Series 4 Episode 7: Hannah Donnelly and Omar Sakr on centering the birth experience under capitalism


Hannah Donnelly is Producer, First Nations Programs at Information + Cultural Exchange (I.C.E.), Parramatta. Hannah is an award-winning Wiradjuri writer and producer interested in Indigenous futures, speculative fiction and responses to climate trauma. She was part of the curatorium for the 2022 Sydney Biennale and prior to that was Head Curator of Aboriginal Programs at Carriageworks. She worked as a producer on Next Wave Festival 2018 and Laukatim Solwara AsiaTOPA 2017, and was also a lead artist in Refuge, an Emergency Relief Centre simulation produced and directed by Arts House and City of Melbourne.

Omar Sakr is the son of Arab and Turkish Muslim migrants. He is the author of three poetry collections, including The Lost Arabs (UQP), which won the 2020 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry, and a novel, Son of Sin (Affirm Press), published in 2022. His latest book, Non-Essential Work, will be out later this year. He lives and works on Dharug land, where he was born and raised.

Experiencing a “high risk” pregnancy and birth while growing a new life during the pandemic was transformative for Wiradjuri writer and producer Hannah Donnelly, and Arab-Turkish partner, writer Omar Sakr. We talk about queering birth, the administrative load of pregnancy, and the need for collective infrastructure to improve birthing experiences and outcomes for families and communities.

Blacklight: Ten Years of First Nations Storytelling edited by Hannah Donnelly
Arts and Cultural Exchange (ACE)
Westmead Dragonfly Midwifery

Non-Essential Work by Omar Sakr
Shelf Reflection: Omar Sakr
Three poems by Omar Sakr

Music in this episode includes ‘Dream Drone’ by Yigit Atilla, and ‘ZEN’ by All Bets Off used under an Audio Standard Licence from Adobe Stock.