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Obituary: Sue Eckstein

Dr Sue Eckstein, a Sussex graduate twice over and Lecturer in Clinical and Biomedical Ethics in the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), died on Sunday (10 November).

Sue began working at the Medical School in 2007, having previously worked at the Centre for Medical Law and Ethics at King's College London. 

She did, however, have a longer-standing relationship with the University of Sussex, having studied for an MA in Creative Writing, Arts and Education, which she was awarded in 2002.

On arriving at BSMS she combined her day-to-day work with studying for a DPhil at Sussex under the supervision of Dr Margaretta Jolly, and Interpreters - the novel she published on the basis of that work - won the People's Book Prize 2012-13.

As well as her novels, published by local publishers Myriad Editions, Sue had several plays produced on BBC Radio 4 and her first play The Tuesday Group was performed by BSMS students during the Brighton Fringe Festival 2011.

Sue had a varied and exciting career prior to becoming an academic. She worked for Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) for many years, including time spent as programme manager in Bhutan and the Gambia, and back in the UK she established the highly successful Overseas Training Programme.

Her experience at VSO provided material for her first novel The Cloths of Heaven, but she also transferred many of the skills she had acquired at VSO to her work at BSMS – an instinctive understanding of and empathy with young people, a commitment to making education accessible and relevant, and legendary organisational skills.

However, Sue’s great passion was the arts in all its varied forms and she passed on to a generation of students her love of poetry, literature and film in particular. She also gave the students the chance to explore their own creative talents; her courses were always popular and highly rated, and she was extremely proud of the work that many of the students produced.

In recent years Sue had suffered a degree of ill health and disability that would have ended many people’s careers. She had to undergo an above-knee amputation that should have stopped her cancer progressing - but sadly it did not.

Even this difficult topic became a source of inspiration for her new identity as a blogger.  She wrote with humour and honesty right up until the week of her death, and her posts attracted attention from around the world.

In September she spoke about her work on illness narratives at the BSMS 10th-anniversary Research Conference and rarely if ever had I seen an audience so moved by an academic paper.

Sue lived a full life and did everything she turned her hand to really well – her accomplishments too many to list in this snapshot of her life.

Sue's funeral will take place in Brighton on Thursday (21 November).

Professor Bobbie Farsides, BSMS


Posted on behalf of: BSMS
Last updated: Thursday, 14 November 2013


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