Over the past several years, the FCIL-SIS Book Discussion Group, started by Dan Wade in in 2014, has become a popular informal addition to the AALL Annual Meeting’s FCIL conference programming. Each year, we select a book to read in advance of the conference and meet during the conference to enjoy a book discussion, lunch or snacks, and each other’s company.
This year, the group will meet on Monday, July 15, at 12:15, during the Attendee Lunch in the Exhibit Hall. We will meet in the Registration Area, find a table, and take advantage of the complimentary lunch.
This year’s book selection is No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison, by Behrouz Boochani. Mr. Boochani is an Iranian-Kurdish journalist, human rights defender, poet and film producer. He was born in western Iran and has been held in the Australian-run Manus Island detention center since 2013. The following book description appears on the Pan Macmillan Australia website:
WINNER OF THE VICTORIAN PREMIER’S LITERARY PRIZE FOR LITERATURE AND FOR NON-FICTION 2019
Where have I come from? From the land of rivers, the land of waterfalls, the land of ancient chants, the land of mountains…
In 2013, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani was illegally detained on Manus Island. He has been there ever since.
People would run to the mountains to escape the warplanes and found asylum within their chestnut forests…
This book is the result. Laboriously tapped out on a mobile phone and translated from the Farsi. It is a voice of witness, an act of survival. A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance. A vivid portrait through five years of incarceration and exile.
Do Kurds have any friends other than the mountains?
WINNER OF THE NSW PREMIER’S AWARD 2019
WINNER OF THE ABIA GENERAL FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019
PRAISE FOR NO FRIEND BUT THE MOUNTAINS
“Boochani has produced a literary, journalistic and philosophical tour de force. It may well stand as one of the most important books published in Australia in two decades…” The Saturday Paper
“A chant, a cry from the heart, a lament, fuelled by a fierce urgency, written with the lyricism of a poet, the literary skills of a novelist, and the profound insights of an astute observer of human behaviour and the ruthless politics of a cruel and unjust imprisonment.” Arnold Zable, author of the award-winning Jewels and Ashes and Cafe Scheherazade
“a shattering book every Australian should read” Benjamin Law (@mrbenjaminlaw 01/02/2019)
“In the absence of images, turn to this book to fathom what we have done, what we continue to do. It is, put simply, the most extraordinary and important book I have ever read.” Good Reading Magazine(starred review)
“Brilliant writing. Brilliant thinking. Brilliant courage.” Professor Marcia Langton AM (@marcialangton 01/02/2019)
“Not for the faint-hearted, it’s a powerful, devastating insight into a situation that’s so often seen through a political – not personal – lens.” GQ Australia
“It is an unforgettable account of man’s inhumanity to man that reads like something out of Orwell or Kafka, and is aptly described by Tofighian as ‘horrific surrealism’. It is clear from Boochani’s writing that he is a highly educated and philosophical man; he segues effortlessly between prose and poetry, both equally powerful.” –The Australian Financial Review Magazine
“Behrouz Boochani has written a book which is as powerful as it is poetic and moving. He describes his experience of living in a refugee prison with profound insight and intelligence.” Queensland Reviewers Collective
“In his book Boochani introduces us to different dimensions of his experience and thinking. Both a profound creative writing project and a strategic act of resistance, the book is part of a coherent theoretical project and critical approach.” Omid Tofighian, translator of No Friend But the Mountains
“It is a voice of witness, an act of survival. A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance. A vivid portrait through five years of incarceration and exile.” Readings
“Boochani has woven his own experiences in to a tale which is at once beautiful and harrowing, creating a valuable contribution to Australia’s literary canon.” Writing NSW
“it is a voice of witness and an act of survival” Law Society of NSW Journal
This year’s book selection promises to foster a rich discussion, and we look forward to welcoming both past book group members and new members interested in joining the discussion. Again, this is an informal event, and RSVPs are not necessary; however, please feel free to let us know if you are planning to participate, so that we can get a general head count ahead of time. Any questions or comments can be emailed to Susan Gualtier at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing you all in Washington, D.C. for another great book discussion!