Golriz Ghahraman’s memoir Know Your Place tells her powerful story of becoming the first refugee elected to New Zealand’s parliament. Since her election, the former UN lawyer and Iranian-Kiwi asylum seeker has received a barrage of hate that intensified after the Christchurch terrorist attack, impacting her life, employment and wellbeing. In conversation with Roanna Gonsalves, Golriz shares her story and reflects on how the freedom of speech debate is silencing those without power while amplifying the voices of those who already have it.
Golriz Ghahraman (International)
Golriz Ghahraman made history as the first refugee to be sworn in as a member of New Zealand’s parliament in 2017. Iranian-born, Golriz arrived in New Zealand with her parents seeking asylum as a nine-year-old. She studied human rights law at Oxford and has practised as a lawyer in New Zealand and for United Nations tribunals in Africa, The Hague and Cambodia. Her work has included trials of leaders for genocide and war crimes, restoring communities after war and human rights atrocities, particularly empowering women engaged in peace and justice initiatives. Golriz is a member of New Zealand’s Green Party.
Roanna Gonsalves (Australian)
Roanna Gonsalves is the award-winning author of the acclaimed collection of short fiction The Permanent Resident. Her writing has been compared to the work of Alice Munro and Jhumpa Lahiri. Her four-part radio series On the tip of a billion tongues (ABC Radio National Earshot) is an acerbic portrayal of contemporary India through its multilingual writers. Roanna is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Award and teaches Creative Writing at UNSW and at NYU Sydney. She serves on the Board of Writing NSW.