What can psychiatry learn from literature? Literature can clarify, examine and define emotions, behaviour and thoughts. For psychiatrists, literary texts can be valuable tools for furthering our understanding of patients and their conditions. This book explores the fruitful relationships between the written word and central aspects of psychiatric practice. It includes newly commissioned chapters plus articles originally published in the journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment that have been reworked and updated. The contributors examine: why doctors should read fiction and the place of literature in medical education; the varied genres of autobiography, fiction, poetry and letters; and a range of topics, including addictions, ageing and dementia, intellectual disability and autism. The authors explore the description and representation of mental states, the lived experience of distress, the character of psychiatry as a system and the institutional practices of psychiatry. Although written by psychiatrists primarily for psychiatrists, this collection offers a fascinating and accessible insight into mental illness through the pages of novels, poetry and autobiographies to be found in any bookshop.