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Supervielle, Jules, 1884-1960, poet and writer

  • Person
  • 1884-1960

Jules Supervielle was born in Montevideo, to French Basque parents, and orphaned less than a year later during a family visit to France. Raised first by his grandmother in France, he was taken back to Uruguay by his uncle and aunt, moving with them to Paris in 1894, where he had most of his education. He married in 1907 in Montevideo, and had six children with his wife Pilar. Conscripted to serve in the First World War, he spent the Second World War exiled in Uruguay, afflicted by ill health and financial ruin brought about by the demise of the family bank. Between 1922 and the outbreak of war he published two books of poetry, Dbarcadres and Gravitations, a novel and a collection of short stories. His postwar output included the poetry collections Naissances and Le Corps tragique as well as plays and mythological tales. He met Rilke in 1925, and his close friends in the literary world included Henri Michaux and Jean Paulhan.

Brownlee, Liz, unknown, poet

  • Person
  • unknown

Liz Brownlee has been published in several poetry books, and has an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University. In September 2009, she organised a successful poetry exhibition at the Arnolfini in Bristol. She provides workshops and poetry readings to schools, libraries, literary festivals and poetry events.

Wilcox, Edwin, d 1947, journalist

  • Person
  • d 1947

Edwin Wilcox was a newspaper correspondent in Russia during the 1917 Revolution and Civil War, during which he sent regular articles to The Daily Telegraph and contemporary journals. He had lived and worked as The Daily Telegraph correspondent in Berlin prior to his work in Russia, and returned to Berlin in 1919. He retired in 1940. Wilcox regularly contributed to contemporary journals on subjects related to Russia and Germany, amongst other subjects. He spoke Russian, German, and French, and also wrote articles in these languages. During the Second World War, Wilcox was consulted on the subject of teaching foreign languages to British soldiers. He also published two books: German Sea-Power, its rise, progress, and economic basis (1914) and Russia's Ruin (1919). In his later life Wilcox lived in Newcastle upon Tyne and died in 1947.

Thomas, Donald Michael, 1935-, novelist, playwright and translator

  • Person
  • 1935-

Donald Michael Thomas, known as D. M. Thomas (born 27 January 1935), is a Cornish novelist, poet, playwright and translator.

Thomas was born in Redruth, Cornwall, UK. He attended Trewirgie Primary School and Redruth Grammar School before graduating with First Class Honours in English from New College, Oxford in 1959. He lived and worked in Australia and the United States before returning to his native Cornwall.

He published poetry and some prose in the British Science fiction magazine New Worlds (from 1968). The work that made him famous is his erotic and somewhat fantastical novel The White Hotel (1981), the story of a woman undergoing psychoanalysis, which has proved very popular in continental Europe and the United States. It was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 1981, coming a close second, in the view of some, to the winner, Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. It has also elicited considerable controversy, as some of its passages are taken from Anatoly Kuznetsov's Babi Yar, a novel about the Holocaust. In general, however, Thomas's use of such "composite material" (material taken from other sources and imitations of other writers) is seen as more postmodern than plagiarist.

In the 1950s, at height of the Cold War, Thomas studied Russian during his National Service. He retained a lifelong interest in Russian culture and literature. This culminated in a series of well-received translations of Russian poetry in the 1980s.

Donaldson, Sir Liam Joseph, 1949 - , Chief Medical Officer for England (1998 - 2010)

  • Person
  • 1949 -

Professor Sir Liam Joseph Donaldson was the 15th Chief Medical Officer for England from 1998 to 2010, responsible as the Nation's Doctor for advising on and shaping the United Kingdom's approach to health and health care through reforming policy, legislation and public and professional attitudes.

Sir Liam was born on 3 May 1949 in Teesside. He was raised in Rotherham where his father Raymond Donaldson was Medical Officer for Health, before returning to Teesside to take up a similar role there.

Throughout his early career, Sir Liam worked across the sector in all areas of health care; hospital medicine, general practice, public health, academic medicine and health service management.

He studied as a Medical Undergraduate at the University of Bristol, initially choosing a career in surgery and gaining a Masters degree from the University of Birmingham in Anatomy. He spent 2 years as a Surgical Registrar at a large group of teaching hospitals in Birmingham, where he also held a teaching and research post; lecturing in Anatomy. Sir Liam moved to the new Medical School at the University of Leicester where he both enhanced his undergraduate and postgraduate teaching skills and graduated in 1982 with a Doctorate in Medicine.

