Writing & writers Feed

A word about the First Nations Book Awards


Books and awards - Ellingson

PORT MORESBY - I had waited at Kokopo airport all day, and when the plane eventually landed it refused to take off. So back to the hotel. Time on my hands.

There on PNG Attitude was AG Satori's poem, ‘Eghe! Koloka moho napa ma! Eghe!’, together with a fine translation which – while I understood the Tok Pisin version – I appreciated. So did a lot of readers, I’m guessing.

Continue reading "A word about the First Nations Book Awards" »

Traditional language catastrophe faces PNG


Baka Bina
Baka Bina - "Our Tok Ples are going to die. To lose 860 plus languages,some with many dialects, is going to be catastrophic"


PORT MORESBY - It’s been quite a while since I tendered a story to PNG Attitude. I’ve been busy and haven’t really had time to write.

However I was able to submit an entry to the 2023 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, as I did in 2022, when I became the first author from Papua New Guinea to be shortlisted.

Continue reading "Traditional language catastrophe faces PNG" »

Wrong turn at Swagap


A story from Papuan Vagabond, a collection of short stories by Duncan Gabi, Independently Published, June 2023, 80 pages. ISBN 13: 979-8396667426. Available here from Amazon Books. Hardcover $32.54. Kindle $4.45

Gabi cover

KAINDI - In late November 2020, I ventured to the East Sepik Province to join a courageous group dedicated to protecting the Sepik River from the proposed Frieda River gold and copper mine.

Our mission took us on a patrol to the headwaters of the Sepik River in December, where we aimed to raise awareness and reinforce the community's opposition to the destructive mining activities.

From Pagwi, we embarked on a day-long journey upstream to Iniok village, situated at the mouth of the Frieda River.

Continue reading "Wrong turn at Swagap" »

How I joined the Army without uniform or gun


Nara     Yours Truly
Alexander Nara - "Attached to my Grade 10 certificate (failed) was a prestigious award from the school’s disciplinary committee. It came in the form of six months experience digging out tree roots in front of the administration building"

PORT MORESBY - Let me tell you about a time I first wanted to enlist in the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF).

I was in Bialla, a small laid-back town towards eastern end of the Nakanai coast in West New Britain.

It was 1996 and I’d just passed out from the formal education system after failing my Grade 10 exams at the then Bialla High School.

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A novel about war, colonialism, racism & love


Cover pic

A Dangerous Land by Marisa Jones, Trade Paperback ‘Jonesing for Books’, 349 pages. ASIN B0C57YPF3C. Paper $25.30. Kindle $2.99. Available here from Amazon

LAE - I’m nearly at a loss for words (nearly) and can hardly believe that after all these years, my debut novel is being published.

A Dangerous Land, to be launched later this month but already available, is a work of historical fiction-; a novel about love and acceptance set in Papua New Guinea in World War II.

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The story of Chief John, poet & radical

Portrait of Chief John Kasaipwalova placed on the casket for his funeral

| The National Weekender

PORT MORESBY - Her voice rose high and echoed in the big hall of the Reverend Sione Kami Memorial Church, drowning the noise of the heavy rain thudding on the roof.

The woman dedicated her song to the man she addressed as the father of her children.

Least to say, she brought the house down with emotion.

Continue reading "The story of Chief John, poet & radical" »

John Kasaipwalova, poet & radical, dies at 74

John & Keith
John Kasaipwalova and Keith Jackson back together at UPNG in 2017


NOOSA – The death of Chief John Kasaipwalova at the age of 74 on Tuesday night has robbed Papua New Guinea of one of its outstanding literary figures.

John was born in Okaikoda village on Kiriwina Island in 1949 and later proved to be a bright and outstanding student, receiving a scholarship to St Brendan's College at Yeppoon in Queensland  and from there an Australian Commonwealth scholarship to attend the University of Queensland to study arts and law.

