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05 December 2018


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Over the years of my involvement in the Crocodile Prize and running Pukpuk Publishing one of the most frustrating aspects has been my limited ability to help talented PNG writers.

This is one reason I get angry with the PNG government. Their total lack of interest in literature has been criminal.

The Australian government has not been much better. It has helped here and there but has never set up anything permanent. They are in a good position to help many writers but consistently fail to do so.

So for me Marlene is more than just one struggling writer. She is a symbol of many great talents, both male and female, rejected by ignorant and uncaring governments.

Added to this is the fact that she is a single mother.

Single mothers in PNG are a significant demographic and yet their needs are ignored.

It is not as though they deserve the position in which they find themselves. Unlike Australia there are no supposedly attractive welfare benefits to encourage single women to have children.

In PNG the women who find themselves in this position are usually fleeing abusive relationships or some other sort of exploitation by PNG men. None of them chose to be in that position.

Marlene, therefore, represents both the plight of talented PNG writers and the plight of PNG single mothers. That's one heavy burden.

Fortunately the good readers of PNG Attitude can help Marlene but when you do please think of all those other women in her position and all those other talented writers, both men and women, who cannot get any help at all.

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