Crocodile Prize Feed

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?

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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.

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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.

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Against the fading of the light

Francis Nii 2013
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.

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Francis Nii: Man of indomitable spirit

Francis & Jimmy
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.

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Marape’s great opportunity to boost home-grown literature

Francis Nii
Francis Nii - "We struggle to produce our own literature hoping that one day a good leader will rise up and see its importance"


KUNDIAWA - Writing and publishing our own Papua New Guinean stories in the absence of government or donor agency support is a daunting and painful experience.

But we write because stories are part of our culture and books are repositories of our culture. What is it the authorities don’t understand?

I would like to relay the many struggles and hardships I went through to get my first book published only to find there is a trifling level of readership in Papua New Guinea. My story, unfortunately, is similar to many PNG authors.

I started writing, mainly poetry, in the 1980s while doing my economics degree at the University of Papua New Guinea and published in Ondobondo and the PNG Writers’ Union magazine.

Some of the poems were later republished in a collection by lecturer Ganga Powell with Macmillan Press Australia in a book titled, ‘Through Melanesian Eyes’, now available on Amazon.

My first serious writing, a novel, came in in 2003-04 while I was recuperating at Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital in Kundiawa from a near fatal motor vehicle accident.

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Writers of PNG - Now is the time to look your govt in the eye


TUMBY BAY - Perhaps the time has come for the writers of Papua New Guinea – authors, journalists, poets, commentators and others including publishers and illustrators - to look your government in the eye and make a statement.

Perhaps it is time to petition prime minister James Marape and other ministers and seek the government’s support for an authentic and home-grown Papua New Guinean literature - a literature that will help turbo-charge the serious nation-building task that lies ahead.

I propose here a draft form of words that can be sent to Mr Marape, together with the names of all the writers and readers who believe that PNG literature needs more than a thumbs up, it needs real practical support.

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Crocodile-prize_website-logoTHE 2019 CROCODILE PRIZE.   EACH AWARD WINNER RECEIVES K5,000

The first two categories in the 2019 Crocodile Prize national literary contest have been announced, and there are more to come
Link here before you enter the Abt Associates Award for Women’s Literature
Link here before you enter the Cleland Award for Heritage Literature
And link here to find your Entry Form


Abt women's writing award open for entries in Crocodile Prize

Abt logo with tagBEN JACKSON | The Crocodile Prize

PORT MORESBY - The Crocodile Prize, Papua New Guinea’s national literary contest, has announced that entries are now open for the Abt Associates Award for Women’s Literature.

The award carries K5,000 prize money for the winning writer.

Abt, which has supported the contest in previous years, has committed a total of K20,000 to the 2019 prize which will also cover publication of the anthology of the best writing, expenses for the awards ceremony and bringing winners to Port Moresby for the event.

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From eating your words to sharing them with the world

Tess Gizoria
Tess Gizoria - "“Writing is about finding my space and wanting to show a different view of what a Goilala woman can contribute to society”


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.

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Crocodile Prize kicks off with heritage literature award

Cleland_bannerBEN JACKSON

The Crocodile Prize – Papua New Guinea’s national literary contest – is open for 2019 with entries now being received for the Cleland Award for Heritage Literature.

The award will be given for the writer or piece of writing adjudged to have best explored traditional customs, beliefs and stories, and promoted PNG’s cultural heritage.

The Cleland family has sponsored the award since 2012 and former kiap Bob Cleland believes that any society benefits from being aware of its social and cultural heritage.

“I hope that today’s Papua New Guinean writers accept that idea and record for posterity some of the beliefs and stories from their ancestors,” he said.

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Annie Dori, the award-winning poet who didn’t know it


PORT MORESBY - Annie Dori always kept journals, but never for a moment thought of herself as a writer.

As a graduate nursing officer she travelled through the remote districts of Western Province and her journal pages began to fill with the voices of people she met.

They were the stories of everyday Papua New Guineans.

“We were going from village to village,” Annie said, “they were quite far apart – it can take days for people to get to the nearest health centre.”

“Mothers’ would tell their stories of giving birth with no access to a health post and disabled men described their struggles to get around.

