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No Friend but the Mountains wins 2019 National Biography Award

No Friend but the Mountains wins 2019 National Biography Award

Behrouz Boochani has won the 2019 National Biography Award for his memoir No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison

No Friend But the Mountains describes life on Manus Island, where Kurdish refugee and journalist has been held for over six years. It shines a light on details of cruelty, degredation, humuliation and unending surveillance. 

Award judges called the book 'profoundly important, an astonishing act of witness and testament to the lifesaving power of writing as resistance.' 

Boochani wrote the book while incarcerated at Manus Island, using the a mobile phone and smuggled out of the island through thousands of digital files. The original Persian text was translated by Omid Tofighian and published by Picador Australia, where it went on to win The Vicorian Prize for Literature and the Victorian Premier's Prize for Nonfiction. 

Still on Manus Island, Boochani accepted the award via text message, saying: 

'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.'

You can read our 5 star review of No Friend But the Mountains here.