Click on the book titles in my Books I am reading blog to link to the book's Amazon page.

BOOKS

Upmarket Women's Fiction
Neuropsychology
For the general reader and beginning student.
An engaging introductory text of vivid case studies accompanied by clear descriptions of neuropsychological disorders.
Twenty articles & chapters on a range of neuropsychological topics

Quick Links

A Drop in the Ocean wins prestigious Book Award

May 1, 2017

Tags: Writing, A Drop in the Ocean, Book Awards

New Zealand author, Jenni Ogden, wins the Gold in the 2016 Nautilus Book Awards for Fiction, Large Publisher, for her novel ‘A Drop in the Ocean’ published by US publisher, She Writes Press.

She shares the GOLD with Monica Wood for her novel ‘The One in a Million Boy’ published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

The Nautilus Fiction Award has been won in past years by many well-known authors, including NoViolet Bulawayo in 2013 for ‘We Need New Names’ (Shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize [won by New Zealander Eleanor Catton that year] and winner of the Etisalat Prize for Literature and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award), and Barbara Kingsolver in 2013 for her novel ‘Flight Behavior’ (a New York Times Bestseller, and declared "Best book of the year" by the Washington Post and USA Today).

‘A Drop in the Ocean’ also won the GOLD in the 2016 Sarton Women’s Book Awards—Contemporary Fiction; the GOLD in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYS)— Best Fiction, Australia and NZ; and the SILVER in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards, Women’s Fiction.

The five winners are listed below.

2016 Nautilus Book Award for FICTION, Large Publisher

GOLD A Drop in the Ocean by Jenni Ogden, She Writes Press
GOLD The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
SILVER LaRose – a novel by Louise Erdrich, HarperCollins / Harper
SILVER In the Blue Hour by Elizabeth Hall, Lake Union Publishing
SILVER Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, HarperCollins

Now completing its 19th year, Nautilus Book Awards recognizes books across a wide range of genres that transcend barriers of culture, gender, race, and class, and promote conscious living & green values, spiritual growth, wellness & vitality, and positive social change. Last year, Nautilus received entries from 36 States of USA, and from 12 other nations. Dedicated to excellence and high standards of both message and presentation, the Nautilus program celebrates books that inspire and connect our lives as individuals, communities and global citizens.

Nautilus Book Awards is held in particular high-regard for recognizing and promoting outstanding print books that nurture positive change to co-create a Better World.

Nautilus is one of the few major Book Award programs that welcomes entries from the full range of the publishing spectrum: Author Self-Published, from Small Press (2 to 10 books annual & from multiple authors), and from Large Publishers. All the books selected as Winners are potent seeds for the growth, coherence, and healing of our world.

The Nautilus Mission is to make more visible a wide subject-range
of Better Books for a Better World.

Thank you for supporting and sharing on social media about Nautilus!

'A Drop in the Ocean' wins 2016 Sarton Women's Book Award for Contemporary Fiction

April 10, 2017

Tags: Awards, Writing, A Drop in the Ocean

The Sarton awards are sponsored by the Story Circle Network, an international nonprofit community of women writers. The program is named in honor of May Sarton, who is remembered for her outstanding contributions to women's literature as a memoirist, novelist, and poet. The awards are given annually to women authors writing chiefly about women in memoir, biography and fiction published in the United States and Canada. Congratulations to the other four category winners! May the spirit of May Sarton live on! Press release here:

http://www.storycircle.org/SartonLiteraryAward/pressrelease.php

A Drop in the Ocean Shortlisted for Book Award

February 16, 2017

Tags: Awards, Writing, A Drop in the Ocean

Please to share the news that "A Drop in the Ocean" is a Finalist in the highly regarded US Sarton Women's Book Awards, in the Contemporary Fiction Category. Fingers crossed! Winners announced April.

GOLD IPPY AWARD for "A DROP IN THE OCEAN"

April 8, 2016

Tags: Writing, A Drop in the Ocean, Book Awards

The Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYS) for 2016 have been announced and A Drop in the Ocean is the GOLD WINNER for
AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND – BEST REGIONAL FICTION

Very nice too!

