Writing & writers Feed

The continuing mission of a man of peace

Philip
Philip Kai Morre - committed to his God, his church and his people

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Philip Kai Morre – a regular contributor to our Comments section from Kundiawa in Papua New Guinea - graduated from St Fidelis College in Alexishafen in 1980.

He then completed a preparatory spiritual year in the Catholic Church at Erave in 1981 before progressing to the Holy Spirit Seminary in Bomana near Port Moresby.

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This is how to wrap an essay competition

Latasha Akane
Latasha Akane - "Never stop doing what you’re passionate about. Use your gift to inspire others"

LATASHA LALAAH AKANE
| Ples Singsing

PORT MORESBY - Writing is a hobby of mine and I am passionate about it, although people who know me realise how I can never keep anything short.

But they also know that I willingly compile group assignments, edit people’s work and proofread because I find pleasure in writing.

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Second book blues, but after that it’s easy

Book-bluesPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Writing the first book is hard but believe me it’s the second one that is really challenging, especially if the first has been a success.

In that second book you have to live up to the expectations you created with the first one.

You can’t write the same book again but there have to be faint echoes of the first one to please your readers.

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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.

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Love, grief & the Old Man’s dilemma

SurvivorDANIEL KUMBON

Derived from the short story, ‘The Old Man, His Wife and the Young Girl’, adapted from Daniel Kumbon’s book, ‘Survivor: Alive in Mum’s Loving Arms’ available here from Amazon

FICTION - Rosemary and the Old Man had come across the girl a couple of years before when she sent a random text message to his mobile phone pleading for financial assistance.

The girl claimed to be thirteen and wanting to complete her primary education.

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Tok Pisin’s emergence as a literary language

Dom
Michael Dom - "People think English is the only language ‘good enough’ to demonstrate their capacity to write creatively. This is a silly notion that needs to change in order for PNG to really have a thriving creative writing culture"

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Michael Dom, an established and most readable poet, has in recent years occasionally delved into the intricacies of translating his poetry between English, Tok Pisin and Hiri Motu.

Translation of this kind is a high art because it goes beyond the literal into often complex metaphors that do not translate readily from one language to another.

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Essay contest delivered some useful lessons

LitKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – The inaugural Tingting Bilong Mi [My Opinion] essay contest for Papua New Guinean writers under the age of 35 resulted in some great writing.

The contest was the brainchild of Dr Michael Dom and the ‘Mastermind’ team and the topic asked the young writers to expound on the subject of whether the PNG government should set its mind to encouraging and supporting home-grown literature.

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The old man, his wife & the young girl

Baka  Daniel & Jimmy  Gembogl  2016
Writers Baka Bina, Daniel Kumbon and Jimmy Drekore, Gembogl, Simbu Province, 2016

DANIEL KUMBON

WABAG - I have published many books based on facts and actual events, but I haven’t yet attempted a novel.

I guess one road to writing a novel is to first publish short stories.

I attempted a short story just once. It’s included in one of my books, ‘Survivor: Alive in Mum’s Loving Arms’. The title of the fictional tale is the title of this piece.

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The secret public life of an author

_Bama _Dogger _Met1PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - If you write books, people will seek you out.

They will write letters to you, send you emails and come knocking at your door.

Even my abject and humble efforts have had that effect.

_Man bilong buk _Met2 _FightingWhen I lived in Hervey Bay, Queensland, it was a regular occurrence.

I’m not talking about a deluge, but every few months I’d be sought out.

I thought our move to the relatively remote west coast of South Australia would put an end to that. But it hasn’t been the case.

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Writing just for the sake of writing

Phil
Phil Fitzpatrick - "It’s not axiomatic or necessary to seek validation for anything you’ve written through publication"

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - People are motivated to write for all sorts of reasons. At the crudest, to make money.

Some write in the hope of influencing readers to adopt or consider their ideas and opinions. Others because they see a need to record important events.

Of the many reasons, a favourite author of mine, Barbara Kingsolver, summed it up when she said: “Writers will go to stupefying lengths to get the infernal roar of words out of their skulls and onto paper”.

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Cleaning up school funding could boost literature

Rural school (globalgiving.org)
Teachers and pupils at a PNG rural school (globalgiving.org)

AG SATORI

PORT MORESBY – I’ve been investigating the operation of the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) process in Papua New Guinea and whether it is doing the best it can for schools.

And also whether it might be better structured to do more to support education and, in doing that, to support the development of literature and literacy in PNG.

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PM offers wise words. What's next?

Tingting bilong mi
The writers of PNG don't know the word 'quit'. Operating with little money they're now running a youth writing contest, Tingting Bilong Mi

AG SATORI

PORT MORESBY – The other day Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape offered the children – and adults – of our country some true words of wisdom.

They were true for the time when he was growing up. They were true for the time when his parents were poor but proud.

What the prime minister extolled in his message, however, is followed today by very few parents and their children.

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When I counted the authors, I gasped

Croc
Extract from the cover of the 2015 Crocodile Prize Anthology

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – PNG Attitude reader Susan Conroy has asked where in Australia may be found books by Papua New Guinean authors.

Unfortunately I, and others, had to inform Susan that no books by contemporary PNG authors are likely to be seen in Australia’s bookshops, and for that matter very few by some of the earlier celebrated authors.

