A photo of Graham Caveney next to a full image of his new book's front cover

Graham Caveney book launch

‘The Body in the Library: A Memoir of a Diagnosis’

When: Thursday 6 June 6.30pm to 8.30pm
A picture of the book's cover, featuring a drawing of a white swan's head and neck on a black background

Join novelist Jonathan Coe in conversation with Graham Caveney about his new book “The Body in the Library”

“Cancer, tumour, cancer. The words fizzle and dissolve into nothing like aspirin in water. I exist in the third person.”

When Graham Caveney was a child the word ‘cancer’ was unspeakable, only uttered in jokes told by people too frightened to say the word. Now the boy with perpetual nervousness is a fifty-something man, and the oncologist in front of him is saying words evacuated of all meaning: Inoperable. Incurable. In this memoir from one of the great chroniclers of British working-class life, Graham Caveney charts a year of disease from diagnosis to past ‘original sell-by-date’. Shot through with Northerness, tenderness, and Caveney’s trademark humour, The Body in the Library reflects on an unfinished lifetime filled with books and with love. What’s it like to realise that the books on your shelf will remain unread? That the book you are writing will be your last – that you have become your own deadline?

Graham is a former worker at Five Leaves Bookshop. He started writing his first memoir when working there. He previously wrote biography and music and cultural studies journalism. Graham is of British-Irish descent, a lapsed Catholic. He has been sober for about twelve years – an issue he discussed in his first memoir, and an agoraphobic – the subject of his second memoir.