femi portrait 1

I am Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Birmingham. I am the current author of Sim’s Symptoms in the Mind (4th edition). My other books include Mindreadings: literature and psychiatry & Madness at the Theatre. I have published 6 volumes of poetry: Naked to your softness and other dreams; Wednesday is a colour; Adagio for oblong mirrors; Forest of transformations; Master of the leopard hunt; and Indigo, camwood and mahogany red. Also, Selected PoemsMy research interests include clinical psychopathology, medical humanities, the application of ethics to psychiatric practice, and neuropsychological and neural correlates of abnormal phenomena.

55 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Femi,
    It’s wonderful to come across your blog. I’m a psychiatrist (originally from UK, now in Australia) and fiction writer and I’m increasingly interested in the overlap between psychiatry and the arts. I look forward to following this blog!
    Dawn Barker

  2. Sir,
    I am a Yoruba enthusiast and would like to know your thoughts on the prospects for the translation of major works of Psychiatric Phenomenology into Yoruba.I fear the language is in its death throes for a lack of utility/utilization. I feel indignant that children can study algebra and statistics in Flemish but not in Yoruba.

    The consumer of medical service in the West seems a lot more knowledgeable because they can relate to ideas like “infection” “sepsis” “defence mechanisms” etc on their own thems while our people with their poor English are made to look like “learners” . “Learner” is a current slang or neologism in Nigeria meaning anything from novice to ignorant perhaps reflecting social impatience with “L” drivers. Thus the usage “you must be a learner”

    Anyway I find your work inspiring and salute you “whole bodiedly”.
    Best Wishes

    1. Dear Sango,
      Thanks for your interesting comments. I do agree that translation of as many texts into Yoruba would be very good. I think that the same approach as when the Bible was translated would not go amiss. A group of dedicated and knowledgeable people should come together to take the classics in literature and translate them including the works of Doestoyevsky, Tolstoy, Dickens, Thomas Hardy, etc. It has always seemed to me that translation into the literary classics is the first step into nurturing a language and giving it life. Thanks for your comments about best wishes,

  3. Dear Femi,
    I hope you are well.

    Excellent Blog I would like to add your Blog on our careif website. http://www.careif.org
    see http://www.careif.org/knowledge/commentary-and-analysis.html
    I am hoping to build a reservoir of activities around Culture and Psychiatry. Our recent -careif/QMUL Santander Lectures featured some excellent presentations and discussions emerging from Mexico and the Latin American Region.

    We @careif follow you on Twitter. You have some Interesting tweets.


    Co-founder and Director.
    The Centre for Applied Research and Evaluation- International Foundation. (careif)
    Centre for Psychiatry
    Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine
    Barts and The London, Queen Mary’s School of Medicine & Dentistry
    Old Anatomy Building
    Charterhouse Square
    London EC1M 6BQ

    CAREIF – Centre for Applied Research and Evaluation International
    Foundation – is an International Mental Health Charity
    Visit our website: http://www.careif.org

    Twitter @careif

      1. Dear Femi,
        I have added your blog on our website http://www.careif.org
        KNOWLEDGE_ Commentary and Analysis;

        You will also note our State of the Art initiative on Global Suicide and Suicide Prevention.

        Please lend your support by promoting through your contacts/blog/Twitter
        much appreciated


  4. @Femi-Oyewole. I’m so pleased to read this piece. I will like you to help us with a write-up on the life of Candido Da Rocha, popularly called Baba Olomi during his time. He was said to be Nigeria’s first millionaire, but only few people today know about him
    There are lot of myths surrounding this man. One of it is that he had no male child, and that his daughter, Candida, was his only child. He was also said to have died of unnatural causes. Please enlighten us, Doctor.