Continue reading "John Kasaipwalova, poet & radical, dies at 74" »

Writer, if you can, get yourself a good editor

Editor (Bing Image Creator)
The editor -  some really know their stuff and some mistakenly think they know their stuff (Bing Image Creator)


TUMBY BAY - I first tried my hand at freelance journalism in the 1970s. It was a hit and miss process and I never had the knack for the job. Longform non-fiction and creative writing is more my style.

That admitted, during lulls in the creative process, when the book or short story I’m working on hits a roadblock, I fill the void by having a go at a few journalistic pieces.

Continue reading "Writer, if you can, get yourself a good editor" »

How to overcome failure in order to succeed

Marcel Ezra Mapai
Marcel Ezra Mapai - thinker, author and speaker

Ples Singsing - A PNG Writers Blog

PORT MORESBY - My name is Marcel Ezra Mapai. I was born in Inauaia village, Central Province - a member of the Mekeo trib,.  

My middle name is actually Efi, but I decided upon Ezra as I wanted a Biblical name.

I have a degree studies in business management from Divine Word University and a Certificate in Ministerial Studies from the Bible College.

Continue reading "How to overcome failure in order to succeed" »

Hard gig: Life & times of Pukpuk publishing


TUMBY BAY - Pukpuk Publications came into being in 2013 when I was looking for a cheaper alternative to the Port Moresby-based publisher we'd used for the 2011 and 2012 editions of what had become the annual Crocodile Prize Anthology.

Birdwing Books had done a good job on the first two anthologies but their prices were too high for our very limited budget.

Continue reading "Hard gig: Life & times of Pukpuk publishing" »

Kurai writing awards: A bit late but on track

| Ples Singsing

LAE – I have held off this message to Kurai Memorial Awards entrants for much too long, and I’m extremely apologetic to all the entrants.

The Ples Singsing team, which is entirely voluntary, has been preoccupied with the business of life - work and career, family, future, etcetera – making it difficult for us to pull through in our usual collective strength.

Continue reading "Kurai writing awards: A bit late but on track" »

Adventure amongst the eels of New Ireland


The Maliau Caves Adventure by Peter Comerford, Austin Macauley Publishers, London, 2023, 86 pages. Available here from Amazon Books Australia, paperback $17.12, ebook $6.37

TUMBY BAY - Limestone sinkholes and caverns are common in Papua New Guinea and feature in many legends and myths.

The foundation mythology of the Faiwolmin people of the Star Mountains features travels underground by their female creation hero, Afek.

Continue reading "Adventure amongst the eels of New Ireland" »

R J Hauser’s poems of wisdom and humanity


NOOSA – Ingrid and I are fortunate to share our leafy neighbourhood with many fine and gifted people, one of whom, Richard Hauser, happens to be an outstanding poet.

Fairly recently, Australia lost Les Murray and Clive James from our midst, but thank heavens we still have RJ Hauser – a man whose works are always wise, provocative, bathed in a warm glow of humanity and very Australian.

These days, Richard - who is about my age, that is, getting on a bit - spurns wider publication of his works.

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Labor & me: a political affair to remember


NOOSA - In March 2021, Phil Fitzpatrick sent me an unexpected and somewhat surprising email: ‘Just out of curiosity, what made you run in the federal election back then?

Phil went on to explain:

I’ve often wondered what motivates politicians to run for office.

‘I have trouble believing that they are somehow inspired by some deeply held sense of duty or purpose. Nowadays it just seems like part of a career path.

Continue reading "Labor & me: a political affair to remember" »

Private notes for understanding friends

Keith portrait
Keith, September 2020


“The game's afoot: / Follow your spirit, and upon this charge / Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!” (Henry V by Wm Shakespeare, c 1599)

“Old age sure ain’t no place for sissies” - Bette Davis, movie star (1908-1989)

“I'll be glad to leave here. I feel like eating palm trees. I don't like this place. It's for people with arthritis. They come here to play golf and to die” - Ernie Holmes, American football hero (1948-2008)

“We are here to help each other through this thing, whatever it is” – Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)


NOOSA – Well, here we go again: 120 kilometres to Brisbane and the Wesley hospital for more surgery on my spine.

It feels like it may be the denouement of an unfinished 40-year long drama about the steady creep of arthritis.

