Physician writer | Wikipedia audio article

Physician writers are physicians who write
creatively in fields outside their practice of medicine.
The following is a partial list of physician-writers by historic epoch or century in which the
author was born, arranged in alphabetical order. == Antiquity == Ctesias (5th century BCE) Greek historian
St. Luke (1st century CE) apostle == Middle Ages ==
Avicenna (980–1037) early contributor to medical, philosophical and Islamic literature
Yehuda Halevi (c.1075–1141) Jewish-Spanish philosopher and poet
Maimonides (1138–1204) rabbi, and philosopher in Andalusia, Morocco and Egypt == 15th century == Adam of Łowicz (also known as Adamus Polonus;
died 1514) was a professor of medicine at Poland’s Kraków Academy, its rector in 1510–11,
royal court physician, a humanist, writer and philosopher.
Biernat of Lublin (1465–1529) was a Polish poet, fabulist and physician. He was one of
the first Polish-language writers known by name, and the most interesting of the earliest
ones. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543) was a Polish
mathematician, astronomer, physician, classical scholar, translator, Catholic cleric, jurist,
governor, military leader, diplomat and economist, best known for his epoch-making book, De revolutionibus
orbium coelestium. Girolamo Fracastoro (Fracastorius; 1478–1553)
Italian scholar (in mathematics, geography and astronomy), poet and atomist; as a physician,
he proposed ideas very similar to the germ theory of disease.
Paracelsus (1493–1541) Swiss-born botanist, alchemist, occultist.
François Rabelais (1483–1553) French satirist and author of The Lives, Heroic Deeds and
Sayings of Gargantua and Pantagruel. == 16th century == Luis Barahona de Soto (1548–1595) Spanish
poet admired by Cervantes Jan Brożek (Broscius, 1585–1652), Polish
mathematician, astronomer, physician, poet, writer, musician, rector of the Kraków Academy
Thomas Campion (1567–1620) English composer and poet
William Gilbert (1544–1603) English natural philosopher
Jacques Grévin (c. 1539–1570) French dramatist Arthur Johnston (1587–1641) Scottish poet
Thomas Lodge (c. 1558–1625) English dramatist and writer of the Elizabethan and Jacobean
periods; best remembered as the author of Rosalynde, on which Shakespeare based As You
Like It Sebastian Petrycy of Pilzno (1554–1626)
was a Polish philosopher and physician. Michael Servetus (1511–53), Spanish theologian,
cartographer, humanist; the first European to describe pulmonary circulation; burned
at the stake, for his religious views, in John Calvin’s Geneva.
Andreas Vesalius (1514–64) Belgian anatomist, author of De humani corporis fabrica == 17th century == Patrick Abercromby (1656–c.1716) Scottish
antiquarian, noted for being physician to King James VII (II of England)
John Arbuthnot (1667–1735) one of Queen Anne’s physicians and an associate of Jonathan
Swift and Alexander Pope in the Scriblerus Club
Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682) British writer with mastery in diverse fields including medicine,
religion, science and the esoteric. Samuel Garth (1661–1719) British author
and translator of classics Paul Fleming (1609–1640) was a lyricist
he stood in the front rank of German poets Giulio Mancini (1559–1630) papal physician,
art collector, and author of treatises on painting, nobility, dancing, government, and
health Bernard Mandeville (1670–1733) Dutch philosopher,
political economist and satirist who lived most of his life in England and used English
for most of his published works; became famous (or infamous) for The Fable of the Bees
Francesco Redi (1626–97) Italian poet, best known work being Bacchus in Tuscany
Angelus Silesius, né Johannes Scheffler (1624–77) German mystic and poet who wrote the lyrics
to many Christian hymns Henry Vaughan (1622–1695) Welsh metaphysical
poet John Locke (1632–1704) English philosopher,
father of liberalism and one of the most influential thinkers. == 18th century == Mark Akenside (1721-1770) English poet and
physician, known for his poem The Pleasures of the Imagination (1744)
Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802) British poet, grandfather of Charles Darwin
James Grainger (1721–66) poet from a Cumberland family; friend of Dr. Johnson
Oliver Goldsmith (1728–74) Anglo-Irish writer and poet known for his novel The Vicar of
Wakefield (1766) Albrecht von Haller (1708–77) Swiss anatomist,
physiologist, naturalist and poet Edward Jenner, FRS, (1749–1823) famous for
introducing the smallpox vaccine; also a poet of some note
Johann Heinrich Jung (1740–1817) German author, best known by his assumed name, Heinrich
Stillin; friend of Goethe John Keats (1795–1821) one of the principal
poets of the English Romantic movement who influenced poets such as Alfred Tennyson immensely
Justinus Andreas Christian Kerner (1786–1862) German poet who, along with Ludwig Uhland,
established the Swabian group of Romantic poets; some of his poems were set to music
by Robert Schumann Jean-Paul Marat (1743–93) Swiss-born French
philosopher, political theorist and scientist best known as a radical journalist and politician
from the French Revolution; stabbed to death in his bathtub by the Girondin sympathizer
