Ike Anya

lifewritingresearchnetwork ikeanya

Tuesday 16 May, 5.30pm - 7pm

Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College



Tuesday 16th May 2023, 5:30pm - 7pm
Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College

How does an eighteen year old fresh from secondary school, unsure and uncertain about many aspects of life and living; journey in the space of a few years to become the man or woman in a white coat or scrubs, who confidently says to the mother of an ill toddler in the emergency room “take her home, give her two teaspoonfuls of this medicine every six hours and she should start getting better”.

And what does this process look like in a country only a few decades on from the end of colonial government, struggling to cater for its teeming population, amidst febrile politics and a rapid slide towards a brutal military dictatorship? 

Debut author, Nigerian physician Ike Anya’s forthcoming memoir charts the triumphs and failures of his medical student days through to his first demanding year as a house officer. Through the journey he is bolstered by his grandmother’s exhortation: "Everything worthwhile is only achieved Small By Small".

Ike will read brief excerpts from the book and discuss why and how he came to write this rare example of a contemporary medical memoir emerging from a non-Western perspective. A Q&A session will close the event.

Join us at this special event, Ike’s first ever public reading from Small By Small: Becoming A Doctor in 1990s Nigeria hosted by the Oxford Centre for Life Writing, two days before official publication day on May 18th. A limited number of books will be available for sale at the venue, the first physical copies to be sold anywhere in the world! There will be an opportunity to get any purchases signed by Ike at the end of the event.


Early praise for Small by Small:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie "…a small miracle of a book…with delicious storytelling"

Patrick Gale "….richly evocative memoir…a good corrective to This is Going to Hurt"

Professor Galen Strawson "beautifully told" 

Dame  Claire Bertschinger "A rich, alive and warm masterpiece"

Ellah Wakatama "…. Anya's wit is sharp, his humour gentle and his insights are so clearly based on an abounding curiosity and a deeply held compassion for his fellow humans."

Tendai Huchu "a marvellously rich and lucid account of a doctor’s journey, clear-eyed & compassionate."


Ike Anya is a consultant in public health medicine who works in Nigeria and the UK, most recently supporting the NHS response to COVID in Scotland. An honorary lecturer in public health at Imperial College, with research interests in global health, ethics and infectious disease, he teaches at Bristol University & the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. A 2007 TED Global Fellow, he co-founded Nigeria Health Watch, EpiAfric, TEDxEuston and the Abuja Literary Society.


This event will take place in the Leonard Wolfson Auditorium (LWA) (accessibility information).