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The Flag

First Port Moresby writers conference was a real success

The panel
John Kasaipwalova, Baka Bina, Alphonse Huvi, Caroline Evari, Emmanuel Peni


PORT MORESBY - A group of about 30 people gathered at World Bank Information on Friday 8 September to participate in the first ever writers conference spearheaded by My Walk to Equality contributing writers Loretta Bele, Alu Ravusiro, Leila Parina, Alphonse Huvi and Caroline Evari with the theme ‘Be Inspired to Write’.

The aim of the conference was to celebrate the success of the book and to use it as an means whereby writers, editors, publishers and like-minded individuals could collaborate.

The event included a panel discussion on relevant topics, experiences and challenges faced by writers; men’s involvement in literature and the need for collaboration; how writing can be used as a platform for addressing issues such as violence, women and youth empowerment, politics, etc. and; what the Port Moresby based MWTE writers would want to see emerging from the books success.

The panel comprised Emmanuel Peni from the Crocodile Prize committee, John Kasaipwalova from the UPNG Bookshop, Baka Bina and MWTE contributing authors Alphonse Huvi and Caroline Evari.

“I loved reading but never wanted to become a teacher, and it was my passion that got me into writing,” said Alphonse Huvi, who is now a teacher.

“For most of us who find ourselves isolated, trapped or imprisoned by our own thoughts and emotions, writing gives us that space to escape and be free,” said Emmanuel Peni.

“Writing is not rocket science,” John R of Creative Grafiks stated. “You just need to find a time and be committed in order to achieve your goal in writing.”

The conference also had an open microphone session where members of the audience took turns to share with the group samples of their writing.

There was much passion surrounding contemporary writing and most writers included lines of their own indigenous dialects.

Papua New Guinea is a nation with 800 different languages and a rich cultural heritage and there is still much to explore.

We as writers have an obligation to discover and preserve these languages before it’s too late. There need to be more books written by PNG authors on shelves in the library – or at least a section dedicated to PNG authors.

The audienceTechnology is a hindrance to book reading and a lot young people are spending more time on the internet than reading a good book and engaging their creativity and imagination.

This is a huge challenge and the only way for us to able to address such issues is through collaboration.

Some of the feedback we received from the audience included making the writers conference an annual event, having a writers monthly meeting, creating a network with publishers and having more open mic sessions.

The event was a success and we are now left with the challenge to host a much bigger one in 2018 in collaboration with Crocodile Prize Organizing Committee.


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Julie Kondi

I have terrible internet connection and just saw this.
Wonderful to see great things happening with PNG writers meeting, talking and publishing work.

Differences are healthy for creativity and to do great things we must be prepared to also face the critics. So sad to know about the CP/MWTE differences.

As one writer in rural PNG I look at these two avenues as great audiences and platform for my work.

So sorry Rashmii for all that has transpired and commend your efforts, same sentiments to Emmanuel and his voluntary committee at CP. Likewise congratulations Caroline and fellow writers who organised the Port Moresby gathering.

Hope we can arise above all these to another creative and fruitful year.

Michael Dom

Stop press: Why the hurry to move on?

Rather, step back. Cool off. Then let's renengage more constructively.

Firstly, let's go back to the origins of the Crocodile Prize.

Here's what Phil Fitzpatrick said on 16 September 2010: “We want to encourage writers to write and readers to read”.

In October Phil had more to say about writing.

Then we received some excellent writing advice from Laurie Meintjes as an attachment to this article by Keith

It's well worth an umpteenth read.

If you follow the trail of those articles forward, the very first entry featured was from poet Ms Lapieh Landu

You'll find her agenda for that piece is familiar. No need to shy away.

We should come full circle. Know where we are and where we want to go to before we let the grass grow on this battlefield.

Arnold Mundua

Agree with you Phil...the CP/MWTE saga has hit the headlines for the most part of 2017. (and I think has waned the interest of many readers, including me too). Time to move on!

Michael Dom

Let me recall Phil's words to us here

`Daniel Kumbon

See what I found in yesterday’s Weekender in the National newspaper - ‘My suffering as a writer’ by seasoned PNG writer, Dr Steven Winduo.

