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Libby Purves Publishes Son’s Writings

25th July 2012

Nicholas Heiney, son of Radio 4 broadcaster Libby Purves, killed himself at the age of 23, leaving behind a collection of 35,000 words published by his parents to share their son's legacy and talent with the world.

Heiney battled depression until he could no longer fight, and then his mother found his diaries and crumpled papers full of poems, sea logs (he had sailed across the Atlantic and Pacific before he was 20) and a bracing polemic (against the literary criticism industry).

Purves transcribed his writings on to her computer and disciplined herself not to change anything, not even to add an extra comma.

Purves and her husband Paul Heiney - a TV journalist and writer - eventually decided to publish his writings themselves. They were wary of commercial publisher changing the message of their son’s writing.

The book is called The Silence at the Song's End, a line from one of Heiney's poems.

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