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Amani Haydar is an artist, lawyer, mother and advocate for women's health and safety based in Western Sydney. After losing her mother in a brutal act of domestic violence perpetrated by her father, The Mother Wound, Amani's first book written during lockdown draws on a story of female resilience and the role of motherhood in the home and in the world. We asked her questions about what inspired her, the writing process and what her siblings thought after reading her book.

What inspired you to share your story?

AH: Having participated as a lived experience advocate in the domestic violence space over the past few years, I have seen the power of storytelling first hand. Sharing in a safe and considered way helps challenge shame and taboo and opens up space for other stories. My own story brings in my cultural, religious and social context in a way that I hope will add nuance and complexity to existing conversations. Of course, remembering and documenting my mother and grandmother’s story is also a way to honour them and pass on what I have learned from them.


How did you find the writing process and how did it make you feel?

AH: The writing process was filled with highs and lows. There were periods when I was writing during the lockdown with two children home, TV blaring in the same room. There were periods when I was exposing myself to certain facts from my father’s trial for the first time. Some parts of the writing process were incredibly triggering and required me to tread gently. This book is one of the most difficult things I have ever done but one of the most empowering.

  Photo of Amani Haydar taken by Jason McCormack
Photo of Amani Haydar taken by Jason McCormack   

Have your sisters both read the book and what did they think?

AH: Yes – and it’s been so reassuring to have their feedback! Ola said I had captured her Mum’s spirit and her experiences in a way that surprised her because it involved feelings we hadn’t discussed, which is such a good thing to hear as a writer who is writing from real events. Nour said she was proud that her ‘favourite book’ had been written by her sister which is also such a huge compliment.


What do you hope people gain from reading your book?

AH: I hope that people gain a fuller and more complex understanding of abuse and violence and the long-term effects they have on people who witness or live through them. I would love for survivors who engage with the text to feel heard and validated. I would love for people who are new to the topic to feel challenged and inspired to help make change.


What’s next? You have such a great writing style, would you consider writing fiction?

AH: Definitely! Now that I have written The Mother Wound, I feel ready to start working on the other stories I want to tell. I’ve been researching and outlining a work of fiction which will allow me to explore new ideas and push myself creatively. I am also working on a contribution to an anthology (alongside some wonderful Australian writers) presently titled Another Australia which is set to be published by Affirm Press in 2022.

The Mother Wound is available in store and online now.

The Mother Wound
Amani Haydar

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