BY KEITH JACKSON
LET ME PUT IT THIS WAY. There’s K5,000 on offer for a story of perhaps 1,000 words that explores the traditional customs and beliefs of Papua New Guinea, or which uncovers and promotes aspects of PNG’s rich cultural inheritance.
The Cleland Prize for Heritage Literature is a new category in The Crocodile Prize. It’s sponsored by Bob Cleland, a kiap from 1953-76, and himself a talented writer.
Bob established this award in the name of his family to remember the major contributions to PNG of his father, Sir Donald Cleland (Administrator 1951-66), and mother, Dame Rachel Cleland, an active supporter of PNG culture for 30 years.
If you’re thinking of entering a story in The Crocodile Prize and wonder what a heritage story might look like, here are some extracts from two 2011 entries (we didn’t have a heritage prize but got a few pieces that were of that ilk).
We look forward to your entries. Go to the INFORMATION FOR WRITERS tab at the top of the blog for more information.
From THE DEATH OF A WARRIOR by Jeffrey Febi
Meanwhile, Ooamie’s brothers returned from their journeys. In the haus-man they reported their findings. When finished, a long silence ensued; broken only by an occasional distant bark from a dog. All eyes were set on the fire as its flaming tails danced mockingly. Smoke reluctantly rose from tobacco pipes and no one was heard breathing in the frozen silence that engulfed them. Even the chief’s two dogs lay silent under their master’s bed. The chief pondered intensely over the inevitable: who is responsible; how many will he order to be killed; who should execute his orders? Everyone realised their chief’s deep concentration and no one dared interrupt him.
From WARMIL’S SPIRIT BRIDE by Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin
A kind hearted bari youth named Warmil, who had lost his father during the warfare with the Gena, settled with his mother and three small brothers at Morua Kaupa Nil Awil. His mother was Kokil Gup Ku. His three brothers were Kipir, Kulkan and Arkal Ku. Warmil grew up and soon filled the vacuum left by his father. He was strong and had already matured by his teens. At sixteen he built a hut and made a couple of gardens with the help of his three brothers for their mother. Kokil Gup Ku was very fond of them all. One dawn the sun emerged with its splendour in the east. Mt Elimbari and the red burning ball of the sun rubbed shoulders. The horizon in the east sent out yellow reddish rays to the Galkope land.
So there’s a taste of what we’re looking for. Tradition. Kastom. Bilip. Tumbuna. The old stories that are so much part of the present Papua New Guinea.