From Tim Whiting, Publishing Director (Non Fiction):
Little, Brown today publishes Philip Gould's memoir When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone.
Philip was one of the key architects of New Labour and a figure of huge importance in British politics — his work on election strategy was admired by all political parties. He was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in 2008. Last summer, his account of his diagnosis and treatment, taken from his cancer diaries, was published across a week in The Times newspaper, provoking a huge public response of sympathy and engagement. Only last September, Philip had published a vastly updated edition of his political book The Unfinished Revolution.
While giving media interviews for that book, having very recently been given only three months to live, he began to talk candidly about his attitude towards his death. The interviews he did with Andrew Marr (BBC TV) and Simon Hattenstone (Guardian) in particular caught the imagination of many and a huge number of letters, tweets and emails followed. Philip’s heartbreaking honesty affected everyone, leaving them inspired, moved and often grateful.
By then Philip had already begun to think of writing a longer piece about the experience of dying and he started talking about a book, which we then commissioned at the end of October. It was a book that he was absolutely passionate about to the extent that he was still dictating material for it hours before he died, when he was physically far too weak to write or type anymore.
When I Die has been edited by Keith Blackmore, deputy editor of The Times, who has combined material from the cancer diaries with Philip’s subsequent writing and interviews he gave last year to provide a continuous narrative in Philip’s own words. There are also short pieces by members of Philip’s family, including Gail Rebuck, CEO of Random House.
Only weeks before Philip’s death, he made an incredibly powerful short film, which is being shown tonight on The One Show. You can watch it below:
When I Die is a special book by an extraordinarily brave and widely loved and respected man. I don’t think it would be possible for anyone to read it and not feel humbled, moved and above all inspired.
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