News World Detained refugee wins top Australian prize for book written on his phone

Detained refugee wins top Australian prize for book written on his phone

A refugee held in a remote Pacific detention centre has won Australia’s top literature prize with his debut book, which he wrote on his mobile phone and delivered one chapter at a time via WhatsApp.

Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian held in an Australian-run camp on a Papua New Guinea island, won the A$100,000 ($72,390) Victorian Prize for literature on Thursday with his book “No Friends but the Mountains”.

Boochani, who has been held in the Manus Island camp since shortly after he was plucked off a refugee boat on its way to Australia six years ago, said he hoped the prize would focus attention on the plight of more than 1,000 people in Australia’s off-shore camps.

“I don’t want to celebrate this achievement while I still see many innocent people suffering around me,” Boochani told Reuters in an exchange of text messages.

Boochani has been a prominent critic of the treatment of people under Australia’s hardline immigration policy.

Asylum seekers intercepted at sea are sent for “processing” to three camps in PNG and one on the South Pacific island of Nauru, where many have languished for years. They are not allowed to set foot in Australia.

Boochani said one of his biggest fears when he was writing the book was that his telephone would be confiscated by camp guards.

“I was worried that if they attacked my room they would take my property,” he said.

He wrote the book in his native Farsi and sent it via the WhatsApp messaging service to a translator in Australia.

The award was announced on Thursday at a ceremony in Australia, a country Boochani has been banned from ever visiting.

“It brings enormous shame to the Australian government,” Boochani said of the policy responsible for his plight.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Large blast in Beirut port area shakes Cyprus

A large explosion shook the Lebanese capital Beirut and a giant column of smoke was seen rising over the city, Reuters witnesses and local...

Twenty-five new corona virus cases detected out of 3,988 tests

According to the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health 25 new cases of the SARS-CoV-II virus were detected out of a total...

Mainly fine weather with new yellow alert for extremely high temperatures

Mainly fine weather on Wednesday with yet another yellow alert for extremely high temperatures issued – in effect from 1pm to 5pm. Temperatures are expected...

Industrial producer prices up by 0.7% in Euro area and 0.4% in Cyprus in June 2020

In June 2020, the fourth month during which Covid-19 containment measures are being applied in most Member States, industrial producer prices rose, compared with...

People needed to manage thermal cameras

The Ministry of Health announced a tender for the purchase of services by health professionals for the management of thermal cameras at Larnaca and...

Taste

Octopus ‘Kathisto’ (or Octopus braised in Wine)

Ingredients: 1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil 2 medium onions, chopped fine 1 large octopus, about 2kg (cleaned and kept whole) 3/4 cup dry red wine 1/3 cup...

Homemade lemonade

Ingredients: 1 cup lemon juice 1 cup sugar Method: Thoroughly wash the lemons with soap and warm water. Roll each lemon with the palm of your hand, pressing...

‘Striftaria’ mini cheese pies

Ingredients 1 ½ cup milk 2 tbsps. flour 4 tsps. of butter 3 eggs, slightly beaten + 1 extra with 1 tbs. of milk for spreading 1 pack of...

Mini potato canapes baked on salt

Ingredients Serves: 12 1kg small Cypriot potatoes rock salt, as needed 250g salted butter 300ml full fat cremé frâiche 1 pot cod or salmon roe Method Prep:20min › Cook:35min › Ready in:55min Take...