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Mr Marape & the tenacity of PNG writers

BookshelfDANIEL KUMBON
MICHAEL DOM
AG SATORI
PHILIP FITZPATRICK
Edited by Keith Jackson

“To all my children across our beautiful and blessed country, have hope and faith that you too can make it in life and make use of your time and talents by working hard wherever God has placed you in our diverse and blessed land of PNG” – James Marape, ‘Advice for young people: You’re here for a purpose’

DANIEL KUMBON – THE HEARTBEAT OF PNG

WABAG - You know prime minister, your words are gold for children of this country. Your direct message can impact their lives at an early age.

Your words can get them off Facebook and get them into a library full of books.

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‘Victory Song’ dedicated to a kiap wantok

John Gordon Kirby  Melbourne 2019
John Gordon-Kirkby was a kiap in Enga when he encountered Daniel Kumbon as a boy. After connecting on the internet in recent years, they have formed a great friendship

DANIEL KUMBON

PORT MORESBY - Early this morning, I received a ‘thank you’ note from one of the kiaps (patrol officers) John Gordon-Kirkby, now aged 84, who had served in Enga Province up to the time of Papua New Guinea’s independence in 1975.

A few days ago, John asked me to send him a dedication note with my signature on it so he could stick it somewhere in my new book, ‘Victory Song of Pingeta’s Daughter’, which he had just ordered.

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President or poet, what’s best?

Poet and President
Poet and President

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Like a lot of people I was mesmerised watching the young poet, Amanda Gorman, reading her poem, ‘The Hill We Climb’, at the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States of America.

What surprised me was to read that Amanda has an aspiration to herself become president of the USA.

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Young poet astounds at US inauguration

Amanda
Amanda Gorman - "I want my words to be a point of unity...."

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Papua New Guinea is not only a nation of mountains and minerals, it's a place of music and poetry.

Those of PNG’s many poets, young and old, who got to see young American poet Amanda Gorman, 22, perform yesterday would have been astonished.

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Essay competition: 10 days to go

PNG-authorMICHAEL DOM
| 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.

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Tok Pisin, Tok Motu na Tok Ples

Tok-pisin-rootsMICHAEL DOM
| 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.

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The special place of poetry in PNG

Words of Paradise  Poetry of PNG (Jacket2  Anthony Madrid)
Words of Paradise:  Poetry of PNG (Jacket2 Anthony Madrid)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

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.

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Poetry and the masses

Orwell
George Orwell broadcasting from the BBC

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

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.

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Dominica Are & her Prized Possessions

Dominica’s book 'Prized Possessions'HAZEL KUTKUE
| 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.

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Covid, a Facebook dare & then - a new book

Baka bina
Baka Bina

BAKA BINA

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.

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Ples Singsing i tok: PNG authors for PNG readers

ClipMICHAEL DOM
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”.

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Covid days: the poetry of the pandemic

Covid poetryPHILIP FITZPATRICK

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.

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Viewing life with love, courage & hope

Evah and sarah
Evah and Sarah

EVAH KUAMIN

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.

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‘Tingting Bilong Mi’ 2020 essay contest

PNG-Book-1MICHAEL DOM
| 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.

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The power of writing

Man Bilong Buk arrival (Michael Dom)
A new book arrives. Man Bilong Buk unravelled the life and work of author Francis Nii (Michael Dom)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

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.”

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Amazon’s PNG book ban – too many ‘go missing’

Books
Shipments of many books to PNG, including some of great importance, are being delayed because of thefts from the postal service

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

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.

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Ples Singsing welcomes PNG writers & poets

More booksMICHAEL DOM
| 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.

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Epic story of Enga’s clash of civilisations

Daniel Kumbon & Paul Kiap
Author Daniel Kumbon and Enga bigman Paul Kurai Kiap atop their highlands province

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

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.

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My poems are my story

Are cover picDOMINICA ARE

“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.

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Beyond first contact & gun-bearing Baptists

Bible gunCHRIS OVERLAND

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.

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Literatures find a time to blossom

Evelyn_Ellerman
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"

EVELYN ELLERMAN
| 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.

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Re-thing & reclaim Niugini’s own story

Ples singsingMICHAEL DOM
| 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.

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Is the Commonwealth Writers contest fair?

Baka Bina & Jordan Dean
Papua New Guinean author Baka Bina and publisher Jordan Dean

BAKA BINA

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:

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Where we’re up to with the Francis Nii book

MBB coverKEITH JACKSON

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.

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Hariap! Short story prize closes in 3 weeks

CommonwealthKEITH JACKSON

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.

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The progress of ‘Man Bilong Buk’

QuoteKEITH JACKSON

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.

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Francis Nii e-book free on PNG Attitude

Francis Nii (2)
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"

KEITH JACKSON

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’.

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How Francis Nii became an editor & publisher

SWA
An early meeting of the Simbu Writers Association. Francis Nii seated left and Arnold Mundua standing above his left shoulder

ARNOLD MUNDUA

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.

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The birth of the Simbu Writers Association

Arnold Mundua
Arnold Mundua
Francis
Francis Nii

ARNOLD MUNDUA

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.

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