Now in its third year, the Rivers Award this year takes the theme 'What I Was Told'
& it offers K5,000 in prizes for Papua New Guinean writers
Help distribute free Crocodile Prize anthologies to PNG
Now in its third year, the Rivers Award this year takes the theme 'What I Was Told'
& it offers K5,000 in prizes for Papua New Guinean writers
Help distribute free Crocodile Prize anthologies to PNG
THE Crocodile Prize awards event posters hit Kundiawa town early on Thursday.
Big and colourful, they were pinned to public notice boards and in government buildings and drew large crowds (see picture).
Very soon the stories were spreading about the Crocodile Prize awards event to be held in the Simbu capital on 18-19 September, just after Papua New Guinea’s Independence Day. I was also asked to go on air to be interviewed by Radio Simbu and National Radio.
THE overwhelming number of entries in this year’s Writing for Children Award in the Crocodile Prize has inspired Paga Hill Development Company to assist publish and distribute a special book of children’s stories.
Many of the more than 50 children’s stories entered in the Crocodile Prize contest will be published as a special edition children’s book and distributed to as many Papua New Guinean schools as possible.
The children’s anthology, an initiative spearheaded by the Crocodile Prize Organisation and edited by Ben Jackson (pictured with writer Martyn Namorong), aims to provide Papua New Guinean schools with greater access to home-grown literature and to encourage reading from a young age.
IT snowed every winter in the place where I came from.
As kids we used to climb to the top of a nearby hill, make a big snowball and send it rolling down the slope.
As it rolled it picked up more snow and got bigger and bigger until it finally crashed in spectacular fashion in the valley below.
It may intrigue you that I was once caught in a snowstorm in Papua New Guinea.
FOR the second year running, the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia has provided a significant grant to assist publish the Crocodile Prize Anthology.
And we want our readers to help distribute it.
If you meet a few conditions we will provide lucky PNG readers with 10 free copies of the 400-page Anthology to hand out freely to libraries, schools, universities, hospitals, aid posts and other relevant places in the provinces and districts of Papua New Guinea.
Winners will also be permitted to keep a copy of the Anthology for themselves.
“ACKNOWLEDGING the fact that my poem is the best in this tough national literature contest is truly unbearable,” Philip Gena Kaupa told me.
Philip, 27, is a marine biologist and, although he was born in Goroka and currently lives with his family in Port Moresby, a self-described “Simbu man - my home town is Kundiawa”.
“I am overwhelmed by the victorious feeling that comes with this magnificent achievement,” he said.
“The Crocodile Prize is the avenue that creates greatness and fame in Papua New Guinean literature.”
PREPARATIONS are well advanced for the 2015 Crocodile Prize awards event to be held in Kundiawa on 18 and 19 September.
President of the Crocodile Prize Organisation, Jimmy Drekore (pictured), said that writers, sponsors and friends of the Crocodile Prize national literary competition who wish to attend the event should now be making preparations to travel to Kundiawa.
“People travelling by air are advised to make booking to Kagamuga Airport, Mt Hagen, on Thursday 17 September.
“There they will be picked up by members of the Simbu Writer’s Association which is hosting the event,” Mr Drekore said.
“Then will follow a two hour bus ride to Simbu cruising through Jiwaka Style Flower Country and enjoying the scenery of the famous Wahgi Valley.”
Mr Drekore said it is very important that everyone coming must contact him before the end of August.
HAZEL Kutkue, 20, the winner of this year’s short story award in the Crocodile Prize, was born in Madang of East Sepik parentage.
Early in her life, Hazel’s parents separated. “I do not know much about my father,” Hazel said, “my mother, who now lives and works in Mt Hagen, raised me and my four siblings on her own.”
Hazel is in her third year of medical school at the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby.
“PNG literature state is yet to reach the optimum state,” Hazel told me. “But it is getting there, though at a slow pace. Seeking avenues for publishing is hard and getting writer’s work to people is difficult. I hope these things change in the near future.”
