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.
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.