THE PNG Crocodile Prize for Literature is shaping up as an internationally recognised annual literary competition with all the trappings that come with that sort of status, including prestige.
This year, with the inclusion of a prize for a published book, we are encroaching on the hallowed ground hitherto reserved for the likes of UK’s Booker and Australia’s Miles Franklin awards.
Don’t laugh! We’ve got the entries to prove it. I think that gives us a licence to blow our trumpet a bit.
And yet the Papua New Guinean government continues to ignore us. Silly people!
Our most recent coup is securing funding and sponsorship for the Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature where the past contributions of an esteemed lapun writer are celebrated.
Good old Ok Tedi Mining Limited has demonstrated its faith in Papua New Guinean writers and come to the party by sponsoring the category on top of its commitment to the book award.
And this is where you, dear reader, can help us. You can offer nominations for the writer who you think deserves the Ok Tedi Mining Award for Lifetime Achievement in PNG Literature.
In 2012, when the award was inaugurated, it was easy to pick a winner. Russell Soaba (pictured above) was the logical choice. Then in 2013, events worked against us and there was no award made. This year we’re back on track.
So let’s hear from you. Who do you think deserves this award?
Is it someone who has published a range of books, someone who has published a single seminal volume or is it someone who has worked quietly in the background promoting Papua New Guinean writing?
Is it a jaundiced journalist who has been fruitlessly battering at the door of common sense over the years or is it a lecturer who has enthused and encouraged Papua New Guinean writers over those same years? Is it a lowly teacher out in the sticks somewhere who had dedicated his or her life to teaching students to appreciate the written word?
And, when you’ve thought about it, email me the name of your nominee and write a few lines about why you think this person deserves the award.
Send your emails to me here.