Can our readers help us get books where they’re needed?

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THE great motivating force behind the establishment of the Crocodile Prize lay in a recognition that the people of Papua New Guinea barely had a home-grown literature.

The response Phil Fitzpatrick and I developed in 2010 was simple in concept: to encourage Papua New Guinean writers to write; to publish the best of their work; and to distribute this writing in digital and book forms throughout PNG through the production of an annual Anthology.

Simple in concept; more difficult to implement.

As it turned out, the writing and publication were a lot easier to achieve than the distribution of hard copy books.

After struggling in the past to secure efficient distribution, this year we devised a simple scheme.

To recruit PNG Attitude readers in PNG to assist in the task.

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Co-founder interviewed on past, present and future of Crocodile Prize

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Co-founder of the Crocodile Prize, Keith Jackson, has been interviewed on the ABC’s AustraliaPlus digital network.

Keith spoke to Liam Cochrane, PNG Correspondent for the ABC, and the following is a transcript of that conversation.

The full audio can be heard on the AustraliaPlus website.

The interview begins with Keith explaining the origins of the Crocodile Prize.

Keith Jackson: Basically it was to ensure that there was some incentive and recognition for creative writing in Papua New Guinea. Continue reading


Diddie Kinamun Jackson interviewed on ABC Radio

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THE following is the complete transcript of Liam Cochrane’s interview with Diddie Kinamun Jackson, winner of the 2014 Kina Securities Poetry Award, for Correspondents Report on ABC Radio.

The audio for Corresponts Report can be heard here. The interview with Diddie starts at 5:20. 

ELIZABETH JACKSON: When you think about Papua New Guinea, poetry probably isn’t the thing that comes to mind first and foremost.

But for the last few years, the Crocodile Prize has recognised PNG’s best poetry, essays and fiction writing.

The prize is run from Australia by Keith Jackson and Phil Fitzpatrick, who also organise mentors for promising Papua New Guinean writers. Continue reading


The Simbu literary initiative: how we did what we’ve done so far

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THE Simbu Writers Association’s initiative to host an annual literary competition for secondary school students was endorsed at the Head Teachers’ Annual Conference in Kundiawa last Thursday.

Chairperson Mr Pinaga invited SWA members to make a one-hour presentation before the meeting.

Ku High School principal Ware Mukale spoke as did Mathias Kin and Francis Nii.

Among the matters brought forward were the importance of reading, writing and speaking English outside the classroom environment as a way to improve the appalling decline in language skills in PNG schools over the last 5-10 years. Continue reading


Winners’ profiles display the great diversity of PNG

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THE winners of this year’s awards in the Crocodile Prize capture the great diversity of Papua New Guinea and its people.

From an 82 year-old former Governor-General to a 25 year-old health sciences graduate seeking her first job, the scope of today’s PNG is encompassed in the writers who succeeded in being judged at the top of their field in the 2014 awards.

The Simbu Province and the Bougainville Autonomous Region provided two winners each – a good reflection of the state of creative writing in two different and distant places.

Distant in geography that is, but it seems not in the spirit that drives the inspiration and compulsion to write.

Of the seven winners, four were male and three female. As much balance as you can get out of seven.

Overall, the outcome of this year’s Prize could not have been better expressed had it been engineered.

Let’s summarise the profiles of the 2014 prize winners in a convenient table, youngest to oldest:

 Iriani Wanma   25   Children’s   Kairuku CP   Brisbane QLD   Job hunting
 Diddie Jackson   28   Poetry   Mt Hagen WHP   Port Moresby NCD   Admin Officer
 Leonard Roka   35   Book of the Year   Arawa Bougainville   DWU Madang   Student
 Sil Bolkin   41   Essays & Journalism   Kerowagi Simbu   ANU Canberra   Postgrad Student
 Arnold Mundua   50   Heritage   Gembogl Simbu   Kundiawa Simbu   Forestry Officer
 Agnes Maineke   57   Short Story   Siwai Bougainville   Buin Bougainville   Teacher
 Sir Paulias  Matane   82   Lifetime Contribution   Viviran ENB   Kokopo ENB   Ex Governor General

Wanma_IrianiJackson_DiddieLeonard Roka May 2014SilMundua_ArnoldMaineke_AgnesWith_OL


Agnes Maineke wins the People’s Award for Short Stories

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THE People’s Award in the Crocodile Prize emerged from a precipitate and last minute decision by long-term sponsor Steamships to renege on its prior commitment to the short story award.

