184 entries now registered
Poetry 81; Essay 36; Story 31; Heritage 15; Illustration 8; Tourism Arts Culture 5; Children 4; Book of the Year 4
A prolific contributor to PNG Attitude and academic at the University of Papua New Guinea is the most recent member appointed to the Crocodile Prize Organisation, COG, the group that administers the affairs of PNG’s national literary contest.
John Kaupa Kamasua, originally from Simbu Province, is a senior lecturer and leader of the social work strand at UPNG, where he been an academic for more than 10 years.
He has a Master of Arts from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom where he studied following his first degree at UPNG.
And he says that, when he settles into his role with COG, he will “contemplate organising writers in Port Moresby around an association” – and we certainly encourage him to pursue this goal.
The Award for Writing for Children in the Crocodile Prize
is sponsored by the Paga Hill Development Company
WRITING for children is a much tougher assignment than writing for adults.
Simplicity of sentence structure and vocabulary are not so simple in creation. They require technical discipline – and an understanding of what children want.
In the Crocodile Prize, we’ve set an age of around 12 as the maximum you should be aiming for in your writing. Your story should not be longer than about 800 words and it needs to be on a subject that engages children of ages up to that.
And what do these children like? They like to laugh, they like to be excited, they like to see problems solved, they like to learn, they like to see embarrassment successfully resolved and they like to see heroes (protagonists) who are like themselves.
An Australian cartoonist and illustrator points to the scarcity of illustrators in Papua New Guinea, a shortage that the Crocodile Prize is seeking to address through the SP Brewery Award for Illustration ….
IN 2013 Geoscience Australia commissioned me to illustrate some booklets they were preparing about natural hazards. Specifically: volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunami.
This was a joint project with geological agencies in Papua New Guinea, with the booklets to be distributed to local PNG communities – especially volcanically-active towns like Rabaul.
One key aspect of the project was the need for the illustrations to be relevant for the local Papua New Guinea communities. Geoscience Australia had previously tried to engage local artists from PNG to illustrate the booklets, but nothing could be confirmed.
THAT Papua New Guinea is a nation of art and artists is a contention beyond dispute. Even the most fleeting visit to the country is sufficient to demonstrate it.
But when we take to the Internet to find evidence and examples of indigenous Papua New Guinean illustration, there is precious little.
Indeed there seem to be far more illustrations featuring PNG and its people by overseas artists than there are by locals. And some companies are making good money from it.
This is one reason, of course, why we have established the SP Brewery Award for Illustration within the Crocodile Prize. We hope to improve things to the point that, when you search for 'PNG illustration', you are swamped with the real thing.
“WHERE’S the children’s story contest,” was a question pitched at me in a number of emails after we announced the 2015 Crocodile Prize awards in November.
Well, truth be told, we were awaiting advice from the previous sponsor, Buk bilong Pikinini, to confirm whether they’d continue this year. It was advice that never came.
So we were absolutely delighted when late last week the Paga Hill Development Company offered to fill the gap.
As the company’s CEO, Gudmundur Fridriksson, said: “It’s an award which will result in more locally written material being made available to children of all ages in PNG. The love of language and joy of reading at an early age is a wonderful and powerful gift.”
Absolutely true – and we hope Papua New Guinea’s writers take this as their cue to begin drafting their stories for children up to the age of about 12.
THE Paga Hill Development Company is sponsoring the Writing for Children Award, initiated successfully last year, in the 2015 Crocodile Prize.
Paga Hill Development Company (PNG) Ltd (PHDC), which you can read more about here, is a privately held, PNG registered company, with the majority of its shareholders from Papua New Guinea.
PHDC is developing a quality mixed residential and commercial estate on Port Moresby’s Paga Hill which will be a world class precinct for residents, visitors and tourists.
In achieving this, the company and the community have faced a number of challenges but with the support of Dame Carol Kidu and her community engagement team, a comprehensive resettlement program has been completed for the Paga Hill settlers whereby resettled families have secured tenure in their own block of land at Tagua, Six Mile.
THIS year’s Crocodile Prize offers a wonderful new award – the SP Brewery Award for Illustration - and Papua New Guinean illustrators, cartoonists, graphic artists, caricaturists and designers really ought to enter.