Continue reading "Private notes for understanding friends" »

Déwé Gorodé: champion of Oceanic culture

In September 1974, Déwé Gorodé and Susanna Ounei were arrested for protesting against ceremonies that commemorated the colonisation of New Caledonia. It was the first of three stints in jail, and in prison she wrote poetry and joined other young people to reflect on the role of women in the independence movement

Déwé Gorodé  Melbourne  1987
Déwé Gorodé during a visit to Melbourne in August 1987. The text on the whiteboard reads:
"My country is Kanaky" in her language Paicȋ (The Age).

Yesterday before they landed
in our history
of roots recited
of origins memorised
who you were exactly
what your place was
in the world of our people

It’s up to you, my mother,
it’s up to you, my sister
to try and find out….

Millenia’ by Déwé Gorodé, written in Camp Est prison, 1974

Continue reading "Déwé Gorodé: champion of Oceanic culture" »

Sumatin magazine opens a box of delights

“There are many writers wondering where PNG is heading and when the vicious cycles of political corruption, poor economic development and social decay will end. Papua New Guinea is a nation in denial” - Sumatin

Dom Magasin cover top


NOOSA – Sumatin magazine, published by Michael Dom and his energetic team at Ples Singsing, is billed as the ‘space for Papua New Guinean creativity’ and is a wonderful initiative that has revived the fading literary flame lit by the Crocodile Prize.

Sumatin magazine issue 2 of July 2022, which you can access here, is a free, online production featuring both original content and relevant writing drawn largely from Ples Singsing, PNG Attitude and DevPolicy Blog.

Continue reading "Sumatin magazine opens a box of delights" »

Do PNG a favour: Go buy a home-grown book

A book does not lose value. Its colour may fade, pages may tear and the covers drop off, but the words, memories, emotions and story live on in those people who have held it and read it

Evari -
Caroline Evari with some of her books. She is a prolific author, especially of children's books

| Ples Singsing

PORT MORESBY - A fellow Papua New Guinean author once told me about the incident that prompted him to take on a major lifestyle change.

“I gave up drinking,” he said, “when I was told by a man that my K50 book was too expensive.

Continue reading "Do PNG a favour: Go buy a home-grown book" »

Ensuring the literary embers still burn bright

Despite the setbacks and difficulties, sparkling embers still burn in the fireplace of Papua New Guinean literature. Rait ples, rait papagraun, rait pipol. Right place, right heritage, right people. In Tok Pisin rait is also 'write'

Dom mar
Earlier this year, prime minister Marape learned of the existence of a struggling but rich literature in PNG. He was impressed - and said he would offer a helping hand


LAE – Around the middle of June, Ples Singsing Writers & Associates held its first writers kivung, Kirapim Paia Long Ples Singsing - Create the Passion of Ples Singsing.

Ples Singsing is, of course, the Papua New Guinea writers’ blog, the spirited lovechild of me and a number of colleagues whose turn it was to seize the waning fire of PNG literature.

Continue reading "Ensuring the literary embers still burn bright" »

Self-published book is top prize contender

Initially only four bookshops around the country stocked Grimmish, but Winkler also sent it to a few ‘influential readers’ who started enthusing about it on social media

Michael Winkler says his book was a difficult one to explain to publishers and bookshops (Justin McManus)
Michael Winkler says his book was a difficult one to explain to publishers and bookshops (Justin McManus)

| Sydney Morning Herald

Link here to Michael Winkler’s Grimmish website

SYDNEY - Michael Winkler is a bit resigned about his writing career: “It has been one of defeat really, but it’s chop wood, carry water, isn’t it?”

When he finished his novel Grimmish, he and his agent offered it to publishers they thought might be interested.

Continue reading "Self-published book is top prize contender" »

Kindly Kindle became a greedy book monster

In Amazon’s early days there was a hint of a benevolent and philanthropic spirit in its business model, but the ogre of profit at all costs has overtaken all other considerations

Scrooge mcduck


TUMBY BAY - Michael Dom and I have just endured an incredibly dispiriting battle with Amazon Kindle over an extremely trivial matter of copyright involving the Ples Singsing anthology of student essays from the 2020 competition.

