Forget about anything soft and pink or thorny and long-stemmed: there are a number of fantastic anthologies released just in time to be Mother’s Day gifts.
Along with Motherhood and Creativity, reviewed in the previous edition (Ed#482), there’s Mothers & Others, with the rather awkward subheading (“Australian writers on why not all women are mothers and not all mothers are the same”), and Mothermorphosis, with the gorgeous image of a babushka cradling a newborn on the cover.
Both books feature either essays or firsthand experiences from a large number of Australian writers. As Mothermorphosis editor Monica Dux puts it, “It is an experience that is at once mundane and commonplace yet at the same time utterly unique and momentous. There is no one version of this epic story, no single tale that could speak for all.”
Together, the tales and non-fiction pieces in these collections do offer many shaded permutations of what it means to be a mother, or indeed what it feels like to sidestep the role altogether, whether by design or circumstance.
Contributors in Mothers & Others include Alice Pung on her parents expecting their first grandchild, and Geraldine Brooks about how mothering feeds her fiction. While in Mothermorphosis, (former Big Issue books editor) Jo Case relates how she became a single parent not once, but twice, and Hilary Harper writes about infertility and loss.
Thuy On, The Big Issue Books Editor
This article first appeared in Ed#483