Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid April 2023)

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 – credit and link back if you use).

Art and Culture

“Folk historian Joy Lawrence (The Way We talk and Other Antiguan FolkwaysColours and Rhythms of Selected Caribbean Creoles) and have noted that ducana is even docona/dokono/odokono (sweet mouth/thing) by name in the West African languages of twi and ga-adangme.” – CREATIVE SPACE #8 OF 2023 – THE WORLD ON AN ANTIGUAN & BARBUDAN PLATE AND E BANG GOOD


Bocas, the literary festival sponsored by the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, has announced, for the first time since pandemic lockdown, the return of its roving storytelling caravan. Its Dragonzilla mascot and professional storytellers will entertain and inspire the nation’s children at ten locations throughout Trinidad and Tobago. The Caravan is running throughout the month of April and is set to conclude at this year’s (also a return to live) Bocas Literary Festival. (Source – Bocas email)


Rest in peace to Antigua’s first calypso king, Samuel ‘Styler’ Ryan.

According to the Daily Observer by Newsco, Ryan died at 85 at his home in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Originally from Montserrat, he won the crown in 1957 with “Water wet me bed” – “It was a song about his hard upbringings in Montserat where his adopted mother would throw water in his bed to wake him up to help her bake bread.” Styler continued to make music during his time, reportedly travelling the world singing calypso with Milo and the Kings, and in his later years, as a solo artist, turning to gospel music. But in Antigua and Barbuda he is most remembered as calypso royalty, who returned for one last run of the stage some years ago

I believe this show was in the 2010s at the ARG but stand to be corrected on that. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)


December 31st 2023 – The Caribbean Writer – submission deadline for volume 38 for writers and visual artists – submitted entries are eligible for several literary prizes. The theme is “Legacies: Reckoning and Resolve”. Contributors may submit works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays or one act plays which explore the ideas resonating within the region and its diaspora. The Caribbean should be central to the work, or the work should reflect a Caribbean heritage, experience or perspective. Prospective authors should submit all creative works: drama, fiction and poetry manuscripts, through the online portal ONLY. Submit Word files only (no PDFs). Note that TCW no longer accepts hardcopy submissions. Individuals may submit poems (3 maximum), short stories and personal essays on general topics as well as on the theme. The maximum length (for short stories and personal essays) is 3500 words. Only previously unpublished work will be considered. The term “previously published” covers print and electronic publication —including on social media platforms, and self-published items. The Caribbean Writer does not accept simultaneous submissions (items being considered for publication elsewhere). Artists interested in having their  artwork considered for use by TCW should submit electronic files in vertical format as PNG or JPEG files with a resolution of 300 dpi or greater. The journal also accepts black and white art (line drawings, sketches, block prints, etc.). (Source – Opportunities Too on Wadadli Pen<–Click for more opportunities)


Having reported and shared some thoughts re Antigua and Barbuda art week, I return to share specifically what’s happening on the sister island, Barbuda. Running mostly con-current with the Antigua programme April 16th – 23rd, activities will include a heritage awareness race, community dance class, art hops, and steelband performances. Read more in the press release:

(Source – Barbuda based Jamaican artist Artst Yaadie email)


The PEN America World Voices Festival line-up and schedule have been announced and their are some Caribbean writers in the mix. Jamaica’s Marlon James is Festival guest chair. He will discuss a novelist’s journey to and from their second novel. James will also sit for a fireside chat with poet and novelist Ben Okri. American author of Haitian descent Roxane Gay will be in conversation with R. F. Kuang about her new novel Yellowface. (Source – PEN America email)


Antigua’s Carnival – and notably panorama, excluded from last year’s programme – is set to return to a full programme in 2023.

(Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)


Calabash is back.

Here is the programme. (Source – Calabash International Literary Festival on Facebook)


Previously reported but a reminder that the Virgin Islands Literary Festival is April 13th – 16th 2023. This is the 9th iteration of the festival which is a collaboration between The Caribbean writer literary journal, a project of the University of the Virgin Islands, and the festival and book fair itself. This year’s them is “Carrying: Recognition and Repair” and the headliner is African-American author Charmaine Wilkerson (Black Cake). The release I saw said to sign up at – sorry I couldn’t find a direct link.

