‘The Forgiveness Project: Stories for a Vengeful Age’ by Marina Cantacuzino

The Forgiveness Project was founded in 2004 in response to the invasion of Iraq and as a way of countering the rhetoric of retaliation so prominent at that time. Journalist, Marina Cantacuzino, set out to collect stories from victims and perpetrators who had chosen to resolve conflict through dialogue and restorative means.

Examining themes of forgiveness, reconciliation and conflict transformation, this book brings together the personal testimonies of both survivors and perpetrators of crime and violence and asks the question whether forgiveness may have more currency than revenge in an age, which seems locked into the cycle of conflict.

The challenging, reflective introductory essay by Marina Cantacuzino, founder and director of The Forgiveness Project, sets the stories in the larger context of approaches to forgiveness, from both religious and secular viewpoints, concluding that in the reality of lived experience forgiveness has a quality ‘as mysterious as love’. The book also includes two forewords by Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and by award-winning author, Alexander McCall Smith.

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Marina Cantacuzino on Forgiveness

Marina talks about the dividing nature of forgiveness and explains how this book with its 40 extraordinary stories is different from the general spiritual, religious or philosophical approaches to forgiveness.

“Because I strongly believe that forgiveness is an unchartered journey of the heart that looks and feels different for everyone, this won’t be about setting out a step-by-step process to follow.”


“This reassuring and uplifting book testifies to the truth of forgiveness–freestanding, not dependent upon faith, but upon humanity. It is both provocative and full of hope.”
– Jon Snow, journalist and presenter

“The testimonials in this book have taught me a great deal about forgiveness, which I think I thought was something rather easier than it is. They make me weep and they make me really think about what it is to forgive and what it is to try and understand someone instead of demonising them. I think this is probably one of the most important projects in the world today.”
– Emma Thompson, actor

Marina Cantacuzino’s new book asks us to consider the most challenging question: is it possible for a victim to forgive the perpetrator? Presenting us with heart-breaking and astonishing examples, she shows the answer is ‘yes’ – even when the victim is a grieving parent and the perpetrator is the murderer of that parent’s child. This book is an invaluable contribution to the debate surrounding peace and reconciliation.”
– Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge University

“Resentment and bitterness are cancers of the soul. Forgiveness is a healing balm. It is costly but effective as this book so clearly demonstrates.”
– Terry Waite CBE, humanitarian and author