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We Need Change

Papua New Guinea's literary awards in the Crocodile Prize are preparing for a big revival later in 2019


Winner of the 2017 Crocodile Prize Poetry Award

The voice of a child begs for a touch,
The voice of a mother in hopelessness,
The voice of a youth searching for direction,
While the old weeps in pain.

The world seems to have lost its humanity,
Portraying injustice, hatred and jealousy,
Nature seems to agree,
Allowing disaster to conquer harmony

Where has the heart of a leader gone?
The kind that stands for justice,
And brings hope to the downhearted.

The child is still begging,
There is no medicine.
The mother is still hopeless
Her child is dying.
The youth is still searching,
Schooling seems only for the rich.
The old is still weeping,
How much more do we have to cry?

A 'crazy' blueprint for a sustained literary project in PNG

Rashmii Amoah Bell - literary innovator


“If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic,
If we want to play against men, we’re nuts
And if we dream of equal opportunity, delusional.
When we stand for something, we’re unhinged.
When we’re too good there’s something wrong with us.
And if we get angry, we’re hysterical or irrational or just being crazy.
So if they want to call you crazy? Fine. Show them what crazy can do.”
(Tennis icon Serena Williams as narrator in ‘Dream Crazier’, Nike commercial ad)

BRISBANE – Each month Philip Fitzpatrick releases figures on book sales to all authors with titles under his Pukpuk Publications imprint.

And each month ‘My Walk to Equality’, first published to coincide with International Women’s Day two years ago, registers a few more sales.

Social media coverage has been instrumental in marketing the book and keeping it in front of readers. On a recent Saturday morning an email from individual in Canada informed me excitedly that her copy had just arrived in the post.

The modest royalties received from the sale of these books remain with Pukpuk Publications and are used to support the publication and distribution of titles by other PNG authors.

The walk to equality is a continuing journey.

Continue reading "A 'crazy' blueprint for a sustained literary project in PNG" »

Whatever happened to the Crocodile Prize?

Crocodile Prize memorabilia (Michael Dom)MICHAEL DOM

LAE - Why did I write for the Crocodile Prize? I didn’t. I wrote for me. We all do.

All writers, poets, essayists, bloggers, tweeters, Facebook champions and slanderers, regardless of nationality, proclivity, intended objective, altruistic notion, educational or inspirational motive…. we write for ourselves first.

We want to make our thoughts known. We want to have our say. We want other people to know what we think, how we feel, who we blame, why we agree, disagree, why we want to live and for what cause or status we’d happily die.

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2017 Crocodile Prize winners announced at Moresby awards

Martyn Namorong hosts the Crocodle Prize awards
Martyn Namorong hosts the Crocodile Prize awards


PORT MORESBY - The Crocodile Prize is Papua New Guinea's highest literary award. For the past two years it has been predominantly PNG-run and funded after being handed over by its Australian founders.

I have volunteered these past two years as a member of the Crocodile Prize Organizing Committee and yesterday I hosted the Crocodile Prize literary awards ceremony.

This was witnessed by various dignitaries including Dr Anna Joskin from the University of PNG literature department and United States Ambassador to PNG, Catherine Erbet-Gray.

“As the founders of the Crocodile Prize, Keith Jackson and I are as pleased as Punch to see it surviving and prospering," said Phil Fitzpatrick.

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The issues stifling PNG literature: shame, division & segregation


Not being believed (Hanna Barczyk)
Hanna Barczyk illustration for Amber Tamblyn’s, ‘I’m Done With Not Being Believed’, New York Times, 16 September 2017

BRISBANE – “Hilary Clinton is finally expressing some righteous anger: Why does that make everyone else so mad?” is the title of an op-ed piece capturing the often hostile reaction to the recent release of Hilary Clinton’s post-election memoir ‘What Happened’.

The article’s author, Rebecca Traister, opens by referring to Clinton’s speech to the 2017 graduating class of Wellesley College, the Massachusetts liberal arts college for women established in 1870 and Clinton’s alma mater.

Wellesley was also the setting of the 2003 film, ‘Mona Lisa Smile’, in which a star-studded cast of Hollywood’s leading women deliver an important message about the life choices women should have the right to determine irrespective of peer, family and societal pressures.

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Criticism has good intentions but by gosh it hurts sometimes


PORT MORESBY - Any criticism coming from another person is hard to digest.  We all have blind spots about our own work and find it hard to accept challenges from other people.

