Joél Simone Anthony
My name is Joél Simone Anthony. I am a licensed funeral director and sacred grief practitioner in Atlanta, Georgia. Originally from Beaufort, South Carolina, I was raised in the heart of Gullah and Geechee culture. Spirituality has always been a huge part of my life and professional approach which is deeply rooted in ancient wisdom passed down from community elders, generation to generation. During my decade of service in the funeral service industry, I fashioned my unique background and professional experiences into a caliber and style of care and comfort that guides countless families toward healing through the exploration of alternative practices designed to help you navigate and heal through your journey with grief. ​It is my life’s work to educate everyone –regardless of faith, race, age, or status – that death, dying and grief are sacred and transformative to our journeys as human beings.
Tanya Ball
Tanya Ball (she/her) is a Michif woman currently living in amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton) in Treaty 6 Territory and Métis Region 4. She is a PhD Student at the Faculty of Native Studies where she researches Michif experiences of death and dying and a co-host for masinahikan iskwêwak: the Book Women Podcast, which is a podcast about Indigenous Storytelling.
Mandy Benoualid
Mandy is the co-founder and editor of TalkDeath, and co-host of the #TalkDeath webseries. She is also the founder and President of the online memorial platform, Keeper. Mandy’s work has appeared in national and international publications, she has been a featured presenter at professional funeral and cemetery conferences and was recently featured as an industry innovator by American Funeral Director Magazine. Mandy works part time as a Funeral Director’s Assistant, and plays music in her free time.
Michael Brooke
Michael Brooke was born in Leeds, England and took his first ride on a skateboard in 1975. In 1996 Michael created the SkateGeezer homepage. This led to a book contract and in 1999, The Concrete Wave (the history of skateboarding) was published. It went on to sell over 40,000 copies. In 1999, Michael founded International Longboarder. Three years, he started up Concrete Wave magazine In the spring of 2018, Michael decided to sell his magazine business and venture into a whole other career path. He wound up working as a funeral director’s assistant. In 2021, Michael started up a new business called Time for My Story. He makes memoirs look like magazines. In October of this year Michael, partnered with Shred to bring Concrete Wave back. It is now a monthly documentary series on YouTube. For more information visit
    Megan Carmichael
    Megan thinks and writes about the intersection of death and daily life for her blog,, and other publications. Her background in marketing and wealth management led to working in the deathcare industry after the loss ofher mom in 2017 and dad in 2019. She lives in Ventura, CA with her husband and two young children.
    Jeremy Cohen
    Jeremy Cohen is an Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies Department at McMaster University and received his M.A. in 2016 from Concordia University. His work explores contemporary death rituals, technology & Transhumanism. I am interested in the cultural and history context of Transhumanist ideas, and issues surrounding contemporary death practices.
    Desiree Celeste
    Desiree Celeste in a non-binary Death Companion located in Denver, CO. They began their Death Companionship to uplift and protect trans identities, which has brought them to hosting Queer Grief Gatherings and creating an Introduction to Trans Inclusion webinar. They are educated through The School of American Thanatology and apprenticeship with Narinder Bazen. Instagram: @_desireeceleste_
    Marlene Davila
    Born in the state of Guanajuato, Marlene Melissa Davila is a communications specialist that writes in her free time in different blogs about death and social inequality in Mexico. She also directed a local documentary titled Post Mortem where funerary homes from the city of Leon, Guanajuato share their relationship with death.
      Donelle Dreese
      Donelle Dreese is a writer and Professor of English at Northern Kentucky University where she teaches inclusive and environmental literatures, literature & film, American women poets, and a green burial course for the Honors College. Donelle is the author of several poetry collections, including Sophrosyne (Aldrich Press, 2015) and Organelle (Kelsay Books, 2021). Her poetry and essays have appeared in a wide variety of journals and magazines including Potomac Review, Roanoke Review, About Place Journal, and Women in Higher Education. In her free time, Donelle serves as Vice President of Heritage Acres Memorial Sanctuary, Cincinnati's only dedicated natural burial preserve. She is also the photographer and newsletter editor for Heritage Acres.
      Steacy Easton
      Steacy Easton is a writer, and artist from Edmonton, and now living in Hamilton, Ontario. They have shown visual work in New York, Chicago, Hamilton and Toronto, and is in the collection of the library of the National Gallery of Canada. They have written for Macleans, Pitchfork, Spin, The Atlantic, The Walrus, and a number of other publications.
      Yannick-Robin Eike Mirko
      Yannick-Robin Eike Mirko [they/he] is TalkDeath’s Social Media Manager and a Staff Writer. They are a multi-disciplinary artist and licensed cremator and hospice bereavement counselor. With an educational background built up from Berklee College of Music, The City University of New York, and the Cremation Association of North America, they intend to move the world towards a more fair and impartial future through visual art, writing, dance, music, and other forms of expression and education. Just a polyglot and an internet kid, trying to get people to fear death less and love life more.
      Claire English
