| The National Weekender | Edited
PORT MORESBY - Engan author Daniel Kumbon launched Victory Song of Pingeta’s Daughter, a 400-page book which attempts to trace the history of the Wabag district and Enga, without fanfare.
It is a culturally valuable and epic work and it is unlikely the author will ever make a toea from it. But that’s normal in Papua New Guinea.
Continue reading "Essay competition: 10 days to go" »
| Full references at end of essay
LAE - If Tok Pisin is the language expression of our lifestyle and our intermingled cultures” (1) then what does this language say about us as a people?
As first-language English-speaking Papua Niuginians, my siblings and I were introduced to Tok Pisin during our late primary and secondary school years.
Continue reading "Tok Pisin, Tok Motu na Tok Ples" »
Words of Paradise: Poetry of PNG (Jacket2 Anthony Madrid)
TUMBY BAY - I read quite a bit of modern Australian poetry, as it turns up in the newspapers and journals that I read, but quite frankly most of it doesn't do much for me.
On the other hand, Papua New Guinean poetry and prose continues to be a joy and fascination.
Even some of Australia's much lauded poets, like Les Murray or Clive James, both of whom died in 2019, don't appeal to me.
Continue reading "The special place of poetry in PNG" »
George Orwell broadcasting from the BBC
TUMBY BAY - Long holiday breaks like those we have been experiencing over Christmas and New Year bring a kind of stasis to most media and it is necessary to seek intellectual stimulation elsewhere.
To that end I’ve been re-reading some of George Orwell’s essays, particularly those written during World War II.
Continue reading "Poetry and the masses" »
The Essayist (acrylic by Ida Lawrence, 2018)
TUMBY BAY - Who can remember the dreaded Monday afternoon announcement by your lecturer, “I want a 500 word essay on what we’ve been discussing on my desk by Friday morning, no excuses!”
Essays are the bane of every student’s life but what exactly is an essay?
Continue reading "Essays are a beauty not a beast" »
| Sipikriva Girl Blog | Photographs by Dominica Are
'Prized Possessions: A Collection of Poetry’by Dominica Are, paperback, 132 pages. Independently published, March 2020. ISBN-13 979-8622956454. Available here from Amazon for $US8.73
BRAUN - Poetry makes for beautiful literature.
Sipikriva Girl, despite not entirely embracing poetry, had the opportunity to speak to 34-year old writer, poet and accountant, Dominica Are, who recently published her first collection of poetry, Prized Possessions.
Hailing from the highlands of Papua New Guinea, Dominica works full time as an accountant with PNG Coffee Exports Ltd in Goroka.
Continue reading "Dominica Are & her Prized Possessions" »
Tales from Faif by Baka Barakove Bina with contributions from Emily Sakepe Bina, Amazon KDP Edition, December 2020, $5.00, link here to purchase
PORT MORESBY - Such is life for me that I have published my last three books (Antics of Alonaa, Volume One, Musings from Sogopex and Operesin Kisim Bek Lombo) just before the end of a year.
The result is that during the festive season announcements about them usually get pushed to the side and there are no fanfare.
Continue reading "Covid, a Facebook dare & then - a new book " »
Ples Singsing Masterminds
LAE - On Monday 7 December Engan author Daniel Kumbon launched Victory Song of Pingeta’s Daughter, a 400-page book which based on the colonial and post-colonial history of the Wabag district and Enga Province, of which it is a part.
Keith Jackson on PNG Attitude commented that, “PNG history has most often been told by the colonisers but now home-grown authors are offering another view. Prolific author Daniel Kumbon’s latest work, Victory Song, tells the true story of a highlands family from first Western contact to today”.
Continue reading "Ples Singsing i tok: PNG authors for PNG readers" »
TUMBY BAY – Early in the year, as the coronavirus was beginning to spread, I thought it might be interesting to make a collection of poetry published on PNG Attitude over the ensuing months.
My expectation was that the virus would have a large impact on Papua New Guinea and that would be reflected in the poetry.