Festivals and the love of books

November 29, 2015

Tags: Brain Matters, Writing, Books, Festivals, Being Happy

Nicky Pellegrino and Jenni Ogden in conversation at the Waiheke Literary Festival, November, 2015.


Writers and Readers festivals are pure bliss for those of us who love books. I have been to many throughout the world; in fact if we are traveling anywhere I check out book festivals (and music and wine and food festivals) in case by tweaking our dates we can go to more. I think it is the buzz of being in the midst of so many others who love the same things as you do. But NZ hosts festivals every bit as wonderful as overseas festivals. I particularly love the Auckland Writers Festival, which is massive but incredibly well-organised and very friendly. World-class writers (including world class NZ and Australian writers) are guest speakers, and this year they sold over 63,000 tickets to events. WOMAD NZ in the beautiful New Plymouth is a wonderful weekend of music from many countries in a fabulous atmosphere and held in an incredible venue. (more…)

Cover Reveal! My new novel...

August 11, 2015

Tags: Writing

Getting one's cover for one's new novel (especially one's debut novel!) has to be one of the best moments in one's writing life. Here is the cover for A Drop In The Ocean, not out until May, 2016, but I'll remind you again then, no doubt! Here is a brief "back cover" description.

"On her 49th birthday, Anna Fergusson, Boston neuroscientist and dedicated introvert, arrives at an unwanted crossroads when the funding for her research lab is cut. With her confidence shattered and her future uncertain, on impulse she rents a cabin for a year on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. But Turtle Island, alive with sea birds and nesting Green turtles, is not the retreat she expected. Here she finds love—for the eccentric islanders who become her family; for Tom, a laid-back turtle researcher; and for the turtles whose ancient mothering instincts move her to tears. But Anna finds that even on her idyllic drop in the ocean there is pain, and as the months fly past her dream for a new life is threatened by a darkness that challenges everything she has come to believe about the power of love.

Evocative and thought-provoking, A Drop in the Ocean is a story about second chances and hard lessons learned in the gentlest of ways.

LAUNCH OF MY MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

May 24, 2015

Tags: Writing

PLEASE SUPPORT MY NEW CAREER AS A NOVELIST! READ ALL ABOUT IT UNDER "NEWSLETTER" IN MY WEBSITE, AND IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOU READ, SIGN UP. THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU!

Newsflash! The Rest Of Her Life.

May 21, 2015

Tags: Writing

Yah! My first novel will be published in April, 2016, by US Publisher, She Writes Press. Its working title is THE REST OF HER LIFE and here is a preview of the book description.

A novel about love, sea turtles, and an unthinkable choice

Too young to retire and too old for a career change. That’s the conundrum that faces Anna Fergusson—Boston neuroscientist and dedicated introvert—when on her forty-ninth birthday her Huntington's Disease research funding is ripped from under her. Will renting a cabin for a year on a coral island on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef give her the space to decide what comes next? Turtle Island—alive with sea birds, nesting Green turtles, and eccentric islanders—is a world of its own, and Anna is enchanted. Here she finds a family, and the motivation to mend her relationship with her mother when she reluctantly journeys to Unst in Shetland, the island on the far side of the world that has captured her mother's heart. But back on her own idyllic drop in the ocean Anna discovers there is still pain, and as the months fly past, her dream for a new life is threatened by a darkness that challenges everything she has come to believe about the power of love.

Evocative and thought-provoking, The Rest Of Her Life brings home the potent message that it is never too late to embrace life’s second chances.


