Judith Graham, born in Christchurch in 1937, was sent in 1950 as a boarder to her mother's school, St Dominic's College, Dunedin. In 1955, two months after leaving school, she entered the Dominican Novitiate to become a nun. She studied extramurally at Otago University and graduated M.A. Hons English in 1961. She taught at St Dominic's College, Dunedin, and St Catherine's Invercargill, until she abandoned Religious Life in 1967. She married the photogtapher Reg Graham in 1968 and continued teaching in single-sex and co-ed secondary schools. She has two children, Kirsty, 36 , and Piers, 35.