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Clare Mackintosh, James McConnel, Osman Yousefzada and Lizzie Pickering

Celebration Day

Hay Festival 2023, 

Celebration Day on 28 May is an initiative to put aside one day a year to celebrate people we’ve lost and have loved or have had a huge impact on our lives. To talk about why we need new ways of talking about death and grief, our panel discuss their experience of loss.

In 2006, Mackintosh and her husband took the difficult decision to remove life support from their critically ill son and her novel After the End explores this situation through the filter of fiction. Her memoir I Promise it Won’t Always Hurt Like This: 18 Assurances on Grief will be published in 2024. James McConnel is a musician, composer and performer, part of the Kit & McConnel cabaret act, and author of Life Interrupted, about growing up in the shadow of the death of his sister. His cabaret partner Kit Hesketh-Harvey recently passed, and he lost his 18-year-old son to heroin. Yousefzada is a writer, artist and designer who recently published a memoir, The Go-Between. He is also working on a series of poems and a new book about grief following the death of his mother a year ago. Pickering is a speaker and grief investigator who lost her eldest son Harry in 2000. She is author of When Grief Equals Love.

Clare Mackintosh, James McConnel, Osman Yousefzada and Lizzie Pickering