Writer

Tanya Selvaratnam is a writer, an actor, a producer, and an activist. She is the author of The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock, which has been generating much debate and controversy since its release in January 2014. Tanya’s work has appeared in Vogue, Bust, Huffington Post, xoJane, PAPER, Pop and Politics, the Toronto Review, Art Basel Magazine, on Women’s eNews and CNN. She has performed around the world in shows by The Wooster Group and The Builders Association, among others; and produced films by many directors and artists, including Gabri Christa, Chiara Clemente, Catherine Gund, Mickalene Thomas, Carrie Mae Weems, and Jed Weintrob. Tanya is also the Communications and Special Projects Officer for the Rubell Family Collection. As an activist, she has worked with the NGO Forum on Women, Ms. Foundation for Women, Third Wave Foundation, and World Health Organization. She received her B.A. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations and her M.A. in Regional Studies – East Asia from Harvard University. Her master’s thesis on the interplay of law and practice with regard to women’s rights in China was published in the Journal of Law and Politics. She has been a fellow at Yaddo and Blue Mountain Center. Tanya lives in New York City and Portland, OR.


 
The Big Lie

Motherhood, Feminism, and
the Reality of the Biological Clock

Big Lie_finalAVAILABLE NOW WORLDWIDE
Published by Prometheus Books, Distributed by Random House

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A candid assessment of the pros and cons of delayed motherhood.

Biology does not bend to feminist ideals and science does not work miracles. That is the message of this eye-opening discussion of the consequences of delayed motherhood. Part personal account, part manifesto, Selvaratnam recounts her emotional journey through multiple miscarriages after the age of 37. Her doctor told her she still “had time,” but Selvaratnam found little reliable and often conflicting information about a mature woman’s biological ability (or inability) to conceive.

Beyond her personal story, the author speaks to women in similar situations around the country, as well as fertility doctors, adoption counselors, reproductive health professionals, celebrities, feminists, journalists, and sociologists. Through in-depth reporting and her own experience, Selvaratnam urges more widespread education and open discussion about delayed motherhood in the hope that long-lasting solutions can take effect. The result is a book full of valuable information that will enable women to make smarter choices about their reproductive futures and to strike a more realistic balance between science, society and personal goals.
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News & Dates

APPEARANCES
January 9, 7:35 a.m., Morning Drive, WPTF, Raleigh-Durham, NC
January 14, 12 p.m., The Leonard Lopate Show, WNYC, New York, NY
January 16, 9:40 a.m., The Jim Scott Show, WLW, Cincinnati, OH
January 25, nationally syndicated, CBS News Weekend Roundup with Dan Raviv
January 31, The Overshare Show with Toni Nagy
February 2, 7 a.m. on both Y94 and HOT107.9 and 11 p.m. on B104.7, Interview with Big Jim Donovan, WSYR, Syracuse, NY
February 3, 11:05 p.m., News Radio 830AM, WCCO-CBS Radio, Minnesota
February 4, 9:30 a.m., MORNINGS with Sonia Kruger & David Campbell, Channel 9, Australia
February 5, 4 p.m. PT, Gil Gross Show, TALK910-AM, San Francisco, CA
February 5, 6 p.m., Book Passage in San Francisco (1 Ferry Building), CA
February 8, 4:30 p.m. ET, Interview with Sanjay Gupta M.D., CNN
February 9, 7:30 p.m., Powell’s City of Books in Portland, OR, introduction by Thomas Lauderdale of the band Pink Martini, post-reading conversation with Professor Sarah Dougher of Portland State University
February 10, AM Northwest, KATU-TV, Portland, OR
February 11, 2 p.m., Barnes & Noble, Seattle, WA
February 11, 7:30 p.m., The Stream, Al Jazeera America
February 16, 7:50 a.m. ET, Interview by Shirley Chan, NBC TV, West Hartford, Connecticut
February 18, 1:30 p.m. ET, Women’s Watch, WBZ (CBS), Boston, MA
February 25, 7 p.m., Book Court, Brooklyn, NY
March 1, 10:45 a.m. ET, The Judith Regan Show on Sirius
March 2, 7 a.m. ET, Get Connected, 106.7 LITE FM, WLTW, New York, NY
March 5, 11 a.m., Fearless Parent Radio, PRN
March 15, The Mike Nice Show, New Haven, CT
April 21, 9 p.m. ET, WKCR, 89.9 FM, New York, NY, interview by Eleanor Trier Kirk
April 22, 7 p.m. ET, Bluestockings Books, New York, NY, in conversation with Rye Young, Director of the Third Wave Foundation
May 22, One with Farai, interview by Farai Chideya for PRI
May 29, 7 p.m. ET, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA, reading followed by a conversation with Judy Norsigian, Executive Director of Our Bodies Ourselves
June 22, 11 a.m. ET, Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC
July 11, Women’s Watch with Laurie Kirby on WBZ-CBS, Boston, MA
August 25, In Search of Fertility with Victoria Hopewell on Webtalk Radio
September 21, Brooklyn Book Festival


