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).
The Bocas Lit Fest Children’s Book Prize is back. It is given to one outstanding English-language children’s book for young independent readers, written by a Caribbean author. The Prize consists of a cash award of US$1,000, and Caribbean-born authors, resident anywhere in the world, of English-language books which have been published between 1 August 2021 and 31 August 2022 are eligible. The prize is open for entries from 20 June 2022 to 31 August 2022, and the winner will be announced in November 2022. The 2022 prize is administered by the Bocas Lit Fest, and is sponsored by the Wainwright family. Read about this and other opportunities with pending deadlines in Opportunities Too here. (Source – Bocas email)
Late Bahamian-American actor and director Sidney Poitier’s life is being adapted for the stage. The source material will be his memoir The Measure of a Man. Poitier spent his youth on Cat Island in the Bahamas before migrating to the US in young adulthood and going on to a stellar career, which includes being the first Black man and only the second Black person to win an Academy Award when he won best actor in 1963 for his performance in Lilies of the Field. Poitier died in January of this year. (Source – The Root)
Barbados has tapped star architect David Adjaye (the Ghanaian-British architect responsible for designing the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.) to design its Barbados Heritage District as a testament to the island nation’s culture and identity. Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced the plan, which is to include a memorial, a global research institute, and a museum that will tell the story of slavery’s impact on Barbados and its inhabitants. The district will also house the Barbados Archives, a massive historical catalogue documenting 400 years of the slave trade in tens of millions of pages of documents. The archive, which includes sales ledgers, ship registers, manumission papers, and other documents, is one of the largest repositories of the British Transatlantic Slave Trade in the entire world. When complete, the center will be the first research institute based in the Caribbean dedicated to the Transatlantic Slave Trade. (It would be remiss of me, however, not to mention the African Slavery Memorial Project of Antigua and Barbuda which has been shared on this site before, including its plans for construction of a museum, also previously mentioned on the site). The first step in the development of the district in Barbados will be the building of the Newton Enslaved Burial Ground Memorial next to the site where the remains of 570 West African slaves were found in low earthen mounds and graves using LIDAR technology in the 1970s. Read more about the memorial which breaks ground in November 2022 here. (Source – friend in real life)
Barbadian visual artist Sheena Rose will be showing in ‘Holy Water’, an exhibition at the Eric Firestone Gallery in East Hampton, NY. The Zoe Lukov curated exhibition featuring 20 artists and exploring the mundane and mythological aspects of water. The show opens July 2nd and closes July 24th 2022. (Source – artist’s facebook)
Early in June, the organizers of the St. Martin Book Fair observed the 20th anniversary of the festival. Shujah Reiph, founder and coordinator (with Conscious Lyrics Foundation), said, “The journey that we began 20 years ago out of a Creative Writing Program organized by the House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP)not only gave birth to the book fair but to a new generation of St. Martin authors, many of whom contributed with youthful exuberance to the organization of the St. Martin Book Fair. We have had a symbiotic collaboration with HNP from the get-go. And with the University of St. Martin (USM) as
well. Our modest ambition was to have a book fair that would bring the entire family closer to the book and,among other things, show as a lie the saying that if you want to hide something from a Black person, put it in a book.” Activities at the popular event included author and publicist roundtables, readings, masterclass, exhibition, and more featuring Yvonne Weekes, Sharma Taylor, Lasana M. Sekou, Max Rippon, N. C. Marks, Yona Deshommes, among others. (Source – House of Nehesi Publishers email)
The Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra, a youth development non-profit music programme in Antigua and Barbuda is preparing (at this writing) for a musical event featuring movie theme songs. The event is scheduled for July 3rd 2022. Event details here.
(Source – Facebook)
I keep changing this sub-head title, not quite knowing what’s a fitting send-off, always wishing I didn’t have the need to include it. This is where we salute the ones who have impacted Caribbean art and culture, and there have been too many of these farewells by COVID and other means – but exacerbated by the pandemic – in recent years.
Renowned Antiguan and Barbudan pannist Victor ‘Babu’ Samuel has died. He passed on June 28th 2022, two years after a stroke diminished his capacity to function. Babu is one of our country’s most celebrated pan arrangers – notably for his work with one of the winningest pan orchestras, Halcyon (video link to an upload of the 1990 panorama tune arranged by Babu on the Halcyon Orchestra facebook page). He has also been a key figure in pan development through his work with the National Youth Pan Orchestra. His work bringing pan to the Police Marching Band was also acknowledged just this year. Babu was also well known as a pan soloist – regrettably I have not been able to find video of a Babu performance (and once again bemoan our failure to capture and catalogue the vibrancy of our Culture as a matter of intent/purpose). The last time I saw Babu was just before COVID at Carnival, a year in which Halcyon – again one of Antigua’s winningest pan orchestras – had to opt out of panorama due to lack of funds (at least that’s what he said to me when I asked him as we passed each other on Market Street during the Carnival parade). I don’t have a recent interview with Babu (whom I profiled years ago for a limited run newspaper column I called Vintage – there’s a lot from my archives that I need to dig through and share and this is one of them) but credit to Petra the Spectator for posting this interview with him in 2021.
