As a visiting scholar at OCLW, Mary will work on a portfolio of life-writing projects. ‘Small Stories from Senjak’ is a patchwork of tales from her floating boathouse on the river Sava in Belgrade. ‘Sydney on the Street,’ recounts daily Covid-19 coffee mornings on her East London street and features an unpleasant cat. ‘Her Life in Hats’ is a memoir of three generations of women doctors in her family who collectively span the history of the NHS.
Mary is passionate about how art can change and heal lives. As a junior doctor she painted sheep jumping over a fence on the ceiling of her operating theatre, organized sewing bees on the wards where she worked, and is now a Trustee of the charity Paintings in Hospitals. Her fiction and short stories have been published in anthologies, and her biographical essays and blogs feature in the medical press. She won the 2021 the Irish Writers Centre Novel fair prize for ‘Darkness at the Door’, a reimagination of a shamefully buried Irish medical scandal. ‘Blood and Roses,’ a narrative that connects Belfast and Bosnia, won the 2021 Fish Publishing Memoir prize.
Mary’s career has included clinical and public health work in Ireland and the UK, over ten years with WHO and UNICEF in Balkan countries and international consulting in health improvement, health services, social care and data systems. She has founded a medical school in far North Queensland, set up the medical evacuation airlift from Sarajevo during the 1990’s war, and spent 20 months leading the public health response to Covid-19 in Scotland. A GMC registered medical doctor, Mary is a Fellow of both the Royal College of Physicians UK and the Faculty of Public Health UK. She holds a doctorate in global household surveys from Trinity College Dublin, a master’s degree in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and clinical diplomas in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Tropical Medicine. She mentors women and minority students for careers in science and medicine.