Do you think that headline oversells it?
But consider this, before So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End, there has been no book length collection of Antiguan and Barbudan writings featuring the names and the newcomers at home and throughout the diaspora, ever. If I’m wrong and there has been such a collection, let me know. I’m already familiar with the 1970s student collection Young Antiguans Write and I’m happy to have been a part of bringing to print in 2007, a collection – published as a newspaper supplement for Carnival 50 – featuring a who’s who of Antiguan and Barbudan literary and artistic talent. But there has been no book length collection of this type and scope (peep the genres and the generations). And one helmed by one of Antiga and Barbuda’s best. Come on! I’m a Jamaica Kincaid fan. But anyone who thinks the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda begins and ends with her will need to think again after this collection (published by Canada-based A Different Publisher).
I’m happy to have my story After Glow, previously published in Tongues of the Ocean as a part of it. Here’s what else is inside (as this is a Wadadli Pen blog I’ve pointed out the ones associated with us in some way):
Althea Prince’s “Praise-song for Antiguan Story” and Caribbean Language and Standard English: The Case of Antigua & Barbuda (btw, Prince has been in the past and is again a Wadadli Pen sponsor); Madeline Blackman’s Wednesday’s Child; Kai James’ What’s in a Name; Dorbrene O’Marde’s New Orleans Stories & Katrina: A White American Disgrace; Janis Prince Inniss’ Ah We Want One Ride (all essays).
Gayle Gonsalves’ Jumbies Don’t Sleep; longtime Wadadli Pen partner Barbara Arrindell’s Chasing Horses; Wadadli Pen chief judge Brenda Lee Browne’s Broken House Rules; former Wadadli Pen judge and founding partner D. Gisele Isaac’s The Rainmaker; Jelani Nias’ The Return; Ralph Prince’s Experience during the Eruption from his novel Fire Mountain; Heidi Skerritt’s Suffering in Silence; Yvonne H. Pamela James’ Glory Alley, Potters Village, Antigua and Barbuda (all stories).
Dorbrene O’Marde’s Gem of the Caribbean, again (calypso).
Zahra Airall’s From the Window and Missing a Him; Wadadli Pen former finalist Shakeema Edwards’ Let the Black Woman Sing and When Jazz meets Blues; current Wadadli Pen judge Linisa George’s Add Cream and The Phenomenal Black Woman Remixed; former Wadadli Pen judge Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau’s Brain Freeze and The Saddest Story; Tameka Jarvis-George’s Selfish and Uncomfortable; Clifton Joseph’s Memories and I remember back Home; Llewelyn Joseph’s I saw my Father naked and Immigrant Blues; Kaliq Lowe’s Some Things never Change and Free-falling; Rosemarie McMaster (yes, that Rosie McMaster’s) The Pain of Old Age and The Blind are very Blessed; John Prince’s Stifled Youth and Dig the Hole; Taija Ryan’ Choices and Third Time; Motion’s Home (Motion another writer who’s given to Wadadli Pen in the past); Glen Toussaint (who runs the Wadadli Pen Open Mic’s) C’est L’avi mwen and Sky; Mansa Trotman’s Raw Writing; Amber William-King’s Hennessey and Can we meet; Monica Matthew’s Wha you come from? What makes you who you are? (all poetry).
The pictures featured in this post were taken by John Mills at the Canada launch of the publication at the University of Toronto. Put on by the Consul General there, Janil Greenaway, it looks like a really happy event.
The lady front and centre in that last picture is the Consul General, one of the coolest ladies in our diplomtic corps (and I’m not at all biased because she’s a former co-worker of mine). But she’s an avowed supporter of the literary arts and that’s always cool with me. Here’s what she said at the launch, the full text of which can be read by clicking this link (CGRemarks Book Launch 18 Jan 2013): “There’s a lot more to come from Antigua and Barbuda … a small country with a lot to offer the international community.”
Better believe it.