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Oliver Sacks: His Own Life

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We regret that the special screening of the documentary Oliver Sacks: His Own Life has been cancelled due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19.

If you have already purchased tickets for the event, we are happy to provide a complete or partial refund – just let our Development Officer, Mary Paisley ( or 919.401.7252), know how you would like it handled. We will initiate all requested refunds through Duke University’s Office of Alumni & Development Records in the coming week. If you wish to instead allow your donation to remain in support of the ongoing work of the Duke Lemur Center, you will receive an updated receipt soon showing that the full balance of your gift is tax deductible. (The $25 per person event premium for taxable goods and services will be removed.)

If you have other questions, please contact Mary Paisley at or 919.401.7252.

We’re sorry for the inconvenience and will miss the chance to spend time with you for what we know would have been a truly remarkable evening.

Event Details

In partnership with Duke University, The National Humanities Center invites you to a special evening in support of the Duke Lemur Center:

Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Private film screening and reception with filmmaker Ric Burns
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.
von der Heyden Auditorium, Rubenstein Arts Center | 2020 Campus Drive, Durham, NC
$125/person. Valet parking will be provided.

In honor of Oliver Sacks’s passion for lemurs and his love of the Duke Lemur Center, proceeds from this screening will go directly to support the Duke Lemur Center. Questions? Please contact Mary Paisley at 919.401.7252 or

“I love lemurs,” wrote Sacks. “One has to see them, study them, to grasp the origin of our primate nature.”

About the Film

“The brain is the most incredible thing in the universe.” – Oliver Sacks

On January 15, 2015, a few weeks after completing his memoir, the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks learned that the rare form of cancer for which he had been treated seven years earlier had returned, and that he had only a few months to live. One month later, he sat down with the producers for a series of marathon filmed interviews in his apartment in New York. For eighty hours, across five days in February—and on three more occasions in April and June in places in the Bronx—surrounded by family and friends, books and minerals, along with notebooks from six decades of thinking and writing about the brain, he talked about his life and work, his dreams and fears, his abiding sense of wonder at the natural world, and the place of human beings within it with astonishing candor, and with the unflinching honesty of a profoundly gifted 81-year-old man, still vigorous while facing the end, determined to come to grips with what his life has meant, and what it means to be, as he put it, “a sentient being on this beautiful planet.”