Me, A Papua New Guinean Writer

: an interview with Duncan Gabi


It is fantastic to see that the #MeAPapuaNewGuineanWriter series has been received with much encouragement from the Hibiscus Three community and other readers. Thank you! Our next featured Papua New Guinean writer, Duncan Gabi, is one whom the founder of Hibiscus Three has followed for some years with his entertaining short stories, and thought-provoking commentary about decolonisation.


Hibiscus Three: Can you remember the moment you knew that you would pursue and share your creative writing with others?


Duncan Gabi: I don’t really remember, I just went online one day, created a blog and started posting articles. That was in 2016. I started on Facebook of course, before moving to a blog.

Most of my articles are raw, with minimum editing and analysis.


HT: What do you write about, and what are the common reactions you’ve had from readers?

DG: I mostly write articles and short stories the socio-economic issues Papua New Guineans face. These are real life issues every Papua New Guinean faces, and so they relate to the things I write. I also write on colonization and decolonisation, a topic I want to keep writing on. On colonization and decolonisation, I get mixed reactions from my readers. One of the common reactions is “You’re here because of colonizers and what they did”.

HT: What piece of writing of yours are you most proud of, and can you briefly outline its message and its significance to you?


DG: The writing that I’m most proud of is the article I wrote on the West Papuan Issue. Indonesia was given a seat at the UN Human Rights Council and that did not sit well with me, so I wrote about it. Indonesia has a record of gross human rights violations in West Papua and is yet to grant self independence to our wantoks. As a Melanesian, I want to see the decolonisation of Melanesia. That includes the right to self determination for West Papua. To see the last Melanesian country be free from colonial rule.

Here's the article link https://wp.me/pbmspW-10


HT: If you had to sustain your creativity with only 3 books for the rest of your life, what would these books be?


DG: The books would be My Mother calls me Yaltep by Sir Ignatius Kilage, The Melanesian Way by Dr. Bernard Narokobi and My Early Years in New Guinea by Sir Pauline Matane. These books capture PNG, the past and present. They are full of Melanesian wisdom.

These books help me when I'm writing on Decolonisation.


HT: What is the one thing you can’t do without when going to write?

DG: Moods: I have to be angry, happy or sad to write something. I channel my emotions into writing. I can’t write if I’m not angry, sad or happy about something.

HT: Encouraging a thriving literary culture of writers and readers in Papua New Guinea – what does this look like to you?


(Image from anumelo.wordpress.com )


DG: I would like to see PNG writers writing about PNG, we have lots of things to write about. Readers want something they can relate to and connect with on all levels.


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?


DG: I’m currently writing on Decolonisation, and that is something that I would like to keep writing on. There are many facets of Colonization that I’m yet to write on.

I want Papua New Guineans to see what colonialism has done to us and how we as a people can break the chains of colonization that is keeping us in mental prisons.

Decolonisation of the mind is what I want to see taking place across PNG.


HT: Where can readers find your writing?

DG: My articles and short stories can be found on my blog: www.aunamelo.wordpress.com

I’m also on all social media sites. I use my full name, Duncan Gabi.

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Thank you Duncan, for giving us insight to how you are developing 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.

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