An author not bound by his wheelchair

‘Man Bilong Buk’ – a compilation of the best writings by the late Francis Nii – has been published, ensuring his works are available to current and future generations of Papua New Guinea.

The collection of essays, short stories and poems honours and records the legacy of one of the nation’s top writers.

The symbolism of the wheelchair-bound author, who pushed forward the frontiers of literature, has been an inspiring example for many home-grown writers.

Nii, an educated man of sublime intellect and acute judgement, had a bright future ahead of him when his body was irreparably damaged in a tragic motor accident that left him paraplegic living in a ward of Sir Joseph Nombri Hospital.

Through a combination of innate personal strength and faith, Nii reinvented himself as an author and advocate for many causes, including the proper development of a native Papua New Guinean literature.

From his hospital bed and battered old wheelchair, he became a published novelist, an award-winning writer, a mentor of other writers and eventually a publisher.

He was humble man who did not seek personal wealth or fame, but his energy and charisma had a profound impact on helping to sustain a perpetually struggling Papua New Guinean literature.

On 3 August 2020, aged 57, he finally lost the fight with his disability and died.

Man Bilong Buk – his collected works, and stories of a life exceptionally led – provides a wonderful introduction to Papua New Guinean writing and shows the great benefits that a local literature can offer to national culture, society and PNG’s place in the world.

While Francis Nii has departed this life, his legacy lives on through his writings, commitment to his country and passion for nurturing new Papua New Guinean writers.

Man Bilong Buk can be downloaded for free from or purchased in hardcopy from

Press release