Former bishop's 'exploration of death' to Canongate

Former bishop's 'exploration of death' to Canongate

Canongate is to publish The Last Bus, the new non-fiction book by Richard Holloway, the former Bishop of Edinburgh and author of Leaving Alexandria and Looking in the Distance.

Canongate Books acquired world rights to the title which will be edited by the recently joined editorial director Simon Thorogood.

The Last Bus is Holloway’s "positive, meditative and profound exploration" of "humanity’s biggest unsolved mystery": death. Holloway has spent a lifetime at the bedsides of the dying, guiding countless men and women towards peaceful deaths: forgiving themselves and others, reflecting on their failings and the limitations of their bodies as they falter. But The Last Bus is also an invitation to reacquaint ourselves with death, as Holloway interrogates modern society’s increasing determination to fight death off, or even overcome it altogether. "The Last Bus is not simply a fearless confrontation of the force we fear the most, but a profound, moving and strikingly original reconciliation with it", the publisher said.

Richard Holloway was Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. A former Gresham Professor of Divinity and Chairman of the Joint Board of the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen, he is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Leaving Alexandria won the PEN/Ackerley Prize 2013 and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2013. The Last Bus originated as a five-part series on Radio 4 in 2016.

Holloway says: "Next to God, Death is humanity's biggest unsolved mystery. I am in my ninth decade, and I’m waiting for the last bus – what I call death. But I don’t fear its arrival (though neither am I anxious for it to pull up at my door). Death gives us plenty to think about, and The Last Bus is my reflection on the subject – I hope it will encourage people to face the bus as it comes towards them and see death as a chance for reflection and reconciliation, rather than something to be feared and shunned."

Thorogood said: "Richard is a writer who is wise, both intellectually and emotionally, and I can’t think of anyone better to be our guide into this subject. This is a book about finding meaning in our life, even as we contemplate its end."

Canongate acquired the deal with Caroline Dawnay at United Agents, and will publish in March 2018.