He published in the weekend magazine after involving himself in an international programme called Writer’s Immersion and Cultural Exchange (WriCE).

It is a partnership between the RMIT University in Melbourne and the Copyright Agency Asia-Pacific Partnership.

The programme offers unique opportunities for writers in different stages of their careers to connect and share ideas across cultures and generations.

The programme has taken Dr Winduo to workshops and meetings in many countries. In Australia he attended workshops at Geelong and Melbourne prior to attending the Melbourne Writers Festival.

He has rubbed shoulders with well-known Australian authors like Kate Grenville the bestselling author of Lilian’s Story and The Secret River and Christos Tsiolkas, the author of Slap who gave him two of his other novels ‘Barracuda’ and Dead Europe’ to read.

He said he bought Kate Grenville’s book ‘The Writing Book: A practical guide for Fiction Writers’ which explains the craft of writing fiction in very simple language and in a way that can get anyone to write fiction right away.

‘Everything I know but had struggled to apply to my own writing were explained in the book,’ Dr Winduo said. ‘From elements of getting started, sorting through piles, character, point of view, voice, dialogue, description, design or plot to revision and submission of manuscript were all captured in Greville’s book on writing.’

He said he has been struggling to write just one novel for the last thirty years because he ignored the fundamentals of writing fiction itself.

‘I could have written 10 or more novels if only I had done it in a different way than what I have been doing all these years,’ he says.

‘From the workshops I learnt that I had not been paying attention to Point of View (POV), how many POVs, character development and the choice of voice and narration. These are things I took for granted and struggled within my effort to complete a novel.’

He said he had published a historical novel ‘Land Echoes (2014) but that too had taken him a long time to complete.

But now with the help of the WriCR workshops, he is committed to finishing his second novel but admits it is not easy for him compared to writing poetry or non-fiction.

‘Writing is a learning experience. Learn the craft of writing by reading the books of successful writers,’ Dr Winduo says.

I have encouraged aspiring PNG writers to seek out the works of other writers who were there before us and read them for inspiration. Dr Winduo is one such writer whose name I have mentioned several times in commentaries.

Here then is that very man admitting that he has struggled to write – especially books of fiction. How honest can a man be to admit failure after many years in the business?

Dr Winduo even shows us how to seek help and learn new ways to improve our writing.

Perhaps we can learn to adapt the concepts Dr Winduo has learnt at the workshops and attempt to attend such workshops to learn new ways to enhance our ‘PNG style’ to make it more appealing to an international readership.

And we have seen some role models in action lately in Chief John Kasaipwalova who was one of the panellists at the first ever Port Moresby Writers conference.

CJK represented the UPNG Press and the UPNG Bookshop in Port Moresby, an added bonus which authors should know which is perhaps the only outlet where PNG authored books are sold (at least I am thankful, my own books are sold there).

Invite more people like CJK to regular meetings and see how you can benefit from such people.

And Dr Steven Winduo has revealed how he had struggled to write a novel and shown us how to write it differently – and encourages us to learn more by reading other people’s work.

‘To me, writing a book requires more than the passion and interest to write. It requires both the knowledge and space to create a work. Writing grants and fellowships can help writers in their career,’ Dr Winduo said.

Let’s all be flexible, admit our failures, express our differences on a professional level, apologize where due and make amends.

All of us – male and female, internally or externally based are all on a level playing field – we are all writers keeping that fire burning. The fire does not belong to any one of us.

Finally, find out from Dr Steven Winduo how to access those grants and fellowships to improve that which you love doing and make it grow.

Philip Fitzpatrick

There is more than one way for a writer to get their work recognised.

Take the popularity of poetry slams in PNG for instance.

There's no reason why similar things can't be done with short stories and essays.

An event where several writers read extracts from their work to a wider public audience would be a useful adjunct to the planned POM writer's conferences. It could even be held more regularly.

Such events were a tradition in Europe for a long time and enabled people who were otherwise illiterate or couldn't afford books to appreciate literature.

I, for one, have had enough of the CP/MWTE saga - it's time to move on.

Michael Dom

Some quick points directed at Bernard Minol's "...the lack of an interested reading public in PNG is still a major problem today".