Our argument tends to run along the lines of “what does this person know about my experiences and the recollections of these experiences in my writing”.

I have written on other occasions that sometimes I don’t like what Phil Fitzpatrick writes. He can deliver general aspersions about our Papua New Guinean attitudes - and it hurts.

I have felt offended by some of his comments. Even his review of my novel, ‘Man of Calibre’ and ‘Sweet Garaiina Apo’, struck deep within me. Phil can be very dispiriting.

But then, in retrospect, that is the very thing in the literary world that writers strive for and live off.

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Hard yards for writers in PNG – but some redeeming features


TUMBY BAY -  After some years working with Papua New Guinean writers I have come to the view that the only way forward is for them to become as individually independent as possible.

These years involved me and others trying to maintain a viable national literary competition by squeezing funds out of sponsors and banging our heads against the apathy of established publishers and governments.

It also involved attempts to help organise writers into sustainable collectives dedicated to literature.

It is not a career choice I would recommend to anyone.

I should have perhaps known from my days as a kiap that organising autonomous bodies in Papua New Guinea is like herding cats. It just doesn’t work.

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The fragile men of PNG who cannot tolerate women’s success


When Keith Jackson and I set up the Crocodile Prize in 2010, we thought it was necessary to have a special category for women's writing.

It didn’t take long for us to abandon this idea when it became abundantly clear that Papua New Guinea had many talented female writers.

In subsequent years, plenty of awards were carried off by women - it was close to a 50-50 split between male and female writers.

We believed this was a matter to be celebrated. And we understood that this success opened up a significant avenue to promote the cause of gender equality.

It was this kind of thinking that eventually led to the publication of the first anthology of PNG women's writing, 'My Walk to Equality', under the astute editorship of Rashmii Amoah Bell.

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Your last chance to enter the Crocodile Prize for 2017

Croc Prize 2017EMTV

OVER the years we have seen some fine works of literary art by literary Papua New Guineans around the country; from writers like Vincent Eri, Russell Soaba, Sir Paulias Matane and Rashmii Amoa Bell.

It’s a steep order to get eight million Papua New Guineans to write. It is even harder to get the younger generations to keep that energy and finesse going.

The Crocodile Prize competition was created for the purpose of relighting the literary fire. The embers are there but barely alight.

The competition is an avenue where Papua New Guinean writers can express their artistry and literary talents. Getting published in the print and electronic media would be great for them.

Continue reading "Your last chance to enter the Crocodile Prize for 2017" »

The ‘Crocodile Prize Anthology 2016’ – better late than never

Crocodile Prize Anthiology 2016PHIL FITZPATRICK

I’VE BEEN a bit reluctant to release the final and free version of the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2016 because it does not fully incorporate all the material submitted to the competition, most notably some of the prizewinning entries.

This came about because 2016 was a transition year when the competition came under sole Papua New Guinean control and there were hiccups.

Although I had volunteered to edit and publish the anthology, several breakdowns in communication meant I didn’t receive all the entries worth including in the book.

But it’s already May and I thought it would be worthwhile offering the usual free PFD, which you can find here, and if more suitable material arrives I’m happy to update the book so it is more reflective of the true merit of what was submitted to the competition.

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Top of the Crocs: Bringing to you the best of the Crocodile Prize


WHEN Keith Jackson and I tentatively embarked on our quest to assist in the regeneration of Papua New Guinean creative writing by inaugurating the Crocodile Prize for literature in 2010, we didn’t know how far it might go or whether we would succeed.

Although we gradually garnered the support of many Papua New Guinean writers, we were always aware that the initiative was ours and that we were intruding on others’ ground and that this had the potential to be culturally tricky.

As it turned out this was not an issue, either because no one else had thought of it or wanted to do it. Apart from a couple of elevated academics, the proposal was greeted with enthusiasm by all, including the grandfathers of Papua New Guinean literature, Russell Soaba and Sir Paulias Matane.

We took special care to celebrate the once fertile past in Papua New Guinean literature and named the prize after the first novel by a Papua New Guinean, Vincent Eri’s The Crocodile.

