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Bloodroot: Tracing the Untelling of Motherloss

a memoir by Betsy Warland

Print: 978-1-77133-837-0
200 Pages
October 3, 2021

It is rare for an author to re-enter one of her books published twenty years ago. In the first edition of Bloodroot, Warland traced how a mother’s shared gender with her daughter can shape the very anatomy of narrative itself. In her mother’s final year, Warland quietly discovered how to disentangle a crucial, concealed story that had rendered their relationship disconnected and fraught.

The book tracks how a mother-daughter relationship that was so disconnected was given an odd opening after the author’s mother awakens and tells her the bizarre story that she had another (secret) daughter. This seemingly deluded conversation was the opening to a much deeper and compassionate relationship between mother and daughter. The narrative traces the story that bound them together in the mother-daughter relationship, and her reflections help her find clarity, understanding and acceptance.

Warland weaves a common ground that moves beyond duty and despair, providing both questions and guideposts for readers, particularly those faced with ageing and ill parents and their loss.

The 2000 edition broke new ground in memoir form and uncharted storytelling. The 2020 edition, reprinted by Inanna for the launch of its Inanna  Series, includes a new foreword by Cate Sandilands, and a new introduction by Warland that explores subsequent questions, insights, and tenderness only the passage of time can enable.

Betsy Warland is one of Canada’s leading feminist writers. She has published thirteen books of creative non-fiction, lyric prose, and poetry.

Bloodroot: Tracing the Untelling of Motherloss


Betsy Warland has authored 14 books of creative nonfiction, essays and poetry. Regarding her 2020, Lagoon Lagoon/lost in thought, the Vancouver Sun wrote of her “magisterial (and yet, paradoxically, minimalist) distillation,” and The Ormsby Review: “her command of art and language is that of a virtuoso.” The Winnipeg Free Press review of her 2016 book, Oscar of Between: A Memoir of Identity and Ideas, called it “an astonishing book by a truly luminous writer.” A mainstay for writers and teachers, the second edition of Warland’s Breathing the Page: Reading the Act of Writing (with new added material) will be released in 2022. This 2021 second edition of Warland’s first memoir, Bloodroot—Tracing the Untelling of Motherloss (2000), includes a new, long essay by Warland reflecting on what Bloodroot taught her in terms of craft and the nature of narrative over the past twenty years. Former director and mentor in of the Writer’s Studio and Vancouver Manuscript Intensive, Warland received the City of Vancouver Mayor’s Literary Excellence Award in 2016. The creation of an annual book award honouring Warland, The VMI Betsy Warland Between Genres Award, will be launched in 2021.

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