Author wants more PNG books written and read

Weekender

ALPHONSE BARIASI
AN author and mother of two from Northern has just published a collection of poems following her success in writing more than 20 children’s story books.
Caroline Evari says the poetry in Nanu Sina: My Words is divided into four themes: Conflict (fear, doubt, anger, worry, disobedience); relationships (love, heartache, violence, regret and loneliness); hope (the future, persistence, determination, struggle and survival); and family (advice, mothers, siblings, children and a celebration of life).
“My main message portrayed in the book is freedom of expression through writing,” the mother of two boys says.
“I find that when it comes to expressing themselves, most people find it difficult. One way of expressing yourself is through writing and I find poetry to be an ideal platform for me.”
Evari plans to publish several other books soon.
She draws her inspiration from her experiences and surroundings.
She says a lot of students today are spending more time on their phones than in reading books.
“As a result, there is less interest in reading or writing and I see that the literature level is decreasing. If you go on social media such as Facebook, you will find a lot of grammatical errors, this itself is a reflection on the country’s literature.
“Papua New Guinea is land of oral story tellers, we should be producing great writers too.”
Evari is the last of six children born to Alphonse and Margaret Evari from Northern. Her dad is a retired mechanic who was once the workshop manager for the NCD Parts and Services.
He retired in 1997 to contest the national election and the family moved to Musa, in Northern.
“There weren’t many schools in the village so even though I was supposed to be in Elementary 2, I ended doing Grade 5 in one year and spent the rest of the year in the village being an ordinary village kid,” Evari says.
“In 2001, my dad brought me over to Moresby and I was enrolled at the St Peter Channel Primary School in Erima in 2002 where I did Grade 5 and completed Grade 8 in 2005.
“I then passed to Mariaville Secondary School to do Grade 9 in 2006 and completed Grade 12 in 2009.
“I was accepted to do Science Foundation at the university in 2010 and after completing the third year in Computer Science in 2012, I decided to look for employment because my family could not send me back to complete my final year.
Evari developed a liking for poetry when she was 15 years old.
Nanu Sina: My Words is not her first published work. She had writer four children’s illustrated story books already.
The winner of awards under the Crocodile Prize competition, she recommends aspiring PNG writers to try entering it.
“This is a good platform for increasing interests in literature. The competition currently has prize awards for four categories: Women in writing; children’s writing; essay and journalism; and heritage writing.
“The prize for each category is K5,000 and I would like to call upon a potential sponsor for a “Schools Writing” category to get schools to compete. This is another way of generating interest.”
Evari has also embarked on a voluntary journey called “The NCD school talk series” as part of her book promotion drive.
“I will be speaking to students about:
My journey and experience as a Papua New Guinean writer;
The importance of writing and publishing as a Papua New Guinean; and
The platforms available for aspiring writers.
Evari encourages PNG writing because she says there are too many foreign materials in this country, including reading, writing and learning materials.
“Western culture is taking over and soon our culture will disappear completely.
I have been advocating for the need to preserve our heritage through writing and publishing. We need to instill in our next generation the importance of preserving our languages, traditional values and ways before it is too late.
“There is also a need for PNG authored books to be placed on every library in this country. We need our children to be reading our own stories.
Stories that are of relevance to our ways and those that they can resonate with and pick out practical lessons from.
“A country without literature is a country without identity. Hence, we need to take ownership of literature in this country.”
Evari has spent six years working as a team assistant with the World Bank Group PNG Country Office.
She has been writing since she was seven years old and has authored more than 20 children’s story books with the Library for All.
Her first four books developed into picture books are Zuki The crocodile, Old Mulga And The Pawpaw Tree, Zach And His Toy Truck and Let’s Go Up To The Mountain.
Evari is a contributing author to the My Walk to Equality anthology the first ever of writing from Papua New Guinean women. She has also written for the Crocodile Prize competition and spillwords.com and maintains a blog titled Every Battle on wordpress.com, Facebook and Instagram.
Her mission is to inspire a generation of aspiring writers to preserve our heritage through writing and publishing, produce reading, writing and learning materials relevant to PNG culture, traditions and surrounding, and one day have PNG authored books in libraries throughout the country.

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