PRESS CLIPS

TV/RADIO/PODCASTS
MSNBC
Melissa Harris-Perry speaks with Tanya Selvaratnam and Carmen Wong Ulrich about “the high cost of adding to families”

CNN
TV interview by Dr. Sanjay Gupta

AM Northwest
TV interview by Helen Raptis

The Leonard Lopate Show
Radio interview by Anna Sale

WKCR
Radio interview by Eleanor Trier Kirk

Get Connected on 106.7 LITE FM, WLTW (Metro NY’s #1 rated radio station)
Radio interview by Nina Del Rio

The Gil Gross Show on TALK910 Radio
Radio interview by Gil Gross

The Judith Regan Show on Sirius XM
Radio interview by Judith Regan

One with Farai on PRI
Radio interview by Farai Chideya

Fearless Parent Radio
Interview by Louise Kuo Habakus and Alison MacNeil

CBS Radio News
Radio interview by Dan Raviv

WBZ-CBS
Radio interview by Laurie Kirby for Women’s Watch

NBC Connecticut
TV interview by Shirley Chan

The Overshare Show
Podcast interview by Toni Nagy

MORNINGS with Sonia Kruger & David Campbell
Australian TV interview with Tanya Selvaratnam and fertility expert Dr. Lynn Burmeister

In Search of Fertility
Radio interview by Victoria Hopewell

EXCERPTS/ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Vogue
An exclusive excerpt of Tanya Selvaratnam’s The Big Lie

CNN
An opinion piece about The Big Lie

Paper
Tanya Selvaratnam on her book The Big Lie

Huffington Post
Tanya Selvaratnam on Finding More Moments of Balance in 2014

Women’s eNews
“Don’t Plan Your Pregnancy by the Stars” by Tanya Selvaratnam

Circle + Bloom
Guest blog by Tanya Selvaratnam and an excerpt from The Big Lie

Printsasia
“It’s Time to End The Big Lie” by Tanya Selvaratnam

FEATURES/INTERVIEWS
CNN
Wendy Sachs on The Big Lie

Redbook
Meghann Foye on The Big Lie with an exclusive infographic based on The Big Lie Toolkit

Cosmo
Tanya Selvaratnam Reveals The Big Lie About Women’s Fertility – Interview by Liz Welch

Priscilla Gilman
“I believe in turning adversity into action”: a Q&A with Tanya Selvaratnam

Neon Tommy (USC Annenberg)
Review and Interview by Cassie Paton

Writers Who Read
Interview by G.G. Andrew with Tanya Selvaratnam about reading in Sri Lanka, balancing producing and writing, and The Big Lie

PMC Magazine
“Unsuspected Strength” — A Spotlite on Tanya Selvaratnam by Sarah Heikkinen

