The Baby on the Fire Escape: Creativity, Motherhood, and the Mind-Baby Problem with Julie Phillips and Nina Siegal (EN)

29 september 2022
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Thursday September 29, 7 P.M. at Athenaeum Boekhandel Spui Nina Siegal will interview author Julie Philips about her new book: The Baby on the Fire Escape: Creativity, Motherhood, and the Mind-Baby Problem.

Everyone welcome! It's free. Sign up via [email protected]

NB: Het interview is in het Engels - The interview will be in English.

About The Baby on the Fire Escape

An insightful, provocative, and witty exploration of the relationship between motherhood and art—for anyone who is a mother, wants to be, or has ever had one.

What does a great artist who is also a mother look like? What does it mean to create, not in “a room of one’s own,” but in a domestic space? In The Baby on the Fire Escape, award-winning biographer Julie Phillips traverses the shifting terrain where motherhood and creativity converge.

With fierce empathy, Phillips evokes the intimate and varied struggles of brilliant artists and writers of the twentieth century. Ursula K. Le Guin found productive stability in family life, and Audre Lorde’s queer, polyamorous union allowed her to raise children on her own terms. Susan Sontag became a mother at nineteen, Angela Carter at forty-three. These mothers had one child, or five, or seven. They worked in a studio, in the kitchen, in the car, on the bed, at a desk, with a baby carrier beside them. They faced judgement for pursuing their creative work—Doris Lessing was said to have abandoned her children, and Alice Neel’s in-laws falsely claimed that she once, to finish a painting, left her baby on the fire escape of her New York apartment.

As she threads together vivid portraits of these pathbreaking women, Phillips argues that creative motherhood is a question of keeping the baby on that apocryphal fire escape: work and care held in a constantly renegotiated, provisional, productive tension. A meditation on maternal identity and artistic greatness, The Baby on the Fire Escape illuminates some of the most pressing conflicts in contemporary life.

About Julie Philips

Julie Philips is an American writer, biographer and book critic. She has written for The New Yorker, Ms., The Village Voice, and many others. Currently she reviews books for and writes about English literature for the Dutch daily newspaper Trouw. Currently she is also working on a biography of Ursula K. Le Guin. 

Delen op

pro-mbooks1 : athenaeum