26 October 2023


Reading and Writing Dangerously

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UniSA Video


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Panel Discussion

Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, University of South Australia and The J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, The University of Adelaide

Join us for an extraordinary panel discussion led by acclaimed journalist, Professor Peter Greste, as we delve into the profound experiences of reading and writing amidst adversity – during and following incarceration. Each panellist is a survivor of relentless surveillance and political detention in perilous environments.

Discover the resilience of these writers and explore the profound role that reading and writing played in their journey and learn how they not only endured but triumphed over unimaginable challenges. 

Panellists include:

Behrouz Boochani:* Kurdish-Iranian journalist, refugee advocate, former Manus Island detainee.
Geraldine Brooks AO: Australian-American author and journalist, Pulitzer Prize Winner (2006).
Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert: Australian academic and former detainee (Iran).
Facilitator, Professor Peter Greste: Prominent Australian journalist and former detainee (Egypt).

*Behrouz Boochani will join via livestream link. The other panellists will participate in-person in the Allan Scott Auditorium. 

Don't miss this opportunity to gain insight into the power of words in the face of hardship.

The Hawke Centre is proud to co-present this event with The University of Adelaide's J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice - a place where inspiration, ideas and invention come together.



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 presented a Hawke Centre event, Freedom Only Freedom in February 2023.

 Behrouz Boochani 'The Guardian' Articles

Photo Credit: Behrouz Boochani, Photographer: Ehsan K Hazaveh

Behrouz Boochani

Geraldine Brooks AO
author & journalist

Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist. A graduate of Sydney University, she worked for The Sydney Morning Herald, The National Times and for a decade as a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, covering global conflicts.

Geraldine was the Greg Shackleton scholar at Columbia University's journalism program and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where she has also been a visiting lecturer. She is the author of six novels, including the 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner, March, and the recent bestseller, Horse. Her non-fiction works include Nine Parts of Desire and her 2011 Boyer lecture series, entitled The Idea of Home. In 2010 she won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2016 was named an officer in the Order of Australia.

Geraldine Brooks website

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dr kylie moore-gilbert
political scientist & author
visiting fellow, university of sydney

Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert is a British-Australian political scientist, specialising in Islam and the Middle East. Kylie speaks several Middle Eastern languages and has spent significant periods travelling and conducting academic research in the region.

In 2018 she was detained during a trip to Iran and served more than two years of a ten-year sentence before being freed in November 2020 in a prisoner exchange deal negotiated by the Australian government. Kylie is the author of the bestselling 2022 memoir The Uncaged Sky and is currently a visiting fellow at the University of Sydney’s Centre for International Security Studies.

Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert was in conversation with Jane Caro AM, in April 2022, discussing her book The Uncaged Sky, and her inceration in an Iranian prison. 


Kylie Moore-Gilbert

FACILITATOR: 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 a 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 America, 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.

Peter Greste presented, The First Casualty, a Hawke Centre event in 2017, discussing his incarceration in an Egyptian prison and the role of journalism in war. At Hawke Centre events he was also in conversation with Behrouz Boochani and photojournalist, Andrew Quilty.


Professor Peter Greste

Presented by
The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA


the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, The University of Adelaide

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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.