Crocodile Prize news Feed

The Croc growls for members of the DWU Writers Club

Danielle Tenakanai, Fr Harry Gahare and Sarah LaufaAMANDA YEOU

As I approached the lecture room, a single piece of paper on the notice board caught my attention.

It was a note from Fr Harry Gahare our lecturer, calling for interested students to join a writers club.

Weeks passed and more students from other departments within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences joined, not to mention interested lecturers and staff. The club grew in number and Fr Harry named it the Divine Word University Writers Club.

The new club has a vision to boost student interest in reading and writing and provides lessons in composition with the help of Fr Harry.

With the help of PNG Studies and International Relations lecturer Bernard Yegiora the club was recognised by the University.

Continue reading "The Croc growls for members of the DWU Writers Club" »


The Crocodile Prize Anthology 2015 finds a home in Goroka

The anthology arrives in GorokaBOMAI D WITNE 

IT was 1.30 in the afternoon when my office phone rang. The caller told there was a box waiting for me at reception. I knew immediately it was the box containing the Anthologies.

The next day I wanted to provide copies to the University of Goroka library and the Centre for Melanesian Studies. The librarian arranged for a member of his staff, Joan Parapi to accept the books. The Centre director, Mr Gumbis, would also be there.

We agreed to meet in the library and, when I turned up, the Director of the Institute of Distance and Flexible Learning, Kensol Rui, was also present to witness the presentation.

I acknowledged our good friends Keith Jackson and Phil Fitzpatrick for assisting in the process of getting the anthologies published and provided a brief on the Crocodile Prize literary contest which attracted entries of different kinds from Papua New Guinean writers.

Continue reading "The Crocodile Prize Anthology 2015 finds a home in Goroka" »


Thanks to PNGAA & readers, the Croc reaches out to PNG

Crocodile Prize Anthology coverKEITH JACKSON

FIVE thousand dollars gifted by the PNG Association of Australia Publishing Program has allowed nearly 350 copies of the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2015 to be printed and distributed throughout Papua New Guinea.

As the year goes on, we hope to deploy further funds to this great project and we do seek the assistance of readers with this. (Drop me an email here)

So far we’ve been able to get books to even the remotest part of PNG for an average of $15 a copy, although a languishing Australian dollar hasn’t helped us in recent weeks.

The books are printed in the United States (yes, it’s the cheapest option) and mailed directly to our distributors in PNG – who are all bona fide PNG Attitude readers and often contributors.

In this piece, I’d like to introduce some of them to you and get them to explain where and why the books will end up.

Continue reading "Thanks to PNGAA & readers, the Croc reaches out to PNG" »


Through time & space – books going places authors only dream of

Herman-tambagleBOMAI D WITNE

On 18 and 19 September, a group of Papua New Guineans and individuals with strong connections to Papua New Guinea gathered in Kundiawa for the annual national literary awards event.

Most of these people had never met, however when we introduced ourselves we smiled and shook hands or hugged in the Simbu way.

These people were teachers, students and private and public sector employees who love the art of writing. There were also a few who had resigned from formal work to engage in community-oriented activities.

They write essays, short stories, poems and draw cartoons. They contribute their writing to PNG Attitude where most articles enter the annual Crocodile Prize contest, truly Papua New Guinea’s biggest literary event.

Continue reading "Through time & space – books going places authors only dream of" »


Crocodile Prize must have a permanent home in PNG

Francis H&SFRANCIS NII

LOOKING back at the recent Simbu Writers’ Association’s successful hosting of the 2015 Crocodile Prize awards in Kundiawa and the previous unsuccessful Society of Writers, Editors and Publishers experience of 2012, I strongly feel that the Crocodile Prize should have a permanent home where it can generate its own revenue to sustain itself in the long run.

Author and publisher Phil Fitzpatrick in a comment on my earlier article, remarked that the SWA made history by not only hosting the awards but for the first time paying the return air fares and hotel accommodation of the winners.

Well done Arnold Mundua, Jimmy Awagl, Mathias Kin, Jimmy Drekore, Roslyn Tony, family members and stakeholders.

Continue reading "Crocodile Prize must have a permanent home in PNG" »


Simbu’s Crocodile Prize: From wild dream to reality

_Simbu Writers AssociationFRANCIS NII

THE first day of the two-day 2015 Crocodile Prize award ceremony in Kundiawa, Simbu Province, kicked off at 9 o’clock on Friday under the organisation of the Simbu Writers Association (SWA).

