NO FRIEND BUT THE MOUNTAINS, Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani’s memoir of life as a detainee on Manus Island’s detention camp (on Papua New Guinea) for more than five years, has won both the Victorian Premier’s Literary Prize 2019 for Literature and for Non-fiction.
The combined value of the two prizes is AU$125,000.
Previously, Behrouz had won Amnesty International Australia’s 2017 Media Award for his reporting from Manus Island. And when his book, written one text message at a time, was published in August 2018, he was unable to attend the launch because the Australian authorities refused to let him enter the country.
Given Australia’s extremely strict restrictions on asylum seekers, it remains to be seen whether he will be allowed in now.
(Photo credit Jonas Gratzer for The Guardian)