Category Archives: A & B Lit News Plus

News of what’s happening literally in Antigua and Barbuda

Finding Readers, Finding Books

l share cropped
(a book lover’s social media share)

An interesting social media post recently asked book lovers how they found new books, new authors – a question always of interest to authors like me always trying to land our promotion and marketing efforts where it can have the most impact.

another l share cropped
(Another book lover’s social media share)

Here are some of the other responses:

-friends’ recommendations (on social media… and, I would add, other places since more often than not these last few years of trying not to acquire new books until I can lighten my books-unread shelf, ‘new’ books have been thrust upon me by well meaning friends; and I can’t complain. As for how this affects my own promotional efforts, reader reviews are encouraged and used like those movie tag lines. They have proven especially useful being from a small place with my books receiving scant critical attention comparatively speaking, and, though that’s gotten better, I still welcome readers helping me create buzz by recc’ing a book of mine to readers in their network)

bookempt.gyal4(Yet another book lover’s social media share. credit: bookempt.gyal on instagram)

-reading  the book cover blurb and the first pages (online retail sites have made this easier, useful to me both as a reader and as a researcher building and sharing knowledge here on the site and in other places, but I remember I used to – and still – do this when shopping for or considering physical books. I even know people who, while browsing,  read the end and the middle to get a feel for the book – something the online retail sites have also made easier. I don’t get that part because, hello, spoilers. But I do try to accommodate readers’ need to know how it starts by publishing first pages on my Jhohadli blog)

-book related groups + review requests (this is the interaction part of social media, participating not just plugging, recommending other writers, not just pushing your own product; it’s time consuming but part of building community)

-freebies (as a writer and reviewer, with a blogger on books series, I get a number of requests to read books; and promotional giveaways have only gotten more plentiful in this age of internets.  It’s a bit more challenging to take on these reading assignments for the blog due to that time not being covered, plus it can be stressful, especially as I’ve been on the other side of this freebies for reviews relationship and know how it can feel when the person who copped the freebie doesn’t say word one about your book)

-recommendations on (person mentioned a specific literary platform but really all of them – not to mention #bookstagram #booktube the book blogging community and its many memes, and the myriad goodreads lists not to mention groups on facebook and specialized lists on twitter etc; it’s a lot to keep up with but I try to be in those spaces and try to connect my books with people in those spaces…of course, you have to give to get and that means making recommendations of your own)

image from someones blog.png
(Yet yet another book lover’s social media share. credit: baby making machine blog)

-Always ask my daughter (lol) – I like this one but this speaks to your real life reading partners and book clubs and the like, the book store employee who recs books he thinks you’ll like based on your reading history …those personal connections… book clubs and bookstores are among my mailing lists but beyond the lists are the relationships. Remember when you were in school and no two of you had a single penny to knock together but someone might have a book and that booked got passed around like mix tapes? How about that relationship with that friend you really see except for when it’s time for another book exchange every time a favourite author drops a new book? book conversations? book groups where there’s as much wine and idle chatter as book deep dives? you know what I mean) … it’s a beautiful thing.

oh gad in walmart posted by hadassa 2012
(book lover’s social media share)

How about you, where do you find your books?… authors, where do you find your readers?

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

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

One of our Own

You know us, we try to keep track of and celebrate our Wadadli Pen alum. Vega was a regular for a time and earned honourable mention in the 12 and younger category in 2012, second place in the same category in 2013, and won the category in 2014. Since then she’s been exploring her musical side, initially doing covers and since graduating to original content like this one:

It’s all about stepping stones.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

Leave a comment

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

#Girlscan – a Tribute to Team Antigua Island Girls

#Girlscan
Girls can cut up and be silly
Girls can stare you down with the wrath of a thousand Furys
Girls can flex their muscles and shine
Girls can rowrowrow in time
And their muscles will tremble
And their spirits will quake
But they will not give up
They will not tap out in defeat
Because Girls can
Dream
And dare
And push through
And rise up
Like Storm commanding a tornado
And Diana beating back Ares in battle
And they do this all without the power of Supers
Reminding every girl
With each cut of their paddles through water
propelled by determination and muscle power
neither Tempest nor Atlantic
-vast and deadly-
Can bridle their spirit
when not even the bullbud could tame it
Because the will to will yourself across 3,000 nautical fucking miles
Comes from within
You just have to arch your back
feel it all in your sternum
big up your chest, and
stretch out
And grab um
#Girlscan