During this period, Sir Liam also changed his speciality to Public Health, becoming a Lecturer in Community Medicine then a Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology at the University of Leicester while also practising as a General Practitioner. Later, in 1989, he became Professor of Applied Epidemiology at Newcastle University, where he still holds an honorary Chair as well as a visiting Chair at the University of Leicester.

In 1986, Sir Liam progressed to Public Health Management with a move back to the North East, where he was appointed Regional Medical Officer to the Northern Regional Health Authority, advising in matters relating to the health of the community and the provision, development and evaluation of health services. He held the post (whose title changed to Regional Director of Public Health) until 1992, when he became Regional General Manager and Director of Public Health to the region. He was recognised for his strong leadership and reforms to the quality of care provided to patients through a common quality ethos, as well as reduction of waiting lists, responding effectively to crises and significant contributions to National Policy.

In 1994, when the Northern and Yorkshire Regional Health Authorities were merged, he was appointed to the post of Regional General Manager and Director of Public Health of this new region, where he was responsible for the health needs of some 7 million people. In 1996, when the Northern and Yorkshire Regional Health Authority was abolished and replaced by a Regional Office, he was appointed Regional Director of the NHS Executive: Northern and Yorkshire and also took the role of Regional Director of Public Health. During this period of major reorganisation of management structure in the National Health Service, Sir Liam introduced a common performance culture across two very different health regions covering 51 NHS Trusts and 13 Health Authorities.

In 1998, Sir Liam succeeded Sir Kenneth Calman in the significant and historic role of Chief Medical Officer for England; a post established in 1855 to make public health reform a National priority. Here, he had to act as the UK Government's independent principal medical adviser and the professional head of all medical staff in England, as well as serving the public by championing the need for action on the major health problems of the day. He did so through landmark reformative campaigns which aimed to address prevalent health issues, implement his own improvement agendas and react to high profile crises. Towards these ends, Sir Liam authored a series of ground-breaking reports analysing existing problem, demanding consolidated action and setting out the means by which to achieve transformation. These campaigns led to legislative reform, awareness campaigns and transformation of services and the medical profession.

Among these campaigns, backed by these influential special reports, were;

Addressing and reforming poor clinical performance ( Supporting Doctors, Protecting Patients through greater assessment and, subsequently, his new concept of Clinical Governance; an internationally recognised model;

Legislative reform to organ and tissue retention ( The Removal, Retention and Use of Human Organs and Tissue from Post-Mortem Examination ) and regulated use of stem cells for research ( Stem Cell Research: Medical Progress with Responsibility );

A comprehensive review into medical regulation and revalidation ( Good Doctors, Safer Patients leading to legislative and systematic reforms;

Greater emphasis on patient safety ( An Organisation with a Memory resulting in the establishment of the National Patient Safety Agency and placing patient safety in the context of the UK Government's quality programmes;

Empowering patient self management of chronic diseases ( The Expert Patient: A New Approach to Chronic Disease Management for the 21st Century through integration into NHS services;

Reform of legal challenges against clinical negligence ( Making Amends leading to new legislation;

A comprehensive infectious disease and health protection strategy ( Getting Ahead of the Curve leading to the establishment of the Health Protection Agency, modernisation of Public Health legislation and specific action plans to combat tuberculosis, West Nile fever, Healthcare Associated Infection and pandemic influenza;

A new system for training doctors in their early years, post qualification ( Unfinished Business: Proposals for Reform of the Senior House Officer Grade ;

And major reforms to the NHS ( A Commitment to Quality, A Quest for Excellence and Public Health Functions ( The Report of the Chief Medical Officer's Project to Strengthen the Public Health Function .

Sir Liam also significantly affected policy by championing health issues through his Annual Reports On the State of the Public Health. Among the recurrent issues were patient safety, action on the nation's obesity problem and the need for tobacco control and smoke-free public places. This coverage led to significant media coverage and debate, placing them in the public consciousness, as well as action through Government policy and legislation. Perhaps most significantly, his work led directly to the banning of smoking in public places and workplaces through legislation passed on 1 July 2007; a public health landmark.

Sir Liam was also called upon to react to high profile issues of public concern on behalf of the Government. These included the storage of children's organs at Alder Hey Children's Hospital, the clinical audit of the practice of Dr Harold Shipman, and the inquiry into the children's heart surgery service at Bristol Royal Infirmary. His reponses led to far reaching reforms to ensure lessons were learnt and safeguards put in place.