The scene was the Riverside Resort at Wara (River) Simbu; celebrations continued to the foot of PNG’s highest peak, Mt Wilhelm; and they concluded with the literary awards presentation at Mt Wilhelm Tourist Hotel last night.

A decent number of people turned up at Friday’s writers’ workshop chaired by Mathias Kin, mostly young writers and students.

Established writers Bob Cleland, Baka Bina, Arnold Mundua, Daniel Kombon and Joycelyn Leahy gave motivational talks which were very well received.

Among the high school teachers at the workshop were Ware Mukale of Kariweri High School, a strong supporter of SWA.

Continue reading "Simbu’s Crocodile Prize: From wild dream to reality" »


Half-century old news magazine returns to its Simbu home

Murray Bladwell, Jimmy Drekore, Keith JacksonKEITH JACKSON

THE chairman of the Simbu Writers Association, Jimmy Drekore, was presented with a rare publication from his native Simbu Province during a recent visit to Brisbane.

The 50-year old copy of a special issue of the long defunct Kundiawa News, one of only two in existence (the other is in the National Library of Australia), was given to Mr Drekore for safe-keeping by the original publishers Murray Bladwell and Keith Jackson (pictured).

The special issue was a supplement to the Kundiawa News which flourished in Simbu between 1964 and 1966.

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Australian writers’ festival link for Crocodile Prize

Jimmy Drekore & Keith JacksonROB PARER & KEITH JACKSON

JIMMY Drekore returns to Kundiawa today after a flying visit to Brisbane that was highly successful.

After a visa scare, Papua New Guinea’s Digicel Man of Honour, poet and chairman of the Crocodile Prize Organisation made it to the Brisbane Writers Festival where, along with colleagues Bob Cleland and Joycelin Leahy, he had productive discussions with the festival CEO.

The main outcome of the talks was to formalise a link between COG and the BWF, which will manifest itself in practical terms by PNG being special guest nation at the 2017 festival.

At a working lunch on the Brisbane River, the COG chairman also discussed the transition of the main administrative functions of the Crocodile Prize from Australia to PNG.

It is still too early to reveal details, but there were indications of a significant breakthrough in the past week which, when added to the Simbu Writers Association’s own planning, provide optimism that the operations of COG can be effectively migrated to PNG.

Continue reading "Australian writers’ festival link for Crocodile Prize" »


Obfuscation & delay – Oz Highcom visa stuff-up number 4,593

Jimmy DrekoreKEITH JACKSON

THERE’S a box on a bookshelf just behind me bursting with Crocodile Prize trophies, dutifully assembled by Phil Fitzpatrick in Hervey Bay, Queensland.

On Saturday I am meant to travel to Brisbane to hand the box to Jimmy Drekore to take with him back to Simbu; the contents destined for the hands of the eight Papua New Guineans who won awards in this year’s Crocodile Prize.

But will PNG’s Digicel Man of Honour, poet and philanthropist Jimmy Drekore make it to the Brisbane Writers Festival and to his assignation with me?

Or will his travel to Australia be prevented by the notorious inefficiency and insensitivity of the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby?

Continue reading "Obfuscation & delay – Oz Highcom visa stuff-up number 4,593" »


Crocodile Prize excitement grows in Simbu as Awards approach

Crocodile Prize information attract great interest in KundiawaJIMMY DREKORE

THE Crocodile Prize awards event posters hit Kundiawa town early on Thursday.

Big and colourful, they were pinned to public notice boards and in government buildings and drew large crowds (see picture).

Very soon the stories were spreading about the Crocodile Prize awards event to be held in the Simbu capital on 18-19 September, just after Papua New Guinea’s Independence Day. I was also asked to go on air to be interviewed by Radio Simbu and National Radio.

Continue reading "Crocodile Prize excitement grows in Simbu as Awards approach" »


Paga Hill Development’s gift provides kids’ books to schools

Tok bye lo Ben lo Crowne Plaza. Gonna miss ma lil broKEITH JACKSON

THE overwhelming number of entries in this year’s Writing for Children Award in the Crocodile Prize has inspired Paga Hill Development Company to assist publish and distribute a special book of children’s stories.

Many of the more than 50 children’s stories entered in the Crocodile Prize contest will be published as a special edition children’s book and distributed to as many Papua New Guinean schools as possible.

The children’s anthology, an initiative spearheaded by the Crocodile Prize Organisation and edited by Ben Jackson (pictured with writer Martyn Namorong), aims to provide Papua New Guinean schools with greater access to home-grown literature and to encourage reading from a young age.

