Author Joe Hammond dies, aged 50

Author Joe Hammond dies, aged 50

Joe Hammond, author of A Short History of Falling, has died at the age of 50.

Hammond, who had motor neurone disease, died peacefully at home on 30th November, his publisher 4th Estate said.

In 2018, Hammond wrote a piece for the Guardian about the 33 birthday cards he was writing for his two sons. It was shared by thousands and his memoir A Short History of Falling: Everything I Observed About Love Whilst Dying, published on 5th September 2019, told the story behind that piece. 

The book chronicled his experience of saying goodbye to his body and his family, and the process of him living with, and dying from, the disease. 

Associate publisher for 4th Estate and William Collins, Helen Garnons-Williams, said: “Joe Hammond was a remarkable person, and it is our great honour – and pleasure – to have been his publisher. His memoir is a lasting legacy: a book of consolation, wisdom, and – most astonishingly – wonder. Above all, it’s a celebration of love. Joe was hugely loved, and will be hugely missed.”

Will Francis, agent at Janklow & Nesbit, added: “Joe’s mind only seemed to become sharper as his disease progressed. He finished writing another extraordinary piece - a dispatch from the very end of life - just a few days ago. I hope Gill, Tom and Jimmy will draw comfort from the book he left, which is full of both his wit and his love for them. He was a deeply original writer who used his own mortality as a lens, to see familiar things anew.”

A writer and playwright, Hammond took part in the Royal Court Studio Writers’ Group in 2012, having previously been mentored by the theatre and BBC. His debut London production “Where the Mangrove Grows”played at Theatre503 in 2012 and was later published by Bloomsbury.  

Hammond is survived by his wife Gill, and two sons Tom and Jimmy, aged seven and three.