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Booker Prize Foundation Supports Bougainville Library

Press Release

December 7, 2010

Booker Prize Foundation Supports Bougainville Library Building Project

A Trust established to build a library in Bougainville has received a $10,000 donation from the Booker Prize Foundation.

The Bougainville Trust was established by the writer, Lloyd Jones, with the aim of building a library to promote literacy and story in a population that has had virtually no investment in its cultural infrastructure since the end of the civil war there in the 1990s.

Lloyd Jones’s novel Mister Pip which is set on Bougainville during the conflict won the Commonwealth Prize and was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize.

Lloyd Jones said: ‘Speaking on behalf of the Trust we are absolutely thrilled by the generosity of the Booker Prize Foundation; this boost to our fundraising effort gives us some momentum. While we hope soon to begin building we still have some way to go towards achieving our fundraising target.

‘A casualty of the decade-long civil war was the loss of meeting places and books. The library will provide a home for both, and it will also encourage a sense of community and pride in Bougainville’s cultural identity.

‘Story-telling is at the heart of Bougainville culture, and therefore the library we are building is not modelled on the western version of this community asset. It will not only be a place to store and lend books, but also a centre for performance and recording, and preserving and publishing local stories.’

The island’s last library was destroyed by fire. Its cultural centre was destroyed during the conflict.

The planned new library is a joint project between the Bougainville Library Trust and the Bougainville Heritage Foundation. A site has been secured at Toneva which is where the new administration centre for the Central Region will be established.

Jonathan Taylor, the Booker Prize Foundation Chair said: ‘Libraries, books and stories lie at the heart of a community. We are delighted to support the rebuilding of the Bougainville Library.’

The Booker Prize Foundation is a registered charity which, since 2002, has been responsible for the award of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

For more information go to: www.bougainvillelibrary.org.nz


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