Category Archives: A & B Lit News Plus

News of what’s happening literally in Antigua and Barbuda

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late April 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)

Wadadli Pen News

Judging for the Wadadli Pen Challenge is still in progress. Meantime, check out our patrons.

Congrats are due to

Jamaican-British writer Leone Ross whose latest Popisho (also known asThis One Sky Day) debuts this month. It is getting a lot of hype (including lots of media coverage – e.g. in Bookseller.com, the Financial Times, and The Guardian). You can join her on any of her current tour stops (e.g. this one – click the image to register).

(Source – Leone Ross’ social media)

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Journalist Daphne Ewing-Chow of Cayman who has been adjudged winner of the PAHO/CDB/CBU Award ‘Celebrating Responsible Coverage of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support During Covid-19’. “Ewing-Chow’s winning article, ‘Mental health professionals voice looming concerns for Cayman teens’, earned her a cash prize of US$500 and a certificate. It was the only entry across all three categories that met the criteria of the four-member judging panel. The report, published on January 26, 2021 on the online news website Loop Cayman, featured the personal experiences of teens in the Cayman Islands who were feeling the psychological impact of Covid-19 lockdown measures. It also provided insight from experts and offered tips for supporting teenagers struggling with mental health challenges.” (Source – Loop’s social media initially)

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Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne who has landed a deal for two more books ahead of the summer 2021 release of her first US release Josephine Against the Sea (the Caribbean edition of which has been previously published with Jamaica’s Blue Banyan). See below (Source – Shakirah Bourne’s social media)

Read my recently posted review of the audio book of Bourne’s previously self-published In Time of Need.

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The writers, including a number of Caribbean writers, shortlisted for this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The full line up is here but, of course, we single out for mention Andre Bagoo of Trinidad and Tobago, who was also recently announced as the winner of this year’s Bocas non-fiction prize, Heather Barker of Barbados, Rashad Hosein of Trinidad and Tobago, Sharma Taylor, originally of Jamaica, resident in Barbados, a multi-award winning short story writer whose book deal we announced in a recent Carib Lit Plus bulletin, and award winning novelist Roland Watson-Grant of Jamaica, who previously made the Commonwealth long list back in 2017. (Source – Twitter)

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Shabier Kirchner, of Antigua and Barbuda, who recently wracked up awards for his work as cinematographer of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series, is attached to another winning project, Sundance short prize winner, Lizard.

Kirchner served as cinematographer on the project which was directed by Akinola Davies Jr. (Source – Facebook)

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Lawson Lewis, local artist and filmmaker, whose ‘Neighbour’, part of an ad campaign for North Coast Hardware, has won a silver award at the American Advertising Federation Awards, through the Caribbean Advertising Federation. “We are the only Leeward Islands Agency to reach this far. Usually, the winners are from bigger islands with well-established agencies, like Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, and Puerto Rico. To be listed among them is a huge accomplishment,” Lewis was quoted as saying in the Daily Observer newspaper. “What the Silver means is that now we will actually move to compete in the Florida segment and if we manage to get a Gold or Silver then we move to nationals to compete against other states in the US.”

The series of ‘Neighbour’ ads created some social conversation around community values.

Lewis’ agency, Tarsier, previously won a Marcom Gold Award in 2019, in the animation category, for the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s Cool is Clean campaign. (Source – Lawson Lewis on Facebook initially)

As with all content (words, images, other) 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. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Wadadli Pen Challenge 2021 Update

The Best of Books sponsored Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque is one of two plaques. The other, added this year, in memory of Zuri Holder will be emblazoned with the names of the 12 and younger winners.

After a lengthy period of processing, the entries are now off to the judges. If you submitted, we request your patience as the entries are vetted. The short list will be posted once the first round of judging is completed.

We can report that there are 73 submissions – all passing eligibility. Our About Wadadli Pen page is updated with this information and a bit of 2021 trivia. Here’s a bit more trivia, this is the highest single year submission since 2017.

Books contributed by Sekou Luke.

We want to thank and acknowledge, once again, all of our 2021 patrons, especially the ones who have been confirmed since our previous releases – NIA Comms (EC$500), Sekou Luke (a cache of books), Ten Pages bookstore (confirmed before but have since dropped off their books), Barbara Arrindell (who delivered a number of workshops leading up to the submission deadline), Bocas Lit Fest which has clarified the development opportunities on offer through workshops and memberships to some of our finalists – it’s great to have such a vibrant Caribbean partner on board, helping us to fulfill our promise to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

We have received Jamaican writer and new poet laureate Olive Senior’s contribution toward gift certificate for books, and the contributions by Daryl George and Rilys Adams, both former Wadadli Pen finalists. How great is that full circle moment.

As great as it will be to raise up another budding writer (or two, or three, or more). I for one am looking forward to reading these entries – that’s right, as I am also selecting participants for upcoming Garfield Linton sponsored Jhohadli Writing Project script development workshops, I have signed on as one of the 2021 judges. We will as usual have three judges (the others are expected to be regular judge and author Floree Williams Whyte and past finalist Devra Thomas – both Wadadli Pen team members) round 1, blind (or semi-blind in my case); and will bring on board a Kamala Harris (i.e. a high profile tiebreaking judge) if needed for a round 2. Watch this space and good luck to all entrants.

