SINCE joining the writing community of PNG Attitude in 2015, I have amassed literary wealth in the form of knowledge, critique, and support. And now, with many thanks to Pukpuk Publications, an opportunity to collaborate.
A few hours after the call for submissions to an anthology of PNG women’s writing, I received a congratulatory email from Lindsay Bond; a gentleman whose prose affects me like that of of the ‘old world’ language in the novels of Thomas Hardy.
Lindsay’s vocabulary has an alluring beauty but I am ever doubtful that I comprehend his intended meaning.
Anyway, Lindsay expressed his good wishes for the book project and closed by venturing to (I think) establish with me the desired outcomes. The answer to his enquiry, I believe, is linked to the learning, networking and information sharing by Daniel Kumbon, Francis Nii, Martyn Namorong and me at the recent Brisbane Writer’s Festival.
Audience members in the ‘PNG: A State of Writing’ session will recall the interactive question-and-answer segment. During that time, Daniel asked the gathering, “What do you want to read about Papua New Guinea?” Two responses were significant.
I was first published in PNG Attitude as an entrant in the PNG Chamber of Petroleum and Mines Essays and Journalism Award of the 2015 Crocodile Prize. My essay was entitled, ‘Let the C word run free: desperately seeking collaboration’.
To this day, this article remains the favourite of my published writing.
It reflects best the genre I prefer when considering vexatious modes of human behaviour.
It is my story; a Papua New Guinean woman recounting personal experience that takes place everyday PNG society. It is a record of my observation and interpretation of how Papua New Guineans interact with each other. It offers a suggestion as to how we as a society can foster a paradigm shift when responding in similar scenarios.
Daniel’s question was answered with two main themes: “I’d like to read memoirs” and “I’d like to read more positive stories”.
The purpose of the ‘My walk to equality’ collection I’m assembling is to convey personal experiences as documented by Papua New Guinean women. These experiences must have taken place in Papua New Guinea and encompass one or more of the forms of inequality.
But the contributions should move beyond identifying and lamenting over inequality. Papua New Guinean women are playing their part in reducing inequality and the anthology is planned as a permanent record of this.
Whether through personal initiative, support networks or community engagement, it is important that Papua New Guinean women are recorded as active contributors and influencers in the process of social change.
Who better to provide this than Papua New Guinean women themselves.
The collection will be compiled from the submissions of women authors and it will be published by Pukpuk Publications.
Ultimately, the outcome will be a collaboration amongst people – writers and those who stand behind them – who are determined to continue the process of encouraging and improving the writing, distribution and reading of PNG-authored literature, within Papua New Guinea and abroad.