Can an award-winning scholarly book be a page-turner? Is the Midrash Methodology the new way of research that restores the soul of the academic?

How does a witness write about the experiences of seekers of asylum held in a detention centre without further silencing and invisibilising them? And how can she validly speak of her relationships with those who are incarcerated, and theirs with each other?

Levinas’ ethic of the face-to-face encounter provides a way. In this award-winning book, Devorah Wainer employs Levinas’ ethics to do justice to the lives of refugees inside the Villawood Detention Centre. Her book is a tender-hearted page-turner, a soul-filled work of scholarship. At the heart of this book is an examination of the relationship between the free and the locked up and the hostilities a free person experiences visiting detainees.

Written like a mosaic, a tapestry of thought, poetry and theatre, the book opens new spaces for asylum-seeking refugees to inhabit; and it shows us how to occupy those spaces face-to-face with them.

Beyond the Wire is a brutally honest, thoughtful, and personal account of the conflicts entailed in taking ethical responsibility for the Other.


“Her work offers a tender counterpoint to a shrill and uncaring political discourse on asylum.”
Mark Tredinnick – Awarded Author of Bluewren Cantos and The Blue Plateau

“Devorah’s book Beyond the Wire is not only bringing compassion and humanity to an issue that is so often presented with an absence of heart; it achieves something greater. Through her profoundly personal observations both of herself and those in detention, she awakens a conscience and a consciousness in us all, that our national rhetoric has sabotaged. It is written with wisdom and justice at its core.”
Donna Jacobs Sife – Writer, Award-winning Storyteller and Peace-worker

Devorah has developed a unique method of academic expression that has great beauty and respect for humanity. This book allows considered reflection of the topic.”
Catherine Elliott – Therapist working with Art and Narrative practices

“I could not stop reading, while the tears were running down my face. Wainer has dug so deeply into herself to produce such clear insight – I am in total awe of her achievement. The alarm signals vs ethical signals theoretical contribution is a most useful framework for understanding behavioural / ethical shifts in a society.”
PhD student – Education

“It is one of the precious few dissertations infused with moments of great beauty and insight – it is a page turner.”
William Paul Simmons – Arizona State University

“She is startlingly open about her fears, her limits, yet rather than simply squirming in liberal anxiety she articulates the dignity of fear. She draws attention to the profound space and place of privacy, both its character and the complex negotiations it demands.”
Dr Julie Salverson – Queens University

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