About the author

Madeline Gleeson

About the book

Judges' report

Offshore is a rigorous and comprehensive narrative on one of the central challenges of our times: the care of those who seek asylum in Australia when life in their own countries becomes untenable. The book is an extended exposé of the machinery of offshore processing in a context that does not always encourage visibility or, indeed, community confidence. The Regional Processing Units on Nauru and Manus Island are revealed as places of desperation, enabled by impersonal international agreements over the disposition of displaced adults and children. This book offers a potent challenge to Australia’s asylum-seeker policy by detailing the locations and procedures of offshore processing of asylum seekers, and the desperation experienced by those who seek safe haven in Australia.

Further reading


‘Gleeson writes in a remarkably lucid style, which is both articulate and free from the sentimentality that usually feeds into writing on this issue. This isn’t to say that her writing is without passion or agenda; Offshore simmers with undertones of palpable accusation from the beginning to end. It is uncompromising in its portrayal of Australia’s offshore policy. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, her writing allows the key figures to emerge at the forefront of the book, quoting liberally from her sources as well as government documents. Gleeson’s writing is strengthened by her ability to let the evidence and facts speak mostly for themselves.’  Alyssia Tennant, Right Now

‘This compelling book is essential reading as Australia grapples with one of the most conflicting moral and political issues of our time: how we respond to people seeking asylum in our country. Madeline Gleeson presents a comprehensive view of the first three years of Australia’s offshore processing policies and practices from 2012. She draws on official statements, media reports, parliamentary inquiries, and interviews with those who’ve seen or experienced the brutal human cost first-hand. The damaging effects of Australia’s offshore processing are made clear in this important book that informs, but also asks questions that still demand answers.’ Judges comments, 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards


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