Still Alice: Self-published novel, NYT Best Seller and Oscar-winning Motion Picture

After a year of rejection letters from literary agents and being told that the audience for a book about Alzheimer’s disease would be too small, Lisa Genova decided she was going to publish her book herself. The last agent she contacted told her that self-publishing would kill her career and advised against it. However, Genova did not let this stop her and worked with iUniverse to self-publish Still Alice in 2007. 

Inspiration Behind the Story

As a neuroscientist, Genova has dedicated her life to researching dementia and other neurological disorders. When her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she felt a responsibility to research the disease in depth to give her family the knowledge to care for her grandmother. Her research provided no information on what it was like to actually have this disease. This led Genova to write Still Alice, a novel about the struggle with early-onset Alzheimer’s from the perspective of an accomplished professor and researcher. 

Success for Still Alice

Less than a year after iUniverse released Still Alice, word of mouth and networking led Genova to a literary agent who loved her book and offered her a contract. Within a week, Still Alice was acquired by Simon & Schuster for six figures and subsequently rereleased in January 2009. Genova’s decision to self-publish her book paid off as Still Alice catapulted onto The New York Times Best Sellers list and stayed there for more than 40 weeks. There are now more than 1 million copies in print, and the book has been translated in 25 languages. Still Alice was also adapted into an Oscar-winning motion picture from Sony Pictures Classics, starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart and Alec Baldwin. 


Click on the timeline below to follow the life and success of Still Alice from publishing to awards and an Oscar nomination and win.

 "Still Alice" Timeline

Lisa Genova, author of "Still Alice"

“iUniverse produced a high-quality, professional-looking book I was proud to promote. The team at iUniverse did all the behind-the-scenes work, freeing me up to concentrate on guerilla marketing.”- Lisa Genova

See more of Genova's thoughts on self-publishing »

Continued Success

Since Still Alice, Genova has written Left Neglected and Love Anthony, both New York Times Best Sellers. Genova’s fourth novel, Inside the O’Briens, tells of a family’s journey with Huntington’s disease and was released by Simon & Schuster in April 2015.

Genova continues to raise awareness by speaking about Alzheimer’s, autism and traumatic brain injury to audiences across the globe. She has appeared on national television, including the Dr. Oz show, CNN and Fox News. Genova was also featured in the Emmy Award-winning documentary film To Not Fade Away.

Genova keeps readers and fans updated through her website, blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Still Alice

© Simon & Schuster

About the Book

Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At 50 years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life — and her relationship with her family and the world — forever.

Book Reviews

"After I read Still Alice, I wanted to stand up and tell a train full of strangers, 'You have to get this book.'" -- Beverly Beckham, The Boston Globe

"This book is as important as it is impressive, and will grace the lives of those affected by this dread disease for generations to come." -- Phil Bolsta, author of Sixty Seconds

"With grace and compassion, Lisa Genova writes about the enormous white emptiness created by Alzheimer's." -- The Improper Bostonian

Awards & Honors

  • 2008 Bronte Prize 
  • Top Favorite Books of 2009 by Reading Group Choices
  • 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Pick
  • 2009 Indie Next Pick
  • 2011 Bexley Book of the Year
  • World Book Night 2013 selection

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