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Day of the Imprisoned Writer

November 18, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

When Behrouz Boochani became the Voice of Manus he revealed the chaos and cruelty of a secret regime and made a nation take notice. But five years on from finding freedom in New Zealand who is Behrouz Boochani now? 

In this wide-ranging conversation, he reflects on his years in detention capturing in words and on film the madness of Manus, his more recent writing – including his book Freedom, Only Freedom – his poetry and playwrighting, and as a Kurdish activist his involvement in the ‘Woman Life Freedom’ uprising in Iran

What happens to imprisoned writers when they are no longer in prison?

Behrouz will be talking with Ben Doherty – International Affairs correspondent for The Guardian – for PEN International’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer.

Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish-Iranian writer, journalist, scholar, cultural advocate and filmmaker. Boochani was a writer and editor for the Kurdish language magazine Werya in Iran. He is an Honorary Member of PEN International; and winner of an Amnesty International Australia 2017 Media Award, the Liberty Victoria 2018 Empty Chair Award, and the Anna Politkovskaya award for journalism. He publishes regularly with The Guardian, and his writing also features in The Saturday PaperHuffington PostNew MatildaThe Financial Times and The Sydney Morning Herald. Boochani is also co-director (with Arash Kamali Sarvestani) of the 2017 feature-length film ChaukaPlease Tell Us The Time. His book, No Friend But The Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison won the 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature in addition to the Nonfiction category. His most recent book is Freedom, Only Freedom.

Ben Doherty, International affairs correspondent for The Guardian, has reported across the Asia-Pacific, including postings in Southeast and South Asia. His work focuses on human rights and humanitarian issues, and forced migration. He holds master’s degrees from Oxford University and UNSW, and is the author of a novel, Nagaland.

This event is presented in partnership with the State Library of NSW.


Pen Sydney


245 Wilson St
Eveleigh, NSW 2015 Australia
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