Society of Medical Writers’ Autumn 2022 competition

I cannot believe I have won the SOMW’s autumn 2022 competition for non-fiction! Having recently joined SOMW, I was impressed with the quality of some of the writing in their journals. Several of their members have published books, while many of them have contributed to a whole range of other publications. Several members are highly experienced, senior clinicians or retired doctors, but while most of the pieces revolve around medicine and health, members also frequently write poetry and prose beyond healthcare topics.

My winning piece is entitled Tiny Oars. It is a deeply personal reflection of a terrifying and tragic patient encounter with a pregnant woman and her unborn child. Centred around the imagery of water, I replay my experience that night and the explore the ways I tried to make sense of it all.

The joint 2nd prize was for a piece called Do you Hear the People Sing. Tracking the journey of a critically ill patient with COVID19, who required Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), I focused on the music that played by her bedside. This frames the sounds of ICU machinery, and murmurs of clinician doubt, and her critical illness journey.

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