The Crocodile Prize is the national literary contest of Papua New Guinea. The Prize was founded in 2010 to provide encouragement and recognition for writers, a publishing outlet for their work and a means of building and strengthening Papua New Guinean literature.
A vibrant national literature is vital to articulate the talent and creativity of the nation and its people, to explore diverse cultural and social perspectives and to promote critical thinking.
The Crocodile Prize is named in honour of the first Papua New Guinean novel, Sir Vincent Eri’s The Crocodile, which was published in 1970.
Since the first call for entries in 2010, more than 2,200 contributions have been received across a wide variety of writing, including short stories, essays/journalism, poetry, women’s literature, traditional legends, student writing, writing for children and illustration.
Winners are announced at the annual Crocodile Prize Awards Ceremony, a major event that also honours sponsors and other contributors to PNG’s literary activities.
Each prize winner receives K5,000 and gets wide recognition – including internationally – for their literary talents.
Though there can only be one winner for each category, many entries are published in the Crocodile Prize Anthology, a major publication that is distributed throughout PNG and abroad. This ensures unprecedented acknowledgement of Papua New Guinean writers, the majority of whom have never been published.
Past winners and shortlisted writers have gone on to write books, win international awards, feature at overseas writers festivals and engage professionally for their writing skills.
The Crocodile Prize has also resulted in offshoot projects, including Trickery at the Crocodile Pool and other children’s stories from Papua New Guinea.
A passionate voluntary committee, mainly comprising prominent writers, organises the Crocodile Prize each year with the great support of sponsors, whose importance cannot be overstated.