This is the interview with Mimi Zieman, MD – Author of TAP DANCING ON EVEREST – This Month’s Featured Book Worth Reading

“Gorgeous, so full of joy, zest, fun and yet with some profound thoughts. Once started  you cannot put it down.” — Sir Chris Bonington, author of Everest the Hard Way

An ideal alchemy of grit and grace. The lessons Zieman learns on the mountain are  important lessons for us all. A wild and deeply satisfying journey.” — Emily Rapp Black, author of The Still Point of The Turning World

Tap Dancing on Everest is a coming-of-age memoir that connects being a child of immigrants raised in New York City with becoming the doctor – and only woman – on a historic Everest climb in Tibet as a 25-year-old medical student. It has themes of adventure, feminism, medicine, and a reverence for nature. The book highlights the restorative power of immersion in nature and in solitude, both increasingly recognized as important in our over-stimulated world.

What do you hope other people will take away from reading your book?

Conquering mountains has a male-dominated history, but I wanted to tell a different kind of expedition story—not about climbers—but about a woman in the shadows until the men’s lives were at stake. Despite advances in opportunities, women are still often in the background, underestimate their capabilities, and have trouble being heard. Coming-of-age on Everest was a dramatic backdrop for discovering what I’m capable of and how I want to use my voice. My father’s legacy as a Holocaust survivor and subsequently as an advocate for peace is a strong influence on my advocacy and an important part of the story.

One message I wanted to convey is that facing challenges that we’re afraid of, or think we’re not ready for, is difficult but results in growth. My “Everest,” was assuming the role of team doctor while I was a 25-year-old medical student.

The body is an important theme in your book, if not even a character. Can you explain why?

Our bodies contain who we are, yet we often don’t know how to relate to them or listen to them. I write in the book that when I got out of my head and let my body lead, I felt more whole as a person and more joy. That happened while dancing and hiking. Part of the story is how I matured while learning to take care of the bodies of others. Since I’m a physician I wanted to normalize bodily functions by including details such as changing my tampons in thigh-deep snow and using a pee bottle.


You write about how your parents arrived by ship in N.Y. harbor, your father being the only survivor of the Holocaust in his family, and its effect on you. Why was this important to you?

All people carry family history that influences them, and the immigrant story is particularly resonant. My father’s story haunted me, influenced me to seek my own path, and ultimately emboldened me. I wanted to tell the story of a physically strong Jewish woman because there aren’t many Jewish adventure memoirs. My family’s history of survival, displacement, and migration made me consider random opportunities as possibilities.

You evoke distinct places vividly including growing up in New York City, The Catskills, Rocky Mountains, Israel, and the Himalayas. How does “place” influence you?

Place affects our daily experience in deep ways. Traveling alone as a young person taught me to be more present and aware of my environment, which was revelatory. I aimed to capture those places the way they were then since many have changed now.

How did you come to write The Post-Roe Monologues?

Shortly after Roe v. Wade was overturned, I was inspired by the Vagina Monologues to use storytelling to promote empathy. It felt like the perfect confluence of my writing, advocacy, and career as a gynecologist specialized in Complex Family Planning. Previously, I’d testified at the Georgia legislature against bills restricting women’s health rights, worked with community groups, and wrote Op-Eds. For the play, I also conducted interviews with people from the communities represented to ensure a diverse range of voices.

How can our readers get a copy of your book?

In bookstores and any online retailer!  

What is the best way for our readers to connect with you? (website url, social media links)

You can find me at , on Twitter at @mimiziemanmd , and Instagram at @mimiziemanmd .


Mimi Zieman is an author, physician, speaker, and reproductive rights advocate. In addition to Tap Dancing on Everest, she has co-authored sixteen editions of Managing Contraception. Her recent play, The Post-Roe Monologues, has been performed in multiple cities and her writing has appeared in The Sun Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Newsweek, Dorothy Parker’s Ashes, NBC News THINK, The Forward, and other publications. Prior OB/GYN roles include Director of Family Planning Emory University School of Medicine, Chief Medical Officer Planned Parenthood Southeast, and member of CDC committees writing guidelines for U.S. contraceptive care. Zieman has spoken nationally and internationally and has been interviewed by multiple media outlets. See more at .