    1. Dear Femi,
      Thanks for your comment. I have no more to add about Da Rocha. But, of course the role and place of Afro-Brazilians in Lagos and Nigerian life is indisputable.
      Fem Oyebode

  5. Hello Femi,
    I am Gabriella. I came across ur name for the first time while going through the book titled shorter oxford textbook of psychiatry. I was impressed seeing a Nigerian who seems to be making grounds in his chosen field.I’m a clinical II student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife,Osun State,Nigeria. My interest in psychiatry seems to be pretty strong,I would like to know more about psychiatry. Its significance to the world, its value,its worth,its drive,and to have you as a motivator.
    Thanks alot

    1. Dear Gabriella,
      Thank you for your message. I’m pleased to hear of your strong interest in psychiatry. I think it’s a good choice. Definitely much of the advances in medicine that will occur over the next 50 years will take place in psychiatry. I wish you the best in your studies. Keep in touch. Best wishes,

  6. Your views on the bio-medicalization of psychiatry do not seem to tally with you commitment to the poetic, aesthetic, humanistic, spiritual and socio-cultural dimensions. This is not to be critical, but rather to ask how you see them to be reconcilable both in your mind and in external reality.

    1. Dear Paul
      No contradiction here, no dissonance either. The brain exists and is as prone to error as any other organ. It allows us to delight in the world, to be filled with awe and wonder, and to describe the world in language including the language of science, mathematics and the arts. Is there anything more to say? Femi

  7. Pingback: About | benmadigan
  8. Dear Prof. Oyebode,
    Please I would like to have a 30 minute podcast interview with you on exploring the idea of translating classic literary works into Yoruba language as a way to preserve and enrich the language. I should be in University of Birmingham on Monday 20th February 2017 for an interview with Dr. Insa Nolte of the School of African Studies.
    Kindly let me know what you think about the idea.
    Thanks very much indeed.

    1. I’m happy to meet up. I have a busy clinic all day. So the question whether after 5 pm is fine for you. I’m based at the national centre for mental health B152FG, 7-10 minutes from DASA.

      1. That should be fine and I shall find my way over there to the National centre by 5pm. Thanks very much indeed for the prompt response and accepting to grant the interview.

      2. Mr Femi am a grand son of Hilario Campos from Lagos Island Lagos. Saw your publication about my Grand dad. I just heard some of those things for the first time. The family is not united aand have split . i was born to hilario babatunde campos son of Hilario campos.pls would love to see you. Am an Engr with NTA VICTORIA ISLAND LAGOS. MY NUMBER IS 08036126508. SEND ME MSG AT jaiyecampos@yahoo.com . would love to meet you. cos am planning a documentary on the family.

  9. Hello Professor Oyebode!

    Greetings from Northumberland…or is it Moseley!

    Thats right…its me…..at the bottom of the Park Hill (i think thats its name) with Griff! (circa June 2000) and we met soon after with your colleagues.

    Perhaps I’m being in-appropriate…..but can I ask have you read ‘Keep the aspidistra flying’ by George Orwell? Gritty but pretty good……worrying when the BBC described the work as a comedy circa 2006!

    Hope you are still fit & well


    1. Stephen,
      I’m yet to read ‘Keep aspidistra flying’. Thanks for drawing my attention to it. Was that with Hugh Griffiths then in 2000? Otherwise given my ageing brain I can’t recall that far back! Femi

  10. Hi Prof Oyebode & all others here!

    Perhaps if you learn that Griff had four legs and a waggy tail (is/was a springer spaniel) and that our encounter was not voluntary you may remember us (est 30% prob!)….still as patient as ever its difficult to believe your brain is ageing however recent studies seem to be suggesting that exercise, i guess either sport or book reading, can in some circumstances STOP dementia..perhaps your brain is a bit busy finding interesting thoughts in interesting places and you therefore are even more busy than ever on an accumulative basis and ‘delude’ yourself that you are indeed getting old? (Lorraine, a fellow student at Coventy Poly claimed that ‘you are as old as the woman you feel’) (Was she holding ‘the keys to the garden of Eden’ or ‘the keys to the gates of hell’? Please answer Professor Oyebode as if i seem to remember the answer correctly accordingly to Orwells aspidistra the answer is the former but my guess, based on loose statistical sampling and extensive experience, is he’s wrong?).

