San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
The evening will feature readings by two young authors of poems or essays on the theme “the last word.” Drinks will be provided on the fabulous terrace with views of the Empire State Building. All attendees will receive a copy of Sarah Murray’s book.
Author and journalist Sarah Murray never gave much thought to what might happen to her remains—until her father died. While he’d always insisted his “organic matter” would have no significance, he surprised the family, leaving detailed arrangements for the disposal of his ashes. His last request prompted Sarah to explore how, across centuries and cultures, our end is commemorated.
Using colorful images from around the world, Sarah’s talk on her book, "Making an Exit: From the Magnificent to the Macabre — How We Dignify the Dead," will introduce the astonishing variety and beauty with which humans celebrate their dead—a spectacular festive cremation in Bali; a chandelier in the Czech Republic made from human bones; a weeping ceremony in Iran; and a Philippine village where the casketed dead are left hanging in caves. As part of her research, she even went to Ghana to commission her own fantasy coffin.
Sarah’s exploration took her on a series of remarkable journeys around the world. But this was a very personal quest: for on her travels, she was also seeking inspiration for her own eventual send-off.
All proceeds from the talk will be donated to Girls Write Now, New York’s first and only writing and mentoring non-profit, which matches underserved teen girls from public high schools with professional women writers. Through mentoring, workshops, readings, and college preparations, girls develop independent voices and explore writing careers.
When & Where
Girls Write Now
Girls Write Now is New York’s first and only organization with a writing and mentoring model for girls. We are a community of professional writers dedicated to providing opportunities for underserved high school girls to develop their independent voices and write their way to a better future. Our girls are 90% high need, 90% girls of color, and 20% immigrant. For 16 years, our program has broken through the barriers of gender, race, and poverty, transforming the lives of nearly 5,000 girls, and sending 100% of our seniors on to college with portfolios, scholarships, and a new sense of confidence. Our girls have won hundreds of Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, published their work in our award-winning anthologies, and performed at readings from Lincoln Center to the White House to The United Nations this fall. Girls Write Now has been distinguished by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities as one of the nation's top after school programs.