If you would like to support the work of Wadadli Pen, email wadadlipen@gmail.com

As with all content (words, images, other) 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. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid April 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)

Opportunities

An opportunity to pay it forward comes via the Royal Society of Literature. To mark 200 years of the Royal Society of Literature, the RSL is inviting recommendations for RSL International Writers – a new lifetime literary honour the Society is awarding. Founded in 1820, the RSL is the UK’s charity for the advancement of literature. They are inviting recommendations of your favourite non-UK writers by April 12th 2021. They’re taking recommendations of writers who’ve made a major contribution to global literary culture via this link. At a time of rising nationalism, RSL International Writers celebrates the many ways in which literature can shape a future world, celebrating the power of literature to bring us together across borders, cultures and languages. They are seeking recommendations of writers of diverse literary forms, including writers of drama, fiction, graphic fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and screenplays. In the inaugural year, recommendations will be reviewed by a panel of RSL Fellows, chaired by translator and writer Daniel Hahn, and including Elif Shafak, Philippe Sands, Lisa Appignanesi, Boyd Tonkin, Syima Aslam, Max Porter, Sophie Collins, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf and Sasha Dugdale. Writers selected by the panel will be nominated to receive the award, for final approval by the RSL’s governing Council.

Eligible writers

To be eligible, recommended writers must:

· not be resident in, or citizens of, the UK;

· have published two substantial works of outstanding literary merit (where works are translated into English, or originally written in English).

(Source – RSL email)

See more pending deadlines in Opportunities Too.

Wadadli Pen Challenge Update

Just a quick one for now. I am still processing the entries. This processing has been slowed by the fact that I am one person and the process is tedious, but also by the fact that it’s made that more tedious by people not following the submission guidelines and submitting at the 11th hour; but not to worry, there have been no eliminations so far…and I’m almost done. Watch this space. Shout out always to our Patrons. And check out my CREATIVE SPACE on the 2021 season of Wadadli Pen. (Source – in-house)

New Books

The books are coming so fast and furious I miss some and when I do I like to go back and grab them. This one released in Autumn 2020 of the publishing cycle (since we don’t technically have autumn here in the Caribbean) is A Million Aunties by Jamaican writer Alecia McKenzie, publishing with indie Jamaican press Blue Banyan and America-based Akashic, to great acclaim.

It is described as “a compelling novel about unlikely love, friendship, and community, with several surprises along the way. The story takes place against the backdrop of rural Jamaica, New York City and Paris.”

McKenzie is also the author of Sweetheart, winner of a Commonwealth Book Prize and the Prix Carbet des lycéens; the novella Doctors Orders and the collections Stories From Yard and Satellite City, which was the winner of a Commonwealth Writers Best First Book Prize. (Source – John Robert Lee)

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Love this cover. Interested in reading. New book by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Gayle Gonsalves. My Stories have No Endings. (Source – facebook)

It has been added to the listing of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing and Antiguan and Barbudan Fiction Writings.

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Check out this post re the Collins Big Cat Caribbean books.

Authors in this series – namely Summer Edward and Joanne C. Hillhouse have events coming up. Check out the flyers below. (Source – Harper Collins, UK, and in-house)

As with all content (words, images, other) 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. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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New Caribbean Children’s Books

Last September, we reported that Harper Collins in the UK was preparing to roll our a series of #ownvoices Caribbean written and illustrated titles as part of its Big Cat series of children’s book.

Those titles are out now; so an update seems timely. Especially as I and the illustrator of my title (The Jungle Outside) Danielle Boodoo-Fortune are planning a live to discuss our collaboration and creative journeys. Hope to see you there.

In the order of (scheduled) release, one of the earliest books to drop was a non-fiction book Sea Turtles which presents, in a visual and child-friendly way, the life cycle, habits, and habitats of different types of sea turtles – with specific reference to Caribbean environmental issues. Each pdf in this post provides book details from the publisher.

The author of Sea Turtles is Carol Mitchell, a Kittitian-Nevisian writer and publisher in her own right (as owner of the independent press Caribbean Reads Publishing, whose publications include Musical Youth and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure).

Diana McCaulay of Jamaica, formerly of the Jamaica Environmental Trust, chose the aquatic world for her story about Finny the Fairy Fish, an Ugly Duckling-esque tale set in a Caribbean coral reef.

McCaulay has won critical acclaim and awards for a number of teen/young adult and adult books, the most recent of which is the Burt Award winning Daylight Come set in a dystopian future Caribbean.

The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse (that’s me) is a book inspired by my mother and my nephew and their interactions when he was younger, which extolls the virtues of exploration and discovery, and overcoming one’s fears in order to taste the fruits of life.

As noted above, the illustrator and I are planning a Live on my YouTube channel. Don’t leave us on there alone. Come through.

Turtle Beach by Barbara Arrindell, with fellow Antiguan-Barbudan illustrator Zavian Archibald, is another environmentally themed, beach-set book, this one set in the real world and inspired by real life.

