Adam Kay (writer)

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Dr Adam Kay
Adam Kay 20171207 02.jpg
Kay in 2017
Born (1980-06-12) 12 June 1980 (age 39)
Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Spouse(s)James Farrell

Adam Richard Kay (born 12 June 1980) is a British comedy writer, author, comedian and former doctor. His television writing credits include Crims, Mrs. Brown's Boys and Mitchell and Webb. He is best known as author of the number one bestselling book This Is Going to Hurt.

Early life[edit]

Kay grew up in a Jewish household and with his father being a doctor, he describes becoming a doctor as being a default decision.[1]

He attended Dulwich College, an all-boys public school, before reading medicine at Imperial.



Kay trained as a doctor, where he started performing in medical school shows in 1998.[2] While at medical school, he founded the musical comedy group Amateur Transplants and wrote for BBC Radio 4.[3] Kay worked for a number of years as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, writing textbooks on the subject,[4] before leaving medicine for a career in writing.


Kay founded the Amateur Transplants. Their song "London Underground", which was set to the tune of "Going Underground" by The Jam, gained significant popularity on the internet in the UK in 2005.[5][6]


Kay's first book, This is Going to Hurt, based on diaries from his former career as a doctor, was published by Picador in September 2017[7] and became an instant Sunday Times bestseller.[8] The paperback edition was also an instant Sunday Times number one bestseller,[9] a position it held for well over a year[10] and selling over one million copies.[11] It was the book of the year in the UK's 2018 National Book Awards.[12]

The book was very well received by critics, including in the literary pages of The Times,[13] Financial Times,[14] Guardian,[15] The Scotsman[16] and The Daily Express.[17] In addition to book of the year, it also won at the National Book Awards in the categories of Non-Fiction Book of the Year, New Writer of the Year and Book Club Book of the Year.[18] It was also awarded Blackwell's Debut Book of the Year 2017,[19] Sunday Times Humour Book of the Year,[20] and won both non-fiction book of the year and the overall prize in the 2017 Books Are My Bag Readers' Awards.[21] It was nominated for Non-Fiction book of the year in the 2018 British Book Awards,[22] won Esquire Book of the Year[23] and was a selection of the Zoe Ball Book Club.[24] It has been translated into 28 languages,[25] achieving number one status internationally.[26] It was the UK's second-best selling book of 2018.[27]

Kay's second book, Twas the Nightshift before Christmas, was released in October 2019.[28]

On 6 July 2018, the BBC announced that Kay would be adapting This Is Going to Hurt as an eight-part comedy-drama for BBC Two. It will be made by Sister Pictures and Kay will also be a co-executive producer. Each episode will be 45 minutes long.[29] Kay is an established screenwriter, having written and co-created 2015 BBC Three sitcom series Crims - along with Grandma's House writer Dan Swimer.[30] His other television work as a writer and script editor includes Mrs. Brown's Boys, Mongrels, Watson & Oliver, Up the Women, Very British Problems, Flat TV, Our Ex Wife, Who is America?, Mitchell and Webb and Child Genius.[3]


Kay has sold out for six years at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe[31] and also had sell-out nationwide UK tours.[32] His 2018 tour of This is Going to Hurt sold out a season at the EICC, the largest venue of the Edinburgh Fringe[33] and a week at the Garrick Theatre, before culminating in two shows at the Hammersmith Apollo.[34] He performs regularly at music festivals including Latitude,[35] and cultural events such as Cheltenham Literature Festival.[36] Kay won Best Musical Variety Act at the 2014 London Cabaret Awards[37] and has been named by the Evening Standard as one of London's most influential people.[38]

He has performed songs on the topical BBC Radio 4 series The Now Show[39] and has appeared on numerous TV shows, such as the Russell Howard Hour on Sky One,[40] BBC Breakfast, Lorraine,[41] Peston on Sunday[42] and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.[43]

Personal life[edit]

Kay is gay,[44] and was voted in Pink News' top 50 most influential LGBT Twitter users.[45] Kay attended Dulwich College before continuing his education at Imperial College School of Medicine. He lives in Chiswick, London, with his husband, Game of Thrones executive James Farrell.[46]


