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Governor General's Literary Awards 2019

What a Young Wife Ought to Know
By (author): Hannah Moscovitch
Hannah Moscovitch


Playwrights Canada Press



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
Aug 26, 2019
$17.95 CAD


8.2in x 5.2 x 0.5 in | 120 gr

Page Count:

88 pages


75 minutes
FSC certified – mixed sources 0
Playwrights Canada Press
DRAMA / Women Authors
Governor General's Literary Awards 2019, Nominated
  • Short Description

Set in 1920s Canada, a young working-class couple fall madly in love, marry and have children. When their doctors warn them against more pregnancies, they’re forced to choose between a sexless marriage and the dangers of do-it-yourself birth control.

Just don’t lie down and no child will come.

It’s Ottawa in the 1920s, pre-legalized birth control. Sophie, a young working-class girl, falls madly in love with and marries a stable-hand named Jonny. After two difficult childbirths, doctors tell Sophie she shouldn’t have any more children, but don’t tell her how to prevent it. When Sophie inevitably becomes pregnant again, she faces a grim dilemma.

In an unflinching look at love, sex, and fertility, and inspired by real stories of mothers during the Canadian birth-control movement of the early twentieth century, one of Canada’s most celebrated playwrights vividly recreates a couple’s struggles with reproduction.

Hannah Moscovitch is an acclaimed Canadian playwright, TV writer, and librettist whose work has been widely produced in Canada and around the world. Recent stage work includes Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes and Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story (co-created with Christian Barry and Ben Caplan). Hannah has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Trillium Book Award, the Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award, the Scotsman Fringe First and the Herald Angel Awards at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize administered by Yale University. She has been nominated for the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Drama Desk Award, Canada’s Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, and the Governor General’s Literary Award. She is a playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. She lives in Halifax.

“The play adds to necessary, current conversations around representation of women, gender inequity and female sexuality.”

- Karen Fricker, Toronto Star

“Brace yourself for a heart-wrenching experience that will provoke tears and laughter.”

- Lynn Saxberg, Ottawa Citizen

“By giving the women of the 1920s a voice, Moscovitch has given many contemporary women a voice as well. What a Young Wife Ought to Know is more than a compelling history lesson, it is an opportunity to contemplate the state of sexual health and freedom in our society today… 3 ? stars (out of 4)”

- Meghan Hubley, The Globe and Mail

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