Monday, November 26, 2012


We begin now serializing the novel, FINAL ISLANDS IN THE SUN,  by Russell Soaba.

I will not come to you in anger.

                    -Hosea: 11-9

Chapter 1

Tomwaya leaned over the driver’s window to adjust the side mirror, so that traffic from behind him would be visible enough for him to determine safe driving ahead. He was always conscious of his fellow right-hand-drive motorists who had the habit of overtaking him on the left, along the dirt track, an unconventional method observed by those in too much of a hurry. Overtaking on the right would mean collisions with on-coming traffic, especially at dangerously nonnegotiable bends and steep recessions that rush up without warning at unwary drivers. In situations such as this, the driver observing correct traffic rules would be the one in trouble.
    It was a long dirt road, this outback highway, carved out, it seemed, of a rough terrain of hard abira rocks, crags and abysmal precipices that could easily cause nausea even for well-experienced motorists and travelers alike. It spanned thus, somewhat relentlessly and in snaky twists and turns along the ridges of the Owen Stanley Ranges, from the township of Alotau to Dogura, and further on to Cape Vogel. Tomwaya’s passenger, traveling home to these parts of the Milne Bay Province from Port Moresby City, asked how long it would take them to reach Awaiama. He assured the passenger they would get there in a couple of hours.
    “Would that be as far as you would want me take you, sir?” Tomwaya then asked, carefully, as if weighing out possibilities for further financial transactions with his client from the cities.
    “Yes,” said the other, “if you can’t make it as far as Dogura.”
    “Parts of the road up that way are bad,” warned Tomwaya, and changed the gears to ease the four-wheel drive down the steepest slope his passenger had ever seen.
    “I’ve seen the road from Goroka to Kainantu,” said his passenger, “even those from Kundiawa to Hagen, and from Goroka to Lae, but I have never seen anything as dangerously steep as this one.”
    “We get used to our highway, sir.”
    “So, would that mean you would take me as far as Wedau and Dogura?”
    “You know,” said Tomwaya with a pleasant sigh of feigned despair, “money these days speaks safely louder than dangerous terrains like this one.”
    “I have the money to cover the fare, if that’s what you are saying.”
    Tomwaya turned and eyed his passenger questioningly.
    “I do have the money,” said the passenger finally, looking somewhat annoyed.
    “All right, I’ll take you there,” said Tomwaya, and they were down to level ground with the road dust free and stretching far before them.
    Tomwaya could feel better now, knowing that the financial constraints on his business would be alleviated a little, as that trip from Alotau to the outskirts of Dogura would mean his earning more than five hundred kina that week. His fellow highway drivers along this route were doing equally well, he was glad to see. But the number of clientele from the cities was growing smaller each year as most travelers preferred dinghies and chartered coastal vessels, which were cheaper. These city travelers traveled in groups, or families of clans and tribes, and all thus shared boat fares at the lowest that each could afford. Tomwaya, however, grew so excited about the prospect of making good money that day that he drove on without any thought of asking who his passenger really was.
    When they reached Awaiama there was nothing else to see except the bush and the long stretch of the highway. Occasionally a few vendors appeared visible along the highway, but these were mere villagers anxious to sell kulau, mangoes, pineapples, wild berries and assorted greens and fruit nuts. They drove on without much conversation and when Tomwaya cast a glance at his passenger the latter seemed too tired to concentrate on what lay before them. He, the passenger, was busy nestling himself against the comfort of a luxurious looking four-wheel drive, perhaps for a brief nap. It wasn’t until they had driven out of Awaiama district and were making their way towards Dogura that Tomwaya realized he needed more information on his client. But when he turned from the wheel again to ask the necessary questions the latter was fast asleep. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012


DPM meeting Papua New Guinean award-wining poet, Michael Dom, at the NARI stall of the Morobe Show this year.
Deputy Prime Minister, Honorable Leo Dion, could only make a very quick stop by at the NARI stall during the 51st Morobe Show this year.

But he was able to make the most of it.

Mike Quinn, President of Morobe Province Agricultural Society, introduced him to someone else who’s famous; but for pigs & poetry, rather than politics.

It’s all good!


Michael Dom.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


One of those rare books that has haunted the general intelligentsia of Papua New Guinea as a new and independent sovereign state for the last three decades.

A book that many of the earlier generations of the 1960s and 1970s of Papua Guinea New Guinea grew up with.

 Indeed, a rare kind of book that finds its home only in the libraries of book lovers that love the cultures of Papua New Guinea.

And yet, the kind of book that appears once every three decades then disappears as quickly as it appears.

Always, it is wise to grab a copy.

Or wait another three decades for a rare chance such as this.

This 2012 republication: courtesy of the University of Papua New Guinea Press in association with The Anuki Country Press.

Currently selling at UPNG Bookshop for:

K55.00 (hardcover)

K45.00 (paperback)

Monday, September 24, 2012


Ia ora na Russell,

How are you ?

I'm pleased to have by Drusilla your e-mail,
So I can hope to have some news 
from you and your young writers,

I would like to congratulate you 
for your Awards in September,
It's wonderful !
I knew it by Drusilla,
And I read Anuki, sometimes.

I let you know that there is a possibility 
for you and for your writers to send texts, poems,...
to be published in an electronic review in Europe, 
Vents Aliz├ęs in Budapest (Hungria),

I wrote to Amanda Donigi also 
after having her e-mail by Drusilla

I'll receive the texts for the Pacific area that I'll send
as a member of the comity

 A Doctorant (French word) in overseas French literature,
and Pacific literature, 
teacher at the University of Budapest
would like to have your email,

So can I send it to him?
I'll wait for your response before sending  it to him,

Russell, I apologize for my English,
I do my best.

Well, I'm writing to you before living
tonight for three weeks to spend in France,
I hope to have news from you,
I'm very pleased to share this moment with you,
Warm regards,


Flora, bonjour, at long last we are in touch.

Thank you for your kind words. They uplift me tremendously and I feel blessed.

I am glad you are in touch with Amanda and the rest. A very good crowd
to know in PNG literature!

Please forward my e-mail to those who wish to correspond. It is good.

I will see what I can send, but they might be interested in my 

which I am compiling at present.

Good, until then

Bien cordialement!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Sun on light mist, the yellow
hills. Smoke, mucous sky.
An early riser casts
a glance at the sleeping sea
and yawns.

The day is a tired old earth
panting 80 degrees farenheit.
The afternoon brings in dusty wire
hair, and stomachs that are empty.
Then dusk;
burnt sienna clouds, sky:
a solitary mud lake.

We could love this city
a fluorescent lagoon
of suburban tropicalities;
areca drugs days
bahasa sunsets
ad no betel nuts
for the gods.

The fall of evening blinks out
silhouetted signs:
nogat wok

from KWAMRA: a season of harvest


Monday, July 30, 2012


By Loujaya Toni

Twenty two women
Sitting ducks

Shot at


By trigger happy mouths;

A nameless, faceless number

Threatening shadows

Women in waiting

Wanna-be politicians

Hopeful governors;

Unknown but significant
Twenty two women

All wanting

In on parliament;

They are daunting shadows
Reaching in
To the men’s haus
Haunting his wildest political dreams
Forcing a hand in his schemes
A very present number
At all
His deliberations
Seen and heard more
Than a mere apparition;
Twenty two women
Waiting their dues.

Posted courtesy of Tribal Mystic, Emmanuel Narokobi and PNG Attitude. A review of this strong poem with the emphasis on the line "A nameless faceless number" will be read at the Crocodile Literary gathering in September this year.