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In Aotearoa there are more couple-without-children families than other family types, and the number of child-free adults is growing. As editors and writers, we want to give voice to these people and more: to those who are motherhood-adjacent, those who’ve chosen to remain child-free, those who didn’t get to choose, and those who through bereavement or blended family dynamics ask themselves – am I a mother or am I other?


‘OTHERHOOD will explore a common experience that still feels taboo, in a collection of personal essays that tell the stories of people without children, edited by Alie Benge, Lil O’Brien and Kathryn van Beek.


We are thrilled to be working with Massey University Press to bring 'Otherhood to life. Massey University Press is an award-winning independent publisher renowned for its high-quality, beautifully produced books. The Press punches above its weight as an innovative, daring, skilful and responsive publisher of important non-fiction and poetry, and is committed to creating books that contribute to the national cultural conversation and advance new ideas.



We're looking for essays between 1500 to 4000 words that engage with the theme of 'otherhood from women, and gender-diverse people.

We want ‘OTHERHOOD to traverse a rich range of experiences and emotions, from the relief of those who joyfully choose to remain childfree to the torment of those who’ve lost children, and the grief of those who’ve tried fertility treatment and failed. And finally, those who are a bit like, “yeah… nah?”


We're interested in stories that may be heartbreaking or uplifting, funny and irreverent, about grief or joy, celebration or mourning. So far, our potential contributors have written about how they navigate expectations to do with motherhood and in many cases how they've stepped outside of those expectations. They’ve explored religion, Te Ao Māori, forms of care, queerness, depression, feminism, body autonomy, grief, shame, gender expectations. We’re ready for more.

We especially want to hear from people who are often left out of mainstream narratives around motherhood, such as the LGBTQIA+ community, people from our disabled community, or people who have experienced unusual circumstances related to pregnancy. 

Please click below to submit a Word file of your essay by 5pm, 31 May 2023. We will aim to reply to all submissions by 31 July.

If you wish to discuss an essay topic with us to see if it might be a good fit, email us on


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