Continue reading "Top of the Crocs: Bringing to you the best of the Crocodile Prize" »

Shortlist of finalists in heritage writing award announced

Rich heritage (PNG tourism board)EMMANUEL PENI

SO we move to the announcement of the five shortlisted writers in contention for the 2016 Cleland Family Award for Heritage Writing in the Crocodile Prize.

In announcing the shortlist, I must express my gratitude to my fellow committee members Marlene Dee Gray Potoura, Martyn Namorong, Gretel Matawan, Ruth Moiam, Baka Bina and Joycelin Leahy.

There was a total of 22 entries in the heritage writing category. The Cleland family has sponsored this category since 2012. The people of PNG, especially those who benefit from the award, are in debt to this family and the committee is grateful for their generosity and continued support.

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Shortlist announced for 2016 Crocodile Prize short story award


The Crocodile Prize 2016 has been a long hard battle with Emmanuel (Manu) Peni – struggling almost alone at the business end of the contest, the majority of the support team having drifted away.  Manu has been assisted in fine fashion by Phil Fitzpatrick at Pukpuk Publications, which was able to publish the 200 page anthology at very short notice. Over the next period we’ll be featuring the decisions of the judges about shortlisted contenders for the 2016 awards…..

CONGRATULATIONS to the writers who participated in the 2016 Crocodile Prize. The voluntary committee and its supporters together with the sponsors are excited to announce the winners of the Prize. Thank you everyone for the contributions, the competition and the literary pieces.

Today’s announcement is only for the short story category. The other categories will be announced in coming days. We are in debt to the generous support of Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd for their recognition of the need to develop literature in Papua New Guinea.

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‘Oli kam, oli bagarap, oli go’– they came, they stuffed up, they left


ORGANISING Papua New Guinea’s national Crocodile Prize literary awards wasn’t particularly difficult.

In 2011 Keith Jackson and I were still actively working: Keith running a public relations company in Sydney and I fully occupied as a social mapper in Papua New Guinea and Australia.

The vast bulk of the planning and organisation was done by email. All our sponsors were contacted by email, including the Australian High Commission, which hosted the early awards ceremonies.

Even making the winner’s trophies was easy. I made up the wooden bases, stuck china crocodiles to them and attached a plaque engraved with the winner’s name by a local shop.

Continue reading "‘Oli kam, oli bagarap, oli go’– they came, they stuffed up, they left" »

The story of a grasshopper, a caterpillar & a woman writer

Iriani Wanma & her new bookIRIANI WANMA

SOME people know early on in life what they’re good at, while others discover what they’re good at later. I’m in this second group.

Arnold Mundua wrote recently that he didn’t think he could ever become an author. I never planned to be one either; I just knew I liked to write – a joy I discovered as a teenager through the simple act of composing letters to my family and friends.

It’s amazing how one thing leads to another. In 2014, my story Oa the grasshopper & Kaipa the caterpillar, won the Crocodile Prize for children’s writing.

At the time that award was sponsored by Buk bilong Pikinini and I can recall the moment of disbelief and then uncontrollable excitement when I read Keith’s email informing me I had won.

For me, having my entry included in the Crocodile Prize Anthology that year was an achievement in itself and I was absolutely delighted but to win first prize in the category was definitely the cherry on top.

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Top companies rally to cause with Croc Prize sponsorships

Emmanuel Peni & his book, SibonaEMMANUEL PENI

Paga Hill logo 2THE CROCODILE Prize Inc is pleased to announce that, for a second year running, the Paga Hill Development Company has generously agreed to sponsor the Writing for Children category in this year’s national literary awards.

Paga Hill joins eight other entities in providing the critical support required for the maintenance of Papua New Guinea’s important awards for creative writing and illustration

SP logoThe Crocodile Prize would not be possible if it weren’t for the kindness of Kina Finance (poetry), PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (essays & journalism), Abt and Associates (emerging young writer), Mineral Resources Development Company (women in writing), Kumul Petroleum Holdings (short stories), South Pacific Brewery (illustration), Cleland Family (heritage writing) and Paga Hill Development Company (writing for children).

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Croc 2016 is now on track for a December landing


THE Crocodile Prize competition is steaming along. Emmanuel Peni, the talented author of the wonderful novel, Sibona, has taken over the chair of the organising committee from Baka Bina and reports that everything is on track.

