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Writers of PNG - Now is the time to look your govt in the eye


TUMBY BAY - Perhaps the time has come for the writers of Papua New Guinea – authors, journalists, poets, commentators and others including publishers and illustrators - to look your government in the eye and make a statement.

Perhaps it is time to petition prime minister James Marape and other ministers and seek the government’s support for an authentic and home-grown Papua New Guinean literature - a literature that will help turbo-charge the serious nation-building task that lies ahead.

I propose here a draft form of words that can be sent to Mr Marape, together with the names of all the writers and readers who believe that PNG literature needs more than a thumbs up, it needs real practical support.


A Manifesto for Literature in Papua New Guinea

We, the writers of Papua New Guinea, believe that our nation’s literature is something that needs to be encouraged and supported by everyone, but especially by the government.

Without a home grown literature the story of our great nation cannot be told.

If our story is not told, future generations of Papua New Guineans will not be fully aware of where they come from, who they are and what made them.

A nation without a story is like a nation without a soul.

The writers of Papua New Guinea are currently struggling to tell our nation’s story.

There are no major publishers in Papua New Guinea interested in publishing our work. If we want to publish our books we have to pay for it ourselves.

Our books are not available in schools. The students of Papua New Guinea cannot read books written by their own countrymen and women.

Instead, they have to read books written by writers from other countries.

Papua New Guinea has a poorly resourced public library system. Few of our own books are available in these libraries. In most cases Papua New Guinean authors have to donate books free of charge to libraries so people can read them.

Our national literary award, the Crocodile Prize, is struggling to survive. It is supported by limited private funding. The Papua New Guinean government has never shown real interest in supporting it. Nor has the government shown an interest in supporting Papua New Guinean writers.

It is time this situation changed.

We, the undersigned writers of Papua New Guinea, together with our readers and supporters, are calling upon our new Prime Minister, James Marape, to commit his government and future governments to providing the support our writers, our literature and our nation deserve.

It is time to secure the story of Papua New Guinea for present and future generations.

To do less is unthinkable.


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Chris Sessoring

Yes, definitely! Mi gat bikpla wanbel long displa petition.

Robert Forster

Papua New Guinea, and its people, have a story like no other. Grass roots literature is the best way to express, and capture it. So development of this skill must be encouraged. (Signed from UK)

Graeme Hockey

The written word is far more powerful than a mumble into a microphone

Dr Tony Austin

Strongly agree.

Lance Hill

I'm in full support also

Philip Fitzpatrick

We'll amend the petition to reflect the range of supporters Lindsay.

We, the undersigned writers of Papua New Guinea, together with our readers and supporters, are calling upon our new Prime Minister, James Marape, to commit his government and future governments to providing the support our writers, our literature and our nation deserve.

Lindsay F Bond

Not the place to particularise on a heading?

"Writers of PNG" (the invitation) can include non-citizens, who write of and for people and nation of PNG. Yet the following sentence mentions "your government", and the 'manifesto' proposal's wording, has exclusion.

Question is, in the exuberance of advocating a thoroughly deserved intention for writers, will writers permit any question?

Of the 'manifesto' and where it intends 'heading', my singular response is AFFIRMATIVE.

Bernard Corden

"The proper study of mankind is books" - Aldous Huxley

Signed: Bernard Corden

Renata Laveil

Yes, I am with you.

John Mackerell

A country's literature is its soul. Full support.

Dr John Mackerell

Marlene Dee Gray Potoura

Signed: Marlene Dee Gray Potoura- Teacher/Writer/Author

Thank you Phil.

Allan Kidston

I am with you.

Bob Cleland

Naturally, as a sponsor, I support all forms of PNG writing. Go! Go! Go!

Philip Fitzpatrick

I'd better add my name to the petition.

So should those writers we have supported in the past who haven't signed on yet.

Come on - where are you?

David Kitchnoge

I'm in on this one.

Please send to PM Marape.

David Kitchnoge
Contributor to the first Crocodile Prize anthology.

William Dunlop

With you all the way.

Nelson Sukwianomb

Yes, I'm 110 percent with you!

Slim Kaikai

Yes wanbel!

MaryAnn  Uechtritz

Yes, I am whole-heartedly with you !!

Jeffrey Febi

Yes, I'm with you.

Francis Nii

Literary excellence is the key to unlocking the hidden treasures of life. We as writers and publishers are solving the writing and production issues.

But schools do not have funds to buy books and do not get them unless they are made available free of cost.

There is a disappointing lack of support both from the government and aid donors to supply PNG-authored books.

Stories are part of our culture; books are repositories of our culture. What is it that the authorities don't understand?

A nation without literature is a people with lost identity.

Can the current government, under prime minister James Marape, embrace national literature or PNG-authored books in his government's mission of making 'PNG the richest black Christian nation' by giving PNG authors and their work special recognition and supplying their books to schools around the country?

[Signed] Francis Nii - Author, Editor, Publisher, Freelance Commentator & Strong PNG Literature Advocate

Garry Roche

I fully support writing by PNG authors.
Garry Roche

Max Uechtritz

Yes, I’m with you ! Go well

Simon Jackson

Yes, I'm with you


Yes, I'm with you! Andrea Yauieb, Lawyer, avid reader and supporter of the advancement of PNG literature and its authors/writers.

