Man Bilong Buk
The Francis Nii Collection
Edited by Keith Jackson & Phil Fitzpatrick
Francis Nii, an educated man of sublime intellect and acute judgement, had a bright future ahead of him when his body was mauled in a tragic motor accident that left him paraplegic living in a ward of an under-resourced highlands hospital in Papua New Guinea.
Around him, men with similar injuries lost the will to live and died.
Through a combination of innate personal strength and faith, Francis reinvented himself as an author and advocate for many causes, including the proper development of a native Papua New Guinean literature.
From his hospital bed and battered old wheelchair, he became a published novelist, an award winning writer, a mentor of other writers and eventually a publisher.
He was humble man who did not seek personal wealth or fame but his energy and charisma had a profound impact on helping to sustain a perpetually struggling Papua New Guinean literature.
On 3 August 2020, aged 57, he finally lost the fight with his disability and died.
Francis Nii’s influence was such that his legacy lives on and the symbolism of the wheelchair-bound author pushing forward the frontiers of literature has become an inspiring example for scores of other home-grown writers in Papua New Guinea.
This volume of his collected works, and stories of a life exceptionally led, not only provides a wonderful introduction to Papua New Guinean writing but shows the great benefits that an indigenous literature can offer national culture, society and a country’s place in the world.