I am a writer and novelist with strong interests in social justice, narrative medicine, and the history of psychiatry. I earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, have Master's degrees in both French and German, and have traveled the globe. I have taught college classes in French, German, English, literature, composition, and creative writing. I have also been a guest contributor to the "On Being" blog of American Public Radio and a Pushcart Prize nominee.

I hold an appointment as an adjunct assistant professor in pediatrics in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, where I teach narrative medicine. I am on the editorial board of Bridle Path Press, a small, boutique, literary cooperative, which has published novels, short story collections, and poetry collections. I have presented my work at numerous national and regional conferences and have co-authored a handbook on writing.

I have published articles, essays, short stories, profiles, and four novels: Choke Creek, Wolf Constellation, The Hanging of Ruben Ashford (BrickHouse Books 2022) and The Eye Begins to See  (Ethics Press 2023). My current novel-in-progress, Beneath the Burning Sun, tells the story of a young seamstress from northern France who becomes swept up in the People's Crusade. This website will provide you with a snapshot of my work, past, current, and forthcoming. Welcome.


What's New

Using narrative medicine to build community across the health care professions and foster self-care

In a hospital environment that is often hierarchical and siloed, attending a narrative medicine group reduces isolation among health care providers, makes them feel equally valued, and provides a platform to hear diverse perspectives. By moderating the stress that arises from the emotional labor of hospital work, narrative medicine may also enhance self-care.  Journal of Radiology Nursing 36 (2017) 224-227


Public-Facing History

Lauren Small presents The Eye Begins to See in a workshop at the annual meeting of the American Association of the History of Medicine in Kansas City, May 2024.


Wolf Constellation: available from Lauren Small

Fifteen-year-old Anna Glanz has stopped speaking, and it’s up to Dr. Gus Thaler of the Phipps Psychiatric Clinic to find out why. Thaler’s search to cure Anna takes him deep into the past, to a mystical rabbi-healer who once exorcised a spirit from Anna’s grandmother. But ultimately as Anna lies dying, her daughter uncovers the secret that even now Anna cannot bring herself to tell.

Written by the Pushcart Prize-nominated author of Choke Creek, Wolf Constellation delivers a gripping tale of mothers and daughters, guilt and forgiveness. Like the wolf that haunts Anna’s dreams, the novel is wild, fantastical, and darkly mysterious. Through an epic story that crosses generations, Lauren Small brilliantly captures the forces that make us who we are—and are so difficult to escape.

Mental illness through generations: a review of Wolf Constellation in Hopkins Medicine Magazine.

Book Review of Wolf Constellation in Closler: A Clinical Excellence Initiative.


"On Being": American Public Radio

Read Lauren Small's contributions to American Public Radio's "On Being" blog.


Now available from BrickHouse Books: The Hanging of Ruben Ashford

At the heart of Lauren Small's soaring new novel is a murder mystery set in Baltimore in 1918, and the love of two remarkable women. Psychologist Josie Berenson defends a young Black man who has confessed to murder while her partner, Dr. Nell Winters confronts an influenza epidemic that rapidly kills thousands. Their search for justice and healing is complicated by a city riven by race, at a time when loving a member of your own sex is a crime. The path forward, they discover, is fraught with difficulty, but still offers reasons for hope. Delivered by a master story-teller, The Hanging of Ruben Ashford reveals fault lines in a great American city that still reverberate today.


The Eye Begins to See

From Ethics Press in 2023, The Eye Begins to See tells the story of Dr. Leo Alexander, Viennese psychiatrist and Jewish war refugee, who returns to Nuremberg after the war to aid the American prosecution in their case against Karl Brandt and other Nazi doctors who committed medical war crimes.


The 90 Year Divide

Nearly a century ago, rival approaches to psychiatry fractured the profession. The Grand Argument is far from over. An article by Lavinia Edmunds and Lauren Small in Johns Hopkins Magazine.


Beneath the Burning Sun (novel in progress)

In the dead of winter in 1096, a young seamstress from northern France, burdened by unspeakable sin, embarks on a most improbable journey: a trek across Europe to the Holy Land to liberate Jerusalem from the hands of Muslim infidels. Swept up into the “People’s Crusade,” Radegonde and her companions—a formerly enslaved African seeking to go home; a Jew intent on resurrecting the ancient nation of Israel; a runaway monk following in the steps of Jesus; and a Muslim girl searching for long-lost love—encounter the violence and cruelty of war, but also exceptional moments of grace brought by love, friendship, forgiveness, and hope. Through a buoyant narrative that teems with stories and resonates across the ages, Beneath the Burning Sun (novel in progress) brings to life a pivotal moment in history when ordinary people, by transforming themselves, transformed the world.



AfterWards is a program in narrative medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD run by Dr. Lauren Small. The program meets monthly and is open on a drop-in basis to all caregivers. Dr. Small also proivdes narrative medicine programming to fellows, residents, and other dedicated groups.