Lara Lillibridge interviews Eileen for hippocampus magazine, an online publication dedicated to creative non-fiction.

Check it out here.

Read Eileen’s challenging new piece in The Writer’s Chronicle on What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Identity.

a featured event, “Disability’s Influence on Literature: Realism as a Craft Concept” with @Mchertock, @CroninMermaid, @JamesTateHill, and @tkdalton. See this phenomenal group in San Antonio on 3/7 from 12:10 to 1:25 p.m! https://t.co/LEzlqWeBFx pic.twitter.com/laJPqMd5rm

— AWP (@awpwriter) January 30, 2020

Eileen Cronin Interview – UCLA Extension Writers Program

UCLA Extension interviews Eileen as she joins the program. She will be teaching a 10 week memoir course next year. For the interview and more details about the course, see Instructor Interview: Eileen Cronin. The course starts January 16, 2020 and runs through March 19, 2020.

Writers Resist – Los Angeles

Eileen participated in the third annual “Writers Resist” event this January at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice California. Go here to learn more: 
The reading was sponsored by ACLU SoCal and PEN America.

Eileen is featured on the website for the
National Arts & Disability Center , a program of the

UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience.

Roar Shack Reading Series

presents “It’s For You” on Sunday, April 8 in beautiful Echo Park! Join us for an incredible lineup of lit talent, including Eric Howard, Eileen Cronin, Daniel Olivas, Anne Rieman, John Balma, last month’s Live Write winner Maggie Waz, and Taaji Rauf! You don’t want to miss it! More details here!

Echo Park Time Travel Mart
1714 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90026

Eileen’s screenplay A Motion Away

is a finalist in the San Francisco Indiefest contest.

Read Eileen’s latest essay in Truthdig:

39 Million Reasons To Know Us.

Hobbling the Leader

Eileen’s latest essay on teaching memoir is published in

Vida: Women in Literary Arts

“It’s rare when the disabled writer is invited to teach in a workshop.”

Body of Work: Exploring Disability, Creativity, and Inclusivity

Eileen will moderate a panel on disability and writing at this year’s Associated Writing Programs meeting in Washington, DC.

Friday, February 10, 2017 at 10:30 AM. Room 203AB, Washington Convention Center, Level Two.

Find out more about the event at AWP Conference Schedule. Panelists include Sheila Black, T.K. Dalton, Anne Finger, and Laurie Lindeen.

“NO Limits” A Film by John Zaritsky coming soon to CBC’s Documentary Channel

Find out more about a new documentary film on the thalidomide story, and Eileen’s story in the film here. No Limits is now available to subscribers of Prime Video on Amazon.

Truthdig article on police shootings goes live

Read Eileen’s new article on police shootings and the disability community here.

Eileen reads her work at The Last Bookstore in downtown LA.

This event is part of the Angels Flight * Literary West magazine launch. For more details, read the press announcement here.

Read Eileen’s new piece on the Presidential Campaign and Disability Rights. Truthdig: Digging beneath the headlines.

Hillary Clinton Should Push Hard for Disability Civil Rights.

Eileen Cronin participates in the AWP conference in Los Angeles

on April 1, 2016 with Cheryl Strayed, Leigh Stein, and Laurie Lindeen in a session on memoir writing, You Don’t Know Me at All: The Creation of Self as Protagonist in Memoir. The Associated Writing Programs conference will be held at the Los Angeles Convention center, 1201 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90015.

Eileen Cronin at BINDERCON Los Angeles,

March 19 and 20, 2016 at UCLA (and online). See more about her session which takes place on Saturday, March 19, at 3:30 PM (Palisades room in Carnesale Commons).

Eileen Cronin appears at the Books by the Banks book festival in Cincinnati Ohio

Come by room 206 at 10:00 AM, October 17th, at the Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm Street, Cincinnati Ohio.

Eileen Cronin talks with Amy Tan

about Mermaid.
From the Northern California Regional Organization of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2015 annual meeting in San Jose.

Eileen Cronin on Tell Me Everything

Eileen tells John Fugelsang almost everything on SiriusXM Radio.

The Jury is In: the editors at Oprah Magazine pick Mermaid as one of the funniest, smartest, just plain truest true stories of the year.

From the citation by Abbe Wright:

The True Story That Inspires

It’s not until the author is 3 years old that she comprehends she was born with no lower legs, and that this makes her different. Cronin is extraordinarily courageous; she chronicles her journey to fit in and thrive with bravery and wit.




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Mermaid by Eileen Cronin


by Eileen Cronin

Giveaway ends November 23, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


Enter to win

Check out Eileen’s HuffPost Author’s Page

Book mark this page for future blog posts by Eileen Cronin.