      Claire English is currently completing course work in the Judaic Studies stream of the PhD Religion at Concordia University. Her research examines the intersections of Disability and Judaic Studies. Her dissertation research will examine the social and cultural dynamics of Jewish Deaf communities in New York City in the period 1880-1940. Other research interest included sensory and material anthropology, and the history of emotions.
        Shelby Forsythia
        Shelby Forsythia is an Intuitive Grief Guide, author, and podcast host. After the death of her mother in 2013, she became a “student of grief” and set out on a lifetime mission to give voice to the oft-misunderstood experience of loss. Through a combination of practical tools and intuitive guidance, she helps grieving people reclaim their power and peace of mind after death, divorce, diagnosis, and major life transitions. Her work has been featured on Huffington Post, Bustle, and The Oprah Magazine.
        Charlotte Friend
        Charlotte Friend is a Death Doula, Grief Guide, and Patient Advocate in Houston, TX. Her work revolves around encouraging others to form a relationship with their mortality and grief so that these truths become part of the everyday lived experience of communities. Previously a freelance artist and designer, she integrates intangible elements of the psyche into her work and currently offers many services over video call. She once attended a funeral of someone with her exact name and vowed to live a life worthy of an entertaining eulogy. Instagram: @friend.tilltheend
        Alica Forneret
        Alica Forneret is a facilitator, writer, and Grief Guide who creates spaces for people to explore their grief. She is fiercely committed to making sure that we have more conversations about grief, death, and dying - whether that’s at home, at work, or with strangers on the bus. Alica is a member of the BC Women's Health Foundation’s Young Women's Council, an Associate Board Member of Our House Grief Center, and hosts end-of-life events across The United States and Canada. Alica’s written work has been featured on the pages of popular magazines and books, including (but not limited to) GQ, Modern Loss, Grief Dialogues, Vancouver Magazine, and Kinfolk. And her story and voice have been featured in the NY Times, LA Times, Women’s Health, Psychology Today, CTV News, Grief Out Loud, InStyle, and more.
        Rafaela Ferraz
        Rafaela Ferraz is a a writer of short stories, essays, and a variety of articles on strange, slightly macabre, and often overlooked chapters of Portuguese history. She blogs at, conducts research on the collection and display of human remains in Portugal on Patreon, and tweets @RafaelaWrites
        Dr. Kami Fletcher
        Dr. Fletcher is an Associate professor of American & African American History at Albright College. Her newest course entitled “African American Deathways and Deathwork” examines African American norms and ideas surrounding death as well as encourages students to see how death intersects with race, class, gender, religion, region. She is the author of “Real Business: Maryland’s First Black Cemetery Journey’s into the Enterprise of Death, 1807-1920”. She is also the co-author of the forthcoming volume Till Death Do Us Part: American Ethnic Cemeteries as Borders Uncrossed (University Press of Mississippi, March 2020). Currently, Dr. Fletcher is working on two manuscripts: The first, co-authored is First 100 Years of Black Undertaking in Baltimore. The second is a co-edited volume, Southern Cemeteries, Imprints of Southern Culture.
        Sarah Giavanio
        Sarah Giavanio works at Safe Passage Urns, a company dedicated to providing the best information for funeral planning and also selling one-of-a-kind cremation urns to memorialize a loved one. Safe Passage Urns is very mindful of the environmental impact we invoke which is why starting in September of 2018 we will be planting a tree for every single urn sold, to help offset our environmental impact.
        Kristin Gupta
        Kristin Gupta is TalkDeath’s Social Media Manager and a Staff Writer. She is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at Rice University, where she thinks a lot about death, queerness, and technology. Her ongoing research explores normative quantifications of life expectancy and shifting notions of what constitutes a full life among American death doulas. Kristin has also trained as a doula and is committed to reimagining what deathcare can be both inside and outside of academia. In her free time, she plays piano and takes too many pictures of her cat.
          Meg Halstead
          Meg Halstead is currently a Michigan-based MSW student whose background includes graduate coursework in Thanatology and a BSc in Anthropology, with particular focus on medical and forensic anthropology. In their graduate studies, they created and shared a presentation on Aging and Dying While Trans* - a resource aimed to provide education on the unique end-of-life concerns of queer and transgender elders. When not preoccupied with death, they are a reader, writer, and yarn artist.
            Yvonne Heath
            Yvonne Heath is married to her best friend Geordie—a paramedic and all round great guy—and they have three amazing children and are loving life in beautiful Muskoka. She has been a registered nurse since 1988 working in ten different hospitals in the US and Canada in many areas including emergency, intensive care, the delivery room, chemotherapy, palliative care and hospice. Yvonne is the author of Love Your Life to Death, anInspirational Speaker, TV and radio host and social media guru and Founder of the I Just Showed Up movement.
            Robyn S. Lacy
            Robyn S. Lacy is a historical archaeologist and gravestone conservator, based in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. She is currently working on her PhD in archaeology, where her research focuses on 17th-century burial ground development in northeast North America. She co-owns Black Cat Cemetery Preservation with her husband. When not writing about historic graves, Robyn can be found hiking with her husband, playing with their two black cats, or painting.
