NOT everything to do with creative writing in Papua New Guinea happens in open view. The Crocodile Prize website and PNG Attitude may be the public face but there’s a lot that happens beneath the surface.
For example, in wintery Melbourne, former PNG school publications chief Ed Brumby is operating in a mentoring role with Baka Bina, who works in the National Court registry in Port Moresby.
Baka, from Iufa Iufa in the Eastern Highlands, is already a published author but is keen to improve his work so that he can make a real impact in the publishing market.
And there are many similar relationships that have developed out of the Crocodile prize, whereby experience and expertise can be shared, all with the aim of entrenching the burgeoning of PNG’s literary culture that we have seen in the last few years.
Of course, nothing will do this better than the establishment of locally-based writers‘ associations, such as we have recently experienced in Simbu.
With a bit of luck and a lot of good management, perhaps we will see this model of collaborative activity emerge in other parts of PNG – especially following the writers‘ workshop being held in September in conjunction with the Crocodile Prize.
Anyway, on with the show. Today’s profiles of entrants to this year’s Prize....
THE WRITERS & THEIR WORKS
Nigel Matte is a Bougainvillean student at Divine Word University.
Creation: Women and society: men really ought to understand
Noglai Kin, 16, lives at Wara Simbu near Kundiawa and is in Grade 10 at Rosary Secondary School, Kondiu. He says that from childhood he lived near the Waghi River in the Salt Nomane area. He feels he knows the river well and wrote the poem to show his admiration and fondness for it.
Creation: The great Wahgi river
Obed Ikupu, 24, is from Port Moresby and says he is left-handed and handsome.
Creation: My betelnut, my heritage
Pamela Josephine Toliman is laboratory research coordinator for the HIV and STI Laboratory within the Sexual and Reproductive Health Unit of the PNG Institute of Medical Research. She has worked in this field for nearly 10 years and is the mother of two wonderful children.
Creation: My value, my worth
Patricia Martin, 44, is a mother of four from Karkar Island in Madang Province and teaches English, Language & Literature at Port Moresby International School. She loves reading and using words to express what she thinks about everyday things.
Creation: Struggling between two cultures
Paul Waugla Wii, 35, is from Kerowagi, Simbu, and an aspiring writer. He is a teacher at Rosary Secondary School, Kundiawa. He says he lives and interacts with his people in the rural setting in the highlands of PNG. As a result, he is fully aware of the socioeconomic reality confronting their lives. One of his short stories, A remarkable woman who shared in a young man’s dream, portrays, among other issues, the plight of rural womenfolk in a rapidly changing, cash-driven society. His mother was the role model who provided the inspiration for this story. Paul says one of the setbacks he encounters as a writer is that, at most times, writers do not easily have the means by which to publish their works.
Creation: The Ivo/Yalwai story: Across the cultural divide at Goroka University
Pauline Flavian Riman, 33, was born in Port Moresby and studied literature at the University of PNG. She works as an online marketing officer with the New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority and believes there isn’t enough creative literature for women which has inspired her to write poems and short stories. Pauline enjoys writing and promoting tourism in Papua New Guinea.
Creation: City spirit
Peter Kepa, 58, is married with six children. He joined the teaching profession 20 years ago and has been serving in Simbu secondary schools since graduation. He was an associate lecturer of Christian studies at the Holy Trinity Teachers’College for six years before that.
Creation: Advice to my son
Philomena Oaeke, 30, is from the National Capital District and runs a small business called Visual Link , a multi-media production company which she started last year. Her background is in graphic design and writing. She is also a freelance writer for PNG Resources magazine.
Creation: The two best friends, Mekeo & Roro
Reilly Pokunan Kanamon, 43, is a communication arts student at Divine Word University. He coems from the atolls of Rambutso island in the south-east of Manus Province.
Creation: Bride price creed
Robin Suang, 26, from Port Moresby writes to promote country and community and to express opinions of politics and what needs to be done to improve PNG.
Creation: That’s my Niugini