No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus prison wins Victorian premier’s literary awards 2019.

5 February 2019

Behrouz Boochani: asylum seeker detained on Manus Island, has won the Victorian prize for literature. A Kurdish Iranian writer sought refuge in Australia but was instead sent to the country’s notorious offshore detention centre. For the next five years he wrote a book, one text message at a time.

Behrouz Boochani became a well known and award-winning voice from Papua New Guinea’s remote Manus Island, acting as a source for journalists in Australia and internationally.

The author’s debut novel No Friend But the Mountains was tapped out on a mobile phone one message at a time and translated from Farsi by Omid Tofighian. When the book was published Boochani could not physically attend his book launch because the Australian government had refused to let him attend in person, instead he Skyped in from the refugee accommodation centre where he lives in East Lorengau.