other essays, clips, reviews

Leonardo da Vinci & the beauty of anatomy (Observer)

GP: A Fortunate Profession? review A Fortunate Woman (Lancet) (pdf)

Tie Up Your Teenagers - on sociogenic illness (London Review of Books)

A review of Zero by Jeremy Hunt (New Statesman)

The Babel Within - On multilingualism (New York Review)

On Antibiotic Resistance (London Review of Books)

We need to rediscover the lost art of convalescence (Telegraph)

Intimate & Invasive - on the prostate & prostate cancer (New York Review)

The overlooked art of recovery (Guardian Long Read)

What I wish people knew about dementia, by Wendy Mitchell (Times)

The Art of Yves Berger (NYRB & Artist’s website)

Silicon Valley Sceptics (The New York Review of Books)

Mapping Our Common Future - 100 Maps to Survive the Next 100 Years (The Lancet)

'Pure, Liquid Hope' - what Covid vaccines mean to me (Guardian Long Read)

The Head in the Shed - on Sue Black (London Review of Books)

Changing Psychiatry’s Mind (New York Review of Books)

The Armchair Island Traveller (Dec 2020 - Literature Alliance Scotland)

New Nature Writing from Scotland, with Kathleen Jamie, Jim Crumley, Chitra Ramaswamy & Roseanne Watt 

(Island Dreams from 12 mins)


The paradox & the allure of island life (Observer Magazine)

The world’s most mesmerising islands (Telegraph)

The Museum of Whales You Will Never See (Guardian Review)

‘Lockdown seen from General Practice’ (Guardian Long Read)

May, 1, Edinburgh (Pandemic Journal - New York Review of Books)

‘Io Riparto - Pensieri al Futuro: La bellezza della medicina’ - 

or ‘Restart - the beauty of medicine’  for EDT, Turin, Italy (Italian)

'We’re Clearing the Decks’ (Guardian Long Read)

Dear Life by Rachel Clarke (Guardian)

Why do we have capacity for wonder? NY Academy of Sciences, Feb 2020


Wonder & Awe in Science & Medicine, NY Academy of Sciences, Feb 2020

(with psychologist Tania Lombrozo & cosmologist Marcelo Gleiser)


The Paradox of Knowledge: NY Academy of Sciences


The Science and Art of Medicine (The Lancet) (pdf)

Loop, by Brenda Lozano (Guardian)

The Road Not Taken - My love affair with Geography (New Statesman)

What I’ve learned from suicidal patients (Guardian Long Read)

Best books of 2019 (New Statesman)

The Body - A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson (Guardian)

Homesick by Catrina Davies (Guardian)

Resistance to Immunity - on anti-Vaccination (New York Review of Books)

Sick-Note Britain by Adrian Massey (Times)

Best Books of 2018 (New Statesman)

The Library of Ice by Nancy Campbell (Guardian Review)

LOL - Studies of Laughter in Interaction (New York Review of Books)

BBC Radio 4 - The Art of Living (contributor) (short excerpt here)

National Poetry Day - collaboration with a Dalek:

The future of the NHS, at its 70th birthday (Guardian)

The Immeasurable World, by William Atkins (Guardian Review)

The Surprising Literary History of Skin Care (Paris Review)

Is medicine an art or a science? Hay Festival videos

Readings in human transformation (Guardian)

Too Many Pills by James Le Fanu (Times)

Four Syrian Borders (with Esa Aldegheri - Granta)

The Spanish Flu (London Review of Books)

The Second Body by Daisy Hildyard (Guardian)

Favourite books of 2017 (New Statesman)

On werewolves & other shapeshifters (London Review of Books)

On Oliver Sacks’s The River of Consciousness (Guardian)

In the Flower Garden of the Brain (New York Review)

Cerebral Hygiene - Sleep Medicine (London Review of Books)

Bluets, by Maggie Nelson (Guardian Review)

The Matter of the Heart (New Statesman)

Admissions by Henry Marsh (Guardian Review)

Storyhealing - Medicine & Literature (Aeon)

Irresistible  - smartphones and Internet addiction (Observer New Review)

Crisis in the NHS (London Review of Books)

The Chimney Map: National Library of Scotland (documentary) 

Queensferry Crossings (‘The Essay’, BBC R3 - file here)

The Supplicant Women, David Greig / Aeschylus (New York Review)

TEDx University of Edinburgh:

A Smell of Burning by Colin Grant (Guardian)

In the Morgue (London Review of Books) (& podcast)

‘The Life Project’ by Helen Pearson (London Review of Books)

Medicine & Literature - ten personal favourites (Guardian)

Annie Dillard: The Abundance (Guardian)

5 Best: Books on Transformation (Wall Street Journal)

Finding ‘Right Compassion’ (International New York Times)

In Praise of Libraries (Scotsman)

Art & Anatomy - Visual Dissection Exhibition (New York Review of Books)

Gender Variance: Medical & Cultural perspectives (New Republic)

Three Spoonfuls of Hemlock: Medieval Medicine (London Review of Books)

Profit, not Patients: the risks of private medicine (Guardian)

Troubadours, Simon Armitage & Patrick Barkham(New Statesman)

The art of Yves Berger (New York Review of Books)

TEDx talk - Adventures in Human Being


On Immunity - An Inoculation (Guardian Review)

An Adventure in Human Being (Guardian Review)

Three pieces about Death (Guardian Review)

Cash for Diagnoses (London Review of Books)

A Fortunate Man - a masterpiece of witness (Guardian Review)

The Christmas Truce (New York Review of Books)

Christmas in Antarctica (NPR)

At the Talbot Rice Gallery (New York Review of Books)

The World of the Deaf (New York Review of Books)

'Being Mortal' by Atul Gawande (Guardian Review)

The Story of Pain (London Review of Books)

In Thimphu, Bhutan (LRB blog)

'How To Make A Human Being' (Guardian Review)

'Do No Harm’ by Henry Marsh (Guardian Review)

Listening to the Heart (London Review of Books)

On Libraries (National Library of Scotland)

'The Novel Cure' (Guardian Review)

'Don't Try This At Home' (London Review of Books)

'The Third Pole' (Granta)

'Anatomies' (Guardian Review)

The Edge of Europe (Island Review)

'The Heretics' (Guardian Review)

AMONG THE NEURONS (London Review of Books)

‘The Book of Barely Imagined Beings' (Guardian Review)

Hay International Festival Essay - Red Kites & Penguins

BMJ Practical Neurology - Letter from Antarctica

The View from Antarctica (Guardian)

Captain Scott & Dr Wilson (Caught by the River)

Beating Winter Blues   (The Times)

Shackleton’s Medical Kit (Granta)

Travels in Iceland (Guardian)