Message from the Voluntary Organizing Committee (VOC)

Greetings everyone for the new year, 2018. The Crocodile Prize is happy to announce the short listed entries and winners of the different categories of the 2017 Crocodile Prize Competition.

The Competition ended on the 31st October 2017. That was when the last entries from budding writers were received. Since then, the VOC has been in constant communication with several members of the writing community who are not entirely connected to the Prize and to Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Firstly, the VOC sorted out the entries at the closing. The folders for each category was put together and sent to selected Literary Expert to cull from whatever numbers of entries received to only 10 entries. This part of the process took weeks because these people doing the culling were also doing these in their free time.

The sorting out of the folders gave adequate information for a comprehensive report to be written on the organising and the result of the annual competition. The report was published on the Crocodile Prize blog, the Crocodile Prize Facebook page and in the Post Courier. A special report was also written for the Poetry category alone because of the sheer interest and the numbers of entries received for that category alone.

Secondly, on receiving the 10 selected entries, the VOC then sent these off to the Judges. This was right in the heart of the Christmas and New Year period so the Judges were given ample time to have their holidays and have some time to judge.

Thirdly, the VOC then sent the 5 selected entries of each categories to the appropriate Sponsors. The sponsors were to pick the overall winner from among the 5 entries shortlisted by the judge.

At the time of the writing this update, two of the sponsors have identified the winners of their categories. The VOC will be informing the winners soon.

In the meantime, the VOC will be publishing all the entries on their blog. A list of the winners of each of the categories will be posted in the coming days.

Some of these winners will be featured in the news as a lead up to the Prize giving event.

A Prize giving reception was planned to be staged at the Gateway Hotel on the 17th of February 2017. Traditionally, this reception was convened on a weekday and took up to 2 hours. The event at the Gateway in 2018 should take for 3 hours: i.e. from 3 o’clock to 6 o’clock in the evening. The reception will feature two key note addresses from members of the writing community, reading of 2 poems, a short story extract and a case story of what Crocodile Prize has done for an individual’s life and career.

Let’s have this time to call to stage, those with the passion for writing, illustrating and art, those with the spirit of altruism and those who want to support Literatures in PNG. Lets call to stage and acknowledge the generosity of the sponsors. Lets take the time to promote and celebrate Literature (Writing Illustrations and art) in PNG with aspiring Literary Papua New Guineans. Congratulations to all who participated in 2017 and those who have been selected as winners.

2017 Competition Report

Compiled by Gretel Matawan and Emmanuel Peni

This is an account of the 2017 Crocodile Prize Competition

The Voluntary Organising Committee (VOC) of the Annual 2017 Crocodile Prize Literature Competition in PNG is happy to announce that a successful year of literature competition has come to a close. We would like to thank all the sponsors and the public who have sincerely supported this competition.

There have been several queries on when the winners will be announced. The VOC is excited too to know about the winners.  However, the winners will have to be administered through a lengthy process of judging and selection.  Our Volunteers have put together the folders (9 altogether) of the entries. Below is the summary of the entrants and the entries for this year.

This is the 7th year of the Annual Literature Prize.  This year the VOC received 245 entries from 87 Papua New Guinean writers and artists.

The Table 1.0 shows that the majority of the writers are from NCD. The VOC did its best to use several media platforms to reach every PNG citizens.  It is unfortunate that very few entries are coming in from outside of NCD.  The Committee is looking at accepting written pieces on paper from remote places in 2018.  Otherwise, the VOC will do its best to reach out to the people of PNG in 2018. Hopefully we get some entries from even those provinces not listed here:  West Sepik, Southern Highlands, Hela, Western Highlands, New Ireland, Central and other PNG citizens living abroad. We have an entry from Fiji.  We can confirm that it is from a Papua New Guinean citizen.  We would like to also report that the entries from Gulf Province were from Kikori secondary schools after a visit by a member of the VOC in 2017.   Our publicity and communications team have learnt a lot in promoting writing in the last two years of work in PNG. Literature spaces and activities in PNG have declined to a state of irrelevance.  This is a tragic and frightening trend when considering Google and fb and Alibaba and more are fighting and in the process spending billions to get information from people around the world. When will Papua New Guineans wake up and write our own history, experiences and our aspirations?  Why do we let outsiders do it from their reference point and own our stories?

