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Listen to Slate’s interview with prolific obituary writer Margalit Fox

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Margalit Fox wrote over 1,400 obits in her 24-year tenure on the New York Times’s obituary desk. In the interview, she jokes that while obits are often referred to as “the last word,” they really ought to be “the first,” as they’re the first record of a life lived. The conversation covers how to truthfully write about public lives, particularly ones lived by unsavory people, and how to broach the subject of mortality with folks who are very much still living.

In the current moment, marked by so much suffering and death, I was almost hesitant to listen to this episode. But I appreciated this insight into an often-overlooked newspaper section, and the care Fox articulates about the importance of documenting lives’ lived. —Kady Ruth Ashcraft

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