This issue has thankfully now been resolved and the anthology is available on Amazon as both an eBook and a paperback.

Continue reading "Kindly Kindle became a greedy book monster" »

Young writers elevated to an unknown future

We saw many lights shine brightly during the years of the Crocodile Prize only to fade away and never be seen since

Fitz top


Tingting Bilong Mi: 2020 Essay Competition edited by Michael Dom & Ed Brumby, Pukpuk Publications (May 2022), 195 pages. $1.00. Kindle edition available from Amazon Books

TUMBY BAY - I’ve got a confession to make, I like reading Papua New Guinean literature.

I’ve probably learnt more about the country and its people through reading its writers than I have living and working there.

That isn’t the only reason I like its literature. I also like the idea of Papua New Guinea, and that idea is best reflected in its writers.

Continue reading "Young writers elevated to an unknown future" »

The day I met Daniel Kumbon

Daniel Kumbon with me and the beautiful staff member inside the Ribito Restaurant in Waigani

| Ples Singsing

PORT MORESBY - As he entered the Ribito Restaurant in Waigani, I recognised him instantly.

He had his bilum Enga hat and his long beard which I had seen on the cover of his books and in pictures.

Daniel and his friend placed their lunch orders and chatted away two tables from me.

Continue reading "The day I met Daniel Kumbon" »

Ex-kiap author shortlisted for UK award

A pic
Anthony (Tony) English - ex-kiap is “erudite in his exploration of unusually difficult issues and ideas"


Death of a Coast Watcher by Anthony English, Monsoon Books, Burrough on the Hill Leics UK, 2020, 479 pages. Kindle $9.56, paperback $22.75 from Amazon Books

NOOSA – A psychological thriller with a strong connection to wartime events in Papua New Guinea has been shortlisted by the London-based Society of Authors for an award for a first novel by a writer aged over 60.

Death of a Coast Watcher, by Australian author Anthony English, reviewed early last year in PNG Attitude, has made it to the top niche of entries for this year’s Paul Torday Memorial Prize which will be announced on 1 June.

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The writers who are forever more to write


“I write a lot & always have plenty of ideas, drafts, storylines, even planned sequels.... I’ll be writing for evermore in the future, if I can find time” – Baka Barakove Bina

In 2015, when Baka Bina published his novel, ‘Man of Calibre’, Phil Fitzpatrick described it as “an instant classic” and “a landmark novel”. And this week Bina repaid Fitzpatrick’s prescience by becoming the first Papua New Guinean to make the shortlist of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for his story, ‘What must have happened to Ma?

Continue reading "The writers who are forever more to write" »

What must have happened to Ma?

Baka  Daniel & Jimmy  Gembogl  2016
Baka Bina with fellow award-winning writers author Daniel Kumbon and poet Jimmy Drekore on an excursion to Gembogl from a literary convention in Kundiawa in the PNG Highlands, 2016


NOOSA – Yesterday Baka Bina was announced as one of five Pacific regional finalists in the prestigious Commonwealth short story prize, the first Papua New Guinean to be thus honoured and chosen from 6,730 entries before the international judging panel. The original story is in Tok Pisin and PNG Attitude is delighted to be able to present this English version, translated by Baka himself, for our readers - KJ

Continue reading "What must have happened to Ma?" »

Baka Bina shortlisted for major literary prize

Baka Bina photo topKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Baka Bina has become the first author from Papua New Guinea to be shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

The Prize is awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from any of the Commonwealth’s 54 member states.

Baka’s story, ‘Wonem Samting Kamap Long Mama’ (‘What Happened To Ma?’) was written in Tok Pisin and translated into English by the author.

Continue reading "Baka Bina shortlisted for major literary prize" »

Building blocks, library shelves & soul

| Ples Singsing

HASTINGS NZ - In the winning essay of the Tingting Bilong Mi 2020 essay competition, Illeana Dom brings her readers into her old school library.