This is one of the core agenda that CP was to address in the first place, apart from encouraging PNG writers.

Firstly, the lack of interest in reading is a fundamental issue in the broader area of education - How do we inspire students reading interests? Are the reading materials of interest and to what level of readers? What means do we use to allow readers to actively engage with their favourite genres of literature?

Those are only three of the many questions that would emerge in a discussion on developing readers interests. CP contributes to this development by providing PNG written work and there have been a number of school visits and school based initiatives like that arranged by SWA.

There is a limit to what CP can do for literature and nurturing a reading interest in PNG. Let's agree on this.

Secondly, purchasing power is much lower in PNG, so writers and poets, at this stage let's get used to not making any money from our favorite hobby.

Instead admit that the first few books or copies of books may be given away free or sold at cost or barely pay for the postage. That realization arrived at you can relax and enjoy your work more.

As for the authors and those books which are assessed through the CP - well, that's the whole point: if the book, more specifically a novel, is good enough to please the judges then it may in fact be passed on to a bigger publisher to sell on an international market. That's where the money is.

Do not mistake the PNG market for books as the same value as that of the overseas community - it's a different customer base, NOT readership base.

Thirdly, let's think some more about which audience are we appealing to when it comes to reader-customers for our PNG written books. Who and where is your readership base?

There's no logic in thinking that a really good PNG-style novel, selling at say K20 for a copy on the local market, should also try going to the international market and vice versa for a $20 book from overseas trying to sell into the PNG market.

It's sausages and potatoes and depends on affordability and audience appeal. Price accordingly.

Books that do break across national markets are special precisely because that's what they do - speak universally and become universally demanded.

Fourthly, let's allow groups and to branch away and support them, like we are trying to do with MWTE.

Groups like SWA and POMWA and others we are tyring to encourage are precisely that - smaller outgrowths from the main branch.

But please note that MWTE is not just a writer's group, it is also a women's movement.

I believe we are all trying to help MWTE but we're misunderstanding and misrepresenting our thoughts, or being thoughtlessly mysogynic. Let's apologize and get over it.

Branching groups will help us to infiltrate and understand our readership better, not necessarily dissipate our power as a literary society.

MWTE is no threat to nor is it unhelpful or denying of CP and vice versa.

Lastly, lets be the distribution for each others books. Why not?

Caroline Evari

I wanted to jump in at the very beginning when comments started rolling in but I took a step back to personally write to Rashmii first.

I must agree with Phil in saying that we need to depend on our Australian brothers and sisters and learn as much as can before we become confident to run on our own feet.

I also want to reassure MWTE readers and fans that the women team in Brisbane and in PNG are not divided.

Misunderstandings do arise when there is miscommunication but nevertheless, we are willing to support each other other and do it out of pure love and passion for our country, for sisterhood and for writing.

If only we had the money to fund each other’s trip, we would have all been there at the Brisbane Writers Festival.

For many of us, the Crocodile Prize, under the leadership of Phil and Keith and PNG Attitude, gave us a voice and our voices became louder when Rashmii introduced MWTE.

They are a clear example to all of us that to succeed, we need to put aside our differences and work together.

I always despise the idea that Papua New Guineans cannot produce quality books or there is no market for Papua New Guinean writers.

MWTE can be used as a classic example to rebut these statements and I applaud Rashmii for her great leadership in having the book gain popularity. This is indeed a challenge to all of us.

The recent writers conference in Port Moresby was the first of its kind and a trial. This is not to say that it will be put aside to become history. We will host one again next year with a wider audience and hopefully, we'll have a book or two to showcase during the event.

I for one am willing to collaborate with individuals who are passionate about creating change and not so much about promoting self-interest.

PNG Attitude is where I come to read my fellow Papua New Guinean's writings and in doing so I have also met some good people.

Michael Dom

Agreed Phil.

Philip Fitzpatrick

I can understand how the Crocodile Prize Organising Committee would want to be independent and demonstrate that they are capable of running the competition without Australian help. This is, of course, something that both Keith and I had hoped for.

However, I think they probably made a mistake in cutting PNG Attitude and Pukpuk Publications out of the picture so quickly.

