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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Graham vs Nunn

For me, Nunn wins hands down.  Can I secretly confess this is partly because of his biography at the end which made me have overwhelming brain crush instantly?

Notes on contributors
Philip Graham is Emeritus Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Institute of Child Health London. He was Consultant Psychiatrist at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London. His books include The end of adolescence, OUP, 2004; Child psychiatry: A developmental approach (jointly), 4th ed. OUP, 2005; and Cognitive behaviour therapy for children and families (Ed.) (jointly), 3rd ed. CUP, 2013.
Ken Nunn was a breach birth to unrelated parents in post-second world war Australia and, though a rather odd child, managed to do well at a small and very parochial country school on the eastern seaboard of New South Wales, Australia. He developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of slightly inaccurate information. He struggled at university as a medical student and found most things difficult to understand but, once learned, retained things well. He has always suspected that at least a third of his knowledge is out of date but he was has also been unsure which third it is. He enjoyed all aspects of medicine and never quite under- stood that doing psychiatry meant that he may be compromising a perfectly good medical career. He then did child psychiatry and found that he enjoyed talking with children and families and has continued to do this for the last thirty years. He has always found the psychiatric diagnostic systems very unsatisfying to utilise, even though he kept thinking of himself as a medical practitioner. For some years now, it has become clear that he can no longer discriminate between social problems, criminal problems and psychiatric problems and seems to fuse rather fuzzily the sad, mad, bad trichotomy in his conceptual schemas. He currently continues to work on the aetiology of a range of mental illnesses, including anorexia nervosa but mainly sees young people clinically in out-of-home care. He aspires to be helpful to his patients, comforting to their families, encouraging to his students and slightly irritating to his much-loved mentors. 


  1. I thought that bit was a bit unfair - presumably they didn't liaise together so that they could compete on biographies on an equal footing. They should at least have let Graham TRY to counteract that!

  2. I suspect our dear Professor Nunn has many new followers due to that wonderful bio - personally, I love it, it was refreshing and entertaining to read - something different and I love that. Yep, I join Charlotte in declaring another new brain crush for moi!

    Marcella, I would love to see an equally humorous bio from Dr. Graham as a bit of a rebuttal.

  3. Professor Nunn is, in person, just what you read in that bio: charming, witty, thoughtful, and devastatingly smart. I treasure the time I spent with him and the advice and, truly, the humility combined with strength that we can all aspire to when we grow up.

  4. Thanks for sharing this Charlotte! I may need to go re-write my bio with much much more humor...okay even some at all would vastly improve it. How brilliant and I love that he is utilizing Brene Brown's now famous tool of vulnerability. You exemplify that as well dear Charlotte! Perhaps Brene will want to meet you as an example of the courageousness of vulnerability and the power it has. :)

    If you have not heard of her she has many TED Talk videos on YouTube that provide hours of distraction and great insights.