Journo wins competition


A JOURNALIST with The National is one of five regional winners in the British Broadcasting Corporation’s 25th International Radio Playwriting Competition 2016.
Thomas Hukahu, a journalist with the paper, entered his play The Confessions in the BBC competition in January.
He was informed in June that his play, among 14 others, was shortlisted for the two major prizes – English as a first language and English as a second language.
The Confessions is a fictitious sorcery-related attack in a small village in PNG. It is Hukahu’s first full-length play and should run for about an hour.
In BBC’s media centre news on June 10, an article said: “This year, over 1000 entries were received (for the competition) from a record 112 countries, with Papua New Guinea making the shortlist for the very first time.”
The two winners of the 2016 competition and a highly-rated third scriptwriter, from the 14 who were shortlisted, will be leaving for London next month where the two top winners will have their plays recorded for broadcast on the BBC World Service.
Hukahu’s play did not win one of the top three spots but was named, with four others, as a regional prize winner.
The former school teacher from Kubalia, in East Sepik, was named the regional winner for the Pacific. Four other scriptwriters won for the regions of Asia, Caribbean, Europe and Middle East.
The English as a first language prize was won by Canada’s Joanne Guknecht for her play Playing with Fire, the English as second language was won by Brazilian Pericles Silveira for The Day Dad Stole a Bus. The third prize, the Goergi Markov Prize, was won by Uganda’s Erupu Jude for Darkness at Dawn.
A happy Hukahu, who writes short stories and scripts as a hobby, said the regional prize win should motivate him to work on getting more themes on his mind into script form.
“I am extremely happy for BBC to be running such a prestigious competition where writers from all over the world can use the radio play format to share their stories with others – straight from their cities or villages,” Hukahu said.
“And BBC’s feedback, as in rating our storytelling skills, is invaluable. Apart from an English academic prize won in high school, this will be the greatest boost so far for me to get more PNG themes into script form or short stories.”
Hukahu also urged more Papua New Guineans to pen PNG stories and enter international competitions like the one run by BBC and its partners.
“We love watching foreign movies and plays but it is time we also try scripting unique PNG stories to share with others,” he said.
“I know if we put in the time and effort to learn how to write scripts and use the style to capture the many stories in our backyard, the world will be interested in those too.
“And better opportunities may open up for us from such endeavours.”

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