“The End of the Story? Narrative Openness in Life and Death” – Dr. Bill Randall Delivers John McKendy Lecture

November 7, 2019
“The End of the Story? Narrative Openness in Life and Death” – Dr. Bill Randall Delivers John McKendy Lecture


Brian Mulroney Hall, Room 101

Dr. Bill Randall will deliver the John McKendy Memorial Lecture on November 7 at 7pm in Brian Mulroney Hall, Room 101.

“Few topics intrigue us more than Death,” Randall said. “Yet few topics are more taboo - not unlike aging, with which, in many people’s minds, it can seem synonymous. But just as a narrative perspective on aging enables us to envision its more positive potentials in terms of, say, meaning, wisdom, and spirituality, so a narrative perspective can shed a more redemptive light on Death, presumably the final event in “the story” of our lives.”

Drawing on insights from psychology, gerontology, cosmology, theology, and literary theory (e.g., concerning the ambiguous nature of endings in both fiction and autobiography), Dr. Randall will use the concept of Narrative Openness to entertain alternative, and ultimately enticing, ways of storying the so-called end of life.

Bill Randall is Professor of Gerontology at St. Thomas University. A native of rural New Brunswick with degrees from Harvard, Princeton Seminary, and the University of Toronto, he has taught at STU since 1995, after serving as a minister with the United Church of Canada for 11 years. With Gary Kenyon, Elizabeth McKim, and others, both at STU and worldwide, he has played a key role in the development of a unique approach to the study of aging known as Narrative Gerontology. He has over 60 publications on this and related topics, and is author, co-author, or co-editor of 8 books, including The Stories We Are (1995/2014); Reading Our Lives (2008); Storying Later Life (2011); and The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary Life: Tales from the Coffee Shop (2015). His growing interest in resilience and spirituality in later life and the value of “narrative care” in promoting them both is reflected in his most recent book, entitled: In Our Stories Lies Our Strength: Aging, Spirituality, and Narrative (2019).