As it turned out the impact of the virus has apparently and thankfully not been as bad as many people expected.
Continue reading "Covid days: the poetry of the pandemic" »
Evah and Sarah
Hi olgeta, this is an excerpt from my unpublished book. I am seeking sponsors to help me publish the book and spread the message about children with special needs. If you or know anyone who can assist me, please let me know - EK
I’m trying to find Evah’s email. If you can help, let me know in the Comment section - KJ
MADANG - When everything is going well and then suddenly life decides to take its toll on you, you lose your footing, your mind and all hell breaks loose.
The worst is the pain a mother feels seeing her own child succumb to illness and suffer.
Continue reading "Viewing life with love, courage & hope" »
| Ples Singsing
“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.
Continue reading "‘Tingting Bilong Mi’ 2020 essay contest" »
A new book arrives. Man Bilong Buk unravelled the life and work of author Francis Nii (Michael Dom)
TUMBY BAY - The Man Booker Prize is the leading literary award in the English speaking world and is conferred annually to the best novel of the year written in English and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland.
Speaking at the 2020 Man Booker Prize ceremony in England, former USA president Barack Obama related how he had “always turned to writing to try and make sense of our world, both as a young man trying to navigate the different parts of my life, and as an elected official trying to bridge our divides and find a way for all of us to move forward.”
Continue reading "The power of writing" »
Shipments of many books to PNG, including some of great importance, are being delayed because of thefts from the postal service
TUMBY BAY - Amazon in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom and Amazon’s other international outlets say they won't ship to Papua New Guinea because too many orders go missing.
PNG is among a number of countries that Amazon won't ship to because of this problem.
Publicly Amazon says this is related to Covid-19, but when you question the company about individual shipments it admits the real problem is the loss or theft of shipments.
Continue reading "Amazon’s PNG book ban – too many ‘go missing’" »
| Ples Singsing Masterminds
“The Ples Singsing blog is created to encourage and facilitate this process to “re-thing and reclaim” our own stories, poetry and drama. Here we may interact with each other through our writing, in literature which expresses what it means to us to be Papua Niuginian” – Michael Dom in 'Re-thing and reclaim our own approaches to express our story'
LAE - As part of our aim for Ples Singsing to be a place for Papua Niuginian creativity we want to welcome all writers to participate in presenting their thoughts and opinions about aspects of our society, economy, politics and culture.
We encourage open expression provided that this is done in a constructive spirit and displays respect and due consideration.
Continue reading "Ples Singsing welcomes PNG writers & poets" »
Author Daniel Kumbon and Enga bigman Paul Kurai Kiap atop their highlands province
Victory Song of Pingeta’s Daughter by Daniel Kumbon, Independently Published, 2020, 406 pages, colour illustrations, ISBN: 9798562831323. Available from Amazon Australia, AU$74.65 plus AU$3.90 postage (in Australia)
TUMBY BAY - In 1934, at a place called Tole in what is now Enga Province, a man named Pingeta took up his spear and charged down a hill towards the camp of explorer and prospector Michael Leahy and his brother Daniel.
What prompted Pingeta’s action remains unclear. Some people believe that he wanted to launch an attack on the prospectors’ camp to pillage it while other people believe Pingeta was enraged by the apparent invasion of his lands by white men.
Continue reading "Epic story of Enga’s clash of civilisations" »
| The Conversation | Edited extracts
SYDNEY - Literary culture carries profound social value. It is essential to employment, cultural literacy and understanding of community as well as to Australia’s post-pandemic recovery and growth.
It is also radically underfunded and in urgent need of new support.
Continue reading "How Australian literature could flourish" »
“If you don’t start writing, you will continue thinking forever and die with your thoughts” – Francis Nii
‘Prized Possessions: A Collection of Poetry’ by Dominica Are, paperback, 132 pages. Independently published, March 2020. ISBN-13 979-8622956454. Available here from Amazon for $9.24
GOROKA - Writing about your own personal experiences and life in your own carefully carved words whilst feeling joy, pain and every emotion along the way can be quite soothing.
