Collaborative opportunities with international writers and publishers are rare and few in Papua New Guinea. In recent times a golden opportunity for local writing talents was made possible with the visit of a writer and a publisher from Australia.
Drusilla Modjeska, author of The Mountain, a novel set in Papua New Guinea and Professor Terri-ann White, FAHA, Director, University of Western Australia Publishing visited Port Moresby in September 2013 for discussions on what the possibilities are for publishing writings from Papua New Guinea.
The PNG literary personalities were represented in the self of Russell Soaba of the University of Papua New Guinea and Steven Winduo. The discussion took place over a wonderful dinner at the Ela Beach Hotel restaurant in Port Moresby.
The plan on the grant publishing arrangement was that Professor White would invite interested Papua New Guinea writers to contribute to the anthology of new Papua New Guinean writers to mark the next level of literary activity in Papua New Guinea.
Here is part of the invitation for contributions:
26 April 2014
I would like to invite you to submit a piece of writing for consideration to be included in an anthology to be published in 2014 by UWA Publishing. The project has come from discussions and observations between Drusilla Modjeska and myself about the absence of lively, distinctive and new voices from Papua New Guinea in the past years for readers outside of PNG. Particularly we are thinking of those of us in Australia who have a long and abiding connection and interest in PNG as a near neighbour. We know that writers are producing new work but it is not travelling to enthusiastic readers, and we are very keen to make some of this happen.
We are proposing an anthology that contains both fiction and non-fiction, writing by PNG residents: by this we are not wishing to limit contributors to Nationals only but to invite others who have lived in PNG to submit work. We encourage writing that captures a sense of PNG today: in non-fiction all social, political and cultural topics are welcomed and encouraged, and the fiction we imagine publishing will be as broad in its scope.
It is important that this anthology has PNG editors, particularly as it will be published in Australia, and I have asked Russell Soaba, Tania Nugent and Steven Winduo to be the editors: people with a keen sense of an historical past as well as a close connection with contemporary culture.
In the first place, then, I invite you to make contact with your interest in submitting a piece of writing by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be interested in receiving fiction from fragment-length to 1500 words length, and non-fiction up to 2000 words. Authors selected for publication will be paid a fee. Deadline for submissions is 31 January 2014.
With my best wishes
A window of opportunity has opened for you keen readers of this column. If you have something written that you want to see published in an international anthology you would do well in taking advantage of what is offered to you at this time.
I remember the first major break that I had as a new comer in the literary scene of Papua New Guinea. I was asked to contribute to an anthology published in Australia under the Macmillan publishing program. Ganga Powell who was teaching at the University of Papua New Guinea at that time encouraged me to submit a poem or two for the anthology, entitled: Through Melanesian Eyes. Having my first poem published in the anthology gave me the first experience of international exposure and recognition. The poem went on to become a hit with some of the students in high schools of Hawaii.
Russell Soaba and I have given our commitment to the project. We would like to encourage many Papua New Guineans to submit interesting literary pieces for publishing to us or through Professor White via email for considerations. My email contact is: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use these email addresses for all your correspondence and submission of manuscripts to me for consideration. And again Professor Terri-ann White email address: email@example.com
This exciting publishing opportunity will promote Papua New Guinea writing at another level. With the commitment that Drusilla Modjeska and Terri-ann White are giving to PNG writers we can take one more leap into the realm of literary celebrations.
Drusilla had given previous support and provided opportunities for exciting literary projects in the form of editing of a special issue of MEANJIN magazine, featuring Papua New Guinean writing and writing about Papua New Guinea. In that collaboration some of the younger writers also had their works published in the magazine. The essay I published in that journal entitled “Transitions and Transformations” became the title to my latest book on Papua New Guinean literature going by the same title, but with the sub-title: “Literature, Politics, and Culture in Papua New Guinea.”
I am submitting some of the writings from selected students who studied the Writing, Editing, and Publishing course with me over the years. I have seen some of the best writings done by students in that course I teach at UPNG.
This international publishing collaboration is meant to bridge the publishing gap that exists in Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinean writing will be placed before an international reading audience. This will expose the raw writing talents of Papua New Guineans.
PLEASE NOTE: We are proposing an anthology that contains both fiction and non-fiction, writing by PNG residents: by this we are not wishing to limit contributors to Nationals only but to invite others who have lived in PNG to submit work. We encourage writing that captures a sense of PNG today: in non-fiction all social, political and cultural topics are welcomed and encouraged, and the fiction we imagine publishing will be as broad in its scope.
AND authors selected for publication will be paid a fee. Deadline for submissions is 31 January 2014.