Dame Carol Kidu and authors Trevor Shearston and Philip Fitzpatrick will select the winning work, the first time in PNG that an award has been offered for a full length book.
It is an event that marks a significant step forward for PNG literature as the Crocodile Prize enters its fourth year.
The first entry – Francis Nii’s crime novel Fitman, Raitman & Cooks (based on a true story) - has been received and contest organisers are aware of three other books published since January 2013 that will be submitted.
The Crocodile Prize 2014 has four other categories in which writing may be submitted (details here):
Kina Securities Poetry Award
Steamships Short Story Award
Cleland Family Heritage Writing Award
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum Essays & Journalism Award
The Crocodile Prize also benefits from funding and material support provided by the Australian High Commission in PNG.
Sponsorship ($5,000 Australian) is still being sought for a special award to a Papua New Guinean who has made a lifetime contribution to literature in PNG.The Crocodile Prize also benefits from funding and material support provided by the Australian High Commission in PNG.
Dame Carol Kidu DBE, an Australian-born citizen of Papua New Guinea,entered politics in 1997. She was the only female member of the PNG parliament from 2002-2012, serving as Minister for Community Development from 2002-2011 and Opposition Leader from February 2012 until her retirement from politics in July 2012.
She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 and, in 2009, a knight of the French Légion d'honneur for "her dedication to helping women, young girls, children, the physically and mentally impaired and her commitment to fighting discrimination". She has honorary doctorates from Vudal University of Natural Resources and Environment, the University of Queensland and the University of Papua New Guinea.
Dame Carol is a board member of Bougainville Copper Ltd and is currently working on her memoirs. She has said that her favourite books areThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs.
Trevor Shearston has been a full time writer since 1979, “precariously at times” he says. His first book was published that year; a collection of short stories about Papua New Guinea, Something in the Blood.
It has been described as a “a watershed work that shattered many hoary colonial myths and presented Papua New Guineans to the world as fully-rounded actors, rather than as bit players.”
Since then Shearston has published five novels set in Papua New Guinea - Sticks That Kill(1983), White Lies (1986), Concertinas (1988), A Straight Young Back (2000) and Dead Birds (2007).
Trevor did an Arts/Law degree at the University of Sydney but, “traumatised by the sight of fellow students dressed in three-piece suits carrying around brollies and pink-ribboned files fled to Papua New Guinea as a teacher.” His first posting in 1968 was to Mendi.
Trevor now lives at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney with his wife and son. As well as being a judge of Book of the Year, he will attend the 2014 writers’ workshop held in conjunction with The Crocodile Prize.
Phil Fitzpatrick is well known to PNG Attitude readers as an author and outspoken commentator on political and social affairs. He was a patrol officer (kiap) in Papua New Guinea and has worked with indigenous communities in Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.
Phil studied anthropology at the Australian School of Pacific Administration and has a double degree in literature as well as a degree in government. He has published several books including four novels. They include Bamahuta: Leaving Papua and Inspector Metau, a detective story that encompasses an insightful social and political observation of contemporary PNG.
Phil is a co-founder of The Crocodile Prize and has edited and published its three anthologies. He is principal of Pukpuk Publications which publishes works by Papua New Guinean writers.
The closing date for entries is 30 June and the winners will be announced on PNG Independence Day, 16 September.
For the fourth year, an annual Anthology of the best PNG writing will be published in conjunction with the Prize.
A writers’ workshop is also being planned for established and emerging writers.