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Athabasca University

Key People

Adler, Richard - One of the people who organized the Creative Training Centre and invited Glen Bays to be its first Director. Adler was Executive Dir. of Kristen Pres in the early 1970s; he succeeded Bays as Dir. of Christian Communications Commission in 1973. Adler was active in the every aspect of the mission system, including the formation of the Christian Publishers and Booksellers Association periodicals project.

Bays, Glen - missionary and journalist with experience in Africa; recruited as Director for the Creative Training Centre. Worked in PNG during three periods from 1970 to 1985. Bays was responsible for first formalized series of creative writing courses in the mission system; he organized the Christian writers' union, CWAMEL, and established numerous periodicals, including Precept. Bays was a key figure in the organization of Christian communications networks in PNG.

Beier, Ulli - teacher and cultural promoter with prior experience in Nigeria; Beier was recruited to teach new literatures at University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG). Beier worked in PNG during two periods from 1967 to 1978. He was a key figure in the teaching, publication and dissemination of native writing. As the first Director of Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies, Beier was an important figure in the collection and valorization of PNG folklore.

Boschman, Roger - third Director of the Literature Bureau and editor of Papua New Guinea Writing (1972-74). Boschman was responsible for expanding the profile of the Literature Bureau with Writers Day and Literature Competitions.

Brash, Elton - teacher at both Goroka Teachers College (GTC) and UPNG; interested in pedagogy. Brash edited numerous works of folklore alone and with Mike Greicus (also of the Lit. Dept. at GTC), notably the papers from a 1972 conference on the teaching of literature in PNG.

Brash, Nora Vagi - Papua New Guinea's first female playwright and well-known actress, Nora Brash has been the Artistic Director of the National Theatre Company and is the only woman to have served as commissioner for the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Chakravarti, Prithvindra - recruited to teach folklore and literature at UPNG. Most stable of all literary change agents at UPNG, Chakravarti worked in PNG from 1967 to 1986. He was a key figure in the collection of PNG folklore, and in the establishment and editing of literary journals, notably Ondobondo; organized the most viable writers' club at UPNG.

Enos, Apisai - prolific poet whose use of language in High Water was regarded as potentially formative of an indigenous poetic tradition; worked within both literary systems.

Eri, Vincent - novelist and teacher; one of Beier's first students; his novel, The Crocodile (1969), was the first to be written by an islander.

Hannet, Leo - playwright and student activist; the founder of the Black Power group at UPNG and the first playwright to gain prominence.

Jawodimbari, Arthur - playwright, director, arts administrator. Jawodimbari had one of the longest standing attachments to drama in the country. He succeeded Kaniku as Dir. of Drama at the National Arts School and then at the National Theatre Company. A Beier protégé, Jawodimbari studied drama in Nigeria. From the mid 1980s onward, he held posts as Dir. of the National Cultural Council and of Cultural Affairs, among others.

Kaniku, (Teloti/John) - playwright, actor, director; Kaniku was the first islander to establish a theatre company (Theatre New Guinea ). His vision for PNG theatre was formative for the first years of the drama programme at the Creative Centre for the Arts (CCA).

Kasaipwalova, John - poet, playwright, editor, activist; Kasaipwalova authored the most anti-colonial of PNG texts, Reluctant Flame, which Beier published in PNG and in Nigeria. Kasaipwalova left literature for politics during the 1970s, but began to write again in the 1980s using traditional oral forms.

Katahanas, Greg - teacher in PNG from 1957 to mid 1970s. Katahanas taught English at GTC and originated the drama programme there. He established Theatre Six at Goroka in 1967 and was the driving force behind the establishment of Raun Raun Theatre Company. He also established the Pacific Playhouse Series for drama scripts.

Kiki, Albert Maori - Labour activist, writer, politician; his autobiography, Kiki: Ten Thousand Years in a Lifetime, (1968) was the first book to be written by an islander.

Kolia, John - Australian who became a naturalized citizen of PNG in 1976. Kolia was a controversial figure in PNG literary life: playwright, editor, novelist, reviewer, and one-time Director of IPNGS.

Lahui, Jack - Poet and fourth Dir. of the Literature Bureau (1974-1977); Lahui was active in PNG literary life for over two decades. He directed the Literature Bureau's various successors at the National Research Institute.

Liyong, Taban lo - East African writer recruited by Beier to come to the Lit. Dept. of UPNG. Liyong was Chair from 1975-1977; he made a valiant attempt to revive PNG writing in the first PNG writers Seminar held in 1976.

Lutton, Nancy - widely known for her pivotal work in establishing libraries and archives in PNG both at UPNG and at the national level.

Matane, Sir Paulias - regarded as one of Papua New Guinea's elder statesmen, with extensive experience as a senior educator, public servant, diplomat, and Governor General. Sir Paulias is also one of the most prolific of PNG writers, and a leading social commentator.

Maynard, Don - Director of the Literature Bureau (1970-72); established the Administration’s first literary journal, New Guinea Writing (1970-71). Maynard was active in teaching creative writing, locating publishers for his writers, and constructing the Literature Bureau as a meeting ground for all writers. Maynard resigned from the Bureau in protest when an anti-administration article written by John Waiko was rejected by Maynard’s superior.

McKinnon, Ken -

Mihalic, Fr. Frank - champion of Neo-Melanesian (Mihalic's original term for Tok Pisin); he produced its first dictionary and translated the Constitution into Pidgin in 1985. Mihalic established and edited the Pidgin newspaper Wantok in 1970.

Murphy, Greg - English teacher and editor at GTC; established O Mama and Hey Now anthologies. Actively critical of what he saw as Literature Bureau paternalism towards writers, Murphy now teaches at the University of Technology. Narokobi was the most prominent advocate of the Melanesian Way.

Soaba, Russell - writer and teacher; Soaba was one of the most committed and prolific of PNG's first generation of writers. Soaba never aligned himself with any particular literary sponsor, although he was influenced by the Samoan existential novelist, Albert Wendt. Soaba is best known for his two novels Wanpis and Maiba; he now teaches at the UPNG.

Solomon, Anna -

Stell, Regis -

Takaku, William - actor, director; after studying at NIDA, Takaku returned to PNG as Artistic Director of the National Theatre Company.

Tawali, Kumalau - writer and Christian activist, arts administrator and one of the most committed and prolific of PNG's writers. Dir. of IPNGS in 1980, Tawali worked as a poet and editor in all of PNG's literary systems, regardless of the source of sponsorship. His collections, Signs in the Sky and Tribesman's Heartbeat are regarded as formative of a truly indigenous poetic tradition.

Trist, Peter - drama promoter, producer, director; in the late 1960s, while working for UPNG, Trist organized the first drama society there. Later, as Dir. of Drama at NBC, he was a major force in the encouragement of PNG radio drama as well.

Waiko, John - dramatist, activist; one of the first student radicals on campus, Waiko later earned a PhD in Australia, returning to participate in PNG as a social commentator and politician.

Walcot, Kevin - Editor of Wantok from 1975 to the mid 1980s, Walcot was active as Director of Word Publishing in the promotion of Pidgin writing.

Winduo, Steve -

Updated October 13 2016 by Library Services