Charlotte Corday and memorialized in Jacques-Louis David’s 1793 painting, The Death of Marat
John Kearsley Mitchell (1798–1858) American writer, father of S. Weir Mitchell
David Macbeth Moir (1798–1851) Scottish writer; a contributor of both prose and verse
to the magazines, and particularly, with the signature of Delta, to Blackwood’s Magazine
Mungo Park (1771–1806) Scottish explorer of the African continent
Peter Mark Roget (1779–1869) creator of the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases
(Roget’s Thesaurus) Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805) German
writer, poet, essayist and dramatist; friend of Goethe. He was an army surgeon before achieving
fame as a writer. Tobias Smollett (1721–71) Scottish author,
known for his picaresque novels, such as The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748); best
known work is The Expedition of Humphry Clinker == 19th century == Carl Ludwig Emil Aarestrup (1800–1856) Danish
erotic poet Mariano Azuela (1873–1952) Mexican physician
in Pancho Villa’s army; in 1949 he received a National Prize for Literature
Doris Bell Ball (1897–1987) wrote under the pseudonym “Josephine Bell”; a British
detective novelist who wrote more than forty books; a founding member of the Crime Writers
Association Pío Baroja y Nessi (1872–1956) Spanish
writer, one of the key novelists of the Generation of ’98; admired by Hemingway
Nérée Beauchemin (1850–1931) Québécois poet who attempted to produce a national literature
Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803–1849) English poet and dramatist whose central theme was
death Gottfried Benn (1886–1956) German essayist,
novelist and expressionist poet Robert Seymour Bridges, OM, (1844–1930)
English poet, the only physician to hold the honour of poet laureate (1913)
Georg Büchner (1813–1837) German dramatist and writer of prose
Ludwig Büchner (1824–1899) German philosopher and physiologist who became one of the exponents
of 19th century scientific materialism Mikhail Bulgakov (1891–1940) Russian novelist
and playwright; author of The Master and Margarita Hans Carossa (1878–1956) German novelist
and poet, known mostly for his autobiographical novels, and his innere Emigration (inner emigration)
during the Nazi era. Louis-Ferdinand Céline pen name of French
writer Louis-Ferdinand Destouches (1894–1961) developed a new style of writing that modernized
both French and World literature Anton Chekhov (1860–1904) celebrated Russian
short-story writer and playwright Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930) British
author of Sherlock Holmes fame Géza Csáth (né József Brenner) (1887–1919)
Hungarian writer, playwright, musician, music critic and psychiatrist
Warwick Deeping (1877–1950) prolific English novelist and short story writer; most famous
novel is Sorrell and Son (1925) Júlio Dinis, pseudonym of Joaquim Guilherme
Gomes Coelho (1839–1871) was a Portuguese doctor and writer.
Alfred Döblin (1878–1957) was a German novelist, essayist, and doctor, best known
for his novel Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929). William Henry Drummond (1854–1907) Irish-Canadian
poet of the habitant Georges Duhamel (1884–1966) French author
who, in 1920, published Confession de minuit featuring the anti-hero Salavin; in 1935,
elected member of Académie française Havelock Ellis (1859–1940) British writer
and poet, author of The Psychology of Sex Rudolph Fisher (1897–1934) African-American
writer who was an active participant in the Harlem Renaissance, primarily as a novelist,
but also as a musician R. Austin Freeman (1862–1943) British writer
of detective stories, most featuring the medico-legal forensic investigator Dr Thorndyke. He invented
the inverted detective story William Gilbert (author) (1804–1890) English
author and father of W. S. Gilbert Oliver St. John Gogarty (1878–1957) Irish
ear surgeon, one of the most prominent Dublin wits and best known as the inspiration for
Buck Mulligan in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses Enrique González Martínez (1871–1952)
Mexican poet and diplomat, considered to be primarily Modernist in nature, with elements
of French symbolism Thomas Gordon Hake (1809–1895) English poet,
intimate member of the circle of friends and followers of Rossetti
William Alexander Hammond (1828–1900) pioneering American neurologist and the Surgeon General
of the United States Army during the American Civil War
Henry Head (1861–1940) English neurologist who conducted pioneering studies on the somatosensory
system and sensory nerves. Much of this work was conducted on himself, in collaboration
with the psychiatrist W. H. R. Rivers Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809–1894) one
of the best regarded American poets of the 19th century; helped found the literary magazine
The Atlantic Monthly, his collected essays published as The Autocrat of the Breakfast
Table, highly popular in its day Richard Huelsenbeck (1892–1974) poet and
a founder and historian of Dada. David H. Keller (1880–1966) (most often
published as David H. Keller, MD, but also known by the pseudonyms Monk Smith, Matthew
Smith, Amy Worth, Henry Cecil, Cecilia Henry and Jacobus Hubelaire); a writer for pulp
magazines in the mid-20th century who wrote science fiction, fantasy and horror.
