About the author

Mandy Ord

About the book

Judges' report

When One Person Dies the Whole World is Over is an elegantly complex book of illustrated non-fiction in the form of a page-to-a-day diary of one year in the author’s life. In lush black monochrome, Ord takes us through a memoir that incorporates the humdrum of daily life, interactions with partner and pets, and the joy and drudgery of workplaces. Relations with extended family are portrayed lovingly, and Ord never swerves away from the difficulties of life’s many small and large peculiarities and how they can make a person feel.

Ultimately, Ord has much to say, not least about ageing and loss—and her downbeat tone is a delicious rejoinder to the cacophony of glossy words and images we are presented with on a daily basis. Perhaps her most pressing thoughts concern art and how it works within a life, and why it is vitally important. Evident in the balance she manages to preserve in this chronicle is an admirable equilibrium showing the crucial elements that make up a rich life. This is a sweet, soulful book with immense appeal.

Further reading


‘Ord-inary concerns revisited’, by  Cefn Ridout in Books | The Australian.

‘A record of a year of a life, When One Person Dies The Whole World Is Over is an attempt to pin down time, to capture the most beautiful and fleeting moments that we tend to rush past.’ Brow Books, The Lifted Brow.


Read “Nothing is Ambiguous”: Mandy Ord In Conversation with Ben Hutchings, The Lifted Brow.

Listen to Literary Canon Ball‘s podcast review of When One Person Dies the Whole World is Over.

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