Updated: May 17, 2021
: an interview with Abigail Seta
Hibiscus Three is delighted to share the conversation we had with the first of the talented Papua New Guinean writers whose work we've been following, and now featuring in our series #MeAPapuaNewGuineanWriter , Abigail Seta.
Hibiscus Three: Can you remember the moment you knew that you would pursue and share your creative writing with others?
AS: I knew I wanted to pursue and share my creative writing with others when I began working at my first permanent job straight out of Uni. It was the year 2018
and my boss, an expatriate, had seen a few of my pieces I had published on my (no longer in use) blog on WordPress and most often would encourage me to keep writing and sharing my pieces. It went to the point where he gave me a column to write on a social issue in PNG in our organisation’s monthly newspaper that same year.
That was a push-come to shove moment for me to pursue and share my writing with others.
HT: What do you write about, and what are the common reactions you’ve had from readers?
AS: As an introvert, it is easier to write than to speak about my experiences or ‘light and darkness’ as I like to call it, as it is therapeutic for me. Hence, the ‘darkness’ talks about the struggles, the losses, letting go, toxic environment and the chaos in ones’ life etc. The ‘Light’ speaks of ones’ journey to finding peace, some semblance of order, healing, to keep fighting and finding oneself. I basically write about my highs and lows in life.
The most common reactions I’ve had from readers is that the majority of my pieces are relatable to them.
HT: What piece of writing of yours are you most proud of, and can you briefly outline its message and significance to you?
AS: The piece of writing I am most proud of is titled ‘Notes to your Soul.’ Its message speaks of ones’ identity and worth. That despite our scars, our circumstances and the days when the world is unkind to us, we are more than enough. We still matter. That we should never feel or let others make us feel any less than that. When I wrote this piece, I was in a place where I felt insignificant and unworthy and that’s when I started to understand the importance of my mental health and being surrounded with affirmations. This piece was and is a therapeutic note to me and others who have felt this way. To this day, it is of significance as it serves as a reminder that I am more than enough.
Here is the link to that piece: https://www.instagram.com/p/CEJc4r6B1Km/ ( you can also view via the images below).
HT: If you had to sustain your creativity with only 3 books for the rest of your life, what would these books be?
AS: My top 3 picks are:
1. Amanda Lovelace – The princess saves herself in this one
2. Rudy Francisco – Helium
3. Robert M Drake – Black Butterfly
HT: What is the one thing you can’t do without when going to write?
AS: My collection of E-books. Reading books helps me in terms of playing around with words when I write so I do not repeat words. It adds to and improves my vocabulary. I literally can’t do without my books when writing.
HT: Encouraging a thriving literary culture of writers and readers in Papua New Guinea – what does this look like to you?
Encouraging a thriving literary culture of writers to me is:
1. Having financial support from the government to help PNG writers put their work out there
2. The need for PNG owned publishing companies
3. Having forums and programs for writers to market and promote their work
Encouraging a thriving literary culture of readers to me is:
1. Having books authored by Papua New Guineans in every library in every school and institution
2. In Elementary, Primary and Secondary Schools, PNG Books should be used in the curriculum especially in English/Language and Literature classes.
3. In bookshops and online sales, PNG books should be sold but at an affordable price.
HT: What is the one thing you haven’t written yet that you’d like to eventually get to, and what inspires you to keep this as a goal?
AS: The one thing I haven’t written and would like to eventually write about is on social issues in PNG especially women empowerment and gender based violence. In my line of work, I usually write news pieces/articles on women empowerment for and as much as I am inspired to write them, I haven’t had that inspiration to bring these issues into my pieces as yet.
I am inspired to keep this as a goal because I want my writing to have an impact on my community of readers especially the younger generation to get them to start thinking, to open discussions and bring about change.
HT: Where can the Hibiscus Three community of readers find your writing?
AS: Readers can find my writing on Instagram. My account is public so you feel free to follow. Here are the details:
Thank you Abigail for giving us an insight to your craft as a Papua New Guinean writer. - HT.
Follow and tag @hibiscus.three using #MeAPapuaNewGuineanWriter on Instagram if you have a blog or writing you would like us to read.