ETA here’s a promo

(Source – JR Lee email)


Bright Hill Press Word Thursdays Onlines will feature two Windward Caribbean writers on April 13th 2023. Celia Sorhaindo is from Dominica. Her Radical Normalisation was published by Carcanet Press in 2022. Virginia Archer is a Saint Lucian poet and artist with a number of self-published poetry collections. The event will begin at 7 p.m. EST on zoom and facebook live. (Source – JR Lee email)


Three Caribbean diasporic people – Lavar Munroe, David Scott, and Shara McCallum – are 2023 Guggenheim nominees. McCallum is singled out in the poetry category; she is a poet and professor at Pennsylvania State University. She is from Jamaica. Bahamian-born Munroe, a Baltimore-based artist, falls into the fine arts category. Scott is founder and editor of the Small Axe journal, among other things, and substanially professor and chair of the anthropology department of Columbia University. His win is in the anthropology & cultural studies section of the list – which is 171 persons long. Per release, “Chosen from a rigorous application and peer review process out of almost 2,500 applicants, these successful applicants were appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.” (Source – Tilting Axis on Facebook)


Not sure I’ve mentioned this before but shout out (again, if I have) to Jamaican writer, US based Marcia Douglas who has been named as one of 10 writers to win one of this year’s $50,000 Whiting Awards.

Marcia Douglas’s latest novel is The Marvellous Equations of the Dread. She is also the author of the novels, Madam Fate and Notes from a Writer’s Book of Cures and Spells as well as a poetry collection, Electricity Comes to Cocoa Bottom. Since 1985, the Foundation has supported creative writing through the Whiting Awards, given annually to ten emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. The awards, of $50,000 each, are based on early accomplishment and the promise of great work to come. (Source – Twitter)


Twenty-eight writers from 19 countries have been culled from the 6, 642 entrants to the Commonwealth Short Story competition for the recently announced shortlist for the 2023 prize. “This year’s shortlist is a concert of voices from across the Commonwealth, showcasing the richness of its writing traditions, histories, and perspectives. These stories brim with the energy and urgency of the present moment,” said judges chair Bilal Tanweer.

Here they are:

In case you missed the Caribbean writers, here they are:

from the Bahamas – Alexia Tolas
from Guyana – Cosmata A. Lindie
from Jamaica – Demoy Lindo and Kwame McPherson
from Trinidad and Tobago – Deborah Matthews

(Source – Commonwealth Foundation Creatives on Facebook)


The 2023 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean literature category winners have been announced. In Poetry, the winner is Sonnets for Albert by Anthony Joseph, published by Bloomsbury Publishing in the UK. In fiction, the winner is When We were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, published by Doubleday Books. In non-fiction, the winner is Love the Dark Days by Ira Mathur, published by Peepal Tree Press.

Anthony Joseph is of Trinidad and Tobago and based in the UK; Sonnets for Albert is the recently announced winner of the T S Eliot Prize and was previously shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Poetry.

When We were Birds was highly anticipated since its sale was announced and it has been critically acclaimed by the likes of the New York Times and NPR. The author is also UK based, and also of Trinidad and Tobago.

Ira Mathur, author of Love the Dark Days, is by contrast in Trinidad and Tobago but originally of somewhere else, India in this case. She is a long running, award winning columnist for The Guardian. Love the Dark Days is listed among the UK Guardian’s best memoirs of 2022.

The overall OCM Bocas Prize winner will be revealed during the 13th NGC Bocas Lit Fest, which runs from April 28 to 30. Past winners of the prize are, of Trinidad and Tobago, Celeste Mohammed (fiction, Pleasantview, 2022), Kevin Adonis Browne, (non-fiction, High Mas: Carnival and the Poetics of Caribbean Culture, 2019), Jennifer Rahim (fiction, Curfew Chronicles, 2018), Robert Antoni (fiction, As Flies to Whatless Boys, 2014), Monique Roffey (fiction, Archipelago, 2013), and Earl Lovelace (fiction, Is Just a Movie, 2012); of St. Lucia, Canisia Lubrin (poetry, The Dyzgraphxst, 2021), Vladimir Lucien (poetry, Sounding Ground, 2015), and Derek Walcott (poetry, White Egrets, 2011); of the British Virgin Islands, Richard Georges (poetry, Epiphaneia, 2020); of Jamaica, Kei Miller (fiction, Augustown, 2017) and Olive Senior (fiction, The Pain Tree, 2016).

