Dr. Brandy Schillace (skil-á-chay) is an author and editor for BMJ’s Medical Humanities Journal. Non-fiction includes works on death and dying, the history of science and steampunk, and the Cold War race to transplant a human head. Her books have been reviewed in Science Magazine, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, New Yorker, and Wall Street Journal. Brandy is a 2018 winner of the Arthur P. Sloan Science Foundation award, as well as a grant from the Hosking Houses Trust, UK. Dr. Schillace has appeared on Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum, Little Atoms Radio, the John Fugelsang Show, and many other podcasts. (she/her, they/them)
Want to know more? Curriculum Vitae (or, excessively long resume)
Brandy’s current project (with Simon & Schuster) involves the bizarre true history of the first head transplant (see more on the press release). Meanwhile, CLOCKWORK FUTURES (Pegasus 2017), explores the science and history behind “dread tech,” steampunk science, and manufactured power, and DEATH’S SUMMER COAT (2016) looks at cultural practices of grief from sky burial to momento mori. Her academic works investigate motherhood and monstrosity, birth-machines, and more. Read more on the BOOKS page. Represented by: Jessica Papin, Dystel, Goderich and Bourret Literary Management; and Kim Yau, Paradigm Talent Agency.
I grew up in an underground house next to a cemetery in abandoned coal lands…and I had a pet raccoon. (Best to get that out of the way upfront.) It probably isn’t a surprise that I ended up with a PhD in eighteenth-century and gothic literature, or that I worked in a medical history museum among amputation saws, surgery kits, and smallpox vaccines. I am also driven, however, by access to health care. Growing up in an impoverished community with parents who battled recurrent bouts of cancer and heart disease, I know first hand that medicine ought to be about human beings.
I tend to live at the intersections. I’ve worked in an English Department, a History Department, and an Anthropology Department; and yet, I left academe for the edges and fringes, public outreach, social justice, and freelance writing. I write nonfiction; I write fiction; I write fan-fiction. I am non-binary, meaning I don’t ascribe to one gender or the other; I prefer doctor and mister, she and her or they and them. Even the journal I edit, Medical Humanities, troubles the gray area between fields we might think of as distinct. I am, as a friend put it, statistically unlikely, and I’ve never lost my curiosity for the unsolved and the strange, the groundbreaking and the new in science, history, and medicine. Life is just more interesting at the intersections.
Some points of more personal interest; I have a brilliant (cis/straight) partner of twenty years that my friends call “the unicorn.” He bakes. I have climbed Glacier Peak, descended the Grand Canyon, and took an ill-fated camping trip to Death Valley in August. (Don’t recommend that last one). And that pet raccoon? She figured out how to open the fridge. It was a problem.
Brandy ON AIR with John Fugelsang’s TELL ME EVERYTHING: