Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid December 2020)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information)

Books on Film

Let’s talk about Antiguan and Barbudan filmmaker Shabier Kirchner who is about to make his feature film directorial debut with the adaptation of Jamaican writer Kei Miller’s acclaimed Augustown. As I mentioned in my CREATIVE SPACE series, the cinematographer who made his directorial debut with the self-produced short Dadli (which I talk about and link in another CREATIVE SPACE) has allied with Oscar winning director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave, Widows, Shame etc.) who will be executive producing the film. The two previously collaborated (as director of photographer on all five chapters) on Mc Queen’s Small Axe anthology series (which I still haven’t had the opportunity to see so I hope this vid doesn’t have too many spoilers but I won’t deny you an opportunity to hear from the creators including Wadadli’s own Shabier Kirchner who opens his intro with “Live all the way from Antigua!”). Love it!

Remember you can find interviews with Shabier and reviews of his work here on the blog.


Late Caribbean-British writer Andrea Levy’s novel The Long Song has been adapted for the visual medium. It premieres on PBS on January 31st 2021. Here’s a teaser trailer.

The Long Song – published in 2010 – followed on the success of her phenomenal Small Island – publishe din 2004 – which was made in to a BBC mini-series in 2018. Levy died in 2019. (Source – stumbled upon it on YouTube)

Book of the Year

ETA: See Kudos (below) for the short listed nominees. What’s your choice for book of the year? Rebel Women Lit, a book club out of Jamaica, initially, wants to know. This is your opportunity to be a taste maker (why let the awards and critics have all the fun?). As we said when we did the Antigua and Barbuda Readers Choice Award for the first time, it’s an opportunity to share the love – boost a book and author that you like. Rebel Women Lit’s Readers’ Choice Award, meanwhile, is Caribbean-wide. First there’s the nomination process, then the voting process, and then in later January will come the celebration of the winners. The categories are 2020’s Best Caribbean Novel (Adult, Teen & Tween), Poetry, and Non-Fiction book. They’re also celebrating favourite Caribbean Literary Critic of 2020 and Best New Content Creator (including Booktubers and Bookstagrammers). I’m excited about this; are you? Nominate by December 10th; vote between December 13th and 31st. Winners will be announced January 3rd 2020. Read the full Rebel Women Lit newsletter here. (Source – Rebel Women Lit newsletter)


December 14th 2020 will be #CATAPULTDay, a day when all the efforts of the past months by artists across the Caribbean, those fortunate enough to be recipients of grants via this programme, will be in the spotlight. The organizers (American Friends of Jamaica, Kingston Creative, and Fresh Milk Barbados) have been promoting the various outputs of the grant recipients – especially the salon activities – for several weeks going back to September-ish. But on December 14th 2020, it climaxes with a special series of posts. As a grantee, I’m looking forward to it. Use the #CATAPULTday and #Catapultartsgrant (alternatively or additionally search #caribbeanculturematters #artsmatters #artsspacecaribbean #artecaribeňo #culturematters #creativecommunity) across social media, so you won’t miss a thing. CATAPULT is @catapultartscarib on Instagram and that’s probably a good point of nexus. #CATAPULTday starts at 8am EST (9am AST) and ends at 5pm EST (6pm AST). It cannot be overstated how important this initiative is. Under this initiative, artists across various disciplines and across the English, Dutch, French, and Spanish speaking Caribbean have had the opportunity to create (via the Stay at Home Residency), connect (via the Lockdown Virtual Salon and Digital Creative Training), and communicate their work (via the Caribbean Artist Showcase, Consultancy Vouchers, and Caribbean Creative Online grants), backed by that vital component – money. More of this, please.

I certainly appreciated it.

There is clearly a hunger for it, 2020 or not, as applications came from all over the Caribbean – only 1% of applicants and awardees from Antigua and Barbuda*, so we could do a lot better. But I’m thrilled to be joined by another Antiguan and Barbudan grant recipient, whose vid I just checked out. She is Aisha Joseph, a protegee of both Veron Henry and his father the late Eustace Manning Henry of Hell’s Gate, who is pursuing a bachelor of arts in steel pan fabrication and its art form in the US. “I find pan building to be very therapeutic,” she said in her facebook live. “I love that I’m creating something that so many people have come to love and gravitate towards.” It was such a relaxed and personal walk through the process of pan building, and interesting as that was, my favourite bit (this is a literary site after all) was the self-penned poem she shared. ‘Me ah de Pan’, it is called, and to excerpt the poem’s personification of the pan making process, “it reminds me of pregnancy, except instead of giving birth to a baby, you get me; a sweet melodic and harmonic symphony.” Nice. ETA: I am informed of a third Antiguan and Barbudan awardee (so I’m double checking the numbers received, posted below). She is Raena Bird whose bio asserts a passion for visual arts and her social media indicates that a November 2020 JINK, PAINT & NYAM event (which seems to be part of a series of private paid art events under the banner Wardartli) was made possible by the grant.

*Breakdown of applicants and awardees by Country (per Catapult) – Anguilla (3 applicants – 1%); Antigua and Barbuda (4 applicants – 1%; 2 awardees – 1%); Aruba (6 applicants – 1%; 3 awardees – 1%); Barbados (37 applicants – 9%; 19 awardees – 8%); Belize (4 applicants – 1%; 1 awardee – 0%); Bermuda (4 applicants – 1%; 2 awardees – 1%); Cayman Islands (1 applicant – 0.25%; 2 awardees – 1%); Curacao (2 applicants – 0.49%; 1 applicant – 0%); Dominica (6 applicants – 1%; 3 awardees – 1%); Dominican Republic (14 applicants – 3%; 9 awardees – 4%); Grenada (5 applicants – 1%; 3 awardees – 1%); Guadeloupe (8 applicants – 2%; 5 awardees – 2%); Guyana (11 applicants – 3%; 3 awardees – 1%); Haiti (21 applicants – 5%; 8 awardees – 3%); Jamaica (153 applicants – 38%; 97 awardees – 41%); Martinique (5 applicants – 1%; 2 applicants – 1%); Puerto Rico (19 applicants – 5%; 13 awardees – 6%); Saba (1 applicant – 0.25%; 2 awardees – 1%); Sint Maarten (4 applicants – 1%; 4 applicants – 2%); St. Kitts and Nevis (3 applicants – 1%; 2 awardees – 1%); St. Lucia (1 applicant – 0.25%; 1 awardee – 0.42%); St. Vincent and the Grenadines (2 applicants – 0.49%; 2 awardees – 1%); Suriname (4 applicants – 1%; 1 awardee – 0.42%); The Bahamas (18 applicants – 4%; 8 awardees – 3%); Trinidad and Tobago (66 applicants – 16%; 40 awardees – 17%); US Virgin Islands (3 applicants – 1%; 3 awardees – 1%).

(Source – My involvement as a grant award recipient; the curiousity that led me to ask certain questions and do additional research)


Several Antiguans and Barbudans and Wadadli Pen fam made the short list of the Rebel Women Lit Book Club Caribbean (Readers Choice) book awards. Check them out here; then go vote. (Source – YouTube live announcement via Rebel Women)


Big up to Bocas, the Trinidad and Tobago education administrators, and writer Lisa Allen-Agostini who deserve kudos for this initiative – the kind of initiative we need to see replicated across the Caribbean. It’s the Write Away! Young Adult Literature Project funded by the Scotiabank Foundation. “The Write Away! Young Adult Literature project is giving all schools access to five virtual creative writing workshops via the Ministry of Education’s School Learning Management System. Led by the award-winning author Lisa Allen-Agostini, the workshops break down the essentials of creative writing….it is designed to keep students and teachers motivated and engaged in online learning this term. It also gives students access to exciting, culturally-relevant books of all genres that can foster a lifelong love of reading. …In addition to the virtual package that all schools can access, nine secondary schools in the Write Away! project receive books for their school libraries to facilitate book clubs and reading groups, and guided writing support for their students from the Bocas Lit Fest and workshop facilitator Lisa Allen-Agostini. The best writing from students in the Write Away! project will be published next year in an e-book, launching the next generation of writers-to-watch from Trinidad and Tobago.” Details here. (Source – I may have seen it first on Lisa’s blog or a Bocas email)


The Caribbean Writer Volume 34 prize winners are Carmelo Rivera of Vieques and St. Croix (the Daily News Prize for an essay or fiction from the BVI or USVI), for ‘About My Identity Journey’; BVI-lander resident in Grenada Eugenia O’Neal (the Canute A. Broadhurst Prize for short fiction), for ‘Harold Varlack’s Return’; Jamaican Natalie G.S. Corthésy (the Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize), for ‘The Helper Experiment’; Rajiv Ramkhalawan of Trinidad (the Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize for a Caribbean wrier whose work best expresses the spirit of the Caribbean), for ‘An Unkept Heart’; and Rohan Facey (the Vincent Cooper Literary Prize for exemplary writing in Caribbean nation language), for ‘Fi We Language’. (Source – email from The Caribbean Writer)


Mary Quinn, the grand dame of poetry in Antigua and Barbuda, was honoured posthumously (she passed in 2019) on December 3rd 2020 by the governor general of Antigua and Barbuda for “faithful and meritorious service in education and the literary arts”. Her eldest (Paul Quinn) and youngest (Lydia Quinn) children accepted the award. (Source – Lydia Quinn’s facebook page)


Lorna Goodison has completed her tenure as Poet Laureate of Jamaica, earning praise from the Culture director as she exits. “Throughout her tenure she has elevated brand Jamaica globally and right here at home. The focus work of Lorna in the field of education and culture at varying levels through the deep examination and careful production of Jamaican poetry helped propel Jamaica forward and we are extremely proud of you,” the Minister said. Goodison’s final production is New Voices: Selected by Lorna Goodison, Poet Laureate of Jamaica, 2017-2020. Read more at Jamaica Observer online. (Source – N/A)


Caribbean writer Nalo Hopkinson has been named the 37th Damon Knight Grand Master of and by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for her contributions to the genre. The award recognizes lifetime achievement in science fiction and fantasy. It will be presented at the 56th Annual Nebula Conference and Awards ceremony, to be streamed between June 4th and 6th 2021. Nalo continues to make inroads in the genre not known for its diversity since the publication of her first novel, the award winning Brown Girl in the Ring, in 1998. “Naming Nalo as Grand Master recognizes not only her phenomenal writing but also her work as an educator who has shaped so many of the rising stars of modern SFF,” said SFFWA president (author of her own engaging fantasy series) American writer Mary Robinette Kowal. Kowal said that Nalo’s nomination got “unanimous approval”.

“She will be only the eighth woman, the second person of colour, and the first Caribbean writer to be named a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master, and she is amazing.” – MRK

Some of you may remember that Nalo was a guest of the Caribbean International Literary Festival (later rebranded as the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival before fizzling out altogether) in Antigua and Barbuda in 2006. That’s her third from right alongside other guest and local writers (from left Althea Prince, Elizabeth Nunez, Verna Wilkins, and on the other side of Nalo, Marie Elena John and me – Joanne C. Hillhouse). Nalo was born in Jamaica to Guyanese writer Slade Hopkinson, and grew up in Trinidad, Guyana, and Canada where she’s spent the bulk of her life; she currently lives in the US where she works as a professor when not writing. (Source – Twitter originally then I scouted for more information)

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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

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