In 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.