An Unlikely Prisoner: How an eternal optimist found hope in Myanmar’s most notorious jail by Sean Turnell


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