Professor Terrence Holt

Senior Anniversary Fellow

Professor Terrence Holt

Senior Anniversary Fellow, May - July 2020

Biographical note:
Terrence Holt is a professor emeritus of Geriatric Medicine and research associate professor of Social Medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Medicine.  He holds PhD and MA degrees in English and the MFA in creative writing, all from Cornell University.  He earned his MD from the University of North Carolina, where he also completed residency training in internal medicine and geriatrics.  Before medical school, he was an assistant professor of English at Rutgers University, writer in residence at Swarthmore College, and for two years a resident fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.  The founder of an interdisciplinary MA program in medicine, literature and the humanities offered by the Department of English and Comparative Literature at UNC-CH, he writes widely on topics related to medical practice in such publications as Literature and Medicine, The New Republic, and Men’s Health.  He is primarily a writer of short stories.

Dr. Holt’s fiction has been anthologized in best-of collections in the US, Europe, and Asia, and was collected as In the Valley of the Kings (W. W. Norton, 2009), which was a New York Times Editor's Choice and the runner-up for the 2010 PEN American Center's Robert W. Bingham Prize for Distinguished Literary Achievement.  His most recent collection, the New York Times bestseller Internal Medicine (Norton/Liveright, 2014), was named by Kirkus Reviews among both the best memoirs and the best science and nature books of the year.  He lectures and reads widely at such venues as the Perth (Australia) International Arts Festival, the National Literary Festival in Washington, DC, and most recently on the pathology of early literary promise at Durham University in the United Kingdom.  He has also read his short fiction at grand rounds in the departments of internal medicine at Yale, Vanderbilt, and other medical schools, and lived to talk about it.  He is currently at work on a novel.

Research at IASH: ‘Ingenious Devices, Unspeakable Ends’. 
Historical research toward a novel in which the central character, a nineteenth‐century Edinburgh physician, researches the processes of death. Investigating questions of embodiment and mortality, this novel pursues tenets of narrative medicine toward a deeper understanding of the ways in which the narrative imagination shapes our understanding of, and capacity to act within the constraints of our mortality.