They Cannot Take the Sky

Stories from detention

Edited by Michael Green, Andre Dao, Angelica Neville, Dana Affleck and Sienna Merope
AUD $29.99
Availability: Print on demand

Revealing, moving and confronting accounts of the reality of life in mandatory detention by those who've experienced it.

For more than two decades, Australia has locked up people who arrive here fleeing persecution - sometimes briefly, sometimes for years. In They Cannot Take the Sky those people tell their stories, in their own words. Speaking from inside immigration detention on Manus Island and Nauru, or from within the Australian community after their release, the narrators reveal not only their extraordinary journeys and their daily struggles but also their meditations on love, death, hope and injustice. Their candid testimonies are at times shocking and hilarious, surprising and devastating. They are witnesses from the edge of human experience.

The first-person narratives in They Cannot Take the Sky range from epic life stories to heartbreaking vignettes. The narrators who have shared their stories have done so despite the culture of silence surrounding immigration detention, and the real risks faced by those who speak out. Once you have heard their voices, you will never forget them.

'This book is extraordinary and humbling and necessary.' Anna Funder

'These are the stories you will read and never forget. All Australians must read this book.' Alexis Wright

'We have waited too long for an anthology like this. Deftly drawn, wide-ranging, and painstakingly edited and collected, these engaging stories from immigration detention are desperate and passionate; harrowing and inspirational; beautiful and forlorn.' Maxine Beneba Clarke

'This is a book whose human, frank, illuminating voices the government does not want to hear from.' Tom Keneally

Author bio:

Behind the Wire is an award-winning oral history organisation. It works with men, women and children who have sought asylum in our community and who have experienced mandatory immigration detention in Australia, Papua New Guinea or Nauru. Its projects include a book, audio book, podcast, museum exhibition, listening parties, and photographic portraits. For more information, see:

Category: Current Affairs & Politics
ISBN: 9781760292805
Awards: Highly Commended Victorian Premier's Literary Awards - Non-Fiction 2018 AU
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: March 2017
Page Extent: 336
Format: Paperback - C format
Subject: Social issues & processes

Watch the trailer