Sir Liam informed the Government of his intention to step down from the role of Chief Medical Officer in November 2009, but delayed his departure until May 2010 in order to lead the response to the H1N1 Swine Flu influenza epidemic. He held the post for 13 years.

As a leading advocate for patient safety, Sir Liam also worked to promote this imperative internationally among victims and their families, professionals and policy makers worldwide. This work led to the establishment of the World Health Organization (WHO) World Alliance for Patient Safety, which Sir Liam has chaired since its launch in 2004, engaging over 140 countries as an ongoing global concern. He is also regarded as an international leader in health and health care, particularly in the fields of public health and health care quality, representing the United Kingdom in the World Health Organization.

Sir Liam was recognised for his professional contributions to the United Kingdom and achievements in health and health care with a Knighthood in 2002. He also holds 14 honorary doctorates from British Universities; eight fellowships from medical royal colleges, the Gold Medal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and was the Queen's Honorary Physician between 1996 and 1999.

Sir Liam is the co-author of a standard textbook of public health ( Donaldsons' Essential Public Health ), a History of the Chief Medical Officer's for England ( The Nation's Doctor ) and over 170 papers in peer review journals.

Tonks, Rosemary, 1932-2014, poet, author

  • Person
  • 1932-2014

Rosemary Tonks was born in 1928 in Gillingham, Kent. The only daughter of Gwendoline and Desmond Tonks, her father was a mechanical engineer who died of blackwater fever in Africa before Rosemary was born. Her father's uncle, Henry Tonks, was a surgeon and painter who worked as an official war artist on the western front in World War One before becoming a professor of fine art at the Slade in the 1920s. Brought up by her widowed mother, Rosemary attended Wentworth College boarding school in Bournemouth and began writing children's stories in her teens, before marrying in London in 1949. Rosemary suffered a number of medical crises during her life. In her childhood, Rosemary had numerous eyesight problems including a squint, lazy eye and astigmatism in both eyes. After her marriage, her husband's work as an engineer saw them living in India and Pakistan where Rosemary contracted first paratyphoid fever in Calcutta, and then polio in Karachi in 1952. The latter left her with a slightly withered right hand, causing her to teach herself to write and paint with her left. Between 1952 and 1953, the couple lived in Paris until they moved to Downshire Hill, Hampstead, becoming near neighbours of Dame Edith Sitwell. During this time, her husband became a financier and Rosemary worked for the BBC and wrote about both these careers in her novels of this period between the early 1960s and 1970s. Rosemary became strongly involved in London's literary scene, being one of the few women poets to be published at the time, and writing reviews for leading journals and newspapers. After her mother's death in 1968, Rosemary suffered a personal crisis, exploring various forms of religion before turning to fundamentalist Christianity. Her marriage collapsed in this period, and in 1977 she underwent an emergency operation for detached retinas in both eyes. Although her sight was eventually saved, Rosemary spent several years in a state of near-blindness. In 1980, Rosemary completely renounced her past life; she moved to Bournemouth and incinerated an unpublished novel and a collection of valuable Oriental treasures. She refused republication of any of her poetry or fiction, further cutting herself off from family and friends. In October 1980, she travelled to Jerusalem and was baptised near the River Jordan. She continued to live in Bournemouth until her death in April 2014, with her disappearance from the literary scene continuing to be a source of mystery until after her death with Neil Astley's publication of her obituary and explanation of her disappearance in The Guardian . Rosemary Tonks published two collections of poetry to great critical acclaim in the 1960s: Notes on Cafes and Bedrooms (1963) and Iliad of Broken Sentences (1967). She also published six novels in the 1960s and early 1970s, and collaborated with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to create an experimental sound-poem, entitled 'Sono-Montage'. One of her first works, 'Miss Bushman-Caldicott', written while she was still at school, was broadcast on BBC radio in 1946 and her first published work, On Wooden Wings: The Adventures of Webster (1948), was also illustrated by her. Two of Rosemary's poems were included in Philip Larkin's anthology of twentieth-century English verse, and copies of the original volumes of poetry were selling for sums of up to £1500 prior to a collected edition of her work being published after her death. This collection, Bedouin of the London Evening (2014) contains examples of her prose writing in addition to all her published poems. During her active years in the literary scene, Rosemary gave few interviews; in 2009, her disappearance was the subject of a BBC Radio 4 programme, 'The Poet Who Vanished', as part of the Lost Voices series.

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