The Dead Parent Club with Julia Samuel

‘Any young man or woman who has a parent who dies, that injury is always there. It’s not about fixing it because you can’t fix it. It’s about finding a way of accommodating it, finding a way of living that is meaningful and daring to love and trust again.’
– Julia Samuel, MBE.

We are so excited to have Julia Samuel (This Too Shall Pass and GriefWorks) host this edition of the Dead Parent Club, featuring special guests united by one thing: the loss of a parent. Julia will be joined by…

Sarfraz Manzoor is a journalist, documentary-maker, and broadcaster. He is a regular contributor to the Guardian, presenter of documentaries on BBC Radio 4, and a cultural commentator for programmes such as Newsnight Review and Saturday Review. He is the author of a memoir, Greetings From Bury Park, which has been adapted for film by Gurinder Chadha and will be released in 2019 as Blinded by the Light.

Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? is Séamas O’Reilly moving and very funny memoir about growing up in rural Derry in the 1990s as one of eleven siblings after their mother passed away examines grief with the perfect blend of pathos and wit, paying tribute to the reticent but loving father who ushered them to adulthood.

In Will This House Last Forever? Xanthi Barker explores her relationship with her father, who died when she was in her mid-20s, and the experience of grieving for an “eccentric, charismatic” man who was absent for most of her life. The memoir records her sense of unreality in the aftermath of her father’s death and the experience of growing up in the shadow of a larger-than-life and contradictory figure who put poetry first.

The panel delves deep into what it means to lose a parent, how this grief is processed at different stages of life, and how it’s possible to find meaning or even to turn the loss into something positive that drives you forward.


Julia Samuel MBE

Sarfraz Manzoor

Séamas O’Reilly

Xanthi Barker