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Darkness and Wonder: Remembering Georgina Henry

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Georgina Henry, a longtime editor at The Guardian, died today at her home in London, two years after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her life and legacy at The Guardian, as a journalist, editor and champion of opening up the conversation to voices that would otherwise go unheard, touched many of us in the media world. From the first moment I met Georgina, even before she had founded The Guardian's Comment Is Free, I felt she was a kindred spirit. We shared a mission, and we were going forward into the same brave new media world, only on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

As I looked back through her work I was struck by a piece of writing quite different from the sort that made her reputation, a travel essay called "Between Darkness and Wonder," about a Norwegian ski vacation she took in 2005 with her husband and two young children. It's brought off with so much warmth and humor that, by the end, you not only know how to plan a lovely ski vacation but feel like you've spent some time with Georgina and her family and would love to know them better.

Georgina sets up a great comic premise: Norway is preposterously dark and cold, and on arriving she wonders if she's made a mistake in bringing her family there to introduce them to skiing, a sport she had been "fanatical" about since she was 6. But things get better, and Georgina lets us in on some lovely moments: her 5-year-old son "tentatively skiing down an uncrowded nursery slope, thrilled at his own boldness," her daughter eventually "deciding she wanted to try what her brother was so enjoying, so I would ski with her between my legs for an hour or so in the morning until she tired." The hotel has childcare, and she writes about a moment parents will recognize: "With both children happily occupied, we had the strange experience of spending time as a couple."

It's just one story among many that she wrote in a remarkable career, but it's as good an example as any of her gifts and her capacity for intimacy, as a journalist and as a human being.