Join us for a virtual conversation on Women & Children First’s Crowdcast Channel celebrating the release of All the Living and the Dead: From Embalmers to Executioners, an Exploration of the People Who Have Made Death Their Life’s Work by Hayley Campbell. For this event, Campbell will be in conversation with Riva Lehrer.
A deeply compelling exploration of the death industry and the people—morticians, detectives, crime scene cleaners, embalmers, executioners—who work in it and what led them there.
We are surrounded by death. It is in our news, our nursery rhymes, our true-crime podcasts. Yet from a young age, we are told that death is something to be feared. How are we supposed to know what we’re so afraid of, when we are never given the chance to look?
Fueled by a childhood fascination with death, journalist Hayley Campbell searches for answers in the people who make a living by working with the dead. Along the way, she encounters mass fatality investigators, embalmers, and a former executioner who is responsible for ending sixty-two lives. She meets gravediggers who have already dug their own graves, visits a cryonics facility in Michigan, goes for late-night Chinese with a homicide detective, and questions a man whose job it is to make crime scenes disappear.
Through Campbell’s incisive and candid interviews with these people who see death every day, she asks: Why would someone choose this kind of life? Does it change you as a person? And are we missing something vital by letting death remain hidden? A dazzling work of cultural criticism, All the Living and the Dead weaves together reportage with memoir, history, and philosophy, to offer readers a fascinating look into the psychology of Western death.
Hayley Campbell is an author, broadcaster and journalist. Her work has appeared in WIRED, The Guardian, New Statesman, Empire, GQ, and more. She lives in London with her cat, Ned.
Riva Lehrer is an artist, writer, and curator who focuses on the socially challenged body. Recipient of multiple awards for her visual work, Lehrer is best known for representations of people whose physical embodiment, sexuality, or gender identity have long been stigmatized. Lehrer’s memoir, Golem Girl, (One World/ Penguin Random House) won the 2020 Barbellion Prize for Literature and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is represented by Regal Hoffman & Associates, NYC, and by Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago.
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Image Description: A dark gray colored banner with a faint pattern of open books. The banner features a small cover image for ALL THE LIVING AND THE DEAD centered between two photographs: the left photograph is author Hayley Campbell and the right photograph is conversation partner, author and artist Riva Lehrer. The text reads: “Women & Children First presents a virtual event for ALL THE LIVING AND THE DEAD by Hayley Campbell in conversation with Riva Lehrer, Monday, October 3 at 3 p.m. CST on Crowdcast.
**All of our virtual events are recorded and viewable anytime on Women & Children First’s Crowdcast Channel. The recordings are later uploaded with closed captioning to our YouTube Channel within a week or two of the event. **