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Ruby Wax to headline this month’s Good Grief Festival

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With a programme of 30 FREE events, the ‘virtual festival of love and loss’, a collaborative event led by the University of Bristol and supported by charity partner Marie Curie, will explore the universal human experience of grief through panel discussions, conversations and workshops. The festival that started only one year ago has already attracted over 20,000 people to its events.

Over 70 speakers will take part including Julia Samuel MBE (This Too Shall Pass, Grief Works), Robert Macfarlane (The Lost Words, Underland), Sarfraz Manzoor (Blinded by the Light, Newsnight), Kathryn Mannix (With the End in Mind, Listen), Raynor Winn (The Salt Path), Oscar-winning producer Mia Bays, the former Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway, YouTuber Ryan Arey (ScreenCrush) and actress Isaura Barbé-Brown (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald).

Dr Lucy Selman, Founding Director of Good Grief, and Associate Professor in the Palliative and End of Life Research Group and Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol, said: “We are delighted to announce the line-up for our latest festival. Grief affects us all, yet can be really difficult to talk about. Bereaved people are at particular risk of social isolation and loneliness, and that has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic*.

“The Good Grief Festival aims to bring people together to learn about grief and its effects, share experiences and support each other. By bringing grief out into the open we hope we can normalise this universal and yet often devastating experience.”

Talks during the festival include: Ruby Wax in conversation with Julia Samuel; author Robert Macfarlane: The poetry + music of loss; The Superhero’s guide to grief; The secrets + lies we leave behind; The dead parent club; From woods to water: how nature holds us in our darkest times; Fright night: grief in horror; The comfort of the big beyond: grief + spirituality; Dr Kathryn Mannix on how to have life changing conversations.

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There will be a series of short Grief Chats, curated by The Grief Gang host Amber Jeffrey, bringing together two people with a shared experience of grief to tell their stories including: people from the refugee and LGBTQ communities; two people with learning disabilities; two people who are caring for loved ones with dementia; and women who have been through miscarriage.

The festival will also feature a wellbeing area with workshops for those who are going through grief, including breathwork, mindfulness, yoga and sound healing. There will also be a number of death cafes hosted by Memorial Woodlands throughout the weekend.

It’s free to attend all events over the festival weekend. Recordings will also be available to watch on-demand after the festival on The Grief Channel, with closed captioning available. With access to over 150 previous Good Grief events, people can sign up to the Grief Channel for just £20 for one year and doctors and trainees who sign up can request 24 CPD points from the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians.

Good Grief online events are all FREE to attend. To sign up visit the Good Grief Festival website.

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