JOYCELIN Leahy is a proud Papua New Guinean who believes that the people of PNG are born storytellers.
And, as her Crocodile Prize win shows, Joycelin is not only a great storyteller but a very fine illustrator as well.
Her win in the Paga Hill Development Company Award for Writing for Children was a wonderful outcome for the Wau-born artist.
Joycelin left Wau as a baby and was raised by her single-parent mother in Wagang village, Lae.
“I learnt English when I went to school at six. I had already spoken Bukawac, Pidgin and Yabem,” she said. “As children, we always pretended we spoke English, Chinese or other foreign languages and acted and mimed various scenes in jokes and storytelling.
THE first time Daniel Kumbon saw his name in print was in a letter to the editor of the Post-Courier in 1976. He’s been hooked ever since. And now he’s won a Crocodile Prize award for travel writing.
That first letter concerned a debate about Sunday and Saturday worship. Daniel argued it didn’t matter what day you worshipped so long as your life was straight in the eyes of God.
In his life’s career as a journalist, Daniel has published hundreds and hundreds of articles. “If your mind is clear and you have a bright idea that you want to share, express it in writing,” he said.
“You can leave behind an album full of your smiling face – but what is in your mind is more important. Share it with others and help shape society through things you write.
AUTHOR Baka Bina, winner of the Ok Tedi Mining Book of the Year for 2015, believes in sharing the credit.
“Man of Calibre was a collaborative effort between Ed Brumby, my wife Emily Bina and our children, especially Tshasha and Linda, to get the story to fruition in book form. The kudos of the Crocodile Prize is for all of us and we share that gleefully amongst us,” he said.
Baka said that, for him, his first book Sweet Garaiina Apo had been the tough one. “It was first put to pen in 2003 and a lot of time was spent rewriting and crying over it. Personally it was the roller coaster one for emotions.
“Man of Calibre? Well who do you think wants to read about a village boasting about its conman?”
PEOPLE write for many reasons. For Papua New Guinean writers, especially those who have participated in the Crocodile Prize, I’m sure the first reward was seeing their work being published, read and commented upon for the first time in PNG Attitude.
Getting one’s work published in PNG Attitude and in the annual Crocodile Prize Anthology of the best PNG writing are very positive reinforcements. And the Prize contest itself is very important.
But, as you all know, writing does not stop after the award of prizes. It is a personal walk that continues for each of us for as long as we desire and for as far as it can take us. Indeed it may take us into areas where we have never dreamt possible.
“I am shocked and in disbelief,” said Ronnie Dotaona when he heard the news. “It’s an honour for me, as a rookie writer in the Crocodile Prize, to win this prestigious writing award.”
Ronnie, 33, who has been awarded the Cleland Family Prize for Heritage Writing, is a teacher and researcher in applied ecology and invertebrate entomology. He’s currently on study leave in NSW, Australia, prior to submitting a dissertation for examination later this month.
“I'm a proud Suau from Milne Bay but I’ve worked in Lae ever since graduating from university. My tiger parents were educated only to Form 1, mum barely reads English, but they have their standards and rarely allow mistakes at home.
ECONOMIST Busa Jeremiah Wenogo, 30, winner of this year’s Crocodile Prize for Journalism, tells it like it is from his home in Port Moresby’s Erema settlement. And 'like it is' is often rough and desperate (see story below).
The PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum is a long-time sponsor of the important Award for Essays & Journalism in the Crocodile Prize and there is a distinguished list of previous winners: Martyn Namorong (2011), Emma Wakpi (2012), Francis Nii (2013) and Sil Bolkin (2014).
“I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to have won this prestigious award,” said Busa. “To be honest I thought I was not going to win given that there were so many good entries from other writers throughout Papua New Guinea. I doubted my chances, so this is really a big surprise.”