            Breyane Lepinskie
            With a particular interest in palliative and bereavement care for Queer folks, Brey (she/her) is currently in the final year of her Bachelors of Social Work degree at McMaster University. As a human whose goal is to normalize and honour death, loss and grief in both professional and personal spaces, Brey welcomes any opportunity to weave death positivity into her free-lance illustration projects (@wintercreature).
              Gabrielle Lynch
              Gabrielle Lynch is a writer based in Illinois. Her work focuses on mental health, pop culture, and family. Much of her work has a personal lean. She has written for 14 East Magazine, and her personal essay on her autism experience won a League for Innovation in the Community College award. You can find her at
              Tanya Marsh
              Tanya Marsh primarily teaches Property, Decedents Estates and Trusts, and the only course in a U.S. law school on Funeral and Cemetery Law, and Professional Development. Her scholarship focuses on laws regarding the status, treatment, and disposition of human remains. Marsh is the author of The Law of Human Remains (2015), the first treatise on the subject in more than 50 years, and co-author (with Daniel Gibson) of Cemetery Law: The Common Law of Burying Grounds in the United States (2015). She frequently writes and speaks about issues related to the law of human remains. She also publishes a podcast on the topic called Death, et seq. (
              Ellen Newman
              Ellen Newman is Co-instigator of the Good Green Death Project and a licensed funeral director specializing in green, natural and family-led funeral, burial and end of life care options. She is a graduate (2014) of the Contemplative End of Life Care program at the Institute of Traditional Medicine in Toronto and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Green Burial Society of Canada. Her other work includes hosting/facilitating the Halton Hills Death Café, serving as a member/trainer for the Infant and Pregnancy Loss Doula program of the Home Hospice Association and on the the National Lay Chaplaincy Steering Committee of the Canadian Unitarian Council. She firmly believes that if people do not know what options are available to them, they do not have any. Ellen is committed to working toward change that allows for a more participatory, empowered experience at the end of life.
                Barry O’Connor
                Barry O’Connor is a retired registered nurse with over thirty years’ front-line experience caring for the ill and dying at an acute-care hospital. He is also a published author of short fiction and non-fiction pieces. He is currently completing an honours degree in sociology at McMaster University.
                  Rachel Osolen
                  Rachel Osolen is a Staff Writer at TalkDeath. She is a seasoned writer with publications in poetry, academia, and short stories. She has a BA in English from Dalhousie University and an MLIS from the University of Alberta where her research focused on Digital Archives and Online Memorials; specifically The Hart Island Project. Her current writing and research focuses on Death Positivity, History, Folklore, and Culture.
                  Dana Rutherford
                  Dana Rutherford is a blogger for the nonprofit organization Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence and a survivor of domestic violence. She is currently in her senior year at the University of Florida and will soon have her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. She is a wife, mother, and stepmother, as well as an advocate for domestic violence and mental health.
                    Monica Z. Sage
                    Monica Z. Sage hails from New York and is currently living in Southern California. She has been published in Word Riot Literary Magazine as well as SCBWI’s magazine/blog Kite Tales. Also, a short horror tale she wrote was animated and utilized for an Audible ad campaign. Monica will soon complete a second young adult novel that also addresses death preparedness and grieving. When not penning stories where water, blood, and music congeal, Monica upcycles vintage jewelry and plays her bass guitar.
                      Jill Schock
                      Jill Schock received a Master’s Degree in Ethics and Theology from Vanderbilt University and was trained and certified as a Clinical Chaplain, or Spiritual Counselor. She has 10 years of clinical experience working for various hospitals and hospices as a spiritual (but not religious) multi-faith minister.   Jill is a native to Los Angeles, California.  With a benevolent work ethic, her years of clinical experience and unique personal background, Jill is an exceptional guide to those facing end-of-life. 
                      Rhea Varghese
                      Rhea is a student in the faculty of health sciences at McMaster University. Her interests lie in the social construction of health and disease and understanding beliefs surrounding these processes was a catalyst for exploring topics surrounding death positivity. Rhea also has a sustained interest in maximizing health outcomes specifically in the field of transplantation where her research interests lie.
                        Kristy A Winter
                        Kristy A Winter is a Forensic Anthropologist / Osteoarcheologist. They received their Masters from Queensland University of Technology with the focus on developing equations to assist with the identification of Australian missing persons. Kristy has worked forensics in the humanitarian and human rights sector, and in modern and historical osteoarcheology. She previously presented a TEDx talk and published editorials in Science.

