BY KEITH JACKSON
ENTRIES IN THE 2012 CROCODILE PRIZE have now topped the 100 mark as the essays and short stories begin to trickle in to counterbalance the plenitude of poetry – the music of the Papua New Guinea soul – we’re receiving.
So far the Cleland Prize for heritage writing – which carries a K5,000 award – has attracted only one entry, which suggests to me that Bob Cleland made the right decision in initiating this category – to stimulate a focus on PNG’s traditional culture and its history while there’s still time.
Of the 113 entries so far from 22 writers, we have 83 poems, 15 essays, nine short stories, five entries in the Yokomo prize for student writing and one in the heritage prize.
You can read more about entering the prize here. Each of the five categories for creative writing carries a K5,000 award.
And some notes about each of the entrants so far:
Angela Low (16) was born in Port Moresby and is a science student at the PNG Paradise High School. She is an avid writer, particularly of young adult fiction and essays. She also loves poetry. She hasn’t made her mind up about a career yet but finds the idea of journalism appealing.
Beatrice Tabeu (30) was born in Bougainville and studied at Divine Word University. Since then she has worked for various non-government organisations as a development officer and is currently employed in Port Moresby by the Catholic agency for international aid and development. She is married but has no children.
Beauty Rupa Loi (14) was born in Port Moresby. She is a student at St Paul’s Primary School. Her father’s family comes from Babaka on the Wai River about 200 kilometres east of Port Moresby.
Charles Malu Yakopa (31) comes from Kagua in the Southern Highlands. He now lives in Port Moresby.
Erick Kowa (31) was born in Kaut on New Ireland and went to Green River High School and then St Ignatius Secondary School in Aitape. He studied chemical engineering at the University of Queensland and completed a Masters Degree in oil and gas engineering at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. He works as a capital project analyst in the resources industry.
Gelab Piak (24) was born in Port Moresby and is a student at Divine Word University. He began writing poems in 2006. He also writes songs and short stories. He has a collection of poems ready for publication and is seeking a publisher.
Gigi Aupong (29) is of Manam Island descent and was born at Yonki in the Eastern Highlands. She loves reading, cooking, eating and all things Melanesian. She works in the community development field.
Icarus (a pseudonym) was born in Port Moresby. He graduated from the University of Papua New Guinea and now works for a government organisation. He says he writes poetry because he likes to have his say. He also feels that poetry is often underestimated as a powerful means of expression for the collective conscience of people.
Jacinta Yadamatti (26) was born in Popondetta in Oro Province. She graduated from Divine Word University in 2010 with a bachelors degree in business accountancy and works for Agmark in Kokopo, East New Britain. She developed an interest in literature in high school and has ambitions to be a professional writer.
Johanes Sedi (49) was born in Angoram in the East Sepik Province. He is a former journalist and secondary school teacher now working as a parliamentary staffer. He lives in Vanimo.
Joyce Moiwo (28) was born in Kundiawa in Simbu Province. She has a degree in human resource management and works for the Clough Curtain joint venture in the Liquefied Natural Gas Project. Her hobbies are playing soccer, reading and writing poetry and gardening.
Lapieh Landu (23) was born in Port Moresby of mixed Eastern Highlands, Milne Bay and Sandaun parentage. She completed an Arts degree at Divine Word University in Madang majoring in international relations. She was the inaugural winner of the Dame Carol Kidu Prize for Women’s Literature in 2011.
Leonard Fong Roka (33) was born in Arawa in Bougainville and is a student at Divine Word University. His father, who was killed during the Bougainville civil war, came from Bali island off West New Britain and his mother is from Bougainville. Leonard was inspired to write by his teachers at Arawa High School and during a period at the University of Papua New Guinea where he discovered African literature.
Loujaya Toni (46) was born in Lae. In 1985 she launched a string of solo gospel music albums under the name Loujaya Dunar and wrote and performed the song, Keep the Fire Alive,, as a tribute to the South Pacific Games in Port Moresby in 1991. She is a qualified journalist and teacher and a practicing naturopath. She is also an aspiring politician who contested the national elections in 2007 and local level government elections in 2008, giving her male candidates a close run for their money. She will be contesting the 2012 election as a candidate in the Lae Open Electorate.
Marie Mondu (30) comes from Bundi in the Madang Province. She works for Caritas Australia in Kundiawa as a research officer. She completed her university education in 2006 and loves creative art and meeting people. She says lyrics and poetry are her strengths and she utilises these skills to encourage youth participation in HIV advocacy.
Martyn Namorong (26) was born at Baimuru in the Gulf Province and grew up in a logging camp at Kamusi on the border between Western and Gulf Provinces. His parents come from Madang and Western Province. He was a medical student at UPNG until 2009 but is now a street vendor and ‘Papua New Guinea’s most controversial blogger’. He won the 2011 Crocodile Prize for Essays.
Mea R Lou (46) is from Hanuabada. She is the Officer Manager at Pacific Equities and Investments in Port Moresby and founder of the PNG Association of Administrative Professionals. She loves to read and enjoys singing and dancing, socializing with family and friends, watching local sport and generally interacting with people. She is married with six children and ten grandchildren.
Michaelyne Semio (33) was born at Modilon Hospital in Madang but has a Manus background. She works as a human resources officer for PNG Power Ltd in Port Moresby and is married with four children. She loves writing and dreams of publishing a book one day.
Nou Frederick Vada (21) was born in Elevala-Hanuabada near Port Moresby. He spent his early childhood in Wollongong, New South Wales. He is a law student at the University of Papua New Guinea and a great lover of books. His ambition is to work in a field that marries his legal studies with his interests as a writer.
Samil Yapi Yanam (35) comes from Twesi village in the Menyamya District of Morobe Province. He is married with two children and lives in Port Moresby. His wife comes from Intoap village in the Markham District. He is a university graduate and works for the Ombudsman Commission.
Shairyl Srivastava (10) was born in Gorakhpur in India. He is a student at the International School in Lae and likes writing stories, playing chess and painting. He is champion in the boy’s chess category and learning to be a better swimmer.