Arabella Kenealy (1859-1938), English graduate of the London School of Medicine for Women,
she practiced medicine in London and Watford (1888–1894)and authored many works of fiction,
including the novel Dr. Janet of Harley Street (1893).
Geoffrey Keynes (1887–1982) English biographer, surgeon, scholar and bibliophile; younger
brother of the economist John Maynard Keynes Janusz Korczak (1879–1942) Polish-Jewish
pediatrician, hero of the Warsaw Ghetto, and author of books for and about children
F. Reinhold Kreutzwald (1803–1882) Estonian folklorist and poet who compiled the national
epic poem Kalevipoeg Vincas Kudirka (1858–1899) Lithuanian poet
and the author of both the music and lyrics of the Lithuanian National Anthem, Tautiška
giesmė František Langer (1888–1965) Czech author,
script writer, essayist, literary critic and publicist
C. Louis Leipoldt (1880–1947) South African poet who wrote novels, plays, stories, children’s
books, cookbooks and a travel diary; numbered amongst the greatest of the Afrikaner poets
Jorge de Lima (1895–1953) Brazilian politician, poet, and writer of Alagoas
David Livingstone (1813–1873) Scottish medical missionary, explorer of Africa, travel writer
Paolo Mantegazza (1831–1910) Italian writer, wrote the science fiction book, L’Anno 3000
W. Somerset Maugham (1874–1965) celebrated British novelist, short-story writer, and
playwright; wrote Of Human Bondage John McCrae (1872–1918) Canadian poet, artist
and soldier during World War I and a surgeon during the battle of Ypres; best known for
writing the famous war memorial poem “In Flanders Fields”
S. Weir Mitchell (1829–1914) prominent American neurologist who wrote short stories, poetry
and more than a dozen novels (Hugh Wynne, Dr North, Characteristics), including the
celebrated fictional story The Strange Case of George Dedlow.
Mori Ōgai or Mori Rintaro (1862–1922) Japanese translator, novelist and poet; The Wild Geese
is considered his major work; began as a writer of partly autobiographical fiction with strong
overtones of German Romantic writings; midway in his career he shifted to historical novels
Axel Martin Fredrik Munthe (1857–1949) Swedish psychiatrist, best known as the author of
The Story of San Michele (1929), an autobiographical account of his work and life
Max Simon Nordau (1849–1923) born Simon Maximilian Südfeld was a Hungarian Zionist
leader, author, and social critic; co-founder of the World Zionist Organization
Sir William Osler(1849–1919) Canadian-born; one of the greatest icons of medicine and
described as the Father of Modern Medicine Philippe Panneton (pseudonym Ringuet) (1895–1960)
Canadian academic, diplomat and writer Wilder Graves Penfield (1891–1976) a neurosurgeon
who worked at McGill University and pioneered neurosurgical procedures for epilepsy; also
wrote fiction Bozo Pericić (1865–1947) Croatian author
of travel books, reviews on famous writers and a translation of Hamlet
John William Polidori (1795–1821) Personal physician of Lord Byron and author of The
Vampyre, the first vampire story in English Jose P. Rizal (1861–1896) Filipino polymath,
nationalist and the most prominent advocate for reforms in the Philippines during the
Spanish colonial era; a polyglot conversant in at least ten languages, he was a prolific
poet, essayist, diarist, correspondent, and novelist whose most famous works were his
two novels, Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo Sir Ronald Ross (1857–1932) a “Renaissance
man”; demonstrated the life cycle of the malarial parasite; made contributions in pure and epidemiologic
mathematics, and wrote novels, plays and poetry Mokichi Saitō (1882–1953) Japanese poet
of the Taishō period, a member of Araragi school; by the time of his death, he had written
17 collections of poems and 17,907 poems; family doctor of author Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
and assisted in his suicide; novelist Kita Morio is his second son
Arthur Schnitzler (1862–1931) Jewish-Austrian writer and dramatist. Stanley Kubrick’s 1999
film Eyes Wide Shut is based on Schnitzler’s Rhapsod; Schnitzler’s La Ronde also spawned
film versions. Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965) German theologian,
philosopher, organist, musicologist and medical missionary to Africa
Victor Segalen (1878–1919) French ethnographer, archeologist, writer, poet, explorer, art-theorist,
linguist, literary critic Henry Thompson, (1820–1904) indefatigable
British polymath, scholar and novelist Margaret Todd (c. 1859-1918) Scottish writer
and doctor who wrote under the pen name Graham Travers and published several novels including
Mona Maclean, Medical Student. John Todhunter (1839–1916) Irish poet and
