Posted: December 13, 2018

Hospice UK Plenary Address

I was delighted to be invited to speak at Hospice UK’s 2018 Annual Conference in Telford. Around 800 delegates attended, from palliative care services based in hospices, hospitals and community settings. The varied programme considered the needs of patients, family/carers and professionals. We heard about research, theory, practical action, service planning, politics and inclusivity; we met old colleagues and made new friends. There were workshops, lectures, posters, stalls, information and a cartoonist! Lots to think about.

I gave the end of conference address: Death Stories. It was live-streamed and posted on Facebook, and can be viewed here. Spoiler: it mentions death, dying and the human condition. And the Little Mermaid.


Posted: May 2, 2018

Wellcome Book Prize shortlisted authors’ weekend

Five of the six shortlisted authors for the Wellcome Book Prize  gathered in London for a festival of writing related to medicine, health and the human condition. The imminent birth of Mark O’Connell’s next baby prevented him from joining us, but the women of the shortlist enjoyed an ‘Authors in Conversation’ session at The Wellcome Collection on Saturday 28th April: Bookish Beck has written a summary for her blog here.

On Sunday 29th April, we were all together again for a ‘5×15’ event, this time at Cecil Sharp House. Each author spoke for 15 minutes on the inspiration behind her book. You can click on each author’s presentation here  and on Mark O’Connell’s (made at an earlier event) here.

Here’s me, talking about why we need to get real about dying, a 500 year-old tree and a coffin shop in the Andes.

Then there was a Prosecco and canapes event to announce the winning book on Monday, 30th April: congratulations to Mark O’Connell, whose ‘To be a Machine’ won the prize.


Posted: April 20, 2018

2.6 million views of ‘In my humble opinion’ video!

BBC Ideas asked me to talk about what we misunderstand about the dying process, for their In My Humble Opinion video series.

It’s a very short video, so lots more to be discussed – which is what ‘With the End in Mind’ is for.

Here’s the video.


And if you’d like to read about how people live while they are dying in more detail, you can purchase of copy of the book here:
With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial

Posted: March 30, 2018

Free Thinking Festival – video ‘In my humble opinion’

‘In My Humble Opinion’ is a BBC Ideas site.

I met them at BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival at Sage, Gateshead, earlier this month. They recorded my thoughts about our loss of knowledge about normal dying.

Dying – not as bad as you’re probably expecting.

Here’s their video.