If you draw, design or paint you should think seriously about entering this contest. And if you know someone with these splendid skills, you should encourage them to enter the contest. There is K5,000 at stake and many other benefits besides.
You can find more information here.
Today I want to take a bit of your time looking at the art of political cartooning in Papua New Guinea. This is one area that illustrators might like to explore in their entries. There are others – like illustration and design - that will be examined in future articles.
Probably PNG’s most eminent cartoonist, ever, was the late Bob Browne. It has been said that Bob “provided a generation of Papua New Guineans with a deeply insightful and often hilarious commentary on life in the region - especially its political processes”.
AS early entries in this year’s Crocodile Prize soar way past the century mark (can we achieve 1,000 contributions this year), it is timely to look at how you – the writer or potential writer – can maximise your chances of winning an award.
A Crocodile Prize award is a great award to win, both in terms of the honour and the benefits.
In addition to the K5,000 cash prize and pride of place in the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2015, you’ll be flown to Kundiawa and accommodated there to attend the two-day award event organised by the Simbu Writers Association.
IN September, Keith Jackson wrote in PNG Attitude: “More than 800 copies of the Crocodile Prize Anthology costing over $8,000 are now being distributed free of charge throughout Papua New Guinea, mainly to schools and libraries but also to tertiary institutions and members of parliament.” (The number has since increased to over 1,000.)
Jackson continued: “This is fulfilling the second leg of the Prize’s ‘contract’ with the people of PNG – which is not only to encourage and reward writers but to ensure their work is published and made available to readers throughout the country….”
In this article, I want to report on the distribution effort in the Gulf Province which began as a small attempt to get the book on to the laps of kids and which turned into a movement to revive a rich writing heritage, support overall literacy and re-open closed school libraries.
This is our Gulf Province ‘distribution’ story.
IN 2010 Keith Jackson and I established the Crocodile Prize to help rejuvenate the flagging literary scene in Papua New Guinea.
At the first writers’ workshop at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby in 2011, we and the writers endeavoured to plot a road ahead for the competition.
In the second row there was a gentleman sitting in an old wheelchair listening intently to what everyone had to say. Now and again he joined in the conversation.
At first I didn’t make the connection. In his submissions to the Crocodile Prize competition and his contributions to PNG Attitude, which is the central support agent for our endeavours, Francis Nii had not once mentioned that he was a paraplegic.
THE long awaited 2014 Crocodile Prize Anthology has arrived in Simbu to begin its 2015 mission.
I was wondering how long it would take for the anthologies to arrive in Kundiawa all the way from the United States after I was granted 10 copies to distribute to rural schools in the Yongomugl area.
I frequently visited the Kundiawa post office and enquired at the counter over those four months.
I expressed my concern to prove to the post master that I was entitled to collect the books.
“Give me your name and box number,” he demanded.
THERE are unexpected drawbacks in running something like the Crocodile Prize national literary award in Papua New Guinea.
Like some sponsors, who make all sorts of promises and lead you up the garden path and wait until you’ve made irrevocable commitments before pulling the rug out from under you.
Or people who promise faithfully to do certain things and then blithely ignore them.
Then there are things that are a bit more inexplicable.
A case in point is the delivery of copies of the anthology and some of the other books that have spun out of the competition.
As a publisher, Pukpuk Publishing has duly despatched copies of its books to the National Library in Port Moresby. This is a statutory requirement but is mostly ignored by publishers in Papua New Guinea and Australia.
The books have been sent by post and were addressed to the Chief Librarian by name. None of them arrived.
KERENGA Kua, former Attorney-General and a man considered one of a Papua New Guinea's leading politicians, was holding his breath and looking extremely impressed.
Soon after, while the presentation of certificates was proceeding, Mr Kua left his seat and came to where Jimmy Drekore, Ware Mukale and I were sitting.
“You guys are doing something great that I didn’t know about,” he said, referring to the Crocodile Prize and the activities of the Simbu Writers Association.
And Mr Kua (pictured here with Jimmy Drekore) put his enthusiasm to work by committing K20,000 to SWA from the 2015 District Services Improvement Fund.
The Crocodile Prize Anthology 2014 was one of the books amongst the literary wealth of the Simbu Writers Association that was on display at the recent Ku High School Grade 10 graduation in Simbu.
