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11 August 2016

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Jimmy Awagl

This poem I recited during the night of 2015 Crocodile Prize Award at Mt Wilhelm Tourist Hotel- Kundiawa, in the presence of Education Sectrary, Dr Uke Kombra.

There ain’t any money in writing

Writing is an ambition
I write about anything
Wherever my interest goes
Call myself poet, essayist or novelist
But there ain’t any money in writing
I am a writer
Exploiting my intellect
Speaking my mind
Producing my best
But there ain’t any money in writing
Many times I wonder
Why Education ain’t buying my books?
Why schools aren’t buying?
Why students aren’t reading?
But there ain’t any money in writing
Yet I aspire
Still I struggle
Producing volumes
That collect dust in the house
For there ain’t any money in writing

I Wish both the foreign donors and the PNG Government buy locally authored books for schools through out the coountry to encourage PNG Literature to bloom.

Rashmii Bell

Excellent article, Francis. I agree with all the points you've covered here.

A lot of my writing is influenced by Australian literature - the language is easy to follow, learn from and I appreciate the humour.

I quite like Text Publishing titles. Perhaps those involved in donating books to PNG could focus on sourcing Australian authored titles - particularly children's literature.

At the same time, the best thing for the national spirit is if donors are purchasing, promoting and distributing books written by Papua New Guineans.

The point about book reviews is significant. I think this is an area that if more Papua New Guineans got involved in learning how to write book reviews, we'd be better able to convince our counterparts to buy PNG authored titles.

Bomai Witne

I know a primary and high school who are currently repaying debts for 2015 school year.

The head teachers responsible for the debts are happy in another school this year, working hard to create more debts and move on without any attempt on the part of the school board and provincial education authorities to make them accountable.

Daniel Kumbon

Yesterday, Steven Gimbo mentioned it in commentary on Martyn Namorong’s piece and, Francis, you mention it again here that reviewing and marketing of PNG books is a problem in PNG.

There appear to be no distribution networks of PNG-authored books and a lack of interest in selling them. I approached bookshops in the city but they were reluctant.

Only the UPNG Bookshop sold copies of my two recent books for which I was really grateful. I presume all copies were sold because there was no copy on display when I visited the bookshop last week.

Schools appear to be the only places where PNG-authored books can be bought and read.

Three schools in Enga got copies of my books but they haven’t paid me yet for nearly two years now. But I understand they simply don’t have the money. I know they even find it hard to feed the students in the mess.

But Francis, how PNG books can be marketed and distributed in Australia is a possibility we – me, you and Martyn - can explore while we are there.

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