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Perri has written extensively about medicine, children, literacy, and knitting. Her nonfiction includes Every Mother is a Daughter, which she coauthored with her mother, and Quirky Kids: Understanding and Helping Your Child Who Doesn't Fit In, which she coauthored with Eileen Costello. She is also the author of two collections and other works of fiction, including the novels The Mystery of Breathing and Other Women's Children. Her most recent books are Treatment Kind and Fair: Letters to a Young Doctor and The Mercy Rule, which was released in July 2008.
Her short stories have won five O. Henry Awards, and in 2006, she was the recipient of the Women's National Book Association Award. She is a longtime member of the executive board of PEN New England, which she chaired from 2004 to 2006.