University of Rochester

EVENT: Neilly Series lecture by Katherine Ashenburg, author of The Mourner's Dance: What We Do When People Die, on mourning practices in North America

TIME, DATE, AND PLACE: 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, in the Welles-Brown Room of Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester's River Campus

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public

January 31, 2005

Katherine Ashenburg, a Canadian writer and author of The Mourner's Dance: What We Do When People Die, will reveal the ceremonies of modern mourning in North America when she speaks at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, at the University of Rochester.

The idea for the book grew from the sudden death of her daughter's fiancÚ and watching the young woman unconsciously re-create traditional rituals of mourning. Ashenburg's research uncovered customs, artifacts, and their connections with people's basic beliefs about dying. Her talk in the Welles-Brown Room of Rush Rhees Library on the University's River Campus is free and open to the public.

A writer with a doctorate in English literature, Ashenburg has authored many articles and columns from travel and design topics to architectural tours of Southern Ontario towns. The Mourner's Dance was first published in Canada in 2002 and later in the United States. She lives in Toronto, and is a regular contributor to Toronto Life magazine and the New York Times travel section.

Ashenburg will be introduced by Bonnie Rubenstein, associate professor at the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the University and director of counseling for the Rochester City School District. Rubenstein has studied how death affects children and is a contributor to Prayers of Memory: A Journal about Grief and Loss.

The Mourner's Dance (North Point Press, $24 hardcover) has been praised by critics as a "compassionate and compelling . . . exploration of the many different paths that we take when we make the unavoidable journey through the territory of grief." Ashenburg's lecture is part of the yearlong Neilly Series, which is supported by the Andrew H. Neilly and Janet Dayton Neilly Endowment, and the River Campus Libraries.

For more information, contact the library at (585) 275-4461.