Fleeing the Congo as an orphan, Future D. Fidel spent years in a Tanzanian refugee camp before finding freedom in Australia. Prize Fighter draws on this past to tell the fictional story of a Congolese child soldier forced to fight for the forces that massacred his family before escaping to Australia, where he becomes a talented boxer. In conversation with Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Future discusses his hope-filled debut novel – based on his critically acclaimed play – that packs an emotional punch.

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Future D. Fidel (Australian)

Future D. Fidel

Future D. Fidel is a Congolese-Australian playwright. Future was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and became an orphan at the age of 13. Living with his sister at Uvira on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, he fled across the lake to Tanzania when his village was threatened by soldiers during civil unrest. He first spent four years in Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania before moving to Mkugwo refugee camp where he spent a further four years, before coming to Australia as a refugee in 2005. In Australia, Future joined a Kwatamaja (African) Dance Group and participated in acting workshops with other young refugees. Together they formed the Fimbo Boys. Fidel contributed to the community theatre work I Am Here, also featuring other young people who came to Australia following conflict. Future became the artist in residence at La Boîte Theare Company where he developed his debut play, the four-time Helpmann nominated Prize Fighter. His first novel, under the same name was released in 2018.

Michael Mohammed Ahmad (Australian)

Michael Mohammed Ahmad

Dr Michael Mohammed Ahmad is the founder and director of Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement. His debut novel The Tribe received the 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelists of the Year Award. He latest novel is The Lebs.