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We read to know we are not alone.”

William Nicholson


Most of us are ill-prepared to face what lies ahead. In a death-denying society, how do we ready ourselves for our human fate? How do we prepare for the end of our lives?

The 100% Certainty Project is an initiative sponsored by the Division of Palliative Care at McMaster University in partnership with Epic Books, PX Dermody Funeral Homes, Hamilton Public Library and C. Elizabeth Dougherty Consulting.

The project rests on the work of sociologist Dr. Allan Kellehear. He advocates that issues of death, dying, grief and bereavement need to be “reclaimed” by the community — by private citizens who are accustomed to end-of-life care being provided by our health care system. His argument is that we need to develop what he calls compassionate communities where citizens are well supported at end-of-life by families, friends, neighbours, social agencies and volunteers. 

To this end, The 100% Certainty Project uses books to spark dialogue amongst citizens with the hope that grassroots efforts begin to build the social fabric we all will need at end-of-life. The project attempts to de-medicalize the experience of death and dying, and engage community agencies and activists. We encourage the public to read and talk about books — books with themes of death, dying, bereavement and loss. By facilitating conversations at dining room tables, in coffee shops and on street corners across Greater Hamilton and beyond, this reading initiative aims to increase public awareness about death and dying, and lessen society’s discomfort facing death

Our community partners hold a number of book club discussions, public education sessions and other events throughout the year as part of the project. Check out our Events section for more information.

The Division of Palliative Care at McMaster University is delighted to have relationships with community partners who are leading the way forward to a more compassionate approach to end-of-life.

Please join us in this initiative by reading and talking about this year’s book selections

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