As she walks us past the library shelves, she points out absence: the lack of new works by Papua New Guinean authors in the non-fiction section; and, in the fiction section, the difficulty in finding any works by PNG authors at all, such is the dominance of international writers.

Continue reading "Building blocks, library shelves & soul" »

No magic in writing; it's the spirit within


PORT MORESBY - The act of writing is daring and magical as it summons inner courage, latent creativity and sparkling intelligence to form a universe of words.

It is a bold act to put words on a blank page, and then to share them.

It is unnerving especially for first-time writers due to the nagging questions that well up inside the mind.

Continue reading "No magic in writing; it's the spirit within" »

Write a book: It will live longer than you

A children-reading-pngJUSTIN KUNDALIN

KANDEP - I believe in books. In fact I’m planning to write a book called ‘Books Live Longer than Man’.

When people write a book, they speak to people through its pages. But sadly, many people don’t have the guts to put in the pages of a book the knowledge and wisdom they have gathered.

Continue reading "Write a book: It will live longer than you" »

Writing success not measured by money (but it helps)


TUMBY BAY - If you want to about the art and demands of writing, then dipping into the autobiographies of successful writers, past and present, is a good way to go.

At present I’m working my way through the two volumes, 1,000 plus pages, of Nicholas Monsarrat’s autobiography, Love is a Four-Letter Word.

Continue reading "Writing success not measured by money (but it helps)" »

Asking if we write is the wrong question

Dom top
Michael Dom - "Beier, Fitzpatrick and Jackson were opening up avenues for PNG writing". Dom and his associates are more likely to develop a design that will  enable it to flourish

Ples Singsing

A Tok Pisin translation of this article follows this English version

NARI STATION, MOROBE - It was my impression that one of the questions bothering Philip Fitzpatrick around 2010, as he ruminated about his once adopted Melanesian home, was that, if Papua New Guineans are writing, then where is the published evidence?

The question I raise is about the field of literary endeavour rather than the academic and workplace necessity of writing.

I refer not to that boring stuff which earns money but the thrilling stuff that returns to us nothing but self-satisfaction and relief.

Continue reading "Asking if we write is the wrong question" »

Of Ulli Beier, Obotunde Ijimere & M. Lovori

Ulli Beier and Léopold Senghor
Ulli Beier and President Léopold Senghor at the exhibition Neue Kunst in Afrika, 1980. Senghor, a poet and cultural theorist was Senegal's leader from 1960–80 (Archive Iwalewahaus)


This article offers edited extracts from ‘Being Obotunde Ijimere and M. Lovori: Mapping Ulli Beier’s intercultural hoaxes from Nigeria to Papua New Guinea’. The complete essay by Dr Long was published in The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 11 October 2020

HAMILTON, NZ - Ulli Beier was a hugely influential figure in Nigerian and Papua New Guinean literature from the 1950s to the 1970s.

He founded and edited numerous literary magazines, including Black Orpheus and Kovave, fostered unappreciated talent, and provided publication opportunities when few were available.

Continue reading "Of Ulli Beier, Obotunde Ijimere & M. Lovori" »

Perhaps custom shuts our mouth

Crocodile Prize memorabilia (Michael Dom)MICHAEL DOM

| Ples Singsing - A Space for
   Papua Niuginian Creativity

Vernacular Traces in the Crocodile Prize:
Part 5 of an essay in five parts


LAE - Translation is a headache-inducing activity and it is likely that many writers don’t like, don’t want or don’t know how to translate their writing.

Unlike English, many of our indigenous languages don’t have the established grammars and associated rules of writing.

And we tend to speak and write Tok Pisin according to our own rules, habits and preferences.

Continue reading "Perhaps custom shuts our mouth" »

Diving unclothed into a literary venevetaka

Baka Bina - author and thinker.
"I give credit to those who write
Tok Pisin for print. It is daunting"


PORT MORESBY - Reading Dr Michael Dom's essays, ‘Vernacular Traces in the Crocodile Prize’, published in Tok Pisin and English in PNG Attitude and Ples Singsing, made me wonder if Tok Pisin or even a Tok Ples can be used in literature.