The prize money has been secured from the sponsors and the competition has officially been incorporated as a legal entity with a bank account.

As you are probably aware a number of unplanned events, not to mention the number of entries streaming in, has necessitated putting back the dates.

The 2016 competition will now close for entries at the end of September, so you still have plenty of time to get your entries submitted.

The awards ceremony will be held on 10 December.

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Crocodile Prize entry deadline set for September

The rough draftQUINTINA NAIME

ENTRY submissions for Papua New Guinea’s highest literary award, the annual Crocodile Prize writing competition, will close on Friday 30 September.

The extension of the deadline by two months is due to the increased interest shown by PNG writers.

The Crocodile Prize for Literature was founded in 2011 to encourage creative and critical writing in PNG.

It attracted over 800 entries last year and 166 were published in the annual anthology, which is distributed to schools across the country.

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Pukpuk Publications has a dedicated website – check it out

Pukpuk PublicationsPHIL FITZPATRICK

TO A large extent digital publishing through Amazon’s CreateSpace solved the problem of producing the Crocodile Prize anthologies at a reasonable cost.

It also led to the creation of Pukpuk Publications to publish books by Papua New Guinean writers. We have 37 titles now and still more in the pipeline.

There are still a few annoying problems however. The biggest is finding an efficient distribution system.

There are no wholesale networks for books in Papua New Guinea that we can easily tap into and we have had to fall back on direct deliveries using the unreliable postal service and a couple of freight companies.

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Children’s story collection well received in Enga schools

PNG reading material is always seized upon in PNG schoolsDANIEL KUMBON

TRICKERY at the Crocodile Pool, a collection of children’s stories sponsored by the Paga Hill Development Company, has been well received by headmasters and senior teachers of six schools in the Wabag District were Enga Province.

Other books also highly regarded by recipients were the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2015 and recent issues of Air Niugini’s informative in-flight magazine, Paradise.

The distribution was arranged by members of the Enga Writers Association and included formal presentation ceremonies at Kopen Secondary School and Kandep High School which were recorded by NBC Radio Enga.

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Trickery at the Croc Pool has been well received across PNG

Trickery hits West New Britain schoolsKEITH JACKSON

MORE than 600 copies of a children’s book of stories written by Crocodile Prize entrants has been a popular addition to the stock of reading materials in many Papua New Guinean schools.

The printing and distribution of the book was sponsored by the Paga Hill Development Company as part of its expansive program of supporting the development of a PNG literature.

Schools in most PNG provinces received the free books, with distribution on the ground organised by PNG Attitude readers.

“At last I managed to get Trickery at the Crocodile Pool to six schools on the Sepik coast west of Wewak,” said Gayle Loup Ani. “My cousin, who is a senior teacher, helped to deliver them.”

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Here’s how to submit an entry to the 2016 Crocodile Prize


THIS brief article is for all Papua New Guinean writers intending to enter the 2016 Crocodile Prize.

If you want to take part in the Crocodile Prize this year, you have to visit this blog and read as much information as you can.

When you decide to enter one of the seven Crocodile Prize 2016 categories, you must label your writing clearly so the entry does not get lost or mixed up with other people’s entries.

Most of the entries the committee has received so far do not include the writer’s name even on the entry itself. Having your name written on the email does not get it on your entry.

Some entries also do not have categories they are being entered into.

Continue reading "Here’s how to submit an entry to the 2016 Crocodile Prize" »

Breathing life into the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2016


AFTER the first couple of Crocodile Prize anthologies in 2011 and 2012 I began to notice that there was some very fine and incisive writing appearing on PNG Attitude that hadn’t been entered in the literary competition.

This mostly included articles specifically written for the blog but there was also a sprinkling of material that Keith had picked up from other blogs and media and re-published, a practise he continues to this day.

In those early days the copyright rules for material on blogs were pretty fuzzy but no one seemed to object to their material being re-published, they were, after all, seeking the widest coverage.

Rather than let these non-competition articles, poems and short stories fade away, I started to include some in the annual anthology.

Continue reading "Breathing life into the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2016" »

No turning back, the Croc is in PNG to stay


THERE is no turning back. The Croc is going to live in Papua New Guinea and that’s that.