It is not easy at first. There are demons that you have to fight off to make peace with your past: your failures, losses and everything you have endured to put your story out there.
Continue reading "My poems are my story" »
ADELAIDE - It is pleasing to see that a new book by Daniel Kumbon, Victory Song of Pingeta’s Daughter, will soon be available.
It will join recent works by Sil Bolkin, Mathias Kin and the late Francis Nii as another step in preserving the history of Papua New Guinea, in this case of the Enga people in particular.
Continue reading "Beyond first contact & gun-bearing Baptists" »
Evelyn Ellerman - "I remember the very day in 1963 I was able to walk into a bookstore and actually buy something written by a Canadian author"
| Ples Singsing
ALBERTA, CANADA - It’s a funny thing about national literatures. It seems as though they find their own time to blossom.
Like Papua Niuguineans, I live in a former colony, Canada. Different circumstances, but many of the same challenges.
Continue reading "Literatures find a time to blossom" »
| Ples Singsing Blog
LAE – In her review of my poem collection 26 Sonnets (available here for free on PNG Attitude), Professor Konai Helu Thaman of the University of Hawaii provided a task to Papua Niuginian writers which I believe is central to our current dual objectives.
These are to make our own contributions to national literature and establish and maintain a national literary society in some manner.
Continue reading "Re-thing & reclaim Niugini’s own story" »
Papua New Guinean author Baka Bina and publisher Jordan Dean
PORT MORESBY - I have written to the Commonwealth Foundation about its writing contest, which closes on Sunday 1 November (see details at the end of this article).
My letter was asking whether, in the interests of fairness, Pacific island competitors could be separated from Australia and New Zealand competitors in the contest.
The letter said:
Continue reading "Is the Commonwealth Writers contest fair?" »
NOOSA – As I’ve written before, ‘Man Bilong Buk’ (‘The Bookman’) edited by Phil Fitzpatrick and me is unfortunately not available in Papua New Guinea – which Amazon seems to have now taken off its distribution list.
With Amazon the printer and sole supplier, I’ve been working to establish an alternative distribution network for this wonderful 320 page illustrated book about the life and writing of the late Papua New Guinean author, Francis Nii.
Continue reading "Where we’re up to with the Francis Nii book" »
NOOSA - The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded each year for the best piece of unpublished short fiction of 2,000–5,000 words.
The closing date is Sunday 1 November (see below for more information and entry form).
So it’s time to take one of your unpublished short stories out of the file or get the keyboard smoking with your entry in the prize.
Continue reading "Hariap! Short story prize closes in 3 weeks" »
NOOSA – The production of ‘Man Bilong Buk’ – the tribute volume to the life and achievements of the late Francis Nii – was completed within two months of his death on 2 August and is already available as a downloadable book here.
As usual with PNG Attitude projects, the production of this 320-page book has been a team effort involving Francis’s family and friends, fellow writers, who offer their assessments of Francis’s impact on Papua New Guinea literature, and many of our readers who donated funds to enable the books to be distributed free of cost to PNG.
Continue reading "The progress of ‘Man Bilong Buk’" »
PORT MORESBY - Notice I didn’t write “How to find good books” but “How to find the best books” because no one has all the time required to read both the good and the best.
To me, I like to read only the best books that are most enriching for me.
Continue reading "How to find the best books" »
Phil Fitzpatrick - "This is not a book about a disabled writer. It is a book about a towering figure in the history of Simbu and Papua New Guinea itself"
NOOSA – After a remarkably short production time, the Francis Nii collection, ‘Man Bilong Buk’, has been readied for printing and we’re pleased to make an e-book available for free download immediately.
The link to the e-book can be found above this page’s masthead by clicking through the headline ‘The Francis Nii Collection’.
Continue reading "Francis Nii e-book free on PNG Attitude" »
An early meeting of the Simbu Writers Association. Francis Nii seated left and Arnold Mundua standing above his left shoulder
KUNDIAWA - The 2014 Crocodile Prize awards were held at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby in September, as they had been for the previous three years.
