Writer of ‘Hidden Figures,’ Margot Lee Shetterly, to visit Phoenix

Mar 6, 2017, 12:42 PM
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PHOENIX — The writer whose true story about African-American women helping NASA send a man into space will be in Phoenix next month, Arizona State University announced.

Margot Lee Shetterly’s bestseller “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race,” became the basis of a hit movie that earned three 2017 Academy Award nominations, including best picture and supporting actress for Octavia Spencer.

Shetterly was scheduled to visit Phoenix on April 4 at the Orpheum Theatre, hosted by ASU’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.

The 7 p.m. event, which will include a question-and-answer session with the author, is free.


Shetterly’s book, her first, focused on the black women who worked as human computers at the Langley Research Center in Virginia. Chief among those women was Katherine Johnson. Her calculations led to the success of John Glenn’s orbit around Earth.

As the daughter of NASA research scientist growing up in Hampton, Virginia, “I knew a lot of the women … I remember being a little girl and seeing Katherine Johnson at meetings that my parents went to,” Shetterly said in December 2016.

The book has been out since September but has gotten a boost in sales from the movie.

The daughter of a NASA scientist has also started the Human Computer Project, a digital archive of the stories of women in mathematics.

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Writer of ‘Hidden Figures,’ Margot Lee Shetterly, to visit Phoenix