Table 1.0 shows the Provinces and the number of writers/artists who have sent in their literary piece(s).

Provinces (Areas) Number of Entrants
AROB 3
East New Britain 3
East Sepik 3
Eastern Highlands 4
Fiji 1
Gulf 3
Jiwaka 2
Madang 2
Manus 3
Milne Bay 2
Morobe 5
Mt Hagen 1
NCD 46
No Response 2
Oro 1
Central 1
Simbu 1
West New Britain 3
Western 1
Grand Total 87

 

There are 8 categories showing here in which entries have been received for. Of these entries two other category winners will be selected from.  These are: Emerging Young writer and Women in Writing.  The figures in the table clearly show that poetry is the most preferred literary piece to be written and sent in at 53% of the total. It is exciting to see that short stories went over half a century.  The VOC will work hard to help the writers/artists of PNG write or illustrate more our experiences, past and our dreams. It is unfortunate that Heritage writing continue to register low levels of entries. One can easily imagine anyone telling a tumbuna story (we have thousands) or describe a cultural experience.

Writing for children is one category; the Crocodile Prize is going to promote more in the next couple of months. We are interested to have more stories for our children so they become readers of our own journey.    

VOC will be more available for Essay and Journalism category next year after the Crocodile Prize blog has been upgraded to Premium.     There will be more interaction and discussions on the entry pieces sent in.

Table 2.0 shows the number of entries received for the categories in which prizes were secured for 2017.

The 2017 Categories Number of Entries
Short Play 3
Essays and Journalism 26
FB & NBC Radio Comp 4
Heritage Writing 14
Illustrations 3
Poetry 130
Short Stories 52
Writing for Children 13
Total 245

It is exciting to see that the 60% of the entries came from the economically active population of ages between 21 – 40 years (refer to Pie chart 1.0 below). It is unfortunate that the older population who would have had many experiences and culturally more rooted sent in less this year.  It is presumed that those who have resigned or have their careers stalling (11% of the total entries) would find passion somewhere else and writing and illustrating could have been a healthier, productive and meaningful diversion.

Chart 1.0 also gives a good indication on the members of the writing societies whom the VOC will target next year to promote, guide and support and engage in the literature competition. Even if they do not want to participate, their entries or submission can be used to add to the body of knowledge captured for generations to use to understand the evolution of the PNG cultural heritage.    
Where to from here:

The process of identifying the winners will take two months. Firstly, the folders will be sent to those who will cull (select what can be judged) from whatever numbers down to 10 entries. The 10 entries will then be sent to the judges who will then select only the top 5 entries. The top 5 entries will lastly be sent to the sponsors who select the winner.  We will announce the 5 shortlist at the end of January 2018. The winners will be announced at a Ceremony at the Grand Papua Hotel on the 10th February 2018.  There will be an official gathering where the 2018 Crocodile Prize Competition will also be launched.  Stay tuned for the announcements and the winners and the launching.

A burning question to discuss is the participation of women in PNG. Both 2016 and 2017, (under the leadership of Papua New Guineans) have proven beyond doubt the participation of women in writing has gained its foot hold.  There are more women sending in entries (55 %) than men folks.  The quality and diversity of the entries far outweigh that of men. Women were the youngest of the entrants and the oldest. Last year’s winner of the Paga Hill Foundation Writing for Children Category was a 14 year old girl from Bougainville.   Females were more active in asking for information and following the rules and guidelines.  The tides have turned and so there must be a category for Boys in writing and Men in writing.

The only issue encountered by the administrative team of the VOC was the lack of respect to the rules and procedures. One of the entrants sent in 23 entries altogether. Clearly this person did ignore the rules or did not bother to ask for clarification.  Others continue to send in entries without the entry forms.  This may sound like hard work to you as an entrant, but technology has made it so easy. One can literally take a snap shot of the entry from and inbox this through fb messenger or email it in picture format.