“It has come to my attention that while children are more aware of environmental issues they are also more burdened, more fatalistic, about it all (this awareness is of course anecdotal but I’ve come across articles pointing to the anxiety climate change awareness has stirred in Generation Z and Z minus). A book like this gives them agency and a sense of hope; a reinforcement that nature knows its course, they can help, and there is a down the road. And that’s good because that’s the energy we need to fight these battles.” (from this review)

That Imam Baksh’s The Lost Sketch Book has one of the more interesting premises is no surprise given that the award winning Guyanese writer made his name as the author of teen/young adult fantasy (Children of the Spider, The Dark of the Sea – both Burt Award winning titles). In this, his first children’s picture book, the titular book can bring images to life.

Desryn Collins is literary arts curriculum officer in Antigua-Barbuda, and originally from Guyana. Her turn to authorship, How to become a Calypsonian, is a book on (arguably) the official music of the Caribbean.

While junior calypso competitions are common in Carnival countries, we believe this breakdown in picture book form of how to become a calypsonian may be a first.

The Wonder of the World Leaf is the first book by Summer Edward, who has been one of the most consistent advocates for Caribbean children’s literature through her Anansesem journal for Caribbean children’s literature and her related consulting services. It is about a connection between grandmother and child, Wygenia, and a quest for a healing herb in the author’s native Trinidad.

What I would encourage you reading this to do, if you believe at all that there is a need for people to read more diversely, if you want to boost Caribbean stories, if you want to help these and other books in that lane find new readers, is share them. This can mean buying them. It can mean passing them on to another reader. It can mean mentioning one or more of them on your social media (plural). It can mean writing a short review on one of the places online (goodreads, amazon etc.) that accommodate reader reviews. The publishing marketplace is crowded, the reader has enormous power to help books they love stand out from the crowd.

As with all content (words, images, other) 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. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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PRESS RELEASE: WORKSHOP WRAPS, DEADLINE IS HERE, NEW PATRONS ON BOARD

March 25th 2021

“It caused participants to see more creative ways to approach creative writing,” said Barbara Arrindell, who this week completed a series of pre-deadline workshops she volunteered to offer to people interested in submitting to the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. “For me, as the facilitator, if it causes one more person to become more excited about reading and writing, it was time well spent.” The submission deadline is March 26th 2021; submission form and details at wadadlipen.wordpress.com.

More development opportunities will be forthcoming for winning participants. One, via new patron, the Bocas Literary Arts Festival out of Trinidad and Tobago. They are offering a spot in one of their developmental workshops for several finalists, and a membership subscription to the overall winner giving them access to a number of Bocas facilities including workshops and events.

Glen Toussaint, owner of Ten Pages Bookstore.

Another new patron is also one of the newest bookstores in Antigua and Barbuda, Ten Pages bookstore, owned by an old friend of Wadadli Pen, Glen Toussaint. He has offered to gift a cache of books for young readers. These will be added to books already received from Harper Collins (UK), and books promised by award winning Jamaican author Diana McCaulay and her publisher Peepal Tree Press, and local author Patricia Tully. The winner of the Zuri Holder Achievement Award for writers 12 and younger will also receive a gift certificate toward the purchase of books; while Commonwealth and Bocas award winning author Olive Senior, recently announced as Jamaica’s third poet laureate, has already contributed EC$520 toward the purchase of books.

There is also cash, over EC$1000, to be won thanks to contributions from the likes of past finalists Rilys Adams and Daryl George, and longtime patrons Frank B. Armstrong and Juneth Webson. These are among the number of generous patrons already announced including day 1 patron The Best of Books, also Moondancer Books, and US based Jamaican Garfield Linton. Wadadli Pen extends thanks to all patrons and media like antiguanice.com which sponsors a page on its platform for Wadadli Pen and the various media – Observer, ABS, and others – who have hosted representatives for interviews, and print and online media for amplifying the message.

There is lots to win, including, and most vitally, Wadadli Pen believes, the opportunity to express yourself. As a reminder, especially because they look forward to receiving many entries, if you want your entry to be considered for the 2020 prize, please say so explicitly on the submission form and please be reminded that the submission form, completed and submitted electronically to the email address wadadlipen@gmail.com, is necessary for processing of entries.

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Book Publishing Q & A

I responded, last year, to some questions submitted via email by someone doing research for an MA programme. This questioner found me when I had the time (or made the time). That may not always be the case. I thought sharing my responses here might be useful to others who may have similar questions going forward (for days when I don’t have the time). Questions were specific to my books with independent press Caribbean Reads Publishing (which, I believe, was the chosen case study).

*Did you have to re-draft your books before they got published? What were some of the editor’s comments on your work? Did you find these critiques helpful?

Both books went through an editing process (not redrafting but fine tuning). Editing was outsourced to someone knowledgeable in critiquing teen/young adult books, and then a second round of editing, I believe, in house. I don’t remember the specific comments- the only thing that comes to mind is in the case of Musical Youth the addition of a chapter fleshing out one of the characters more, and some language notes, some cultural and some re suitability of content for the target audience. Probably some plot and character points that needed clarifying as well. Some I found helpful, some I did not.

*Can you describe the process of negotiating your contact? Do Caribbean own the rights to the books you have published with them?

I sought my agent’s advice re the contract – something I try to do always. The process was amiable considering the circumstances. The writer owns the rights but certain rights are licensed to the publisher – any rights not specified remain with the author. Standard contract.

*To what extent are you involved in the creative design and illustrations of your books?

