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.
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.