playwright Shaul Tchernichovsky (1875–1943) Jewish-Russian
military physician during the First World War; decorated by the Russian government;
nomadic life spent writing, translating, editing Adolfo Valderrama (1834–1902) Chilean man
of letters and senator Vladislav Vančura (1891–1942) Czech author,
scriptwriter and film director Frederik Willem van Eeden (1829–1901) started
a literary periodical, founded an agricultural colony, translated Rabindranath Tagore’s work
into Dutch, and wrote social and literary treatises in addition to fiction, poetry,
and plays Ernst Weiß (1882–1940) Jewish-Austrian
writer, friend of Kafka, died by his own hand in Paris in 1940 as the Nazis entered the
city William Carlos Williams (1883–1963) American
poet, short story writer, novelist, playwright and essayist; in 1963 he won a posthumous
Pulitzer Prize for poetry Charlotte Wolff (1897–1986) Jewish-German
psychoanalyst and sexologist, author of poetry and novels, and one of few scientifically
trained investigators of the diagnostic significance of the hand (Studies in Handreading, 1936)
Francis Brett Young (1884–1954) English novelist and poet
Simon Vestdijk (1898–1971) a Dutch doctor, writer, poet and translator. == 20th century == Kōbō Abe (1924–1993) Japanese author known
for his surrealistic, Kafkaesque style Keith Ablow, New York Times best-selling author
Dannie Abse (born 1923) Welsh chest specialist who is also one of Europe’s most prolific
doctor-poets Vassily Aksyonov (1932–2009) Russian novelist
who was forced to emigrate from the Soviet Union in 1980
António Lobo Antunes (born 1942) psychiatrist and leading Portuguese writer
Jacob M. Appel (born 1973), American short story writer
Daniel Amen, psychiatrist, New York Times author
Janet Asimov (born 1926, Janet Opal Jeppson) American science fiction author and psychoanalyst,
wife of Isaac Asimov Brian Andrews (born 1955), neurosurgeon, Novelist
Alaa Al Aswany (born 1957), Egyptian writer and practicing dentist
Ba’al Machshavot: see Israel Isidor Elyashev Arnie Baker (born 1953 in Montreal, Canada)
is a bicycle coach, racer and writer Christiaan Neethling Barnard (1922–2001)
South African cardiac surgeon, famous for performing the world’s first successful human-to-human
heart transplant Martin Bax (born 1933) British founder and
editor of the literary journal Ambit (1959); a developmental pediatrician and editor of
the journal, Developmental and Child Neurology. He is also author of the cult novel, The Hospital
Ship. Eric Berne (1910–70), psychiatrist who created
transactional analysis; author of Games People Play.
Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński (1874–1941) Polish gynecologist, journalist, poet, most famous
as the translator of over 100 French literary classics into Polish.
Rafael Campo (born 1964) director of the Harvard Program in the Medical Humanities; his practice
serves mostly Latinos, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender people, and people with HIV
Ethan Canin (born 1960) American short story writer and novelist; author of Emperor of
the Air, Carry Me Across the Water, and other works
Louis-Ferdinand Céline (Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, 1894–1961), French physician and author
of Voyage au bout de la nuit Deepak Chopra (born 1946) Indian writer on
spirituality and mind-body medicine Don Coldsmith (born 1926) American author
of primarily Western fiction; past president of Western Writers of America
Robert Coles (born 1929) American author, child psychiatrist, and professor at Harvard
University Alex Comfort (1920–2000) British writer
and poet, author of The Joy of Sex and a science fiction novel, Tetrarch
Robin Cook (born 1940), American author of best-selling novels, including Coma; nearly
all his books deal with hot medical issues of the day, from bioterrorism to organ donation
Michael Crichton (1942–2008) American author of Jurassic Park
A.J. Cronin (1896–1981), Scottish novelist and essayist; creator of Dr. Finlay. Other
works include The Stars Look Down, The Citadel, and The Keys of the Kingdom. The Citadel (1937)
brought much-needed attention to inequities in the British medical system and is credited
with having prompted the creation of Britain’s National Health Service.
Theodore Dalrymple, pen name of Anthony Daniels (born 1949). Conservative writer, author of
Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality, among others. Retired British prison doctor
and psychiatrist. Colin Douglas (born 1945) pseudonym of a Scottish
novelist, Colin Thomas Currie; frequent British Medical Journal contributor
Halbert L. Dunn (1896–1975) authored High Level Wellness (1961).