For many years, Tok Pisin has been used in the print media with Wantok Niuspepa, although the last time I bought the paper to read an article in Tok Pisin was three years ago.

Continue reading "Diving unclothed into a literary venevetaka" »

On the trail of The Phantom's PNG exploits

Use of Tok Pisin established The Phantom as a PNG superstar (Mark Eby)
The production of as Tok Pisin comic book reinforced The Phantom as a PNG superstar (Mark Eby)


NOOSA - From time to time Slim Kaikai drops me a note from somewhere in Papua New Guinea and we have a brief email swap until the next couple of years pass.

In January Slim sent me his usual “just a quick wan”, asking would I know “where to get a hold of any phantom comics in pidgin”.

Continue reading "On the trail of The Phantom's PNG exploits" »

Motu, a language still in hiding

Michael Dom 3
Michael Dom - "It will be so much better if we can see more poetry in Motu, Tok Pisin and our other 850 or so Indigenous languages"

| Ples Singsing - A Space for
   Papua Niuginian Creativity

Vernacular Traces in the Crocodile Prize:
Part 4 of an essay in five parts


LAE - In the 2016 Crocodile Prize national literary competition there were three poems submitted in Tok Pisin and one in Motu.

The three Tok Pisin entries were Paul Waugla Wii’s ‘Tingim ol lain lo ples’ (‘Thinking about my people’), Raymond Sigimet’s ‘Dispela nait ino gutpela tumas’ (‘This isn’t such a good night’) and ‘Wara kalap’ (‘Water rising’).

Continue reading "Motu, a language still in hiding" »

Language, slamming & life…. a conversation


PHIL FITZPATRICK | Tuesday 11.18 am

The thing about Motu, as with other Papuan languages, is that it’s musical. Someone can shout at you in anger in Motu and it still sounds pleasant to the ear.

The sound of a language, its tone and cadence, can tell you a lot about its speakers.

Continue reading "Language, slamming & life…. a conversation" »

James Marape: I will help our writers to write

James Marape with a collection of Daniel Kumbon's many books. Seen here with  fisheries minister Dr Lino Tom while Peter Mis looks on


PORT MORESBY – Yesterday afternoon I sat with prime minister James Marape and we talked about Papua New Guinea literature and culture.

At last I was able to tell the prime minister what a number of us writers have been trying to do for some time.

And that is to convey to the Marape government the important role of literature in developing and preserving the diverse cultural heritage of the country of 1,000 tribes.

Continue reading "James Marape: I will help our writers to write" »

Tok Pisin as a language of literature

Michael Dom - "Tok Pisin is underestimated and undervalued as an appropriate form of contemporary literary pursuit"

| Ples Singsing

LAE – I am grateful for PNG Attitude’s support of Ples Singsing, a space for Papua Niuginian creativity, most recently by publishing my current series of Tok Pisin essays.

On Friday, Keith Jackson commented on Twitter that the series was also emerging as a history of the development of modern Papua New Guinean literature. This really hit home for me.

Continue reading "Tok Pisin as a language of literature" »

Let the writers of PNG rise again

| Ples Singsing - A Space for
   Papua Niuginian Creativity

Vernacular Traces in the Crocodile Prize:
Part 3 of an essay in five parts


LAE - When the 2014 Crocodile Prize national literary awards was announced (organised again by Keith Jackson and Phil Fitzpatrick), writers contributed many entries – the 497page Anthology surpassed the 2012 Anthology by 122 pages.

Continue reading "Let the writers of PNG rise again" »

Making a dictionary for your own language

Noken Simuk (Robert Eklund)
'Noken Simuk - Smoking forbidden. Leave the matchbox and inflammable matches inside the box' (Robert Eklund)

| Edited & updated

First published in The National, February 2018

PORT MORESBY – All of us probably remember dictionaries from when we were at school.

They had a long list of English words and explained them in English. This is a monolingual dictionary. Words and explanations in the same language.