  1. ^ This is going to hurt ISBN 978-1-5098-5861-3
  2. ^ Medicine Unboxed. "Speakers at Medicine Unboxed" Archived 29 June 2013 at, 1 November 2012.
  3. ^ a b Curtis Brown Talent Agency. "Curtis Brown Talent Agency, Adam Kay". As of April 2017
  4. ^ Amazon "Rapid Obstetrics and Gynaecology". 16 November 2011.
  5. ^ "'London Underground' by Amateur Transplants". BBC h2g2. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  6. ^ Aitken, Stuart (24 November 2006). "London Underground voted capital's top brand". Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  7. ^ Picador. "Adam Kay's This Is Going To Hurt to be published by Picador" Archived 16 April 2017 at the Wayback Machine. 3 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Sunday Times Bestseller List". Sunday Times. 17 September 2017.
  9. ^ Times, The Sunday (29 April 2018). "Books: The Sunday Times Bestsellers chart, April 29". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  10. ^ Times, The Sunday (25 August 2019). "Books: The Sunday Times Bestsellers, August 25". Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  11. ^ results, search (19 April 2018). This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor (Main Market ed.). Picador. ISBN 9781509858637.
  12. ^ "Kay's This is Going to Hurt named Specsavers Book of the Year | The Bookseller". Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Review: This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay". The Times. 2 September 2017. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  14. ^ "This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay". Financial Times. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  15. ^ Smith, P. D. (4 May 2018). "This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay – review". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Book review: This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay". Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  17. ^ Beckerman, Hannah (3 September 2017). "This Is Going To Hurt review: A timely, honest and moving memoir". Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  18. ^ "'This Is Going To Hurt' author Adam Kay wins big at National Book Awards". Sky News. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  19. ^ "Blackwell's reveals Book of the Year shortlist | The Bookseller". Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  20. ^ Rudd, Reviews by Matt (26 November 2017). "Books of the year: Humour". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  21. ^ "Doctor's diary This is Going to Hurt wins public vote for book of the year". The Guardian. 21 November 2017. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  22. ^ "Pan Macmillan nominated for 7 British Book Awards 2018". Pan Macmillan. Archived from the original on 26 March 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  23. ^ "'This Is Going To Hurt' Is Esquire's Biography Of The Year". Esquire. 31 August 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  24. ^ "Debuts dominate 'wide-ranging' Zoe Ball Book Club line up | The Bookseller". Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  25. ^ "Curtis Brown". Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  26. ^ "This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay". This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  27. ^ Dugdale, John (29 December 2018). "The 100 bestselling books of the year: from Eleanor Oliphant to Michelle Obama". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  28. ^ "New Adam Kay for Christmas 2019 | The Bookseller". Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  29. ^ "BBC Two announces adaptation of bestseller This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  30. ^ BBC Press Office. "BBC Three announces new comedy commissions". 20 March 2014.
  31. ^ Chortle Review. "Amateur Transplants: Adam Kay's Smutty Songs". 9 August 2011.
  32. ^ Bound & Gagged Comedy Promoters. "Adam Kay Biography" Archived 4 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine. As of March 2013.
  33. ^ "News: Apollo Gig For Adam Kay". Beyond The Joke. 30 September 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  34. ^ Solutions, Powder Blue Internet Business. "Adam Kay adds a second Hammersmith Apollo show : Other news 2018 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  35. ^ Latitude Festival. "2012 Latitude Line-up, Adam Kay"[permanent dead link]. 13 July 2012.
  36. ^ British Comedy Guide. "Edinburgh Fringe 2012, Adam Kay's Bum Notes". 1 August 2012
  37. ^ London Cabaret Awards. "Best Musical Variety Act 2014" Archived 11 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine. 12 February 2014.
  38. ^ "The Progress 1000: London's most influential people 2018 - Performance: Comedy". Evening Standard. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  39. ^ Now Show Homepage. "Series 45". 14 February 2015.
  40. ^ "Adam Kay interview - The Russell Howard Hour - British Comedy Guide". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  41. ^ Lorraine (15 November 2017), The Junior Doctor Who Became a Comedian | Lorraine, retrieved 20 November 2017
  42. ^ Peston on Sunday Official (20 October 2017), Peston Compressed - Episode 47, retrieved 6 November 2017
  43. ^ "8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown - Episode Guide - All 4". Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  44. ^ "Adam Kay Interview - Wyvern Theatre Swindon".
  45. ^ Pink News. "’s top 50 Twitter users influencing LGBT life in 2011". 31 December 2011.
  46. ^ "Adam Kay wishes us a very sweary Christmas". 11 December 2012.

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