Marek Edelman (1922–2009) Polish sociopolitical activist, memoirist, last leader of the 1943
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Nawal El Saadawi (born 1931) Egyptian feminist
who has written many books on the subject of women in Islam
Israel Isidor Elyashev (1873–1924; pen-name: Ba’al Machshavot, Hebrew for “The Thinker”
(בעל מחשבות): Lithuanian neurologist; pioneer of Hebrew and Yiddish literature;
known as the first Yiddish literary critic, publisher, translator (translated Theodor
Herzl’s Altneuland from German into Yiddish) and forerunner of the Zionist Movement
Frantz Fanon (1925–1961) born in Martinique, who wrote books on the psychology of colonial
oppression, notably The Wretched of the Earth. Jacques Ferron (1921–85) Canadian author
who founded the Parti Rhinocéros, which he described as “an intellectual guerrilla party”
Michael Fitzwilliam, pseudonym of J.B. Lyons (born 1922), professor of medical history
at the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, who wrote fiction in the 1960s
Alice Weaver Flaherty (born ) American neurologist, author of The Midnight Disease: The Drive
to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain
Viktor Frankl (1905–1997) Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, author of Man’s Search for
Meaning Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), Austrian psychoanalyst,
author of many books prized as much for their literary qualities.
Graeme Garden (born 1943) British comedy writer and performer from Scotland, actor, television
director, and author, he became well known as a member of The Goodies comedy trio; author
of a novel The Seventh Man Tess Gerritsen (born 1953) American writer
of gothic thrillers with a medical theme Peter Goldsworthy (1951) Australian writer
who has won many awards for his short stories, poetry, novels, and opera libretti
Richard Gordon, pen name of Gordon Ostlere (born 1921) English author of novels, screenplays
for film and television and accounts of popular history; most famous for comic novels on a
medical theme starting with Doctor in the House, and their film, television and stage
adaptations; The Alarming History of Medicine was published in 1993 followed by The Alarming
History of Sex John Grant (born 1933) English author who
writes under the pen name Jonathan Gash. He is the author of the Lovejoy series of novels
Lars Johan Wictor Gyllensten (1921–2006) Swedish author and physician, and a member
of the Swedish Academy Miroslav Holub (1923–1998) Czech poet, heavily
influenced by his experiences as an immunologist, wrote many poems using his scientific knowledge
to poetic effect Richard Hooker (1924–1997) American writer
and surgeon who wrote under the pseudonym Richard Hooker. His most famous work was MASH
(1968) Khaled Hosseini (born 1965) Afghanistan-born
American novelist; author of the bestsellers The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns
Wil Huygen (1923-2009) Dutch author and painter, best known for the picture books on gnomes
Yusuf Idris, also Yusif Idris (1927–91) Egyptian writer of plays, short stories, and
novels who wrote realistic stories about ordinary and poor people. Many of his works are in
the Egyptian vernacular, and he was considered a master of the short story
P. C. Jersild (born 1935) Swedish writer, best known for Barnens ö (The Island of the
Children) filmed in 1980 by Kay Pollak Alice Jones, American poet, practiced internal
medicine, psychiatry, now psychoanalysis. Co-editor of Apogee Press.
Carl Jung (1875–1961), Austrian psychoanalyst and author.
James Kahn (born 1947) American writer, best known for his novelization of Return of the
Jedi, Poltergeist and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. He has also written for well-known
television series such as Melrose Place, Star Trek: The Next Generation, St. Elsewhere and
E/R Christopher Kasparek (born 1945), Scottish-born
writer of Polish descent who has edited and translated works by Ignacy Krasicki, Bolesław
Prus, Florian Znaniecki, Władysław Tatarkiewicz, Marian Rejewski and Władysław Kozaczuk,
as well as the Constitution of 3 May 1791. Harold L. Klawans (1937–98) wrote Chekhov’s
Lie, about the challenges of combining writing with the medical life
Bernard Knight, CBE (born 1931) has written about thirty books, including contemporary
crime fiction, historical novels about Wales, biography, non-fiction popular works on forensic
medicine, twelve medico-legal textbooks and the current highly acclaimed Crowner John
Mysteries series of 12th-century historical mysteries
Ronald David Laing (1927–89) Scottish psychiatrist who wrote extensively on mental illness and
particularly the experience of psychosis Stanisław Lem (1921–2006) Polish science
fiction, philosophical and satirical writer whose books have been translated into 41 languages
and have sold over 27 million copies Carlo Levi (1902–1975) Italian novelist
and writer; author of Christ Stopped at Eboli Edward Lowbury (1913–2007) English bacteriologist
and pathologist who was also a published poet and wrote criticism and biography
John E. Mack (1929–2004) Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, also considered an authority on
the spiritual or transformational effects of alleged alien-encounter experiences
Adeline Yen Mah (born 1937) Chinese-American author
J. Nozipo Maraire (born 1966) Zimbabwean writer; author of Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter
Félix Martí Ibáñez (1912–1972) Spanish author and minister for the Republic during
the Spanish Civil War; exiled during Franco’s era, he became a United States citizen and
published the popular MD magazine in 1950s Alexander McCall Smith, CBE, FRSE, (born 1948)
Rhodesian-born Scottish writer and Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at the University
of Edinburgh, Scotland; writer of fiction, most widely known as the creator of The No.
