6 Authors Oliver Sacks Influenced With His Writing, From 'Still Alice' Writer Lisa Genova To J.K. Rowling
The writing world lost a wonderful mind when neurologist and author Oliver Sacks died at 82 after battling cancer. For some 45 years, Sacks' writing has brought stories of those suffering from neurological diseases to life. From Migraine in 1970 to 2015's On the Move: A Life, his body of work includes multiple best-selling books, inspired an Academy Award-nominated film, and even earned him recognition from the queen of his native England. Over the course of his long career, the beautiful writing and ideas Sacks shared have inspired and influenced not just the scientific community, but fellow authors and the general public as well.
Understandably, news of Sacks' death was met by grief, but there have been celebrations of his impressive life and work as well. Fans of the late author, including several celebrities, were quick to share their reactions and thoughts on Twitter, showing just how broad of an impact he had on our culture. Not surprisingly, authors were among the many voices that chimed in to pay tribute, and they highlighted how he influenced their work with his own.
Multitudes of writers have been touched by Oliver Sacks. Here are six who have specifically listed him among their literary inspirations:
1. J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter series creator J.K. Rowling referred to Sacks as "great, humane and inspirational" in a tweet after his death, pulling a touching quote from the fellow Brit.
2. Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, credits Sacks with being "the man who inspired [his] love for the brain." This love turned into a career that combines science and writing; Gupta most recently wrote a 2012 best seller, Monday Mornings: A Novel, which follows a group of surgeons.
3. Lisa Genova
Not surprisingly, neuroscientist and author Lisa Genova has called Sacks "a huge influence," highlighting the humanity he brought to his work when looking at those living with neurological diseases. In a video for Booklandia.tv, she quoted him as saying, "When we study a person living with disease, we learn about life," something Genova has also tried to capture in her writing. She's succeeded in doing so in works like Still Alice, a novel about a professor living with early onset Alzheimer's disease.
4. Atul Gawande
Sacks was Atul Gawande's "hero," according to a poignant tweet on Sunday. He previously told The New York Times that Sacks was among a trio of doctors that published non-fiction books around the time he was in med school that "awoke [him] to the concrete, practical idea that one could be both a physician and attempt to write seriously." Gawande went on to write multiple books himself, including 2009 best seller The Checklist Manifesto.
5. Richard Dawkins
Author of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins "greatly admired" Sacks, he wrote in a tweet.
6. Dan Arel
Dan Arel, who wrote Parenting Without God, wrote in a blog post that not just he, but "just about every writer [he knows] today" was influenced by Sacks.
Images: Getty Images (5); Dan Arel/Facebook