Sophie Pierce is a writer and broadcaster who worked as a reporter and producer for the BBC for over twenty years. In 2017 her 20 year old son Felix died suddenly and unexpectedly. Her memoir The Green Hill: letters to a son explores how she responded to this devastating loss, navigating the weather and tides of grief. In the surroundings of Dartmoor and the South Devon coast she finds ways to continue the bond with Felix, both in her mind and with physical activity; actively mourning, rather than grieving. The book celebrates the natural landscape and the role it plays in our lives and relationships, as well as looking at how we think about our own mortality. The Green Hill, Felix’s burial place by the River Dart, comes to symbolise the issues that become important in the journey of grief: nature, beauty, a sense of place, and the passing of the seasons.  The book shows how Sophie finds ways to continue the bond and recreate her relationship with Felix, both in her mind and with physical activity: pen on paper, needle on the fabric of the clothes he wore, and swimming and walking. She learns to focus on the landscape around her, the plants and trees, the rivers of Dartmoor and the sea off the South Devon coast, to somehow ‘be’ with him again.

On Friday July 2 Sophie was be in conversation with Richard Povall as part of’s First Friday series. Also joining the session was Annabel Pettigrew who is convening a research group of artist called ‘Throes of Grief’. You can watch the session below.

[image above: Frankie Mills]

Cover Design: Dan Bolt