Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late November 2021)

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 – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here).

Obit.

The region, and Montserrat where he was born and the US Virgin islands where he lived and worked (as a professor) for many years, especially, mourns the passing of playwright David Edgecombe. He died suddenly Friday 19th November 2021 at age 69.

Edgecombe was also a Caribbean Reads writer beginning with the publication of his Antigua-inspired (referencing a particular folklore of the ghost known as the) Lady of Parham, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Guyana Literary Prize Caribbean Award for Best Drama. (Source – Facebook)

Books

Tobias S. Buckell’s Shoggoths in Traffic and Other Stories came out this November. The Grenadian is a winner of the World Fantasy Award. Another award winning Caribbean fantasy writer Nalo Hopkinson said, “Buckell’s speculative fiction is a revelation: honest and wry, characters and situations fresh and unexpected.” The collection consists of 27 stories and includes inhabitants of a small town who won’t vaccinate against a zombie plague, a lone sentry keeping motorists from stumbling into something ancient and evil, a man who puts stranded ghosts to rest, an ex-soldier traveling the seas who trades his new life of hardship for a return to swords and blood, and many more tales of speculative fiction. (Source – Tobias S. Buckell on Twitter)

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Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne announced the release of her My Coral Buddies and Me Cricket Calamity children’s book and related mural. You can read more about this initiative meant to educate and inspire young people here. Book synopsis: “The coral buddies are playing a game of cricket when a massive six takes the corals in search of the ball to a section of the reef they have never been before. This leads to a messy discovery and the coral buddies have to enlist some help from friends.” The e-comic book can be freely read online. It is a publication of the BlueGreen Initiative Inc. with support from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy. There is also an activity book written by BGI co-founder Sen. Crystal Drakes who is also co-credited with Clish Gittens for the story idea. (Source – Shakirah Bournes’ instagram)

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Alison Donnell, of University of East Anglia, whom you might remember from previous postings on this blog, spearheaded both the Caribbean Literary Heritage Project and the online series on forgotten Caribbean writers and publications, released a book on Creolized Sexualities in October 2021. She also asked me to let you know about this discount.

(Source – N/A)

News

The Antigua and Barbuda Cultural Industries Mapping Project has ended with 430 respondents.

Initial response shows significant impact on the creative sector by the pandemic.

More details to follow in December. Here’s a link to the project’s facebook page (Source).

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November 18th 2021 was Jamaica Kincaid appreciation day as CCNY (in New York) honoured her at the Langston Hughes Festival. Jamaica Kincaid is one of the most celebrated writers from the Caribbean, and in particular from Ovals, Antigua.

In her response to the moment, following tributes by writers, Lauren Alleyne and Joanne C. Hillhouse, writers of Trinidad and Antigua, respectively, “I’m not jealous of much but I’ve been very jealous of writers who have a People to write for, I’ve always felt I was an orphan, you know, because I was going to say things that the people I am from, do not want to hear.” Kincaid’s books, many of which are critically acclaimed and award winning, include Annie John, A Small Place, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, My Brother, Mr. Potter, and See Now Then. (Source – me)

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Commonwealth Writers is reporting 6,730 entries with 140 of those translated from 28 different languages. Family drama was said to be the most common theme with stories covering a variety of topics including mental health, homelessness, racism, and the pandemic. Winners will be announced April 22nd 2021. (Source – CW on Twitter)

Workshops and Other Opportunities

The Catapult programme provided grants to Caribbean artists in 2020 and this wrap up takes a look back.

I was one of the grant awardees and you can view my participation here. (Source – Kingston Creative on YouTube)

***

It occurs to me that I haven’t really downloaded my experience of facilitating, in October, a Bocas workshop for the first (and hopefully not the last time). It was good (pending receipt of participation reviews which I always try to use to improve what I deliver). What I was invited to deliver was a workshop on writing for children (I think there was some confusion about this where some thought it was a workshop for children; it wasn’t). I used my own experience of writing children’s books (The Jungle Outside, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure) to engage in practical workshop activity and instruction.