Have you heard about TeamAntiguaIslandGirls? Well you should. They are the first all black all female, and only the third Antigua and Barbuda, team to attempt the Talisker Whiskey Challenge, billed as the world’s toughest row. How tough? Read my accounting by the first Antigua and Barbuda (Guinness World Book record setting) team to attempt and complete the row just a handful of years ago – when they did it, it was extraordinary because though Antigua was home to the World Heritage site, Nelson’s Dockyard, where the row ended, it was perceived as something that adventuring souls from other places did. It took one man to ask, why can’t we be adventuring too? People laughed, they always do; but they did it and them doing it had a second team going…heeeeeyyyy…and that second team of considerably younger men made what looked like easy work of it…and soon another set of hopefuls were going….hmmmmm… and here we are. Team Antigua Island Girls is rowing not just for themselves nor simply to capture the imagination of our little twin island nation but for Cottage of Hope which provides shelter for girls who need it. The team behind Team Antigua Island Girls has had the media savvy to get them in to Essence among other publications and build all kinds of enthusiasm around the firsts they represent – can anyone say, #blackgirlmagic – 48405710_1080470558802253_1340075898530955264_n.jpgincluding this Super-hero themed bit of art work by teacher and graphic designer Sonalli Andrews.

I decided to make it my writing prompt today. How about you? Are you feeling inspired?
#writesomething

team antigua
This is the image (from the Team Antigua Island Girls website) that inspired the opening line of my poem and, since it was just a first draft writing prompt, I went with it. It’s not what I thought I was going to write but more writing may come. In the meantime, hail up to the women of Team Antigua (Barbuda) Island Girls: from left Samara Emmanuel, Christal Clashing, Junella King, Elvira Bell, and Kevinia Francis.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

Leave a comment

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

A & B Arts Round up – January 3rd 2019 —>

July 6th 2019 – 6 p.m. – The Royal Society of Literature – New Daughters of Africa – part of the Africa Writes Festival @ the Knowledge Centre, the British Library, London – this is obviously not being held in Antigua (and though I’m unlikely to be there, I wanted to let my Caribbean and especially my Antiguan people know about this, one of the events being held to promote the New Daughters of Africa). “Twenty-five years after Margaret Busby’s Daughters of Africa anthology, a new companion volume brings together the work of over 200 writers from across the globe – Antigua to Zimbabwe, Angola to the USA – to celebrate a unifying heritage, illustrate an uplifting sense of sisterhood and showcase the remarkable range of creativity from the African diaspora.” Details here.

April 30th 2019 – A feature of Antigua Sailing Week is Reggae in the Park at the Nelson’s Dockyard, an official UNESCO heritage site. Go here for details.

March 31st 2019 – Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year voting deadline. If there’s a book, released between 2017 and 2018, by an Antiguan and Barbudan that you read and liked. Vote. If you haven’t read any of the books on the list; there’s still time. Here’s where you go to see the books and vote.

#readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

January 14th – 18th 2019 – Schools Drama Festival & January 17th 2019 – Honey Bee Theatre’s The Long Walk 49682638_10156651453962931_7641356855263887360_n

January 8th 2019 (5 p.m. – 7 p.m.) – Art Show and Wine Tasting featuring Tracy Salmon.48356852_371261727012898_7963534236311355392_n

49115870_762893680740981_3748126278847299584_nJanuary 4th (6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and 5th 2019 (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) – The Black Exhibit presents ART: A Research Study Redefining Gender Norms Through Photography by Jesseca Ormond at the Reginald Samuel Art Gallery located at the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy (Old BBC building in Lightfoot). Admission is free. For more information you can email theblackexhibit@gmail.com, call (268) 734-7359, or visit the facebook event page for details. Another showing to be organized – watch this space (or check with The Black Exhibit’s facebook page or email them for more)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

Leave a comment

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

Welcome to 2019

We made it, y’all. We each hit different speeds and temperatures this year and because our online lives are so curated we can think it’s all smooth sailing and temperate climates with every body but us. Not so. Don’t let any of us fool you. We live, that’s all, through the Antigua-sized potholes and the rough weather, we live and though flipping the calendar from 2018 to 2019 isn’t some magic door to everything-better, it is, if nothing else, an indicator that we’re still here. Another day, another opportunity to be, to dream, to work, to hope, to laugh, to cry, to do, to journey…imperfect as this journey is. Okay? And as someone once close to me used to say often, ” be good to you”.

