The Cleland Award for Heritage Literature will be given for the piece of writing adjudged to have best explored traditional customs, beliefs and stories, and promoted PNG’s cultural heritage.

Entries make take any form – poetry, short stories or essays – as long as they relate to heritage, traditions and customs.

Entries will be judged based on: 

  • Creativity, originality and relevance of the piece and the perspectives presented;
  • Style, coherence of ideas, form and structure; and
  • Use language to communicate ideas and images, and demonstrate an understanding of the subject.

The category is open to all Papua New Guineans and multiple entries may be submitted. Entries relevant to other categories (e.g. poetry, short stories or essays) will automatically be considered for the respective awards.

There no strict word limit, but it is important to consider that the judging is based on quality not quantity.

The winner of the Cleland Award for Heritage Literature will receive K5,000 and their winning work will be published in the 2019 Crocodile Prize Anthology

Nokondi – a mischievous character common to many peoples in Eastern Highlands.

About the Cleland Award

Since 2012, former kiap Bob Cleland has sponsored the Heritage Literature Award on behalf of his family.

The Cleland name has a rich and honourable association with PNG.

The Cleland legacy goes back to the 1950s and the family’s story is one of love for Papua New Guinea and its people.

Bob’s father, Sir Donald Cleland, was the distinguished administrator of the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea from 1952-66 and played an important role as the nation prepared for Independence.

Dame Rachel Cleland, the wife of Sir Donald, was an active supporter of PNG culture and was a much loved figure in the country because of her close relationships with the Papua New Guinean people.

Bob Cleland, like his mother and father, has an intimate connection with Papua New Guinea and its people. He arrived in 1953 and worked as a field administrator in Eastern Highlands, East New Britain, Morobe, Simbu and Western Province.

“Any society benefits from being aware of its social and cultural heritage.”
– Bob Cleland

In Eastern Highlands, Bob is regarded with legendary status because of his involvement in the construction of the Highlands Highway – the bigrot – and, in particular, the Daulo section that connects the province to neighbouring Simbu.

Later, Bob served as the executive officer at the Eastern Highlands Area Authority (which became the provincial government) and oversaw the introduction of the traditional character Nokondi as its logo – which was later adapted on to the provincial flag.

The Cleland Award for Heritage Literature reflects the family’s deep respect for Papua New Guinea’s unique, diverse and important traditions. It recognises that Papua New Guinean literature existed – whether in the oral tradition, the stories depicted in artwork, or the great poetry of the singsing – long before the introduction of the written word.

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