Crocodile Prize: The wheels that drive the COG – Francis Nii
Steamships reneges on its Crocodile Prize short story award

The Crocodile Prize: aggregating a national identity

Croc Prize logoMICHAEL DOM

AS a writer of poetry I have had the pleasure and privilege of sharing my work through various media, so perhaps I take it for granted why writing is important to me and to the readers who have found my work intriguing enough to comment on the Keith Jackson & Co: PNG Attitude website.

As a member of the Crocodile Prize Organising Group, COG, and a strong advocate of the Crocodile Prize literary contest, I have written about its importance and the significant role of literature in securing and building on Papua New Guinea’s rich heritage and evolving contemporary culture.

Many people who share my enthusiasm of writing and appreciation of the importance of literature have come together and put their efforts towards the success of the Crocodile Prize over the last four years. Some have stepped back, others have stepped forward, and a few have kept going strong.

The Prize started as off as an idea shared by two Australians who had spent their formative years as young men in this country; Phil Fitzpatrick and Keith Jackson. They don’t require, and indeed would decline any further praise from my pen, and, for men like them, doing great things is its own reward.

It is Phil and Keith’s abiding wish that the Crocodile Prize will be taken on by Papua New Guineans and established as a recognised literary contest that stands the test of time.

We have a responsibility to ourselves, to the writer’s and readers and every Papua New Guinean who ever learns how to read, to tell our stories, share our poetry and provide our essay opinions on all manner of agenda. We have to supply them with PNG reading material.

That’s essentially all that the Crocodile Prize does. And it’s a fundamentally important role.

As writer’s we should take advantage of the good opportunity that is established.

As citizen’s we should get involved in some way to help keep this literary flame alight.

What’s more, I think many of us can see what the bigger picture is because it ain’t top secret.

The goal we have in mind is far more than just the Crocodile Prize.

What I’m talking about is the stuff of dreams, good ideas and a vision of a better, much improved Papua New Guinea.

Keith, Phil and the current COG want aspiring writers to become a tool for building national cohesion, moulding a national conscience, and aggregating a national identity out of 850 tribes.

It’s that simple really and it’s that important.

My question to everyone reading this is; if you believe the Crocodile Prize is important to you, how would you like to be involved in a great thing?

The Crocodile Prize needs your support, but if you don’t want to help then it’s your loss.

Personally, I don’t want to see PNG lose.


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Bernard Yegiora

Thank you Michael. PNG Attitude and the Croc Prize have really helped me develop my writing skills and given me a passion for writing.

Bernard's latest piece - a fascinating analysis of the socio-political fallout of the Manus incarcerations (my word) - is published in PNG Attitude in the morning - KJ

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