The publisher has final say but in each case I’ve had input to varying degrees – with Caribbean Reads especially, it’s been quite collaborative with author feedback sought on character design at various stages.

Lost! character

Does Caribbean Reads provide an illustrator and cover the cost for you?

With traditional publishing, the publisher invests the money in publishing the book, including commissioning (selecting, hiring, and paying) the illustrator (in the case of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure) and cover design (in the case of Musical Youth). They do ask for and consider my recommendations re the artist – which is not the case with every publisher.

*Were there any pro’s or con’s to publishing with Caribbean Reads specifically?

See the video – it doesn’t speak to the nitty gritty of publishing with anyone but it does make a distinction between working with big and small publishers. Caribbean Reads as an independent Caribbean press is on the small side.

*How did Caribbean Reads market your work to boost sales? Which was the most effective method?

A number of ways from sending books out for review to advertising to social media to giveaways to festival bookings to media releases etc. I think a combination of approaches rather than a single thing, and consistency, yields the most success.

*Once your book was published, did Caribbean reads organise book tours or readings to promote the book?

Not a book tour, no, but as noted they did facilitate certain bookings like the Brooklyn Book Fair and, in tandem with my efforts, the Miami Book Fair.

*What advice do you have for writers who want to be successfully published?

See this video

You can check the resources page on the Wadadli Pen blog (i.e. this blog right here) which I maintain – some of my other blogged content re the publishing process is there among the resources by other people that I share (you will need to dig through it to see what is mine as most of it is links to third party sites).

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 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Oh Gad! and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen, my books, and my freelance writing-editing-coaching-workshop services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Press Release – Wadadli Pen Workshop, Additional Patrons Announced as Submission Deadline Approaches

March 16th 2021

Wadadli Pen team member Barbara Arrindell, an author and bookseller, will be offering a free workshop on March 18th 2021 ahead of the March 26th 2021 submission deadline for the annual lit arts challenge. The workshop is expected to cover creative writing, using local history in your writing, and bringing inanimate objects to life in your stories. The workshop will be offered via zoom and pre-registration is necessary. To register for the zoom link-up, email barbaraarrindell@yahoo.com or send a message to the ‘Free Creative Writing Workshop to get you ready to participate in the Wadadli Pen Challenge’ event page on facebook. Arrindell, who is also a trainer by profession, has volunteered her time for this extra activity, and anyone interested in submitting to Wadadli Pen is encouraged to take advantage of it.

The Wadadli Pen team is also happy to announce that a number of new patrons have been confirmed since previous announcements. These include Frank B. Armstrong, a contributor for the past 10 years, and Junie Webson, a US based Antigua-Barbuda businesswoman, who has been a patron since 2014 – both have pledged their usual EC$500 to Wadadli Pen 2021. “We don’t take any of these gifts for granted,” said Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, “especially in this hard guava crop season.”

Hillhouse announced as well that Garfield Linton, a Jamaican based in America, with whom she has been in talks re arts funding for a while, has committed to underwriting her delivery of two workshops in the Wadadli Pen post-season. She hopes to select up to 10 writers from the Wadadli Pen entrants to offer a spot in these workshops. A long term goal, she indicated, is development of their stories and writing skills, and if additional funding can be sourced adaptation of one or more of the stories for print and/or film format. “My goal with Wadadli Pen has always been, as our tagline says, ‘nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda’,” she said. “The competition, or challenge, as we call it, has been our flagship project along with the Wadadli Pen website, and to a lesser degree workshops and showcases we have delivered in the past, but it was never the end goal. Our goal is to be sustainable and ultimately self-sustaining as a non-profit supporting the arts in various ways, and the literary arts in particular. It has been little little full basket since 2004 but we continue the work and hope for growth and expansion.”

The patrons announced in this release join previously announced patrons Rilys Adams, the Best of Books bookstore, Daryl George, Harper Collins (UK) publishers, Cedric Holder, Diana McCaulay and Peepal Tree Press, Moondancer Books, Olive Senior, and Patricia Tully. Anyone interested in supporting the work of Wadadli Pen is encouraged to contact wadadlipen@gmail.com Anyone hoping to participate in Wadadli Pen is reminded to read the guidelines and download the submission form at wadadlipen.wordpress.com Remember to also vote for your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan book and help a local school win.

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Wadadli Pen 2021 Patrons

NEWEST! NIA COMMS

Thanks to the media and other platforms that have helped amplify our message including Antiguanice.com (which has for many years included a Wadadli Pen page on its platform in addition to sharing each new release), the Observer Media Group, ABS TV and Radio, and ZDK Radio (all of which have extended invitations to be interviewed in addition to disseminating our information across their audio-visual and print/online platforms), and the various online platforms which have shared our press releases.

Patrons who have specifically supported the 2021 season of Wadadli Pen are in alphabetical order:

RILYS ADAMS – The author, who writes as Rilzy Adams, recently won a Ripped Bodice Award for Excellence in Romance Fiction (for her book Go Deep), and has been a finalist in the Rebel Women Lit readers choice awards (for Birthday Shot) and the Swoon Awards (for Go Deep and Birthday Shot), and a nominee for a Black Girls Who Write prize (for Go Deep). She is currently a contender for the #readAntiguaBarbuda2021 readers choice book of the year prize (for several books). Rilys has contributed EC$300 to the Wadadli Pen 2021.

