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PNG mourns passing of novelist Regis Stella

Regis StellaON THE EVE of the launch of his third book, Unfolding Petals: Readings in Modern PNG Literature, senior lecturer in Literature and English at the University of Papua New Guinea, Dr Regis Stella, died on Wednesday.

Dr Stella, born in Bougainville, held a PhD from the University of New South Wales and had been teaching at UPNG since 1988. His thesis on PNG literature was later published as a book that is now a recommended text in universities.

Dr Stella had been a deputy dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and was formerly the director of the Melanesian Institute of Arts and Communications.

Colleague and fellow writer Dr Steven Winduo described him as a reserved, intelligent and hard working man.

PNG Attitude contributor Peter Kranz said  Dr Stella was “a private and talented man and a great writer”.

Dr Stella’s first novel in 1999 Gutsini Posa (‘rough seas’ in the Banoni language) was centred around the Bougainville crisis and experiences of that conflict.

Steven Winduo later wrote: “Far from its existential value, Gutsini Posa is a novel that [was] an important literary representation of the struggle of the Bougainville people to come to terms with the crisis that had completely devastated their moral and physical strength.

“Regis Stella’s place in the literary culture of PNG is secure.”

Thanks to Kairu Laho, UPNG Public Relations

Comments

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Xavier Winnia

I have know him as a student back in UPNG days. Saw him to be humble. UPNG has lot to do to groom up more literary critics like Dr. Stella. His loss is ours, PNG.

Nou Ieme

I met Regis at the University of New South Wales. We studied different subjects but remained buddies and debated whatever was worth debating.

Regis also had a humble desire to ensure every young Papua New Guinean succeeded in his/her studies abroad.

I heard of his passing on late last week and can only wish him "peace and balance"

Till then Bro.

Leonard Roka

In my UPNG days, 2003, Regis Stella was my tutor in Modern World Literature whilst Steven E Winduo was the lecturer.

Regis was a good personal friend of mind since our homes were close to each other and, though I was from the hinterland, I had more know-how in his Banoni language.

May his soul rest in peace.

Paul Sharrad

Very sad to lose Regis. We shared some good times while he completed his Masters here at Wollongong Uni and kept in touch off and on over ensuing years.

He demonstrated real commitment to both the study of PNG writing and to his own creative drive. Go well, mate.

Ludmilla Isalonda

So sorry at this big loss. I never met Regis in person but I know him, having communicated with him every now and then over the years on matters literary.

The PNG literary scene is small and we shall truly miss him.

Rest in Peace, Regis!

Russell Soaba

Regis was a quiet, private person; yet a brilliant scholar and literary critic.

When I first started teaching literature and creative writing at UPNG in the 1980s I was afraid I would be lecturing to an empty classroom one semester, except thanks to two young men: Steven Winduo and Regis Stella. Their presence meant that I had a job, anyway.

At that time (post-Ulli Beier) no one was interested in literature. But with these two I believed, and I still do. They brought excitement, debate, vigorous literary activity, glamour, the lot.

Today we share literature courses that have classes averaging 15 to 45 students. Fancy that. And yet, many would say after a BA in Lit there are no jobs outside.

The influence that Regis exercised in the classroom environs, along with Steven, was and is A+.

We have graduates working in the most unlikely of places imagined, namely banks, consultancy agencies and diplomatic relations.

Thanks, Regis.

Michael Dom

Another good man passes.

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