Baka Bina

Em gutpela tingting. Putim nem bilong antap long pepa.

Gavman mas sanap wantaim yumi long kisim olgeta rait bilong mipela. Ol man igat stori i dai isi isi igo na ol yanpela bai nogat moa stori long rit na kisim save bilong mipela yet long Papua Niugini. Sapos dispela tingting long noken givim tingting na sapot long ol lain bai rait holim pain na stori bilong mipela, mipela bai lusim pes na luk olsem ol mahn nogat hausmahn.

Baka Bina, Writer

Betty Chapau

Thank you so much for this. Signed: Betty Chapau, Writer.

Joe Herman

Thank you for the initiative, Phil. Please sign me up. Reader of books authored by PNG born writers.

Betty Gabriel Wakia

I support the petition, thank you Phil. Signed-Betty Wakia: Writer

Michelle Rooney

SIGNED. Thank you for this important initiative.

Jordan Dean

Happy to scribble my fancy signature Phil. Author of 18 books (6 books of my own, 12 children's story books published by Library for All) and Winner of Crocodile Prize Heritage Writing category, 2017.

To fellow writers, I've been asked to send a list of all the books I've published to the National Library for their records. I was also invited to attend the Book Fair which will be hosted by the National Library as part of the National Book Week celebrations from the 5th - 9th August.

The theme for this year is "Upgrade your knowledge (IQ) - Read!". The theme reflects on the importance of books, reading, libraries and literacy.

Authors, publishers, book sellers and anyone involved in the book trade are welcome to exhibit their books at the Book Fair. The general public is welcome to check out the wide range of books available and meet local authors in person. Probably get an autograph or a selfie with your favourite author!

Daniel Kumbon

Happy to put my signature to a good cause – as one who fears so much of PNG’s rich traditions will be lost if not recorded down in whatever form.

Social commentator, journalist, author and traditionalist

Dr. Albert Schram

Writing is thinking, and reading is feeding the mind. We all have an interest in supporting PNG literature, which will help forming confident citizens with a strong sense of identity. Those type of citizens will be able so successfully interact with the rest of the world, and not become its victims.

Rosewiita Gewa

Agreed. Signed: Rosewitta Gewa. Sub-Editor/stringer. Thanks

Lekei Kilala

Thank you Phil. Signed by Lekei Kilala- Architectural designer.
I also love poetry-writing and reading and writing short stories. Boina tuna (thank you-Kuanua,ENB)

Michael Dom

Agreed to and Signed by Michael Dom, Assistant Pig Keeper, published poet and winner of the Crocodile Prize 2012 Poetry Award

Dominica Are

It's about time. Thank you Phil. Signed: Dominica Are, Writer.

Susan Francis

Signed by Susan Francis, NSW writer and English teacher with family living in PNG. Thank you.

Nicky Daniel

Thank you Phil. Signed. Nicky Daniel, Development Practitioner and avid supporter of PNG Literature and PNG writers. I fully support this initiative. Thanks

Rashmii Bell

Thank you, Phil. Signed - Rashmii Bell: Writer/ Author, Editor, MWTE Project Chair, Literary Mentor.

Book publications: My Walk to Equality: Essays, Stories and Poetry' ( Publications, 2017) Available via Amazon), Young Readers Illustrated book due for release late 2019.

Project: My Walk to Equality (2016 - Present) : a literary project contributing to PNG achieveing SDG10 through promoting PNG authored and published literature, especially by the girls and women of PNG. Administered by volunteers based throughout PNG and Australia.

Awards: MWTE Project nominated as PNG (country) project for the United Nations Girls and Women's Education Prize 2018. Paga Hill Development Company MWTE Writer's Fellowship 2018 - Inaugural recipient, Rashmii Bell.

Events: Brisbane Writers Festival 2017, Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival 2017, Harmony Alliance Secretariat (Canberra) Forum - Guest Speaker Rashmii Bell on Women in Leadership and Media.

If it would support the petition, I'm happy to to send through a MWTE Project profile brief, its work, reach and impact to date. Let me know when you're ready to receive it.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Thanks Corney.

I'll keep a master copy and add names as people commit their signature to the petition.

When that's done people can decide how best to present it to the government.

Caroline Evari

Phil, thank you so much! I will ensure this petition is supported and gets to our prime minister.

Corney Korokan Alone

Signed: Commentator, thinking and patriotic citizen of beloved Papua New Guinea who advocates for a better educated citizenry.

I firmly believe that, we will create a smart, healthy and wealthy Papua New Guinea, an economic powerhouse that is driven by confident, professional, patriotic, tenacious and altruistic entrepreneurs, educators and role models in every space who are community centered.

In doing so, we will lift up others along the way with that ladder of opportunity.

To do that, we must articulate our own destiny. Tell our own stories clearly. PNG born artists and writers who are able to differentiate the fluff and falsehoods that gets pushed down and absorbed without questioning and second thoughts. We must see that clearly and chart our paths.

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