Category Archives: A & B WRITINGS

Wadadli Pen Alum Publishes Another Book

Just updated – as I do periodically – the listing of books by Antiguans and Barbudans, and the sub-list of books of fiction by Antiguans and Barbudans. Wanted to take a minute to remind you to check them out and to say “big up!” to Rilzy Adams on the publication of her latest ebook. Rilzy, actually Rilys Adams, lawyer by day and former Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge finalist (2005 and 2006), has self-published to this point a spoken word CD and four books, available exclusively in the ebook format. Her books are in the romance genre and the latest Will You Be Mine? is no exception.

mine

Congrats to this Wadadli Pen alum for continuing to be a creative force.

 

 

 

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Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed Vll

This picks up where the previous Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed pages left off (there was one, two, three, four, five , six – use the search feature to the right to dig them up if the links don’t work).  As with those earlier pages, it features reviews about A & B writings that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible/professional reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. It’s all shared in an effort to underscore Antigua and Barbuda’s presence in the Caribbean literary canon.

Lost books“Children will likely relate well to this story of getting lost while daydreaming and to the reassurance that kindly adults will look after strays. The book also gives them a chance to learn more about the work of environmentalists and Caribbean sea life.

An appealing book, all the more so for being based on real life.” – Kirkus Reviews on Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure

***

Re Dorbrene O’Marde’s play This World Spin One Way:

“Dorbrene O’Marde’s best written play, and probably the best play written by an Antiguan….” – Tim Hector

“…really good. Everyone should go. It was a combination of funny and sad. A must see!” – The Daily News (St. Thomas)

“…subtle and well-suited to the universal themes of the ups and downs of love affairs… The two main characters created plentiful tension that kept the audience hanging on to their every word, wondering how it would all turn out. They made sparks fly” – The Dominica Online Review

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Time to Talk “You don’t have to be a cricket fan to enjoy Curtly Ambrose’s Time to Talk.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse (exclusive to Wadadli Pen) 

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“O’Marde’s first book after a well-established reputation as a playwright, the fictional book Send out you Hand, was weighted and slow by comparison – exposition heavy, the characters too often coming across as mouthpieces for the writer’s intellectual concerns rather than fully drawn people.

In Nobody, O’Marde invests more successfully in the characterization and humanization of his subjects, making them (Short Shirt, Short Shirt’s writers, and, in fact, calypso, more relatable, complex, and interesting) while at the same time tying them all, Short Shirt and calypso especially, in to the larger cultural and societal shift.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse on Dorbrene O’Marde’s Nobody Go Run Me in the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books

***

untitledn“I found the last story, the most domestic of the stories, dealing with a mother’s death and its impact on her family, to be, strangely enough, the most interesting of the three. This story, Chasing Horses, love that title, is also included in the new anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan writing, So the Nailhead Bend So the Story End, edited by Althea Prince.  I did wonder, what it might have sounded like from a single perspective like the story of the Governor’s wife kidnapped by the Kalinago and then exiled by her husband or the progressive Bishop trying to build a church community in a socially and racially divided island, instead of shifting from point of view to point of view. I enjoyed and empathized with the other children’s voices, yes. But, as the reader I was particularly interested in how Irene, the oldest daughter whose life was most transformed by her mother’s death, was processing the changes in her life. I felt that sticking with her perspective could have sharpened the thematic focus with respect to what it was like for girls then when it came to the intersection of family obligation and personal ambition.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse on Barbara Arrindell’s The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories, originally published in the Daily Observer, archived to Wadadli Pen

***

“This book is also interesting, as noted, for the insight it offers to the immigrant experience.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse’s review of Althea Romeo-Mark’s If the Dust Would Settle, originally published in the Daily Observer, archived to Wadadli Pen

 

 

 

 

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Mailbox – Just Write

This just in, Just Write is on. Details below.

Press Release JUST WRITE ANTIGUA TO HOST HISTORY AND FICTION WORKSHOP

Press release, St. John’s, Antigua – October 23, 2017: Writers age 16 and over will have an opportunity to create new work during a one day ‘In Celebration of Ourselves, Our Journey and Stories to be Told’ workshop, to be held on Saturday, November 4th at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda.

This event will be hosted by Just Write – Antigua and the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, the workshop leader, Brenda Lee Browne explains how this workshop came about: “Over the past five years, Just Write has hosted weekend retreats, one day workshops that have looked at the craft of writing, whether short stories, novels or poetry. This will be the first time that the workshop will focus on local history and using it as a basis for creating new stories, there are so many untold stories out there that we can use as the basis of our creative works.”

