UNH Writers Series Welcomes Marilyn Johnson Oct. 24
By Lori Wright, Media Relations
October 24, 2007
The English Department Writers Series presents a reading by Marilyn Johnson,
author of “The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse
Pleasures of Obituaries,” Wednesday, Oct. 24, at 6:30 p.m. in Hamilton
Smith, Room 127. This reading is free and open to the public.
Johnson wrote “The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse
Pleasures of Obituaries” after writing obituaries for Katharine Hepburn,
Princess Diana, Jackie Onassis, Johnny Cash, Bob Hope, and Marlon Brando for
Life and other magazines. She has been a staff writer for Life and an editor
The Dead Beat is the story of how stories get told in the obituary pages.
Johnson sought out the best obits in the English language and interviewed the
people who spent their lives writing about the dead to reveal the cult and
culture behind the obituary page. The result is a rare combination of scrapbook
and compelling read, a trip through recent history and the unusual lives we
don’t quite appreciate until they’re gone.
From The Dead Beat:
The New York Times comes each morning and never fails to deliver news of the
important dead. Every day is new; every day is fraught with significance. I
arrange my cup of tea, prop up my slippers. Obituaries are history as it is
happening. Whose time am I living in? Was he a success or a failure, lucky
or doomed, older than I am or younger? Did she know how to live? I shake out
the pages. Tell me the secret of a good life!’
Johnson lives in Briarcliff, New York, and is working on a book about librarians
and archivists in the digital age.
For more information on the English Department Writers Series go to http://www.unh.edu/english/index.cfm?id=08E8ECFF-EB2E-E5C4-E4A9423FF73FA5E5.