Phil Fitzpatrick's 2016 book told of the struggles, which still continue, to establish a viable PNG literature
BRISBANE - On a clear, mid-September afternoon in 2017, four women - heels clicking and voices chattering excitedly - hurry across an aerial walkway connecting two of the city’s cultural hubs.
They are behind schedule and the urgent hum of traffic serves to spur an even faster pace and longer strides. They hustle down a staircase and enter the cool of the performing arts centre courtyard beyond the unremitting glare of the Queensland sun.
There, in a far corner of this place, they spot familiar faces seated around two large alfresco dining tables that have been pushed together. A celebratory lunch is already underway and cheerful smiles and shouts greet the approaching quartet.
From the four women, whose pace has now slowed to a stagger, invisible jetstreams of exhaustion and exuberance sweep out, hover, then float into a seemingly limitless sky. They have just completed their task as panellists at the first ever session on PNG women's literature at the Brisbane Literary Festival.
A panel not of academicians on PNG literature, but of representative of the 45 women who have created an important part of it. A collective act of creativity and truth-telling in book form that has never happened in this way before and, because it is the first, can never happen in this way again.
The group the women are now plunging into are mismatched: men, women, whatever, starched collars, tee-shirts, A-line frocks, weekend slacks, shorts (in Keith's case daggy, he crops the photos to make them appear acceptable).