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It's never been a better time to die

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 24 July 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:232
  1. Tim Bullamore, freelance obituary writer (

    A look at the changing art of obituary writing

    For people hoping for posthumous recognition, there has never been a better time to die.

    For a start it's summertime, the season when obituary copy traditionally runs dry. More importantly, obituaries are enjoying the type of popularity once reserved for England's cricketers, the London broad-sheets are devoting more space to recognising the recently departed, and there is even an International Association of Obituarists, which holds an annual conference to explore developments in the field.

    You may think this is taking the business of dying a bit too seriously. But the world, it seems, is full of secret obituary readers who are gradually coming out of their closets. Mention at any dinner party that you are an obituary writer and someone always admits to turning to the obituary page first. And they are, er, dying for more.

    It's not just the dry bones (excuse the pun) of a life lived that …

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