Busa was born in Port Moresby General Hospital in 1985, the eldest of a family of five born to Wenogo Busa and Kilip Tewei. (My son Simon was also born there in 1967.)
THE winner of the SP Brewery Award for Illustration in the Crocodile Prize, Emmanuel David Amakure Landu, 23, has a dream.
“My dream is to become an architect, but not just any ordinary architect,” David, who is self-taught, says.
“I want to be a visionary architect. It’s a dream that may take up 10 years of my youth to get there - but I am hopeful.”
David was born in Port Moresby in 1992 of mixed Vanimo, Goroka and Milne Bay parentage.
His entry in the Crocodile Prize was David’s the first time he had exposed his work to public view, although his sister, Lapieh Landu (pictured with him here), is a two-time prize winner for her poetry.
“Writers and artists are alike,” says David. “We create things most people can only imagine or dream about.
“My word of encouragement would be to sustain such an initiative and continue to maintain our culture and tradition in the best way that we know how.
WRITERS from seven provinces feature in the nine prizes awarded in this year’s Crocodile Prize – Papua New Guinea’s national literary awards.
And one of the winners, 20-year old medical student Hazel Kutkue, not only won the Martens’ Award for Young Writers but the national short story prize – a prodigious achievement at such an early age and against some very stiff competition.
The Ok Tedi Mining Award for Book of the Year saw Baka Bina’s Man of Calibre triumph in a strong field of 10 contenders while the inaugural SP Brewery Award for Illustration went to another Eastern Highlander, Emmanuel Landu, brother of two-time Crocodile Prize winner, poet Lapieh Landu.
Other provinces represented in the prize winners are Enga, Simbu, Milne Bay, Morobe, Madang and the National Capital District.
THOSE people who read my forays in PNG Attitude may have realised that I am a keen amateur historian.
One of the lessons of history is that human advancement depends very critically upon the existence of a cultured, educated and motivated leadership group who, whether for selfish or altruistic reasons, change their society for the better.
This is frequently a pretty fraught process, with many failures and false starts and, sometimes, it ends in total catastrophe. Change is neither easy nor painless.
However, it seems to me that the more educated, literate and articulate the population of a given society is, the more likely it is to create paths to a better future without resort to either warfare with others or a great deal of civil disorder.
PAPUA New Guinea literature is blooming like an orchid tended with care by PNG Attitude, the Crocodile Prize and Pukpuk Publishing, each of which has offered so much.
Now it is time for Papua New Guineans to take on board the legacy of Phil Fitzpatrick and Keith Jackson. It is time to accept he challenge of driving and promoting literature in PNG following the fifth anniversary of the Crocodile Prize.
The primary objective of Phil and Keith has been to ensure that the concept of promoting PNG writing must continue under the management of Papua New Guineans.
WE have experienced the good fortune of seeing the Simbu Writers Association step up to organise what will be a very fine Crocodile Prize awards event in Kundiawa next month.
I trust that some of our readers will be able to make it to the Simbu for the weekend of 18-20 September to participate in what will be a joyful and important occasion.
For some years now, it has been the desire of Phil Fitzpatrick and I to see the Crocodile Prize Organisation, COG, which administers the awards, transfer its activities to PNG.
We tried to do this in 2012, but failed. And, when Phil and I rescued the project late that year, I foreshadowed that 2015 would probably see me out.
AMID her freshly sautéed gnocchi being consumed on the steps on the Colosseum, a dear friend was interrupted by my panicked email message.
Despite being on the other side of the world, deservedly indulgent in her long-awaited family vacation, she tore herself away from the Neapolitan sauce to respond to my ’ploise explain’.
Whilst she was out of Australia, a disaffected posse of her countrymen had reared their ugly hatreds.
As an immigrant of this sunburnt country, I was anxious. A ‘civil’ group, with a name – Reclaim Australia - that made one think indigenous folk were seeking land ownership, was rallying the troops.