President of the Simbu Writers Association, Jimmy Drekore, was there, and so was Francis Nii, who had won the award for essays the year before, Roslyn Tony, Mathias Kin, Jimmy Awagl and me.
It was quite a representation from SWA, in Simbu colours too.
Continue reading "How Francis Nii became an editor & publisher" »
KUNDIAWA – Sometimes great people’s legacy – their influence on and contributions to society - only becomes fully recognised after their passing.
The late author Francis Nii was such a person. His passing on Sunday 2 August at the Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital in Kundiawa left a huge vacuum in the lives of the many people who knew him personally.
Continue reading "The birth of the Simbu Writers Association" »
Wallace Parimahi - talented young writer whose winning entry in the Paradise College writing contest, 'Project Infiltration', will be published in PNG Attitude tomorrow
MARLENE DEE GRAY POTOURA
| PNG Paradise College | Innovative School of the 21st Century
PORT MORESBY - I first heard of Paradise College when the principal, Mr Safak Deliismail, contacted me in 2016 to be a guest speaker at their ANIS Writing Competition awards.
I couldn’t make it at that time but three years on I am teaching at Paradise College in the subject I love to teach, Language and Literature.
Continue reading "Welcome to Paradise" »
An ailing Francis Nii leads the big bushfire rally for Australia from his wheelchair in Kundiawa. He saw the huge funds raised from this poor province as a token of the close relationship between the two countries
KUNDIAWA - My friend Francis Nii rang me on a Friday afternoon in early January to say he wanted to meet me about something that had been bothering him.
He briefly told me over the phone that it was about the terrible Australian bushfires and that he was surprised the Papua New Guinea government and other organisations were not doing anything about it.
Continue reading "The story of Francis Nii’s last project" »
Francis Nii with Daniel Kumbon, Phil Fitzpatrick, Martin Namorong and Keith Jackson, Noosa, 2016
NOOSA – The manuscript of the Francis Nii Collection, so generously funded by a number of PNG Attitude readers, is nearing completion and shall soon be despatched to Jordan Dean – who runs Papua New Guinea’s only affordable publishing company - for design, layout and publication.
Entitled Man Bilong Buk, the tribute volume includes the best of the late author’s provocative and entertaining essays, revelations from his astonishing life story and insights into how an author imprisoned by his own body in the corner of a hospital ward managed to become such an exceptional figure in fostering a home-grown literature in PNG.
Continue reading "Man Bilong Buk - what you can expect" »
A 1965 Olivetti Lettera 32 portable typewriter
TUMBY BAY - We often complain about the difficulties of getting anything published these days but in reality the opportunities, and particularly the process, are not a lot different than they were back in the good old days before computers took over the world.
Among our complaints is the demise of print journals, magazines and newspapers that would publish our short stories, poetry and articles and, importantly, pay us for them.
Continue reading "Typewriters, carbon copies & white-out" »
NOOSA - As I work my way through the many writings of the late Francis Nii for the tribute volume, Man Bilong Buk, that we are putting together, I am constantly reminded of his insights, his judgement and his clarity of thought.
Of course, I've read each of these essays previously, since they were all published in PNG Attitude over the last 10 years or so and I edited them. But reading them again as a collection is a thoroughly different experience.
It's one I hope you will have when Man Bilong Buk is published later this year. Anyway, to reconnect you with the great man's work, or to give you a first taste of it, here is an article from 21 January 2014.
Continue reading "Is changing government a solution to corruption?" »
Men of Yobai gather around as Francis Nii's grave begins to be constructed
NOOSA – The email arrived yesterday precisely three weeks after the untimely death of our friend, the eminent Papua New Guinean author, Francis Nii.
Untimely because, as his daughter Charlene wrote in the communication, “he was a strong man even to his last minutes with us”.
But the email revealed that Charlene now had another problem on her hands.
