World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Detained Manus refugee wins literary prize

Detained Manus refugee wins Australia’s richest literary prize

Friday, February 1, 2019


SYDNEY (France 24/AFP/Pacific Media Watch): An Iranian asylum-seeker detained in Papua New Guinea under Australian asylum laws has won Australia’s most valuable literary prize for a book he reportedly wrote using the online messaging service WhatsApp, reports France 24/AFP.

Behrouz Boochani, a Kurd who has been held on PNG’s Manus Island since 2013, was awarded the Victorian Prize for Literature yesterday, said a statement on a government website for the state of Victoria.

The journalist and filmmaker was awarded the A$100,000 (NZ$106,000) prize for his book No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison.

READ MORE: The book written one text at a time

He will receive an additional A$25,000 after it also won the non-fiction category.

“(Boochani’s) award was accepted by the book’s translator Omid Tofighian, who worked with Boochani over five years to bring the stories to life,” the state website said.

Media reports said Boochani wrote the work on his phone and sent it to Tofighian bit-by-bit in text messages.

This was because he felt unsafe in the guarded camp, which was shut last year after a local court ruling and the asylum-seekers moved elsewhere on the island.

For years Canberra has sent asylum-seekers who try to enter the country by boat to Manus Island or Nauru in the Pacific for processing, with those found to be refugees barred from resettling in Australia.

The harsh policy is meant to deter people embarking on treacherous sea journeys, but the United Nations and other rights groups have criticised the camps’ conditions and long detention periods.

Boochani’s book beat 27 other shortlisted works published last year in Australia to win the overall prize.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Hong Kong Protest Movement

The pro-democracy protests enjoy huge support among Hong Kong’s youth, partly because the democratic systems currently at risk have only a limited time span. More>>

ALSO:

Pacific Island Forum: Australia v Everyone Else On Climate Action

Traditionally, communiques capture the consensus reached at the meeting. In this case, the division on display between Australia and the Pacific meant the only commitment is to commission yet another report into what action needs to be taken. More>>

ALSO:

For NZ, It Was May 6: Earth Overshoot Day 2019 Is The Earliest Ever

Humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate. This is akin to using 1.75 Earths... More>>

ALSO:

Asylum: More Manus Refugees Fly To US But Hundreds Still In Limbo

“The US deal was never going to provide enough places for the refugees Australia has held on Manus and Nauru. There are over 1800 refugees needing resettlement,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. More>>

ALSO: