Mother and I

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Highly Commended, National Biography Award, 2022

‘If only all memoirs were like this: tautly written, droll yet poignant, vividly rendered, historically aware … Ware brings his mother and their relationship to life with tender detachment, sharp detail and such attentiveness to her inner life that one might be reading a novel.’ — Fiona Capp, SMH/the Age.

At the age of twenty-four, Dimity Ware received a kidney transplant. Her doctors told her she could never have children and would probably die in her thirties. In response, she announced her lesbianism, left her husband, and gave birth to a son.

Ianto Ware revisits his childhood in suburban Adelaide, where his mother — single parent, lesbian feminist, and ardent socialist — waged a four-decade war on her conservative neighbourhood, primarily through the medium of gardening.

Mother and I: the history of a wilful family celebrates the force of character that defies conformity and the love that prevails against bigotry.