Publisher: She Writes Press, USA. Publication date: April, 2016

Auckland Writers Festival Free Event

March 24, 2014

Tags: Writing, Brain Matters, Festivals, Being Happy

Join me at the Auckland Writers Festival on Sunday, May 18th, 11.30-12.30 at the Aotea Centre as I talk about three of my most fascinating neuropsychology cases. It’s a FREE session! Click for link

Weekend NZ Herald Story

October 13, 2013

Tags: Writing, Brain Matters, Off-Grid Living

Photo: Greg Bowker
Enjoyed a lovely day with NZ Herald senior journalist, Andrew Stone and senior photographer, Greg Bowker, when they flew over to our island to interview me about "Trouble In Mind" and our off-grid lifestyle for the Weekend Herald on 13th Oct. Greg was very taken with the skull, complete with brain, that (who?) looks down at me from the top shelf in our library. Poor Yorick, alas, was somewhat dusty, but at least he wasn't 12 feet under. Click here for Link to the story

'Trouble In Mind' Australia Happenings

August 11, 2013

Tags: Brain Matters, Writing

Australian Cover
With the Australian edition of my book out, it is exciting to read nice reviews in the major newspapers, and to have the opportunity to talk with Australian radio hosts. Here's the Sydney Sunday Herald review.
Trouble in Mind
Jenni Ogden
(Scribe, $29.95)

If you loved reading
the case histories
of Oliver Sacks, you’ll be similarly
engrossed by the tales told by
neuropsychologist Jenni Ogden. (more…)

Holidays 2013! The Whitsunday Writers' Festival, and Home

August 2, 2013

Tags: Travel, Writing, Festivals

Fabulous writers and great dinner companions, L.A.Larkin and Anita Heiss
In July, from bush camping on a remote island to a luxury hotel: we went to the Whitsunday Writers’ Festival at the Coral Sea Resort, where our beautiful room hung over the mangroves bordering the bay. It was a tiny, exclusive festival where the guest speakers almost outnumbered the guests. As a consequence we got to know everyone and had a fantastic time. All the speakers were outstanding, and also a lot of fun. Anita Heiss, one of Australia’s best-known aboriginal writers was a delight to listen to. Her latest book ‘Am I Black Enough for You’, was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards, and she and her book have been the centre of considerable controversy because of a recent landmark court case Anita and her peers won against racist journalism in Australia. Other speakers included Tony Ayling, an expert on coral reefs, who had us riveted with his story of how he escaped from the jaws of a saltwater crocodile off Lizard Island, where we camped for 10 nights last year; Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters, both journalists and authors of the fascinating ‘The Jewel of the Silk Road’; and Louisa (L.A.) Larkin, who writes environmental thrillers, and, like Anita, is seriously good fun at dinner parties. The other participants (like John and I, not speakers) were all equally good value, and hopefully we will keep in touch with many of them and with the speakers. (more…)

Holidays 2013! Camping on the Whitsundays

August 2, 2013

Tags: Travel, Writing, Festivals

Coffee time at Crayfish Beach
After the Auckland Writers' and Readers' Festival off we flew to our winter bolt-hole; 6 weeks at Marlin Cove Resort, Trinity Beach, north of Cairns, where amongst other things (mainly bird watching) our friends who manage the resort, Derek and Kerry, treated us to not one, but two bottles of Grange. Then a drive south to the Whitsundays, camping at National Park campsites on the way. At Airlie Beach, we discovered that the lovely young woman who booked us into Magnum’s Backpackers for a night knew our son Joachim; her husband had worked with him in the UK 15 years ago and they had all shared adventures in Morocco. The next day we put our camping gear and 40 litres of water onto a boat which dropped us off on Crayfish Beach, a boat-access-only idyllic bay on Hook Island in the Whitsundays. There we camped in splendid isolation for 4 nights, totally alone and with no way of communicating with the outside world. Not another boat or person did we see, except on the far horizon. We did share the outer part of our tent with a very friendly and cute brown rat, whom we fed with chocolate. The good snorkelling didn’t last as the gale-force winds out to sea (which did not reach our sheltered bay) made visibility poor, but never mind. We were picked up by the same boat which sped back in 40 km/ph winds and hugh seas to Shute Harbour. It was a special experience (the isolated beach camping, not the boat trip back), and one that must surely be almost extinct anywhere else on the globe. (Aside: I have never been to the Whitsundays before and they are forever linked in my mind with the consummation scene between the priest, Father Ralph, and Meggie in Colleen McCullough’s ‘The Thorn Birds’. 1977 that book was written; imagine the furore it would cause if it were published now, given the horrors of the catholic church’s paedophile priests. Perhaps it would pass muster because Father Ralph waited until Meggie was all growed up.)