Continue reading "This is as far as we can go" »
NOOSA - As I gradually compile the full list of books that Francis Nii authored, edited or published, it has become clear to me that his productivity – if I may use such a managerial word – was far greater than previously acknowledged.
And so that I can ensure that the volume we are putting together, Man Bilong Buk – The Francis Nii Collection, is as complete and accurate as possible, I’m previewing here where we’re up to in compiling the list of books he wrote, edited or published in the hope that readers will contribute by adding to or correcting our work so far.
Continue reading "Give us a hand to find Francis's books" »
Francis Nii (top right) and Philip Fitzpatrick (bottom right) illustrated for the front cover of Phil's book about the struggle to develop a home-grown literature in PNG, Fighting for a Voice
TUMBY BAY - Francis Nii and I had a rather unique relationship based on our interest in Papua New Guinean literature and publishing, which I valued highly.
It began shortly after the troublesome 2013 Crocodile Prize competition. The organising committee had basically fallen apart and together we sought to salvage enough of the entries to produce an anthology for that year.
Continue reading "Me & Francis" »
Francis Nii - Not only a literary craftsman but a writer who understood the business of writing
NOOSA – It’s always great to be able to thank PNG Attitude readers for offering a helping hand when you respond generously to a significant project we’re getting our teeth into.
Right now, the project is the publication of The Francis Nii Collection, a tribute volume to the late paraplegic author and literary leader who died in Kundiawa a little over two weeks ago.
Continue reading "Francis Nii tribute book is well underway" »
Inspector Hari Metau
If there was any justice in fiction writing, Phil Fitzpatrick’s Hari Metau series would have sold a million copies and be into its third movie by now. Instead, Phil is putting the final touches on the fifth book in the series and I – and many others who have grown to love the stories of the honest, hard-working detective hard at work in steamy, corrupt Port Moresby – will be grateful but unable to make Phil richer - KJ
TUMBY BAY - As far as I can work out I learned to read somewhere between my third and fourth birthdays.
By the time I was five I had worked my way through many of the popular children’s books then available, including James Barrie’s Peter Pan or The Boy who would not Grow Up.
Continue reading "Bravo! Another Metau epic on the way" »
Newly recruited kiaps having completed their training in Port Moresby observe a march past by police in the early 1960s
TUMBY BAY - In an article a few days ago about Francis Nii and the effort to memorialise his contribution to Papua New Guinean literature, Keith Jackson reiterated an earlier comment that “this is likely to be PNG Attitude’s last big project. It was always going to happen that Phil Fitzpatrick and I would age and gradually run out of steam. Well, that point is arriving”.
I can wholly endorse that observation, no matter how hard I try to build up a head of steam about lots of things these days it seems to inevitably dissipate in ineffectual little puffs from all the leaks in the rusty old boiler.
Continue reading "The papers being sorted; the drawers emptied" »
Francis Nii - "A meaningless and derisory celebration that should not be called National Book Week"
One year ago, Francis Nii wrote this article proposing how Papua New Guinea’s annual book week could be more relevant and useful by focusing on locally-authored books. Like much of what Francis wrote, his words were perceptive but ignored. This failure to listen to and act on good advice underpins much of PNG’s failure to progress the interests of its people….
KUNDIAWA - It is high time the meaningless and vain annual National Book Week was changed to make it become the vehicle for stimulating tangible benefits to writers and readers.
Every August features National Book Week. In Papua New Guinea gaudy banners of all sizes rustle in the dusty wind. Written on them is an ostensibly witty theme that nobody cares about.
Continue reading "National Book Week is meaningless & vain" »
Francis Nii understood clearly that the grand enterprise of creating a national literature required more than writers
NOOSA – I spent the weekend reading through the archives of PNG Attitude between 2010 and now, extracting the writing by and about the late Francis Nii and, occasionally distracted by some other old article or incident it evoked, wandering along the trail of my own memories about this remarkable website.
Yes, in its 15th year, I think PNG Attitude is entitled to the honorific ‘remarkable’. I began publishing the blog when I was 59. I’m now 75. It has occupied a considerable chunk of my life and has been published almost each day – whether I was in Papua New Guinea’s remote highlands, in the middle of some ocean, even in hospital, where I have been too often these years.