Foreword to the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2015
THIS is the fifth year that the Crocodile Prize Anthology has been published. It is also something of a milestone because literary endeavours in Papua New Guinea are not renowned for their longevity.
It is also worth noting that there has been no waning in the quantity or the quality of the entries or in the number of new writers entering the competition. The judges continue to be amazed at this impressive output.
As the competition rolls on it has not been a matter of encouraging this creativity but rather simply identifying it. My impression is that there is a whole lot more out there yet to be discovered.
QUEENSLAND is sometimes referred to as the ‘Deep North’, an allusion to the Deep South in the USA, where conservative and reactionary values run deep.
Another epithet is ‘the red-neck state’. Having lived and travelled in Queensland for the last six years or so I can confirm that our fair state seems to have an abundance of this regressive species.
The man in large part responsible for this image was former premier Joh Bjelke Petersen. His mixture of home-spun philosophy, aversion to anything remotely cultural unless it was garish or a money spinner and his government’s overt nepotism and corruption tarnished Queensland’s reputation for many years.
PHIL Fitzpatrick, modest man that he is, would probably disagree with me that Pukpuk Publishing has emerged as the most significant development in the history of Papua New Guinean publishing.
The most recent Pukpuk Publishing book list [download Pukpuk Publishing August 2015], contains 27 titles, all but one about PNG, and offers an abundance of quality reading.
The not-for-profit publisher is one of a number of positive collaterals to derive from the Crocodile Prize, which itself managed to rejuvenate creative writing in PNG which had been largely hiding in a cupboard since the 1970s.
“What I particularly like about Papua New Guinean writers, apart from their considerable skills,” Phil has written, “is the way they dip into their rich cultural heritage to background their work.
“This is what makes Papua New Guinean literature distinctive and appealing. The result is a school of literature clearly identifiable with the country.”
READING Bill Brown’s eulogy to the old kiap Harry West, it occurred to me that it will be people like Harry who will be remembered long after any of their wealthy counterparts.
Wealth might make you famous in the short term but it is no ticket to historical fame.
It is what you do with your life rather than how much wealth you accumulate that really matters. If you are wealthy it is what good or evil that you have done with your wealth that people will remember.
There is currently an extremely wealthy and crass businessman in the USA running for preselection as a presidential candidate for the Republican Party who realises this and is running in the hope that if he makes it he will be remembered. He knows that his inherited wealth won’t buy immortality.
In our celebrity besotted world there are people who are said to be famous for being famous. When you look at these people, the Kardashians and the Paris Hiltons, you realise how much they are giving fame a bad name.
OF the more than 800 entries received in this year’s Crocodile Prize, 160 have been selected by editors Phil Fitzpatrick and me for publication in The Crocodile Prize Anthology 2015 – all 400 pages of it.
This year’s collection of the best Papua New Guinean creative writing (and illustrations) is nearing publication date, with proofs being checked preparatory to throwing the switch to ‘print’.
A link to the published contents can be found further down in this article.
It is anticipated that, as a result of a generous donation from the PNG Association of Australia, some 1,500 copies of the anthology will be distributed free of cost to PNG libraries and schools. In a few weeks’ time, we will be asking readers to nominate themselves as distributors for schools in their areas.
In all, the anthology includes 52 poems, 42 short stories, 28 essays and 15 heritage stories. There are also 12 stories for children, seven entries in the Tourism, Arts & Culture category and four illustrations.
I left Papua New Guinea in the mid-1970s and didn’t return for over 20 years.
When I went back, I flew into Port Moresby and then on to Mount Hagen and Mendi to the border region between the Southern Highlands, Gulf and Western provinces.
Putting it mildly, I was amazed and disheartened by the state of the country. Buildings, roads and other infrastructure had fallen apart. Law and order had gone to the dogs and everywhere there were razor wire and security guards.
