WHEN Keith Jackson and I tentatively embarked on our quest to assist in the regeneration of Papua New Guinean creative writing by inaugurating the Crocodile Prize for literature in 2010, we didn’t know how far it might go or whether we would succeed.
Although we gradually garnered the support of many Papua New Guinean writers, we were always aware that the initiative was ours and that we were intruding on others’ ground and that this had the potential to be culturally tricky.
As it turned out this was not an issue, either because no one else had thought of it or wanted to do it. Apart from a couple of elevated academics, the proposal was greeted with enthusiasm by all, including the grandfathers of Papua New Guinean literature, Russell Soaba and Sir Paulias Matane.
We took special care to celebrate the once fertile past in Papua New Guinean literature and named the prize after the first novel by a Papua New Guinean, Vincent Eri’s The Crocodile.