The Moore Prize


The Moore Prize Winner 2021

The End of Where We Begin by Rosalind Russell

Russell creates a compelling portrait of three diverse individuals who escape South Sudan as civil war erupts. We are exposed to the heart-breaking stories of these people and their terrifying journeys to Bidi Bidi in Uganda, the world’s largest refugee camp. Russell exposes their loss of family, home and livelihood and their endless struggles to survive and live productive lives despite attack, injury, exile and trauma. The End of Where We Begin brings into focus a major human rights crisis that is often overlooked, and engages our hearts with vivid and moving stories of characters whose undaunted will prevails against overwhelming odds.

The Moore Prize 2021 Short List for Writing on Human Rights

Made In China: A Prisoner, an SOS letter and the Hidden Costs of America’s Cheap Goods by Amelia Pang

Julie Keith, an unlikely human rights activist in the US, discovers a hand-written note, a cry for help, in a package of Hallowe’en decorations made in China. She goes on a quest to find Sun Yi (the author of the note) in China. Pang takes the reader on a journey through China’s network of forced labour camps, exposing abuse, torture and exploitation. The demands of Western consumerism are made at the expense of the lives of Sun and tens of thousands of others like him. In the West, we have a general impression of the use of forced labour in China. What we lack is access to the details of personal stories of the inmates of these labour camps. Made in China exposes the real situation that underlies our obsession with cheap consumer goods.

The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

In 2014, in northeastern Syria, an all-female militia waged war against ISIS. They started in their small town of Kobani before spreading across the north of the country. This is an immediate, intense story of the women fighters of the Kurdish militia. After decades without basic human rights in their families and communities, they take up arms against ISIS. By battling (and winning) against ISIS, they prove their right to equality on and off the battlefield and begin to change the lives of women in Kurdish Syria. Lemmon’s years of research, interviews and on-the-ground reporting have created a true-life story that is at once terrifying, remarkable and inspiring. It causes us to reflect on courage in the face of an intractable perpetrator willing to commit atrocities against civilians and the right to self-defence as an essential human right.

Eat the Buddha: Life, Death and Resistance in a Tibetan Town by Barbara Demick

Using in-depth interviews with residents of Ngaba—monks, townspeople and princess—Demick documents the suffering and oppression that result from China’s rule of Tibet. We are transported to a small town on the edge of the Tibetan plateau, at the heart of the defiance against China. Demick’s compelling story of intergenerational struggle against an oppressive regime unfolds as we learn the myriad ways individuals were able to resist domination. This is a story of the personal relationships and loyalties that transcend the line between “enemy” and “ally”. While one of the most powerful countries in the world works to eradicate Tibetan culture, religion and identity, Demick brings a magnifying glass to reveal one of the most difficult places to reach in Tibet and brilliantly brings the story of its people to the world’s attention.

2021 Judges

Chief Judge: Adrienne Loftus Parkins

Adrienne Loftus Parkins is an international literary consultant and founder/former director of the Asia House Festival of Asian Literature. In her current roles as Advisor to Bangkok Edge, a co-founder of M Fest–Festival of Muslim Cultures & Ideas and as a member of the steering committee of the international DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, she has the opportunity promote literature as a tool of cultural understanding across many countries. Adrienne co-founded Anamika, a women’s educational group in India, headed the National Museums’ public lecture programme in Singapore and worked with the Pan Asian Women’s Association to promote Asian women writers. In 2019 Adrienne was a Moore Prize Judge.

Minh Bui Jones is the founder and editor of Mekong Review, a quarterly English-language magazine of arts, literature, culture, politics, the environment and society in Asia. Bui Jones is a Vietnamese-Australian journalist who has worked for SBS-TV, the Sydney Morning Herald and Asia Times Online. He was the founder of The Diplomat and American Review. With the founding of Mekong Review in 2015, he has established himself as one of Asia’s leading literary publishers.

Debbie Stothard is an active promoter of human rights in Burma where she developed the first ongoing women-specific training program for Burma. In 1996, she founded the Alternative Asean Network on Burma (Altsean-Burma). During her 32 year career, she has worked as a journalist, community education consultant, governmental advisor and trainer in Malaysia, Australia and Thailand. She has worked with UN and Asean institutions as well as several governments in Asia, North America and Europe. She became Deputy Secretary-General of the FIDH in November 2010. Between 2010 and 2013, she represented FIDH on missions or at conferences in Belgium, Brazil, Burma, France, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Peru, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and the United States. She was elected secretary general of FIDH in May 2013.