Reading list

Here is my recommending reading list on refugees and asylum seekers. Many of them are personal stories – some hard to read and all absorbing, illuminating and inspiring.

From time to time I write a book review and include it on my blog.  If I have reviewed the book there will be a link in the title, or you can go to my book reviews page.

Personal Stories

  • The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif by Najaf Mazari and Robert Hillman (Wild Dingo Press, Melbourne, 2008)
  • Songs of a war boy by Deng Thiak Adut (Hachette, NSW, 2016)
  • Walking free by Munjed Al Muderis. (Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, NSW, 2014)
  • The people smuggler by Robin De Crespigny (Penguin Books, Melbourne, 2012)
  • Ways of being here by Raefeif Ismail, Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes, Tinashe Jakwa & Yout A Alaak (Margaret River Press, Perth, 2017)
  • Her father’s daughter by Alice Pung (Black Inc., Melbourne, 2011)
  • After This – Survivors of the Holocaust speak by Alice Nelson (Fremantle Press, WA, 2015)
  • City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence (Portobello, London, 2016)
  • They Cannot Take the Skystories from detention by various authors (Allen & Unwin, Melbourne, 2017)
  • They poured fire on us from the sky: the true story of three lost boys from Sudan by Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng & Benjamin Ajak  (Public Affairs, New York, 2005)
  • Daring to Drive by Manal Al-Sharif (Simon & Schuster, Australia 2017)
  • Father of the Lost Boys by Yuot A. Alaak (Fremantle Press, WA 2020)

The Australian situation

  • Dark victory by David Marr & Marion Wilkinson (Allen & Unwin, Melbourne, 2004)
  • Refugees: why seeking asylum is legal and Australia’s policies are not by Jane McAdam & Fiona Chong (University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, 2014)
  • Across the seas – Australia’s response to refugees, a history by Klaus Neumann (Black Inc, Australia, 2015)
  • Freeing Ali: the human face of the Pacific Solution by Michael Gordon (University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, 2005)
  • Silent memories, traumatic lives: Ukrainian migrant refugees in Western Australia by Lesa Melnyczuk (Western Australian Museum, Perth, WA, 2012)
  • A country too far edited by Rosie Scott, Rosie & Tom Keneally (Penguin, Melbourne, 2013)
  • Human Cargo – A journey among refugees by Caroline Moorehead (Vintage, London, 2005)

The European Situation 

  • A Country of Refuge – an anthology of writing about asylum seekers edited by Lucy Popescu (Unbound, 2016)
  • Cast Away – stories of survival from Europe’s refugee crisis by Charlotte McDonald-Gibson (Portobello Books, London, 2016)
  • The New Odyssey – the story of Europe’s Refugee Crisis by Patrick Kingsley (Guardian Books, London, 2016)
  • Violent borders: refugees and the right to move by Reece Jones (Verso, London, 2016)


  •  Enlightenment of the greengage tree by Shokoofeh Azar (Wild Dingo Press, Perth, 2017)
  • What is the what by Dave Eggers (Random House, New York, 2007)
  • The Boat by Nam le (US, Knopf, 2008)
  • Cafe Scheherazade by Arnold Zable (Text Publishing, Melbourne, 2003)
  • Violin lessons by Arnold Zable – a mix of short fiction and non-fiction (Text Publishing, Melbourne, 2012)

 Other great reads

  • What is a refugee by William Maley (Scribe, Victoria, 2016)
  • Talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad by Bee Rowlatt and May Witwit (Penguin, London, 2010)