How an eternal optimist found hope in Myanmar’s most notorious jail


In his newly released memoir, An Unlikely PrisonerHonorary Professor Sean Turnell from the Department of Economics details his detainment in a Myanmar prison, after being falsely accused of being a spy.

An Unlikely Prisoner recounts Professor Turnell’s experience of being incarcerated in one of the most terrifying prisons in South-East Asia, where he was held for 650 days. As an academic whose prior experience with confrontation extended only as far as giving constructive criticism to students on their essays, Professor Turnell discovered a great personal resilience as he emerged from his ordeal with an unbroken spirit and his sense of humour intact.

Welcoming Professor Turnell to Australian Parliament House following his release, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese remarked: “What he endured in his 650 days of incarceration is something that no human being should have to endure, yet he has done it with grace and, even in inhumane conditions, with profound humanity.”

Professor Turnell was featured in several prominent media outlets last week, ahead of the release of An Unlikely Prisoner. These included ABC Radio NationalThe Daily Mail and The Guardian.

An Unlikely Prisoner is published by Penguin Australia.






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