Hospitals and aid posts didn’t have medicines, schools were falling apart and their teachers collected salaries but didn’t teach. The police were scruffy and finding a public servant at the office before 10:00am was almost impossible.
It was only the friendliness of the poor people out in the bush who softened the impact. The educated elite didn’t seem to care. They were too busy making money and robbing the country.
THERE were 827 entries from 132 Papua New Guineans in this year’s Crocodile Prize national literary contest, topping last year’s effort significantly.
Given that the competition is largely web-based we can only assume this represents the tip of a very large creative iceberg. There must be thousands of talented writers out there without access to the internet.
Writing is very important. It is a key brick in the wall of society. Apart from its entertainment value it is the way society moves knowledge and information around. If you don’t have writers, nobody knows what is going on in the country and the wider world.
IT’S not every day that you get to influence the revival of literature in a whole country, unintentionally or otherwise.
I must admit to some surprise that it has happened at all. What started as a humble writing competition seems to have bloomed beyond all expectations.
There is a sense of pride in what has happened but, strangely, it’s not personal. Rather it is a sense of pride in the achievements of the writers involved.
At a personal level it has been more of a humbling experience. There is also a sense of awe and enrichment.
SO it’s Tuesday 30 June; the day that entries close in the fifth Crocodile Prize, Papua New Guinea’s national writing contest.
There’s been a torrent of contributions this past couple of weeks, a veritable flood, and this has caused a bank up in the editorial process and slowed the publication of some of the better entries. But we’ll get there.
When you email your writing to us, the first thing we do is read it your contribution, then we register it and, if you remembered to send in an entry form, register you as a writer.
An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Paga Hill Development Company
Award for Writing for Children
SP Brewery Award for Illustration
TWO glorious days in Kundiawa, Simbu Province - a magnificent time of Simbu style celebration to mark Papua New Guinean literature and commemorate the 40th anniversary of PNG Independence.
Everyone gearing-up for the big event. A glowing day attracting villagers to abandon their homes and come out for a sun bath.
Then, to their amazement, as the sun rises over Mt Wilhelm Simbu Woman appears in her traditional attire, body glistening with grease pig and offering a unique pattern of dance.
The crowds encircle her while she shake her bottom to captivate them. In her hands, a Simbu arrow.
THE Ok Tedi Mining Ltd Papua New Guinea book of the year award was initiated just last year and its inauguration marked a significant milestone in the rebirth of the nation’s written literature.
It has been observed before in these columns that creative writing in PNG – especially of book length - fell into a deep trough following the effervescent years around independence when many emergent authors found voice.
The drought began to break in 2010 with the advent of the Crocodile Prize national literary contest and the subsequent publication, in 2011, of the first Crocodile Prize Anthology.
And this resurgence was enriched last year when, through the generosity of Ok Tedi Mining, the national book of the year award was established. There were six entries – three from Leonard Fong Roka. These were The Pomong U’tau of Dreams, Moments in Bougainville and Brokenville, which went on to win.
Ok Tedi Mining Ltd Book of the Year
Part of the Crocodile Prize Award
I am happy to announce that, very soon, a collection of short stories from Enga Province will be published.
The book is in production for release under the Pukpuk Publishing imprint, the publications arm of the Crocodile Prize Organisation.
The stories began to be written in the mid-1980s by Engans studying at the University of Papua New Guinea.
Some were published in the UPNG Enga Students Association Yearbook and the Arts and Culture section of Enga Nius, the provincial newspaper. Other in the collection have never been published.
THREE weeks ago, using the online service Change.org, I started a petition to the Papua New Guinea Parliament on behalf of the Crocodile Prize and PNG authors making three requests which will improve both literacy and the national cultural standing of PNG.
First, the petition sought an Independence gift to the children of Papua New Guinea in the form of making the annual Crocodile Prize Anthologies of 2011 to 2015 available to all PNG schools.