The Daily Beast
Tricia Romano on The Big Lie

Metro
Dorothy Robinson on The Big Lie

The Globe and Mail
“It’s Gen Y’s Turn to Face the Baby Clock” by Tralee Pearce

xoJane
Laura Barcella on The Big Lie and an interview with Tanya Selvaratnam

Guest of a Guest
Stephanie Maida on The Big Lie and an interview with Tanya Selvaratnam

Girls’ Globe
Interview by Emma Saloranta

Women LEAD
Interview by Megan Foo

Riffle
Riffle Backstory: A Q&A with Tanya Selvaratnam, author of The Big Lie

Mommyish
Interview by Carrie Murphy

Feed Me I’m Cranky
Annabel Adams on “The Big Truth: Being 30 and Not Ready for Kids”

New York
Interview by Vanessa Grigoriadis

More
Interview by Laynie Rose

Bangalore Mirror
Sowmya Rajaram on The Big Lie

Light Reading
Signal Boost: Interview by Jenny Davidson

Elle
Facing the Fertility Lie – Kate Winick on The Big Lie

Refinery 29
Kelly Bourdet on Tanya Selvaratnam’s 5 Pieces of Fertility Advice for Young People

Witty Title Here
“Must Reads: For anyone who thinks they can have it all” by Cassie Paton

Babble
The One Pregnancy Book I Can’t Wait to Read This Year, Aela Mass on The Big Lie

Design & Trend
Pete Calautti on The Big Lie

People Who Write
Interview by Nana Brew-Hammond

Byron Beck
Portland event for Tanya Selvaratnam’s The Big Lie

Patrick McMullan
Photos of the New York event for Tanya Selvaratnam’s The Big Lie

Reviews
Booklist
Review by Karen Springen (need subscription) | (PDF)

BUST
4-Bust Review by Corrie Pikul (PDF)

Biopolitical Times
Review by Amy Richards for the Center for Genetics & Society

San Francisco Book Review
4-star review by Holly Scudero

Girls’ Globe
Review by Emma Saloranta

Publishers Weekly
Review

Library Journal
Review by Mindy Rhiger (need subscription) | (PDF)

The African Book Review
Review by Nana Brew-Hammond

Path to Fertility
Lisa Rosenthal on The Big Lie

Muses & Visionaries
Review by Lola Thelin

Please order The Big Lie at Barnes & Noble, IndieBound or Amazon.

Download the press release here.


Reviews

“A courageous, deeply personal, and unapologetically feminist exploration of delayed motherhood and infertility. This enlightening and empowering book should be required reading for every woman.”
Hillary Jordan, author (Mudbound, When She Woke)

“Producer and activist Selvaratnam, a self-defined casualty of the second-wave feminist idea that biology should not define destiny, responds with a provocative mix of solid information and palpable anger. … This wakeup call… is controversial, but few would argue with Selvaratnam’s suggestion that women get the facts before making family-planning decisions.”
Publishers Weekly

“Set aside the ‘mommy wars.’ This work is for the women who have been left out of the discussion until now…Many will cheer on Selvaratnam’s ultimate points. Sure to invite discussion among feminists.”
Library Journal

“She’s intelligent (she’s a Harvard grad), passionate (she’s a feminist and activist), and artistic (she’s a documentary and theater producer). And she wants to share her hard-won wisdom so that young women in the future don’t make the same mistakes she did.”
Booklist

“The ability to choose to become a mother, or not, is playing itself out in real time everyday and there is no question in my mind that the right to plan one’s family on one’s own timetable continues to have more pros than cons for this generation. However, it is also important that we examine the impact of a societal shift of this enormity. There is great potential in Tanya Selvaratnam’s journey to bring similar stories of disappointment, frustration, and hope to light. In sharing there can also be healing.”
Christy Turlington Burns, founder, Every Mother Counts; director/producer, No Woman, No Cry; author (Living Yoga: Creating A Life Practice); global maternal health advocate, model, mom