1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series Keith McCarthy (born 1960) British author
of crime novels Jed Mercurio (born 1966) British writer who
also writes under the name John MacUre; created the television series Cardiac Arrest and Bodies;
has also written and directed for The Grimleys Sir Jonathan Wolfe Miller, CBE (born 1934)
British theatre and opera director, author, television presenter, humorist and sculptor
Amitabh Mitra (born 1955) South African poet of Indian origin, working at Cecilia Makiwane
Hospital in Mdantsane township Merrill Moore (1903–57) contributor to The
Fugitive, became a member of the great literary circle that started the “modern Southern literature,”
the Southern Agrarian Movement; most prolific sonneteer ever, he wrote over forty thousand
sonnets Fernando Goncalves Namora (1919–1989) was
a Portuguese writer and medical doctor. Taslima Nasrin (also spelled Taslima Nasreen
and popularly referred to as ‘Taslima’, born 1962) Bengali Bangladeshi author and feminist
who writes about the treatment of women in Islam; lives in exile in India and has received
death threats from fundamentalists Josef Nesvadba (1926–2005) Czech science
fiction writer, the best known from the 1960s generation; pioneer of group psychotherapy
in Czechoslovakia António Agostinho Neto (1922–79), first
President of Angola (1975–1979), leader of the Popular Movement for the Liberation
of Angola (MPLA) and celebrated poet Abioseh Nicol (Davidson Nicol) (1924–94)
Sierra Leonean academic, diplomat, writer and poet
Alan E. Nourse (1928–1992) American science fiction author
Sherwin Nuland (1930–2014) American author who teaches bioethics and medicine at the
Yale University School of Medicine Danielle Ofri (born 1965). Author of Singular
Intimacies: Becoming a Doctor at Bellevue, Incidental Findings and Medicine in Translation:
Journeys with My Patients. Internist at Bellevue Hospital and NYU School of Medicine.
Ferdie Pacheco (born 1927) prolific author and painter, nicknamed “The Fight Doctor”;
personal physician of Muhammad Ali Michael Stephen Palmer (born 1942) author
of 13 novels, often called the Medical thrillers series
M. Scott Peck (1936–2005), American psychiatrist whose The Road Less Traveled sold more than
seven million copies and was on the New York Times best-seller list for over six years
Walker Percy (1916–1990) American Southern author whose interests included philosophy
and semiotics Lenrie Leopold Wilfred Peters (born 1932)
Gambian novelist and poet Steve Pieczenik (born 1943) is author of psycho-political
thrillers and the co-creator of the best-selling Tom Clancy’s Op-Center and Tom Clancy’s Net
Force paperback series Stephen Potts (born 1957) British author of
children’s books Wilhelm Reich (1897–1957), Austrian-American
psychiatrist, author of The Mass Psychology of Fascism and Character Analysis.
Mickey Zucker Reichert (born 1962) Pediatrician and fantasy author
Theodore Isaac Rubin (born 1923) iconoclastic psychiatrist, wrote more than twenty-five
works of fiction and nonfiction; his David and Lisa was made into an acclaimed film in
1962 Suhayl Saadi (born 1961) is an author and
dramatist based in Glasgow Oliver Wolf Sacks (1933–2015) wrote popular
books about his patients (e.g. The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat), the most famous
of which is Awakenings, which was adapted into a film starring Robin Williams and Robert
De Niro Ferrol Sams (1922-2013) American novelist;
author of Run with the Horsemen, who draws heavily on southern storytelling tradition
Moacyr Scliar (1937–2011) Jewish-Brazilian writer; most of his writing centers on issues
of Jewish identity in the Diaspora and particularly on being Jewish in Brazil
Richard Selzer (1928-2016) American author of such celebrated works as Mortal Lessons,
Confessions of a Knife, Letters to a Young Doctor and Taking the World in for Repairs
which blur the line between case reporting and fiction
Samuel Shem, pen-name Stephen Joseph Bergman (born 1944) wrote The House of God and Mount
Misery, both fictional but close-to-real first-hand descriptions of the training of doctors
David Shrayer-Petrov (born 1936) Russian-American fiction writer, poet, and essayist, best known
for his Russian trilogy of novels about Jewish refuseniks and for his collections of short
stories Jonah and Sarah, Autumn in Yalta and Dinner with Stalin, all of which feature medical
themes and characters who are doctors and nurses. He served as a military physician
in the Soviet Union, practiced as an endocrinologist, worked as a research microbiologist and oncologist.
