Meet the Writer of Writers Exhibition PNG46

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

an interview with Mary Terriette Aseari

With the theme 'Experience of Independence', Writers Exhibiton PNG46 by Hibiscus Three saw Papua New Guinea's 45th Independence Day celebrated online, hosted by the independent publisher's website.

Heeding Ignatius Kilage's clarion within the foreword of 'My Mother Calls Me Yaltep', Hibiscus Three invited Papua New Guinean writers from in-country and abroad, to submit original writing so that their words could be read, considered and appreciated by other Papua New Guineans. To do so on 16 September, Papua New Guinea's Independence Day, seemed only fitting.

The work of ten (10) writers were featured in the two-day online exhibition, where visitors to the website had an opportunity to reflect on the early contributors to literature of Papua New Guinea; many of whom have an impact on today's generation of emerging and established writers and their showcased writing.

With the inaugural exhibition now concluded, Hibiscus Three shares conversations had with the PNG Writers featured, allowing an opportunity for exhibition visitors to learn more about the writer behind the prose.

Stay connected with the Hibiscus Blog in the coming days to read the Meet the Writer of Writers Exhibiton PNG46 series. First up, we spoke to Mary Terriette Aseari.

POETRY | Epitome of Beauty and Intelleigence (2020) by Mary Terriette Aseari | ORO

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

Mary Terriette Aseari: Writing has always been a part of me. I cannot remember a time I did not want to write. I’ve always written my thoughts down but I never really had the courage to share it with others. There was this time I shared something I had written with a close friend. He seemed to really like it and encouraged me to share my work. That was that light bulb moment for me. And the rest is history.

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

MA: My pieces are a reflection of who I am or a product of my observation. People say a good writer writes from experience. I say a good writer writes from both experience and precise observation. I usually write poetry but I’m not restricted to a genre. I write on romance, social issues, woman empowerment, Pacific culture, the science fiction and many more. Wherever the inspiration strikes I write.

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

MA: A piece of writing of mine that I am most proud of is the piece that was published on Hibiscus Three’s PNG46 Writer’s Exhibition ‘Epitome of Beauty and Intelligence’ (a spoken word). It speaks about Papua New Guinean women and how we are not just mere beauty statements but that we are so much more than that. We are a symbol of rich culture and a household of intelligence.

I did my first ever live spoken word performance with this piece at the Mr. and Miss UPNG pageant and the feedback I got from it was priceless. Both boys and girls approached me to tell me how they had goose bumps and were captivated by the piece. That was when I realized the power of both spoken and written word.

Words can impact lives. If you think you have it in you to bless the world with your words then go for it.

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


  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

  • Living your Dreams by Leslie B Mamu

  • The Holy Bible

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

MA: One word, ‘INSPIRATION’. I cannot write anything good if I lack the inspiration. I feel that if I write without inspiration, I am writing gibberish. Without inspiration my writing would lack depth, creativity and insight, the very things I owe my readers.

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

MA: I believe in order to encourage a thriving literary culture of writers and readers in PNG we have to fix the basics or the foundation. Encourage kids at a very young age to learn to read and write fluently. The education curriculum should be addressed. Equip teachers with the necessary skillset to teach young pupils and provide resources to aid effective learning. Introduce phonics in every elementary school around PNG in that way young students would learn how to read and write fluently and in the future contribute to the literary field not only in PNG but the world over.

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?

MA: There is one type of poetry that I haven’t written yet but I’d say it’s one that intrigues me and I’d like to try it out. It’s called an ‘ode’ which is basically a lyric poem that praises someone or something. As a Papua New Guinean woman I am aware that our stories have been told and passed down through oral tradition usually through storytelling, singsing or chants. Ode to me is the written form of oral tradition (A more positive form of a lament). I’d like my work to have elements of my culture and roots as a Papua New Guinean woman. I feel writing odes will help in doing that.

HT: Where can readers find your writing?

MA: I started a poetry blog (I’m still new at this so please don’t judge, hehehehe☺). Its

I also have an Instagram page insomniacsoul_99 .


Thank you, Mary! Hibiscus Three encourages all readers to follow Mary's blog, and social media page, and continue to support and promote writing by Papua New Guineans.

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