Credit also to rival band Hell’s Gate for recently organizing Play one for Babu, fundraising concerts that were also a celebration of the art form that Babu loved so much. Catch the vibes (image borrowed from Hell’s Gate’s facebook page).
(Source – Observer Media by Newsco Ltd facebook page)
Lynn Sweeting of the Bahamas is known to us here on the Wadadli Pen blog. I posted an interview with her in 2012. She was committed to amplifying female Caribbean voices, our art and our words, and did via the Womanspeak journal.
Some of Lynn’s poetry has been shared by her friend Nicolette Bethel who edited and published the online Tongues of the Ocean literary journal. You can read her eulogy and the poems here. And like Lynn wrote in one of those poems, remember
“Fear is the meaning of their favorite song,
but not the meaning of yours.
Love up your own self fearlessly.”
(from ‘Wheelbarrow Woman’, Tongues of the Ocean, 2009)
The last Womanspeak was published in 2018 and I know at least one was in the works after that and had to take a pause, and maybe now a full stop, in light of everything. (Source – Nicolette Bethel on Linkedin)
Antigua and Barbuda is mourning the passing of prominent son Gordon ‘Banks’ Derrick. Though he is best known for his contributions in sports administration (as president of the Caribbean Football Union and general secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association) and business, I add him here for the reason Cricket Association head Leon ‘Kuma’ Rodney said.
“Banks was not only known in football, but he was a Carnival man and came out of one of the better organised promotion groups, DSC Promotions, and there was a Mas’ troupe as well in Xtreme. He was chairman of the soca monarch when, I think, we had one of the biggest soca monarch shows ever in Antigua under the chairmanship of his buddy, Neil Cochrane.”
Signature DSC events included pre-Carnival fetes before pre-Carnival fetes (not including calypso tents) were their own cottage industry, notably Calypso Spektakula, which launched in the mid-1990s. He chaired the Party Monarch committee during its upsurge (between 2005-2007) to the head of the pack as far as popularity of main show Carnival events are concerned. He’s also a former chair of the Independence committee and co-founder of one of the original all-inclusive party mas bands, a pressure point between mas’ past and current flavours, Xtreme mas, which first hit the road in the late 1990s. I remember, I was there, for Spektakula limes and that first year of Xtreme. Banks’ death caught the community by surprise, prompting former West Indies cricket legend and fellow Antiguan and Barbudan Sir Vivian Richards to say, “It’s just some sad news today and I am going to agree with the rock group that sang ‘I don’t like Mondays’ because it’s a punch that hits you where it hurts.” (Source – Observer Radio 91.1 FM)
Puerto Rican writer Xavier Navarro Aquino in January 2022 released his debut novel Velorio with Harper Collins press. Velorio–meaning “wake”–is a story of strength, resilience, and hope; a tale of peril and possibility buoyed by the deeply held belief in a people’s ability to unite against those corrupted by power.
Fashanu Henry-Giddings has published her book Reading is Fun & Andre and the Bully. It’s her first book and it’s been added to the Children’s Literature and Antiguan and Barbudan Writing listings here on the blog. Congrats to her and to illustrator Anderson Andrews. (Source – email)
A street in Harlem has been renamed for founder of the Antigua Progressive Society Bishop James P. Roberts Sr. He worked as an elevator operator while pursuing studies at night after migrating to the US. He and 22 fellow Antiguans (Barbudans were later brought in) founded the group in 1934 during the Great Depression, to provide support for new immigrants. The Society has owned the brownstone at 12 West and 122nd Street where it is still headquartered since 1964. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)
Canada based Jamaican writer and current poet laureate Olive Senior has received an honorary doctor of laws from Canada’s York University. “Nothing has prepared us for the moment, but we can seize it with courage and curiosity,” Senior said during the convocation ceremony. (Source – author’s twitter)
The Antigua Film Academy, the educational arm of the Motion Picture Association of Antigua and Barbuda, has had a short film, ‘Nobody hit me Pickney’, accepted to the Commffest Film Festival, September 15 – 22 2022, in Toronto, Canada. The script was reportedly developed by the Academy students during their two-week theory workshops and filmed over a period of time. Dr. Noel Howell, filmmaker and head of the Film Academy told the Daily Observer that the mix of practical and theory is part of the AFA’s summer workshops. The workshop’s 2022 dates are July 11 – 22. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)
Canadian writer and producer of Antiguan-Barbudan descent Motion (Wendy Brathwaite) and Andrew Trotman-Burrows who is of Guyanese descent are two of only three people selected for the inaugural CBC-BIPOC TV & film showrunner catalyst programme. The other is Tanzania-born Ian Iqbal Rashid who is of Indian descent. The Showrunner Catalyst offers a high-level professional coaching opportunity, designed through an anti-racist and equity-focused lens, and provides participants with additional tools and support systems necessary to reach a showrunner level in the Canadian film and television industry. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, BIPOC TV & Film and the Canadian Film Center have made an initial commitment of three years to the program, with the opportunity to renew. (Source – BIPOC TV & Film on Linkedin)
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, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.