Publication Details

Kearney, S. 2006, 'The power of the pen: Solomon islands women uniting to overcome adversity through writing', Kunapipi: journal of postcolonial writing, vol. XXVII, no. 2, pp. 77-91.


Indigenous writers of the Solomon Islands, as with the majority of indigenous Oceanic countries and states, exhibit common themes throughout their literary works relating to colonisation, decolonisation and independent rule, the retelling and recording of traditional myths and legends, and issues relating to transcultural confusion. In reading the works of indigenous Solomon Island women, similar themes are evident, however, there is also a striking digression from those themes. For the purposes of this study, the writing can be divided into two distinct periods - writers born in the pre- and post-independent eras. l In both of these categories, it is evident that the women offer an insight into their world often from within a very personal and emotional space. Their poetry and prose reflect their fears and concerns for the future for themselves, their families and their society. Although the pre-independence era is the primary focus of this paper, this is not to suggest that the post-independent period is less valuable or interesting. Both groups of women have a lot to offer Pacific literature as their works capture their thoughts and feelings of their society in its various transformations. Tongan writer, Konai Helu Thaman, states that:

While much has been written about the impact of colonialism on Pacific economies, environments, politics, and social structures, little attention has been focused on its impact on people's minds, particularly on their ways of knowing, their views of who and what they are, and what they consider worthwhile to teach and learn. (n.p.)