Doug MacLeod has a background in TV comedy writing and indeed, is a funny, funny man. He doesn't believe in life after death as such, and he would like to believe in ghosts but doesn't. Doug has a dark sense of humour, which he ascribed to his father being ill with cancer while he was a teenager, and that black humour helped through a difficult time, something I certainly understand.
Doug did a wonderful reading from The Life of a Teenage Bodynsatcher (a CBCA Honour Book for Older Readers in 2011). He described the mother as a steal from Oscar Wilde's Lady Bracknell, unburdened by reality, and under the effect of laudanum. It was hysterical.
Scot Gardner is not obsessed by death, but his most recent book, The Dead I Know, winner of the CBCA 2012 Book of the Year for Older Readers, is about a "goth kid working in a funeral parlour". Scot's godparents run a funeral parlour, so he had easy access to work experience. Scot based his central character on an African war survivor who had lost his entire family, and he had marveled at that young man's resilience.
He spoke about the experience of death and grieving. That death is guaranteed for all of us. That it can be a lovely thing when it's the full stop at the end to a long and joyful life. Scot felt that there was more elegance in the way people are dealt with in a funeral home than fiction allows.
Scot also read from his book. And he also showed an extraordinary slideshow about the death of a rather large cow called Tiny on his family property. It was wonderful.