PAMELA SKJOLSVIK

My writing Life:

Before we begin, let's just get this out of the way. My last name is pronounced like Dr. Scholls with a "vik" on the end. I received my MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College in 2010. My writing has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Witness, Ten Spurs, The Dallas Morning News Death Penalty Blog, The Durango Herald and in the book Silence Kills: Speaking Out and Saving Lives.

Everything I've had published has been about death and/or prison. Don't I sound like a fun person to have at your next event? You can read all about my encounters with death by checking out my first book, Death Becomes Us,  which came out in 2015.

Death Becomes Us:

Woody Allen once said, “I am not afraid of death. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” For most of my life, that was my mantra. Almost everyone with a pulse fears death, but not everyone fears life. With crippling social anxiety, I feared both. But after an accidental call to a funeral home during my mid-life crisis trip to grad school, I reluctantly embarked on a journey to explore professions that dealt with death in order to come to terms with my own mortality. The result of this quirky trip is Death Becomes Us, a humorous memoir about what happens when a middle-aged, anxiety-filled, life-avoider attempts to investigate the last taboo of American culture. What started as an overzealous MFA thesis ended with my discovery that awareness of death, the one thing that collectively scares people the most is also the one thing that helped me to finally live. During my two years of research, I encountered an embalmer afraid of dying, a grieving EMT, an upbeat Hospice counselor, and a hopeful death row inmate. Emotionally I went from grieving at a funeral for my cigarettes to crying over a dead man’s body just minutes after his execution; I went from avoidance and fear to eventual immersion and acceptance. I realized the importance of looking at death to fully realize the finite nature of life.

Blurbs:

"Death is an event we all face, yet few of us confront. Pamela Skjolsvik has done it for us. Part exploration, part meditation, part education, Skjolsvik shows us death in all its poignant faces, from innocent children to death row inmates, and everything in between. This book will grab you from the first sentence, and hold you to the end, and along the way, Skjolsvik teaches us something on practically every page." 
David R. Dow, Cullen Professor, University of Houston Law Center and author of Things I've Learned from Dying

"An evocative and insightful exploration of the neglected reality of death in American Society.Gently humorous and heartfelt." 
Sister Helen Prejean, Author of Dead Man Walking

Topics:

  • Death
  • Death Row
  • Overcoming Social Anxiety

Available For:

  • Weddings. (I'm totally kidding.)
  • Readings
  • Book Groups
  • Facilitator for a Death Cafe 

Author of Death Becomes Us. Contributor to Silence Kills: Speaking Out and Saving Lives