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Harvard Book Store Virtual Event: Veronica O’Keane

June 1, 2021 @ 12:00 pm


June 1, 2021
12:00 pm
Event Category:


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
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presenting A Sense of Self: Memory, the Brain, and Who We Are

Harvard Book Store’s virtual event series, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome VERONICA O’KEANE—celebrated psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin—for a discussion of her book A Sense of Self: Memory, the Brain, and Who We Are.

Contribute to Support Harvard Book Store

While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of A Sense of Self on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.

About A Sense of Self

A twinge of sadness, a rush of love, a knot of loss, a whiff of regret. Memories have the power to move us, often when we least expect it, a sign of the complex neural process that continues in the background of our everyday lives. This process shapes us: filtering the world around us, informing our behavior and feeding our imagination.

Psychiatrist Veronica O’Keane has spent many years observing how memory and experience are interwoven. In this rich, fascinating exploration, she asks, among other things: Why can memories feel so real? How are our sensations and perceptions connected with them? Why is place so important in memory? Are there such things as “true” and “false” memories? And, above all, what happens when the process of memory is disrupted by mental illness? O’Keane uses the broken memories of psychosis to illuminate the integrated human brain, offering a new way of thinking about our own personal experiences.

Drawing on poignant accounts that include her own experiences, as well as what we can learn from insights in literature and fairytales and the latest neuroscientific research, O’Keane reframes our understanding of the extraordinary puzzle that is the human brain and how it changes during its growth from birth to adolescence and old age. By elucidating this process, she exposes the way that the formation of memory in the brain is vital to the creation of our sense of self.

Praise for A Sense of Self

“These passages are vivid and immediate, and all the more affecting for the measured and unemphatic manner in which they are set down. If O’Keane is as fine a doctor as she is a prose stylist, her patients are fortunate indeed.” —John Banville, Guardian

“Wonderful. I love the way Veronica O’Keane writes . . . difficult concepts made comprehensible with rich case studies. A must read for every counselor, psychotherapist, life coach and psychiatrist.” —Philippa Perry, author of The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

“Veronica O’Keane distills what she has learned about people in her life as a psychiatrist and neuroscientist. The reader will appreciate Dr. O’Keane’s beautiful prose and her caring attitudes, and will effortlessly pick up knowledge about how the brain determines our behavior.” —Robin Murray, professor of psychiatric research, King’s College, London