    Dawn is previous, and can i ask do you enjoy a morning walk as i find it invigorating? As a slight aside my surname was Patterson but i’m sure you meet lots of people and that you probably still do not recall me……i see lots of people every day but meet very few but when i do never forget and regretfully prefer it this way!

    In placing my comment i was hoping to induce comment on Orwell, esp wrt ‘1984’ but others here seem too busy to contribute. Have you had the chance to read ‘Aspridistra’ or is it even on your long list? In his early dates Orwell worked in a ‘marketing’ agency and these two literary works are clearly inspired by his time there and his resulting concerns..in 1984 I attempted to read ‘1984’ but found the work so surreal that I could not accommodate it – the idea ‘the state’ would attempt to ‘control’ in the way suggested is clearly a vehicle for Orwell’s concerns to ‘include’ terms such as ‘newspeak’ and ‘sexcrime’ (not love crime!’) and in my view as a teenager in ‘concrete city’ North Tyneside in 1984 I was myself concerned regarding how the movie portrayed the book. Regretfully others have declined to pass comment on such serious stuff, so i guess i’m not hitting the right note? Right now I can’t remember the text of ‘the clergyman’s daughter’ but do wish to throw that one in the pit too. Soon hopefully I’ll dig into your research but regretfully my temporal days are limited too..currently 48 yrs so passed the halfway mark and with happiness still hanging just on the right side of the horizon it is that that i must get going and do as my mother says ‘pedal like hell, even up the hills’!

    Perhaps after the long summer holidays other’s can inspire comment! Good luck!



  11. Hi Femi,

    honestly, i was thinking about you while sitting in my office in Kingston, Canada. Just wanted to say a big thank you for your support of the psychiatry traniees in Birmingham of which I was one. The Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital to me as a junior trainee was a marvel and your presence added the prestige it deserved. Though the “QEPH” is no longer I am forever indebted to you for a style of teaching I try to emulate. Thank you for being you.

    your student,


    Dr. Tariq M. Hassan MBBS, MRCPsych (UK), FRCP(C),

    Divisional Chair and Clinical Director,
    Associate Professor,
    Forensic Psychiatry,
    Department of Psychiatry,
    Queen’s University,
    c/o Providence Care Hospital,
    752 King Street West,
    Kingston ON K7L 4X3.

    1. Dear Tariq
      It’s a great pleasure to hear from you. Thank you for your kind and generous words. Very much appreciated.
      I’m still in Birmingham working at the Barberry, but only three days a week.
      I’m still involved in teaching and writing but not so much research.
      I hope you’re finding Canada to your liking; in any case you seem to be thriving in Kingston.
      Thank you once again for you warm words.
      Very best wishes,

  12. Hello Femi,
    I am Jair. I have just finished reading Sims’ Symptoms in the Mind. I was looking for other books dealing with psychopathology and I found your name in many references so I decided to look for more information. Having arrived to this blog I have read some of your other works and I have to say that I would like to tell how motivated I am after this. I am still in Medical Undergraduate Program but I have a strong interest in psychiatry. How have you deal with psychiatry in contexts out of occidental developed countries? I am peruvian and I find cultural aspects of psychiatry and psychiatry of minorities as a main interest.

    I really needed to say this.

    1. Jair
      Thanks for your kind words. Very much appreciated.
      I agree with you that the cultural aspects of psychiatry are very interesting and thought provoking. Psychopathology allows us to study the format aspects of human experience that are pan cultural and also to encourage us to look at what is specific to culture and final idiosyncratic to the individual.
      I hope that you retain your interest in psychiatry after graduation.
      Very best wishes for the future.

  13. Dear Prof.,
    I’m a postgraduate student of the university of Ibadan. My research interest is in literature and medicine. I’ve seen your name cited in many research works in this area. I need some of your creative works and articles on medical humanities.

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