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It Takes a Lifetime to Become Yourself

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A portrait of Kay Carmicheal witha backdrop of hills
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Kay Carmichael was an influential figure in Scottish politics as a social reformer, peace activist and policy advisor. As a result, It Takes a Lifetime to Become Yourself is a collection of her autobiographical writings. It includes her poems, speeches and articles. Some of these are from her column in New Society magazine in the 1980s. This collection reflects a courageous and unique view on a life, which keenly observes the downtrodden and effected many of the social reforms we now take for granted. Her dying was as controversial as her life. Moreover, her reflections on death are things we need to say and need to hear for ourselves and for our young. As she used to say, ‘we can only honour life through an awareness of death.’

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reviews

‘A true gem of a book, starting from Kay's difficult childhood, right through to her death; autonomous, against the grain, brave and on her terms. A story of righteousness, fighting for the underdog, never backing down when one feels principled about injustice in the world. A wonderful read, heartbreaking and inspiring in equal measure.’

- Amanda-Jane Ward, Scots Law and Assisted Dying researcher

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Kay Carmichael

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about the author
After an impoverished upbringing in Glasgow’s East End, Kay Carmichael became a social worker, university teacher, wife of an MP, a member of the Scottish Office Advisory Committee for setting up Children’s Panels, a peace activist, and more.
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