dawn_raffel high res.jpg

What kind of doctor puts his patients on display? This is the spellbinding tale of a mysterious Coney Island doctor who revolutionized neonatal care more than one hundred years ago and saved some seven thousand babies. Dr. Martin Couney's story is a kaleidoscopic ride through the intersection of ebullient entrepreneurship, enlightened pediatric care, and the wild culture of world's fairs at the beginning of the American Century.

Travels from: New York

Dawn Raffel

Dawn Raffel is the author of The Strange Case of Dr. Couney (July 31, 2018) the extraordinary tale of how a mysterious immigrant "doctor" became the revolutionary innovator of saving premature babies--by placing them in incubators in World's Fair side shows and on Coney Island and Atlantic City.Her illustrated memoir, The Secret Life of Objects, was a Wall Street Journal bestseller, and previous books include a critically acclaimed novel, Carrying the Body, and two story collections— Further Adventures in the Restless Universe and In the Year of Long Division.

Her writing has been published in O, The Oprah MagazineBOMBNew Philosopher, The San Francisco ChronicleConjunctionsBlack BookOpen CityThe Anchor Book of New American Short StoriesArts & LettersThe QuarterlyNOON, and numerous other periodicals and anthologies—most recently The Best Short Fictions 2016 (selected by Stuart Dybek) and The Best Short Fictions 2015 (selected by Robert Olen Butler). 

She was a fiction editor for many years, helped launch O, The Oprah Magazine, where she served as Executive Articles Editor for seven years, and subsequently held senior-level "at- large" positions at More magazine and Reader's Digest. In addition, she served as the Center for Fiction's web editor. She has taught in the MFA program at Columbia University, the Center for Fiction, and at Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia; Montreal; and Vilnius, Lithuania. 

She currently works as an independent editor for individuals and creative organizations, specializing in memoir, short stories, and narrative nonfiction. She is also a certified yoga instructor and teaches embodied creative writing.

This astonishing new book will be an instant classic of literary nonfiction—painstakingly researched and written with lyricism and irony. Dawn Raffel has pulled the curtain on one of the most remarkable rescue missions in history. Over seven thousand innocent lives saved at a time when medical science turned its treasonous back.
— David Covington, author of SALVATION ON SAND MOUNTAIN

Talks and Topics

  • The Strange Case of Dr. Couney Multi-media Presentation

  • Tales from the Midway: Jaw-Dropping Cultural Milestones

  • Five American's World's Fairs that Helped Shape the 20th Century

  • How Our Objects Tell Our Life Stories

  • How to Write a Memoir Using Your "Stuff" - a Workshop

  • How to Get Your Manuscript Out of the Slush Pile

  • Micro-Fiction and Micro-Memoir Workshops

  • Creating a Sustainable Writing Practice

  • Six Essential Tools for Digging Into the Past

With colorful descriptions of the carnival world and the medical marvels of early neonatalogy, Raffel makes a fascinating case for this unusual pioneer’s rightful place in medical history.
— Publisher's Weekly

Check Dawn's Availability

Name *