Doctors who write fiction

January 22, 2010 | Peggy

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The author of Wife of the Gods (see posting below) is a medical doctor, now practising in California. Writing fiction may seem an unusual leisure activity for a doctor, but there are numerous examples. Historically, Anton Chekhov, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Somerset Maugham were doctors (although Maugham never actually practised).

46508573 Closer to home, Torontonian Dr. Vincent Lam won the Scotiabank Giller Prize for his linked short 1550228609_thumbnail stories Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, which has now been made into a  TV mini-series. Other Canadian doctors writing fiction are Kevin Patterson (Consumption) and Ross Pennie (Tainted).

Medical thriller writers Tess Gerritsen (latest The Keepsake) and Robin Cook (latest Intervention) were practising physicians, which gives authority to their writing. Other doctor-writers are Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner), Daniel Mason (The Piano Tuner) and Abraham Verghese (Cutting for Stone).

It seems that doctors can make good writers. Is it because they hear so many stories from their patients and are inspired, or because they wish to make sense of the suffering they see on a regular basis?