The Big Lie is such a brave, rigorous, and deeply honest work. Tanya Selvaratnam’s personal journey speaks to a whole generation of women raised to believe we could have it all – only to realize, too late, that with every choice comes something not chosen. If you care more about truth than ideology, read this book.”
Danzy Senna, author (Caucasia, You Are Free)

“As a fertility specialist, I am confident that this book will be a wake-up call for the many women who are (voluntarily or involuntarily) postponing reproduction. I applaud the desire of Selvaratnam to dispel myths and tell the truth about the “biological clock.” We cannot “rewind” it, but today we can stop it with egg freezing. This technology is powerful, revolutionary, and will change the lives of women in the twenty-first century.”
Pasquale Patrizio, MD, MBE, professor, reproductive bioethicist, and director, Yale Fertility Center; coeditor of A Color Atlas for Human Assisted Reproduction

The Big Lie will leave readers with many big truths—about women’s wants and desires, and revelations about our limitations. The book is part memoir, part maternal health manifesto; taken together, an important read for anyone contemplating and assuming future motherhood.”
Amy Richards, author (Opting In: Having a Child without Losing Yourself)

“40 may be the new 30, and women are looking and feeling younger than their years, but try telling that to your ovaries! There is a disconnect between what women see in the mirror and what’s happening to their reproductive organs. Tanya’s book will help women better understand their biological age and fertility health. It will also educate on the incredible advances being made in fertility treatment so that women are informed about their fertility options and choices. So pleased that Tanya is furthering this dialogue.”
Carole Kowalczyk, MD, board-certified reproductive endocrinologist; director, Michigan Center for Fertility and Women’s Health; founder, in Harmony Healing Center; founder, Seasons of Life Fertility Foundation.

“Through detailed research and personal insights, Tanya Selvaratnam sheds light on one of the most important issues facing women in today’s society: infertility. The path to parenthood is not linear and Tanya delicately yet passionately reminds us of this. As an infertility consultant and advocate, I believe knowledge is power when it comes to facing this issue and Tanya bravely shares her story so that we can all reexamine our notions of how a family is built. This book not only arms us with the information, guidance, and support to face infertility but also the honesty, vulnerability and hope to comfort us.”
Mindy Berkson, Infertility Consultant, Lotus Blossom Consulting

“With vulnerability, insight, and honesty, Tanya Selvaratnam uses her personal journey with health, fertility, and career to illuminate one of the biggest issues of our era. Have women lost out on fundamental happiness by following the call to have it all — a family and career? How can women and men re-shape the losses of our time into better choices and better outcomes? Tanya takes us inside her medical and emotional journey, and uses the stories of women across the country to examine how to put an end to “the big lie.””
Farai Chideya, television and radio journalist, author (The Color of Our Future)

“We all have to take responsibility for our choices but what happens when we don’t know we are making a choice? What if we thought we were solving WHEN but realized the question was WHETHER OR NOT? Tanya Selvaratnam bravely shares her heartbreaking, exhausting, and ultimately enlightening experience of being blindsided by fertility problems. Haunted by hindsight, she perseveres in her desire to have both a successful artistic life and a baby. Tanya engages us without sentimentality or self-pity, and in the process, she helps us all understand that there are ways to achieve our personal hopes and dreams when given honest information, guidance and support.”
Catherine Gund, documentary filmmaker and cofounder, Third Wave Foundation

“The worldwide trend towards delayed motherhood is supposed to empower women. But does having children later in life really give more life choices and freedoms for women worldwide? Using her creative insights and keen intellect, Selvaratnam tells her personal story. Read this book and reflect on her unique Asian-American journey.”
Soon-Young Yoon, UN representative for the International Alliance of Women and Chair, NGO Committee on the Status of Women/New York. Co-editor, “Gender, Women and the Tobacco Epidemic”

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