2022 - Shortlisted
The Mother Wound by Amani Haydar is a remarkable and courageous memoir which demonstrates how the personal is indeed the political. Told with great feeling, compassion and precision, the writer’s unflinching examination of the brutal murder of her mother by her father, and his subsequent trial, is both compelling and deeply angering. Haydar situates her own family’s painful history within the wider context of the ongoing epidemic of violence against women, and her clear-eyed account of domestic abuse and the legal system’s shortfalls when it comes to addressing the impacts of violence make it a necessary read.
With natural literary flair, the author weaves together multiple narratives from the past and present. She explores her upbringing and coming of age as an Australian-born Lebanese Muslim woman searching for her place in the world, sifting through time and memory to examine the circumstances in which families like hers negotiate cultural norms, shifting boundaries and new homes. The Mother Wound is a powerful ode to mothering, a moving recognition of the strength and resilience of women like the author’s own mother and grandmother, and how they pave the way for future generations to flourish.