The Write Prescription

TWP Front Cover RGB

A hands-on, hearts-on guide to writing about illness. Using intimate prompts and personal stories, Judith Hannan takes the reader and emerging-writer on a journey through what it means to reckon with illness. Having gone through her daughter’s cancer diagnosis and treatments, Hannan is an experienced, thoughtful, and caring guide for anyone wanting to find a way through the labyrinth of the illness experience.

Upcoming Events:
Official Book Launch
Corner Book Store
1313 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10128
6:00 – 8:00pm

Reviews of The Write Prescription

…an invaluable companion as one walks the world of medical treatments. For many, this process could be life-saving or at least life-altering.
New Spirit Journal

Thoroughly informed, informative, and completely ‘user friendly’ from beginning to end.
Midwest Book Review

…a polished, gorgeously organized and helpful primer…a handly launching pad for any aspiring writer with a story to tell.
The Martha’s Vineyard Times

Motherhood Exaggerated is now available for sale!


The dramatic language, both highly descriptive and emotional, rings with the unforgiving pain and fear of this terrifying disease . . . The amplification of the lives of Judith and her daughter, Nadia, are felt as you read this deep and loving book.

–Carly Simon

In her emotionally uncompromising memoir, MOTHERHOOD EXAGGERATED, Judith Hannan recounts the ordeal of her young daughter’s battle with cancer and how the frightening medical journey tested and strengthened a mother’s resilience.

Motherhood Exaggerated Now Available

The Press Is In!

“The book details her journey as she experiences life as a mother whose daughter is diagnosed with cancer, and becomes a survivor. I also had an opportunity to email the author, and I wanted to share her answers here.” Read Judith’s interview with Motherhood Mindfully here.

“Many other books deal with the grief and sorrow when the child ultimately succumbs to the illness. This book, on the other hand, explores the journey through the darkness of fear, and back to the light of hope and joy of survival. Even though her daughter – now a young woman – survived, it’s still a powerful book, dealing with the emotions that a parent faces in her situation.” Read Motherhood Moment’s review here

“Looking for an amazing heart wrenching story of survival? This book is for you. I don’t know how many times had to put the book down because I couldn’t see past the tears welling in my eyes or to go hugs my girls extra tight and hope that they are always healthy.” Read Forgetful Momma Blog’s review here

The Press Is In!

“The experience was indeed harrowing, but with a lower case “h” — a more intimate form of fright.  The reader will not be taken to a place of despair.” Read more of Judith’s interview with Ms. Mary Mack here

“… One of those books that stays with you… in a good way. A beautifully written memoir – candid, heart-wrenching and uplifting, about her daughter’s horrific diagnosis with bone cancer, and how they all, survived.” Listen to Judith’s interview with Deb Colitti of the The Deb Colitti Show here.

“Judith Hannan shares with Allen, Dr. Melody and our listeners her emotionally uncompromising memoir, MOTHERHOOD EXAGGERATED, in which she recounts the ordeal of her young daughter’s battle with cancer and how the frightening medical journey tested and strengthened a mother’s resilience.”  Listen to Judith’s interview with Allen Cardoza of LATalkRadio  here

The Press Is In!

“This is such a beautiful memoir.  I don’t think I have been as moved by a memoir since I read Mark Doty’s Heaven’s Coast.  In both cases, I was mesmerized by the narrative, the insightful and moving prose, and the unwincing honesty of the authors.” Check out Judith’s interview with Nin Andrews on CavanKerry Press’ blog here

Hannan is a story-teller, teacher, our friend and, at times, ourselves. She not only shares her experiences during the illness of her child, Nadia, but allows us to step into her shoes; we understand Hannan’s challenges and growwith her revelations.” Check out Judith’s interview with Soaring Words Book Club here

“Judith Hannan is one of those Boomers with an indomitable spirit and a passion for helping people.” Read more of Judith’s interview with The Boomer Brief  here

“This account, while largely a memoir focused on the fits and starts of personal psychological healing, also reads as the tale of a spirited girl triumphing over her nemesis, as well as a self-help guide for families buckling under the weight of a child’s diagnosis.” Read more of Kirkus Reviews review here


The Press Is In!

“Hannan uses candor when writing about the entire experience, thus making it real and familiar, even to those readers without having experienced a personal encounter with cancer.” Read more of Adventures of Mommyhood’s review here

“While Motherhood Exaggerated has a foot in the world of the illness memoir genre, a la Autobiography of a Face, it is also too well-rounded as a memoir in its own right—with its exploration of motherhood, Jewish faith and culture, and the curiosities of the natural world—to be so squarely labeled.” Read more of  Foreword Reviews review here

Hannan never whitewashes the truth, detailing the negative and positive steps along the way. She admits to her own insecurities and moments of weakness, but also takes pride in the small victories won as she battled for Nadia’s very life.” Read more of LA Splash’s review here

“In the past, the few memoirs about children battling cancer dealt mostly with death and grief. This passionate retelling by a survivor’s mother is about the struggle to help shepherd her child out of illness, towards health and through survival.” Read more about She Knows Motherhood Exaggerated sweepstakes here



“Mother-to-Mother” in the Huffington Post!

Check out Judith Hannan’s piece “Mother-to-Mother” in the The Huffington Post Parents section!

The Reviews Are In!

Motherhood Exaggerated is a beautifully written narrative . . . a moving, engaging retelling of the complex bonds and tensions every parent experiences in our relationship with our children.

