A new book about the Pacific by Pacific writers is now available with the launch of a collection of short stories by the Samoa Observer last night.
‘Our Heritage, the Ocean’ offers readers of all ages, 16 of the top stories from the 2015 Samoa Observer Tusitala Short Story Competition.
The book was launched along with the Pasifika Media Association’s (PasiMA) pioneering regional online media training course, the Pasifika Trainer.
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi praised the inititives. He congratulated the Samoa Observer and PaSIMA for their hardwork.
Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa was also among the audience, which included members of the diplomatic corps, the business community, media representatives, local authors and organisers.
New Zealand High Commissioner, Jackie Frizelle, delivered the keynote address.
Local authors whose stories are in the book are Suisala Mele Maualaivao, ‘The Rat and the Octopus’; Lemalu Sina Retzlaff, ‘The Unborn Child’; Seiuli Seti, ‘A Haunting Thought’; Leaniva Ioane, ‘Moso’oi Petals’ and Jenny Bennett, ‘Turtle Rock’.
Other featured stories in the book are from writers in Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji and Niue.
One of the judges, noted poet, Dr. Selina Tusitala Marsh from Auckland University in New Zealand made these comments about the stories from Samoa.
’The Rat and the Octopus’ – “a fully developed humorously told story - humour is very difficult to write…”; ‘The Unborn Child’ – “ a touching and wise short story excellently written…”; ‘A Haunting Thought’ – “ a strong opening, doesn’t overtell, with an ending skillfully foreshadowed… ”; ‘Moso’oi Petals’ – “I like the single focus of this unforgettable short story…” and ‘Turtle Rock’ – “ … deals with the ongoing conflict of tradition and modernity…”.
A member of the Organising Committee, Marj Moore said this publication and the competition from which it comes, will encourage Pacific writers to tell their stories.
“These stories are amazingly diverse,” she said, “but at the heart of them, is a common thread of family and relationships and all that that entails.”
“We have incredibly talented storytellers in the Pacific and by publishing regularly, their lives and how they live them will reach an audience far beyond our Pacific Ocean.”
“We hope that schools and universities will use these contemporary stories – some of which have been interwoven with rich, traditional myths.”
Editor in Chief and the driving force of the competition and subsequent publication, Savea Sano Malifa, said the Samoa Observer is committed to ensure the competition and the publication continues.
He expressed his gratitude to all the sponsors of the 2015 competition, the authors and particularly the New Zealand High Commission, which largely funded the printing of the book.
The 2016 competition is scheduled for the latter part of this year.
In Samoa, ‘Our Heritage the Ocean’ is available from Samoa Stationery and Books, Business Systems Limited and the Eveni shop at the airport.
It is also available online from shopsamoa.com