Secondly, it asked Honourable Members to allocate an annual portion from their district improvement (DSIP) budgets to ensure that every school in their electorate has an increasing number of books that have been written by Papua New Guinean authors.
NOW here’s a nice diversion for a lazy Sunday – a browse through the expanding book list of Pukpuk Publishing, the publications arm of the Crocodile Prize Organisation, which now offers 20 titles with three more on the way.
You can download the full six-page list below. It contains a synopsis of each publication and tells you how to get hold of them.
Buy all 23 and you’ll have a tremendous library of contemporary Papua New Guinean writing.
The list truly signifies the Great Revival (Bigpela Stretim) of PNG literature, which had fallen into a long fallow and unproductive period after the creative dynamism inspired by PNG’s independence in 1975.
ROSARY Secondary School at Kondiu in Simbu Province burst into life a week ago with students, teachers, a singsing group, local police and the community converging in the Bishop Cohill Auditorium.
They were there for the 2015 Simbu Writers Association (SWA) school debate and quiz contests and literary awards presentation.
Normally, it is inter-school sports or athletic competitions that bring schools together. More rarely, schools get together for other reasons. This was one of them
The event was made possible by the SWA through its pioneering endeavour, Simbu for Literary Excellence, that attracted and united provincial high schools and secondary schools.
READ a good book lately? Want to share it with someone?
Written a good book lately? Want to spread it around?
Thought about giving it away so other people can enjoy reading it?
Passing books on gratis is a long standing and underrated tradition.
I’ve read thousands of books in my lifetime but my bookshelves only house a few hundred favourites.
Most of what I read nowadays, unless it’s spectacularly good, ends up in our local Red Cross opportunity shop, sometimes via a few odd relatives and friends.
AS this piece goes to print, the on-line petition to get books authored by Papua New Guineans into PNG schools has passed 100 signatures.
Haven’t signed up yet? Can I encourage you to do so?
If ever there was cause worth spending a free minute to support, and which will advantage each spirit it touches, it is this one.
Right now we stand on the crest of a literary peak PNG has not seen since those heady years around Independence.
AS we are get closer to the tail end of the 2015 Crocodile Prize writing season (entries close on Tuesday 30 June), it’s probably time to introduce the man responsible for the Anthology covers.
Joe Bilbu has been designing the covers since 2012 and he also provided the logo adopted by Pukpuk Publishing.
This year he has had the difficult task of coming up with a cover that reflected our signature pukpuk and that the competition workshop and awards will be held in the highlands for the first time.
We think he’s come up with a gem of a cover that does the job admirably.
Joe hails from Babakau Village (BBKings), down the coast from Port Moresby and just off the Magi Highway.
He now lives in Fiji with his Fijian wife, Milika, and their three children, Carlene (19), Joe Hendrix (12) and Grace Leona (7).
I’VE always suspected that the reason why most politicians in Papua New Guinea don’t support writers is because they are scared of what might be written about them.
Either that or it’s because they are basically dumb and don’t read themselves and do not see any point in funding literature or having a literate society.
Our previous conservative premier in Queensland, Campbell Newman, was one of those. One of his earliest initiatives was abolishing the Premier’s Literary Award and giving the money to a TV network to produce a really silly reality program.
Having read the PNG Parliamentary Speaker’s diatribe, ‘2015 – The Year of Crossing Over to the Other Side’ on the National Parliament website, I’m more inclined to favour this dumb (really, really dumb) option.
That said, I’m also wary about allowing governments into the literary mix for the simple reason of the control this might give them over what is written and published.
AWARD-winning Papua New Guinean poet, Michael Dom – on behalf of the Crocodile Prize Organisation – has launched a petition to persuade the PNG parliament to provide funding to get PNG-authored books into PNG’s 4,000 schools.
The petition, which you can link to at the end of this story, seeks parliamentary approval for “an Independence gift to the children of PNG in the form of making the five annual Crocodile Prize Anthologies 2011-15 available to all PNG schools”.
