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Why a memoir by a woman dying of cancer will teach you how to live

One woman’s experience of terminal cancer, and how it will change your life

by 

Kate Gross

We were desperately sad to hear the news that Africa Governance Initiative CEO Kate Gross died on Christmas Day, just before her twin boys opened their stockings. At only 36, Kate had fitted a huge amount into what turned out to be a short life, including a blog about her cancer that managed to be less about illness and more about life itself.

We have been passing a tattered advance copy of her book, Late Fragments, around the office for the past few weeks, desperate for everyone to read a memoir that, like her blog, is ostensibly about death but is really about living, about how ‘days are where we live’, as Kate says quoting Philip Larkin.

If you’re new to Kate’s story, you can read her mother’s poignant last post on Kate’s behalf here, and then get your hands on a copy of her magnificent book, out today, which is a Psychologies Book Club choice for 2015. Reading her mother’s post, we are reminded of the Raymond Carver poem referenced in the title of Kate’s book and dearly hope that Kate got what she wanted from this life – to feel herself ‘beloved on the earth’.

Kate Gross’s Late Fragments: Everything I Want to Tell You (About this Magnificent Life) is published by William Collins (£14.99) and out today

Photograph: John Lawrence