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Announcing the Annual Val Rivers Write for Peace Prize


IN MARCH I TOLD READERS of how former teacher Val Rivers, who trained in education at the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) and is a contemporary of mine, had donated a range of artefacts for sale so as to support the national literature of Papua New Guinea.

Since then, especially as the Crocodile Prize has been limping along this year (more on this matter in the near future), I have been pondering how to turn Val’s generous gift into something tangible.

My solution is to bestow the recently announced essay and poetry contest designed to promote a harmonious PNG with the title “The Annual Val Rivers Write for Peace Prize”.

Each year a prize of K500 will be awarded for the best piece of writing on this theme.

For this first year of the prize, writers are asked to submit essays, articles or poems on the subject, “A good life for the people. Is there a Melanesian way?

Appropriately, the winner of the K500 prize will be announced on Remembrance Day at 11 am: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marking the end of World War I in 1918 and commemorated since in Commonwealth countries.

There are a few rules you need to take into account:

Entries must take the form of an essay, article or poem

You will need to give your contribution its own distinct title

The contest is open only to Papua New Guinean citizens

Entries should arrive at PNG Attitude (email us here) any time between now and Friday 1 November

There will be just one prize of K500

Any entry may be published in PNG Attitude at the discretion of the editor

The judges will be Val Rivers and Peter and Rose Kranz

Upon the completion of the two-year education officers course at ASOPA, Val taught in Papua New Guinea from 1964, serving in Daru, Dregerhafen, Gagidu, Wabag, Kavieng and then, from 1969-70, as teacher-in-charge of the demonstration school at Goroka Teachers College. “This was my favourite posting,” she says.

In 1971, Val returned to Australia and joined the South Australian Education Department specialising in teaching English as a second language, in which she occupied the important posts of matriculation curriculum developer and chief examiner for three years.

In 1994 Val resigned to set up a small tourist business in Burra, South Australia, where she lives to this day.

Val is enthusiastic about seeing a PNG home-grown literature flourish and she sees her donation as a way she can assist.

The Annual Val Rivers Write for Peace Prize will become a regular part of PNG Attitude’s year and I look forward to receiving many excellent example of PNG writing over the next couple of months.


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Brian Robertson

The Val Rivers write for peace prize . What a great idea. There ought to be a great many more PNG writers.

Writers of materials for schools for example. Writing activity such as this will perhaps stimulate more people to begin writing. I sincerely hope so.

Kevin Kautu Hwasihao

Val Rivers, I thank you with a sincere heart for your generosity and heart in the development of PNG literature.

Peter Kranz

I'd be interested in Bernard's opinion about the involvement by his students in PNG Attitude - which has been great.

They have proved themselves articulate, thoughtful and at times provoking - which all good writers should be.

Can they extend their experience by submitting entries for the Val Rivers Write for Peace Prize?

Perhaps that should be their next assignment.

All the best.

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