DIVINE Word University’s Friendship Library was officially opened on 29 April 2004, named so to recognise the special bond that exists between the people of PNG and the people of Australia, which provided the funding.
The library collection is much older – dating back to the 1960s and the days of the earlier SVD high school.
By 1979 the collection was augmented to support the new Divine Word Institute curriculum. And when Divine Word University was established in 1996, the collection developed further.
The Friendship Library offers resources in all media formats complemented by broadband internet, online databases and journals, facilities for electronic document transmission and data storage.
The main objective of the library is to work with the academic community to offer maximum support for the university’s mission and its teaching and research programs. It has become a vibrant centre for students, researchers and staff.
THE Crocodile Prize writing season – which lasts until Tuesday 30 June next year – began yesterday.
There are six different writing contests – covering stories, poetry and essays - and one contest for illustration.
The other award is for a lifetime contribution to PNG literature.
If you enjoy writing, then there’s certainly something for you in Papua New Guinea’s literary awards.
THE Crocodile Prize is once again open for business.
From today, Papua New Guinea’s writers – and, for the first time, artists – can enter a national contest that culminates in September each year with recognition of the very best in creative endeavour.
In launching the 2015 contest, chairman of the Crocodile Prize Organisation, COG, Jimmy Drekore, said the organisation was proud to introduce an award for artists, the SP Brewery Award for Illustration.
He also said the Prize still needs more sponsors (see following story).
Crocodile Prize entrants can select from a range of creative categories. There is no limit on the entries that can be made although Prize organisers emphasise that “quality will always triumph over quantity”.
THE Crocodile Prize Organisation today announced the sponsors of the fifth year of Papua New Guinea’s national writing awards.
Chairman Jimmy Drekore (pictured) also has confirmed that next year’s awards event will be held in Kundiawa on 18 and 19 September, the first time it has been celebrated outside Port Moresby.
Mr Drekore said the sponsors’ roster for 2015 includes the PNG Government, SP Brewery, Ok Tedi Mining, Kina Securities, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, and the family of former colonial Administrator Sir Donald Cleland and his wife Dame Rachel Cleland.
The PNGAA Publishing Program is also renewed for a second year, which ensures that at least 500 copies of the Crocodile Prize Anthology will be distributed free of charge to PNG libraries and schools.
THE Crocodile Prize Anthology 2014 has so reached the Department of PNG Studies and International Relations, the Department of Communication Arts and Divine Word University’s Friendship library.
The Department of PNG Studies and International Relations houses the Bachelor’s degree that writer Leonard Fong Roka and his comrades qualified for as they completed their university studies this year.
The PNG Studies and International Relations program offers a unique degree merging social science disciplines like community development, anthropology, gender studies, literature, history, politics and international relations.
The cross cutting nature of the program ensures that students are empowered with a variety of knowledge and skills tailored to the PNG experience.
THERE would have been no Crocodile Prize national literary awards in Papua New Guinea if it wasn’t for the steady hand of Australian High Commissioner Ian Kemish in 2010.
Mr Kemish settled down some nervous nellies at the High Commission who counselled against involvement in a project that was not the brainchild of a team of consultants or an Australian bureaucrat trying to get some runs on the board.
The then High Commissioner provided a stable platform from which an idea could grow.
So yesterday, when I received the briefest of emails from Andrew Gavin, First Secretary (Public Diplomacy) at the High Commission in Port Moresby, advising that the previous sponsorship of $3,000 would not be renewed in 2015, I felt disappointed that a relationship had been severed that was so instrumental in getting the Prize established.
PUKPUK Publishing received an honourable mention in yesterday’s review of the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2015 by Drusilla Modjeska in The Australian newspaper.
And it would be a fair question for readers to ask, ‘Well, what is this upstart? Where does it fit in?’
Like the Crocodile Prize and PNG Attitude, Pukpuk Publishing is a voluntary, not-for-profit project established to both strengthen the Papua New Guinea-Australia relationship and to ensure authors and poets writing about PNG can achieve publication for their work.
In the case of Pukpuk Publishing, its objective is to bring long-form works to publication and to take those books to market in a coherent way.
The entity is the brainchild of Phil Fitzpatrick and it spun out of his magnificent work to bring the Crocodile Prize Anthology to print, which it has done each year since 2011 - even in the fallow period of 2013.