Holidays, 2013! Auckland Writers' and Readers' Festival

August 2, 2013

Tags: Travel, Writing, Festivals

May, 2013, and the beginning of almost 3 months of R & R. First visiting kids and grandkids in Christchurch and Whangaparaoa, then the wonderful Auckland Writers’ and Readers’ Festival where I went to 17 sessions. Great sessions included Jackie Kay (what a personality she has, and I'd already read her biography and a poetry book); Ramona Koval (another delightful personality in her own session, and having her interview Kate Atkinson made that session extra special I think); Tragic Brilliance (both biographers fascinating); Mr. Cohen revealed (again the personality of Sylvie Simmons shining through, especially when she sang at the end); and Edward Rutherfurd. I think the magic lies more with the personalities of the authors rather than the interviewer, mainly because good interviewers ask the great questions and have the flexibility to follow leads, but then fade into the background. The authors who added that special touch, such as Jackie Kay with her wonderful readings (the Scots accent helped!), Sylvie Simmons with her song, and William Dalrymple with his scruffy clothes and irrepressible enthusiasm, held the audience from start to finish.

Oliver Sacks in Conversation with Danielle Ofri

April 24, 2013

Tags: Brain Matters, Writing

Oliver Sacks
Recently I watched one of the most fascinating interviews I have seen for a long time. True, I began with a positive bias as the interview was conducted by Danielle Ofri, and she was talking to Oliver Sacks about his hallucinations and other intriguing brain, mind, and people insights. These two doctors and writers are at the top of my favourite lists for both occupations. It was a lovely interview, relaxed and charming. Oliver Sacks is one of those people who defines wisdom and humility, always with a twinkle in his eye, and makes one believe that age is no barrier to living life to the full. If you want a treat, watch the interview on the NYU School of Medicine website:http://school.med.nyu.edu/humanisticmed (scroll to “News” section)

A Body In The Mind

June 18, 2012

Tags: Brain Matters, Writing

“Are you simply a frustrated doctor? Perhaps deep down what you wanted to be was a neurosurgeon?” are comments I have occasionally fielded. As it happened I never yearned to be a medical doctor, and while clinical neuropsychology does have many things in common with neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry, equally valid might have been the comment, “Are you a frustrated detective?” Most research has an element of detective work, whatever the field, and clinical neuropsychology is no exception. For me, it is the mix of working as a clinician and a researcher simultaneously that is the attraction of clinical neuropsychology. And these two aspects of the discipline are at their powerful best when the clinician or researcher comes across a patient with a neurological disorder or a collection of symptoms that are rare. If the patient is willing and is well enough to be tested, the neuropsychologist has an opportunity to discover something new about the way the mind works, and hopefully the careful research assessments will also provide detailed information that can improve the patient’s rehabilitation programme.
(more…)

The Frontal-lobe syndrome

March 16, 2012

Tags: Brain Matters, Writing

Embellishments on the copy (lower figure) of the top drawing indicate disinhibited behaviour.
I thought I’d write a “series” of blogs on the different neuropsychological disorders in “Trouble In Mind” including an extract from the relevant chapter. My “Psychology Today” blogs also comment on neuropsychological disorders, but usually the content is not as directly related to my book content, as it is not appropriate to post extracts from the book on that site. I’ll also focus on a different disorder on each site in any given month.

I decided to begin at the front of the brain, with the frontal lobes. These days, everyone seems to know about the frontal lobes; the parts of the brain that continue to develop through our teens and into our early twenties. To be more precise, the area that is commonly referred to as the frontal lobe, is the front of the frontal lobe; labelled the prefrontal lobe. Humans have the most highly developed prefrontal cortex of any animal, and it is probably this, more than anything else, that has catapulted humankind to the top of the evolutionary tree. (more…)

"Trouble In Mind" advance copy has arrived!