LA Review of Books interview with Eileen

Michele Botwin Raphael’s review and interview with Eileen Cronin – a mother’s day tribute.

Featured Interview: Cincinnati Kid: Eileen Cronin

Read Alyssa Brandt’s interview with Eileen in the May issue of Cincinnati Magazine. Eileen “knows from different”!

Oprah’s List of Memoirs Too Powerful to Put Down

Mermaid made another list of Oprah’s and this time it is included in a list described as “real stories, real women, real lessons that will shake you up and set you back down—changed for the better (and stronger).”

Mermaid featured on The Daily Beast

Now you can check out Mermaid on The Daily Beast and even read the first chapter here!

If You Like Mermaid…

Please consider a vote for Mermaid on these  GoodReads Lists so others who have not discovered it yet can stumble upon it and enjoy it just as much as you did.

Eileen Cronin’s Interview with Harvard Square Editions

Read Eileen Cronin’s interview with Mary Yuhas of Harvard Square Editions here to see what Eileen has to say about growing up different and her advice to fellow writers.

The Antioch Writer’s Conference

Eileen Cronin will be holding a workshop at the Antioch Writer’s Conference from July 12- July 18, 2014. Please submit applications to Antioch University in Yellow Springs, OH.

Download The Bob Edwards Show Interview with Eileen

Bob Edwards interviewed Eileen on Tuesday, February 25th. If you missed it, you can download the interview here.

Oprah Magazine’s 14 Titles to Pick Up

O Magazine online edition named Mermaid as one of its 14 Titles to Pick Up This February. Click here to see to see the recommendation.

Watch the Mermaid Book Trailer

Watch the Mermaid book trailer of Eileen Cronin reading an excerpt at Vroman’s in Pasadena, California.

Forgiveness and Healing

Eileen’s story in the pages of Everyday Health. A moving tribute to her mother. Forgiveness and Healing: My Thalidomide Story.

Praise for Mermaid

Washington Post recognizes Cronin’s “strength, tenacity and wry humor” in Mermaid.

Boston Globe calls Mermaid a “gritty, gorgeous coming of age story.

Poets & Writers: Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin.

Kirkus Reviews: “Perhaps the greatest achievement with this book, which brings to light one of the great medical tragedies of the 20th century, is that she is able to tell her story with a winning combination of candor, grace and humor.” (Review Posted Online: Dec. 8th, 2013)

Booklist (Boxed and Starred): “In her hard-to-put-down, brutally honest memoir, Cronin writes about growing up, as one of 11 children, without having legs, and trying to get her chain-smoking mom, who gets shock treatments and takes lithium for her ‘nervous breakdowns,’ to tell her whether she took thalidomide during her 1960 pregnancy…As a child, she tells people she longs to be a ballerina. But when she sees her grandmother’s ‘face go slack’ at this pronouncement, she adds, ‘Or a missionary nun in Africa.’ Readers will want to cheer at the happy ending to this must-read for all memoir fans and everyone involved or interested in the lives of the disabled.” Karen Springen, Booklist Online

Library Journal: “Cronin has managed to create a cogent account of coming to terms with her condition (and with the condition of her family). Her determination to create a life without secrecy and full of experience is evident in this matter-of-fact portrait of a family that did not always pay attention to the facts.” Therese Nielsen

“Mermaid reminds us how the stories we tell and the ones we bury have the capacity to imprison or free us.” John Hockenberry

“Written with an unvarnished pen, Mermaid spares no one, yet is fair, funny, and moving.” Rita Mae Brown

“Brave, wry, and spirited. Eileen Cronin delves fearlessly into the emotional thicket of family lore, tribal dynamics, body image, and coming-of-age.” Danielle Ofri

Mermaid: A Memoir of Resilience

21 thoughts on “Home

  1. Thank you, Eileen, for your literary gift. You have reminded me of the completeness one can feel through unabashed honesty, tenderness and respect. Writing and sharing your memoir is a brave and generous act that will continue to resonate in my professional, personal and creative life.

    It was a joy meeting you at the L.A. Times Book Festival several weeks ago. I look forward to attending one of your events in the future.

    The best to you always,
    Greg Potter

  2. While I am fully empathetic to Eileen and the many other thalidomide babies throughout the world as well as appalled by the callousness of the various chemical companies and distillers who sold it and marketed it and covered up or ignored all reports of problems correlated and/or attributable to its use, I also feel it IMPORTANT to state unequivocally that the FDA NEVER APPROVED thalidomide for sale in this country and was never sold here.

