Nadia Natali and Judith Hannan talk dealing with illness and grief at South Pasadena Library

A hands-on, hearts-on guide to writing about illness. Using intimate prompts and personal stories, Judith Hannan takes the reader and emerging-writer on a journey through what it means to reckon with illness. Having gone through her daughter's cancer diagnosis and treatments, Hannan is an experienced, thoughtful, and caring guide for anyone wanting to find a way through the labyrinth of the illness experience.

Nadia Natali, author of Stairway to Paradise and Judith Hannan, author of The Write Prescription in conversation at the South Pasadena Library

South Pasadena Library | 1100 Oxley St, South Pasadena, CA 91030

Her father invented Kodachrome, and her mother—who sang and danced professionally—was the sister of George and Ira Gershwin. Growing up in Westport, Connecticut amidst great privilege and uncommon fame, Nadia Natali might have chosen a life of comfort and celebrity. But from an early age, she was driven to create one of great consequence instead, one in which she could seek her true purpose and life’s deepest meanings.

When she met photographer Enrico Natali, the two embarked on a shared quest not simply for adventure, but also a journey to discover how their lives could most profoundly unfold. Their yearnings for lives fully-lived took them to a wild and wonderful piece of property surrounded by the Los Padres National Forest in the coastal mountains of Southern California—a place where they lived in a teepee, started a family, and carved out rich satisfaction as they transformed their beautiful piece of earth into Blue Heron Ranch.

The forty years between then and now have been filled with unimaginable adventures, the kind of tragedy that can utterly destroy the lives of those who must endure them and go on, deep introspection and personal growth, as well as joy and gratitude as bounteous as the natural world surrounding them.

Stairway to Paradise is a memoir of uncommon honesty and clarity, the story of one woman’s determination to make the most of the gifts her family heritage has offered her, and to live wisely and honorably in every way one can. This is a book to savor, one that will make you cry and marvel at how essential it is for all of us to bring a commitment to truth and openhearted honesty to all our challenges as well as our many blessings.