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Footnote Press pre-empts Gudowska’s ‘revelatory’ book on multilingualism and motherhood 

Footnote Press has acquired Mother Tongue Tied, a revelatory examination of multilingualism, motherhood and cultural identity by linguist Malwina Gudowska. 

Commissioning Editor Rose Green acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, including audio, in a pre-empt from Kate Evans at Peters, Fraser and Dunlop for publication in spring 2024. 

It takes one generation for a family language to die. One generation – like mother to child. Mother Tongue Tied is about the emotional weight of raising multilingual children while grappling with your own identity and notions of home. Ultimately, Mother Tongue Tied explores at what cost does a mother save a language? Or does she let it slip away and, with it, a part of herself her children may never know. 
Linguist Malwina Gudowska, herself trilingual, takes us inside that private struggle, shedding light on the ways in which we navigate language, its power to shape and reshape lives, and the ripple effects felt far beyond any one home or any one language. 

Rose Green says: 

Mother Tongue Tied sits at the perfect centre between gender, migration and linguistic identity, not only exploring multilingualism as an agent for social change but also looking at the deeply emotional aspects of both motherhood and language as markers of cultural identity. As Malwina observes in the book – the task of handing down language overwhelmingly falls to mothers, even more so when it comes to teaching children a heritage language. Mother Tongue Tied reveals what is often a private, gendered struggle, taking it into the light with care and compassion. Meticulously researched and exquisitely written, Mother Tongue Tied is a book that spoke to me and will speak to so many people.’ 

Malwina Gudowska says: 

Mother Tongue Tied is about the intersections of motherhood and language, multilingualism and identity, and about the power of language in shaping our lives. Rooted in my own highly emotional experience of raising multilingual children, it is about navigating linguistic prejudice, exposing harmful myths around bilingualism, and exploring how our own linguistic and cultural identities affect our caregiving. I am thrilled to be working with Rose Green at Footnote Press, who, from our first meeting, understood and supported the book wholeheartedly. And I am forever grateful for the encouragement and enthusiasm of Kate Evans at Peters Fraser and Dunlop.’ 

Malwina Gudowska is a Polish-Canadian writer, editor, and linguist. She is currently a PhD researcher in applied linguistics, examining the emotions of mothers raising multilingual children. A National Magazine Award winner, Gudowska has written for the Financial Times, Vogue, Literary Hub, ELLE, The Globe and Mail, Mother Tongue and more. Her award-winning article on raising multilingual children was included in The Best Canadian Magazine Articles anthology. A graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course, she holds an MA in Linguistics from University College London and writes the newsletter, Motherlingual about the intersection of mothering and language. She resides in London, UK with her partner and two children.