Psychiatry studies the human mind within a medical paradigm, exploring experience, response and reaction, emotion and affect. Similarly, writers of fiction explore within a non-clinical dimension the phenomena of the human mind. The synergism between literature and psychiatry seems clear, yet literature--and in particular, fiction--remain the poor relation of the medical textbook. How can literature be of particular relevance in psychiatry? This paper examines these issues and suggests a selection of useful texts.