It would have been better if they had counted on a transitive period of a few years where the Australian resources were still used but gradually tailed off.

Their idea that the Crocodile Prize website could replace PNG Attitude was clearly a misjudgement.

The beauty of PNG Attitude is the number and range of its readers, most of whom now appear to be Papua New Guineans.

That it publishes other material not related to literature is one of its big attractions and it is foolish, especially since the offer has always been there, not to use it to promote PNG writers and their work through that medium.

Also, what was not taken into consideration is the fact that many Australian readers of the blog enjoy PNG writing. By not using PNG Attitude that audience has been effectively disenfranchised.

Given that some of those Australian readers are retired professionals prepared to offer free mentoring and editing services to PNG writers it is a resource unwisely abandoned.

You might say that those readers should have switched to the Crocodile Prize website but I'm afraid they would have found little there to interest them because, for some inexplicable reason, it was not being used to publish PNG writers.

I've also followed the debate focused around 'My Walk to Equality' and I can see credits and debits on both sides.

What seems to be happening now is the divorcing of women's writing from The Crocodile Prize and a split between PNG women writers in Australia and PNG women writers in Papua New Guinea.

This is a very unfortunate development and needs to be resolved quickly because it will effect PNG literature and its future in a big way.

One of the few places where gender equality exists in PNG is in literature. Destroying that equality by such a split is plain stupid.

Having read some of the emails that were exchanged in this affair I was appalled but not surprised. The use of such outrageous vitriol in PNG is not exceptional, you only have to peruse lesser echelons of PNG social media to see this in play.

One of the things that I have developed in recent years is the ability to read between the lines of a lot I read. Sometimes a lot of stuff goes over my head, some of it pretty obvious, but I like to think that I pick up the important stuff.

What I think I've picked up that is important so far is that a couple of the individuals involved have some fairly serious personal issues.

I can't be more specific than that but I would seriously urge those people to seek some sort of help, either from friends or professional counsellors.

I also think a couple of public apologies are in order. Whether the individuals are strong enough to do this is another matter however. Ego is a big deal in PNG.

It is tempting to see this recent imbroglio as an opportunity to clear the decks and start again with a clean slate. Unfortunately that would be naive.

There are some opinionated and stubborn people involved and convincing them to take a deep breath and reconsider their position would be a bridge too far I suspect.

As I said, I'm not too surprised about the whole thing, it happens in PNG very often and is one of the big impediments to progress.

Daniel Kumbon

I ask Baka and Rashmii for their pardon since both closed the discussion on this topic. But they must know their words have touched me up here in Wabag.

I have decided to help the Crocodile Prize organising committee to help others to get their work published in this year’s Crocodile Prize Anthology.

I wish to request the CP organising committee to email me journalism pieces entered in this year’s competition if they require my assistance.

I will tidy the stories up here and then send them straight down to Keith to see if he will publish them in PNG Attitude.

I sort of missed Crocodile Prize entries for a long time now and perhaps PNG Attitude readers will welcome them back every morning.

The judging will of course be done by the CP organising committee in Port Moresby. And a record of every entry they forward to me will have to be kept down there.

For a long time, publishing avenues to get PNG writing published has always been a problem.

But thanks to Keith and Phil, they have generously given to us of their time and provided us with PNG Attitude and Pukpuk Publications.

Already many articles and books have been produced but what Bernard Minol said in 1980 still rings true.

What Minol said in a letter to the editor of the Times of PNG "...the lack of an interested reading public in PNG’ is still a major problem today".

Baka Bina, my Apo, that is why not many of us can ‘dance for now’. But we must be patient even if it will take 100 years for some of our publications to be read and gain recognition.

I just watched the late William Takaku, one of PNG’s most outstanding actors and playwrights, rub shoulders with 007 actor Pierce Brosnan in ‘Robinson Crusoe’.

The film was adapted from the book ‘The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe’ written by Daniel Defoe in 1717. It was shot on location on our own shores in Madang a couple of years ago.

I reaffirm the dissertation by Phil that ‘Man of Calibre’ and ‘Sibona’ are classics. To say that our books are not saleable is an understatement.

