The F Word Podcast examines the complex, messy, gripping subject of forgiveness.

In each episode Marina Cantacuzino, a journalist and founder of The Forgiveness Project, talks to a guest who despite having experienced great pain or trauma in their life has found a way through.

Some have forgiven those who’ve harmed them, others are grappling with forgiving themselves. Not everyone is able to forgive. Not everyone has made complete peace with their past.

But all those featured on the show display a strength that has grown out of vulnerability and they all bear witness to the human search for meaning.

How to listen

You can listen to our episodes either here on our website or on your favourite podcast players including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Podcasts. For more podcast apps, please follow the icons below.

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“This is a unique look into how individuals process, cope and ultimately heal. Highly recommended.”

Jemimah Cohen, Reviewed on Apple Podcasts

“Revelatory insight into recovering from severe trauma.”

redguitar999, Reviewed on Apple Podcasts

“These conversations are so profound, fascinating and hopeful. Love every one! Thank you for making them.”

jen120262, Reviewed on Apple Podcasts

“The honesty and courage in every one of these diverse and unique stories is awe inspiring.”

2021AAA, Reviewed on Apple Podcasts

“This podcast has engaged, challenged, and moved me. Above all, it has motivated me to think considerately about my own actions and prejudices.”

AIMaRa92, Reviewed on Apple Podcasts

“A wonderful podcast which manages to eschew the glib clichés of the subject and instead drill down into something more profound. Wonderfully non-judgemental. And highly recommended.”

golders hill habitue 2, Reviewed on Apple Podcasts

“The stories are breathtaking, but this is not the only affect these podcasts have on me: they help me to get in touch with a kinder and more compassionate place inside myself.”

jochenenche, Reviewed on Apple Podcasts

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Season Two

24th November 2021

Gill Hicks on the healing power of the arts and how seeking to understand has aided her recovery

Marina Cantacuzino talks to author, musician and artist Gill Hicks who narrowly escaped death when she was horrifically and permanently disabled during the terrorist attacks in London in the summer of 2005. She has devoted much of her time since then to deterring anyone from following a path of violent extremism.

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10th November 2021

Wilma Derksen on how forgiving can resuscitate and revive, as well as cause isolation and incite criticism

Marina Cantacuzino talks to Wilma Derksen, author, therapist and advocate for healing justice. Ever since Wilma’s 13-year-old daughter Candace was found bound and murdered in a shed in Winnipeg, Wilma has been on a profound, difficult and circuitous journey of forgiveness and self-healing.

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27th October 2021

Geoff Thompson and Andrea Martinez on forgiveness, self-preservation and surviving sexual assault

Marina Cantacuzino talks to Geoff Thompson and Andrea Martinez – both victims of child sexual abuse. Geoff Thompson is a filmmaker, prolific author and martial artist. Andrea Martinez is an actress, talk show host and young mother. Their connection comes through having had a profound conversation a few years ago when Geoff was able to offer Andrea support and advice in dealing with the trauma.

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13th October 2021

Figen Murray on how forgiving her son’s killer has preserved her humanity

Marina Cantacuzino talks to Figen Murray about what forgiveness means in the context of losing a child in a terrorist attack. In May 2017 her son, Martyn Hett, was killed at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester when a radical Islamist detonated a homemade bomb. Since then Figen has become an active campaigner and activist in counter-terrorism.

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29th September 2021

Michael Lapsley on racism, apartheid and when forgiveness requires repentance

Marina Cantacuzino talks to Father Michael Lapsley, an Anglican priest, social justice activist and founder of the Institute for Healing of Memories in Cape Town. In 1990 at the height of the apartheid repression, Fr Michael received a letter bomb in the post in which he lost both his hands and one eye. He has been on a healing journey ever since.

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Season One

19th January 2021

Azim Khamisa on grieving, his spiritual practice and the importance of asking for forgiveness

Marina Cantacuzino talks to Azim Khamisa who founded the Tariq Khamisa Foundation after his only son, Tariq, was shot and killed while delivering pizzas in San Diego in 1995. Tariq’s killer, Tony Hicks, was 14-years-old at the time and has only recently been released from prison. Azim has spent the past 25 years talking about forgiveness and tirelessly working to prevent youth violence in America.

