The West Papuan struggle
Land of beauty, I can boast, my only home

PNG Attitude’s most commented & liked pieces in June

_Crocodile Prize 2015KEITH JACKSON

SO the time for entries came to a close in this year’s Crocodile Prize national literary contest and, after a flood of contributions arrived in June, there were 827 pieces of creative work on the table – 200 more than the previous record in 2014.

These came from 132 writers & illustrators, another record, representing 19 of the 22 provinces in Papua New Guinea.

You can download the profile of every author and illustrator here: download profiles (if you're not mentioned, it's because we haven't received your entry form).

Once again Simbu excelled itself with one in five of all entries coming from the highlands province, home to the only writers association in PNG and host of this year’s awards event in September.

Where the writers came from




  National Capital District








  Eastern Highlands


  East Sepik


  Milne Bay


  Manus, West Sepik, East New Britain


  Central,West New Britain, New Ireland, Western, Jiwaka


  Enga, Western Highlands, Oro


  Hela, Gulf, Southern Highlands

The competition judges are already hard at work and the best entries are being prepared for publication in the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2014, which – with the support of the PNG Association of Australia – will this year again run to about 450 pages.

The contest also saw a record 10 full length books entered in the Ok Tedi Mining Book of the Year Award. Each of these works was published in the last 12 months and is a further tangible indication of the great resurgence in PNG literature we are witnessing.

This year the SP Brewery Award for Illustration is being offered for the first time as is a special prize for the best entrant under the age of 21, thanks to Roxanne Martens and Ian Kemish.

Entries by category




  Essay & Journalism


  Short Story


  Writing for Children


  Heritage Writing




  Tourism Arts Culture Writing


  Book of the Year

So let’s take a look at the article and other contributions that most engaged our readers in June….


22 comments - Journalists expose how corrupt cash gets to Australia from PNG (Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, John Garnaut).  Nothing like a good crime story to get people interested and this story by three of Australia’s top investigative journalists was a beauty. Two leading PNG lawyers were caught on video explaining how political leaders steal money from their own people and park it in bank accounts in Australia.

17 comments - The year I failed university & Mama got me married.... (Arnold Mundua). A wonderful short story drawn from real life about the collision between tradition and modernity in PNG. Arnold is struggling at university where he’s been involved in a riot and his studies are not going well and battling with his mother who wants him to get married to the girl of her choice.

14 comments - More about Grace Nugi, Miss PNG, scientist & team cheerleader (Keith Jackson). Miss Papua New Guinea, Grace by name and nature, is from Simbu is completing an honours degree in science from the University of Papua New Guinea but remains very engaged in community activities back home. “Be bold and go with confidence and raise the Simbu flag even higher,” she says.

11 comments - The curious world of the old kiap – a legacy squandered? (Phil Fitzpatrick). They were the frontline elite of Australia’s nation-building effort in Papua New Guinea peremptorily dismissed at independence and, until recently, pretty much ignored after that. “This community of former kiaps seems to have three major preoccupations,” wrote Phil. “The first is the ongoing pursuit of recognition for their service in Papua New Guinea. The second is the celebration of a particular brand of ocker larrikinism and drinking prowess. And the third is a relentless undertone of criticism of Papua New Guinea since independence - although these old kiaps are pretty touchy about criticism of themselves.”

11 comments - The Anzacs in the Pacific – time for another look at the myths (Patricia O'Brien). In an article for the Australian Institute of International Affairs, Patricia O’Brien wrote of how the World War I Australian military occupation of New Guinea had “left deep scars and damaged national reputation”. She saw this as an unravelling of the “‘myth’ of the strong, brave and irreverent Aussie soldier”, triggering a minor history wars in PNG Attitude.

10 comments - A journey to PNG Attitude: 4 flights, 2 weeks & a mouse click (Raymond Komis Girana).  Raymond told of his own discovery of PNG Attitude – “one click on my mouse led me to a wonderful place that bears the name of my country and its way of life … with the intention of making friendships and building relationships through literature at national and international level.” We’re delighted to have Raymond contributing to our project.

10 comments - I do find the time to write .... and I write books (Baka Barakove Bina). Some advice for budding authors from Baka, who has found the time to write five books so far. “The process was time consuming and on occasion I wondered how I found time to do it. Writing a book is not something you do over a long weekend. Some of my works took 10 years to complete.”

9 comments - Coming soon: A book of stories from Enga Province (Daniel Kumbon). And here is a collection of stories that took 30 years to achieve publication. Daniel told how, in the mid-1980s, Engan students at the University of Papua New Guinea wrote stories which he hoped would be published in a book. It took the Phil Fitzpatrick’s Pukpuk Publishing imprint to achieve this three decades later.

9 comments - Old but new: Vibrancy & relevance in collection of Enga stories (Phil Fitzpatrick). “It is the sad case that Papua New Guinea has few commercially established general publishers,” wrote Phil. “This has been true since before independence in 1975. The reasons for this are manifold, but the relatively small market for Papua New Guinean literature, both within the country and internationally is of significance. An international lack of interest and ignorance of Papua New Guinea affairs and a rapidly declining literacy rate within the country are also factors.”

9 comments - Life begins at 40 & so does mid-life crisis (Michael Dom). “For some reason when I look at home from afar and read the day’s news on the computer screen it seems to me that Papua New Guinea is heading into a mid-life crisis. Port Moresby's deprived children crawl over the freeway and under the fly-over like cockroaches. They feed off the refuse from Down Town, Touaguba and Paga Hill, feasting in the shadow of street lights…..” Prose poem to make you stop and think….


140 likes - More about Grace Nugi, Miss PNG, scientist & team cheerleader (Keith Jackson)

80 likes - Indonesia hopes to keep West Papua out of Melanesia group (Keith Jackson)

49 likes - Foreign affairs comes clean: We screwed up over Buka post (Keith Jackson)

42 likes - Breaking the ‘bystanding’ attitude in Papua New Guinea (Rashmii Amoah)

42 likes - Journalists expose how corrupt cash gets to Australia from PNG (Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, John Garnaut)

34 likes - Melanesian crossroads: let's do things the Melanesian Way (Yamin Kogoya)

31 likes - PNG’s boom in Muslim converts linked to traditional customs (Rowan Callick)

23 likes - Petition for PNG authored books in schools gathers pace (Michael Dom)

22 likes - Kathleen Furi Juffa's home for wayward bastards & orphans (Gary Juffa)

21 likes - ‘Makai Ike’: the Simbu prayertainment that’s killing family life (Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin)


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