Barrick Gold forges ahead
The 2019 kiap reunion

A nation without literature

Literature 2
Daniel Kumbon's open letter to prime minister James Marape was published in the PNG Post-Courier yesterday. Will this finally open official doors to the glory of Melanesian literature?


WABAG - “A country without literature and without history is not a country, it’s a collection of disparate people who happen to inhabit the same space,” says Anna Porter about her passion for Canadian literature and her prolific career as one of the country’s most influential publishers.

Imagine Christianity without the Bible, Judaism without the Torah, Muslims without the Quran, Hindu without Bhagavad-Gita, Ramayana and Veda.

Literature is inseparable from life itself. And for Papua New Guinea to be a country without its own literature is a tragedy.

As a fully-fledged nation, we must have our own literature. We have more than enough writers to produce our own literature. How many stories have 800 different cultures evolved. The story of ourselves in all our diversity could be a blessing to our nation and an inspiration to our neighbours.

I read recently about the small nation of Latvia in Europe and what moved me was not its tiny two million population but the grandeur of its literature.

In 2018, Latvia was able to spotlight its literature and culture at the London Book Fair.

Its literature soars beyond its smallness of size.

LiteratureJanis Einfelds’s collection of short stories in Moon Child and his surrealist novel The Book of Pigs stretched the imagination of Latvian literature and many writers in Latvia blossomed as a result.

I believe if our prime minister James Marape pushes and supports local literature and encourages our writers to write more, we can do likewise.

To ignore our own literature is to breed failure because literature is so fundamentally apart of who we are and what we have to say to the world.

Again, let me encourage my fellow writers to never give up. Our tenacity and perseverance will yield fruit.


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Baka Bina

We will take that opportunity to to see the PM and progress what Daniel Kumbon has started. Those three in Caroline, Betty and Jordan are doing good.

While that is progressing we should persevere in our writings. We still need thousands of writings, articles and books.

School is starting and students in PNG should be going to school with a reading book by a Papua New Guinean. PMJM hopefully gives us a favourable ear.

Philip Kai Morre

PNG is at the transitional phase between old traditions and new contemporary or modern traditions. We are at the crossroads without realising that our valuable customs of the past are gone without any records.

We cannot transmit our knowledge of the past by oral testimony because oral testimony is not accurate or liable. Only written documentation and recordings are vivid for future generation to comprehend our cultural heritage.

We need to write more books but who will motivate us and encourage us. Our government has a moral obligation to support this cause that will benefit future generations.

Schools and institutions need books and the education department must buy more books to promote local writers.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Good luck guys.

Betty Wakia

I will be meeting with Caroline Evari, Baka Bina and Jordan Dean today to discuss on how to present our case to the prime minister tomorrow.

Daniel Kumbon

Justine - Thanks for this article. It has finally caught the attention of the Prime Minister. He wants to see us this Friday (24th). But I can't be there after all the trouble.

I came to Wabag just yesterday to arrange school fees for my children. I am hoping our POM based writers will contact Betty Wakia and Caroline Evari to form a small team to go present our case.

I just can't go back tomorrow after coming up from Port Moresby yesterday. I thank the Post Courier for publishing our letter last Friday.

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