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A Papua New Guinea Sojourn

E.A. Markham

Cover Picture of A Papua New Guinea Sojourn
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • In this absorbing book -- part documentary, part travelogue -- West Indian writer and adventurer Archie Markham evokes in rich detail what it was like to be a Media Co-ordinator in the highlands of New Guinea for two years in the 1980s. Life is never dull: an eclipse of the sun, visits from the Pope and the Prince of Wales (`Pikinini man bilong misis Kwin'), negotiations with aggrieved warriors in the wake of politicaml emergency, along with the smaller day-to-day crises of cultural collision and surprise.

    There is an abundance of `local colour': the singsing, the mumu (steaming of food in the ground); journeys into the interior which recall the exploits of early explorers. Then there's the question of `identity': a black expatriate representing England and a superstate called The World Bank. A writer. A VSO volunteer. A man denying to a crowd at Warbag High School on the Queen's Official Birthday that he is the Queen of England.

    Meditating on his role as cultural arbiter in `remote' Enga Province, Markham inevitably recalls in his title George Lamming's 1960 classic, The Pleasures of Exile: what does this global search for relevance tell us about the possibilities of `grounding' at home?
    Born in Montserrat in 1939, E.A. MARKHAM has lived in many parts of Europe, though Britain has been his home since 1956. Active in theatre and in literature -- he is a story-writer as well as a poet -- he is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, edits ... read more
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