Double Lives

McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008

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

Blog and Interview with Editors

Double Lives is a compelling collection of twenty-five personal literary essays about the challenges and synergies of pursuing the vocation and passion to write while having and raising children.  From seasoned professionals to noteworthy new talents, the authors in this collection make a significant and illuminating contribution to our understanding of how writer and mother co-exist.


“The editors have thoughtfully gathered and ordered their stories. With each one, this moving anthology opens up and out, managing to be philosophical, pragmatic, nurturing, and intensely personal….It belongs in every mother-writers’ library….”  – The Quill & Quire

“However difficult it may have been, [the contributors] did it and did it well. There are as many types of domestic situations depicted here as there are writing styles…. [V]ery personal and moving essays….” – The Globe & Mail

“…[I was] pleased to dis­cover, when I opened the book, a sense of cama­raderie with the women in the essays…. These women write about mop­ping up baby puke while con­duct­ing an inter­view, edit­ing a book of poetry while a for­got­ten breast pump melts to a black lump on the stove, and for­sak­ing writ­ing for sleep, sleep for writ­ing, both for moth­er­ing.  Their voices are hon­est, hum­ble and com­fort­ing for those who some­times feel alone in a soci­ety that doesn’t always sup­port par­ent­ing or artis­tic pur­suits.”    –Geist

“Double Lives is full of tales of mothers trying to eke out a writing career while raising, sometimes alone and on welfare, small children.  Some of the stories are gruelling, the way birth stories tend to be — difficult to read, but equally difficult to put down…..[T]he mothers of Double Lives also talk about the creative rebirth that came with having children, the heightened awareness and the hyper efficiency. And more than that, these mothers seem compelled to write.”      –Ottawa Citizen

“Writer-mothers whose children are grown and who read this book will recall those long-ago days when we struggled to meet our own need for self-expression as well as the needs of our children. But this collection should especially be read by new mothers – and fathers – hoping to continue or begin writing professionally.”      –Monique Polak, Montreal Gazette (reprinted in The Vancouver SunThe Times-Colonist and elsewhere) 

“…[a] poignant and searing anthology.  The collection is intensely personal, filled with intimacies and confessions….[T]he editors have assembled a remarkable collection.  –Herizons Magazine

“This anthology is enjoyable and engrossing.” –Prairie Fire