It suggests also that parliamentarians each year allocate some of their DSIP (district improvement) budgets to ensure that every school in their electorate has an increasing number of books written by Papua New Guinean authors.
At present, about a dozen new books each year are being published by established and emerging local writers.
“Papua New Guinean school children should be reading literature that was authored by their wantoks,” the petition says.
THESE are the trophies that, in September, will travel from their place of manufacture in south-east Queensland to the Papua New Guinea highlands to be presented to the winners of this year’s Crocodile Prize.
Along with K5,000 prize money in each of the eight award categories, travel and accommodation to the event at Kundiawa and guaranteed publication in the 2015 Anthology, they represent the reward for outstanding talent and effort.
SOMETIMES we try to cook up convincing arguments to back up our case. Sometimes someone else gives us the arguments.
But last night, while thinking about whether to petition Papua New Guinea’s parliament to provide more PNG-authored books to our schools - and whether or not it was a good idea - a simple thing happened that galvanised my confidence that a petition is the right thing to do.
I’m studying in South Australia and my partner Isidora was at home in PNG giving baking lessons to a colleague’s young daughters.
While they were relaxing in the lounge waiting for the dough to rise, the girls happened to come across a copy of my first book, At Another Crossroads, sitting on the coffee table.
PAPUA New Guineans need to be reading literature that was authored by Papua New Guineans.
But PNG authors have not been supported to create literature that encompasses our heritage, tells PNG stories in novels, expresses PNG perceptions through poetry or explains PNG thinking through essays.
The Crocodile Prize is a national literary competition established to provide incentive and support for writers, poets and essayists to do just that.
It started on a wing-and-a-prayer and is now supported by several companies and private individuals who believe that literature is an important tool for the development of a national identity.
ALONG with Papua New Guinean friends, I want to petition the National Parliament of PNG and the Speaker to purchase 5,000 books - 1,000 copies each of the five Crocodile Prize Anthologies from 2011 to 2015.
Regardless of the opinion each one of us may have on the issue of the King James Version Bible, one point cannot be denied - a lot of money was spent to acquire it.
Therefore, two questions, among many, which citizens have a right to ask are:
(1) How else might all this money have been used?
(2) Can we put the same effort and funding into buying PNG literature for our schools?
PRESIDENT of the Crocodile Prize Organisation, COG, Jimmy Drekore, will attend the annual Brisbane Writers Festival from 4-6 September this year.
The Festival is a great meeting place for people associated with literature in Australia and overseas – authors, journalists, administrators, supporters and readers.
COG member Bob Cleland has been dealing with Festival organisers, who say they are keen, in future years, to have Papua New Guinea officially represented in the festival.
IT is unlikely the Crocodile Prize literary contest, now in its fifth year, would have got off the ground in 2011 without the support of then Australian high commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Ian Kemish.
At a time when the Prize required financial and material support, and had no track record to point to, Mr Kemish came to aid of what has been a fruitful initiative. The Crocodile Prize project, run entirely on voluntary effort, has shown itself to be of real benefit to PNG.
During their stay in PNG, Ian Kemish and his wife Roxanne Martens were respected throughout the country for their willingness to go out of their way to support worthwhile endeavours.
Ms Martens threw her weight behind a number of projects including Safe Motherhood Alliance of PNG, the PNG Cancer Council and the Port Moresby General Hospital Special Care Nursery.
A much-awaited meeting of Port Moresby writers was held last Friday in the Kuri Dom Building at the Waigani campus of the University of PNG.
And, apart from the good roll up of 21 people who attended the meeting, many others sent emails to register their interest to be involved in future events.
Many people thanked me for the concept and said they looked forward to getting involved in what we will be doing in Port Moresby.
When the meeting began, I welcomed participants and outlined the rationale for floating the idea, including the need to formally organise writers in Port Moresby through an association.