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Dear Globe and Mail reader,

Lives Lived celebrates the everyday, extraordinary, unheralded lives of Canadians who have recently passed.

Writing a Lives Lived essay about a family member or a close friend who has died is an emotional experience, but it can be very satisfying.

You share the story of the person as you knew them, and create a lasting record of who they really were, beyond their CV.

A Lives Lived essay is a short, biographical feature story that makes readers feel they too have gotten to know the person a little, perhaps over a drink or two.

Unlike a formal obituary, which stresses external achievements, a Lives Lived essay paints an intimate portrait of a person, complete with light and shadows. It doesn’t shy away from foibles and weaknesses, but includes them in the context of strengths and lovable qualities. A couple of anecdotes that show us what the subject was like are better than a series of rose-tinted phrases.

The essay should contain a bit of basic information, such as education, marriages, children and career, but it’s even more important to tell us what the person was like.

Here are recent examples of published Lives Lived:

What we need

Lives Lived are often published within six months of the subject’s death. If the material has been published anywhere else, in print or online, it will need to be rewritten for Lives Lived.

At the top of your essay, include an introductory line with four descriptive words about the person, for example “Mother, politician, tennis ace, diary-keeper,” plus the date and place of birth, the date and place of death, and the age and cause of death. The submission should be about 500 words in length.

With your submission, attach a JPEG photograph that clearly shows the subject’s face. A JPEG is best, and the resolution of the photo should be at least 300 dpi. A photo store can convert your snapshots into this format.

Please include a phone number where you can be reached during the day. E-mail your submission and photo to:

What to expect

When you e-mail your submission, you should receive an auto-response confirming receipt. You will be contacted only if your essay is chosen for publication.

Your essay will be edited for stylistic reasons and for length.

The editor may also have questions or need to verify some information, and will contact you with these questions.

There is no payment to the writer when a Lives Lived is selected; neither is there a fee charged for publication, as there is with death notices.

For the full terms and conditions that apply to your contribution, please refer to the User-Generated Content section in our Terms and Conditions.

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