I feel the various Anthologies from 2011 – 2016 which involved hundreds of PNG women too would have been popular like MWTE but we were not involved in any effective marketing drive at all.

For my own entertainment I have bought books from some PNG authors and have thoroughly enjoyed them as well as books by Michael Dom and Jordan Dean accessed free online.

I would urge all PNG writers to keep writing, assist the Crocodile Prize organising committee and promote each other’s work.

We must always know that PNG has always had some great writers before us like Sir Vincent Eri, Sir Ignatius Kilage, Utula Samana, Bernard Narakobi, Nora Vagi Brash, Dame Carol Kidu and many others from whom we can draw strength and inspiration from. Seek out their work and read them.

At the end of the film ‘Robinson Crusoe’ it says ‘...Daniel Defoe died in 1731, but the story of Robinson Crusoe lives on.’

So, Baka Bina, I feel your words to the core and yes, let’s continue to help others and write for people who will appreciate and afford to buy them in the future.

A couple of points. About 3,000 copies of the Anthologies were distributed free throughout PNG between 2011 and 2015 - sponsorship providing the funding. The pages of PNG Attitude have always been open to both promote the Crocodile Prize and publish entries. This opportunity has been largely ignored by the prize organisers who took over in 2016 - KJ

Baka Bina

Message taken but please pause first when you need to lampoon another more of your contributors and dabble in narcissism.

I wont be doing my own dance for now and I remember that Crocodile Prize like it did for you, it gives me no support for my publications nonetheless it is my forte; where I give support and avenue for other writers to come to the fore.

lets end the conversation here.

Rashmii Bell

Avoidance and exclusion by the majority of 2016 committee members is a more accurate assessment of the reasons for my departure from that group. This was despite my attempts to reconcile and move forward. Considering I had produced the templates being used for 2016 competition correspondence, I listened to the counsel of Keith, Phil and Martyn and agreed to continue with contributing to the desired outcomes. This was met with silence from members - including you, Baka.

As I stated in my email response to you re SCIRWF, it was unacceptable for you to present me with a plea to me to shoulder the promotion of Crocodile Prize at a MWTE- focused presentation - whereby Crocodile Prize has provided nil support to the MWTE project since September 2016. I have had no affiliation with CP since last year and will remain the same until the culture of the organisation changes.

I am confident in my abilities as a collaborative, effective and efficient, respectful team member in project work. I expect the same in return. My committment to developing positive, supportive relationships with all those involved in MWTE has resulted in the success that it is. Phase 1 has ended and I am delighted with its achievements and the opportunities it has afforded all those who chose to be involved and support the project.

Baka, this is the final interaction I will have with you on this thread. Thank you.

Baka Bina

That’s where I think the problem is, Rashmii, there is a lot of debris strewn by the wayside.

Yes, I do have those emails that started in 2016 where you took offence at other people and didn't feel you wanted to work with us then. I wanted us to work together with all our flaws.

Yes and if you see beyond my emails and posts on PNG Attitude in all totality, it is to ask for all including you to keep in mind to develop and to speak for Crocodile Prize to so that it moves out of Keith's and Phil's loving embrace to be on its own.

My plea all along was for you to take Crocodile Prize along with you even if it was rotten at its core. This is always my plea when you did work with the Kokoda Track and with SCIRWF and to all contributors to Crocodile Prize – Crocodile Prize must be embedded in PNG and grow.

Crocodile Prize will nurture you more women writer's who will get more courage to write. That has always been the tone of my emails and my contributions to PNG Attitude and my general rapport to all and sundry who care to listen.

These includes talking and showcasing the 40 or so publications of Pukpuk Publications – most of those works are authored by PNGns. we need to collectively showcase our work and Crocodile Prize can be one vehicle for us insipid writers.

You are electing not to mention Crocodile Prize and that is understood but Crocodile Prize is not the current organizing committee. I'd like to believe that it is all of us including you and all those who contributed to MWTE.

You have put out two replies to my reply at your narcissist comment at seeing me and Emmanuel Peni on the panel that; we should not get on the bandwagon that is MWTE - it is not only one persons writing but a collections of writings from whom many that we interact and for whom many, the Crocodile Prize offered a door of opportunity. it was for them that I accepted the invite.

