TEN Papua New Guinean writers share the K5,500 prize money in the 2015 Rivers awards for writing on topics related to peace and harmony with the general theme of ‘What I Was Told’.
Val Rivers, the founder and benefactor of the awards, has asked for contributions of articles, essays or poetry in which writers told what had learned from others about how to live a peaceful and harmonious life in Papua New Guinea.
Writers were encouraged to include traditional stories offering guidance about peace and harmony, present day advice about how these issues are managed, true stories about conflict that had been resolved, and insights into policies that could be implemented to create a more harmonious society.
This year, Val Rivers decided that equal awards of K550 each would be presented to the 10 most outstanding writers of the record 44 (see their names below) who submitted 115 entries.
Val, who is a tough judge and commented that there was “some great writing presented for the awards but no one great piece”, said that her decisions were based on writers who did not stray from the prescription to write about both “peace and harmony” and “what I was told”.
We list the profiles of each of the winners below and you can download the Rivers Award winning entries for 2015 here
Agnes Rita Maineke - How escalating tribal war was prevented & Kaharo was saved
Agnes was born in January 1957 at the Monoitu Health Centre in Bougainville. She is a teacher at St Peter Chanel Sininnai Primary School in the Siwai District of South Bougainville. She transferred from St Joseph’s Turiboiru Primary School in the Buin district after the sudden death of her husband, Joseph Raphael Maineke, in the middle of last year. “Writing is an art that I love,” Agnes says, “and, being a teacher, I encourage students to master this art and contribute to the literature world.” Agnes has six children and three grandchildren. Agnes won the Crocodile Prize Short Story Award in 2014.
August Berita - The double standard
August, 36, from East Sepik Province is currently a student at the Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary at Rizal in the Philippines.
Dominica Are - Then I remember
Dominica is 29 and comes from Gumine in Simbu Province. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Accounting from Divine Word University in 2010 and is an accountant with PNG Coffee Exports Ltd in Goroka. Apart from her busy work schedule, she is studying to be a Certified Practicing Accountant. Dominica loves reading, writing, meeting new people, shopping, watching movies and going to church. She seeks God first in everything she does.
Keith Angen - The Bougainville crisis & peace & harmony in PNG
Keith is aged 39, was born in East Sepik and lives in Wewak. He is a fisheries observer with the National Fisheries Authority. He decided to write as a hobby and this was his first writing competition. His favourite pastime is reading. He also likes conversations about politics and business. He says he believes in himself and his abilities.
Madeleine Ruga - The passage of peaceful practice down the generations
Madeleine, 52, of Central and Milne Bay heritage, is married and has five children and seven grandchildren. She likes travel, reading, writing, watch TV, sewing and socialising. She is involved with church activities and gender, violence and disability issues. Madeleine says she dislikes people with a bad attitude (proud and inconsiderate). She has a favourite local Central Province dish called ‘pariwa’ (mashed ripe banana in thick coconut curried cream with fish). And a Milne Bay dish: sago dumpling in coconut cream with smoked shellfish kebabs.
Maria Court - Peace & harmony is accepting the flaws in others
Maria is 30 and graduated from DWU in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in PNG Studies. She is working for an Australian aid project. Maria loves writing in specific genres such as short stories and poems. She also likes travel and working with people. She says: “I have a great outlook in life and enjoy it to the fullest as a career woman, a mother to my children and a wife to my husband.”
Michael Theophilus Dom - Love peace; seek harmony – win gold
Michael was born in Port Moresby in 1977 to Ruth and Kuri Dom. He was schooled at Waigani Primary, Gordon Secondary and The University of Papua New Guinea. He works for the National Agriculture Research Institute in Livestock Research Projects based at Labu Station in Morobe Province. Michael is currently a postgraduate student at The University of Adelaide. He has been practicing the art of poetry for 20 years and won the 2012 Poetry award in the Crocodile Prize. He has published three collections of poetry At Another Crossroads, The Musing of an Assistant Pig Keeper and O Arise! and has fourth collection prepared for publication this year.
Raymond Sigimet - Five truths about life and peace
Raymond is 35 and from East Sepik Province. He’s married with two daughters and is a secondary school teacher living in the Maprik District. He has never previously entered a writing contest. He likes reading, writing and drawing and says he writes “as a means to express myself on issues or topics of interest to me.”
Roslyn Tony - Only a forgiving heart can foster peace and harmony
Roslyn is 42 and comes from mixed East Sepik and Simbu parentage. She is a teacher who likes writing. “Putting my thoughts on pen and paper enhances me, especially when I am in the voiceless zones,” she says.
Simon Davidson - How I benefited from the wisdom of my mother
Simon is 44 and originally from Muritaka village in the Enga Province. He is a lecturer in the school of Theology at Sonoma Adventist College in Kokopo, East New Britain. “My creative interests are in writing books, articles and contributing commentaries to current national issues,” Simon is a graduate of Pacific Adventist University with a BA in Theology and an MA in Theology.
All the entrants
Agnes Rita Maineke
Brigette Vai Wase
Busa Jeremiah Wenogo
Leonard Fong Roka
Marlene Dee Gray Potoura
Paul Waugla Wii
Pochon S Lili
Vagi Samuel Jnr