The VOC takes pride in our work in one tiny area of literature in PNG. What we are especially proud about is our process on identifying the winner.  Our selection and judging process is very stringent. We want to instil integrity into the processes and give an opportunity for the public, sponsors, supporters and participants to believe that we have been transparent and accountable. We want to show and prove that we can be objective and manage wantok system, nepotism and any other possible foul play or conflict of interest.

Otherwise the VOC are privileged to be given the opportunity to lead the Crocodile Prize. The VOC would like to congratulate everyone on their efforts and wish everyone a success in their different endeavours.

 Our Sponsors:

Sponsors Category
Port Moresby Arts Theatre Best Short Play
PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Essays and Journalism
Haltmeier Family FB & NBC Radio Comp
Cleland family Heritage Writing
Yet to Announce Illustrations
Kina Securities Poetry
Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited Short Stories
Mineral Resources Development Corporations Women in Writing
Library for all, Australia Writing for Children

 

The Interim Working Committee

Chairman: Emmanuel Peni, (Author, Director – People Centred OD Consult)

Deputy Chair: Joycelin Leahy (Blogger and Author, operating out of Brisbane, Australia)

Other member of the working Committee:

Ruth Moiam, Consultant (World Bank Communications)

Martyn Namorong, (Blogger, National Coordinator – EITI)

Baka Bina, (Supreme Courts – Human Resources)

Gretel Matawan, (Communications, Institute of National Affairs)

 

Apologies for Silence

Message from the 2017 Volunteer Organising Committee of the Crocodile Prize

Dear everyone

The Volunteer Organising Committee would like to sincerely apologise for the silence we have given to all.

Our Volunteers are putting together the folders (10 altogether) of the entries, and are summarizing all the entries so we can have a comprehensive response as a report to you all.

The folders will go to those who will cull ( select what can be judged) from what ever numbers down to 10 entries. The 10 finalists entries will then be sent to the judges who will select only 5 entries. The 5 entries will go to the sponsors so that the winner can be selected from.

Our selection and judging process is very stringent. We want to instill integrity into the processes and give an opportunity for the public, sponsors, supporters and participants to believe that we have been transparent and accountable. We want to show and prove that we can be objective and manage wantok system, nepotism and any other possible foul play or conflict of interest.

Please bear with us.

We will also publish all the names of all those who sent in entries in the Post Courier next Friday – so look out. On Friday we will also have decisions: on when the finalists will be announced, when the Prize Giving Ceremony will take place and other important information. We will publish these on the news paper too. We initially planned on announcing the winners in December 2017. But this is not feasible anymore. we appologise too for this.

Thank you for your understanding.

We apologise again for the delayed announcement.

Yours sincerely

2017 Volunteer Organising Committee

The Hunting Trip

Edited for the Blog and the Anthology from an Entry for the 2017 Crocodile Prize Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited by Leila Parina.  Leila loves reading, writing, sketching, and dancing. Community volunteering work is something she is happy to do in her free time. She began writing very early at about 9 years old.  Her first published work was just out this year. A piece “A paradigm shift” featured in the PNG anthology “My walk to Equality”

The Hunting trip:

Billy had woken up early that morning. It was an exciting day for him. He was admiring a spear which he held in his hand. Just then a voice shouted from the house, “Mum! Where’s my spear?” It was Garo, Billy’s older brother.

Billy looked up at mother as she gave him a look. They were both by the fireplace as she prepared breakfast. Billy grinned sheepishly as he stood up. With spear in hand he quickly left mother just as soon as Garo entered.

“Mum?” asked Garo. Mother laughed then said, “The food is ready now”.

“I’m afraid I don’t have time to eat. I’ll take my food along with me. I’ll get going as soon as I find my spear” he said as he looked in the corners of the house.

“Your spear is with your brother. Now please get him and come have something to eat before you both go”, said Mother.