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A snowballing pukpuk & a computer with constipation

Crocodile_ice_sculpturePHIL FITZPATRICK

IT snowed every winter in the place where I came from.

As kids we used to climb to the top of a nearby hill, make a big snowball and send it rolling down the slope.

As it rolled it picked up more snow and got bigger and bigger until it finally crashed in spectacular fashion in the valley below.

It may intrigue you that I was once caught in a snowstorm in Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "A snowballing pukpuk & a computer with constipation" »


How you can help us get the Anthologies throughout PNG

Crocodile Prize Anthology coverKEITH JACKSON

FOR the second year running, the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia has provided a significant grant to assist publish the Crocodile Prize Anthology.

And we want our readers to help distribute it.

If you meet a few conditions we will provide lucky PNG readers with 10 free copies of the 400-page Anthology to hand out freely to libraries, schools, universities, hospitals, aid posts and other relevant places in the provinces and districts of Papua New Guinea.

Winners will also be permitted to keep a copy of the Anthology for themselves.

Continue reading "How you can help us get the Anthologies throughout PNG" »


Infinity will be our prize says PNG’s top poet for 2015

Winner - Philip G KaupaKEITH JACKSON

“ACKNOWLEDGING the fact that my poem is the best in this tough national literature contest is truly unbearable,” Philip Gena Kaupa told me.

Philip, 27, is a marine biologist and, although he was born in Goroka and currently lives with his family in Port Moresby, a self-described “Simbu man - my home town is Kundiawa”.

“I am overwhelmed by the victorious feeling that comes with this magnificent achievement,” he said.

“The Crocodile Prize is the avenue that creates greatness and fame in Papua New Guinean literature.”

Continue reading "Infinity will be our prize says PNG’s top poet for 2015" »


2015 Crocodile Prize Award event is all set to roll in Kundiawa

Jimmy DrekoreCROCODILE PRIZE ORGANISATION

PREPARATIONS are well advanced for the 2015 Crocodile Prize awards event to be held in Kundiawa on 18 and 19 September.

President of the Crocodile Prize Organisation, Jimmy Drekore (pictured), said that writers, sponsors and friends of the Crocodile Prize national literary competition who wish to attend the event should now be making preparations to travel to Kundiawa.

“People travelling by air are advised to make booking to Kagamuga Airport, Mt Hagen, on Thursday 17 September.

“There they will be picked up by members of the Simbu Writer’s Association which is hosting the event,” Mr Drekore said.

“Then will follow a two hour bus ride to Simbu cruising through Jiwaka Style Flower Country and enjoying the scenery of the famous Wahgi Valley.”

Mr Drekore said it is very important that everyone coming must contact him before the end of August.

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If we write, we help develop PNG’s culture & literacy says Hazel

Winner - Hazel KutkueKEITH JACKSON

HAZEL Kutkue, 20, the winner of this year’s short story award in the Crocodile Prize, was born in Madang of East Sepik parentage.

Early in her life, Hazel’s parents separated. “I do not know much about my father,” Hazel said, “my mother, who now lives and works in Mt Hagen, raised me and my four siblings on her own.”

Hazel is in her third year of medical school at the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby.

“PNG literature state is yet to reach the optimum state,” Hazel told me. “But it is getting there, though at a slow pace. Seeking avenues for publishing is hard and getting writer’s work to people is difficult. I hope these things change in the near future.”

Continue reading "If we write, we help develop PNG’s culture & literacy says Hazel" »


It's the right moment for PNG writers, says Croc award winner

Winner - Joycelin LeahyKEITH JACKSON

JOYCELIN Leahy is a proud Papua New Guinean who believes that the people of PNG are born storytellers.

And, as her Crocodile Prize win shows, Joycelin is not only a great storyteller but a very fine illustrator as well.

Her win in the Paga Hill Development Company Award for Writing for Children was a wonderful outcome for the Wau-born artist.

Joycelin left Wau as a baby and was raised by her single-parent mother in Wagang village, Lae.

“I learnt English when I went to school at six. I had already spoken Bukawac, Pidgin and Yabem,” she said. “As children, we always pretended we spoke English, Chinese or other foreign languages and acted and mimed various scenes in jokes and storytelling.

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A long career in journalism started with a letter to the editor

Daniel KumbonKEITH JACKSON

THE first time Daniel Kumbon saw his name in print was in a letter to the editor of the Post-Courier in 1976. He’s been hooked ever since. And now he’s won a Crocodile Prize award for travel writing.