For its six-year life, the Crocodile Prize has been an evolving and moveable feast. Not quite making it up as it went along but close.

There was a reason for this approach to instigating PNG’s national literary awards. On the one hand, there was no way of knowing what would work and what would not work – new ground was being broken.

On the other hand, the target group included a capricious mob which was very difficult to fathom. While enthusiastically endorsing the initiative, many people made the right noises but failed to deliver the goods.

Continue reading "No turning back, the Croc is in PNG to stay" »

The Crocodile goes to schools in National Capital District

John Kamasua (left) distributing free PNG children's booksJOHN K KAMASUA

WHEN I received a box containing 10 copies of Trickery at the Crocodile Pool, I was quietly thrilled.

I found out that the title of the book of short stories was taken from a story I had written for the 2015 Crocodile Prize for Children’s Writing.

Edited by Ben Jackson, the book is an impressive collection of short stories written by Papua New Guineans.

I had requested Keith Jackson for the copies to distribute to schools under a program funded by the Paga Hill Development Company.

It took me quite some time to deliver two copies to each of the schools.

Continue reading "The Crocodile goes to schools in National Capital District" »

Back to Joeys bearing books – couldn’t have been a better return

Lapieh Landu hands over the PNG children's story booksLAPIEH LANDU

ST JOSEPH’S was one of my favourite learning spaces. Many of my most enduring memories were created there.

As a child, school plays and sports days, excursions and swimming lessons tickled my desire to never find an excuse to be at home.

Not to mention the musical production. I never had a starring role in any of them, I was always a figurine or backstage instrument, but I loved the rehearsals and the imitations and the fantasy. It was fun.

As I walked back into the school grounds of St Joseph’s International Catholic School in Port Moresby last Wednesday, the school that I had once found to be massive now appeared to me as a small, quite compact place. 

Continue reading "Back to Joeys bearing books – couldn’t have been a better return" »

A publishing revolution. How we discovered CreateSpace


IN 2012 I was  working with one of the regular Papua New Guinean contributors to PNG Attitude editing and tracking down a publisher for a book he had written.

I saw Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin’s The Flight of Galkope as a significant historical and anthropological contribution to the understanding of Papua New Guinean society. Beyond that it was a work entirely researched and written by a Papua New Guinean.

I thought that it brought a new perspective to the study of society in the country separate but complementary to the more academic works hitherto mostly written by expatriates.

Continue reading "A publishing revolution. How we discovered CreateSpace" »

Suspicion & generosity: the funding challenges of the Croc Prize


FUNDING the Crocodile Prize and the other smaller causes undertaken by PNG Attitude has always been vexed.

In the case of the latter the readers of the blog have proved to be remarkably generous. If the cause is seen to be just and important people are prepared to contribute to it.

Most of the contributions come from Australian readers. This is understandable because they are usually in a much better financial position that the average Papua New Guinean reader.

Nevertheless, there have been some generous donations from Papua New Guinea. In most cases Keith Jackson has always been prepared to add his own contribution, often substantial.

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Only we can tell our stories, says Crocodile Prize chairman


The sixth year of Papua New Guinea’s national literary competition, the Crocodile Prize, was launched on Wednesday at the National Library in Port Moresby in front of a small crowd. Organising committee chairman Baka Bina said Papua New Guinea needs its own voice and the Crocodile Prize is fast becoming the right place to develop this voice - Joycelin Leahy

PAPUA New Guinea is a land of many tribes and many stories. Culturally, we are storytellers and our heritage has been handed down through oral history.

Our ancestors sat by the fire and told stories and pointed to landmarks that had meaning and significance to our people and our land. Papua New Guineans are born storytellers.

Writing critical essays and challenging the way we lead and live is also healthy for any nation. Each country and culture have their own voice and own way of story-telling. You see, only Papua New Guineans can tell our stories in the way that makes sense.

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The crocodile awakens – kind of ….


THE old Croc has been in hibernation and seems to have overslept.

As you are no doubt aware the ‘Made in PNG’ version of the Crocodile Prize is also having a few teething problems.

Rest assured, it’s on its way.

However, in this year of transition, it has been necessary to consider a range of issues including potentialities and capabilities and to adjust our aspirations accordingly.

