“Literature provides growth and strengthens people’s minds giving them the ability to think outside the box” - Daniel Kumbon
LAE - At times when I need to think deeply about something that is important to me, it is with profound gratitude that I find the wisdom I need from others.
From those who are with me or who have gone before me and left their mark in the world through their writing.
I hope to provide the same opportunity for my fellow writers, poets and thinkers.
This enlightening event for me is even more satisfying when the writing is that of a fellow Papua Niuginian.
So it is with a healthy serving of humility and respect that I concede the principal grounds of argument for my cause, PNG authors for PNG readers, to Daniel Kumbon.
Daniel writes that:
“Literature has the ability to provide knowledge and improve the quality of education in a country like ours, where poor literacy rates remain the greatest challenge for people who continue to lack proper educational facilities.
“People fail to realise that literature and other art forms are equally important – they are the essence that holds a nation together and gives it a unique identity.
“I believe that every published copy of a news article, essay or book a Papua New Guinean has written is a narrative of the history of this country that should be preserved for future generations to cherish.
“Literature serves as a gateway to learning and expands the knowledge of people to understand the world they live in and the wider world beyond.”
Encapsulated there in terse and energetic phrasing are four fundamental reasons for nurturing our national literature which also form the basis for the ‘Tingting Bilong Mi’ Essay Competition.
The competition is hosted by Ples Singsing Papua Niuginian Writers Blog.
This privately funded writing contest has a five-year lifespan and aims to engage with youth aged between 16 to 36 years of age who are currently enrolled in an educational institute.
The Ples Singsing masterminds are all writers with a penchant for supporting their colleagues in their chosen creative field.
In other avenues, PNG writers have tried to garner government support for the promotion of a national literary organisation.
At Ples Singsing we believe in the validity of the petition made by PNG authors to Prime Minister Marape.
Promoting PNG writers means rewarding PNG readers and encouraging PNG thinkers.
We believe that supporting #PNGAuthors4PNGReaders is a practical way to #TakeBackPNG because we will be giving back to PNG those stories (fiction and non-fiction) which already belong to us and which encompass who we are and what we value in our society.
But it is equally important that PNG writers and published authors understand the thoughts and opinions of their PNG readers. This means we need to hear different opinions and gather more suggestions about the cause of our petition.
We want to read essays from our youth, students in secondary schools, technical, vocational and teachers colleges, and universities. We believe that hearing from you is the best way to determine the value of our cause and decide the way we want to achieve our goal.
Tell us why you think the PNG government should/should not buy PNG authored books.
The essay competition was launched on 1 December and ends on 31 January 2021. Entry is free to all Papua Niuginian citizens living in-country. Three winners will be announced at the start of the school term at a date to be set in February 2021.
Awards, judging and benefits
- All entries will be prejudged by a blind panel of six published PNG writers and final judging of the top ten will be completed by Phil Fitzpatrick (Australian author) and Fiona Hukula (PNG academic and researcher).
- Best entries will be published in the Post Courier and The National newspapers.
- Well written essays may receive minimum editing for posting on Ples Singsing and PNG Attitude blogs.
- Cash prizes are offered for: First place K500 | Second place K300 | Third place K200.
- Three winners will each receive two (2) books by PNG authors (valued at K50 each).
- Selected essays will be collated into a book which will be published by JDT Independent Publishing, and the school or institute of the winning essayists will receive two copies for their library.
- Exceptional and interested writers may be offered six months of free coaching and mentoring by senior writers from PNG and abroad, from which they will be expected to produce one critical essay on a topic of their choice.
- A small award ceremony may be held at a school in Port Moresby, Lae or Goroka dependent on logistical arrangements or otherwise books will be delivered by mail.
Email Ples Singsing here for an entry form. We look forward to reading what you think!