Author Event: Meg Kissinger - "While You Were Out" with Paul Summergrad, M.D.

Event date: 
02/22/2024 - 7:00pm

Award-winning journalist Meg Kissinger discusses her powerful and insightful memoir, While You Were Out: An Intimate Family Portrait of Mental Illness in an Era of Silence. Meg will be in conversation with Paul Summergrad, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine and Tufts Medical Center.

This is a free event but we request that you RSVP. You can do so with the link below (no fees) or by calling us at 781-431-1160 during store hours (also no fees). 

You can add a purchase of the author's book onto your RSVP. Copies will also be available for purchase at the event. Please note that you must purchase your copy of the book from Wellesley Books in order to have the author sign it at the event. 

If you are unable to attend the event but would still like to buy the book, you can do so by scrolling down. Just remember that buying the book is not the same as an RSVP.



“The raw intimacy of her prose exemplifies the empathy our society so desperately needs.” —The New York Times

From award-winning journalist Meg Kissinger, a searing memoir of a family besieged by mental illness, as well as an incisive exploration of the systems that failed them and a testament to the love that sustained them.

Growing up in the 1960s in the suburbs of Chicago, Meg Kissinger’s family seemed to live a charmed life. With eight kids and two loving parents, the Kissingers radiated a warm, boisterous energy. Whether they were spending summer days on the shores of Lake Michigan, barreling down the ski slopes, or navigating the trials of their Catholic school, the Kissingers always knew how to live large and play hard.

But behind closed doors, a harsher reality was unfolding—a heavily medicated mother hospitalized for anxiety and depression, a manic father prone to violence, and children in the throes of bipolar disorder and depression, two of whom would take their own lives. Through it all, the Kissingers faced the world with their signature dark humor and the unspoken family rule: never talk about it.

While You Were Out begins as the personal story of one family’s struggles then opens outward, as Kissinger details how childhood tragedy catalyzed a journalism career focused on exposing our country’s flawed mental health care. Combining the intimacy of memoir with the rigor of investigative reporting, the book explores the consequences of shame, the havoc of botched public policy, and the hope offered by new treatment strategies.

Powerful, candid and filled with surprising humor, this is the story of one family’s love and resilience in face of great loss.



Meg Kissinger, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and author, will help you see and think about people with mental illness in a new light. Her engaging memoir, “While You Were Out: An Intimate Family Portrait of Mental Illness in an Era of Silence,” has been praised for its incisive reporting, boundless compassion and  surprising humor. It was named as an editors choice by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Amazon, Goodreads and Independent Booksellers Association. Audible chose it as the Best of the Year. 

Kissinger spent more than two decades traveling across the country to report on our nation’s failed mental health system, winning dozens of national awards. She is a popular speaker at universities, civic organizations and corporate events. She taught investigative reporting at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and is a trainer for the school’s Dart Center on Trauma and Journalism. 

Kissinger lives in Milwaukee, Wis., along the shores of Lake Michigan, her favorite place to plunge, even on the coldest day in January. 



Paul Summergrad, M.D. is Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine and Tufts Medical Center. From 2004 until 2023 he was the Dr. Frances S. Arkin professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine and psychiatrist-in-chief at Tufts Medical Center. From 2014-15, Dr. Summergrad served as the 141st president of the American Psychiatric Association, and is a past president of the American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry. He serves as the Secretary for Finances and as a member of the Executive Committee of the World Psychiatric Association.


While You Were Out: An Intimate Family Portrait of Mental Illness in an Era of Silence By Meg Kissinger Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250793775
Availability: On our shelves now.
Published: Celadon Books - September 5th, 2023

Event address: 
Wellesley Books
82 Central St
Wellesley, MA 02482-5714