Papua New Guinea Crocodile Prize – 2013 Winners

On October 10, 2013, the winners of 2013 Crocodile Prize for Literature were announced.

Whilst this year’s competition did not run as smoothly as the last two years and entries fell from the numbers submitted in previous years. The organisers perserved and announced winners in three categories.

They are Leonard Fong Roka – Short Story Category,  Francis Nii – Essay Category,  Lapieh Landu – Poetry Category.

In the blog post that announced the winners on the tremendously popular website PNG Attitude, Phil Fitzpatrick said that Leonard Fong Roka’s writing is largely instinctive and comes from somewhere deeper.

Mr Fitzpatrick said, “In his work he is setting an example for other Melanesian writers to follow.  In time this may even develop into a distinctive regional style.  It’s greater value, however, is to demonstrate the possibilities for others who might follow in his footsteps.

It is for these reasons that he has been selected as the best short story writer for 2013.”

Mr Fitzpatrick said, Francis Nii essay If Dekla Says Papua New Guinea is Eden, Then It Is!  was a gentle essay that was a direct and unusual response to the negative publicity that Papua New Guinea received in the Australian media following the announcement of the deal to process asylum seekers on Manus Island.

“Rather than a predictable diatribe about the insensitivity of Australian journalists, the essay takes a much gentler course and uses humour and homespun wisdom to demonstrate that life for many Papua New Guineans, particularly in rural areas, is, in fact, very good.

It also pokes fun at those Papua New Guineans who slavishly follow western ways without realising what their own traditional cultures and lifestyles have got to offer.

The end result is an anecdote and fable of considerable power, both in its social and political contexts.  Part of this power is in its purposeful but cleverly disguised objective of making its readers think about the issues.  In this sense it follows in the footsteps of the great essay writers and is a worthy winner”

Poetry Category winner Lapieh Landu just edged out three other contenders to claim the prize.

Mr Fitzpatrick said Lapieh’s poem, I am woman  was made up of excellent couplets containing a question that is answered at the end.  The short, almost terse, responses are confident and proud.  The diction in the poem is very strong and each couplet is a gem of description.  The poem is presented in a simple format which is very effective and very well expressed and  Landu was a worthy winner.

He said all the winning entries will be published in the 2013 Crocodile Prize Anthology, which will be available for sale soon.

More information about the winners and the competition can be found here…


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