Frank Slaughter, pseudonym C.V. Terry (1908–2001) American bestselling novelist whose themes
include history, the Biblical world, new findings in medical research and technology; wrote
Doctors’ Wives Benjamin Spock (1903–1988) – American
pediatrician, wrote Baby and Child Care Ken Strauss (born 1953) novelist who helps
promote the work of other physician writers Han Suyin pen name of Elizabeth Comber, born
Rosalie Elisabeth (born 1917), Chinese-born author of several books on modern China, novels
set in East Asia, and autobiographical works; she currently resides in Lausanne and has
written in English and French Raymond Tallis (born 1946) British author
has published a novel, three volumes of poetry and over a dozen books on philosophy, literary
theory, art and cultural criticism; in 2004 he was identified in Prospect magazine as
one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the United Kingdom; wrote The Enduring Significance
of Parmenides: Unthinkable Thought Lewis Thomas (1913–1993) celebrated American
essayist and poet Leonid Tsypkin (1926–1982) Jewish-Russian
writer born in Minsk, best known for his book Summer in Baden-Baden
Gael Turnbull (1928–2004) Scottish poet who was an important precursor of the British
Poetry Revival Vaino Vahing (born 1940) former psychiatrist,
one of the most famous and gifted of Estonian writers; most of his publications date from
the 1970s and ’80s. Abraham Verghese (born 1955) Indian-American
professor at Stanford University Medical School, born and reared in Ethiopia, author of the
novel, Cutting for Stone. Karl Edward Wagner (1945–1994) American
writer, editor and publisher of horror, science fiction, and heroic fantasy
Junichi Watanabe (1933-2014) Japanese novelist who was an orthopaedic surgeon, published
romantic story A Lost Paradise. Phil Whitaker (born 1966) book reviewer for
the New Statesman and a novelist James White (1928–1999) wrote the Sector
General Series about a hospital in space, but was not a physician. He wanted to be one,
but “he had to go out and work” (see article in Wikipedia and author’s web site.)
William Carlos Williams (1883–1963) was an American poet closely associated with modernism
and Imagism. He was also a pediatrician and GP.
Tim Willocks (born 1957) British novelist whose work usually features a central character
with extensive medical knowledge (especially of drugs) and martial arts ability (Willocks
is a black belt in Shotokan karate) F. Paul Wilson (born 1946) writes novels and
short stories primarily in the science fiction and horror genres
Irvin Yalom (born 1931) existentialist and psychotherapist; produced a number of novels
and also experimented with writing techniques; in Everyday Gets a Little Closer he invited
a patient to co-write about the experience of therapy
C. Dale Young (born 1969) American poet, editor and educator; edits poetry for New England
Review. == 21st century == Chris Adrian, author, paediatrician, Harvard
Divinity School graduate Monther Alkabbani (born 1970), celebrated
Saudi Arabian writer, novelist and surgeon Janet Asimov, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst,
and science fiction writer Gyan Chaturvedi (born 1952), Indian cardiologist,
author, and columnist. He is a prolific writer of much-acclaimed satire in Hindi.
Brandon Colby, writer on predictive medicine and genetic testing
Joel Fuhrman, family physician, author, print and TV advocate of a micronutrient-rich diet
Rivka Galchen, novelist Atul Gawande (b. 1965) general and endocrine
surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts and is The New Yorker
medical writer Tess Gerritsen, novelist
Perri Klass, journalist, pediatrician, New York University professor
Vincent Lam, Canadian writer (Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures)
C. J. Lyons, former pediatrician and thriller writer
Amit Majmudar, poet, novelist, practicing radiologist, 1st Ohio poet laureate
William James Maloney, American dentist, author Howard Markel, physician, medical historian,
journalist, editor, national best selling author, and professor at The University of
Michigan Richard Mounce, endodontist and magazine writer
Siddhartha Mukherjee, oncologist, Pulitzer Prize winner, author of The Emperor of All
Maladies: A Biography of Cancer Taslima Nasrin, Bengali author and former
physician Danielle Ofri, essayist, editor, practicing
internist, and professor at New York University School of Medicine
Kevin Patterson, Canadian writer Nawal El Saadawi, Egyptian feminist writer,
activist, physician and psychiatrist Abraham Verghese, Indian-American New York
Times Bestselling author, Professor at Stanford University Medical School, Department of Internal
Medicine Martin Winckler, physician, writer, TV critic ==
Why physicians write == Physicians have a long history, dating back
to Greek medicine, of literary activities. This may have its origins in mythology. Apollo
was the god of both poetry and medicine. Pallas Athene was the goddess of poetry, healing
and war. Brigit was the Celtic patroness of poets, smiths and healers.
