Emilia Clarke has shared the book that helped her cope with grief

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Hollie Richardson
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Emilia Clarke

Emilia Clarke has opened up about the book she read through lockdown to help her cope with grief and see death from a new perspective.

Grief is something that everybody has to navigate, and yet nobody is ever prepared for it

There is no right or wrong away to grieve – it’s something that everybody has a unique way of dealing with – but there are steps a person can take to ensure self-care

Reading can bring great comfort during any difficult time, which is why anyone who is grieving might want to know the book that helped Emilia Clarke to cope with grief.

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Clarke appears on Emilia Clarke: The Book That Changed Me for BBC Sounds. 

The book she focuses on is Why Didn’t You Just Do What You Were Told? by the late essayist and novelist Jenny Diski (who was also a Game Of Thrones fan).

Explaining how it helped her in lockdown, she says: “I normally live in bookshops and I read all the time. I am unhappy if I’m not in the middle of a book.”

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She adds: “Without being able to walk into a bookshop I signed up to a book subscription service, so every month I get delivered a book and I get very excited that I don’t know what it is. And this was one of them…

“I was so absorbed by her writing it was unreal.”

Published posthumously last year, the collection comprises 33 of Diski’s best essays – selected by Mary-Kay Wilmers, former editor of The London Review of Books.

Why Didn't You Just Do What You Were Told? by the late essayist and novelist Jenny Diski.
Why Didn't You Just Do What You Were Told? by the late essayist and novelist Jenny Diski.

Explaining how Diski’s essays helped her cope with the death of her father, Clarke says: “Subjects like death, she treats with such tenderness but also such comedy. The way that she writes about it, it makes you feel OK.

“I know it sounds silly but I lost my dad four years ago and it still feels like it was yesterday. And since his death I think about death a lot and I consider his a lot. 

“And so to read her take on it was just really tonic for the soul.”

You can listen to the full interview with Clarke on The Cultural Frontline via BCC Sounds.

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Images: Getty, Bloomsbury


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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…