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6th January 2021

Letlapa Mphahlele on prejudice, apartheid and the burden of being forgiven

Marina Cantacuzino talks to Letlapa Mphahlele about his role in the struggle against apartheid and how he came to meet the mother of one of his victims. Ginn Fourie’s daughter was killed in 1993 at a massacre in a Cape Town bar. Nine years later she met Letlapa, the former Director of Operations for the Azanian People’s Liberation Army, who had ordered the attack.

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23rd December 2020

Kia Scherr on traumatic loss and grief as a spiritual practice

Marina Cantacuzino talks to Kia Scherr whose husband and 13-year-old daughter were both victims of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Kia is the co-founder of One Life Alliance, a charity she set up as a response to the attacks.

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9th December 2020

Paul Kohler on how a brutal attack in his own home changed the course of his life

Marina Cantacuzino talks to Paul Kohler whose story hit the headlines in 2014 when four men broke into his London home leaving him with severe facial injuries. His wife and daughter were also in the house at the time of the attack and later all three met one of the offenders through restorative justice to try and have their questions answered.

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25th November 2020

Lis Cashin on guilt, shame and self-forgiveness

Marina Cantacuzino talks to Lis Cashin who as a child caused a fatal accident which cast an irreversible shadow over her life. Marina talks to her about trauma, self-forgiveness and finding meaning in pain.

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11th November 2020

Zak Ebrahim on being radicalised by his father, learning tolerance and the meaning of forgiveness in relation to extremist ideologies

Marina Cantacuzino talks to Zak Ebrahim. When Zak was seven, his father shot and killed the founder of the Jewish Defence League, Rabbi Meir Kahane and later was convicted for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Zak’s story is one of transforming his past and learning to reject bigotry and hate.

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28th October 2020

Jacob Dunne on vulnerability and facing the true impact of his crime through meeting the mother of the man he killed

Marina Cantacuzino talks to Jacob Dunne who aged 18 was convicted of manslaughter for killing a man with a single punch. This episode tells the story of Jacob’s gradual rehabilitation and the vital role played by the parents of the man he killed – James Hodgkinson.

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14th October 2020

Joan Scourfield on facing the man who killed her son and the profound impact of restorative justice

Marina Cantacuzino talks to Joan Scourfield, the mother of James who in 2011 was killed when a young man called, Jacob Dunne, threw a fatal punch in an unprovoked attack in Nottingham, England. A few years later Joan and her then husband David came face-to-face with Jacob in a restorative justice meeting.

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30th September 2020

Bjørn Ihler on the power of personal storytelling and why it’s important not to dehumanize terrorists

Marina Cantacuzino talks to 29-year-old Bjørn Ihler, a writer, filmmaker and ‘peace activist’ from Norway. Bjørn is a survivor of the attack on Utøya Island in July 2011 when far-right extremist Anders Breivik killed 69 people and injured many more. Bjørn’s expertise lies in countering extremist narratives, as well as deconstructing their propaganda.

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30th September 2020

Stephanie Cassatly on rage and the gift of remorse

Marina Cantacuzino talks to Stephanie Cassatly, a writer, teacher, mother and wife from Florida. When Stephanie was 18, her mother was shot and killed in a convenience store robbery in New Orleans, changing every preconceived notion she had about the world and what it meant to feel safe.

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Podcast Host

Marina Cantacuzino, Founder of The Forgiveness Project

Marina Cantacuzino MBE is an award-winning journalist who has worked for most British mainstream publications including The Guardian, The Telegraph and Hello magazine.

In 2003, in response to the invasion of Iraq, she embarked on a personal project collecting stories of people who had lived through trauma and injustice, and sought forgiveness rather than revenge. As a result Marina founded The Forgiveness Project and started speaking widely about forgiveness and restorative storytelling.

Join The F Word Podcast Facebook Group

This Facebook community exists solely to discuss ideas and issues that arise from The F Word Podcast series.

We hope that this group can help to cultivate hope and resilience after harm and trauma, and foster understanding around concepts of compassion, empathy and forgiveness.

We also hope it will help you connect with people who can present new perspectives to difficult issues.

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Credits and Thanks

The podcast logo is by Thea Bryant.

The theme music was produced and gifted to us by Cuzino.

Podcast editor and recording engineer for Season 2 is Liam Wilkinson.

And a big thank you to Pat Bird for volunteering to type up all the transcripts.