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Biography & Autobiography General

This Is Not My Life

A Memoir of Love, Prison, and Other Complications

by (author) Diane Schoemperlen

Initial publish date
Apr 2016
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2016
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2016
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2017
    List Price

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From the Governor General’s Award winning author of Forms of Devotion, Our Lady of the Lost and Found and By the Book

“Never once in my life had I dreamed of being in bed with a convicted killer.”

For almost six turbulent years, award-winning writer Diane Schoemperlen was involved with a prison inmate serving a life sentence for second-degree murder. The relationship surprised no one more than her. How do you fall in love with a man with a violent past? How do you date someone who is in prison? This Is Not My Life is the story of the romance between Diane and Shane—how they met and fell in love, how they navigated passes and parole and the obstacles facing a long-term prisoner attempting to return to society, and how, eventually, things fell apart. While no relationship takes place in a vacuum, this is never more true than when that relationship is with a federal inmate. In this candid, often wry, sometimes disturbing memoir, Schoemperlen takes us inside this complex and difficult relationship as she journeys through the prison system with Shane. Not only did this relationship enlarge her capacity for both empathy and compassion, but it also forced her to more deeply examine herself.

About the author

DIANE SCHOEMPERLEN is the award-winning author of twelve works of fiction and non-fiction. Her works include In the Language of Love, which was short-listed for the Books in Canada/W.H. Smith First Novel Award; Forms of Devotion, a collection of illustrated stories which won the Governor General’s Award and was adapted as a stage play; Our Lady of the Lost and Found; Red Plaid Shirt: New and Selected Stories; Names of the Dead: An Elegy for the Victims of September 11; and At a Loss for Words: A Post-Romantic Novel. She recently published a collection called By the Book: Stories and Pictures, illustrated with her own full-colour collages, which was long listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. She is the recipient of the Marian Engel Award from the Writers’ Trust of Canada.

Twitter: @dianesch

Facebook: Diane Schoemperlen Author


Diane Schoemperlen's profile page


  • RBC Taylor Prize

Editorial Reviews

With scalding candor, bravery, and a considerable amount of humor, Diane Schoemperlen has written a moving memoir about unexpected love. She reminds us what love is, and how even if it can’t always have a fairy-tale ending, it nonetheless offers redemption. — Lauren B. Davis, author of Against a Darkening Sky

Fascinating, compelling and honest, Schoemperlen’s memoir lays out the often harrowing challenges in loving a convicted murderer who has been shaped by thirty years inside the prison system. I couldn’t put it down. — Susan Swan, author of The Western Light

What a brave examination of the entrapment of the heart! Both confessional and confident, This Is Not My Life illuminates the hidden yet incessant desire, at all costs, for love. — Michael Winter, author of Minister Without Portfolio

“This Is Not My Life crackles with drama, irony, heartache and sheer authenticity.” — Winnipeg Free Press

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