Date: Thursday 13 February, 12:00-14:30
Location: Holland College, Pater Damiaanplein 9, 3000 Leuven

In the wake of the publication of his award-winning novel No Friend but the Mountains (Picador 2018), author Behrouz Boochani and translator Omid Tofighian developed a critical, creative and political project under the banner “Manus Prison Theory”. The project is based on interdisciplinary scholarship, transnational collaboration and collective action. Its main goal is to analyse the border industrial complex and its connections to other forms of violence and domination. In the specific case of Australia’s practice of border detention, Manus Prison Theory unearths the roots of this practice in Australia’s colonial imaginary, which pervades its socio-political structures and institutions.

This event consists of two parts:

  • part one (12:00-13:00): presentation of  Manus Prison Theory (+ Q&A)
  • part two (13:30-14:30): Tom Toremans interviews Boochani and Tofighian about the novel No Friend But The Mountains (+ Q&A)

Participants are free to attend only one part. Participation is free, but please register at

Kurdish-Iranian author, journalist and filmmaker Behrouz Boochani is Adjunct Associate Professor of Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales and Visiting Professor at Birkbeck (University of London). His novel No Friend But the Mountains presents a prison narrative of his six years in a refugee detention camp on Manus Island. It attracted international attention after winning numerous awards, including the 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature and the Australian National Biography Award.

Omid Tofighian is Adjunct Lecturer in the School of the Arts and Media of the University of New South Wales and Honorary Research Associate for the Department of Philosophy of the University of Sydney. Combining philosophy with interests in citizen media, popular culture, displacement and discrimination, he was also a central actor in the composition of No Friend But the Mountains: Boochani wrote the novel in Farsi via WhatsApp messages sent to Tofighian, who then translated the messages from Farsi into English.