Thursday, February 22, 2018

Duke Divinity School Professor Kate Bowler’s memoir on living with the uncertainty of an advanced cancer diagnosis at age 35 has been named to The New York Times Best Sellers list.

In addition, the book has received significant national recognition in mainstream and Christian media. The related podcast, "Everything Happens with Kate Bowler," received 94,000 downloads as of Feb. 22 and ranks 34th on the list of iTunes Top 100 podcasts.

Bowler’s memoir, Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved, made The New York Times’ hardcover nonfiction list for Feb. 25 after being published by Random House on Feb. 6. In the book, Bowler tells of her struggle to understand the personal and intellectual dimensions of the American belief that all tragedies are tests of character after she was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer.

Prior to the book’s publication, Bowler, an assistant professor of the history of Christianity in North America at the Divinity School, wrote a Jan. 26 essay, “What to Say When You Meet the Angel of Death at a Party,” for the cover of the Times’ Sunday Review section. Bowler, who is an expert on the American prosperity gospel—the belief that God grants health, wealth, and happiness to those with the right kind of faith—wrote the first history of the popular religious movement in her 2013 book, Blessed: A History of the Prosperity Gospel.

In other traditional media this month, Bowler describes how cancer affected her faith, career, and parenting in a TIME magazine article and also was interviewed in two broadcasts by  National Public Radio: “What Not To Say To The Terminally Ill: ‘Everything Happens For A Reason” on Morning Edition and “A Stage-4 Cancer Patient Shares The Pain And Clarity Of Living ‘Scan-To-Scan’” on Fresh Air. The book also has received positive reviews from Publishers Weekly, The New York Times, and Kirkus Review, with Englewood Review naming it one of the top 30 Christian books to read in 2018.

Among religious media, Religion News Service did an interview with Bowler titled "What living with a death sentence can teach all of us about life" and Christianity Today published an essay by her titled "God Came to Me in My Cancer."  

In her new podcast, Bowler interviews other people about what they’ve learned in dark times of their lives in insightful, empathetic, and often humorous conversations.

The second episode features Dr. Ray Barfield, professor of pediatrics and Christian philosophy at Duke Divinity School and a pediatric oncologist, talking about what a difficult case taught him about medicine and life. Other guests have included Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri, pastor and best-selling author Nadia Bolz-Weber, and Lucy Kalanithi, widow of best-selling author Paul Kalanithi.

The podcast is a collaboration between N.C. Public Radio and Duke University and is supported by the Divinity School's Faith & Leadership initiative. It is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and GooglePlay Music.

Bowler also was featured in an episode of a new podcast launched by Faith & Leadership titled “Can These Bones” that asks a fresh set of questions about leadership and the future of the church. 

Attend a public conversation with Bowler and Bob Crawford, founding member of the Avett Brothers and co-host of "The Road to Now" history podcast, on Feb. 25 at Oak Church in Durham, N.C.

Visit Bowler's website for more information about the book or to contact her.