THE fifth Crocodile Prize national literary contest will kick off on Monday 24 November in what promises to be a big year for Papua New Guinea’s writers.
The contest will culminate in September next year when, for the first time, the awards event moves outside Port Moresby for two days of activity at Kundiawa in Simbu Province.
The Simbu Writers Association is working in close cooperation with provincial authorities to ensure the success of the event and a budget of K110,000 has been targeted.
Meanwhile the Crocodile Prize Organisation has its eyes on a sponsorship budget of about K100,000 to fund prizes, book production, publicity and other activities.
THE second planning meeting for the 2015 Crocodile Prize event in September was held recently at Rosary Secondary School, Kondiu, in Simbu Province.
It was for the very first time the Simbu Writers Association (SWA) had met outside the capital, Kundiawa.
SWA president and Crocodile Organisation, COG, chairman Jimmy Drekore thanked Kondiu principal, Gabriel Aina, and seven teachers who were at the meeting. He also praised young writers, Tom Kaupa and Nolai Kin, who were in attendance.
Mr Aina commended SWA for “leading educated Simbu people to come together like this to express themselves from their little world and to interact with one another.
I feel that September’s 2014 Crocodile Prize writers’ seminar held at the National Library’s American Corner did some justice to me as a struggling Bougainvillean author.
And visiting Australian author Trevor Shearston ahsd some welcome words for me as a lone Bougainvillean voice.
“Your writing is unique, Leonard,” he said to me, “but you only need to do away with trying to dictate to your readers what they should see in your texts or stories.”
As a lone mushroom, I sprouted in Bougainville’s Arawa High School in 1997, encouraged by my New Guinean teacher William Mania and Kiwi ornithologist and author Don Hadden.
THE Simbu Writers Association is only six months old as a writing organisation but it is already gearing up for two major activities to accomplish in September 2015.
Over the weekend, the seven-member committee met to deliberate on how the SWA will host and manage the 2015 Crocodile Prize in Kundiawa.
Also on the agenda was the second year of promoting the home-grown concept of ‘Simbu for Literary Excellence’ which involves all high schools in the province in literary and related activities.
The committee got together at 11:00 Saturday at Gum Tree Lookout in Kundiawa. The members were pleased to welcome Jimmy Drekore, recently appointed chairman of the Crocodile Prize Organisation and also SWA president.
IT was the coastal trawler MV Solomon Queen which took me away that February afternoon in 2011.
I was carried away from my Solomon island of Bougainville across the Solomon Sea to the New Guinean town of Rabaul in East New Britain.
Then, after a few hours catching up with relatives from Ragunai village, I left on the ill-fated MV Rabaul Queen for Kimbe and on to Lae.
In 2013, the Rabaul Queen was to sink in bad weather with heavy loss of life.
From Lae we hit the highway through the Markham Valley, over rugged terrain into Madang Province and thence to Madang town’s Divine Word University.
It was a three day journey from Bougainville to Madang that finally had me stuck to the university for four years.
IT was 15 September just past and I had returned to Port Moresby for the 2014 Crocodile Prize literary awards.
From the air looking down, Port Moresby was shimmering under the dust emanating from the plethora of road and building construction.
As usual, the savannah grassland surrounding the city had patches of black from burning and torching mostly by Eastern Highlanders and Simbus who, as if they own the landscape, use fire to clear the land of weeds to plant corn and peanuts to feed the growing population.
The smoke produced by these fires added to the thick haze.
Still, it was a good feeling coming home to this unforgiving city that is unfairly ranked by The Economist Intelligence Unit as one of the 10 most dangerous cities to live in.
THE Crocodile Prize Organisation has been boosted in 2014-15 by the appointment of Oala Moi as its media director.
Oala, from Port Moresby, is press secretary to Boka Kondra, Papua New Guinea’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
He was educated at the University of Papua New Guinea from where he graduated with a degree in public administration in 2002.
After leaving university, Oala spent nine years working in PNG’s National Disaster Centre where he rose to a senior role specialising in disaster response.
He was a team member on the 2007 Cyclone Guba and flood disaster in Oro Province and the 2008 king tide disaster in PNG’s maritime provinces.
