IBNA- Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian Kurd asylum seeker detained on Manus Island who had already won the Victorian prize of literature for his ‘No Friend But the Mountains’ added National Biography Award to his trophies.
According to IBNA correspondent, quoting from ‘The Guardian’, judges call his memoir an ‘astonishing act of witness’. He has continued his sweep of the Australian literary prize landscape, winning the $25,000 National Biography award on Monday – yet another award the refugee was unable to accept in person, as he enters his sixth year of detention on Manus Island.
Boochani’s autobiography ‘No Friend but the Mountains’ tells of his journey from Indonesia to Australia by boat, and his subsequent imprisonment on Manus Island by the Australian government, which continues to refuse him entry.
The journalist and activist composed the book one text message at the time from Manus. It was translated from Persian by his friend Omid Tofighian.
‘No Friend but the Mountains’ has already won $125,000 at the Victorian premier’s literary awards, the country’s richest literary prize; $10,000 at the New South Wales premier’s literary awards; and non-fiction book of the year at the Australian Book Industry Awards.
Boochani appeared at the awards ceremony via WhatsApp.
“I don’t want to talk about literature, I would [just] like to say that I think the literature community as a part of civil society of Australia are part of our resistance in front of this system, and I think it is very valuable, and I do appreciate everyone for recognizing my work,” he said.
He thanked the prize organizers, Tofighian and his first translator, Moones Mansoubi, as well as his other supporters. “I think history will judge this generation and will judge all of us in this hard and dark period of Australian history,” he said.