Rilys Adams (right) collecting her 2nd place Challenge prize from then Culture Director Heather Doram (left) at the 2005 Wadadli Pen awards.

Remember to #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda as your vote will boost a local author and ensure a gift in that author’s name to a local school. In addition to Rilys, other Wadadli Pen team members in the running for book of the year are Barbara Arrindell, Joanne C. Hillhouse, and Margaret Irish. This is just FYI; vote in the comments below the relevant post for your favourite from the complete list. You do not have to have read all the books to vote.

BARBARA ARRINDELL – The bookseller, author, playwright, HR and public speaking trainer, amateur historian, community activist, and Wadadli Pen team member has offered to run zoom sessions (what I’m calling zoom-shops) offering tips for (1) creative writing (2) using local history in your writing (3) bringing inanimate objects to life in your stories for people interested in participating in the Wadadli Pen challenge. The workshop is scheduled for March 18th 2021; see link with info here. As a reminder, the Wadadli Pen 2021 Challenge submission deadline is March 26th 2021. Submission guidelines, here.

Barbara Arrindell (right) at the 2013 Wadadli Pen awards ceremony with that year’s winner Asha Graham (left).

THE BEST OF BOOKS BOOKSTORE – The St. Mary’s Street bookstore is a local institution and has been a Wadadli Pen patron consistently from the very beginning, its contributions ranging from gifts of books and other concessions to hosting the annual awards to sponsoring the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque which bears the name of each winner. Through a similar mix of support, it remains a patron in 2021.

The old (right) and new (left) versions of the Challenge plaque.

THE BOCAS LIT FEST – The Trinidad and Tobago based festival has become an appointment destination for Caribbean literature even with having to go virtual in both 2020 and 2021. It hosts the region’s major literary awards and rolls out development programmes quite often as well. We are, therefore, happy to report that they have offered spots to 2021 Wadadli Pen category winners in a future Bocas workshop (virtually) and free membership access (valued up to US$50) for up to a year to the main prize winner – including discounts on merchandise, events, workshops, and access to event archives. These prizes will be a growth opportunity for anyone serious about the craft of writing.

FRANK B. ARMSTRONG – the leading wholesale distributor has contributed to Wadadli Pen for the past 10 years and continues to be one of our most generous patronages with its usual contribution of EC$500.

2020’s winner Andre Warner (right) collecting his cash prize from Frank B. Armstrong.

DARYL GEORGE – this past Wadadli Pen finalist (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016) was one of the first to step up, proactively, to offer to contribute a gift (EC$250) to Wadadli Pen 2021.

Daryl George (right) last competed – and won – in 2016. Here he is alongside Douglas Allen, (left) holding the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque named for the latter’s late sister.

HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS – 84 books – 12 each of Collins Caribbean School Dictionary, Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell w/illustrator Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay w/illustrator Stacey Byer, The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse w/illustrator Danielle Boodoo Fortune, and six each of You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen, Social Studies Atlas for the Caribbean and Social Studies Atlas for the Caribbean Workbook

Collins book contributions.

CEDRIC HOLDER – plaque in the memory of his son Zuri Holder who, at the age of 20, was tragically the first road fatality of 2021 in Antigua and Barbuda. Zuri was a Wadadli Pen finalist in 2011 and 2013 in the 12 and younger category – the category set to benefit from the prize. The plaque will be called the Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award and will be accompanied by a gift certificate. Cedric is the chief volunteer with the Cushion Club, which he has made a contribution on behalf of since 2004, the very beginning of Wadadli Pen, and has also volunteered in the past as a Wadadli Pen judge in 2016.

Zuri and Cedric during a 2008 Cushion Club activity.

GARFIELD LINTON – This Jamaican, US based individual, keen on supporting literary arts development in the region in some way, has signed on to contribute two payments of US$500 to cover Wadadli Pen founder-coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, who offers workshops through her Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, facilitating workshops (facilitator fee and expenses). At present, the plan is to select up to 10 of the most promising writers (finalists and non-finalists), 16 and older, and offer them the opportunity to participate in two workshop sessions (virtual or in person depending on what’s safe/practical) between pre-summer and late 2021. One goal is the development of a piece of writing through intensive workshopping, covering writing tips and practice, and story development through to self-editing and peer evaluation.

N.B. One longer term goal (pending funding) is publication (possibly, given the 2020 sub-theme, a reflection on 2020) and/or short film development of one or more of these pieces (If you would like to support/finance the latter effort, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com). We also continue to work on finalizing the non-profit status of Wadadli Pen and ideally this publication/film development aspect could potentially benefit from crowd sourcing and, in addition to showcasing local literary talent, assist with Wadadli Pen fundraising. This is shared in the interest of transparency (and speaking possibilities in to reality) but be mindful that these are ideas in development, not fixed.

SEKOU LUKE – a private individual who one day dropped off some books for Wadadli Pen which we are grateful to receive.

DIANA MCCAULAY (via PEEPAL TREE PRESS) – The Jamaican author has gotten her publisher to pledge a copy of her book – Daylight Come. They’re in the UK and it should be en route; so, fingers crossed.

Really looking forward to reading this Burt award winning book. The premise is both of our times and a nightmarish possible future if we don’t get a handle on climate change.

