Detained Iranian writer wins top Australian literary award
Publish Date : Saturday 2 February 2019 - 13:36
IBNA- An Iranian Kurd asylum seeker detained on Manus Island Behrouz Boochani won the Victorian prize of literature for his ‘No Friend But the Mountains’, although he wasn’t permitted to attend the award ceremony.
According to IBNA
correspondent quoting from the Guardian
, 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.
Kept in purgatory on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea for almost six years, he was first behind the wire of the Australian offshore detention center, 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 center – has been recognized by a government from the same country that denied him access and locked him up. It is, he said, “a paradoxical feeling”.
“I really don’t know what to say. I certainly did not write this book just to win an award,” Boochani added.
“My main aim has always been for the people in Australia and around the world to understand deeply how this system has tortured innocent people on Manus and Nauru in a systematic way for almost six years. I hope this award will bring more attention to our situation, and create change, and end this barbaric policy.”
The awards are split into seven categories, which are judged by a panel. In 2017 and 2018, women won each category, and they dominated the winners’ list again this year, with Elise Valmorbida winning the fiction prize with ‘The Madonna of the Mountains’; Kendall Feaver winning the drama prize for her play, ‘The Almighty Sometimes’; Kate Lilley winning the poetry prize for ‘Tilt’; Victoria Hannan winning the $15,000 unpublished manuscript prize for ‘Kokomo’; and Bri Lee winning the people’s choice award for her memoir ‘Eggshell Skull’.