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First Croc writers’ fellow is author Trevor Shearston

Trevor Shearston and a fine catchKEITH JACKSON

IN September this year, the Fourth Crocodile Prize literary contest will reach its apex with the presentation of seven awards at a high profile event which is likely to be held in Port Moresby.

In conjunction with the awards ceremony, the Crocodile Prize Organising Group, COG, will hold a full-day writers’ workshop where the guest will be Australian author Trevor Shearston (pictured), who has not only lived in PNG but written books based on his experiences.

We’re asking readers to donate to our writers’ fellowships, under which we’ll bring Trevor to PNG, to provide for a sustainable project to enable writers from both PNG and Australia to spend time in each other’s countries.

The fellowship is a great opportunity for readers once again to show their generosity to fund a practical and tangible project to benefit the advancement of literature in PNG.

You can transfer your donation to our bank here:

Bank: NAB
Address: 105 Miller Street, North Sydney 2060
Account: Crocodile Prize
BSB: 082-401
Account No: 39-286-5774

Trevor Shearston now lives in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. He is married to photographer Bette Mifsud and they have a son, Corin.

Trevor has been living from his writing since 1979, “precariously at times” he says.

His collection of short stories about PNG, Something in the Blood, was a watershed work because it shattered many colonial myths and presented Papua New Guineans to the world as fully-rounded actors rather than as bit players.

Trevor’s most recent novel, Game, about bushranger Ben Hall, was published in August and is on the long list for this year’s esteemed Miles Franklin Award. It has been praised by critics as a “spare and beautifully written novel”.

He has published five novels set in Papua New Guinea: Sticks That Kill (1983), White Lies (1986), Concertinas (1988), which explores the issue of West Papua, A Straight Young Back (2000) and Dead Birds (2007).

Trevor did an Arts/Law degree at the University of Sydney and went to PNG in 1968 as a teacher. His first posting was to Mendi, where he had to build his own school, including classrooms, mess and dormitories.

When he was asked by Phil Fitzpatrick whether he would be interested in coming to the Crocodile Prize he replied: ““I am honoured to be invited and would be equally honoured to participate in the 2014 workshop in whatever capacity you can use me.

“I was at a workshop in Moresby some 10 years ago, and it was a thrill then to see so many writers trying to keep the torch alight. I know it's a struggle, and it would be good to see how the struggle is going.”

We hope you’re able to ensure that our writers’ fellowships get off to a flying start by making a donation. And you can read more about them here.


Short Stories
Something in the Blood (1979)

Sticks That Kill (1983)
White Lies (1986)
Concertinas (1988)
A Straight Young Back (2000)
Tinder (2002)
Dead Birds (2007)
Game (2013)

Snowdrop – filmed as Envy (1999)


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Baka Bina

I think (I may be wrong) I remember him at one of the book fairs at the Holiday Inn some donkey years ago when he talked excerpts of the "Stick that Kills".

I was encouraged by his talk to write then and I did publish 'Zymur' with OUP but then publishers dried up and the rate of royalties they offered was not worth the hard yakka one put into the writing (I've done a lot of other things in life including making a coffee garden).

Writing for pleasure is one hard work with no tangible results in place until the right chord is hit).

I welcome Mr Shearston's inclusion and hope that it will lead to more publishing by PNGns or for PNGn writers to get into the Australian book market.

Can we have an account either with ANZ or BSP opened in PNG where we in PNG can contribute our liklik buai and 'lus' moni to assist to get Mr Shearston up here.

Thanks for the offer, Baka, but for the moment we'll let our PNG friends off the hook - KJ

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