MOONDANCER BOOKS – Wadadli Pen team member Floree Williams Whyte is the owner of this independent publishing imprint which is creating and sponsoring ads for the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2021 season.

NIA COMMS – Founder Marcella Andre reached out to offer EC$500 and we receive it with thanks as we welcome her on board as a first time patron.

OLIVE SENIOR – the Commonwealth and Bocas prize winning Jamaican author is a much respected and still high producing member of the literary canon – delighted with her offer to contribute US$200 to the prize.

This image is from the social media of Olive Senior (right), a few years ago when she reconnected with Joanne C. Hillhouse (left) who had participated as an aspiring writer in her workshop in 1995.

TEN PAGES BOOKSTORE – The latest bookstore on the scene – launched in 2020 as a local, online bookstore whose mission is to connect people to good books – is owned by Glen Toussaint who is a part of the Wadadli Pen family as a past judge and, for several years, master of ceremonies at our awards ceremony (and all around advocate for the literary arts, including organizing activities like the Wadadli Pen Open Mic). We are delighted that he has offered to contribute (and we already have in our possession) children’s books (favourites like Hardy Boys #6: The Shore Road Mystery, Nancy Drew #4: The Mystery at the Lilac Inn, Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham, plus Barron’s SAT Premium Study Guide 2020 – 2021) to our prize package.

PATRICIA L TULLY – This first time author stepped forward to contribute a copy of Pioneers of the Caribbean written by Ingrid V Lambie and Patricia L Tully

Patricia Tully’s book is also in the running for the #readAntiguaBarbuda readers’ choice book of the year prize.

JUNETH WEBSON – This business woman, Anitguan-Barbudan, based in the US, has been a patron since 2014, contributing in cash and kind towards the annual challenge and the building of Wadadli Pen. In 2021, her cash contribution to the prize will be EC$600.

Juneth Webson (left) in addition to cash contributions has made a habit of shopping for gifts for the prize. She is pictured in 2016 delivering her gifts to Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (right).

For all news relevant to the Wadadli Pen 2021, see this link.

If you would like to support the work of Wadadli Pen, email wadadlipen@gmail.com

As with all content (words, images, other) 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. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late March 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)

Opportunities

One of the great losses in Antigua and Barbuda in 2020 was broadcaster Carl Joseph of the Observer Media Group. Antiguans and Barbudans for Constitutional Reform and the staff of Observer/Newsco Ltd are offering a young person in Antigua and Barbuda the opportunity to be a ‘journalist for a day’. The Carl Adrian Joseph Memorial Reporter for a Day Service Project invites students between 13 and 17 to write a newspaper story about an event that happened, or is happening, in their community. Opportunity also open to teen photo journalists.

Read pdf for more details:

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A reminder that March 26th 2021 is the deadline deadline extended to April 2nd 2021 for submission of entries to the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2021. See the following press releases:

Finally! Wadadli Pen Launches
Wadadli Pen – New Prize Pays Tribute


Wadadli Pen Workshop, Additional Patrons Announced as Submission Deadline Approaches

Workshop Wraps, Deadline is Here, New Patrons on Board


Read about this and other pending Opportunities here. (Source – Wadadli Pen)

Events

Be sure to check my appearances page (on Jhohadli) for my upcoming events. Like this World Book Day live on my AntiguanWriter YouTube channel – subscribe and hit notifications to make sure you don’t miss it.

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The Bocas Lit Fest (virtual again this year) has been announced for April 23 – 25th 2021. The programme is here. Some of the events that caught my eye: Crowdsourcing a Canon, Placing the ‘Caribbean’ in Caribbean Writing, “Toussaint was a Mighty Man”, Making History: Lawrence Scott & Lauren Francis-Sharma, Imaginary Homelands: Barbara Lalla and Leone Ross, and Launch of the Caribbean Books that Made Us.

Bocas has come on board as a Wadadli Pen patron in 2021 by the way; how dope is that? (Source – Bocas)

Other (Non-Book) Reading/Art Material

A reminder that Heather Doram merch is available on redbubble and that she now has colouring books available through Amazon. Kids can play with them if they want but these colouring books are for adults. The Heather Doram Colouring Book Collection is our latest addition to the Antiguan and Barbudan Writing data base (and we won’t be putting these colouring books in the children’s section).

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This is an In Case You Missed It and not limited to reading. Here you’ll find listed all of the Catapult Arts Caribbean Creative Online Grants recipients. There are a number of us but my goal is to go through and discover every one. I invite you to do the same. (Source – from my involvement as a Catapult Arts recipient)

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New books are still below but I’ll drop the latest edition of the Journal of West Indian Literature here. You’ll need to purchase it, of course, to read its book reviews and various articles. This issue, Vol. 28 No. 2, is an open issue edited by Glyne Griffith with cover art, Keeping it Close, by Mark Jason Weston. (Source – St. Lucian poet John Robert Lee email blast)

For access to some free content be sure to check our Reading Room and Gallery.

Accolades

Here comes the Bocas Long List with some of the books that have been trending for much of the year and maybe some that have fallen below your radar. ETA: Short listed books in bold.

