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BA, Physiology, 2000-03


After completing her studies at Oxford supervised by Piers Nye, Dr Farrah Jarral attended Imperial College to study clinical medicine (2003-06), before undertaking medical and surgical house jobs at St Mary's and Charing Cross Hospitals. During that period, she presented an educational travel documentary for Channel 4 called "Osama Bin Everywhere" about stigma and diversity in the Muslim world. This took her around the world: she interviewed clerics and rappers in Northern Nigeria, a celebrity footballer in Cairo, and was taught how to milk a goat in Jakarta. On her return to London, she began specialist training in General Practice in Tower Hamlets. One of her career highlights was working as junior doctor at the Royal London Hospital A&E department, one of the country’s leading trauma centres. After finishing her training, Farrah went to Harvard as a Fulbright Scholar to study Medical Anthropology in 2011. In 2013, after being approached by a BBC Radio 4 producer, she made her radio debut on the subject of “cheekiness as a form of non-revolutionary resistance”, and subsequently wrote and presented a major ten-part series on the history of social anthropology. Her series, “Savage to Self”, is now on the recommended "reading/listening" list for University of Oxford Anthropology undergraduate students. She has since written and presented several radio programmes on a range of subjects, including play, resilience, and coastal communities in Britain. Her BBC World Service programme “Praise Bee” on bees and spirituality, in which she visited a beehive on the roof of Manchester Cathedral, was shortlisted for a Sandford St Martin Award in 2020.

Over the last few years, she has balanced writing, broadcasting and clinical practice in inner-city London. “I love broadcasting because I get to do a job that comes naturally to me: being curious and sharing the fascinating things I discover in an accessible way. General Practice has helped with this because you're constantly translating medical concepts into simple clear terms.” From 2014-18 she worked as a GP at Paddington Green Health Centre, and in 2019, she won the Alistair Horne Visiting Fellowship at St Antony's College in Oxford on the basis of her non-fiction book proposal on the concept of the soul, bringing together science, history and anthropology. Since her Fellowship ended in 2020, she has been working on her first book, “Anima”, which will be published by Picador books in 2023. 

View "A Blog by Farrah Jarral"

Listen to BBC Radio 4's "From Savage to Self"