Manus Island Prison Theory: Displacement, Exile and Knowing in Indefinite Detention

7 February 2020, 10:00 - 12:00

Cripps Court Auditorium, Magdalene College, 1-3 Chesterton Rd, CB3 0AG *Different day and venue (TBC)

Behrouz Boochani (Journalist, writer and film producer)
Omid Tofighian (UNSW)


This talk addresses the 2018 publication of No Friend but the Mountains: Writings From Manus Prison by the Kurdish Iranian writer and journalist Behrouz Boochani. The author was held in indefinite detention on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea from 2013 to 2019 as part of the Australian government's policies on refugees, writing about conditions in the detention centre in secret. Boochani's work presents an extraordinary aesthetic, philosophical and political challenge to think through and interrogate the mechanics of detention within a framework of colonial dispossession and the neo-colonial strategies that maintain and reinforce border violence.

This paper discusses the experiences and knowledge produced under conditions of displacement and exile, and how such narratives, rarely prioritised in public or academic discourse, offer a unique insight into the lived-experience and endurance of people subject to racialised government policies, intersectional discrimination and systemic exclusion.

No Friend but the Mountains’ translator, Dr Omid Tofighian (UNSW), will address us in person, while Behrouz Boochani will join us via videolink.




Open to all. No registration required.
An event organised by Risk and Renewal in the Pacific Network
Administrative assistance: networks@crassh.cam.ac.uk