Dr Polly Corrigan died suddenly aged 45 in 2019.
At the time of her death she was a PhD candidate and a teaching assistant at Kings College London Department of War Studies. She was an active member of King’s Centre for Intelligence Studies and a founder member of WIN (Women in Intelligence Network), launched six months after her death.
She grew up in Camden Town, attended Primrose Hill Primary School and Haverstock – and then Liverpool University. She married Rhys Morgan in 2005 and had two children, Martha and Rosie, 13 and 9 respectively in 2019. She’d lived in Walthamstow for over a decade and as late as the morning of the day of her death from cancer, was looking forward to living longer and seeing her beloved daughters continue their wonderful lives.
Polly’s early working life included being a writer at a dot.com company and the Daily Telegraph’s first online features editor. She left that job and worked part time at home for five years after Rosie’s birth.
She began her PhD thesis aged 41 in 2015. Entitled The Soviet Security Service and its Treatment of Novelists during the 1930s, it reflected her long-term fascination with Soviet history and literature. It was almost completed at the time of her death. It included a substantial section on Ukraine based on original research in the archives. These chapters are to be included in a forthcoming publication, Ukraine – Executing Renaissances, along with contributions from leading Ukrainian scholars, edited by Prof Joe Wallmansberger – and due to be published by Ibidem in 2023. Sadly Polly didn’t have time to write up a similar investigation of Georgian archives. Her doctorate was awarded posthumously in February 2022.
As a founder member of WIN, she was pursuing a plan to set up a book award to encourage women academics in intelligence and the study of women working in intelligence – both areas that she regarded as badly neglected. The decision to have the prize in her name – with the announcement of the annual Polly Corrigan Book Prize – is a wonderful tribute.
This website began as a place for family and friends to share memories and images – and it seemed right to continue to expand this to include her work of which family and friends are so proud.
Look out for full transcripts of her most popular lectures. Her research for her lecture on gender and espionage, entitled The Lady Vanishes, was an important piece of evidence for the need for the book prize!
Other items: a great recent find (by her brother): an interview with the Canadian education technology company, IB Historicus from April 2017; the chapter she contributed to Illiberal Liberation, The Fate of The Bolshevik Revolution, the academic book published shortly after her death; also her tips on the best use of newly opened Soviet archives, based on her visits to Kyev and Georgia.
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