Continue reading "Against the fading of the light" »
LAE - Francis Sina Nii (Paradise in Peril), author, publisher and poet, passed away in Kundiawa town (Simbu Province) on 2 August 2020, just one month shy of a decade since I first met him.
While Francis fellow writers may wish to pay him good tributes, we should more so uphold his highest ideals and brightest dreams.
Continue reading "“We the unheard voices”, but for writers like Francis" »
NOOSA – According to their first president, Micheal Yaki Mel, in late November 1984 “a group of eager young writers based at the University Papua New Guinea got together to express their dissatisfaction over the lack of publishing outlets for their work.
“Many had poems, stories and other tattered manuscripts tucked away which they couldn’t get published because they were unknown. From that meeting was both the Papua New Guinea Writers Union.”
Continue reading "Writer Francis Nii – The origin story" »
| The PNG Writer, No 1, 1985
Flight of Jungle Eagle – An Autobiography of Wake Goi, Francis Nii Publications, 2020, 168 pages, ISBN: 9798640309997, US$21.50 from Amazon.com
TUMBY BAY – This work is notable for a number of reasons including that it was the last book that was edited and published by Francis Nii, who most of our readers will know died on Sunday.
Francis worked on the book while he was ill, managing to complete it during a respite in his battle for survival. A battle he ultimately lost.
Continue reading "A PNG politician, warts & all" »
A rare group photo of Francis Nii with fellow writers Daniel Kumbon, Philip Fitzpatrick, Martyn Namorong and Keith Jackson (Brisbane Writers Festival, 2016)
NOOSA – In Germany a Festschrift is a book honouring a respected person. It is generally presented during their lifetime, although it can also be a memorial.
PNG Attitude’s Festschrift for the late author Francis Nii will take the form of an edited volume of Francis’s most significant essays, articles, poetry and commentary, his ideas and achievements and it will include fellow writers’ observations of his work, his methods and his life.
Continue reading "A Festschrift for Francis Nii" »
NOOSA – On this day Francis Nii, one of Papua New Guinea’s most eminent literary figures, is being buried in the soil of his Simbu homeland at Kundiawa.
And also today, PNG Attitude establishes a fund to ensure that the many words and deeds of Francis Nii will endure and not be lost to the future.
Early commitments to the fund already total $1,400 on the way to a target of $10,000.
Continue reading "Help us assemble the Francis Nii Collection" »
Francis Nii and Jimmy Drekore, both Crocodile Prize winners, on one of their many literary forays in the rugged mountains of Simbu
KUNDIAWA - In 2004 I was visiting sick kids in the isolation ward at Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial General Hospital when I met Francis Nii.
What intrigued me was that he had written a book, ‘Paradise in Peril’, while on his sick bed.
I had never before come across anyone publishing anything in such circumstances.
Continue reading "Francis Nii: Man of indomitable spirit" »
Francis and Daniel in Brisbane, 2016
WABAG - Francis, I met you through your writing in 1985 in Ondobondo and later PNG Writer at the University of Papua New Guinea. But we never physically met.
Later I met you through your writing and comments in PNG Attitude.
I never imagined you sat in a wheelchair until I met you in Simbu in 2015 during the Crocodile Prize presentations.
Continue reading "A letter to my dear friend Francis Nii" »
| First published in PNG Attitude, 3 July 2019
….If no one supports me
I alone will carry you
Until you smile and say
Papa, thank you I am healed
Then my heart will be at peace
My soul will rest….
- Francis Nii (2016)
PORT MORESBY - The twisted metal of a motor vehicle accident in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands nearly brought Francis Nii’s story to a dramatic end.
The crash, at the start of 1999, left him forever paralysed from the waist down and brought his promising career as an economist and financial adviser to a sudden halt.
Continue reading "Unfinished journey: Francis Nii & the struggle for PNG literature" »