Jenni and Masai, Kenya, August, 2014
Jenni A Ogden, Dip.Clin.Psych., B.Sc,. M.Sc., Dip.Soc.Sc., Dip.Clin.Psych., PhD., FNZPS, FRSNZ.
I grew up in a country town in the South Island of New Zealand, in a home bursting with books and music. Armed with NZ and Australian university degrees in Zoology and Psychology—including a PhD in Neuropsychology—and now with four children, John and I moved to Boston, where I took up a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and worked with H.M., the most famous amnesiac in history. Returning to Auckland University, I became the Director of the Clinical Psychology program, and over the next twenty-two years immersed myself in teaching, clinical practice and research in clinical neuropsychology, as well as traveling extensively and enjoying research fellowships at Oxford University and the Australian National University. In July, 2015, the International Neuropsychological Society recognized my work with a Distinguished Career Award. Writing over 60 scientific journal articles and serving on a number of editorial boards taught me how to ‘tell, not show.’ However, my non-fiction books, Fractured Minds: A Case-Study Approach to Clinical Neuropsychology (OUP, New York, 1996, 2005), and Trouble In Mind: Stories from a Neuropsychologist’s Casebook (OUP, New York, 2012; Scribe, Australia, 2013), featuring the moving stories of patients with a wide range of common and rare neuropsychological disorders, gave me practice in ‘showing’ as well as ‘telling,’ and a taste of the pleasures I hoped to indulge in as a novelist some day when I had time. That day has come, and we now live off-grid on a remote island off the coast of NZ, with winters spent traveling and keeping warm at our second home in tropical Far North Queensland. My novels, not surprisingly, usually have psychological and medical subthemes, and my settings draw on my love of exotic and far-flung locations, frequently remote islands! When I’m not writing or traveling, I can be found on the beach—always with a book—or spending time with my family, now expanded to include five grandchildren.