It is thought that through their privileged and intimate contact with those moments of
greatest human drama (birth, illness, injury, suffering, disease, death) physicians are
in a unique position to observe, record and create the stories that make us human. “The
clinical gaze [has] much in common with the artist’s eye.”Robert Louis Stevenson, in his
Preface to Underwoods, described this unique privilege: There are men and classes of men that stand
above the common herd: the soldier, the sailor, and the shepherd not infrequently; the artist
rarely; rarelier still, the clergyman; the physician almost as a rule. He is the flower
(such as it is) of our civilization; and when that stage of man is done with, and only to
be marvelled at in history, he will be thought to have shared as little, as any in the defects
of the period, and most notably exhibited the virtues of the race. Generosity he has,
such as is possible to those who practise an art, never to those who drive a trade;
discretion, tested by a hundred secrets; tact, tried in a thousand embarrassments; and what
are more important, Heraclean cheerfulness and courage. So that he brings air and cheer
into the sick room, and often enough, though not so often as he wishes, brings healing. The challenges of combining medical practice
with writing are addressed by neurologist and pharmacologist Harold L. Klawans in his
study, Chekhov’s Lie. == Worldwide organizations ==
In 1955 a group of physician-writers created the International Federation of Societies
of Physician-Writers (FISEM). One of the founders was Dr. André Soubiran, author of Hommes
en blanc (The Doctors). Other founders included Italian Professors Nasi and Lombroso, Belgian
Drs. Sévery and Thiriet, Swiss physicians Junod and René Kaech, and eminent French
writers of the medical academy. Dr. Mirko Skoficz was a key figure at the first FISEM
congress in San Remo, Italy, along with his wife, Italian film star Gina Lollobrigida.
In 1973 FISEM changed its name to UMEM—Union Mondiale des Écrivains Médécins, or World
Union of Physician Writers. Its current president is Dr. Carlos Vieira Reis of Portugal. UMEM
is an umbrella organization that subsumes physician-writer groups in: Belgium, Groupement Belge des Médecins-Écrivains
Brazil, Sociedade Brasileira de Médicos Escritores SOBRAMES
Bulgaria, Club des Écrivains Médecins en Bulgarie
France, Groupement des Ecrivains – Médecins [GEM]
Germany, Bundesverband Deutscher Schriftstellerärzte [BDSA]
Greece, Hellenic Society of Physician Writers Italy, A.M.S.I.
Netherlands, Penaescula Poland, Unia Polskich Pisarzy Medyków [UPPL]
Portugal, Sociedade Portuguesa dos Escritores Médicos [SOPEAM]
Romania, Societaea Medicilor Scriitori şi Publicişti din România
South America, Liga Sud-Americana de Médicos-Escritores LISAME
Spain, Asociación Española de Médicos Escritores e Artistas [AEMEA]
Switzerland, Association Suisse des Écrivains Médecins [ASEM] == Anglophone associations ==
In the Anglophone world, the lead has been taken by New York University (NYU) with their
encyclopedic Literature, Arts & Medicine Database and blog. An associated resource is the Medical
Humanities directory: http://medhum.med.nyu.edu/directory.html. These sites were established in 1994 at the
New York University School of Medicine and were: “dedicated to providing a resource for scholars,
educators, students, patients, and others who are interested in the work of medical
humanities. We define the term ‘medical humanities’ broadly to include an interdisciplinary field
of humanities (literature, philosophy, ethics, history and religion), social science (anthropology,
cultural studies, psychology, sociology), and the arts (literature, theater, film, and
visual arts) and their application to medical education and practice. The humanities and
arts provide insight into the human condition, suffering, personhood, our responsibility
to each other, and offer a historical perspective on medical practice. Attention to literature
and the arts helps to develop and nurture skills of observation, analysis, empathy,
and self-reflection – skills that are essential for humane medical care. The social sciences
help us to understand how bioscience and medicine take place within cultural and social contexts
and how culture interacts with the individual experience of illness and the way medicine
is practiced.” Daniel Bryant, an American internist, has
compiled an extensive list of fellow physician writers.The Johns Hopkins University Press
publishes Literature and Medicine, “a journal devoted to exploring interfaces between literary
and medical knowledge and understanding. Issues of illness, health, medical science, violence,
and the body are examined through literary and cultural texts.”Dartmouth Medical School
publishes Lifelines, an art and literature journal dedicated to featuring the works of
physicians and their experiences in medicine. The British Medical Association keeps an updated,
though selective, list of physician-writers on its web site. == See also ==
Lists of writers Writers by non-fiction subject area (category) == Notes

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