(Cover slide)
(Opening slide)

I also draw on my experience editing children’s picture books – I’ve edited more of these books this past year than perhaps any other book (as one client suggests, some of it is probably inspired by the lockdown and people having a greater awareness of what their children are learning). Whatever the reason, I’ve enjoyed these books and look forward to seeing them in the marketplace. My most recent picture book client is based in Australia and he’s currently doing revisions after receiving my edits and provided this performance review:

“I really appreciate your work. You have an amazing editorial eye. You made some connections I completely missed, and your questions/observations were spot on…You do excellent work and I am happy to sing your praises.”

I also did a session on How to Write Children’s Books for US based Aspiring Authors and Writers Virtual Literary Event (see Appearances) that was less a workshop and more a talk which did cover some of the same ground as the Bocas workshop but more personal, fluid, and with a different focus and intention. You can watch that one here.

If you would like me to revisit the workshop on writing children’s books (locally or virtually), let me know at antiguanwriter@gmail.com so that I can keep you informed of this or other future workshops offered through my Jhohadli Writing Project. I’m rebuilding my mailing list and hoping to roll out new programmes in the not too distant future.

I also encourage you to visit the Opportunities Too page here on the Wadadli Pen blog where you’ll find several other Bocas developmental activities including an emerging writer fellowship and at least one more workshop for the year, among other opportunities with pending deadline – including Harper Collins’ writing contest for children. Follow the link.

An additional workshop I participated in in October 2021 was the Antigua and Barbuda Conference. And I have posted that paper, entitled ‘About a Girl: a Close Read of Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’, its stylistic devices and & aesthetic intersection with literature in the Antiguan oral (specifically, calypso) tradition‘, is now posted on my Jhohadli blog. (Source – me)

Readings + Events

UK based Trinidad writer Vahni Capildeo launches her latest, Like a Tree, Walking, on December 1st. The Carcanet publication is the 2021 Poetry Book Society Winter Choice. There will be a reading and discussion, and the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions. To be a part of the audience, register here. (Source – JRLee email)

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On December 4th 6 p.m. EST the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival will broadcast its 2021 short fiction awards on its facebook and youtube channels. The virtual event will be hosted by Pleasantview author Celeste Mohammed and there will be a feature presentation by Elizabeth Nunez – both of Trinidad and Tobago. There will be readings by the winners and the finalists. (Source – BCLF email)

***

I also haven’t downloaded publicly at least my presentation at the Antigua and Barbuda Conference, also in October (busy month). I have, however, uploaded my paper – About a Girl: a Close Read of Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’, its stylistic devices and & aesthetic intersection with literature in the Antiguan oral (specifically, calypso) tradition – has now been uploaded to my Jhohadli blog, if you’re interested in reading it. I will be revisiting Jamaica, the person, not the country, when I speak at the Langston Hughes Festival, at which Jamaica Kincaid is being honoured and I have been invited to speak. It’ on November 18th and, as a reminder, you can get tickets here. (Source – me)

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Antigua and Barbuda took to Dubai in November – a tourism promo trip but worth mentioning for the participation of local artists. No writers that I’m aware of but a number of other performance artists including soca queen Claudette Peters, pannist and culture director Khan Cordice, and various dancers.

(Source – Facebook)

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I just found out that there’s a book meme called #nonfictionNovember and, despite it being a national (UK in this case) event, I decided to count the Caribbean in. The 2021 theme is real life super heroes. Apart from an obvious opportunity to share my She’s Royal series, I’ll comb through the Blogger on Books book review series for Caribbean non-fiction books for children that remind us not all heroes wear capes (because I like a challenge and am prepared to get creative).

How to be a Calypsonian by Desryn Collins – because calypsonians in the Caribbean have been folk heroes who challenge the system in song.

The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Nuñez – which is not non-fiction but is historical fiction set in the time of the Cuban revolution and a Burt award winning teen/young adult novel.

Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay – which is also not non-fiction but is a future dystopian speculative horror inspired by the very real issue of climate change #climatechangeisreal and is another Burt award winning teen/young adult novel which (like McCaulay’s other Burt winning fiction Gone to Drift) sees a young protagonist fighting great odds and interweaves the environmental consequences of human action and inaction which, as evidenced by her recent winning of the Norman Washington Manley Award for Excellence for protection and preservation of the environment – see her acceptance video in accolades (below), is her life’s work.

Ruby’s Dream: the Story of a Boy’s Life by Ronan Matthew – not specifically for children (though it could be read by teens), not framed as non-fiction but it is the story of a boy’s coming of age amidst many challenges in Antigua and of the young man he becomes making his way in America, and it is rather directly inspired by the life of the author.

To Shoot Hard Labour by Smith and Smith – the 100 year life of Antiguan workingman Papa Sammy and of this community to such a revelatory degree that it should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand us and I include it here because I was myself a school student when I was introduced to it by a history teacher and because rough though it is erasure of that history is not an option.

Brown Pelicans by Mario Picayo – part of this indie publisher’s Caribbean Natural History Series which talks about extinct and living species with vivid visuals to hold young readers. I know, I read this one with one of my boys as I recount in the review.

Memes of this type are an opportunity to boost books and an invitation to read; so have a read. (Source – Facebook)

Accolades

Earlier this year Jamaican-Ghanian-American author Kwame Dawes won the biennial PEN/Nora Magid Award for his editorship of the Prairie Schooner. “Dawes has served as Glenna Luschei Editor of the Nebraska literary journal since his arrival at the university in 2011. He and the Prairie Schooner editorial staff have been working quietly over the past 10 years to revolutionize the 90-year-old journal — integrating technology into its processes, giving voice to a more diverse array of poets and authors, and establishing the journal as an international presence…The biennial PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing recognizes an editor whose high literary standards and tastes have contributed to the excellence of the publication they edit. Judges described Dawes as a “bold and visionary editor” who has “proved the ongoing validity of the literary journal and taken it to new places.”” (Nebraska Today) (Source – PEN email)

***

Last Carib Lit Plus we announced the shortlist for the first Bocas children’s book lit prize and now we have a winner: When Life gives You Mangoes by Jamaican-British writer Kereen Getten.

***

Shakirah Bourne’s Josephine Against the Sea has been named among the best middle grade books of 2021 by School Library Journal (in the US).

Shakirah is a writer based in Barbados. (Source – Author’s Instagram)

***

Julia Alvarez of the Dominican Republic is the sole Caribbean nominee for the 2022 Astrid Lindgren Prize. There are a total of 282 nominees from 71 countries. They are authors, illustrators, narrators, and reading promoters who have been nominated by various international nominating bodies. The prize is named for famed Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren who died in 2002 at age 94, leaving behind an enduring legacy of writing and publishing children’s books, including iconic characters like Pippi Longstocking. The prize (valued at the Swedish equivalent of US$550,00) is administred by the Swedish Culture Council and decided by a jury of 12. There are no Caribbean authors or literary programmes listed among the previous winners, but previous Caribbean nominees include (me, Joanne C. Hillhouse) for the 2018 prize, and also from Antigua and Barbuda Joy Lawrence for the 2019 prize and the 2020 prize, Julia Alvarez and Biblioteca y Juvenil Republica Dominica from the Dominican Republic in 2021. St. Kitts-Nevis Carol Ottley-Mitchell is also a past nominee. (Source – N/A)

***

Daughters of Africa (1992) and New Daughters of Africa (2019) editor Margaret Busby was announced in our Carib Lit Plus series this summer as recipient of the London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award but it didn’t end there. Britain’s youngest and first Black female publisher also received an honorary degree for her achievements as an acclaimed publisher, broadcaster, playwright, and critic, from the University of London – one of Royal Holloway’s founding colleges. “I am really excited to have received an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature from Royal Holloway. It’s particularly special to me as I myself graduated from Bedford College,” Busby is quoted as saying. “I am pleased that my work has inspired students and the wider university and I hope that it continues to do so.”

