No Friend But the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani (translated by Omid Tofighian) has been awarded the 2019 National Biography Award.
Behrouz’s powerful story of detention on Manus Island has today won this year’s $25,000 prize, the nation’s richest prize for biographical writing, as announced by the State Library of NSW.
No Friend But the Mountains describes life on Manus Island where Kurdish refugee Behrouz Boochani has been held for more than six years, recounting the shocking tiny details of cruelty, degradation, humiliation and constant surveillance.
Behrouz accepted his award via Whatsapp:
“Hello, I would like to say hello to everyone.
I am very excited. I am sitting with an Australian friend and hear this news. Thank you very much.
I don’t want to talk about literature , just I would 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 recognising my work.
Also, I would like to thank all of my friends: Omid Tofighian, Moones Mansoubi and others for helping me in this way and in this struggle.
I don’t know what to say, just thank you very much. I think history will judge this generation and will judge all of us in this hard and dark period of Australian history.
Thank you very much.”
Congratulations to Behrouz and Omid, we are so glad this hugely important story is being heard and recognised.
— Pan Macmillan Aus (@MacmillanAus) August 12, 2019
Image by Joy Lai, State Library of NSW.