By MARTYN 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.
They represent the logic, passion, disappointment and hopes of a nation in transition.
They represent the confusion and the clarity of those who struggle with modernity and those who have engaged with it.
They represent a nostalgia of the independence rhetoric of the 1970s but also the embracing of the new age of information technology and the internet.
This diversity of experiences reflects the richness of the Papua New Guinean experience has filtered by its cultures, its landforms and seascapes.
Through the written word are minds taken on a journey of what Albert Maori Kiki would describe as “Ten thousand years in a lifetime.”
From the fireplace to Facebook, great stories are being told that need to be preserved. The Crocodile Prize and the Anthology serve as a repository of contemporary PNG culture and experiences.
The Crocodile Prize Anthology is also an historical source document from which future generations of Papua New Guineans can learn from the experiences of their forbears.
In 2016 the Crocodile Prize and Anthology seek the support of everyone who calls PNG home or has benefited from the abundance of this beautiful nation.
And so if you are hearing this calling from the forested mountains to the lowland plains and across the coral seas, I hope you may be able to raise your hand in support of the Crocodile Prize.
Please contact the chairman of the Crocodile Prize Organising Committee, Baka Bina via email here, should you wish to assist in this quest to preserve PNG’s stories.