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PNG’s writers still await appointment with prime minister


PORT MORESBY – It’s National Book Week this week with the theme, ‘Upgrade your Knowledge (IQ) – Read!’.

Meanwhile, the delivery of the PNG writers’ petition to the Papua New Guinea government is still pending.

“One of the major pillars of building a knowledge society is by reading books, being literate, and having greater access to library and information services, and lifelong learning,” stated director-general of the PNG National Library and Archives, Kaksi Kakaito.

Apart from building knowledge in society, books carry stories of culture and traditions and stories of our people.

These stories tell others about who we really are, about our beautiful country and about our struggles and the reasons why.

They are stories that give us an identity and that future generations can resonate with.

Last month, PNG writers and their supporters came together to petition prime minister James Marape, asking the government to give special attention to PNG literature by supporting and encouraging writers and developing a home-grown literature.

Building a home-grown literature is all about writing and publishing more PNG-authored books and having them distributed throughout the country.

The delegation that is being formed to present this petition comprises writers Daniel Kumbon from Enga, Francis Nii from Simbu, and Caroline Evari and Betty Wakia from Port Moresby.

Despite our goal to present the petition during this week to coincide with National Book Week, Francis Nii has been faced with the dilemma of financing his trip to Port Moresby.

Today we wrote to the prime minister’s office requesting for an appointment to meet with him and hand him the petition on behalf of the PNG writers whilst National Book Week celebrations continue in the country.


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Philip Fitzpatrick

A generous supporter of PNG Attitude and the Crocodile Prize has chipped in to pay for Francis' return airfare.

Kenny Pawa Ambaisi's offer of accommodation is much appreciated but Francis has special needs that would be difficult and a guesthouse or hotel would be a better option for him. That will probably cost around K1500. We are now looking at options there. Any other assistance Kenny can provide while Francis is in Mosbi would be appreciated however.

Perhaps the Post Courier could run an article on the progress so far and the problems being encountered as a reminder for everyone.

Kenny Pawa Ambaisi

I concur with Philip Fitzpatrick. The number of writers indicated on the petition are very many, so we may come up with a reasonable amount to make way for these men, Francis and Daniel, to come to Port Moresby?

Let's do our maths. If we contribute K20 each, may we come up with a K2,500?

Only the plane ticket is the problem. Unless Francis decides to live in a guest rooms in one of the lodges or hotel rooms, I am willing to accommodate him in my house at Port Moresby National High School.

Consider this kind of opinion if we are serious in promoting PNG literature.

This is my thought so speak yours.

Philip Fitzpatrick

This is one of several perennial problems for writers in PNG. Everyone lives in different provinces and getting them together for something as important as meeting the prime minister with a petition was always going to be difficult.

Having someone like Francis there is extremely important, especially since Daniel has indicated he can't make it.

Another perennial problem is that writers in PNG are generally not very affluent, especially when they are wheel chair bound.

I understand that Francis would need about K2,500 to fly down there and find a place to stay. That's about AU$930. He's asked the Simbu governor to help but things move too slowly in that field.

Once a date has been firmly set for the meeting perhaps PNG Attitude readers can help.

Francis Nii

Thanks for the update Caroline.

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