An Architecture of Early Motherhood (and Independence)
Dizzy Limits: Recent Experiments in Australian Nonfiction (Brow Books, 2020); The Lifted Brow #35 (2017)
Our piece won the The Lifted Brow and non/fiction Lab Prize for Experimental Non-fiction in 2017, and appears in full in The Lifted Brow #35.
It is also included in Dizzy Limits, a collection of experimental nonfiction, published in 2020.
The prize judges were Eileen Myles, Wayne Koestenbaum, Fiona Wright, Leslie Jamison and Claudia La Rocco. Below is a summary of some of their comments about the piece:
“An Architecture of Early Motherhood (and Independence)’ is a wonderful essay about how we inhabit the spaces of female selfhood at different points in time and life, and the implicit assumptions that underpin their design; it speaks too to the changing conditions—unstable housing, casual work—that are changing our generation’s ways of life and ways of making families, making meaning. It is honest and occasionally brutally forthright, and quite lyrical in its writing, and the pairing of literature and architecture at the heart of the text makes perfect sense, each illuminating the other. We love too that this is a collaborative text, and there’s a real sense of generosity and affection at play between the voices. Overall it is an extraordinarily complex piece of writing: genuine, surprising – a trove of actualities, of maternal realities, more grained and beautifully (laudably) ‘pedestrian’ (and therefore profound) than most of what we've read on the subject. We loved the determined fidelity to the banality and logistics of early motherhood—states of radical and ongoing beholden-ness—juxtaposed against reflections from an autonomous life in the margins.”