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A letter on publication day keeps the doctor away?

Happiest of publication days to Ike Anya and his wonderful memoir of training to become a doctor in 90s Nigeria. With wonderfully evocative writing, Ike takes us from Nsukka to Lagos, and from the playground to the early days of his medical career.

As we celebrate the launch of Ike's book, we're delighted to be able to share a letter from his editor, Moira Forsyth.

Dear Reader

This is the compelling story of Nigerian physician Ike Anya’s path to becoming a doctor, from his intensely demanding studies to his beginnings as a newly qualified doctor. Moving, often humorous and always revealing, his account lays bare the challenges and rewards of his vocation – and also that this is a very different kind of medical memoir.

From the opening paragraphs, I knew I wanted to publish this. Ike’s compassion for his patients and their struggles, his kindness and humanity shining from the pages, captured me at once. He is endearingly honest about his own failures: a gifted student, he took it hard when he failed an exam – he was used to success. However, once launched on his medical training, he became more determined by the day to complete it. So he kept going.

I was struck by how similar his medical training was to that of medical students in the UK, with the same hierarchy from consultant downwards. Yet it was also very different, without the safe cradle of an NHS. His teaching hospital lacked a CT scanner and had to reuse ‘disposable’ PPE; patients had to buy – and indeed source – their own medication. For many families, poor and without resources, this was tragically difficult.

In addition, Ike was a student at a time of huge political unrest in Nigeria. As student protests erupted, universities were closed for weeks. Yet Ike paints a hugely likeable and vivid portrait of the people and customs of Nigeria, so that I began to feel I had been there myself, hurtling down the noisy streets of Lagos in a yellow bus, past market stalls selling richly savoury street food.

The narrative never flags, is always lively and entertaining. I warmly recommend this wonderful book to readers.

-Moira Forsyth

Ike Anya

Ike Anya