That first letter concerned a debate about Sunday and Saturday worship. Daniel argued it didn’t matter what day you worshipped so long as your life was straight in the eyes of God.

In his life’s career as a journalist, Daniel has published hundreds and hundreds of articles. “If your mind is clear and you have a bright idea that you want to share, express it in writing,” he said.

“You can leave behind an album full of your smiling face – but what is in your mind is more important. Share it with others and help shape society through things you write.

Continue reading "A long career in journalism started with a letter to the editor" »


Book of the year winner seeks emergence of “crocodile pride”

Winner - Baka BinaKEITH JACKSON

AUTHOR Baka Bina, winner of the Ok Tedi Mining Book of the Year for 2015, believes in sharing the credit.

Man of Calibre was a collaborative effort between Ed Brumby, my wife Emily Bina and our children, especially Tshasha and Linda, to get the story to fruition in book form.  The kudos of the Crocodile Prize is for all of us and we share that gleefully amongst us,” he said.

Baka said that, for him, his first book Sweet Garaiina Apo had been the tough one. “It was first put to pen in 2003 and a lot of time was spent rewriting and crying over it. Personally it was the roller coaster one for emotions.

Man of Calibre? Well who do you think wants to read about a village boasting about its conman?”

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Writing: a personal walk reinforced by coming together

Port Moresby writers (John Kamasua right)JOHN KAUPA KAMASUA

PEOPLE write for many reasons. For Papua New Guinean writers, especially those who have participated in the Crocodile Prize, I’m sure the first reward was seeing their work being published, read and commented upon for the first time in PNG Attitude.

Getting one’s work published in PNG Attitude and in the annual Crocodile Prize Anthology of the best PNG writing are very positive reinforcements. And the Prize contest itself is very important.

But, as you all know, writing does not stop after the award of prizes. It is a personal walk that continues for each of us for as long as we desire and for as far as it can take us. Indeed it may take us into areas where we have never dreamt possible.

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Heritage writer will use Prize award to support literacy in Suau

Winner - Ronnie DotaonaKEITH JACKSON

“I am shocked and in disbelief,” said Ronnie Dotaona when he heard the news. “It’s an honour for me, as a rookie writer in the Crocodile Prize, to win this prestigious writing award.”

Ronnie, 33, who has been awarded the Cleland Family Prize for Heritage Writing, is a teacher and researcher in applied ecology and invertebrate entomology. He’s currently on study leave in NSW, Australia, prior to submitting a dissertation for examination later this month.

“I'm a proud Suau from Milne Bay but I’ve worked in Lae ever since graduating from university. My tiger parents were educated only to Form 1, mum barely reads English, but they have their standards and rarely allow mistakes at home.

Continue reading "Heritage writer will use Prize award to support literacy in Suau" »


Writing 'links the human mind with the voice of God’

Winner - Busa Jeremiah WenogoKEITH JACKSON

ECONOMIST Busa Jeremiah Wenogo, 30, winner of this year’s Crocodile Prize for Journalism, tells it like it is from his home in Port Moresby’s Erema settlement. And 'like it is' is often rough and desperate (see story below).

The PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum is a long-time sponsor of the important Award for Essays & Journalism in the Crocodile Prize and there is a distinguished list of previous winners: Martyn Namorong (2011), Emma Wakpi (2012), Francis Nii (2013) and Sil Bolkin (2014).

“I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to have won this prestigious award,” said Busa. “To be honest I thought I was not going to win given that there were so many good entries from other writers throughout Papua New Guinea. I doubted my chances, so this is really a big surprise.”

Busa was born in Port Moresby General Hospital in 1985, the eldest of a family of five born to Wenogo Busa and Kilip Tewei. (My son Simon was also born there in 1967.)

Continue reading "Writing 'links the human mind with the voice of God’" »


Literature & art make us who we really are, says prize winner

David Landu & sister Lapieh, twice Crocodile prize winnerKEITH JACKSON

THE winner of the SP Brewery Award for Illustration in the Crocodile Prize, Emmanuel David Amakure Landu, 23, has a dream.

“My dream is to become an architect, but not just any ordinary architect,” David, who is self-taught, says.

“I want to be a visionary architect. It’s a dream that may take up 10 years of my youth to get there - but I am hopeful.”

David was born in Port Moresby in 1992 of mixed Vanimo, Goroka and Milne Bay parentage.

