Christopher Hitchens. Funeral & Memorial Arrangements
Peter Hitchens, Christopher’s brother, writes for Mail Online:
First may I once again thank the many people who visited this site to express condolences on the death of my late brother, Christopher. I was most moved that so many people crossed the divide of opinion to do so. Second, I felt I should post here two facts that, although they are to be found on the Internet, are still unknown to many. Some people have asked me when and where my brother’s funeral took place. In fact, as Christopher donated his body to medical science, there has not been and will not be any funeral. He took this decision partly because of his religious (or rather non-religious) opinions, and partly because, much influenced by his friend Jessica Mitford and her book ‘The American Way of Death’, he disliked what he regarded as the excesses of the American funeral industry. There are many discussions now taking place about various other forms of commemoration. There will certainly be a memorial gathering in New York City during the Spring, most probably in April. I would expect that, later on, there will also be some sort of event in London. I would hope to be able to post details when these are clear.
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In this historic event, Stephen Fry and other friends of Christopher Hitchens came together to celebrate the life and work of this great writer, iconoclast and debater. Fry was joined on stage at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall by Richard Dawkins and the two discussed Hitch’s unflinching commitment to the truth. Hollywood actor Sean Penn was beamed in from LA by Google+ and, between cigarette puffs, read from Hitch’s acclaimed work, The Trial of Henry Kissinger. Five friends of Hitch spoke via satellite in New York: satirist Christopher Buckley and editor Lewis Lapham mused on Hitch’s prowess as a journalist. ‘Like a pot of gold’, said Lapham. Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and James Fenton delighted the audience with stories of Hitchens as a young man. Rushdie drew roars of laughter when he recounted a word game invented by Amis and Hitchens where the word ‘love’ is replaced with ‘hysterical sex’. Particular favourites included Hysterical Sex in the Time of Cholera and Hysterical Sex Is All You Need.
Watching the event with Hitch at his bedside in Texas, Hitch’s wife Carol and novelist Ian McEwan provided an email commentary. ‘His Rolls Royce mind is still purring beautifully’, typed McEwan.
The event was watched live by 2500 at the venue, and by thousands more in UK cinemas and online.
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