Continue reading "Making a dictionary for your own language" »

Authors benefit from a publishing revolution


“I know there's a self-publishing alternative available, but for Luddites such as me that sort of technology stuff would be beyond my comprehension. And how good would those volumes look compared to books prepared by a professional printer” – Richard E Jones

TUMBY BAY – For writers who cannot or don't want to use a major publisher, there are three options available to get your book printed and in front of readers.

Traditional publishers are in the business of making money and – the costs of editing, design, printing and distribution being significant - are very careful about what they publish.

Continue reading "Authors benefit from a publishing revolution" »

Aboriginal English – what isn’t it?

Sharon Davis
Sharon Davis - "With our traditional languages stolen, along with our land, we took the way the gudiya talked and decolonised it"

| IndigenousX

“If you attack my language you attack me, because what I am and what I know and believe and feel are all mediated through language” – Jack Dwyer

CANBERRA - Self-proclaimed 'citizen journalist', social media 'personality', and convicted abuser of women, Avi Yemini, tweeted a video of Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan sending a vaccination message to Western Australian Aboriginal communities that was also translated into Aboriginal English (AbE) by Aboriginal Interpreting WA.

Continue reading "Aboriginal English – what isn’t it?" »

Michele Rooney short-listed for book award

Michelle Rooney
Michelle Rooney's mother, Nahau, spearheaded the role of women in PNG politics - a tough task at the best of times


MELBOURNE – Michelle Nayahamui Rooney – a dual Papua New Guinea-Australia citizen of Manus heritage – is one of 10 shortlisted writers in contention for the 2022 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship.

The annual award is given by Writers Victoria to an Australian writer for a proposed work of biography.

Dr Rooney is a research fellow at the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University, a unit that researches and analyses Australian aid and global development with a focus on Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.

Continue reading "Michele Rooney short-listed for book award" »

A pity so few of our poems come in translation

Dom pic
Michael Dom - Papua New Guinea's unofficial poet laureate writes on the topsy-turvy ride that is indigenous literature

| Ples Singsing - A Space for Papua Niuginian Creativity

| Vernacular Traces in the Crocodile Prize: Part 2 of an essay in five parts

English translation by Ed Brumby | Tok Pisin original follows

LAE - When the Crocodile Prize began in 2011, the first poet to write in his mother tongue was Jimmy Drekore, who provided an English translation for his Dinga poem, ‘Advice from a Warrior’.

Wana elge pikra / Son don’t go too far
bi panamia, kanre pa / there’ll be ambush, careful you don’t push
Nenma unawa kanre, Kuman meklanna / When your fathers are here, you’ll step closer
Nene hone pikra / Never go alone

Continue reading "A pity so few of our poems come in translation" »

The taxing art of translation

Baka bina good
Baka Bina - "Translation is really hard work, very taxing on the mind"


PORT MORESBY - I recently submitted a short story of mine to the Commonwealth Writers competition. It was written in Tok Pisin and I had translated it into English.

Ino long taim igo pinis, mi salim wanpela hap stori igo long Komonwelt Raitin Resis long ples bilong Misis Kwin. Mi raitim dispela stori long Tok Pisin na bihain mi mekim wok tanim tok na putim dispela stori ken long Tok Ingis.

I wrote it in Tok Pisin first then, paragraph by paragraph, rewrote it in English, trying to stick to the meaning as best I could.

Continue reading "The taxing art of translation" »

PNG writing: Stop reminiscing. Start again

Michael Dom 2
Michael Dom - "The success of the Crocodile Prize helped to develop our country’s literature"

| Vernacular Traces in the Crocodile Prize:
| Part 1 of an essay in five parts

English translation by Ed Brumby | Tok Pisin original follows

LAE - In 2010, Keith Jackson AM and Philip Fitzpatrick came up with the idea of establishing a national literary competition in Papua New Guinea – the Crocodile Prize.

Writing on Keith’s website, PNG Attitude, some of us supported their idea. In recognition, I gave them the name, ‘Grand Pukpuk’.

By way of background, these two men lived a long while in PNG in pre-independence times: the time of the patrol officers.

Continue reading "PNG writing: Stop reminiscing. Start again" »