Little Book of Humanist Funerals out now!

8 June, 2023

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The Little Book of Humanist Funerals, by Humanists UK Vice President Alice Roberts and Chief Executive Andrew Copson, is out today.

Including quotes and meditations from some of history’s greatest thinkers, and stories from Humanists UK celebrants, The Little Book of Humanist Funerals invites us to begin thinking about mortality, death, dying, and grief. It quotes everyone from Shakespeare to Stephen Fry, Nelson Mandela to Zora Neale Hurston, and Marie Curie to Marcus Aurelius.

Speaking at a recent launch event, Alice Roberts described the book as ‘a lovely companion to the original Little Book of Humanism which was published in 2020 and instantly became a Sunday Times bestseller. She said:

‘I hope this special little book isn’t just picked up by those organising a humanist funeral – although 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.’

Humanist funerals, which are non-religious and focus on celebrating the life and legacy of those who have died, have become increasingly popular in recent years. A 2016 YouGov survey suggested that one in seven people in the UK now want to have a humanist funeral when they die. Since 1896, Humanists UK celebrants have worked with families who have lost their loved ones to carry out bespoke ceremonies for non-religious people. The Little Book of Humanist Funerals encapsulates the essence of these ceremonies which have become well-loved for their warmth and inclusive nature.

You can buy your copy today!

The book can be purchased with a 10% discount when buying online at Waterstones using the code ‘HUMAN’ (available until 21 June 2023). It can also be ordered from Amazon, Blackwell’s, Hive, and all good bookshops at £12.99 RRP. It is published by Piatkus Books, an imprint of Little, Brown. All author royalties from the book go towards supporting the work of Humanists UK.

Co author, Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson, said:

‘The book isn’t a “how-to” guide to arranging a funeral but an all-in-one book that will help readers begin to reflect on their own thoughts on death, dying, and grief – questions we so often put on hold! I hope it brings comfort to readers and inspires them to think about death in a way that shapes their lives for the better.’

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 Buried: An alternative history of the first millennium in Britain, 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 Funerals and 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 Digging for Britain, Britain’s Most Historic Towns, Britain’s Biggest Dig, and Fortress Britain. 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, The Little Book of Humanist Funerals, and The Little Book of Humanist Weddings with Alice Roberts; Secularism: A Very Short Introduction; The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Humanism with A C Grayling; and Understanding Humanism with Richard Norman and Luke Donellan. 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 Treasurer of the Religious Education Council and is on the steering group of the UK Freedom of Religion or Belief Forum.


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

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 110,000 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.

A special launch event for the book took place in May with authors Alice Roberts and  Andrew Copson with a panel made up of Humanists UK celebrants Zena Birch (who was one of the book’s principal contributors) and Blake Hutchings, and Humanists UK’s Director of Ceremonies Deborah Hooper.

Information on finding and booking a Humanist Ceremonies celebrant can be found on our website.

For more information on the origins of humanist ceremonies, as pioneered by Humanists UK members in the 1890s, see the Humanist Heritage website.