Motherhood & Creativity: The Divided Heart (ed by Rachel Power, Affirm Press)

motherhood and creativityIn 2008, Melbourne-based freelance writer and editor Rachel Power released The Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood, a collection of interviews with Australian artists, writers and actors juggling the competing demands of raising children and pursuing a career. Despite its impressive list of interviewees, including Rachel Griffiths, Nikki Gemmell and Alice Garner, the book fell out of print. Affirm Press has given Power’s anthology a second life with a new foreword, nine new interviews and a selection of interviews from the first edition. As its new title suggests, the book is heavily slanted towards the arts, and is therefore likely to be appreciated best by mothers who work for, or have a particular interest in, the creative industries. Its format will be a welcome relief for time-poor mothers: Power’s bite-size interviews are easy to dip in and out of, and she captures nicely the intimate, conversational tone of her interlocutors. Those interviewed in the book frequently express their frustration with society’s undervaluation of women’s labour at home and in the studio and offer helpful advice in dealing with this. With Monica Dux’s essay collection on motherhood Mothermorphosis also released in April, Power’s rebooted anthology is another important reminder that women’s work matters.

Emily Laidlaw is a freelance writer and editor. This review first appeared in the Books+Publishing magazine Issue 1, 2015. View more pre-publication reviews here.

Top stories this week

wbnimage2015apr10This week’s top stories from the Weekly Book Newsletter include:

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Bestsellers this week

NYPD Red 3This week’s bestsellers chart mixes the old and new with Going Paleo (Pete Evans & Nora T Gedgaudas, Plum) in the top spot for a second consecutive week, ahead of a slate of new fiction releases. This week’s four highest new entries—NYPD Red 3 (James Patterson, Century), Leap of Faith (Fiona McCallum, Mira), The Stranger (Harlan Coben, Hachette) and The Last Dance (Fiona McIntosh, Michael Joseph)—all debuted in the top 10, while the fifth highest new entry, Emerald Springs (Fleur McDonald, Arena), debuted in the top 20. Easter-themed children’s books remain popular with Peppa Pig: Peppa’s Easter Egg Hunt (Ladybird) and If I Were the Easter Bunny (Louise Gardner, HarperCollins) in first and third spot respectively on the fastest movers chart. Also in the fastest movers chart is Johanna Basford’s colouring book for adults, Secret Garden (Laurence King Publishing)—Books+Publishing (source: Nielsen BookScan, week ending 28 March 2015)

Top stories this week

wbnimage2015apr2This week’s top stories from the Weekly Book Newsletter include:

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Bestsellers this week

going paleoPete Evans and Nora T Gedgaudas’ new cookbook Going Paleo (Plum) is at the top of this week’s bestsellers and fastest movers charts, while Evans’ other cookbook Family Food (Plum) remains in the top 10 in 6th spot. Other titles in this week’s fastest movers include the latest Quarterly Essay Dear Life: On Caring for the Elderly (Karen Hitchcock, Black Inc.) and Paper Towns (John Green, HarperCollins); a film adaptation of the latter will be released in Australian cinemas on 4 June. Biographies and true stories feature heavily in this week’s highest new entries chart, with Kate Grenville’s One Life: My Mother’s Story (Text) in top spot, and Murphy’s Lore (Bob Murphy, Nero) and Journeys of the Heart: Carers Stories of Love, Loss and Transformation (Jodi Rose, Arbon Publishing) also in the top fiveBooks+Publishing (source: Nielsen BookScan, week ending 21 March 2015)

Bestsellers this week

Peppa Pig Peppa s Easter Egg HuntEaster-themed children’s books have taken over this week’s fastest movers chart, with Peppa Pig: Peppa’s Easter Egg Hunt (Ladybird Books) sitting in top spot. Also in the fastest movers chart are Where’s the Easter Bunny (Louis Shea, Scholastic), Hoot’s Easter Hunt (HarperCollins) and Peter Rabbit: Easter Egg Hunt! (Beatrix Potter, Puffin). The demand for American Sniper(film tie-in) (Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen & Jim DeFelice, HarperCollins) continues as it tops the bestsellers chart again, followed by debut novel The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins, Doubleday), which jumped from fifth spot last week to second spot. Going Paleo (Pete Evans & Nora T Gedgaudas, Plum) is this week’s highest new entry and also seventh on the bestsellers chart, where it is joined by a slate of other health-related cookbooks, including The Happy Cookbook (Lola Berry, Plum) and a second Pete Evans title, Family Food (Plum)—Books+Publishing (source: Nielsen BookScan, week ending 14 March 2015)

Bestsellers this week

14th deadly sinJames Patterson’s 14th Deadly Sin (Century) has climbed to the number one spot in the top 10 bestsellers chart this week, with American Sniper (film tie-in) (Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen & Jim DeFelice, HarperCollins) dropping to second. Elsewhere in the charts, Family Food (Pete Evans, Plum) is this week’s fastest mover and is in sixth spot overall. Other notable titles in the charts include Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant (Faber), which is this week’s highest new entry, and Paula Hawkins’ debut novel The Girl on the Train, which has been climbing the top 10 steadily and is now this week’s fifth highest bestseller and second fastest mover.—Books+Publishing (source: Nielsen BookScan, week ending 7 March 2015)

Top stories this week

wbnimage2015mar13This week’s top stories from the Weekly Book Newsletter include:

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Anchor Point (Alice Robinson, Affirm Press)

AnchorPoint_CoverWhen Laura and Vik are children, their eccentric mother disappears during a flash flood on the family’s struggling property in rural Victorian. Though just a girl herself, Laura is forced to grow up fast and becomes a surrogate mother figure for Vik, compensating for their grief-stricken father’s shortcomings. As she progresses into young womanhood and eventually to middle age, the legacy of this reluctant childhood obligation underpins the choices she makes in adulthood, including her marriage to Luc, a charismatic environmental activist who is the inverse of her inarticulate farmer father. Laura’s is a small but heavy life, defined by a thoughtless act committed in her childhood and a guilty secret kept for decades. Though the narrative pacing is slow, Laura is a compelling character and Alice Robinson’s prose is lyrical and elegiac. The depictions of rural life—the caprices of native Australian wildlife, the grisly but necessary daily tasks of farming, the crucial significance of weather and increasingly dire effects of climate change—are reminiscent of Gillian Mears’ Foal’s Bread and Carrie Tiffany’s Mateship With Birds. Readers who enjoyed these novels will find Anchor Point is likewise an exquisite literary novel, and an accomplished character study. This is Robinson’s first novel.

Veronica Sullivan is online editor of Kill Your Darlings. This review first appeared in the Books+Publishing magazine Issue 1, 2015. View more pre-publication reviews here.