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Stratford Literary Festival: stories of life and death with brain surgeon Henry Marsh

By: stagedoorscribbler - April 29, 2019

Henry Marsh

Brain surgeon Henry Marsh knows only too well what it’s like to hold someone’s future in his hands. Until recently he was the senior consultant neurosurgeon at the Atkinson Morley Wing at St George’s Hospital, South London, one of the country’s largest specialist brain surgery units. 

He retired from full-time work at St George’s in 2015, though he continues with long-standing surgical roles at hospitals in the Ukraine and Nepal and specialises in operating on the brain under local anaesthetic.

In 2004 he was the subject of a major BBC documentary Your Life in Their Hands and his widely-acclaimed memoir Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery was published in that same year to great acclaim, becoming a bestseller across the world. In 2017 he published a second book Admissions: A Life in Brain SurgeryYou can see Henry Marsh discussing both brain surgery and his work as an author at the Stratford-Upon-Avon Literary Festival on Friday (3rd May).

Don’t miss it. Henry is a captivating storyteller and speaks candidly about success and failure and what it feels like to slice through the matter that creates thought, dreams and memories. His career as a neurosurgeon has taught him most about his own fallibility and self-deception. We all make mistakes but the consequences of a neurosurgeon’s mistakes can be so terrible that many surgeons develop all manner of defensive psychological strategies in order to continue working. Henry talks with searing honesty about the cemetery that all surgeons inevitably carry with them; and why he would prefer to be seen by his patients as a fallible human being, rather than a demigod or villain.

An Audience with Henry Marsh is at the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival on Friday 3rd May.  3rd More info at