His entry in the Crocodile Prize was David’s the first time he had exposed his work to public view, although his sister, Lapieh Landu (pictured with him here), is a two-time prize winner for her poetry.

“Writers and artists are alike,” says David. “We create things most people can only imagine or dream about.

“My word of encouragement would be to sustain such an initiative and continue to maintain our culture and tradition in the best way that we know how.

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Writers from across PNG are 2015 Crocodile Prize winners

Man of CalibrePHIL FITZPATRICK & KEITH JACKSON

WRITERS from seven provinces feature in the nine prizes awarded in this year’s Crocodile Prize – Papua New Guinea’s national literary awards.

And one of the winners, 20-year old medical student Hazel Kutkue, not only won the Martens’ Award for Young Writers but the national short story prize – a prodigious achievement at such an early age and against some very stiff competition.

The Ok Tedi Mining Award for Book of the Year saw Baka Bina’s Man of Calibre triumph in a strong field of 10 contenders while the inaugural SP Brewery Award for Illustration went to another Eastern Highlander, Emmanuel Landu, brother of two-time Crocodile Prize winner, poet Lapieh Landu.

Other provinces represented in the prize winners are Enga, Simbu, Milne Bay, Morobe, Madang and the National Capital District.

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Nurturing a literate, inquisitive & questioning intellectual culture

Questioning (Warwickers.com)CHRIS OVERLAND

THOSE people who read my forays in PNG Attitude may have realised that I am a keen amateur historian.

One of the lessons of history is that human advancement depends very critically upon the existence of a cultured, educated and motivated leadership group who, whether for selfish or altruistic reasons, change their society for the better.

This is frequently a pretty fraught process, with many failures and false starts and, sometimes, it ends in total catastrophe. Change is neither easy nor painless.

However, it seems to me that the more educated, literate and articulate the population of a given society is, the more likely it is to create paths to a better future without resort to either warfare with others or a great deal of civil disorder.

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Croc Prize bigmen to discuss life beyond Phil & Keith

SWA meetingJIMMY AWAGL

PAPUA New Guinea literature is blooming like an orchid tended with care by PNG Attitude, the Crocodile Prize and Pukpuk Publishing, each of which has offered so much.

Now it is time for Papua New Guineans to take on board the legacy of Phil Fitzpatrick and Keith Jackson. It is time to accept he challenge of driving and promoting literature in PNG following the fifth anniversary of the Crocodile Prize.

The primary objective of Phil and Keith has been to ensure that the concept of promoting PNG writing must continue under the management of Papua New Guineans.

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The Crocodile Prize – is this the end of five wonderful years?

KeithKEITH JACKSON

WE have experienced the good fortune of seeing the Simbu Writers Association step up to organise what will be a very fine Crocodile Prize awards event in Kundiawa next month.

I trust that some of our readers will be able to make it to the Simbu for the weekend of 18-20 September to participate in what will be a joyful and important occasion.

For some years now, it has been the desire of Phil Fitzpatrick and I to see the Crocodile Prize Organisation, COG, which administers the awards, transfer its activities to PNG.

We tried to do this in 2012, but failed. And, when Phil and I rescued the project late that year, I foreshadowed that 2015 would probably see me out.

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The would’ve, could’ve, should’ve been story of PNG

Bell_Rashmii AmoahRASHMII BELL

AMID her freshly sautéed gnocchi being consumed on the steps on the Colosseum, a dear friend was interrupted by my panicked email message.

Despite being on the other side of the world, deservedly indulgent in her long-awaited family vacation, she tore herself away from the Neapolitan sauce to respond to my ’ploise explain’.

Whilst she was out of Australia, a disaffected posse of her countrymen had reared their ugly hatreds.

As an immigrant of this sunburnt country, I was anxious. A ‘civil’ group, with a name – Reclaim Australia - that made one think indigenous folk were seeking land ownership, was rallying the troops.

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Crocodile Prize 2015: A wondrous journey of discovery

_Crocodile Prize 2015PHIL FITZPATRICK

Foreword to the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2015

THIS is the fifth year that the Crocodile Prize Anthology has been published. It is also something of a milestone because literary endeavours in Papua New Guinea are not renowned for their longevity.

It is also worth noting that there has been no waning in the quantity or the quality of the entries or in the number of new writers entering the competition. The judges continue to be amazed at this impressive output.

As the competition rolls on it has not been a matter of encouraging this creativity but rather simply identifying it. My impression is that there is a whole lot more out there yet to be discovered.