    A woman doctor working for the FDA did the right critical evaluation and refused to approve it. Thus, thalidomide was NEVER LICENSED for use in the USA. Some American women obtained it and used it through OTHER CHANNELS. Therefore and fortunately, the frequency of thalidomide babies in the US was lower than in England, Germany, Australia, etc. “Suffer the Children” has described this sad saga in good journalistic detail.

    I feel is essential to emphasize that the right decision can be made when based on science rather than profits. I believe those who suffer and the children they once were should raise their voices to emphasize that science could have prevented (and did in the USA) widespread use of this drug when profits were not the decisive factor, as in the review by the FDA.

    • Thank you, JKL, but out of respect for me and others like me, I would ask you to rethink the phrase “thalidomide babies.” It may have been the catch-all phrase in its day but it is dehumanizing.

      Also, thalidomide was given out recklessly in “clinical trials” in the US, so it is impossible to say how many people took the drug here in the US. One doctor put it in his mailbox in unmarked envelopes for women to pick up after hours. This is all documented in the book SUFFER THE CHILDREN. If you work for the FDA or a drug company, maybe you feel this article is upsetting. Imagine how upsetting it was and still is to those people injured. Surely, you can allow us a moment to air our versions of this story. We have waited 50 years …

  3. I could not put this book down. I also was born in 1960 with the same name, big Irish Catholic family, mother with similar mental illness. Also our father died at age 32. This book brought me back to my childhood in so many ways. I feel a little depressed that i am done reading it. Thank you so much for writing it. It will be one I will be having my siblings read.

    • Eileen,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I hope you will read my novel, when I’m finished with it. I’m delighted that you wrote, and I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to respond. Summer was very busy with travel, etc.
      Take care,

  4. Eileen,

    I came across this page after reading our article in the Huffington Post. “Born without Arms or Legs”. I too was a child of Thalidomide, born in 1969. My birth defects are much less severe, being born without a right hand and right foot, and shorter right arm and leg.

    Looking forward to reading your book. My “handicap”, for lack of a better word, never stopped me from doing anything, actually pushed me harder. Over my 46 years, I’ve owned multiple businesses, raced cars, played racquetball at a high level, and have a great wife and two beautiful daughters.

    Keep on inspiring……


    • Ralph T., I’m looking to connect people in the US affected by thalidomide. Would you be willing to contact me on email so I can add you to the group?
      Eileen Cronin

  5. Ralph,

    I’m so glad you got in touch. I was traveling and so I’m behind on correspondence. I’d love to know where you are from. I’m really happy to know that you’re doing so well.


    • After not reading your book, but purposely listening to the audio book to hear your voice once again. Not surprised kid, you have always been smarter than the average bear!
      Congrats on your beautiful family, and mostly, your happiness.

      Your Big Sis

      Theta Phi Alpha

      • After purposely not reading your memoir, I chose the audio book to be able to hear your voice once again. Not surprised kid, you were always smarter than the average bear!
        Best to you and your beautiful family, continued happiness!

        Big Sis
        There Phi Alphai

        • Hi Pamela,

          I’m Eileen’s husband. Thanks for getting in touch! I let Eileen know you wrote, and she promised to write you back at your email address. All the best,


  6. Dear Eileen:
    I just started researching thalidimide again after seen my pain management doctor who confirmed that the information I had been previously given was wrong (dishonest). After a life-time of suspecting my disabilities were from thalidimide, it appears that they are. Learning that the drug companies lied for over 50 years is so frustrating – but seeing that you blew the lid off that lie makes me very much want to meet you. I am the Publisher of Pasadena Magazine and we would like to do a story about thalidomide, you and maybe me, in our Top Doctors 2016 issue. Is it possible that we could interview you?
    I hope to hear from you soon. Learning that we are part of the same tribe of survivors means so much.


    Jane Ferguson Gibbons

    • Hi Jane –

      I am Eileen’s husband. Apologies for the late reply, as Eileen has been traveling. She will call you. Thanks for getting in touch.

      Kind regards,


  7. I have recently discovered my birth defects were caused by thalidomide. Clinical trials and every year new drugs are given out to pt. as “samples”. I had
    always asked my mom if that is what caused me to have no toes, only two fingers and other issues! She would NEVER tell me. I just wish I had not lived as long NOT knowing.

  8. I enjoyed your book very much. Your family reminds me so much of mine. I am also catholic and grew up in a family of 12. I am the only girl. I also have a brother who was killed in an auto accident. He was 25 and my mother
    was never the same afterwards. Eventually she was diagnosed with cancer and died holding Chris’s picture in her hand.

    • Hi Jeanne,

      Thanks so much for your lovely note. Hard as it is to lose a sibling, I can’t imagine losing a child. Thanks for reading. (Sorry for taking so long to respond.)

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