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EDITORIAL: The Dearth Of Good Literary Habits And How One Win Could Change Things

Mary Rokonadravu is a shining light in the Pacific literary community. The Fijian writer was recently awarded the Pacific regional prize in the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story competition.  The communications
01 May 2015 08:05
EDITORIAL: The Dearth Of Good Literary Habits And How One Win Could Change Things

Mary Rokonadravu is a shining light in the Pacific literary community.

The Fijian writer was recently awarded the Pacific regional prize in the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story competition.  The communications manager has been writing for the past 20 years and hopes her win will inspire other Pacific writers.  In fact, we want to ensure that more aspiring Fijian writers take up the trade. In fact, the quicker people look at writing as a trade, the easier it is to transfer or acquire the necessary skill sets.

Horror writer Stephen King wrote in his seminal work of non-fiction, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,” that “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”

It’s the standard formula for success for any aspiring writer.

For those old enough to remember, growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, the Fijian literary scene was abuzz, for want of a better word. Joe Nacola, Satendra Nandan, Pio Manoa, Subramani, Raymond Pillai, Arlene and Vanessa Griffen, Larry Thomas, Vilsoni Hereniko and later on Joseph Veramu and Sudesh Mishra to name a few of the prominent published Fijian authors.

The core of these writers formed the Fiji Writers Association that was formed at the University of the South Pacific in the 1970s. Later, groups like the Niu Waves Writers Collective provided platforms for Teresia Teaiwa, Mohit Prasad, Robert Nicole, Jese Temo, Frances Koya Vaka’uta, Padric Harm and others to publish and perform their works in public.

Performances were held at local nightspots like the Traps Bar, Defence Club and USP. It was an exciting time to be a writer. However, like all movements, whether artistic or socio-political, that are birthed in particular times and circumstances, the momentum wore out and people moved elsewhere.

Ms Rokonadravu’s win is indicative of the creative forces that have been brewing beneath the political landscape of this country in the last ten years.

Writers are opinion-shapers. Her finely-crafted story, ‘Famished Eels,” is a mesmerising, intoxicating, journey into identity. It’s bound to be the topic of discussion in classrooms, around coffee-tables and at literary events.  It’s bound to inspire opinions on identity.

At one time, Ms Rokonadravu ran writing creative writing programmes for the Fiji Corrections Services. Even the marginalised in society have stories to tell. We predict that in a year’s time, more Fijian writers like Ms Rokonadravu will emerge.  Why not?

More reading, more writing means stronger opinions and clearer voices. As the great French writer, Victor Hugo once said, “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

Feedback:  josuat@fijisun.com.fj

 



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