Poetry
The Dyzgraphxst by Canisia Lubrin (St. Lucian)
Guabancex by Celia Sorhaindo (Dominican)
Country of Warm Snow by Mervyn Taylor (Trinidadian)

Fiction
These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card (Jamaican)
Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud (Trinidadian)
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey (Trinidadian)

Non-Fiction
of colour by Katherine Agyemaa Agard (Trinidadian)
The Undiscovered Country by Andre Bagoo (Trinidadian)
Musings, Mazes, Muses, Margins by Gordon Rohlehr (Guyanese)

Read all about them on the Bocas website. (Source – Rebel Women Lit newsletter)

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Three Trini writers (Ahkim Alexis, Desiree Seebaran, and Jay T. John) have been short listed for the 2021 Johnson & Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize. These “top contenders were accomplished or very promising. History, myth, gender, and identity are the most common areas of engagement. At the level of experiment, robber talk, the mechanics of spoken word, the tradition of nursery rhymes, rasta groundation, and elegiac tradition are evident.” (Bocaslitfest.com) The Johnson & Amoy Achong developmental prize is aimed at advancing the work of an emerging Caribbean voices, this year in the poetry genre (genre changes annually). But the domination of this and most regional prizes by the bigger countries continues. The longlist included 8 Trinis, one Barbadian, and one Guyanese. In this, the final year of the prize, the organizers (the Bocas Lit Fest) note that there were 35 submissions from across seven countries – the others being Jamaica, Grenada, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, and Bahamas. And they seemed unimpressed with the general quality. “Many of the poets failed to sustain their opening imagery, some deployed disconnected symbolism, inappropriate diction, inconsistent code-switching between English and Creole, and in some cases, were obviously too prosaic.” (Bocaslitfest.com) The Johnson and Amoy Achong Writers Caribbean Prize consists of a cash award of US$3,000, participation in a workshop at internationally renowned Arvon, three days networking in the UK, where Arvon is based, mentorship by an established writer, and a chance to be agented by Aitken Alexander Associates Literary Agency. Congrats to all long and, especially, short listed writers who are in line for a boost. (Source – Bocas email)

Believing that there is abundant talent in the region and Wadadli Pen being a project concerned with nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, the limited advance of writers from home and neighbouring small islands through vital programmes like this one (which will hopefully attract funding to continue) is of concern – to date, among local writers, only Brenda Lee Browne has been longlisted for the previous version of this particular prize (Hollick Arvon). None since and it is not clear how many, if any, of us are even submitting (or are perhaps discouraged from submitting). We are happy to report though that Bocas, a 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge patron, has agreed to offer spots in upcoming workshops to a handful of our 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge finalists and access to member services to our winner.

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Kwame Dawes of Jamaica (and Nigeria and America-based), editor of the literary journal Prairie Schooner, ‘is the recipient of the biennial PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing. The award honors an editor whose high literary standards and taste have contributed to the excellence of the publication they edit. Judges Patrick Cottrell, Carmen Giménez Smith, and John Jeremiah Sullivan call Dawes “a bold and visionary editor” who has “proved the ongoing validity of the literary journal and taken it to new places.”’ (Source – PEN America email)

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Two overseas writers of Caribbean origin Dionne Brand and Canisia Lubrin are in the running for the US$165,000 Windham-Campbell Prize. There are eight remaining finalists. “Established in 2013 and administered by Yale University, the prize annually honours a selection of fiction, nonfiction, drama and poetry writers who have been nominated in secret. The prize is given to support their writing.” (CBC) Trinidad born Brand is recognized in the fiction category and St. Lucian Lubrin is recognized for poetry. (Source – Lubrin’s twitter)

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“The Surinamese writer Astrid H. Roemer (Paramaribo, 1947) will receive the 2021 Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren (Dutch Literature Prize) this fall. The Prize includes a sum of € 40,000…The Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren is the most prestigious literary prize in the Dutch language area and distinguishes authors of important literary works originally written in Dutch. The Prize is awarded once every three years to an author whose body of work occupies an important place in Dutch literature. The Prize is funded by the Taalunie. It is organized alternately by Literatuur Vlaanderen and Nederlands Letterenfonds.” (Source – Repeating Islands)

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Congrats to Olive Senior who has been named Poet Laureate of Jamaica. Watch the full ceremony linked in this Olive Senior appreciation post. (Source – right here)

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Antiguan and Barbudan cinematographer is up for a British Society of Cinematographers award for the first film in the Steve McQueen Small Axe series, Mangrove. The awards will be announced on April 9th 2021. The film is nominated in the TV drama category. As previously reported this series has been wracking up nominations and awards this season.

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Bermudian writer Florenz Maxwell had her book, the Burt Award winning Girlcott singled out as a “must-read” by Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine.

‘The coming-of-age novel is set during the 1959 Theatre Boycott and seen through the eyes of Desma Johnson as she approaches her 16th birthday.

Ms Maxwell based her book partly on her own experiences.

She was a member of the Progressive Group that organised the boycott in order to break down segregation on the island.

Stephanie Castillo, writing in O Magazine, included Girlcott among “some of the best classic and contemporary books about the Caribbean”.’ (RoyalGazette.com)

The book was a 2016 finalist for the Burt Award, and a boost from Oprah has helped many a book soar, making this a valuable notice for both the first time author and Jamaica-based independent Blue Banyan Books. (Source – N/A)

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Monique Roffey is on a roll. On the heels of her Costa best novel win, we have learned that she is shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize for her book The Mermaid of Black Conch, described as “a tale of love against the odds, a feminist revision of an old Taino myth, an adventure story set in a small coastal Caribbean village.” (Source – the author’s social media)

New Books

Dangerous Freedom is the latest from UK based, award winning Trinidad writer Lawrence Scott. It explores the life of Dido Belle. The book is published with Papillote Press which debuted it with a reading by the author himself.

