A Pandemic in Residence

A Pandemic in Residence

Essays from a Detroit Hospital

Selina Mahmood


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A debut essay collection of remarkable breadth and erudition by a young Pakistani-American doctor and writer.

During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Selina Mahmood—in the middle of the first year of her neurology residency—found scraps of time between grueling shifts to write. The resulting A Pandemic in Residence: Essays from a Detroit Hospital is her personal and meticulous document of an unprecedented year in medicine, and the debut of a young and uncommon talent. In the tradition of writers like Oliver Sacks and Paul Kalanithi, Dr. Mahmood takes the science of neurology and spins it into poetry, exploring theories of the mind, Pakistani-American identity, immigration, family, the history of medicine, and, of course, the challenges of becoming a physician in the midst of a global health crisis. Skipping nimbly across continents and drawing inspiration from an array of sources ranging from Thomas Edison to Yuval Harari to Beyoncé, she has with this collection crafted an elegant, incisive, utterly original investigation.

A Pandemic in Residence is a must-read for anyone seeking insight into our universal search for meaning.


Selina Mahmood:
Selina Mahmood was born in Detroit and serves as a second-year neurology resident there. She has also lived in Lahore, NYC, and Ann Arbor. She graduated with a major in history from the University of Michigan in a previous life before pursuing medicine. Her work has appeared in The Manhattanville Review, Squawk Back, Blood and Thunder—Musings on the Art of Medicine, The Conglomerate, and others. She has also blogged book reviews on HuffPost and worked as a reader for Boulevard, Bellevue Literary Review, and Frontier Poetry. When she isn't busy diving into the brain, she's trying to swallow her way out of it.