January 16, 2012

Tags: Writing, Brain Matters

I recently received an advance copy of my new book, Trouble In Mind: Stories from a Neuropsychologist’s Casebook which has a release date in the USA of February 2nd, 2012. It looks great, although somewhat thicker than I intended when I began writing! The image on the front cover, according to my daughter, makes it look like a tramping book ("tramping" being the NZ term for "hiking"). This photo of mine, of one of the many lovely walks in New Zealand's South Island, reminded me of a wonderful cartoon in my book from the Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig, called "How to Get There." I have often given this cartoon to patients who are struggling with long, slow, hard rehabilitation following a head injury or stroke. The message it conveys is that the way to get there is to keep on walking, one step at a time, stopping to rest and look at the view whenever you feel tired or downhearted. So the photo on the cover seemed to me to convey a similar "pathway to recovery."

The book's back cover is full of very nice “advance praise” quotes from many giants in the neuropsychology and medical fields as well as from some of my favorite novelists and writers of case study-type books for the general reader. (more…)

Rumer Godden, an Author to Treasure.

November 8, 2011

Tags: Books I am reading, Writing

Spring in Christchurch
Books; I have read so many wonderful ones in the past few weeks. It is difficult to choose which to talk about. So I will opt for China Court: The Hours of a Country House, the novel I finished with a sigh this morning. The author, Rumer Godden, was born in England in 1907. She grew up in India and returned to England as an adult, dying in Scotland in 1998. It is a mystery to me why I didn’t discover her long ago. (more…)

Creative Writing and the Brain

June 21, 2011

Tags: Books I am reading, Writing, Brain Matters

Is there a creative writer who hasn’t at times wondered what it is that impels thousands of people to spend thousands of hours thinking about and writing made-up stories, that at best will be read by thousands of people who have got nothing better to do than read made-up stories! Is there some evolutionary imperative that has moulded our minds to seek stories? Even Steven Pinker, the cognitive scientist and author of How the Mind Works --such a wonderful title-- who controversially suggests that music confers no survival advantage and describes it as “auditory cheesecake” (p. 534), submits that fiction can, like gossip, be biologically adaptive. “Fictional narratives supply us with a mental catalogue of the fatal conundrums we might face someday and the outcome of strategies we could deploy in them.” (p. 543.) (more…)

King of Writing

June 11, 2011

Tags: Books I am reading, Writing

I have never read a Stephen King novel. My daughter was a fan of his from her early teenage years and I once attempted to read one of his books but found it so gross I gave up after the first few pages. So it has taken me years to get around to buying his book On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft, a book that seems to have only positive reviews, whatever the “genre” of the writing of the reviewer. It was a page turner, (more…)

The Joy of Writing and Reading Festivals

May 21, 2011

Tags: Books I am reading, Writing

I have just returned from the four day Auckland Writers’ and Readers’ Festival, and a wonderful festival it was. International authors seem to enjoy coming to New Zealand, and often appear first in the Auckland festival and then in the Sydney festival. The Auckland festival had 32,000 attendees this year, quite a remarkable accolade for good books and wonderful writers in our largest city of just 1.5 million. (more…)

"Trouble In Mind" and amnesia

March 25, 2011

Tags: Writing

I sent my completed manuscript for “Trouble In Mind” off to my OUP editor in New York this week, so now I can get back to my fiction writing, at least until my editor returns it with her editing suggestions. Hopefully there won’t be too much revising to do. The planned publication date is December this year, which is not that far away. (more…)

Writing - the best laid plans...

January 21, 2011

Tags: Writing

My writing plans for the holiday season did not quite happen; I think I have lost the skill of writing – or even editing -- with noise and children everywhere. I must have been able to do it once when I was the mother and not the grandmother, and couldn’t “give the children back!” (more…)

Summer writing plans

December 8, 2010

Tags: Writing

Before Christmas I am determined to complete a good draft of a chapter for my book Trouble In Mind titled “The Singer or the Song?” about a young woman with temporal lobe epilepsy who had to make a very difficult decision – whether to risk losing her ability to learn new songs or even her ability to sing, by undergoing a neurosurgical operation that could cure her debilitating epileptic seizures. (more…)