‘Scott’s first novel since Light Falling on Bamboo in 2013, Dangerous Freedom was published in March 2021. It weaves fact with fiction to reveal “the great deception” exercised by the powerful on a mixed-race child, Dido Belle, born in the late 18th century and brought up in the London home of England’s Lord Chief Justice.’ (Papillote press release)

The video above is part of a series featuring authors with the Dominica/UK publisher on its youtube channel; so while there, check out readings by the likes of Lisa Allen-Agostini (Home Home), Diana McCaulay (Gone to Drift), and others. I’ve read and reviewed Allen-Agostini and McCaulay’s books and am currently reading The Art of White Flowers by Viviana Prado-Núñez, also from Papillote. I don’t mind saying I’d like to read Lawrence’s novel as well – I’ve been meaning to read him since meeting him at a literary festival some years ago (we got along well, I think and I liked the reading that he did then, it’s just been a case of too many books, too little time since). Also Belle interests me. We all know the painting plus I saw the film starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the title character, Belle. Plus I would have learned about the Somerset case referenced in the film in history class in secondary school – remembered enough anyway to remember that I learned about it and that it was a pivotal precedent in the anti-slavery narrative. Scott’s video talks about trying to “redress the image and historical sense we have of Dido Elizabeth Belle” and I’m interested. I mean, I’m interested in a lot of the books I post here, so this isn’t new but nothing wrong with declaring it one time.

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ireadify.com isn’t so much about new books as new platform for perusing books. Specifically, the platform develops and promotes digital books (ebooks and audio books) accessible to children birth-14 years old, representing African Stories, Black, Indigenous and People of Color. I have confirmed with the publisher that my books with Caribbean Reads Publishing are on this platform.

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Desryn Collins, Antigua and Barbuda’s language arts coordinator with the Ministry of Education, is latest author to be featured in the Collins Big Cat series of Caribbean #ownvoices releases and the latest to be added to our bibliography of Antiguan and Barbudan books and Children’s Literature in particular here on the site. Her book How to become a Calypsonian (with illustrator Ricky Sanchez Ayata) drops in March.

The story “told through the words of Mighty Glen Glen, a calypso singer (introduces) the world of calypsos and (teaches) what it takes to become a calypsonian.” Collins, originally from Guyana, has worked in Antigua and Barbuda for close to two decades, as senior lecturer at the Antigua State College between 2005 and 2017 and as Education Officer for Language Arts since 2017. (Source – N/A)

As with all content (words, images, other) 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. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Wadadli Pen Update – Workshop

We want you to win.

One of the ways team member (author of Turtle Beach, The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories, and even more stories) Barbara A. Arrindell is trying to help you win is with an announced March 18th 2021 workshop. This series of short workshops will provide you with tips that may help you to select your topic, develop your characters, allow your creativity to flow, utilize local sites and folklore, and much more. You must pre-register. Do this by sending a message via the link above or via email to barbaraarrindell@yahoo.com. The zoom link and additional information will then be sent to you. Register early to secure your spot. This year Wadadli Pen is accepting entries from children and adults.

The submission deadline for the 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge is March 26th 2021. I just posted videos (one to my AntiguanWriter YouTube Channel and one to the Wadadli Pen YouTube Channel – both which you should rush over and subscribe to by the way) of a recent interview I did breaking things down re both the Challenge and the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda readers choice book of the year initiative.

Re FAQs

A recent commenter here on the blog asked about the submission form. “Would it be possible to fill out the application form electronically please? I do not have access to a printer right now and it would be very useful if alternative methods could be made available. Thank you!” – A. It’s a fair point; we should look in to uploading directly via submittable or other platform, but to be clear you do not need to print the form and you are submitting electronically. What you need to do is download and fill out the form electronically and submit said form via email as an attachment along with your entry, also as an attachment, to wadadlipen@gmail.com

A questioner to my DMs wondered if there was a penalty for going over the word count. – A. We’ve actually extended the word count from 750 to 1000 words in recent years. Since doing so we’ve gotten fairly strict about the word count. Challenge yourself to tell your story with precision – after all, you already have 250 extra words to play with.

We also had a request to direct mail the submission form; obviously it’s not practical for us to do so for everyone. We simply don’t have the time nor the numbers. But I’ve doublechecked that the form is downloadable and can be filled out electronically; so please act accordingly. Find the form and submission guidelines above at Wadadli Pen 2021.

ICYMI

In case you missed it, we’ve followed up our launch announcement with a second press release shouting out the latest patrons to come on board. The news you may be particularly interested in from that is that, while the Challenge is open to all ages this year, we will have a special prize for 12 and younger aged writers, sponsored by Cedric Holder, who is doing so in the name of his son Zuri, a former Wadadli Pen finalist who died tragically in the first road fatality of 2021. Also team member Floree Williams Whyte’s Moondancer Books has sponsored the ad below.

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