As far as publishing houses go, it’s been mostly international and pretty mixed in terms of big and small, popular and more elite presses. No clear favourites, though Peepal Tree has taken the main prize twice and no regional houses, though both Peepal Tree and Akashic have strong records of publishing Caribbean titles. Here’s the breakdown: Farrar, Straus Giroux, US (1 – White Egrets), Haymarket Books, US (1 – Is Just a Movie) Simon & Schuster/Penguin, UK (1 – Archipelago), Akashic, US (1 – As Flies to Whatless Boys), Peepal Tree Press, UK (2 – Curfew Chronicles, Sounding Ground), Cormorant Books, Canada (1 – The Pain Tree), Vintage of Penguin Randomhouse, UK (1 – Augustown), University Press of Mississippi, US (1 – High Mas), Outspoken Press, UK (1 – Epiphaneia), McClelland & Stewart, Canada (1 – The Dyzgraphxst), and Ig Publishing, US (1 – Pleasantview). A win this year would be a third for Peepal Tree, a first for any of the other publishing houses; it will be a seventh win for Bocas’ home base Trinidad and Tobago, and, of course, a first for any of the named authors. (Source – Bocas on Facebook)

Books and Other Reading Material

The We read Jamaica Kincaid project has been mentioned before here on the blog and I thought I’d share the latest companion newsletter which explores and breaks down the latest read, Lucy.

Lucy was Jamaica Kincaid’s fourth book and second novel published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 1990. It marked the return of her fiction first appearing in The New Yorker. It did not restore any amiability to her working relationship with editor Robert Gottlieb who had rejected A Small Place out of hand. Leslie Garis “who often writes on the arts” noted in her October 1990 New York Times profile of Kincaid (gifted link) that a change Gottlieb wanted to make to what became Lucy was enough to keep him on her shit list. (Otherwise known as “not on speaking terms”.)” This is an excerpt; click the link to read the whole thing. (Source – antiguanwriter at gmail dot com inbox)


Joy Lawrence continues to do yeoman’s work with her histories covering individual communities in Antigua and Barbuda with the publication, late in 2022 (sorry for the late announcement) of The People’s Point: an Antiguan Waterfront Community: with Reference to Villa.

It follows Barbuda and Betty’s Hope: The Codrington Connection, The Footprints of Parham: The History of a Small Antiguan Town and Its Influence, and Bethesda and Christian Hill: Our History and Culture. This latest has now been added to Antiguan and Barbudan Writing and Antiguan and Barbudan Non-Fiction. (Source – Antiguan and Barbudan bookseller The Best of Books)


Verons Nichte, die im Laufe des Tages schon wieder gewachsen zu sein schien, stürmte gerade zur rechten Zeit herein, um ihr beim Wegräumen der letzten Einkäufe zu helfen. Wahrscheinlich hatte sie zuerst dieses Buch versteckt, in das sie ständig schrieb. Als ob Veron nicht wüsste, dass sie es zwischen Matratze und Rahmen versteckte. Veron ließ sich auf einen Stuhl fallen.

EXCERPT “Abendritual” (“Evening Ritual” by Joanne C. Hillhouse in German)

Go to Jhohadli to read about the abridged German translation of Margaret Busby (ed.) New Daughters of Africa. The original text includes 200 writers from across the African diaspora and the abridged version Neue Töchter Afrikas contains 30 writers, including from the Caribbean Joanne C. Hillhouse (Antigua and Barbuda), Andaiye (of Guyana), Marina Salandy-Brown (Trinidad and Tobago), Verene A. Shepherd (Jamaica), and Zadie Smith (who, while British, is descended from a Jamaican mother). It goes on the market this April with a formal launch to be held in Cologne in June. (Source – me)

As with all content on, 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, The Jungle Outside, and To be a Cheetah – the latter scheduled for July 2023 release and available for pre-order wherever you buy books at this writing). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

Leave a comment

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.