In an ambitious, yet intimate novel set in Taos, New Mexico, and Hamilton, Ontario, Sally Cooper explores unexpected motherhood, creativity, race, love and faith. With My Back to the World tells the stories of three women: Rudie, who is editing a documentary in Hamilton in 2010; historical artist Agnes Martin, who decides in 1974 after seven years' exile in New Mexico to begin painting again; and Ellen, a black woman burying her husband in 1870 on an Ontario homestead. Each of these women is waiting for the arrival of an unexpected child and their interconnected stories explore how society's, and our own, ideas of what it means to be a woman, a mother and an artist change over time. Evocative and introspective, With My Back to the World tells the complicated stories of how different women find faith in themselves in extraordinary circumstances.
Sally Cooper is the author of two acclaimed novels, Love Object (Dundurn, 2002) and Tell Everything (Dundurn, 2008), and the linked story collection Smells Like Heaven (ARP, 2017). Her writing has appeared in CNQ: Canadian Notes & Queries; Electric Literature; Event; The Feathertale Review; Globe & Mail; Grain; The Millions and The New Quarterly. In 2017, her writing was longlisted for the Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest, the Short Works Prize and the Vancouver Women in Film and Television From Our Dark Side Contest. Sally is a senior editor of Hamilton Review of Books. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario.