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Agony aunt for Saga


Being the only one who...
Katharine Whitehorn Writer
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[Q] Did you have a large response? Again in the book you talk about the personal experience of losing a loved one, called it an amputation at one stage. Did you find that touched a nerve with people? Did people respond to that?

Well, it was... To the book, yes. But much more I wrote about being a widow in The Guardian and in Saga. And to those I had enormous responses. And it was super because people said, oh I was there and I thought I was the only person who felt like this. And that’s so much more this kind of journalism that I do... is people thought they were the only person who, you know, scratched behind their ears at dinner parties, or, you know, took things back out of dirty clothes, or felt like that.

And it cheers them up so much to realise that not at all, it’s quite general, other people feel that way too. And that we’re not monsters or particularly unusual.

A distinguished journalist and renowned author, Katharine Whitehorn (1928-2021) has written for The Spectator and Picture Post. She was the first woman to have her own column in the Observer and was their star columnist for the best part of 40 years. Educated at Newnham College, Cambridge, is recognised as someone who has transformed 20th century women's journalism. She took a keen interest in social welfare issues, was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and was the first woman rector of the University of St Andrews.

Listeners: Bob Bee

Bob Bee is a Scottish documentary maker who has made many films on the Arts and Science for ITV, BBC and Channel Four.

Tags: The Guardian, Saga Magazine

Duration: 44 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2010

Date story went live: 16 February 2011