Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed lV

This picks up where Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed l through lll leave off (use the search feature to the right to find them). It features reviews about A & B writings (ETA: also films, songs, plays as I find them) that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. But as I was recently asked in an interview if there are any writers of note from Antigua beyond Jamaica Kincaid, I feel it important to reinforce that while Kincaid’s well earned stature is indisputable, Antigua and Barbuda does have an emerging literary culture. Dig through the section on Antiguan and Barbudan Writings and its sub-genres for more on that, and scroll through this and the other reviews sections to read what has been written about our writers. Do we have a literary culture. Hell, yes. With very little to encourage and sustain it, it lives both at home and abroad.

“It is perhaps the saddest, but most wise and beautiful book that you will ever read. It may change your life, if not certainly your heart.” – Jamaica Kincaid’s Mr. Potter reviewed at MostlyFiction


“Although there are some flaws here and there, The Star Side of Bird Hill is a promising and enjoyable debut, as full of colour and curiosity as its gorgeous, unforgettable cover. Jackson’s next novel will be one to look out for.” – Caribbean Review of Books on Naomi Jackson’s The Star Side of Bird Hill


“Stories of the macabre are clearly viewed by Airall as a primary vehicle for relating the horror and tragedy of young innocence lost. The Forgotten achieves such an objective through the delicate treatment of a young, competent cast.” – Wesley Gibbings reviews The Forgotten, written by Zahra Airall and performed by Antigua Girls High School during the 2015 Caribbean Secondary Schools Drama Festival; review/report published in The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian


dancing granny“A dynamic West Indian folktale, by a master storyteller, about Granny Anika and the mischievous Spider Ananse.” – Publisher’s Weekly review of The Dancing Granny by Ashley Bryan


“This is a Bildungsroman with more than one plucky heroine, and the navigation of their separate, converging calamities and coups is handsomely, gracefully handled.” – Shivanee Ramlochan reviews Naomi Jackson’s The Star Side of Bird Hill in Caribbean Beat


unburnableHIRESresized“Marie-Elena John takes readers on a fascinating journey to the mysterious island of Dominica, going back and forth in time from Lillian’s present-day to her mother’s and grandmother’s lives in post-WWII Dominica.” – The Rebel Housewife on Marie Elena John’s Unburnable


“The Star Side of Bird Hill is worth it for Phaedra alone, and for Jackson’s evocative, lyrical writing — she makes Barbados come to life, and she’s comfortable with both humor and pathos.” – Naomi Jackson’s debut novel reviewed on NPR.


musical_youth_nov1-e1415925946338“This book is packed with music (of course!) and two very likeable, real, and honest main characters. They have a shared passion for music, which blossoms into a friendship – and relationship. But there is much more than love in this book – it also addresses race and color, family secrets and the arts, musical legends and legends in the making, wealth and class, bullies and friends, learning and hope. It is one of my favorite YA books because of these things – and because Hillhouse is a genius at taking us to the scene, of understanding characters, of bringing another culture home to the world. I’m so very impressed, and extremely happy to share this book with our Wandering Educators. Highly recommended.” – Dr. Jesse Voigts writing on Musical Youth for Wandering Educators


MUSICAL_YOUTH_Nov1“Readers will be drawn in by the book’s cast of interesting characters and will love the musical thread that runs through the story.” – Caribbean & Co. re Musical Youth



“The writing is vivid; the characters are credible; the idea of using music as a thread to tie the characters together is brilliant.” – Debbie Jacob writing about Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Musical  Youth in the Trinidad Guardian


ohgad“There’s such an authenticity to her story. I immediately knew the people, the characters she wrote about. ” – Elizabeth Nunez, discussing Joanne C. Hillhouse’ Oh Gad! on NPR


“The dual coming-of-age story alone could melt the sternest of hearts, but Jackson’s exquisite prose is a marvel too.” – review of The Star Side of Bird Hill, a 2015 novel by Naomi Jackson, a U.S. writer with half Antiguan roots/Huffington Post


“The Skin’s special effects are as sophisticated and otherworldly as the dialogue is simple and matter-of-fact.” – Elizabeth Abbott/Huffington Post



Silent Music filmmaker Melissa Gomez, left, with Frances Anne Solomon.

“Whenever we draw on our own deepest experiences to tell stories, those narratives end up being fundamentally authentic and compelling. Silent Music is a perfect example of this. It’s a Caribbean tale I’ve never heard before and the resulting documentary is well-told, and captivating.” – Frances Anne Solomon, director, Caribbean Tales Films


“Characterised by a disarming balance of the coy and a commitment to honesty and openness, Silent Music, seemingly effortlessly, but with great determination and compassion, walks a well judged line between the universal and the particular, the ordinary and the extraordinary, the filmmaker’s own life and that of her subjects.” Christopher Laird, CEO of Gayelle

Read these and other reviews for Melissa Gomez’s Silent Music, here.


“Five Nigerian folktales, masterfully retold accompanied by vibrant woodcuts.” – Publisher’s Weekly on Ashley Bryan’s Beat the Drum Pum-Pum.


“There are moments in the piece where it seems that there is no room expansive enough for the passion of this artist, no frame satisfactory for the personal experiences Mandingo has come to share through diverse media. Emotions run the gamut from amusement to anger, with many feelings in between.” – Debra Greenhut reviews US based Antiguan playwright, poet and actor Iyaba Ibo Mandingo’s Unframed.


“There is an authenticity and immediacy in his work- similar to the way that Mandingo paints using only his hands. It’s as if we are witnessing the absence of tools, of device. Perhaps by allowing truth, ugly and beautiful, the evolution of the moment, we get closer to seeing a clearer picture of what is actually in front of us, unframed.” – Jody Christopherson reviews US based Antiguan playwright, poet, actor, and painter Iyaba Ibo Mandingo’s Unframed.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

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