08 February 2023


Freedom, Only Freedom

Behrouz Boochani
In-Conversation with Professor Peter Greste

Access a video of Behrouz Boochani In-Conversation with Professor Peter Greste and Dr Omid Tofighian

UniSA Video

Book Cover Freedom Only Freedon.png

An in-conversation with Kurdish-Iranian writer, journalist, scholar, cultural advocate, filmmaker, and former Manus Island detainee, Behrouz Boochani, discussing his second book, Freedom, Only Freedom: The Prison Writings. Translated and edited by Dr Omid Tofighian and Moones Mansoubi, the book is a joint project by the same team who produced No Friend but the Mountains.  Their long collaboration puts them in a unique position to bring these stories to readers and highlight the plight of refugees around the world. 

Over six years of imprisonment on Australia's offshore migrant detention centre, the Kurdish Iranian journalist and writer Behrouz Boochani bore personal witness to the suffering and degradation inflicted on him and his fellow refugees, culminating eventually in his prize-winning book No Friend but the Mountains which was painstakingly typed out in text messages while he was incarcerated. No Friend but the Mountains won the 2019 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Literature and Non-Fiction, the 2019 Australian Book Industry Award for Non-fiction Book of the Year, the 2019 National Biography Prize, and many other prestigious awards.

In the articles, essays, and poems he wrote while detained, he emerged as both a tenacious campaigner and activist, as well as a deeply humane voice which speaks for the indignity and plight of the many thousands of detained migrants across the world. 

In his follow up book, Freedom, Only Freedom, his collected writings are combined with essays from experts on migration, refugee rights, politics, and literature. Together, they provide a moving, creative, and challenging account of not only one writer's harrowing experience and inspiring resilience, but the wider structures of violence which hold thousands of human beings in a state of misery in migrant camps throughout Western nation-states and beyond.

In this first and only Adelaide event, Behrouz Boochani was in conversation with award-winning journalist Professor Peter Greste, with an introductory presentation delivered by Freedom, Only Freedom editor and long-term translator/collaborator Dr Omid Tofighian.

Purchase a copy Freedom, Only Freedom from Matilda Bookshop's website and choose 'Hawke Centre Events Free SA postage' as the delivery option. They will then deliver or post your book to South Australian addresses at no additional cost or it can be collected at the event on the night. Alternatively books will be for sale in the foyer on the night.

Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre 

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Behrouz Boochani
Writer, Journalist, Scholar, Cultural Advocate
and Film-maker

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 a Visiting Professor at Birkbeck Law School; Associate Professor in Social Sciences at UNSW; non-resident Visiting Scholar at the Sydney Asia Pacific Migration Centre (SAPMiC), University of Sydney; Honorary Member of PEN International; and winner of an Amnesty International Australia 2017 Media Award, the Diaspora Symposium Social Justice 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; and collaborator on Nazanin Sahamizadeh’s play Manus. His book, No Friend but The Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison won the 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature in addition to the Nonfiction category. He has also won the Special Award at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the Australian Book Industry Award for Nonfiction Book of the Year, and the National Biography Prize.

 Behrouz Boochani 'The Guardian' Articles

Photo Credit: Behrouz Boochani, Photographer: Ehsan K Hazaveh

Behrouz Boochani

Dr Omid Tofighian (Introduction)
Editor: Freedom, Only Freedom

Dr Omid Tofighian is Adjunct Lecturer in the School of the Arts and Media, University of New South Wales; and Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck Law, University of London. He is an award-winning lecturer, researcher and community advocate, combining philosophy with interests in citizen media, popular culture, displacement and discrimination.

His publications include Myth and Philosophy in Platonic Dialogues (Palgrave 2016); translation of Behrouz Boochani's multi-award-winning book No Friend but the Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison (Picador 2018); co-editor of special issues for journals Literature and Aesthetics (2011), Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media (2019) and Southerly (2021)and co-translator/co-editor of Freedom, Only Freedom: The Prison Writings of Behrouz Boochani (Bloomsbury 2023).

 The Guardian, Article: Writing from Manus prison: a scathing critique of domination and oppression

Omid Tofighian

Moones Mansoubi
Editor: Freedom, Only Freedom

Moones Mansoubi is a community, arts and cultural development worker based in Sydney, Australia. Her work is dedicated mainly to supporting and collaborating with migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia. She has managed numerous community and cultural projects and was the first translator of Behrouz Boochani’s work when he began writing from Manus Island.

She was translation consultant for Boochani’s book No Friend but the Mountains (Picador, 2018). She works with various news outlet and journals as an author, contributor and translator.  Her translation of the article ‘An Island off Manus’ (The Saturday Paper, 6 May 2017) was included in Boochani’s winning nomination for an Amnesty International Australia Media Award in 2017. She has a Master’s in International Relations and is passionate about social justice and social cohesion. She is currently coordinator of the Community Refugee Welcome Centre in Inner West Sydney and a producer for SBS Radio, Persian program.


Moones Mansoubi

Professor Peter Greste
Film Maker, Journalist, Author and
Professor Of Journalism, Macquarie University 

Professor Peter Greste is an academic, film maker, journalist, and author. He is currently professor of journalism at Macquarie University. He came to academia in 2018 after a 30-year career as an award-winning foreign correspondent for the BBC, Reuters, CNN and Al Jazeera, in some of the world’s most volatile places. From Afghanistan, to Latin American, Africa and the Middle East, he has reported from the frontlines and beyond.

In 2011, he won a Peabody Award for a documentary on Somalia, Land of Anarchy, for the BBC’s flagship current affairs program, Panorama. He is best known for becoming a headline himself, when he and two of his colleagues were arrested in Cairo while working for Al Jazeera, and charged with terrorism offences. In letters smuggled from prison, he described the arrests as an attack on media freedom. The letters helped launch a global campaign that eventually got them released after more than 400 days in prison. His struggle helped earn him numerous awards including from the British Royal Television Society, the Walkley Foundation, the RSL, the Australian Human Rights Commission and the International Association of Press Clubs.

In 2017, with two colleagues, he established the advocacy group, the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom which actively campaigns for media freedom across Australia and the Asia Pacific region. As an academic, he leads a research program investigating the impact of national security legislation on public interest journalism. Peter is the author of The First Casualty about his experiences in Egypt, and the wider war on journalism.


Professor Peter Greste

Presented by
The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre


While the views presented by speakers within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia, or The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - Building our Future. The Hawke Centre reserves the right to change their program at any time without notice.