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Literature, the Queensland factor & Papua New Guinea

Literature back on Queensland agendaPHIL FITZPATRICK

QUEENSLAND is sometimes referred to as the ‘Deep North’, an allusion to the Deep South in the USA, where conservative and reactionary values run deep.

Another epithet is ‘the red-neck state’. Having lived and travelled in Queensland for the last six years or so I can confirm that our fair state seems to have an abundance of this regressive species.

The man in large part responsible for this image was former premier Joh Bjelke Petersen. His mixture of home-spun philosophy, aversion to anything remotely cultural unless it was garish or a money spinner and his government’s overt nepotism and corruption tarnished Queensland’s reputation for many years.

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Pukpuk Publishing – a great gift bequeathed to PNG writers

A relaxed Phil Fitzpatrick at a writers workshop in Port Moresby (Ben Jackson)KEITH JACKSON

PHIL Fitzpatrick, modest man that he is, would probably disagree with me that Pukpuk Publishing has emerged as the most significant development in the history of Papua New Guinean publishing.

The most recent Pukpuk Publishing book list [download Pukpuk Publishing August 2015], contains 27 titles, all but one about PNG, and offers an abundance of quality reading.

The not-for-profit publisher is one of a number of positive collaterals to derive from the Crocodile Prize, which itself managed to rejuvenate creative writing in PNG which had been largely hiding in a cupboard since the 1970s.

What I particularly like about Papua New Guinean writers, apart from their considerable skills,” Phil has written, “is the way they dip into their rich cultural heritage to background their work.

“This is what makes Papua New Guinean literature distinctive and appealing. The result is a school of literature clearly identifiable with the country.”

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Rich and famous – one of our least recognised oxymorons

_Simbu Writers AssociationPHIL FITZPATRICK

READING Bill Brown’s eulogy to the old kiap Harry West, it occurred to me that it will be people like Harry who will be remembered long after any of their wealthy counterparts.

Wealth might make you famous in the short term but it is no ticket to historical fame.

It is what you do with your life rather than how much wealth you accumulate that really matters. If you are wealthy it is what good or evil that you have done with your wealth that people will remember.

There is currently an extremely wealthy and crass businessman in the USA running for preselection as a presidential candidate for the Republican Party who realises this and is running in the hope that if he makes it he will be remembered.  He knows that his inherited wealth won’t buy immortality.

In our celebrity besotted world there are people who are said to be famous for being famous.  When you look at these people, the Kardashians and the Paris Hiltons, you realise how much they are giving fame a bad name.

Continue reading "Rich and famous – one of our least recognised oxymorons" »


Did your entry make this year’s Crocodile Prize anthology?

_Crocodile Prize 2015KEITH JACKSON

OF the more than 800 entries received in this year’s Crocodile Prize, 160 have been selected by editors Phil Fitzpatrick and me for publication in The Crocodile Prize Anthology 2015 – all 400 pages of it.

This year’s collection of the best Papua New Guinean creative writing (and illustrations) is nearing publication date, with proofs being checked preparatory to throwing the switch to ‘print’.

A link to the published contents can be found further down in this article.

It is anticipated that, as a result of a generous donation from the PNG Association of Australia, some 1,500 copies of the anthology will be distributed free of cost to PNG libraries and schools. In a few weeks’ time, we will be asking readers to nominate themselves as distributors for schools in their areas.

In all, the anthology includes 52 poems, 42 short stories, 28 essays and 15 heritage stories. There are also 12 stories for children, seven entries in the Tourism, Arts & Culture category and four illustrations.

Download here The Crocodile Prize Anthology 2015 contents


The Crocodile Prize: It’s time to be brutally frank

_Crocodile Prize 2015PHIL FITZPATRICK

I left Papua New Guinea in the mid-1970s and didn’t return for over 20 years.

When I went back, I flew into Port Moresby and then on to Mount Hagen and Mendi to the border region between the Southern Highlands, Gulf and Western provinces.

Putting it mildly, I was amazed and disheartened by the state of the country.  Buildings, roads and other infrastructure had fallen apart. Law and order had gone to the dogs and everywhere there were razor wire and security guards.

Hospitals and aid posts didn’t have medicines, schools were falling apart and their teachers collected salaries but didn’t teach. The police were scruffy and finding a public servant at the office before 10:00am was almost impossible.

