SO we move to the announcement of the five shortlisted writers in contention for the 2016 Cleland Family Award for Heritage Writing in the Crocodile Prize.
In announcing the shortlist, I must express my gratitude to my fellow committee members Marlene Dee Gray Potoura, Martyn Namorong, Gretel Matawan, Ruth Moiam, Baka Bina and Joycelin Leahy.
There was a total of 22 entries in the heritage writing category. The Cleland family has sponsored this category since 2012. The people of PNG, especially those who benefit from the award, are in debt to this family and the committee is grateful for their generosity and continued support.
The 22 entries were equally split between women and men and the judges shortlisted five finalists while the Cleland Family is selecting the winner, who will be announced soon.
Heritage is what we have inherited from the past or from our ancestors. It is a collection of features belonging to the culture of a particular society – be it language, traditions, totems, legends, anything created in the past that still has historical or cultural importance.
Within the Crocodile Prize, heritage writing helps capture our culture, traditions, beliefs, stories, songs, values and principles.
There is no better time to write about things from the past than today, when we are confronted with unimaginable change and greater dynamism and complexity in our environment. Yet we still have a strong connection to our past and this is articulated and eloquently captured in these literary pieces.
Despite the limited number of entries, the organising committee and judges were excited to receive them. We want to congratulate the writers who made an effort to capture our heritage. The entries gave amazing and colourful images of our heritage and the scenes created by the writers were like a view through a kaleidoscope.
The entries touched on changing physical and social geographies and gave insights into traditional cultural practices, biodiversity, the effects of climate change, mystical and legendary gods and the intricate social networks that bind and continue to link our lives.
The shortlisted finalists in the 2016 Cleland Family Award for Heritage Writing are:
Morekea Town by Julie Kondi
Wahgi by Gina Amba Mul
Ketar Natis, Killings and Two Grieving Kinsmen by Theresa Gizoria
Christina’s History by Talitha Kove
Cleveland, by Julie Sugoho
The winner will come from one of these five writers and will be announced soon. The organising committee and all friends of the Crocodile Prize congratulate those people who submitted entries in 2016 and we hope to receive more from you in 2017.
We are all indebted to the Cleland Family for their vision and their capacity to give.