As Book Week Scotland was drawing to a close, we were treated to a fantastic evening at the Arlington Baths with Anne Pettigrew, author of ‘Not the Life Imagined’! A huge thank you to everyone who made it along on Saturday for this packed-out event; it really was amazing to see so many from both the medical and literary communities out in force.

The theme of the night was ‘Women in Medicine’, and the panel could hardly have been more qualified! Dr Pauline McGough acted superbly as chair, and beside her were Dr Sue Robinson (Associate Specialist in Renal Medicine, BMA Scottish Council Deputy Chair), Diane Vlek (University of Glasgow MWF Chair), and of course, Anne herself, who was a GP before making the transition to novelist.

‘Not the Life Imagined’, which was the runner up for the Scottish Association of Writers Constable Silver Stag Award 2018, provided the platform for the conversation to develop. The central issues arising in the book were explored in depth; namely sexism, harassment and discrimination in the medical field. Though the novel may be set predominantly in the 60’s and 70’s, it became all too apparent from the discussion that despite some recent progress these problems are far from eradicated. It was obvious how much those of us not involved in the medicine world were struck by the frequency and severity of the examples given, both in the book and on the night.

However, even with these extremely serious topics under the microscope, the joys of medicine and of fiction were covered as well, and Diane Vlek ensured we ended proceedings on a positive note. She highlighted how useful it is for women in medicine nowadays to have access to role models, many of whom were sat beside her on the panel or in the audience. Of course, this was unfortunately not the case during the time that Bethany Slater, Anne’s protagonist, was going through medical school. It was encouraging to hear that at least things seem to be heading in the right direction, even if not yet at the pace they should be.

We hope those of you who joined us found the conversation as fascinating as we did; there certainly was a great deal covered. And to all those who shared their experiences, hopefully addressing the issues brought forward by the book goes some way to making them history! All in all, a highly successful evening and thanks to the many of you who picked up a copy of Anne’s wonderful novel:

A special mention also to the good people of the Arlington Baths, who provided all of our guests with tours of this wonderful Victorian venue. We’ll hopefully be back in the future for more book-loving occasions!

Ringwood’s next event will be on the 5th December at The Iron Horse, where we will be launching Alex Gordon’s latest Charlie Brock mystery: ‘Who Jinxed Jesse James?’ Follow this link for more info: We’ll also be holding a special Book Sale on this night as well, so be sure to pop along for some bargain reading material!