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18 September 2017


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Rashmii Bell

Overdue, Michael:) It was an honour to have you respond to my first piece of writing published on PNG Attitude: 'Let the C word run free: desperately seeking collaboration'.

MWTE has always been about MWTE. I won't engage in any dialogue that seeks to promote a division between the PNG-based writers and those in the diaspora.

The distinction was made to highlight that the Port Moresby-based contributors were organising a PNG event to coincide with the PNG writers (Brisbane and Sydney-based) representing MWTE at Brisbane Writers Festival 2017.

This pitting of women writers against each other is not something the MWTE project's culture has entertained or encouraged throughout the past 12 months.

I'm not clear on this notion of what constitutes an "authentic voice" of PNG - and you'll see my reasons in my previously published piece about the many faces of Barbie, the PNG way (I've forgotten the exact title).

Restraints: of course the diaspora writers don't have permanent presence in PNG. But given the fragmented support for PNG writers/literary culture, I think it's fair to say we're all on an equal and level playing field.

Write more, publish more - via PNG Attitude, Pukpuk Publications, personal accounts on social media platforms etc. Be consistent.

Personally, I've utilised only these three as the primary avenues to circulate my writing and with it has come the confidence and networks to further my writing development and aspirations.

Rashmii continues her examination of some of the constraints on PNG women (and women writers) being accepted into discourse in an article in tomorrow's PNG Attitude - KJ

Michael Dom

Thanks for the honourable mention Rashmii.

The success of MWTE publication is a boon to the women's agenda which it advocates - showing what women writers can do when they get together.

Your team of powerwalking women, Elvina, Tania and Vanessa, and the whole network behind you all have done a great job of promoting local voices from PNG to an Australian and to international audiences.

This success is based on no small part to the opportunities and freedoms which PNG women enjoy in Australia and elsewhere overseas.

Women writers based in PNG are more 'restrained' by others and not only men, but also by themselves.

But they do live in the homeland and have the benefit of an authentic voice.

What women writers in PNG and abroad need to determine is how they can make the best use of their mutual advantages.

PNG men should stand and wait, if they too would serve.

One man standing.

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