‘IN perpetuity’, this legal term has a welcome sound to it. Perpetual, permanent, unending, eternal, and that’s just the start of it.
At the tail-end of the fourth pukpuk prize presentations, I would like us each to reflect about the future of The Crocodile Prize, and this word; perpetuity.
It is a big part of what writers and poets wish to see for their literary contributions, no matter how small the work.
I was recently honoured to receive a request from the Commonwealth Education Trust, based in London England, to have a poem placed in their anthology A River of Stories, Tales and Poems from across the Commonwealth.
AWARD winning Papua New Guinean writer and founder of the Simbu Children Foundation, Jimmy Drekore BSc, has been appointed inaugural Chairman of the Crocodile Prize Organisation, COG.
Jimmy, 38, from Kundiawa, is an industrial chemist by profession who retired from Newcrest Mining’s Lihir gold mine in 2013 after 14 years with the company.
He returned home to work with the Simbu Children Foundation, one of PNG’s most successful home grown charities which he had founded in 2004.
He is also Chairman of the Kundiawa-based company, Organic Mountain Produce (OMP), which was established this year.
Jimmy will be supported in his leadership role at COG by Phil Fitzpatrick as Publishing Director and by me as Executive Director as well as by a revamped COG committee.
KEITH sends his regrets at not being able to attend tonight, but it is an honour for me to be invited to speak in his place and I am proud to be following his footsteps in PNG.
Congratulations to all our winners – Iriani Wanma, Leonard Fong Roka, Agnes Maineke, Arnold Mundua, Diddie Kinamun Jackson, Sil Bolkin and Sir Paulias Matane.
I also want to take his opportunity to congratulate every person that submitted entries to the Crocodile Prize, because you put the flesh on the bones of the crocodile.
IF you live in Papua New Guinea, there tend to be more downs than ups. Fortunately people are able to adjust and improvise and life goes on.
And so it was with the 2014 Crocodile Prize Workshop and Awards.
For our part, we know it is always wise to arrive in Papua New Guinea a couple of days early to sort out any unforeseen problems.
This year the venue for the Writers’ Workshop was the American Corner in the National Library.
Through a series of ill-advised maintenance contracts that have the unfortunate taint of cronyism about them, the library had managed to exhaust its operational funds and two weeks prior to our arrival had its electricity turned off because it couldn’t pay its bill.
This is an all too common occurrence in Papua New Guinea. True to form nobody had thought to tell us about it.
AT Kundiawa airport in mid-September an informal session with the an experienced politician and a public servant gave in sights into how Simbu and other PNG politicians perceive non-government organisations.
At 12 noon on the Saturday, I was with former politicians and current public servants as they chatted among themselves on the issue of recognising the difference between the words critique, criticise, comment and condemn.
The hottest debate was between Mathias Kin (pictured) and ex-politician Peter Gul.
Peter Gul was the former Premier of Simbu Province (1984-86). He is the current protocol officer of the Simbu Governor.
He never had a university education but, after , completing Grade 10, he mastered a good command of English. He is said to be a keen learner and ‘a scholar from the streets’.
He highlighted that he was taught without books and what he learned was mainly through living a hard life.
“THE warm reception from the Papua New Guineans brought home to me the importance of the Prize in preserving stories and building a literary tradition,” a senior diplomat told me, in what was a common reaction to Thursday’s Crocodile Prize literary awards in Port Moresby.
The main purpose of the event was to recognise and award seven Papua New Guineans for their writing.
But the evening turned into much more than the presentation of awards.
The day had begun with a writers’ workshop in the American Corner of the National Library – where there had been no power and water for a fortnight due to electricity bills not being paid.
The United States Embassy had offered the facility for the workshop and made various commitments to support the event, but its organisation was sadly lacking.
THE RIVERS PRIZE
Val Rivers wanted Papua New Guinea's writers to consider how to create a harmonious society.
So in 2013 she funded this literary prize.
You are asked to write an article, story, essay or poem on the theme
Peace & Harmony in PNG – Past & Present
K1,000 first prize; two prizes of K350 each for runners up
Closing date: Monday 17 November. Details here
ALL expectations were surpassed last night at the 2014 Crocodile Prize awards at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby.