There will be four sessions as well as time to just write: Browne adds that: “I am very excited to be working with writers Barbara Arrindell and Floree Whyte as well as producer and journalist Mitzi Allen. Arrindell is passionate about history, especially local history and she will be presenting a session on three local,  historical, yet over looked figures. This session will be the basis for the afternoon’s writing project.

In between there will be a session led by Whyte on ‘Publishing – the lessons Learnt and what Publishers Want’ and by Allen ‘On the Joy of Reading and Book Clubs’. The fourth session, led by Browne will be  exercises to get the writers ready to just write.

The one day workshop starts at 9:00 am and will end at 5:00 pm and costs $75ECD, scholarships are available for young writers from Antigua and Barbuda. Interested persons can  email: brendalee.browne@gmail.com or check the Just Write – Brenda Lee Browne Face Book page.

Past Just Write Writers’ Retreat facilitators include: Tanya Evanson, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Marie Elena John, Chadd Cumberbatch and Mark Brown.

***

We also received some FACILITATOR BIOS which we’ll share below.

Barbara Arrindell wants to be a writer when she grows up and has always enjoyed doing historical research.  She combines these two interests to create short stories that can be classified as historic fiction. Barbara thinks of herself as bringing life to lifeless dates and intrigue to sterile bits of historic information.

Floree Whyte is an author and founder of Moondancer Books. Her two previous publications Pink Teacups & Blue Dresses and Through the Window are available on Amazon and at Best of Books. Her newest publication The Wonderful World of Yohan will be the first publication of Moondancer Books.

Mitzi Allen is an award-winning journalist and film and television producer – Managing Director of HAMA Inc. producers of four television series, four feature films and countless documentaries. She is an avid reader and belongs to the ‘Sisters with Books’ book club, which is over 15 years old.

Brenda Lee Browne – Born in the UK of Antiguan parents, trained as a journalist and yet, wanted to be a writer since about 9/10. Started writing after moving to Antigua and has been published in newspapers in Antigua, the UK and the USVI, as well as anthologies in the USA, Canada, Caribbean and the UK. Created ‘Just Write’, a face book page and creative writing workshop that takes place in the community, prison, and an annual writers retreat. Hurston Wright Writers Week Scholarship recipient, Antigua and Barbuda Life Time Achievement Youth Development Award and was long listed for the 2013 Hollick Arvon Prize. Her first Novel, ‘London Rocks will be published by Hansib in 2017.

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Arts and Antiguan-Barbudan Independence: a Discussion

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October through to November 1st (Independence Day) is Independence season in Antigua and Barbuda. Of course, if you’re Antiguan and Barbudan, you already know this; and if you’re a blog subscriber, you’ve already seen the 2017 Independence programme.

This post is about some back and forth that first erupted on social media and then made its way on to traditional media concerning the Harriet Tubman activities – three of them on the programme. The gist of the criticism was that Independence should spotlight Antiguan and Barbudan history and that while Harriet Tubman – a hero who shepherded many blacks to freedom in America – was not without relevance to a majority black country with its own history of enslavement and rebellion, the workshops and theatrical production (reportedly proposed by the Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Committee) would have been a better fit for Black History Month while Independence focused on our own icons. I do think the media should have sought (or maybe they did and it wasn’t reported, or it was reported and I missed it) the perspective of the group that proposed it. But the only official explanation came from the Culture Minister, Chet Greene, who was quoted in the Daily Observer media as saying, among other things, “There are no plays that are written on the lives and works of Nellie Robinson, George Walters and Prince Klaas King Court…The offer that was made to us was on a play, which has value to a Black Civilization; value at a time of rebuilding and uniting, and value in exposing our young people in terms of who we are in time and space…I would want to throw an invitation out to some playwriter, or poet in our space, perhaps, for next year or as part of work beginning now, to seek to provide short plays or skits on the lives and works of Antiguans and Barbudans.” The Minister in particular rebuked Senator Aziza Lake, herself an artist, activist, and media producer, for a facebook comment in which she was quoted, in the same article, as saying, “Tubman is an African American hero who risked her life to free slaves, but she has no place in the country’s Independence celebrations with three separate events.” His quoted comment: “Harriet Tubman’s name is an important name in the history of Black people. And to make an issue of having her name surfacing at Independence time, at Carnival time, or at any time of year in Antigua and Barbuda, by someone who is supposed to be a leader of the nation, it really is disconcerting…When I see comments like that coming from persons like the good Senator Aziza Lake, it makes me wonder if people are aware of their own history. I find that she is just using the opportunity to make mischief.” The article also quoted Carol Hector-Harris, an African American journalist, as saying, “I really appreciate the fact that Harriet Tubman is going to be included in this year’s Independence celebration. In the States, we look to our Caribbean brothers and sisters to celebrate a variety of things in our history…And every achievement that is made by our Caribbean brothers and sisters, we consider them to be our achievement too. And the achievements that we make are your achievements too. We are the same people. We just got off the ‘ship’ at a different port.”

