The anthology, Final Chapters, brings together 30 powerful and thought-provoking short-stories and poems about dying, death and bereavement. These 30 were selected from the 1,400 entries submitted to the competition held in 2012, in the run-up to Dying Matters Awareness Week.
The collection includes a candid story about a daughter’s relationship with her mother’s carer, an internal monologue on dementia, a deeply moving poem about losing a son to cot death, and a heartfelt story about a mother’s end of life.
The stories and poems provide an invaluable opportunity to think and talk about dying, death and bereavement, and offer readers the comfort and support of shared experience.
In his foreword to the book, broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, who is also Chair of Dimbleby Cancer Care, writes: “…only one in three of us ever discuss the meaning of death with anyone else. Moreover a similar proportion of doctors never raise ‘end of life’ issues with their patients. That is why Final Chapters matters. It demonstrates that even if we can’t talk about it, we can write about death with astonishing power and eloquence.”
While There’s Still Time: Writing about putting things right
Dying Matters’ new competition, While There’s Still Time, is aimed at generating shared experiences that will help more people set about putting things right, planning their future and getting the best from the rest of their life.
According to to the organisation, reading about other people’s setbacks, sadness and happiness helps us cope with our own ups and downs, and writing about experiences too painful to talk about can in itself generate a wonderful sense relief and release.
Anyone touched by regret or reconciliation – the outcome, for example, of a family rift, professional row, absence of a will or of someone’s failure to make their wishes known – is urged to submit their story.
The judges will be looking for original prose or poetry in which the author’s feelings and thoughts have been well crafted into a piece of work that attracts the reader’s attention and retains their interest.
Entries must be received by midnight on 30 June 2014. Further details on the competition and how to enter can be found on the Dying Matters website.
Final Chapters, published by Jessica Kingsley, is available to buy from www.jkp.com and all good bookshops. The National Council for Palliative Care, which leads the Dying Matters Coalition, will receive any royalties from the sale of the book.