When I tell people I got my M.D. and then left medicine to become a fiction writer, they often say, “That was brave.” This is, I think, another way of saying, “You are obviously insane.” It’s perhaps particularly hard to walk away from medicine as a Jew. In Jewish families going back to Maimonides and before, doctors have been revered on a par with holy men. My own reverence for doctors has been if anything stronger than that; my dead father and dead grandfather were both doctors and I enshrined them in my mind as saints.

Read on at www.samirohrprize.org for a discussion of the history of doctor-writers.