Minimalist Mortality: Durham Book Festival event will explore what people should do with dead relatives’ possessions

What people do with their dead relatives’ possessions and how cluttered their own lives can become are both topics under discussion at a prestigious book festival this weekend.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 5:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th October 2019, 5:45 pm
Proefessor Douglas Davies.

The event, entltled Minimalist Mortality, is part of this year’s Durham Book Festival and takes place at Durham Town Hall on Saturday.

Professor Durham Davies, the director of Durham University’s Centre for Death and Life Studies and the author of A Brief History of Death, is among the speakers.

He will be joined by Professor Hilary Grainger, a leading scholar on British crematorium design, and author and activist James Wallman, whose Stuffocation book reveals the world’s growing sense of ‘stuffocation’ and how people can move away from it.

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The event is billed as perfect for fans of Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying and Margareta Magnusson’s popular The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.

Professor Davies said: “It’s fascinating to think that some people love simplicity in their lifestyle and others love clutter.

“This three-way discussion will not only think about what we do with our dead relatives’ possessions – do we keep or get rid of them? - but also about how we choose to live ourselves, whether with a minimum of things or surrounded by stuff – leading to what one of the speakers calls ‘stuffocation’.

“There is much emotion, grief, fond memories, and good resolutions tied up in all of these experiences.”

The talk takes place from 10.30am-11.30am on Saturday, October 12, with tickets costing £7-£8 available from 03000 266600 or by visiting