OVER the years we have seen some fine works of literary art by literary Papua New Guineans around the country; from writers like Vincent Eri, Russell Soaba, Sir Paulias Matane and Rashmii Amoa Bell.
It’s a steep order to get eight million Papua New Guineans to write. It is even harder to get the younger generations to keep that energy and finesse going.
The Crocodile Prize competition was created for the purpose of relighting the literary fire. The embers are there but barely alight.
The competition is an avenue where Papua New Guinean writers can express their artistry and literary talents. Getting published in the print and electronic media would be great for them.
It is currently the only national literary competition in PNG with the vision of an effective writing and reading culture that nurtures the country’s colourful history, rich culture and strong aspirations.
Now into its seventh year, the competition was founded by two Australians, Phil Fitzpatrick and Keith Jackson, who had worked in PNG for decades and saw the need for more exposure of Papua New Guinean writers through the blog, PNG Attitude.
“Through the Crocodile Prize, we have discovered a very encouraging band of poets, writers and critical essayists,” says Fitzpatrick.
“This has been a fascinating and rewarding process. Writers seemed to emerge out of the blue and, when they are first encountered, there is the repeated electric feeling of discovering substantial and hitherto unknown talent.”
The contest has been running since 2011 through the generous support of various corporate houses and families and has seen an additional three categories added since last year bringing the total number of categories to 11.
Each category has its own criteria and competition rules apply, so entrants must have read the criteria and rules on the website before submitting their contributions.
The competition is open to all and is free. Papua New Guineans are encouraged to take part.
The chairman of Crocodile Prize Inc, Emmanuel Peni, said so many excellent writing has been received since the competition started in 2011.
“Since its inception, we have seen great writing from writers from all over the country.
“To write, one must be inspired by the environment and events around them and when the writer writes from these inspirations, it inspires others to do something,” Peni said.