                        Guest Submissions

                        Can I write for TalkDeath?

                        If you are an academic, reporter, freelance writer, death care worker, or just a general weirdo goth with a story to tell, we want to hear from you.

                        We do not publish articles from SEO farms and marketers.* Seriously. Don’t email us.

                        *If you offer products or services in the field of death care, please feel free to contact us.

                        What types of stories are you looking for?

                        We are open to pitches on any number of stories, topics and themes. Some include:

                        • Evidence-based articles around timely issues related to death and dying;
                        • Perspectives and opinions from/about marginalized and underrepresented voices;
                        • “Explainer” articles of historical or cultural significance;
                        • Personal narratives, which would appeal to a wide audience.

                        Here are some examples of guest submissions that showcase the types of articles we might consider:

                        Race & The Funeral Profession: What Jessica Mitford Missed

                        Rainbows in the Cemetery: LGBTQ+ Representation on Gravestones

                        Michif Storytelling: Connecting Us To the Dead

                        Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories and Reopen Protests as Death Denial

                        How do I pitch to TalkDeath?

                        Before pitching an article or submitting a draft, please consider searching our website for similar topics that have been published (we do welcome different perspectives on the same topic!). Note: If your piece gets accepted, the editorial process could involve revising, restructuring, and/or condensing of your draft.

                        1. Submit a pitch in the body of an email. Write a paragraph or two describing a) the topic you’d like to write about and the basic points you want to make; b) any personal or professional experience you have that qualifies you to write about this topic.
                        2. You can send us completed drafts as well. If submitting a draft, please send us an email with a Word file or link to a Google Doc file. See our Submission Guidelines for Writers for more information.

                        Do you pay for submissions?

                        If your article is accepted for publication we’ll discuss specifics with you.

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