The ceremony and reception celebrated the literary achievements of award winning writers Arnold Mundua, Iriani Wanma, Diddie Kinamun Jackson, Leonard Fong Roka, Agnes Maineke, Sil Bolkin and Sir Paulias Matane.
In a magnificent act of dedication to Papua New Guinean literature and culture, PNG Planning Minister Charles Abel (pictured) and Oro Governor Gary Juffa each pledged K10,000 to the 2015 Crocodile Prize.
And, as announced in PNG Attitude yesterday afternoon, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Boka Kondra handed over more than K5,000 for a new writing award in the area covered by his portfolio.
In another major development, it was also announced – to loud applause - that next year’s Crocodile Prize awards will, for the first time, be hosted outside Port Moresby, when they move to Kundiawa in Simbu Province.
Earlier in the day a workshop was held for Papua New Guinean writers and aspiring writers to learn about the creative process, share ideas about writing and debate the future of publishing.
WINNERS of this year’s Crocodile Prize awards—promoted as Papua New Guinea’s national writing contest—will be officially announced this evening in a ceremony at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby.
Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Boka Kondra will be present to announce the creation of a new award: the Tourism, Arts & Culture Writing Award. The award will not be presented this year as it commences next year.
The award addresses one program objective under the Tourism Arts & Culture sector plan framework 2015-2018.
This plan is the O’Neill-Dion government’s tourism arts and culture sector plan and will go before the National Executive Council this month for endorsement as an official government policy document.
IT was one happy and spritely crocodile that greeted the sun’s first rays over Papua New Guinea this morning.
For this moment each September - scheduled to reinforce PNG’s Independence Day - marks the culmination of nearly a year’s activities by organisers, writers and sponsors of the Crocodile Prize national literary contest.
Now in its fourth year, the 2014 Prize exceeded all expectations – with more than 600 entries in six categories of writing (including PNG’s first Book of the Year) yielding a 500-page representative Anthology of the best creative writing in the country.
THE winners of Papua New Guinea’s national literature awards – The Crocodile Prize – will be officially announced this evening in a ceremony at the Australian High Commission.
The Crocodile Prize Anthology for 2014 will also be launched at the event, which is now in its fourth year.
Co-founder of the awards, Keith Jackson, said the winners of this year’s awards capture Papua New Guinea’s diversity.
“From an 82 year-old former Governor-General to a 25 year-old health sciences graduate seeking her first job, they give insight into PNG’s social, economic and political transition as a nation,” Mr Jackson said.
IN 2015 the Crocodile Prize awards and writers workshop will for the first time migrate from Port Moresby to Kundiawa under the stirring auspices of the Simbu Writers’ Association.
When the Prize was inaugurated in 2011, the design of Vincent Eri’s pioneering novel, The Crocodile, was the inspiration for the cover of the first anthology.
In 2012 we conducted a competition to choose a cover for the anthology. That gave us the memorable cover designed by Joe Bilbu. We also adapted one of Joe’s designs, Frangipani Croc, as the logo of Pukpuk Publishing.
Crocodile Prize Anthology – Readers continue to help out - $1,010 in donations so far
Go HERE to find out how you can assist.
With great gratitude to Corney Alone & Tanya Zeriga-Alone, Robin Lillicrapp, Iriani Wanma, Dr Lance Hill, Rose & Peter Kranz, Keith Jackson, Anon (Australia)
THE National Library of Australia has decided to “provide public access in perpetuity” to the Crocodile Prize website.
This means that the Library, through its Pandora Archive, will re-archive the website each year, recording changes and updates in full so its content will always be available.
The Library says it is currently putting together a Papua New Guinea collection in which the Crocodile Prize website will be incorporated.
MORE than 800 copies of the Crocodile Prize Anthology costing over $8,000 are now being distributed free of charge throughout Papua New Guinea, mainly to schools and libraries but also to tertiary institutions and members of parliament.
This is fulfilling the second leg of the Prize’s ‘contract’ with the people of PNG – which is not only to encourage and reward writers but to ensure their work is published and made available to readers throughout the country.
But, that said, we now need help from PNG Attitude readers.
The Crocodile Prize Organising Group, COG, received $5,000 from the PNG Association of Australia and the Australian High Commission in PNG contributed a grant of $3,000.
