READERS of PNG Attitude are being asked to nominate writers of substance for the Ok Tedi Mining Award Lifetime Achievement in PNG Literature, a section of The Crocodile Prize national literary contest.
The only previous winner of this K5,000 award was Russell Soaba, whose prose and poetry first graced PNG around the years of Independence.
So far three nominations have been made for the Award: Dr Steven Winduo, Sir Paulias Matane and Dr Bernard Minol.
Dr Steven Winduo for many years has been one of Papua New Guinea’s foremost writers. He is a big name in the academic scene of literature regionally and is a highly respected Pacific writer internationally.
He was born in Ulighembi village in East Sepik Province and has published numerous poems, short stories and essays. He is the author of two books of poetry, Lomo`ha I Am, in Spirit’s Voice I Call (Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific,1991) and Hembemba: Rivers of the Forest (Institute of Pacific Studies, 2000).
Steven is also the founding editor of Savanna Flames: A Papua New Guinea Journal of Literature, Language, and Culture. He lectures in literature at the University of Papua New Guinea and is the Director of Melanesian and Pacific Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Sir Paulias Matane, 82, is the most prolific published writer in PNG, having published 44 books, and he is a great advocate of books, learning and literature. He was born in 1931, became a teacher and rose through many senior public service positions to become the eighth Governor-General of PNG. His memoir My Childhood in New Guinea has been on the school curriculum since the 1970s, and for many years he wrote a column in a national daily newspaper.
One of Sir Paulias’s passions over the years has been writing and another has been encouraging other Papua New Guineans to write. “Up to now, due to my encouragement, 32 people have had their first books published here and overseas. Five have written their second books. This shows me that there are capable people here who can write.”
Dr Bernard Minol, 69, is a well-respected lecturer, mentor and author who has led the way in writing a history of his Manus people and authored the first Tok Pisin novel to be published in PNG. He was born in N'Dranou village, Manus Province.
His Tok Pisin biography, Opisa Pokep, was favourably reviewed recently in PNG Attitude by Phil Fitzpatrick and continues Minol’s lifelong quest to record and preserve the stories and legends of his country.
We want to encourage readers to nominate appropriate people for the Ok Tedi Mining Award for Lifetime Contribution to PNG Literature.
You can email their name and a few lines about why they deserve it to Phil Fitzpatrick here.