Double Lives

Edited by Shannon Cowan, Fiona Tinwei Lam, and Cathy Stonehouse

Writing is intellectual, solitary work, and mothering too often seen as its antithesis. Marni Jackson’s The Mother Zone, published in 1992, gave many readers their first insights into the life of a mother/writer. Yet despite having writers such as Adrienne Rich, Alice Munro, Tillie Olsen and Margaret Laurence to guide and inspire them, mothers who are writers still often feel overwhelmed – even in the 21st century, a writer new to mothering may wonder if she will ever write again.

In Double Lives, the first Canadian literary anthology focusing on mothering and writing, twenty-two writers, who range in reputation from seasoned professionals to noteworthy new talents, reveal the intimate challenges and private rewards of nurturing children while pursuing the passion to write. Varying widely in age, marital status, sexual orientation, culture/ethnicity, and philosophical stance, authors such as Di Brandt, Stephanie Bolster, Linda Spalding, Janice Kulyk Keefer, Sharron Proulx-Turner, Sally Ito Rachel Rose and Susan Olding, make significant and illuminating contributions to our understanding of how writer and mother co-exist.

Praise for Double Lives

“This courageous and revealing book … belongs in every mother-writers’ library, to be read not in one gulp, put piece by piece, as the situation demands – and of course, as time permits.” — Quill & Quire

“There are many types of domestic situations depicted her as there are writing styles … Reading these very personal and moving essays, I realize it is the lucky ones who have merely double lives.” —Globe and Mail

” … enjoyable and engrossing. Despite, or perhaps because of its focus on the duality of writing and motherhood, the anthology works well as a book of instruction for writers, full of wisdom and tips.” —Prairie Fire

“Double Lives is full of tales of mothers trying to eke out a writing career while raising, sometimes along and on welfare, small children. Some of the stories are gruelling … difficult to read, but equally difficult to put down.” T —Ottawa Citizen

“The multiplicity of voices, points of view, and backgrounds in this collection produces the effects of a bright patchwork quilt.” —Elaine Kalman Naves, author of Shoshanna’s Story

“In Double Lives, Marni Jackson suggests that mothers who are writers are passionately divided and more amplified than they were before they had children. She is one of 24 writers who tackle this vexed topic in this poignant and searing anthology … The collection is intensely personal, filled with intimacies and confessions … In Double Lives, the editors have assembled a remarkable collection.” —HERIZONS