BY KEITH JACKSON
THE HEAD OF Ok Tedi Mining Ltd in Papua New Guinea, Musje Werror, has said his company will sponsor the 2012 Dame Carol Kidu Award.
The Ok Tedi Mining Prize for Women's Literature will be announced in September next year from stories, essays and poems drawn from all the women and girls who enter the Crocodile Prize competition.
The 2011 Prize was won by Lapieh Landu, who said later:
Thank you for providing the avenue for us all to uncover our hidden talents. You have not only given us an opportunity to express our writings but also assisted PNG in the preservation of its national treasure, our culture! Yes indeed, it is our GOLD.
I have no doubt this initiative will draw a lot more participants for next year’s competition. There are some really talented writers out there, they just don’t know it yet. Once they start writing, they'll realise that anyone can write.
We all want to change the world, we all want to make a difference, we all want to safeguard our culture. It will take a miracle to make it all in one big bang but we can all do it in the smallest way, and that is to start writing.
Thank you for putting that fire in me to continue what I do best...and that is to WRITE!
Nearly K30,000 has already been committed to sponsor the Crocodile Prize in 2012, but there is a long way to go before the second year of Papua New Guinea’s national literary awards achieves its K84,000 budget.
The goals of the Prize are to encourage PNG’s creative writers to excel in their writing, to provide them with opportunities for publication and to ensure Papua New Guineans can read original literature from their own country.
The Prize organisers have been inundated with ideas (and some funding) since a letter was circulated to readers of PNG Attitude and The Review on Saturday, but some of the major awards still need to be funded.
Discussions are underway with a number of potential funders and, after offers by others, it has been decided to create two new awards which will be announced in the near future.
Of course, the functions of the Prize go far beyond handing out cash awards.
Activities for 2012 include publishing a second edition of the Crocodile Prize anthology of the best PNG writing – and distributing it widely throughout the country.
It is also intended to extend the 2011 Writers’ Workshop into a series of Writers’ Forums held not only in Port Moresby but in regional centres.
And planning is also underway for the establishment of a PNG Society of Writers, Editors and Publishers, further details of which will be announced early in 2012.
Meanwhile, links are being established with Australian writers' groups to get PNG writing connected to a broader community of international activity in literature.
But back to sponsorship, which is the critical focus of the Crocodile Prize Steering Group right now.
You can read where we’re up to here and we still need your assistance to ensure these ambitious goals are not only achieved but are made a sustainable part of the arts in Papua New Guinea.