It was only the friendliness of the poor people out in the bush who softened the impact. The educated elite didn’t seem to care. They were too busy making money and robbing the country.

Continue reading "The Crocodile Prize: It’s time to be brutally frank" »


How government and business drip feed opinion in PNG

Phil (crop)PHIL FITZPATRICK

THERE were 827 entries from 132 Papua New Guineans in this year’s Crocodile Prize national literary contest, topping last year’s effort significantly.

Given that the competition is largely web-based we can only assume this represents the tip of a very large creative iceberg. There must be thousands of talented writers out there without access to the internet.

Writing is very important.  It is a key brick in the wall of society. Apart from its entertainment value it is the way society moves knowledge and information around. If you don’t have writers, nobody knows what is going on in the country and the wider world.

Continue reading "How government and business drip feed opinion in PNG" »


Thus ends another year of the Crocodile Prize literary contest

Phil (crop)PHIL FITZPATRICK

IT’S not every day that you get to influence the revival of literature in a whole country, unintentionally or otherwise.

I must admit to some surprise that it has happened at all. What started as a humble writing competition seems to have bloomed beyond all expectations.

There is a sense of pride in what has happened but, strangely, it’s not personal. Rather it is a sense of pride in the achievements of the writers involved.

At a personal level it has been more of a humbling experience. There is also a sense of awe and enrichment.

Continue reading "Thus ends another year of the Crocodile Prize literary contest" »


It’s the last day for entries in the national writing contest

_Crocodile Prize trophies 2015KEITH JACKSON

SO it’s Tuesday 30 June; the day that entries close in the fifth Crocodile Prize, Papua New Guinea’s national writing contest.

There’s been a torrent of contributions this past couple of weeks, a veritable flood, and this has caused a bank up in the editorial process and slowed the publication of some of the better entries. But we’ll get there.

When you email your writing to us, the first thing we do is read it your contribution, then we register it and, if you remembered to send in an entry form, register you as a writer.

Continue reading "It’s the last day for entries in the national writing contest" »


Simbu Woman welcomes Crocodile Man to Kundiawa

Simbu Woman & Crocodile Man (Mathias Simon, abstract)JIMMY AWAGL Words |
MATHIAS SIMON Illustration

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Paga Hill Development Company
Award for Writing for Children
SP Brewery Award for Illustration

TWO glorious days in Kundiawa, Simbu Province - a magnificent time of Simbu style celebration to mark Papua New Guinean literature and commemorate the 40th anniversary of PNG Independence.

Everyone gearing-up for the big event. A glowing day attracting villagers to abandon their homes and come out for a sun bath.

Then, to their amazement, as the sun rises over Mt Wilhelm Simbu Woman appears in her traditional attire, body glistening with grease pig and offering a unique pattern of dance.

The crowds encircle her while she shake her bottom to captivate them. In her hands, a Simbu arrow.

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Record entries make for stand-out PNG book of the year award

_Crocodile Prize 2015KEITH JACKSON

THE Ok Tedi Mining Ltd Papua New Guinea book of the year award was initiated just last year and its inauguration marked a significant milestone in the rebirth of the nation’s written literature.

It has been observed before in these columns that creative writing in PNG – especially of book length - fell into a deep trough following the effervescent years around independence when many emergent authors found voice.

The drought began to break in 2010 with the advent of the Crocodile Prize national literary contest and the subsequent publication, in 2011, of the first Crocodile Prize Anthology.

And this resurgence was enriched last year when, through the generosity of Ok Tedi Mining, the national book of the year award was established. There were six entries – three from Leonard Fong Roka. These were The Pomong U’tau of Dreams, Moments in Bougainville and Brokenville, which went on to win.

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Coming soon: A book of stories from Enga Province

Daniel KumbonDANIEL KUMBON

Ok Tedi Mining Ltd Book of the Year
Part of the Crocodile Prize Award

I am happy to announce that, very soon, a collection of short stories from Enga Province will be published.

The book is in production for release under the Pukpuk Publishing imprint, the publications arm of the Crocodile Prize Organisation.

The stories began to be written in the mid-1980s by Engans studying at the University of Papua New Guinea.

Some were published in the UPNG Enga Students Association Yearbook and the Arts and Culture section of Enga Nius, the provincial newspaper. Other in the collection have never been published.

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Petition for PNG authored books in schools gathers pace

BooksMICHAEL DOM

THREE weeks ago, using the online service Change.org, I started a petition to the Papua New Guinea  Parliament on behalf of the Crocodile Prize and PNG authors making three requests which will improve both literacy and the national cultural standing of PNG.