Untitled24

In spite of the challenges – and they were many – 2018 was good to me in a few ways. One of those ways was the release of the Spanish language edition of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure. I was about to say that it’s my first foreign language translation but technically it’s not even my first Spanish language translation – my poem She Works (which won a prize and then didn’t did manage to get translated before things fizzled). Which was cool to see. But this is the first book translation…except maybe not something something a university student in Italy, The Boy from Willow Bend. But it is the first commercial book translation. And it’s Caribbean Reads, one of the newer (if not the newest), smaller independent presses I’ve had the opportunity to work with that did it.

They share that and other developments re books by all their authors in their year end round up. Two other developments specific to this #gyalfromOttosAntigua are the addition of my other Caribbean Reads book, Musical Youth, a Burt award winning title, to the secondary schools reading list in Antigua and Barbuda (it had also previously been added to a schools reading list in Trinidad); also my participation in the Miami Book Fair.

Real talk while these developments were developing, other parts of my life weren’t going so well (so even as a part of me was promoting these developments, the inner me was struggling to stay upbeat). But it’s nice to look back and realize yeah, I did that. The literary achievements, yes, I am beyond thankful, but also survived 2018. Here to live another day.

And guess what, you did to. Celebrate yourself.

Okay, if you want to  read the entire Caribbean Reads round up, go here.

And again Happy New Year, let’s make it great.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

Leave a comment

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

Peepal Tree Eulogizes Recently Deceased Jamaican Writer Hazel Campbell

JamaicaOnMyMindcoverimagehazel campbell

Back in 1991, when Peepal Tree was only six years old, I published Hazel’s collection Singerman, which I have always thought was one of the very best collections of short stories we have ever done. It is a matter of regret that at that stage in Peepal Tree’s life it was not possible to do much more than publish the book. I was not able to provide the kind of promotion the book deserved. I was still working as a lecturer in FE, there was as yet no Hannah Bannister handling marketing, no website, no social media, and reviews only came from sources that were specifically friendly to what we were doing. The reviews were very enthusiastic but appeared only in places such as small specialist postcolonial journals and The Morning Star, and were not sufficient to give Hazel the kind of attention outside Jamaica that she had within her country.

A couple of months ago, we noted we were down to the last handfuls of copies of the original print run of Singerman. I had no doubts that this was a title we should republish, even though it did not exist in any electronic format (another consequence of publishing in 1991) and the book had to be scanned and OCR’d to restore it to publishability. I had been disappointed that the new collection of stories Hazel had once told me (in an email) that she was working on had never materialised. She was concentrating on the essential business of writing books for children.

I had read many years ago the two collections of stories published by Kamau Brathwaite’s Savacou Co-operative, The Rag Doll and Other Stories (1978) and Woman’s Tongue (1985) – which was why I’d been so excited when the manuscript of Singerman arrived through the post. I found my copies of these books and began rereading with some trepidation – were they as good as I remembered? By this stage the idea of putting together a collected edition of all Hazel’s short stories was forming in my mind. The stories from those Savacou collections were good – with one exception. I emailed Hazel to ask whether there were stories written after Singerman and what she thought of the idea of a book of collected stories. There were new stories, though not enough for a book to themselves, and Hazel was clearly delighted with the proposal, though she mentioned that she wasn’t in such good health. She sent the eight new stories – all good ones – that very nicely brought the collection into the twenty-first century. I was particularly drawn to those that dealt with some of the issues of ageing in contemporary Jamaica in a disturbingly comic way. I mentioned to her that I thought one of the earliest stories might be left out, and Hazel wholeheartedly agreed – it was too sentimental – which it was, in a quite uncharacteristic way.

It was when I mentioned to Jacqueline Bishop, currently in London pursuing further studies, that I was working on this book that I learnt that Hazel’s not such good health was, at 78, much more serious than I’d supposed. I knew Jacqueline had interviewed Hazel for the Jamaica Observer in the excellent series of interviews she conducted (which will be published by Peepal Tree later next year) and I asked her if she’d like to write an introduction to the collection. She did. And at this point the project took on a sense of urgency. We had already experienced deaths that changed the nature of the publishing process. It saddens us still that Abdur-Rahman Slade Hopkinson never saw his collected poems, Snowscape with Signature, and that Archie Markham died unexpectedly in Paris when we were expecting him back to launch his memoir, Against the Grain, which again he’d never seen in print. We didn’t want this to happen with Hazel.