“WHAT?!” he exclaimed, “Why does he have my spear, and why are we both going? Mother, there is a wallaby that I have been trying to catch for two days now and I am sure I will catch it today. Billy will ruin everything if he comes.”

Mother smiled and passed Garo a platter of fried bananas and kaukaus. Billy walked in with a wide grin on his face. The sight of Billy angered Garo so much he almost dropped the food. This made Billy laugh out loud while Garo scowled. Once seated, Mother offered a prayer of thanks, and then the boys ate. Garo ate half of his food and put half away in a knapsack, while Billy gobbled all on his plate.

After arguing with Mother for almost half an hour Garo knew it was of no use. Billy had to come with him. Disobedience was not an option. “Ok fine,” he sighed, ”Billy can come along”.

Once ready Mother handed Billy a knapsack filled with banana and kaukau. Garo groaned, “we are going hunting, not to a picnic trip.” Billy was hesitant but accepted the food anyway. They both bid mother farewell and left. Father had also told them to be back before sunset.

 

As the boys walked further into the bushes Garo laid down the ground rules. “Alright! Whatever you do, do not interfere. Just watch what I do. Do not ask silly questions. Do not run around wherever you want to. Do not touch my spear. And if you see anyone, do not talk to them…”

“Geez, am I even allowed to breath?” Billy muttered.

“What, what was that?”

“Oh. Nothing”

The boys walked on in silence. They had just turned past a huge rain tree when Billy spotted a wallaby, just several metres from where they were walking. He tugged at his brother, “ Garo! Look!” Garo saw the animal but realised that it was too late as Billy had already alerted it with his screams. The wallaby quickly ran off. “Why did you have to scream?” Garo scolded his brother, “don’t you know loud noises scare animals away?! You know nothing about hunting! Urgh! ”

Garo angrily marched off. Billy followed. “I’m sorry big brother”, he pleaded. “It’s alright, just keep quiet next time”. Billy nodded.

They neared a creek and decided to cool off in the waters. They had a great time playing in the water and Garo’s anger quickly subsided. He looked up to the sky and saw that it was already past noon. Billy must be really hungry now, he thought. He left Billy in the water while he waded out to dry off and prepare the food. When he walked toward their bag he saw the wallaby sniffing their bag. Just my luck! He thought. Then he realized that he had left his spear and the bush knife on a rock in the water. He turned to see Billy diving in and rising up from the water.

Billy turned just in time to see his brother looking at the rock in front of him with an odd expression. Garo saw Billy looking at him and started waving frantically. Wow, thought Billy, Garo must be really happy with me. He waved back happily and dived back into the water. When he rose from the water he saw his brother making throwing signs at him. Hmmm, maybe Garo wants me to throw myself more. He dived in once again. When he got out he felt that he had had enough. He picked up the spear and knife from the rock and made his way out of the river.

Garo felt helpless as the wallaby sniffed and nuzzled at the contents in their bag. He looked up and saw Billy coming over with the spear. Finally! But when he turned to see the wallaby it was already scurrying off. Billy saw and he suddenly realized what Garo was trying to tell him this whole time.

Garo sank to the ground like a heap of kaukaus. “Garo, I’m sorry”, said Billy mournfully, “I didn’t even realize”. Garo sniffled, “You’re not ready to hunt yet. Let’s just go home”. He picked up their things and started walking. Billy helped him and followed obediently.

They were near the village when they passed a mango tree. Billy wanted to climb the mango tree but Garo didn’t. He insisted on going home straight away. Garo was holding the bush knife and carrying the bag, so he walked in front while Billy held onto the spear and tagged along. Billy turned to take one last look at the mango tree and saw the WALLABY!

Without thinking he threw the spear and it hit the wallaby. The animal fell. Garo turned and saw what had happened. He was overjoyed. “Little brother”, he exclaimed,” you are a hunter”. Billy smiled and said, “I learnt it all from my big brother”.

The two excited boys picked up their meat and headed home to their very proud parents.

That night they had a lovely dinner of wallaby meat, kaukau, and bananas.