This forced the organisers to fund the award from money that would otherwise have gone to print books (well done, Steamships) but gave us the opportunity to make the award in the names of all the people who in one way or another have supported PNG Attitude and the Crocodile Prize.

Agnes Maineke, 57, knows real struggle. Indeed, in the south of Bougainville where she lives, telecommunications are still very difficult and it took us some days to notify her of the award. Continue reading


Diddie Kinamun Jackson wins Kina Securities Poetry Award

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AT the heart of much Papua New Guinean writing is a glorious chamber of music and the expression of this musical soul is seen with no greater clarity than in poetry.

Poetry is the form where emotions and truths seem easier to reveal; providing a kind of literary camouflage where matters otherwise difficult to say can be disclosed through metaphor, imagery and the subterfuge of words.

The poetry award has, in the past, been won by Jimmy Drekore, Michael Dom and Lapieh Landu – all eminent writers. And Michael and Jimmy were in there right at the end of this year’s judging, the final selection being a tight decision between some wonderful poets.

In a field nearly 100 writers who produced more than 300 poems for the Kina Securities Award, Diddie Kinamun Jackson, 28, born in Mt Hagen, can feel especially satisfied with taking out the top award for her poem As a Writer. So far as I know, Diddie is not related to me – although she’d make a great cousin. Continue reading


Sil Bolkin wins Chamber of Mines Essay Award

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KELA Kapkora Sil Bolkin, to give him his full handle, consistently produces the goods whenever he sits down to write.

Taking his subject matter from everyday life, he offers keen insights into PNG society and always comes up with stories that are gutsy and newsworthy.

Sil’s been published in all four annual Anthologies of the best PNG writing and now, for the first time, he’s added the esteemed Crocodile Prize to his portfolio.

The PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Award for Essays and Journalism comes with a trophy and a cash prize of K5,000.

It’s not a bad birthday present – Sil, born in Kundiawa, turns 41 on Friday. Continue reading


Iriani Wanma wins Buk bilong Pikinini Award for Children’s Writing

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THE daughter of parents who come from Kairuku in Central Province and West Papua is the winner of the inaugural Buk bilong Pikinini Award for Children’s Writing in the 2014 Crocodile Prize.

Iriana Wanma is a 25-year old graduate, currently job hunting and living in Brisbane with her family.

She wins a cash prize of K5,000 and a trophy to be presented at the awards event in Port Moresby on Thursday 18 September.

“I graduated last year with a degree in health science,” Iriani told me. “I gave myself a break for six months then started looking for a job. I’m a qualified health promotion officer.”

Iriani’s writing that particularly drew the judges’ attention was the tale of Oa Grasshopper and Kaipa Caterpillar, which she also illustrated and describes as “an educational story about friendship and transformation.” Continue reading


Ok Tedi Mining Book of the Year: Brokenville by Leonard Fong Roka

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LEONARD Fong Roka really needs no introduction to readers ofPNG Attitude.

And now the prolific 35-year old Bougainvillean writer – this year completing a PNG Studies and International relations degree at Divine Word University – has won Papua New Guinea’s first Book of the Year Award for his civil war memoir, Brokenville.


“I salute Ok Tedi Mining and its endeavours in this politically sick PNG climate to aim high for the ordinary people since the greatest thing is for us all to serve humanity in our own ways,” the straight-talking man they call ‘Captain Bougainville’ told me.

“And I thank Ok Tedi and the judges for considering my memoir, Brokenville, a story of a child, a family and a nation of Bougainville.”

Leonard started writing while a Grade 7 student at Arawa High School in 1997.

“We were coerced to write poetry about Bougainville issues by our English teacher, an Eastern Highlander, William Mania,” he said.

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Literary Awards of Papua New Guinea