Life Writing & Death: Dialogues of the Dead

Cytoarchitecture: Digital Dismembering and Remembering in Cyberspace


  • Emma Newport University of Sussex



life writing, death, digital, posthuman


Between 2012 and 2017, a contributor to Mumsnet, a popular parenting forum online, began recording a third-person account under the pseudonym IamtheZombie, covering first her divorce and then her experience of cancer. In January 2017, IamtheZombie died. Preserved by MumsnetHQ, the threads form a tissue of posts: a text-culture that explores para-sociality between the living and the dead. Building on existing scholarship on digital life writing, on the afterlives of digital footprints and on recent work in the fields of memory studies, computing and neurobiology, this essay offers a new interdisciplinary framework for describing relationality in life writing on illness, dying and death: cytoarchitecture.

Author Biography

Emma Newport, University of Sussex

Emma newport is a lecturer at the University of Sussex. As a member of the Centre for Life History and Life Writing research, Emma has published a chapter on ‘Brief encounters: Curating GIFs, Memes and Social Media for Short Story lifeWriting’ in New and Experimental Approaches to Writing Lives, edited by Jo Parnell (2019). Emma is the founder and director of Sussex Writes, a programme that uses life writing and creative writing to build communities amongst the university, school students and local citizens. E-mail:





Life Writing & Death: Dialogues of the Dead