But the stories are there, collected together in a fat 345-page volume, called Jamaica On My Mind (a title Hazel came up with only a week or so ago), written between the early 1970s and within the last few years. Hazel was also very much involved in the choice of images for the cover. It perhaps gives some indication of her state of mind that a couple of ideas were turned down because, to her, they looked “too anguished”.

Read on.

We here at Wadadli Pen wish that Hazel was still among the living, are glad that she left her words to enchant us (to borrow a descriptor from Peepal Tree’s Jeremy Poynting) in death, and pray that her soul rests in peace…as we do the souls of others who have fallen from the Caribbean literary community in 2018:

Trinidad and Tobago born and reared Nobel Laureate V. S. Naipaul

Exif JPEGAntiguan and Barbudan playwright, actor, and award winning mas designer and builder Rick James

Jamaican contemporary author Garfield Ellis

St. Lucian literary icons Garth St. Omer & Gandolph St. Clair

Trinidad calypsonians and calypso writers The Mighty Shadow & the Original De Fosto Himself

Antigua and Barbuda’s King Smarty Sr. – father to 3 times crowned calypso monarch Smarty Jr. and a journeyman calypsonian in his own right

Rest in Power to them all.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

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

Top Posts of 2018 + Happy New Year

Happy 2019 from Wadadli Pen.

(some of the images from the blog in 2018…not all of which are connected to posts that made the top 10)

Come take one last look back at 2018 with us.

There you’ll find (in reverse order from the top 10 at my author blog Jhohadli, least to most viewed):

#10
Kyle Christian Wins Wadadli Pen – the press release announcing the winner of the 2018 Wadadli Pen prize as distributed to the media.

#9
Commonwealth-Caribbean Writers – my report on the writers’ workshop that was the highlight of my summer.

#8
Who Won What in 2018? – the Who Won What at the end of the Wadadli Pen Challenge season is a regular in the top 10 because there’s always a high level of interest in the outcome.

#7
Shout out to Caribbean Actors in Black Panther – Ask me how thrilled I am to see my favourite film of the year in the top 10. Also, well, duh… Also, Caribbean, represent!

#6
Barbados, Guyana, and Bermuda Finalists for 2018 Burt Award – speaking of Caribbean, represent, these are all books by Caribbean writers for Caribbean teens and young adults which have won a major Caribbean award.

#5
Literary Arts in Antigua and Barbuda – a Reflection – This post is about what some of our literary artists (not just me) have been doing in our space and time.

#4
Damarae by Rosie Pickering (Wadadli Pen Honourable Mention, 2018) – This was an honourable mention in the estimation of the judge of the Wadadli Pen Challenge, and a win for the readers, clearly, as one of the most viewed and most shared posts of the year.

“I am not afraid.
The Zemis and my father will protect us” – excerpt

#3
Creak by Kyle Christian (Wadadli Pen Winning Story, 2018) – the winning story in the 2018 Wadadli Pen Challenge and a favourite of visitors to the site as well:  “Excellent!”; “Brilliant, bold and witty, delivered with passion; drawing attention to (a) hidden history”.

“She had never been on the base and wondered what it looked like. It would have meant that she didn’t have to suffer the indignity of the rackety bed.” – excerpt

#2The Horizon
Art ‘Revelations’ (Antigua-Barbuda) – This art show, located at the Antigua Girls High School, featured the work of a handful of local art teachers. The success of this post is also, to my mind, an indicator of interest in this type of content, and is one of the drivers behind launching/reviving the CREATIVE SPACE series on my author/writer services blog.

#1
#ReadAntiguaBarbuda #VoteAntiguaBarbuda – The second attempt at a readers’ choice award for Antiguan and Barbudan books after last year’s effort tanked. It’s doing better than last year but that’s not saying much. It’s literally an example of so many looks, so many looks, so few votes. Voting is open until the end of March 2019 though so maybe people are … reading?

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2018, Wadadli Pen News