Past awards for Busby include “Honorary Fellowship of Queen Mary, University of London, the Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters, the Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature, honorary degrees from the Open University and the SOAS, and the inaugural Africa Writes Lifetime Achievement Award from the Royal African Society. Margaret was recently recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list for her services to publishing.”

Busby is Ghana-born and Britian-raised but with Caribbean roots through her parents to Trinidad, Barbados, and Dominica.

(Source – N/A)

***

Earlier this year Media for Climate Change Education, out of the OECS’ “Reducing risk to human and natural assets resulting from climate change (RRACC)” project, working since 2011 to assist in the education of climate change and the development of sustainable participation and practices, issued a call for media to produce content related to ocean pollution/clean oceans. The advertised prize was $5500, $4500, $3500 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively, with public education being the larger project goal. Dale Elliot of St. Lucia, known there for his Untold Stories social transformation video series, produced ‘Clear Waters’ – a documentary focussed on marine pollution in the eastern Caribbean and the blue economy model of future development.

He was announced on November 16th 2021 as the first place winner 🥇.

Grenada communications specialist Sorana Mitchell’s background is in media and PR, and she currently works independently as an online news reporter and presenter, primarily through her video platform series Sorana Mitchell Worlds: Stories Heard and Shared. She has produced content entitled ‘The Litter Problem – Grenada‘, ‘Mainting the ‘Pure’ in Pure Grenada’, ‘Biorock Creation, Fisherfolk Practices and Concerns’, ‘Grenada’s Sewerage and Run Off in to the Sea’, ‘The Role of Mangroves in Keeping our Oceans Clean’ – I’m not sure at this writing which of these won her the prize, or perhaps the series as a whole, but Sorana is the second placed journalist 🥈.

Congrats to both Sorana and Dale.

Sorana said in a social media post (pre-winners’ announcement but relevant here): “The media and our consciousness are now rife with continuous talk about climate change and making adjustments to stave off the impending destruction. Only a few months ago I answered the call for journalists in the OECS region to focus on Clean Oceans. Even though at this time we do not emit as much harmful gases as the bigger countries, we still have our part to play in taking care of our environment. My research unearthed that littering is a huge problem in Grenada and other neighboring states. While we call for changes at #COP26 let us do our part to stop littering which eventually ends up in our oceans and adversely affects our marine ecosystem. #cleanoceans #bigoceanstates”

This reinforces that the goal of the Challenge was to produce action at the personal, community, national, and sub-regional level.

I (Joanne C. Hillhouse, freelance writer-editor and more in Antigua and Barbuda) am the 3rd placed journalist 🥉. I had two eligible pieces, part of a series of two articles focused on marine culture in my independent CREATIVE SPACE series. CULTURE 1 OF 2: FEAR OF SWIMMING, WITH CHRISTAL CLASHING O’REILLY ran in the September 15th 2021 edition of the Daily Observer with the extended edition running on my Jhohadli blog and the video component running on my AntiguanWriter YouTube channel.

CREATIVE SPACE #20 OF 2021 – MARINE CULTURE 2 OF 2: FINITE RESOURCES, OCEAN LAW, AND COMMUNITY ACTION, WITH TRICIA LOVELL ran in the September 22nd 2021 edition of the Daily Observer with the extended edition running on my Jhohadli blog and the video component on my AntiguanWriter YouTube channel.

I enjoy writing features and find the human interest approach can be quite effective, plus CREATIVE SPACE is an art and culture column, which is why I took a narrative approach – talking to two women involved in marine culture, for work and play, and using their lived experience to explore why oceans matter and how and why we need to change our relationship to them. I took the time to re-share and link our various content to encourage you to check them out and maybe change your actions because we all have a role to play, even if, as I suggest in my series, it begins with developing a healthier and more informed relationship with the sea. (Source – Facebook)

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Novelist and environmental activist Diana McCaulay of Jamaica receives the Norman Manley Award for Excellence.

(Source – Diana McCaulay on Facebook)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, 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, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, 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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