'Two Lives to Lead' by Martin Bax

TWO LIVES TO LEAD - The Early Years is the memoir of Dr Martin Bax, founder of Ambit Magazine, and world renowned Consultant Paeditrician. The books takes us from Dr Bax's early life, through his schooling and Oxford education, to his founding the literature and art magazine Ambit, publishing the iconic novel The Hospital Ship, and leading in the field of Child Neurology. The book ends in 1976 with all these activities in full swing. It is a testament to the truly astounding dual achievements of one man in the fields of literature and medicine, and is full of anecdotes of events in the 60s and 70s, and of big names Martin encountered such as J.G. Ballard, Eduardo Paolozzi and William (Bill) Burroughs. The book includes great selections from the archive of Ambit magazine, including early letters and publicity materials as well as poetry and fiction, and is a fascinating insight into both the avant garde art scene in the UK, and the changing world of paediatrics at that time, through the eyes of a leading figure in both arenas.


Martin Bax is a consultant paediatrician living in London, now retired from clinical work and honorary reader in Child Health at Imperial College. He was a paediatrician for over 40 years, a pioneer of community paediatrics inspiring paediatricians worldwide. For many years he was senior editor of the MacKeith Press, publishers of the journal of Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology and the book series Clinics in Developmental Medicine. Until recently he was chair of the European Academy for Childhood Disibility (EACD), president of The Society for the Study of Behavioural Phenotypes (SSBP) and Scientific Director of the Castang Foundation.

Martin founded the quarterly literary and art journal Ambit in 1959, while he was still studying medicine. At eighty years old, he handed over its editorship to his cousin-in-law, Briony Bax, in 2013. His novel The Hospital Ship was published by Cape and New Directions in 1974 and 1976, and was reprinted by Rocket 88 in 2013. His children’s book Edmond Goes Far Away, illustrated by Michael Foreman, was published by Harcourt, Brace, Javanovich, NY, 1989 and Walker Books in 1991. In 2005 his novel Love on the Borders was published by Seren. His collection of short stories, Memoirs of a Gone World, was published by Salt Publishing in 2010 and was long-listed for the Edge Hill prize in 2011. He was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Literature in 2002.