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Omid Tofighian

Freedom, Only Freedom by Behrouz Boochani, edited and translated by Omid Tofighian and Moones Mansoubi

January-February 2023, no. 450

In 2018, No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison became a literary sensation. It was written by Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish-Iranian journalist and refugee who was incarcerated by the Australian government on Manus Island. Like thousands of others, Boochani had travelled by boat to seek asylum in Australia. From Manus, he texted passages to collaborators in Sydney. There, Omid Tofighian and Moones Mansoubi developed the work further. Through reportage, storytelling and poetry, it bore witness to the horrors of immigration detention. By 2019, No Friend had won some of Australia’s major literary awards and Boochani had become internationally renowned. In November 2019, he was invited to attend a festival in Christchurch, New Zealand. After six years in detention, he was free. The system that had imprisoned him remained intact.

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In June 2019, Australian Book Review announced the ABR Behrouz Boochani Fellowship, an initiative generously funded by Peter McMullin in association with the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness (University of Melbourne). This initiative was not only created to highlight issues pertaining to ...

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