Polly Morland Longlist Author Interview
26 September 2022
A Fortunate Woman is a compelling, thoughtful and insightful look at the life and work of a country doctor. Funny, moving and not afraid of the dark, it will speak to readers everywhere.
Polly Morland was clearing her late mother’s house when she found a battered paperback fallen behind the family bookshelf. Opening it, she was astonished to see an old photograph of the
remote, wooded valley in which she lives. The book was A Fortunate Man, John Berger’s classic account of a country doctor working in the same valley more than half a century earlier. This chance discovery led Morland to the remarkable doctor who serves that valley community today, a woman whose own medical vocation was inspired by reading the very same book as a teenager.
Revisiting Berger’s story after half a century of seismic change, both in our society and in the ways in which medicine is practiced, A Fortunate Woman sheds light on what it means to be a doctor in today’s complex and challenging world. Interweaving the doctor’s story with those of her patients, reflecting on the relationship between landscape and community, and upon the wider role of medicine in society, a unique portrait of a twenty-first century family doctor emerges.
What the judges said
"A Fortunate Woman is a work of breathtaking intimacy. It observes everything so closely, and with such wise eyes"
Polly Morland is a writer and documentary maker. She worked for fifteen years in television, producing and directing documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4 and Discovery. She is a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines and is the Royal Literary Fund Fellow in the School of Journalism, Media & Culture at Cardiff University. She is the author of several books, including The Society of Timid Souls: Or, How to Be Brave, which was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and was a Sunday Times Book of the Year, and A Fortunate Woman.