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An Unlikely Prisoner

How an Eternal Optimist Found Hope in Myanmar's Most Notorious Jail

Sean Turnell



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14 November 2023
In his darkest hour, hope became his closest companion.

'Australia's most unlikely political prisoner... is known as a person of deep optimism, bubbling enthusiasm and infectious warmth.' Melissa Crouch, Sydney Morning Herald

For 650 days, Sean Turnell was held in Myanmar's terrifying Insein Prison on the trumped-up charge of being a spy. In An Unlikely Prisoner, he recounts how an impossibly cheerful professor of economics, whose idea of an uncomfortable confrontation was having to tell a student that their essay was 'not really that good', ended up in one of the most notorious prisons in South-East Asia. And how he not only survived his lengthy incarceration, but left with his sense of humour intact, his spirit unbroken and love in his heart.

'What Sean Turnell 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.' Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

Imprint:   Viking
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 1mm
Weight:   1g
ISBN:   9781761342929
ISBN 10:   1761342924
Pages:   320
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Sean Turnell is Honorary Professor of Economics at Macquarie University. In 2009 he published an influential book on Myanmar's financial system, Fiery Dragons, which made him an internationally recognised expert on the subject and one of Aung San Suu Kyi's most trusted advisers. He was arrested in Myanmar in 2021 following a military coup and imprisoned for 650 days. Sean lives in Sydney with his wife, Ha Vu, who campaigned tirelessly for his release.

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