Papua New Guinea let’s stand and sing

Thus ends another year of the Crocodile Prize literary contest


IT’S not every day that you get to influence the revival of literature in a whole country, unintentionally or otherwise.

I must admit to some surprise that it has happened at all. What started as a humble writing competition seems to have bloomed beyond all expectations.

There is a sense of pride in what has happened but, strangely, it’s not personal. Rather it is a sense of pride in the achievements of the writers involved.

At a personal level it has been more of a humbling experience. There is also a sense of awe and enrichment.

The enrichment comes from reading the works submitted to the competition and the sheer learning experience involved.

I think, despite nearly fifty years travelling back and forth to the country, I’ve really only learned to understand Papua New Guinea in the last few years of the Crocodile Prize.

There is also a tinge of anger involved, mostly through the fact that an uninterested government and lackadaisical education system could let such a promising and rich cultural emergence in the 1970s wilt on the vine and become moribund.

That aside, one of the ironies I really enjoy is the fact that the revival has only now been possible because of the advent of digital technologies that were supposed to see the demise and eventual extinction of books. Such are the shaky prognostications of the doomsayers.

The key factors in the Papua New Guinean revival have been the Internet and the availability of digital publishing and print-on-demand technologies.

These have underpinned the Crocodile Prize, firstly by providing a writers’ outlet in the form of PNG Attitude and secondly in offering a cheap way to publish the best in an annual anthology and then to go even further in publishing stand-alone individual books by Papua New Guineans.

The future of literature in Papua New Guinea is starting to look rosy but we need to remind ourselves that it is still extremely fragile.

The disastrous complacency of the 2013 competition organisers reminds us of what could still happen.

2014-15 has been a watershed year and there’s light at the end of the tunnel but sustainability is still a long way off and we aren’t there yet by any stretch of the imagination.

The winners of this year's Crocodile Prize will be announced early September. The awards event will be held in Kundiawa on Saturday 19 September


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Euralia Paine

Thank you for making us shine Phil, Keith and Team.

Rashmii Amoah

Thank you Crocodile Prize Organisation and PNG Attitude for facilitating this avenue for PNG writing! This is my first year to participate and I am just in awe of the talented PNG writers out there. I've never appreciated poetry til now, and the short stories are simply fantastic! My vocabulary range is up by 110% in just a few short months:)

Mathias Kin

Thank you Keith and Ben and Phil for a thoroughly enjoyable crocodile hunting in 2015. See you good fellers in Kundiawa come September 19.

Fidelis Sukina

I always enjoy writing and reading PNG written literature its something that brings me pride knowing how good tales about PNG and how well written they are. There are many stories out there.

I am glad I had the opportunity to write some for this blog and the competition. I'll be back next year writing more and more about PNG.

Bessielah David

I couldn't agree more on all the above comments. Put simply: awareness, awareness! I practically stumbled on this on Linked-in when someone requested to connect.

I decided to check out the profile and BAM! as I had no idea .I got the link and rest is...yep, so guys, this is a great opportunity. Thanks Keith and Phi, and team for your efforts, it's commendable!

Steven Gimbo

Wow! Great work indeed! Special thanks to the organisers and those who worked behind the scene! God bless!

Jimmy Awagl

Thanks alot PNG Attitude and Crocodile Prize for facilitating Literature development in PNG. What a beauty to keep us occupied writing our thoughts. Its a path way to success in holistic development.

Joycelin Leahy

Congratulations team Croc Prize and what an amazing outcome! Proud to be part of it and thoroughly enjoyed the adrenaline in writing for it.

Lapieh Landu

Always such a great competition and initiative to be a part of. We need more awareness on this!

I know we have a lot more artists, writers etc in Papua New Guinea. Hopeful for a fruitful 2016! Lets double it next year!

Thank you Keith and Phil!

Robin Lillicrapp

Well done, Phil and team. It's a mighty and important task you are involved with.

Barbara Short

Congratulations Phil, and to all involved in running this competition and donating the prizes and to all the writers who have worked so hard.

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