Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness at the University of Melbourne), and Peter Rose, Editor of ABR.Australian Book Review has much pleasure in naming Hessom Razavi as the recipient of the ABR Behrouz Boochani Fellowship. The Fellowship, worth $10,000, honours the artistry, courage, and moral leadership of Behrouz Boochani, the award-winning author of No Friend But the Mountains (2018), who has been imprisoned on Manus Island since 2013. Dr Razavi will make a significant contribution to the magazine in 2020 with a series of three substantial articles on refugees, statelessness, and human rights. The Fellowship is funded by Peter McMullin, a lawyer, philanthropist, and businessman. Hessom Razavi was chosen from a quality international field. The selection panel comprised Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee, Michelle Foster (Director of the
About Hessom Razavi
Hessom Razavi is a writer and doctor based in Perth. He was born in Iran in 1976. In 1983 his family fled Iran to escape political persecution. He grew up in Pakistan and the United Kingdom before migrating to Australia when he was thirteen. He completed his studies as an ophthalmologist in 2015 and has visited Manus Island and Nauru in a medical capacity. He also writes poetry and essays, and he is currently working on his first collection. He describes himself as an exile, migrant, professional, and ‘perennial outsider’. His early experience of exile and state violence, and his subsequent qualifications as a writer and clinician, give him an unusual perspective on the plight of the millions of people around the world who are oppressed, anathematised, and endangered.
‘It’s an honour and delight to receive ABR’s inaugural Behrouz Boochani Fellowship. I accept it in the spirit of mutual respect for asylum seekers, refugees, the Australian people, and our regional neighbours. I am grateful to the magazine and to Peter McMullin. I very much look forward to working with ABR and the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness in 2020. My goal will be to help shift awareness and raise empathy among those Australians who remain uninformed or ambivalent, particularly moderate conservatives, young people, and those who are open to reason. Ultimately, I work to contribute to the collective moment – medical, legal, artistic, political – that advocates for more humane, sustainable outcomes for vulnerable people who seek protection in Australia.’
‘For decades, Australia has normalised the indefinite imprisonment of refugees. This is a critical time: we need to support writers inside the prison camps and also those people who are recording this history outside the prisons. It is extremely important that we support the writers and researchers recording this history in any way we can. The Fellowship is long overdue but also a great step in helping to document the history and to transform the present situation. What Australian Book Review is doing is valuable for many reasons. The Fellowship promises to be an important contribution to the discourse.’