Skip To Content

Athabasca University

About Paupa New Guinea Writing

Papua New Guinea Writing (1972-1977) was the continuation of New Guinea Writing, the first literary journal published by the colonial administration in the colony of Papua and New Guinea. Edited by Canadian, Roger Boschman from 1972-1974 and Papua New Guinean, Jack Lahui from 1974-1977, PNGW was published by the Literature Bureau, which was originally situated in the Dept. of Information and Extension Services and, from 1974 onward, with a variety of government departments.

During Boschman's tenure as editor, the journal emphasized the nation-building project that was reflected everywhere in the colony. The journal continued to publish creative writing and the winning entries in the Literature Competition, but the focus on the connection between literature and national cohesion overshadowed the more purely literary intent and focus of NGW.

During this period, Jack Lahui served as assistant editor, job shadowing Boschman until the point at which he could take over the editor’s chair. The last three years of the journal marked a distinct decline in the journal’s quality and effectiveness. Clearly governmental support for “literature” had been tied to the independence exercise. After Independence, the activities of the Literature Bureau were severely curtailed and its operations moved to the Dept. of Education. The one interesting survival from the earlier period was the literature competitions, which were retained as a highly popular, national event until the end of the 1980s.

One characteristic of the administration’s literary journal which must be noted is its populism, which can be detected in the wide range of contributors: from university and college students, to public servants, school children, and the general public. But most of all, this populism is evident in the journal’s encouragement of women. As Lahui moved into the role of editor, Sally-Anne Pipi stepped into the role of assistant editor. Her appointment and the steady stream of contributions by women published in PNGW can be sharply contrasted to the University’s high-brow literary journal, Kovave, in which the presence of women is negligible.

Updated October 13 2016 by Library Services