First, the petition sought an Independence gift to the children of Papua New Guinea in the form of making the annual Crocodile Prize Anthologies of 2011 to 2015 available to all PNG schools.

Secondly, it asked Honourable Members to allocate an annual portion from their district improvement (DSIP) budgets to ensure that every school in their electorate has an increasing number of books that have been written by Papua New Guinean authors.

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Burgeoning book list testifies to impact of bigpela stretim

Sunday morning pukpukKEITH JACKSON

NOW here’s a nice diversion for a lazy Sunday – a browse through the expanding book list of Pukpuk Publishing, the publications arm of the Crocodile Prize Organisation, which now offers 20 titles with three more on the way.

You can download the full six-page list below. It contains a synopsis of each publication and tells you how to get hold of them.

Buy all 23 and you’ll have a tremendous library of contemporary Papua New Guinean writing.

The list truly signifies the Great Revival (Bigpela Stretim) of PNG literature, which had fallen into a long fallow and unproductive period after the creative dynamism inspired by PNG’s independence in 1975.

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Second ‘Simbu for Literary Excellence’ event was a great success

Guard of honour, KondiuBOMAI D WITNE & FRANCIS NII

ROSARY Secondary School at Kondiu in Simbu Province burst into life a week ago with students,  teachers, a singsing group, local police and the community converging in the Bishop Cohill Auditorium.

They were there for the 2015 Simbu Writers Association (SWA) school debate and quiz contests and literary awards presentation.

Normally, it is inter-school sports or athletic competitions that bring schools together. More rarely, schools get together for other reasons. This was one of them

The event was made possible by the SWA through its pioneering endeavour, Simbu for Literary Excellence, that attracted and united provincial high schools and secondary schools.

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Pleasure multiplied: the delight of sharing books

BookshelfPHIL FITZPATRICK

READ a good book lately? Want to share it with someone?

Written a good book lately? Want to spread it around?

Thought about giving it away so other people can enjoy reading it?

Passing books on gratis is a long standing and underrated tradition.

I’ve read thousands of books in my lifetime but my bookshelves only house a few hundred favourites.

Most of what I read nowadays, unless it’s spectacularly good, ends up in our local Red Cross opportunity shop, sometimes via a few odd relatives and friends.

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PNG Books 4 PNG Schools – the feedback so far

Petition screen grabKEITH JACKSON

AS this piece goes to print, the on-line petition to get books authored by Papua New Guineans into PNG schools has passed 100 signatures.

Haven’t signed up yet? Can I encourage you to do so?

If ever there was cause worth spending a free minute to support, and which will advantage each spirit it touches, it is this one.

Right now we stand on the crest of a literary peak PNG has not seen since those heady years around Independence.

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Introducing Joe Bilbu – cover designer extraordinaire

_Crocodile Prize 2015PHIL FITZPATRICK

AS we are get closer to the tail end of the 2015 Crocodile Prize writing season (entries close on Tuesday 30 June), it’s probably time to introduce the man responsible for the Anthology covers.

Joe Bilbu has been designing the covers since 2012 and he also provided the logo adopted by Pukpuk Publishing.

This year he has had the difficult task of coming up with a cover that reflected our signature pukpuk and that the competition workshop and awards will be held in the highlands for the first time.

We think he’s come up with a gem of a cover that does the job admirably.

Joe hails from Babakau Village (BBKings), down the coast from Port Moresby and just off the Magi Highway.

He now lives in Fiji with his Fijian wife, Milika, and their three children, Carlene (19), Joe Hendrix (12) and Grace Leona (7).

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A great and timely initiative – but be careful

Poet laureate YokomoPHIL FITZPATRICK

I’VE always suspected that the reason why most politicians in Papua New Guinea don’t support writers is because they are scared of what might be written about them.

Either that or it’s because they are basically dumb and don’t read themselves and do not see any point in funding literature or having a literate society. 

Our previous conservative premier in Queensland, Campbell Newman, was one of those.  One of his earliest initiatives was abolishing the Premier’s Literary Award and giving the money to a TV network to produce a really silly reality program.

Having read the PNG Parliamentary Speaker’s diatribe, ‘2015 – The Year of Crossing Over to the Other Side’ on the National Parliament website, I’m more inclined to favour this dumb (really, really dumb) option.

That said, I’m also wary about allowing governments into the literary mix for the simple reason of the control this might give them over what is written and published.

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