Behrouz Boochani: detained asylum seeker wins Australia’s richest literary prize

Calla Wahlquist, The Guardian, 31st Jan 2019

The winner of Australia’s richest literary prize did not attend the ceremony.

His absence was not by choice.

Behrouz Boochani, whose debut book won both the $25,000 non-fiction prize at the Victorian premier’s literary awards and the $100,000 Victorian prize for literature on Thursday night, is not allowed into Australia.

The Kurdish Iranian writer is an asylum seeker who has been kept in purgatory on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea for almost six years, first behind the wire of the Australian offshore detention centre, and then in alternative accommodation on the island.

Now his book No Friend But the Mountains – composed one text message at a time from within the detention centre – has been recognised by a government from the same country that denied him access and locked him up.

Read more at The Guardian

[A (condensed) version of Behrouz Boochani’s ‘A letter from Manus Island’ was performed in Hobart last year at MAC’s Concert for Refugees].

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