THE great motivating force behind the establishment of the Crocodile Prize lay in a recognition that the people of Papua New Guinea barely had a home-grown literature.
The response Phil Fitzpatrick and I developed in 2010 was simple in concept: to encourage Papua New Guinean writers to write; to publish the best of their work; and to distribute this writing in digital and book forms throughout PNG through the production of an annual Anthology.
Simple in concept; more difficult to implement.
As it turned out, the writing and publication were a lot easier to achieve than the distribution of hard copy books.
After struggling in the past to secure efficient distribution, this year we devised a simple scheme.
To recruit PNG Attitude readers in PNG to assist in the task.
YESTERDAY PNG Attitude began a competition in which we will send 10 free copies of the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2014 – free of charge and to be handed out freely – to those PNG readers who provide a good description of where the books could be of the most use.
Winners will be allowed to keep a copy of the Anthology for themselves so long as they distribute the other copies to libraries, schools, universities, hospitals, aid posts and other good places.
Today I can announce the first three winners – Jimmy Awagl, John Kaupa Kamasua and Arnold Mundua. Writers all, they are not unknown names to us.
“I would like to distribute those books among three schools in the isolated setting in Simbu,” Jimmy writes.
“Mai High, Parua Primary and Ku High. Ku High School has built a new library and called it after the Simbu Writers Association.
THANKS to the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia – which provided a significant grant to assist publish the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2014 – copies of this wonderful 500-page book are now being distributed throughout PNG.
Now we’ve come up with a great scheme that you PNG readers may be able to help with.
We will provide you with 10 copies of the Anthology – free of charge and to be handed out freely – if you are one of the lucky winners of this competition.
THE Crocodile Prize was first awarded in 2011 and has been a nurturing force for Papua New Guinea's writers. KEITH JACKSON, co-founder of the Prize, told the ABC’s LIAM COCHRANE how it all began….
JACKSON – [The Prize was initiated] to ensure there was some incentive and recognition for creative writing in PNG. There had been, around the time of independence, a great burgeoning of literature in PNG – poetry, short stories, memoirs, histories – but, over the years there was no structure to support it and there was no publishing industry, so it really faded away.
In 2010, Phil Fitzpatrick, an Australian author and former patrol officer in PNG, and I got talking and wondered whether we might be able to do something to fix it.
COCHRANE – And since those early days, how have things developed?
The Crocodile Prize offers annual awards to recognise Papua New Guinea’s best writing. Reporting for the ABC’s Correspondents Report, LIAM COCHRANE caught up with one of this year’s winners, Diddie Kinamun Jackson, on her lunch break from a meat canning company outside Port Moresby.
I sit and wrote and wrote into the moonlight / up on the cold hard rock / writing stories of the dreamtime / Stories passed down and so whole like time itself / Pondering out into the dim firelight / straining my mind just to write down everything / to preserve the story as best I could.
LIAM COCHRANE: That's the poetry of Diddie Kinamun Jackson, the winner of the poetry section of Papua New Guinea's Crocodile Prize this year. We're sitting here by a river; it sort of reminds me a little bit of the mood that you evoke in your poem. And yet you've just taken a break from your job at the Bully Beef canning factory. It's quite a different kind of environment. What is it that makes you write poetry?
The Crocodile Prize Anthology 2014, Phil Fitzpatrick (ed), $US13.50 (postage c $6.00), 512 pages, obtain from Amazon here
THE Crocodile Prize, now in its fourth year, is the annual literary contest of Papua New Guinea.
It offers a variety of awards for short stories, essays and poetry, the best of which are published in an annual Anthology.
The 2014 Anthology at more than 500 pages is the biggest yet and the quality of the writing the best we've seen from this 7 million strong South Pacific nation.
THE Crocodile Prize is Papua New Guinea’s one and only national literary contest. In fact as one of its organisers has observed, ‘Only one out of 22 provinces is not represented in the competition entries’.
That says a lot about the importance of literature to different people and about the potential of PNG writers to produce work which is of relevance in contemporary culture.
It has been only four years since its inception but, with the efforts of many writers, editors, organisers, sponsors, readers and supporters, the Crocodile Prize has swum against the currents of time and tempest.
The Prize began in 2011 and last year presented organisational challenges even though 2012 was considered a watershed year in the turnout of written works.