DeathWrites Network (2022-2024)  

This Royal Society of Edinburgh-funded Network is called COVID as Catalyst for Writing and Discussing Death, Dying and Grief through Objects, Diaries and Collective Archives. The Network is developing and supporting 30 Scotland-based writers from across disciplines and genres to write and publish powerful, accessible work.

DeathWrites started at the University of Glasgow in 2017 with a series of reading and writing workshops. Since then, the team have held a number of public symposia to act as catalyst to writing on dying, death and grief.

The Network is supported by RSE, The University of Glasgow Arts Lab and the Glasgow End of Life Studies Group.

DeathWrites Blog

Andy Manders: What Else You Writing About
Now Then?

17 May 2024

Andy Manders on the poet Tom Buchan, and writing landscapes of death and life.
Today’s not meant to be about death. If I came here (Findhorn) to write at all, it was about life - Tom Buchan’s, and perhaps my own, in the places that mattered to him. But having covered a fair bit of that ground over the weekend, Lewis thought I might like to see where his father died; and he’s right of course... Click here to read more

28 April 2024

Writer Elizabeth Reeder reflects on how the process of taking notes informs writing on dying, death and grief.
There’s an intensity to writing about death and dying. Perhaps it comes from the intimacy and immediacy bound to the precarity of end of life. Perhaps the pressured, ever-present sharp space of grief makes everything more acute... Click here to read more

19 March 2024

In this blog post, Angela Cran emphasises the value of writing to give space to sorrow, and how a supportive community is helping her write about the death of her young son.
“Do you have children? How many?”

Questions like that. The awkward silence before you answer. Risk a conversation stopper if you tell the truth? Feel the dagger in your own heart if you don’t. There are good, simple responses to the truth: “I’m so sorry”. Sometimes, surprising tears – I mean, other people’s. But even the good responses can leave you wishing that you hadn’t mentioned it... Click here to read more

28 February 2024

Kris Haddow charts the changing face of his DeathWrites project after a drastic health scare.
For over two decades, I have squirrelled away materials in journals and box files—articles, book and movie quotes, letters, postcards, photographs. These curios act as keys, unlocking memories; like an index, helping me recollect those I have loved and lost... Click here to read more

12 September 2023

In this longer reflection on grief, love, and writing, network member Lucy Christopher takes us through the process of writing about her late father’s experience of schizophrenia, using his own words from his self-published memoir.
When I told my brother I was going to write a book about our Dad, incorporating writing from Dad’s own memoir Love and Schizophrenia, he suggested I might want to access some therapy to help with the process. “Nah.” I dismissed the idea. I don’t actually find this stuff very upsetting, I told him confidently... Click here to read more

 29 June 2023

Writer Ioulia Kolovou takes us on a journey of grief’s etymologies and mythologies, both personal and classical.
The 5th of September may fall on a different season each year. Sometimes it is still summer, all big blue skies and white clouds; cyclists and dog walkers on the path by the north bank of the River Tweed; air ringing with laughter and children’s shrieks from the play parks; swans barging down the river, majestic, unhurried. But sometimes it is already autumn.... Click here to read more

17 May 2023

As part of his project ‘The Lonely Funeral’, Andy Jackson explores the role of the poet as both eulogiser and witness.
The Lonely Funeral is an initiative aimed at providing a poem to be read at funerals where the deceased has no family or friends present. On the surface the project addresses grief and loss, but it is also concerned with isolation and loneliness. The project uses poetry to celebrate the lives of people whose death goes almost unnoticed... Click here to read more

Sean Wai Keung: On Dying to Eat: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Food, Death and the Afterlife (ed. by Candi K. Cann)

12 April 2023

In this short review essay, Sean Wai Keung sets out some of the interrelations between food rituals, death, eating and grieving.

If life can be defined as a state of constant consumption cycles (energy comes in, energy goes out, etc.) then death can also be defined as a state of non-consumption and stillness. It's only after we're dead that we no longer need to take in any energy, after all. In part because of this, eating and food come to define so much of our lives... Click here to read more

Charlotte Luke: writing truth through fiction

29 March 2023

For our first member blog post, Charlotte Luke reflects on how her writing process has transformed during her time with the DeathWrites Network
Last year, around 8 months after my dad died in a hillwalking accident, I heard about the DeathWrites Network, a group of writers tackling the subjects of death, dying and bereavement in their work. I applied to be part of the group, finding the idea of meeting other people who were in the same or a similar boat very appealing... Click here to read more

Network Organisers

Click on the names for more information

Dr Elizabeth Reeder Principal Investigator

Dr Amy Shea Co-Investigator

Dr Naomi Richards Co-Investigator

Niamh Gordon Research Assistant

Carrie Foulkes Research Assistant

Pictured: Dr Amy Shea, Dr Elizabeth Reeder
and Dr Naomi Richards

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DeathWrites logo by Malwina Chabocka