Detained refugee wins Australia’s richest literary prize

Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish-Iranian refugee, has won the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature for his first book, No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison.

Translator Omid Tofighian holds his phone to the microphone so that Behrouz Boochani can speak to the crowd. Photo credit: Andrew Wrathall, Books+Publishing.

Currently detained on Manus Island, Kurdish-Iranian journalist, human rights defender, poet, film producer and writer Behrouz Boochani was last night announced as the winner of Australia’s richest literary prize.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts