Now available from Between the Lines is Suzanne’s Evans’ novelistic biography of Canadian Ethel Mulvany, who rallied fellow prisoners of war in Singapore’s infamous Changi Jail to fight starvation by conducting “imaginary feasts”. After the war, Ethel published a singular cookbook of the dreamed-of recipes to raise money to help surviving prisoners of war.

Distinguished historian Jonathan Vance calls The Taste of Longing “completely absorbing, a fascinating glimpse at the struggle to survive in wartime Singapore. Ethel Mulvany was sustained by friendship, dreams of freedom, and, above all, food— real and imagined. After reading it, you’ll never look at a meal in quite the same way.”

Award-winning radio documentary producer Alisa Siegel’s CBC Radio documentary on Ethel, produced for The Sunday Edition, features the voice and work of Suzanne Evans.

The Taste of Longing by Suzanne Evans

Evans came first across Mulvany’s starving prisoners of war cookbook while working as a research fellow at the Canadian War Museum. “… [T]his cook book stumped me. How could the prisoners write recipes while starving? Why did they? Who were these women? By the time I reached the last page, I needed answers to these questions and many more about war, creativity and survival. The hunt for details and understanding began in my own neighbourhood and eventually sent me around the world.”

“As gripping as a novel, The Taste of Longing is infused with Suzanne Evans’ keen sense of psychology and language. Its plot is made all the more riveting by the historical facts of the deprivation of the prisoners of war in Changi Prison. Ethel was a remarkable and fearless woman. This vivid biography is also a uniquely female history, infused with nourishment no less important for being imaginary.” – Nadine McInnis, Author of Blood Secrets and Delirium for Solo Harp

Suzanne Evans
Suzanne Evans, author of The Taste of Longing

The Taste of Longing “is a story about an unusual woman in an unbearable situation. Evans has delved deep and written with great sympathy about the long drama of picking up the pieces of a broken life.” ~ Elizabeth Hay, author of Giller Prize-winner Late Nights on Air

About Suzanne Evans

The Taste of Longing

Mothers of Heroes, Mothers of Martyrs

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Ottawa writer and historian Suzanne Evans is captivated by stories of women, war, food, survival, and what we make of it all. Her most recent project, The Taste of Longing, now available from Between the Lines, offers the first full biography of Canadian “force of nature” Ethel Mulvany, who while starving organized imaginary feasts at the infamous Changi Jail, Singapore during the Second World War. Suzanne Evans also features prominently in Alisa Siegel’s CBC radio documentary on Mulvany.

Mothers of Heroes, Mothers of Martyrs (McGill-Queen’s) looks at the way Canadian propaganda in the First World War pressured women to support the war effort by, among other things, dampening their grief over the loss of husbands and sons.

Writer and historian Suzanne Evans. Portrait by Tonja Rohn.

Suzanne Evans holds a Ph.D in Religious Studies from the University of Ottawa, and worked as a research fellow at the Canadian War Museum. She has traveled, lived, and worked in many countries including China, Indonesia, India and Vietnam. Her work has appeared in Canadian Military HistoryThe Globe and MailThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa MagazineActiveHistory.ca, and Canada’s History Magazine (formerly The Beaver), among others. She lives in Ottawa, Canada.

Contact Suzanne Evans