Tess Gizoria - "“Writing is about finding my space and wanting to show a different view of what a Goilala woman can contribute to society”
BEN JACKSON & REBEKAH FINZEL | The Crocodile Prize
PORT MORESBY - In a misconstrued punishment from her father, Tess Gizoria chewed up pieces of her journal entries - and ate them.
As an adolescent Tess had a fractious relationship with her dad. Then as now, she was articulate, direct and determined.
“We’d always argue – maybe it’s because we’re so much alike,” she reflects.
“He found what I’d written – I can’t remember exactly what it was – but he was so mad at me!”
Ironically, it was her father who first encouraged Tess to start writing.
“Inspiring me to write? It was my dad, because I needed a way to vent,” Tess says, just barely holding back laughter. “We were always arguing about things and I felt so strongly about them.
“My dad always told me I talked too much and to put my energy in to more useful things – one of them was writing.
“I was a child and supposed to respect my dad and not speak against him – all of that – I put it all down on paper.”
The frustrated teenager grew up and her writing practice, which began as a way to process a challenging patriarchal relationship, became a way to intellectualise the complexities of culture and gender in modern Papua New Guinea.