Peter Jokisie is originally from Lae, Papua New Guinea, and loves travel, movies, adventure and writing.
He has won the prestigious Crocodile Prize - the National Literary Awards of PNG - twice, once in 2016, and again in 2017 with his story Charlotte and the Shiny Crocodile. This story is now being developed into an illustrated book for the Library For All collection.
Peter kindly took some time to answer a few questions for us about his life and work.
Library For All works with authors and illustrators from around the world to create our responsive, relevant and diverse library.
Library For All is going to publish your winning story in our digital library. Have you always enjoyed creative writing or is this a new venture?
Writing takes me to a new place every time I put a pen on paper. It’s amazing how you can create something entirely new with just a pen and a paper or escape from this life and enjoy an entirely new concept in life. I have always loved literature, reading, writing, speaking, not only English but I’ve also taken interest in learning Spanish, French & Mandarin and trying to write in those languages, just for fun. I’ve been writing forever, since I first learned to write the English alphabet.
We’d like our readers to get to know you better. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Well my friends call me Joey and I also write under the pseudonym of J. P. Richard. I currently work with DuluxGroup PNG, PNG’s paint manufacturer, and work and live between three cities, Port Moresby, Lae & Melbourne. It gives me joy to travel and write. New environments and new scenarios give me the inspiration to write too.
My previous goals were to win a major writing competition and I accomplished that by winning the Crocodile Prize Award two years in a row: 2016 Young Emerging Writer and 2017 Writing For Children. My next goal is to publish my sci-fi novel titled “Sophia” and a series of children’s stories that I’m working on: “Adventures of Charlotte.” My hobbies include landscaping, travelling, bush trekking, scuba diving and, of course, creative writing.
Can you tell us what benefits you think Library For All will bring to elementary schools and the PNG community?
When I started school in 1995, we never had elementary schools, it was just grade 1 and up. But I would imagine elementary age group to be around 5 or 6 and that’s when their imaginations are on high: apparently animals talk and children fly on magic mats. If the kids are in major town areas, they do have reading books. Accessibility to books is not the challenge here, but the challenge lies in whether the adults can buy their kids books and take time to read those books to the kids and take them on this journey introducing their minds to the world of literature. If the kids are in a more remote area, it is difficult to get reading books. In those areas, Library For All could organize book collection clubs like “Kids helping Kids” where town elementary students collect books and send to rural kids. The way I see it, Library For All can benefit both young readers and aspiring children’s writers by
a) influencing adults in town areas to drive that learning in kids
b) making that access to books more efficient for rural kids
c) encouraging the publication of children’s stories.
Do you have you any ideas about how LFA can reach and motivate writers such as yourself around the country?
A stand-alone literature competition for children’s literature, reviewing children’s writers in previous competitions, creating a database, establishing a presence in elementary schools, and the old fashioned way, advertise, advertise, advertise!
We thank Peter for his thoughts and ideas about books, reading and literacy in PNG. Library For All is proud to work with a wide range of authors to ensure our PNG collection is always diverse and culturally relevant.