‘A lovely companion book to the original Little Book of Humanism’: hundreds turn out for Little Book of Humanist Funerals launch

19 May, 2023

Last night, Humanists UK Vice President Professor Alice Roberts, Chief Executive Andrew Copson, and a special panel spoke to an audience of 300 ticket-holders as part of a special launch event for The Little Book of Humanist Funerals. The book, which is the final instalment of the bestselling Little Book series, will be published on 8 June.

In a wide-ranging, fast-paced, and free-flowing discussion, the authors – joined by Humanists UK celebrants Zena Birch and Blake Hutchings, and its Director of Ceremonies, Deborah Hooper – explored how humanists have developed their own unique approach to questions about life, death, and mortality over thousands of years. The panel discussed everything from what makes a humanist funeral so special to what humanists can offer in the way of hope at the end of a life, and why the book contains so much about the meaning of life more generally.

The Little Book of Humanist Funerals is available at all good bookstores.

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:

‘It was wonderful to share the stage with Alice Roberts for the launch of our latest book, The Little Book of Humanist Funerals – out on 8 June! It was such an inspiring event, with wonderful speakers and an audience whose questions fizzed with enthusiasm.’

Vice President Alice Roberts said:

‘I hope this special little book isn’t just picked up by those organising a humanist funeral (albeit very useful!). There’s so much more in The Little Book of Humanist Funerals about the meaning of life more generally – and mortality and death have to be part of that thinking. It’s a lovely companion book to the original Little Book of Humanism!’

About the book:

The Little Book of Humanist Funerals, published on 8 June, invites readers to begin thinking about mortality, death, dying, and grief. Using quotes, meditations, and stories from Humanists UK celebrants, the book is both comforting and thought-provoking, drawing on the wisdom of some of history’s greatest thinkers to inspire readers to reflect on death and how this can shape their lives for the better. It quotes everyone from Shakespeare to Stephen Fry, Nelson Mandela to Zora Neale Hurston, and Marie Curie to Marcus Aurelius.

Taking readers on a journey from thinking about death to starting to think about the ideas, beliefs, and values that inform a funeral, Alice Roberts and Andrew Copson draw on these moving quotes, as well as the expertise of Humanists UK celebrants, to provide inspiration for organising ceremonies that are memorable and meaningful.

About the authors:

Professor Alice Roberts is a writer, broadcaster, and Vice President of Humanists UK. She is the bestselling author of many popular science books including Ancestors, Evolution: The Human Story, The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being and Tamed: Ten Species that Changed Our World. She is also the co-author of the Sunday Times bestseller The Little Book of Humanism with Andrew Copson as well as The Little Book of Humanist Weddings. Making her television debut on Time Team in 2001, she has become one of Britain’s best-known broadcasters and has written and presented a huge range of television series for BBC2, BBC4 and Channel 4, including The Incredible Human Journey, Origins of Us, and Ice Age Giants, and several Horizon programmes. Her humanist ‘mini-sermons’ on Twitter have been liked and shared many thousands of times.

Andrew Copson is the Chief Executive of Humanists UK and President of Humanists International. His books include the Sunday Times bestseller The Little Book of Humanism and The Little Book of Humanist Weddings with Alice Roberts; Secularism: a very short introduction; and The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Humanism with A C Grayling. His writing on humanist and secularist issues has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, The Times and New Statesman as well as in various journals. He has represented the humanist movement extensively on radio and on television news on BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, as well as on programmes such as Newsnight, The Daily Politics, and The Big Questions. He is a former director of the Religious Education Council, the Values Education Council, and the National Council for Faiths and Beliefs in Further Education.


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Public Affairs Manager Karen Wright at press@humanists.uk or phone 020 3675 0959.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.