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Fireplaces, Facebook & a quest to preserve PNG's stories

Crocodile by David LanduMARTYN NAMORONG

SINCE its emergence 2011 as PNG's preeminent literary award - the Crocodile Prize - has spurred a growth in the recording of Papua New Guinean stories.

Named after Sir Vincent Eri's epic novel The Crocodile, the prize seeks to unearth PNG's emerging story tellers.

If social media is PNG’s new fireplace where people gather and tell stories, the Crocodile Prize and its accompanying Anthology represent an attempt to record and preserve those "fireplace" stories.

The Prize and the Anthology are a written record of the Papua New Guinean condition has viewed through the eyes of writers who live through these times.

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Is the crocodile still swimming - or is it drowning?


OUR fingers are still on holiday and unwilling to pick up a biro or engage a keyboard to brainstorm ideas about the vacation.

But it really is time to pick-up from what we left last year.

The passion of writing for the bigger Crocodile Prize in 2016 seems to have gone in vain.

Writers and contributors are kept in suspense and tired of waiting to know when the only literary competition in Papua New Guinea will commence for this year.

The Crocodile Prize has its own program and schedule to execute. Its dates of entry and the closing date need to be broadcast. The dates for the publication of the Anthology, the declaration of winners as well as the award presentation need to be known.

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Free children’s books for PNG schoolsTrickery at the Crocodile Pool


Trickery at the Crocodile Pool is a collection of children’s stories from the 2015 Crocodile Prize edited by Ben Jackson & available free courtesy of Paga Hill Development Company.

We invite PNG Attitude readers throughout PNG to give the books to schools and libraries that need them. All you have to do is tell us your postal address and say where you will distribute the books. Email us here. Books are being sent out now.

An old dog not ready for his pit: With gratitude, more Attitude


MY early December statement, PNG Attitude – A long journey & a short goodbye, had proven painful to write.

But your consequent comments were even more painful to read. To paraphrase the Song of Solomon, “They captured my heart / They held it hostage.”

I was moved by the kind and generous words. There were many of them; some written with an anguish that greatly discomfited me.

Raymond Sigimet - Thank you Keith, with your family, for selflessly giving and sharing 10 years of your life in fostering people to people dialogue through the PNG Attitude. Your blog inspired me to put pen to paper and I believe many others as well. Yu stap long longpela resis na yu win tru / na nau yu kamap long mak bilong yu / yu strongpela man stret / stori bilong yu bai stap longpela taim yet. 

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Why don't we all roll over and go back to sleep


I’VE been thinking about the future of literature in Papua New Guinea for a while now.

It’s a frustrating thing to contemplate. As Ed Brumby has pointed out, there is a lack of inertia and an all-pervading ennui in Papua New Guinea that seems to permeate and frustrate not just literature but most worthwhile endeavours.

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Pukpuk Publications to join PNG Attitude in a last farewell

Inspector Hari Metau 2PHIL FITZPATRICK

Includes the complete list of all 33 Pukpuk titles

PUKPUK Publications was one of the unforeseen spin-offs of the Crocodile Prize.

In 2011 and 2012, in line with our desire to make the competition a Papua New Guinean affair, we organised a local publisher in Port Moresby to print the Crocodile Prize Anthology.

This turned out to be extremely expensive and the end product, especially the 2011 anthology, turned out to be below par. On top of that, and on both occasions, the publisher only just managed to get copies delivered in time for the awards night.

Clearly, the expense, uncertainty of delivery and lack of control over the quality of the end product was not sustainable, especially given that we had limited funds and absolutely no help from the Papua New Guinean government.

Around that time I had begun experimenting with Amazon’s relatively new self-publishing program called Createspace. I used it to publish the first Inspector Metau book.

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Homegrown PNG children’s storybook launches

Sepik-spirit-emmanuel-landu1GUMMI FRIDRIKSSON

STORYTELLING is a wonderful gift for both the creator and the listener. Whether it’s telling tales passed down or conceptualising imaginative fictions, stories are to be enjoyed by young and old.

Papua New Guinea has a rich storytelling culture and The Crocodile Prize has increased the hunger for more homegrown literature.

The national writing contest encourages creative writing and also provides Papua New Guineans with an opportunity to have their stories recognised and published.

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