– Mary Gordon

Judith Hannan takes us with her on her journey through the valley of the shadow of death and then back to the sunshine of life . . . Judith’s willingness to share intimate feelings and to discuss difficult moments is a gift that will help so many, as it has already helped me, to deal with the past as well as the future.

– Alan M. Dershowitz

Read More Reviews or Buy the Book

More Words Of Praise For Motherhood Exaggerated !

Moving, insightful and uplifting , . . Judith Hannan’s book is brilliantly honest and beautifully written.

– Nancy Slonim Aronie

Judith Hannan has written a riveting, gut-wrenching, soul-shaking account . . . a poignant reminder that long after cure has been achieved . . . healing is still taking place, indeed healing must still be taking place.

– Dr. Leonard H. Wexler, Associate Attending Physician, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Read More Reviews or Buy the Book

Appearances !

Judith Hannan is available for readings, panels and speaking engagements!

Please contact her publicist, Lisa Weinert, for more information:


About Judith Hannan
Judith Hannan is the author of Motherhood Exaggerated (CavanKerry Press, 2012), her memoir of discovery and transformation during her daughter’s cancer treatment and her transition into survival. Her most recent book is The Write Prescription: Telling Your Story to Live With and Beyond Illness. Her essays have appeared in such publications as Woman’s Day, The Forward, Brevity, Cognoscenti, Opera News, The Huffington Post, The Healing Muse, ZYZZYVA, Twins Magazine and The Martha’s Vineyard Gazette. Ms. Hannan is a lecturer at Yale University where she is working on a pilot study to document the healing power of storytelling. She teaches writing about personal experience to homeless mothers and at-risk adolescents as well as to medical students, and is a writing mentor with the Visible Ink program which serves patients at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In June, 2016, Ms. Hannan joined the faculty of the inaugural Narrative Medicine program at Kripalu. She is a judge of the annual essay contest sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and a recipient of the Foundation’s 2015 Humanism-in-Medicine award. Ms. Hannan serves on the board of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and on three boards affiliated with the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York—the Adolescent Health (where she now serves as President of the Advisory Board), the Children’s Center Foundation, and the Arnhold Global Health Institute. She lives in New York.
News and Events

Congregation Romemu

The Write Prescription: For patients, survivors, family members and caregivers

6 Wednesdays, 7-9 pm, (November 9, 16, 23, December 30, 7, 14)

For more information call 212-580-4294

Writing Prompts


The above line comes from writer, philosopher, and cancer survivor Mark Nepo’s book, The Exquisite Risk. Nepo had traveled to South Africa and was struck that person after person suffering extraordinary hardship would sing, as if song were both protection and nourishment.…

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Nearly every story about illness that I have read arrives eventually at one question, “Why?”  Even the person who says he or she never asked why is really saying, “I asked myself why but the only answer I could come up with was why not.”

“Why not?”  It’s how I answered Nadia when she asked me why she got cancer. …

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Lucy Grealy was in the fourth grade when she entered Ward 10 at what was then named Babies Hospital in New York City to begin treatment for a Ewings sarcoma.  In her book, Autobiography of a Face, Grealy describes the ward—its green and gray tones, the worn patches on the floor, the wooden doors, the bars on the windows. …

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The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger is filled with characters—boat captains and fishermen, lovers and mothers, Coast Guard rescuers and meteorologists.  But the main character is the storm itself; the meeting of Hurricane Grace with two other storm systems results in a weather phenomenon so massive it becomes the story’s protagonist. …

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It was time to disconnect by Aunt Essie from the machines that were helping her feign life.  Nine of us were gathered, including Essie’s daughter Miriam.  As we waited for the doctor, we engaged in a restless choreography—forming in clusters in Essie’s cluttered room, pacing the hallways when Miriam asked for time alone with her mother, leaning against walls, sitting with eyes staring sightless or with heads lowered into palms, making unnecessary trips to the bathroom or to make a phone call to sip fresher air into our lungs. …

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I have recently begun a guided meditation practice the purpose of which is to call up and then neutralize negative forces and thoughts.  My teacher tells me to name these thoughts—Anna, Rachel, Sue, etc.—so when I meet them during the day I have a concrete way of acknowledging their presence. …

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We are all creators of lists.  Whether we write them down in an organizer, keep them in our head, or post them on the refrigerator, we all keep running tallies of what we need at the grocery store, what we must pack for a trip, who we have to invite to a birthday party, questions we have for a doctor. …

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Illness is a waiting room.  It punches holes in hours, days, and weeks.  You wait to see or be seen, to tell or be told, to get the phone call, be released; for the pain to arrive, the relief to start, the picture to be developed, a piece of time when your life feels like the old one. …

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Where are the words that are spoken by the bedsides of patients in the hospital?  I imagine that over each one of those beds is a dome made up of the conversations between mothers and fathers, doctors and family members, spouses and children. …

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“The first trip to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is like arriving anywhere new.  A plane takes you down through thick clouds, a train moves you through a dark tunnel, a bus pulls up to the rear of a terminal while you paint images in your head of this foreign land soon to be revealed … We are the pale new arrivals at the beachside resort, catching a glimpse of a sliver of its life.”  This is how I described taking Nadia to MSKCC for the first time.…

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I do not write in a linear fashion.  Motherhood Exaggerated began as a skeleton, but when it came to fleshing it out and clothing it, my process bore more resemblance to the path of a pinball than a train traveling from depot to depot. …

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I recently read about a study which showed that walking through a leafy, green area can reduce brain fatigue. What can be more draining than illness—on your brain, your body, your heart, your soul. Telling a story is like a walk.…

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