'Every so often, and usually when the novice writer needs them most, a writer of immense stature, a writer who has written and published and continued to write and publish, impressively, joyfully, doggedly, over the course of forty years and seven books, a writer whose work has been long listed for the Miles Franklin three times and shortlisted twice before finally and deservedly winning the 2021 award for The Labyrinth, very occasionally, a writer like this, a writer named Amanda Lohrey will reach out to the inexperienced writer at the beginning of their career and say something kind. They will say that they like the work or they will recommend places to submit writing or books to read. More than anything, however, they will tell a writer to hold their nerve. They will tell them that writing is hard, that it takes discipline, that writing, true writing, is a practice. And though, I suspect, Amanda will frown, or perhaps laugh, at this backstory – for I know, at least in the literature she writes and reads, Amanda frowns, and sometimes laughs, at backstories – it cannot be underestimated how important these words have been.' (Introduction)
'On the Sunday before Sydney’s lockdown tightened for the second time, my partner and I drove to Coogee Beach. We were there to see the ocean one last time before our range of movement contracted to a mere five kilometres; a restriction that would cut us off from the coast. Cases that day were in the 400s, and rising, and both of us knew there was little chance we would be allowed back before October at the earliest.' (Introduction)
'Child psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott wrote,
‘There is no such thing as a baby,’ meaning that if you set out to describe a baby, you will find you are describing a baby and someone. A baby cannot exist alone, but is essentially part of a relationship.
'In Mother & I, Ianto Ware frequently uses the title phrase as if the subjects are inseparable, even when another formulation might make for smoother prose, as if the three words, sufficiently repeated, might transform into a single pronoun acknowledging Ware and his mother, Dimity, as being at once entwined and distinct. Ware appears committed to this Winnicottian approach, providing a gentle redescription of motherhood as an evolving relation, a singular set of possibilities, rather than a reductive category. (Introduction)