Next Wednesday evening, 2 July, writer, journalist and political activist Mike Marqusee will give a talk on the politics of cancer and how it relates to NHS cuts and privatisation, at Housmans bookshop in London. The event will mark the publication of his new book, The Price of Experience: Writings on Living With Cancer.
Marqusee will be joined at the meeting by Wendy Savage of Keep Our NHS Public and Hilary Wainwright of Red Pepper magazine. There will be time for questions, comments and discussion. Refreshments will be available.
Marqusee was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, in the summer of 2007. At first, disinclined to share his misery with others, he was reluctant to write about his illness. But he then came to realize that doing so provided a precious continuity with his life as a writer before contracting the disease. Writing allowed him to address what he saw as a variety of insidious platitudes that surround cancer, often connected to the individualistic idea that the sufferer must be brave in battling the disease, with the inevitable corollary that those who succumb have, in some measure, brought it on themselves.
The book places the experience of having cancer in its political context, describing the struggles occurring in St Bart’s hospital, and the crisis in the NHS more generally, at a time of harrowing cutbacks. Big Pharma, whose drugs keep Marqusee alive but are sold to the NHS at prices reflecting the power and greed of a ruthless extortionist, is the subject for particularly astringent scrutiny.
These issues and more will be explored at the event.
Wednesday 2 July, 7-9pm, Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DX.
£3 entrance, redeemable against any purchase of the book, which will be available to buy at the event.
Read an exclusive extact from the new book here.