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Polly Rose Josephine Corrigan 30th May 1974 to 10th December 2019

This website is a memorial to Dr Polly Corrigan who died suddenly aged 45 in 2019. It began as a scrapbook of memories in words and images contributed by, and for her multiple family members and many friends – a place to re-read the eulogies from her funeral and the beautiful poems she inspired.

Polly worked as a writer in a dot.com company and then as online features editor of the Daily Telegraph for several years. She married Rhys and had her two beloved children Martha and Rosie. In her early 40s, in 2015, she began to study for a PhD, joining academia at the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. Her thesis was almost completed at the time of her death and her doctorate was awarded posthumously in February 2022. It merged her academic and personal passions; a long-term fascination with Soviet history and literature.

With the announcement of the annual Polly Corrigan Book Prize, a wider public may wish to know more about the person whose name is attached to the award – and yet who spent less than four years working in intelligence academia. To be found on this website: full transcripts of her most popular lectures, her publications and, a great recent find (by her brother), an interview with the Canadian education technology company, IB Historicus from April 2017. It also carries the chapter she contributed to Illiberal Liberation, The Fate of The Bolshevik Revolution, the academic book published shortly after her death, reviewed here. It was an opportunity for Polly to work alongside leaders in the field only a couple of years earlier viewed in awe from afar.

Polly was teacherly, sharing her tips on the best use of newly opened Soviet archives, based on her visits to Kyev and Georgia. She gave a much-appreciated lecture on study skills, a response to questions from her students. As a member of the King’s Centre for Intelligence Studies, she helped to plan the founding of WIN (Women in Intelligence Network), launched six months after her death. She was already helping to plan the prize that subsequently came to carry her name, aware of the importance of raising awareness of women and female academics in this field. Her lecture on gender and espionage, entitled The Lady Vanishes, is being turned into a journal paper (to be confirmed).

This website remains a work in progress and any and all contributions gratefully received.

Clockwise: Polly Rhys and Martha having a picnic, with her co-writers planning Illiberal Liberation, and at a gallery with Rosie. ADD MORE

Polly had received this name-tag (left on her desk at KCL) for a conference on Intelligence and Major Political Change in Talinn that she was due to address in November 2019, 11 days before her death. She’d given up on that opportunity presumably just weeks beforehand. Until the end, she looked forward to resuming this work as part of a full and long-lasting life.