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Ples Singsing gets a valuable helping hand

Benefactors Daniel Kumbon and Paul Kurai in their beloved mountains
Literary benefactors Daniel Kumbon and Paul Kurai in their beloved mountains of Enga

CAROLINE EVARI
| Ples Singsing

PORT MORESBY - With only two weeks to go before the awards ceremony for the first Tingting Bilong Mi essay competition, we received a pleasant surprise.

It came by way of a comment on the PNG Attitude story by Pat Levo and Keith Jackson, ‘Women Triumph in First Essay Contest.

And it was posted by prominent Papua New Guinean writer Daniel Kumbon on  behalf of himself and Enga businessman, Paul Kurai:

“K5,000 will be contributed towards the cause. We, Paul Kurai and I, request the organising committee to contact us. K1,000 of this contribution is from the first sales of [Daniel’s new book] ‘Victory Song of Pingeta's Daughter’.

“We wish it to be distributed to the three winners and the names of the writers whose names appear in the article. Give an extra K100 each to the three winners and K100 each to the others. The K4,000 is for prizes at the discretion of the organising committee.

“We will formerly write to Dr Michael Dom and the organising committee for the possibility of naming one of the categories, ‘The Kurai Memorial Prize’. We will discuss more later.”

It is the internet that has made it possible for most Papua New Guinean writers to connect with their audiences, market and sell their books and most importantly network with generous people such as Paul Kurai, a successful businessman from Wabag in Enga Province.

Paul Kurai is a grandson of a tribal leader who was shot and killed by one of the early explorers in the Enga region.

As Philip Fitzpatrick briefly told the story in his review of ‘Victory Song’:

“The book begins with the dramatic and bloody encounter between Paul’s grandfather and the prospector and explorer Michael Leahy in 1934. This is a seminal event that not only reverberates through time for Paul’s family but for the Wabag district in general.

“The few minutes in which an Engan warrior decided to charge a prospector’s camp with his spear and the split-second decision of the prospector to shoot and kill him coloured everything that happened thereafter.

Betty Wakia  Caroline Evari  Daniel Kumbon and Paul Kurai
Betty Wakia,  Caroline Evari,  Daniel Kumbon and Paul Kurai - a brilliant combination of creativity and enterprise

In memory of his grandfather and his father, who without any formal education became a highly regarded bosboi in the service of his people and country, Paul Kurai asked Ples Singsing to initiate The Kurai Memorial Prize.

The organisers of the next competition will release details towards the end of April.

The Ples Singsing Masterminds sincerely thank Daniel Kumbon and Paul Kurai for their generous support of Papua New Guinea’s writers.

Should readers also make a donation, you can email us at plessingsing@gmail.com.

Victory Song of Pingeta’s Daughter’ – a truly momentous book full of photos, many of which are rare - can also be bought for K250 at the Ribito Grill and Restaurant adjacent to the Air Niugini sales office at Waigani Central in Port Moresby.

It is also available here from Amazon books.

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