Omid Tofighian

2019 - Highly commended

Highly commended

Judges' comments

Compared to the substantial bodies of work by the translators included in the shortlist, Tofighian’s entry for this award, consisting of the book No Friend but the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani and a selection of articles by the same author, cannot be included in the shortlist. Nevertheless, the particular nature of this work merits special consideration.

One of the vital qualities of translation is that it allows cultures to converse and voices to be heard that might otherwise remain silent. Tofighian’s work dramatically demonstrates this potential. With this book, we hear the experience of living in Australia’s immigration detention centres from the inside, in Boochani’s eloquent, scathing and poetic voice. It provides an urgent vindication of the power of translation to open up worlds, clearly illustrating the importance of translation as a primary medium of international understanding and debate. We therefore propose the award of Highly Commended for Tofighian’s submission.