Podcast episodeCover image for of #12 Flight from Manus

The Messenger

12 Flight from Manus  /  Migration


Aziz, in a hotel room facing onto Genève-Cornavin railway station — Photo: Michael Green

'I just feel like I left my soul back there, you know. Personally I'm here, but my heart is still in Manus.'

– Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Aziz is shortlisted for a major international prize, the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. The ceremony is in Geneva, Switzerland. Improbably, the prize’s organisers secretly arrange permission for him to leave Manus Island to attend the event. 

In this episode, Aziz finally – temporarily – escapes Papua New Guinea, five and a half years after the Australian government took him there against his will. But he has no proper passport or visa, and no idea what to expect.  

After years of exile and captivity, how will it feel to visit Switzerland – one of the richest countries in the world? And can Aziz make any difference for those who remain stuck on Manus Island and Nauru?


A transcript of this episode is available here (PDF format).

Further reading 'Aziz: Flight from Manus' by Michael Green, Earshot, ABC Radio National, first broadcast 21 September 2019
The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders

In this episode

Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Michael Green Michael Khambatta Hans Thoolen

Our theme music was composed by Raya Slavin. Music used in this episode is by Hour House (Mark Leacy and Sam Kenna).

More information

The Messenger is a co-production of Behind the Wire and the Wheeler Centre. This episode was originally commissioned and produced for the ABC Radio National programme, Earshot. It was produced by Michael Green. The supervising producer was Lyn Gallacher. The sound engineer was Melissa May.

Narration by Michael Green. Additional editing and mixing by Jon Tjhia.

Thank you

André Dao, Jon Tjhia, Hannah Reich, Bec Fary and Sophie Black. Thanks also to Camilla Chapman, Cecilia Cannon and Sean Cole, and to Behind the Wire's many participants and volunteers. Michael Green's travel to Papua New Guinea was supported by a grant from the Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund.

Podcast episodeCover image for of The Next Big Thing: Most Underrated Book Award Edition 2019

The Wheeler Centre

The Next Big Thing: Most Underrated Book Award Edition 2019  /  Books, reading & writing

Composite, left to right: Melissa Cranenburgh, Lenka Vanderboom, James Cristina and Ilka Tampke

What's small, nerdy, fiercely independent and sometimes noisy? The Small Press Network's Most Underrated Book Award. It's an anticipated annual tradition – always our last Next Big Thing event of the year – and it's the only peer-reviewed and proven preventative medicine for your chronic case of reader's FOMO.

Now in its seventh year, the Small Press Network’s Most Underrated Book Award celebrates independently published titles that deserve some extra attention. Previously, the award has gone to The Cook by Wayne Macauley, A Wrong Turn in the Office of Unmade Lists by Jane Rawson. Last year's winner was Living in Hope by the late Frank Byrne.

The 2019 shortlisted titles are Brontide by Sue McPherson (Magabala Books), Antidote to a Curse by James Cristina (Transit Lounge) and Songwoman by Ilka Tampke (Text Publishing), and the 2019 judging panel is Melissa Cranenburgh, Jane Rawson and Jackie Tang. 

In this episode, we hear readings from the shortlisted works, and toast a great year in independent publishing, before revealing the 2019 MUBA winner. We're joined by each of the shortlisted authors (except Sue McPherson, who is represented by Magabala Books director Lenka Vanderboom). Melissa Cranenburgh hosts.

Presented in partnership with Small Press Network.

Anything and everything in Awards & prizes from across our archives.

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