I as an author am not looking to hitch my work on anybody’s success but I care if you will take along Crocodile Prize. Your work with other women contributors on MWTE is gaining phenomenal strides and you all have my congratulations on that and you can elect to take your contributors and other PNG writers along but as you have blinkers on, you will and can leave them behind with the debris.

Your second post highlights an organisational issue and an interest in getting together that we are facing. Your lampooning of the contributor’s organisational tryst will have them saying lamentations why they bothered. Port Moresby ain't Brisbane.

You had the opportune to nurture and help them develop but with your blinkers on, you will instead lampoon them.

And we who turned up, 30 is a far cry from the many female writers in the city and poor Carolyn and her organising team did well to even have the impromptu panel.

Rashmii Bell

On the matter of the organisation of the Port Moresby event, I am disappointed with the direction the MWTE contributors took.

Given the key values and messages of MWTE, that all contributors should be well versed in, it seems an opportune moment missed to amplify wholly PNG women voices in a dialogue that desperately needed that.

An all-PNG woman four-member panel was organised for the Brisbane Writers Festival. So too should this have been the case in Port Moresby.

The publishing of Caroline's piece in PNG Attitude was the first time I was made aware of the fine details of the event. This was despite an email I had sent the organisers early in the week to congratulate and ask for feedback about the forum.

However, it was an fantastic feat on the part of the organisers to create an opportunity for others. Well done to them.

Rashmii Bell

Thanks Baka. Please revisit your 'Sent' emails and refresh your memory on the messages you sent me in the lead up to the Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival.

While you're at it, reacquaint yourself with my responses to your undertones of shifting blame (to me) for the Crocodile Prize's stunted progress this year.

Oh, and also my response to your thinly veiled directives as to what I should say at SCIRWF relative to all PNG writers and not just PNG women writers.

You may email Keith, Phil and me should you have difficulty locating those emails.

I will clarify that, as with every other aspect of the project, I initiated the Port Moresby event.

Unfortunately I had to step aside following a string of disgusting, vitriolic attacks from the Crocodile Prize Committee's chairman.

That of course was linked to the historical issues of the Crocodile Prize Committee's appalling treatment of me during 2016.

I also have retained those emails should you wish to have your memory refreshed. So too do a number of PNG Attitude readers whom I've kept well informed, privately, of the instances of bullying and misogyny that I have been continually subjected to.

Given all this, I am sure you have it in you to empathise as to why I would be puzzled and amused that you and Emmanuel would associate yourself with an activity you have demonstrated inconsistent public or private support for: project and chair.

Baka Bina

Rashmii - Detail me the spite that you say I have for you personally when I am advocating for a Crocodile Prize that should be bigger than you and I or Emmanuel Peni.

I speak to see the growth of the Crocodile Prize. I seek like minded people to be involved in the Crocodile Prize and I have yet to see people who can see beyond the abuse and accusations and still keep with the Crocodile Prize.

It is appalling that all of us continue to to wear blinkers. The Crocodile Prize is struggling here in POM for want of people to run it and the current organising committee will leave it to anyone who steps up.

It is incumbent on you, me, Emmanuel Peni, for that matter anyone to come to the fore and for each of us to look for people to take the Crocodile Prize forward.

Your public rhetoric does not do well for the Crocodile Prize.

Okay someone may have had a go at you but it was not me and I also find it amusing that you have initially named me and Francis Nii and now you name me.

I want to work with you and all writers. There are thousands of writers like you here in PNG, and men for that matter too, who need their writings exposed.

You have provided one successful avenue and the Crocodile Prize despite its ineptitude needs to be successful in its own way.

The meeting was organised by the contributors to MWTE and had nothing to do with the Crocodile Prize. I was invited along by Caroline Evari and the Crocodile Prize was invited along too. We never went in there on our own accord.

Surely the contributors will have some authority on how they want to gloat about their work having international attention. You can discuss that with the contributors to MWTE. They need to have some say on their work too.

No man is trying to cash in on the success of MWTE and there is a commentary to that effect that is off the mark here.

