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I Shall Die by Inches: Contemporary Approaches to Death and Dying

LSE Literary Weekend/ Clare Market Review panel discussion

“All but death” wrote Emily Dickinson “can be adjusted”, and yet, the cold fact that bodies must eventually die only serves to hide the reality of death as a contested cultural domain, where competing notions of public and private, tradition and innovation, individual and collective, are played out, and discourses within literature, art, jurisprudence, medicine, religion, and politics all stake their claim to knowledge of the great unknown. This panel discussion brings together leading authors and thinkers to illuminate the social aspects of death and dying in contemporary society, and challenge received ideas of what Rabelais’ called our ‘vast perhaps’.

Will Self graduated from Oxford University in 1982 and began writing fiction, working as a cartoonist for the New Statesman and City Limits, a London listings magazine. Nominated in 1993 as one of Granta magazine's 20 'Best of Young British Novelists 2', his fiction includes three short-story collections: The Quantity Theory of Insanity (1991), winner of the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, Grey Area (1994), and Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys (1998). Cock and Bull (1992) consists of two novellas, and he is also the author of four novels: My Idea of Fun (1993), Great Apes (1997, How the Dead Live (2000) and Dorian (2002), a retelling of Oscar Wilde's classic tale set in late 20th-century Britain.

His non-fiction includes Perfidious Man (2000), described by his publisher as 'an examination of modern masculinity' with photographs by David Gamble, and Sore Sites (2000), a collection of writings about architecture. In addition, he has published two collections of journalism, Junk Mail (1995), and, most recently, Feeding Frenzy (2001), which includes writing from the period 1995-2000. In 2002 he took part in a 'reality art' project in a one-bedroom flat on the 20th floor of a tower block in Liverpool, writing a short piece of fiction while being watched by members of the public. The event was sponsored by Liverpool Housing Action Trust to mark the passing of high-rise housing in the city. His most recent novel is The Butt (2008), winner of the 2008 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize.

A regular broadcaster on television and radio and contributor to and numerous newspapers and magazines, Will Self lives in London with his partner and three children. A book of non-fiction, Psychogeography, was published in 2007, and a selected short stories, The Undivided Self, in 2008.

This event is part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Weekend, the LSE's first ever Literary Festival, celebrating the completion of the New Academic Building.
Ticket Information


Mr Will Self | talks | www
other speakers tbc | talks


Date and Time:

1 March 2009 at 11:30 am


1 hour 30 minutes



Sheikh Zayed Theatre, London School of Economics
New Academic Building
Lincoln's Inn Fields

Show map

Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
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Available from:

This event is free and open to all, but a ticket is required. One ticket per person may be requested from 2pm on Tuesday 17 February.

Members of the public can request one ticket via the online ticket request form which will be live on www.lse.ac.uk/events from 10.00am on Tuesday 17 February.

Additional Information:

For more information, visit www.lse.ac.uk/collections/spaceForThought/literaryWeekend.

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