Refugee in prison phoned his book to translator

ABOVE: Author Behrouz Boochani was a guest of Kyogle Writers Festival.

Kurdish Iranian writer Behrouz Boochani, along with his translator and collaborator Omid Tofighian came to Kyogle and spoke at a sold out event hosted by the Kyogle Writers Festival team.

Behrouz and Omid discussed their new book Freedom, Only Freedom.

Their first book together, No Friend but the Mountains: writings from Manus Prison was published in 2018 and won the Victorian Prize for Literature and the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Nonfiction in 2019.

The book was famous for having been written by phone. Behrouz spoke in his Farsi, his mother tongue. Moones Mansoubi was at the end  of the line and translated the phone calls through WhatsApp to Omid. 

Behrouz was denied asylum in Australia and was detained in offshore detention for six years until he was eventually offered resettlement in New Zealand.

Behrouz sees his work as a political act against the dehumanizing systems of refugee camps such as Nauru and of the policies “enforced by our governments in the name of national security”. 

Both Behrouz and Omid acknowledged the advocacy and activism in Australia, highlighting the networks which supported the men incarcerated in Manus Prison, when the government pulled out, leaving more than 600 men in a compound with no power, water or food for more than three weeks. 

The Lismore Region Refugee Support group was at the talk in Kyogle.  This group welcomes and supports refugee families and supplies ongoing financial and social support. 

This group can be contacted at

To stay up to date with literary events in Kyogle go to their Facebook page. 

This event was presented with support from Kyogle Council.

The audience at Kyogle listening to the author talk. Photos: Contributed
Like an alert when we add a story? Yes please No thanks