The three men that turned up at Caroline Evari's organised meet was to give her and the women writers support. The contributors to MWTE organised this meet, nothing to do with Crocodile Prize or Baka Bina or Emmanuel Peni

Writing is not rocket science, it was a matter of finding the time and committing the time was my comments that is being attributed to another person.

Do I take issue here. That will be crass and stupid of me. It does not add to the aim of finding common grounds for writers, men women and children.

But having said that, all this rhetoric adds to the growing pains of Crocodile Prize. We have tipped the iceberg of PNG creativity. It will grow with or without you, me or Emmanuel Peni.

Philip Kai Morre

Good that Port Moresby based writers met because our national capital is a metrapolitan centre containing writers from various professions who are gifted in their own fields.

You have people with different cultures, ideologies and personalities to promote your cause.

Rashmii Bell

John - Wonderful news and thank you for supporting MWTE. I'd be glad to chat with you and your daughters. Please email me via [email protected]

Michael- You get it. Thank you!

Daniel Kumbon

It is encouraging to see one of PNG’s early literary icons CJK (Chief John Kasaipwalova) on the panel. He wrote 'Sail The Midnight Sun' - the longest poem I've ever read written by a PNGean – 35 pages of it.

Here is an extract to savour taken from CJK’s poem extracted from an essay on PNG writing by Gilian Gorle from the University of Reading, entitled 'The Second Decade: The Theme of Social Change in PNG Literature – 1979 – 1989'.

CJK’s poem affirms the importance of holding onto dreams and believing in the power of love to bring good out of painful experiences.

Who has stood petrified and hopeless
When wrathful destruction reeks all around
And inevitable death swings down to kill?
The weak of heart die before their deaths
The foolish smile to hide what their eyes behold
But cool and lithe are waiting sinews
Of the midnight sun who carries a dream of love
A heart of fountain strength no wave can swamp (Ibid:53)

Good start Caroline Evari, the POM-based MWTE contributors, panellists and writers who attended.

Make it an annual event. Invite people of CJK’s era like Dr Steven Winduo, former Lae MP Loujaya Kouza, John Waiko, Nora Vagi Brash, Russel Soaba and others to come attend and share their writing.
They are sources of great inspiration no money can buy.

Happy 42nd Independence everyone.

Michael Dom

While it's great news to hear about Port Moresby-based writers getting together, I have to agree with Rashmii - it's poor form not informing her after all the time and effort she put into My Walk to Equality.

It's plain disrespectful. No excuses.

How an organisation starts does matter. (O'Namah Legacy, 2011)

We can't wash over Rashmii's statements by claiming some higher benefits.

The fundamentals matter.


Clearly PNG men find it very difficult to respect intelligent women.

If we want to talk equality then we have to walk it too.

Rashmii's own walk, and that of the women writers on MWTE, is a focal point of the larger struggle by women.

If men writers are hitching their wagons to the #MWTE glory then get the story right.

John Bennett

Rashmii, I have just received My Walk to Equality from Amazon. My two rolled gold, genuine article, purebred Chimbu daughters will be reading MWTE over the Christmas break (they are both studying at James Cook University with heavy workloads).

I was keen to have them meet you to get some good oil from an expert.

How does one contact you?

Francis Nii

Can we bury past differences and work and support one another where necessary to promote both national literature as well as gender equality and aspirations.

It doesn't do anyone any good if we keep igniting past differences.

Happy 42nd Independence celebration.

Rashmii Bell

Considering the spite and bullying I, as project chair, curator and editor of My Walk to Equality, was subjected to from PNG-based writers, mostly senior, I'm quite puzzled and amused to see Emmanuel Peni and Baka Bina on this panel.

I do hope that is a typo re "men's involvment in literature". Not sure how MWTE, an activity to promote the voices of PNG women through literature, has been shifted to highlight the plight of men?

I have congratulated the Port Moresby-based MWTE team for staging this event via social media and a group email. Thank you to Alphonse Huvi and Leiao Gerega who were the only two writers to respond to that email.

A final note. The MWTE brand remains under my authorship and that of Pukpuk Publications. I trust that any future use of MWTE to promote its activity will seek permission from me beforehand.

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