing with, many of the matters I discuss in this book in my daily work with the United Nations: human rights, international law, war, insurgency groups, nationalism, idealism, historical events, global currents, and the media, so The Cage was also an opportunity to distill some of those ideas, and bring them to bear on the topic at hand. Continue reading…

Literature as Life’s Laboratory: Welcome to Our New Website

Thanks to the dedicated staff at Sonnet Media, we now have a place to share all the stories behind the books we publish. Over the coming months, we’ll be adding Q&As with our authors, excerpts from their books, reading group guides, videos, and more. We are also excited to unveil our new logo, which impressed author Jonathan D. Moreno as being an accurate reflection of our belief that literature is indeed life’s laboratory. We hope you’ll visit us often to enjoy our latest concoctions.

While we’re thrilled to have found a new home online, it may be many weeks before we can return to our office in Bellevue Hospital Center. In the New England Journal of Medicine, our board member Eric Manheimer offers a personal reflection on Hurricane Sandy, aptly quoting Theodore Rothke in his epigraph: “In a dark time, the eye begins to see.”

Also in the New England Journal of Medicine, Danielle Ofri, our board member and the editor of The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review, recounts the extraordinary efforts of New York University Medical Center staff in the wake of the hurricane and beautifully evokes the reason we are so proud to be a part of the NYUMC community:

“Bellevue’s enormity is more than its imposing physical presence, more than its legacy as the oldest public hospital in the country, more than its outsized reputation in popular culture. Its grandeur resides in its status as a living, breathing medical organism. It possesses a gritty industriousness and a cacophonous vitality. The ferocious loyalty it has engendered for the past 276 years is apparent in its staff as well as its patients. Many of us have spent our entire working lives at Bellevue and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.”

We can’t wait to get back.

UPDATE: We are thrilled to announce, that as of March 29, 2013, we have returned to our offices in Bellevue Hospital.