Award-winning London- and LA-based independent studio The Ink Factory (The Little Drummer Girl, Fighting with My Family, The Night Manager) is developing David Nott’s acclaimed and bestselling memoir War Doctor, which details his experiences as a medical volunteer in the world’s most dangerous war zones and devastating humanitarian crises.
From Sarajevo under siege in 1993, to clandestine hospitals in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, NHS medic Nott carries out life-saving field surgery in the most challenging conditions – experiences which have helped countless people and made him the world’s leading trauma surgeon but which have also had far reaching consequences for his own life.
Nott’s memoir was released on February 21st by Picador in the UK. The Ink Factory will finance and produce the feature, with David’s wife Eleanor Nott serving as Executive Producer alongside producer Tom Nash at The Ink Factory. David Nott was named winner of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2016 and has received honorary degrees from both the University of Salford and the University of St Andrews.
War Doctor follows his incredible career and life experiences in the epicentre of conflict-driven chaos, confronting both the ravages of violence and the resilience of the human spirit. War Doctor debuted at No. 1 in The Sunday Times bestseller list and spent six weeks in the Top 10.
David Nott said: “I know that with The Ink Factory my book is in capable hands and am looking forward to their adaptation. I have been struck by Ink’s engagement with War Doctor and their enthusiasm for making a thoughtful and also thrilling film, with humanity at its core.”
Tom Nash at The Ink Factory added: “When I first read David’s extraordinary memoir I was struck by his incredible compassion, even in the most dangerous of environments. David is a truly modern hero: undoubtedly courageous, but not afraid to acknowledge his vulnerability and humanity. I look forward to working closely with David and Elly Nott to bring this important and inspirational story to the screen.”
Simon and Stephen Cornwell added: “It has been a very special pleasure getting to know David and Eleanor Nott. The work that they do, empowering medical professionals to support their communities in unimaginably challenging circumstances, is a tremendous act of peace in a world ravaged by brutal conflicts. Telling David’s incredible story is both a rare privilege and significant responsibility, however we know that this project has a solid creative guardian and indefatigable champion in Tom.”
For more than 25 years, David Nott has taken unpaid leave from his job as a general and vascular surgeon with the NHS to volunteer as a field doctor for organizations like Médecins Sans Frontières and the Red Cross. The conflicts he has worked in form a chronology of 21st century combat: Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur, Congo, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Gaza and Syria; but he has also volunteered in areas blighted by natural disasters, such as earthquake-struck Haiti and Nepal. Nott memorably appeared in 2016 on Desert Island Discs to describe his experience of being consoled by the Queen and her corgis during a visit to Buckingham Palace, when he was struggling with PTSD as a result of his work.
Driven both by compassion and passion, the desire to help others and the thrill of extreme personal danger, he is now widely acknowledged to be the most experienced trauma surgeon in the world. But as time went on, Nott began to realize that flying into a catastrophe was not enough – local doctors on the ground needed to learn how to treat the appalling injuries that war inflicts upon its victims. Since 2015 the foundation he set up with his wife Eleanor has disseminated the knowledge he has gained, training other doctors in the art of saving lives threatened by bombs and bullets.