In a follow up article in the same paper, creative artist Alister Thomas pushed back. He was quoted as saying, “There should have already been commissioned individuals who could write the history of this country. There should have been various publications as far as the personalities who would have made contributions from slavery, colonialism, post- colonialism to independence. That would have been helpful…I don’t think we should be, in 2017, saying that we do not have drama featuring local personalities who would have made invaluable contribution to our development, our growth and where we have progressed from slavery…These things should have been an integral part of the education system from first form and even from pre-school. We need introspection. Those things should have already been in motion.” He did not seem, as reported, to object to the inclusion of Harriet Tubman, remarking that “It (Independence) is traditionally the time of year when the nation and its people seek to celebrate its accomplishment from post-colonialism to present. But if a decision is being made to feature a Black personality, who would have made an invaluable contribution in writing our history, I could not be critical of it in any sort of way…I would have preferred [however] that personalities here…, because there are Antiguan and Barbudan descendants of slaves here who are not featured who should be featured, not just at Independence time.”

I then received a call from Big Issues, a Sunday news-discussion programme on the paper’s sister station Observer radio. That panel, hosted by Kieron Murdoch, also included playwright and novelist Dorbrene O’Marde

Dorbrene O'Marde

Dorbrene, also a calypso writer, publisher of Calypso Talk magazine, and biographer of calypso legend King Short Shirt, seen here presenting at a 2007 Calypso Association conference.

 

visual artist and former Culture Director Heather Doram

Exif JPEG

Heather Doram, 2005, as Culture Director at the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize awards.

writer and book store owner Barbara Arrindell

Barbara Arrindell

Barbara Arrindell, pictured here at the 2012 Wadadli Pen awards ceremony is a Wadadli Pen partner, former coordinator of the Independence Literary Arts Competition, playwright who has written and produced a play on national hero King Court/Prince Klaas, and the author of The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Oher Stories and Antigua My Antigua.

and me
Joanne C_ Hillhouse
I didn’t want to be a part of any bashing of Harriet Tubman or of the group which reportedly proposed the project, nor of discrediting our intersection as black Caribbean people with African-Americans, but I did have opinions on the role that arts could play in our society and in our Independence (I have been very vocal on this site on the ways in which arts could be better served and used in service in Antigua and Barbuda). The latter was largely the focus of the conversation. Here are some excerpts (I would have liked to share the audio clip of the entire programme or transcribed all of it but this is the best I could do in the time I had and within fair use boundaries):

Heather Doram
“I’m a firm believer that we need to be pushing more of our own, we need to establish who we are as Antiguans and Barbudans, we need to support…all of the artists a little bit more…and those persons should be supported to produce (pieces on local culture)… I don’t think we have touched the tip of the iceberg yet when it comes to us digging in to our culture, our history.”

Barbara Arrindell
“Let’s take one of our national heroes Prince Klaas, I know of three plays that have been written in the last 20 years about him…but in general these pieces that we’re looking for should be encouraged and commissioned by the government and the best opportunity to do that would be independence, when better…we need to be celebrating these people so that our young people understand who we as a people are, that we are not Americans, we are not, we are Antiguans and Barbudans, (and) we have a proud history and heritage.”

Joanne C. Hillhouse
“I do feel that Independence should be specific to our journey as Antiguans and Barbudans. But I don’t want us to take that to mean that we’re not a part of the broader global community, broader African diasporic community. For me, Harriet Tubman is somebody who I respect and admire, I think she’s iconic. I do take issue with that being the central theatrical production of our Independence when we have, as Barbara just said, several plays that have been written, no commissions that have gone out for these artistes to produce these plays, because art is expensive, and this is the thing that is missing from the minister’s comments, this understanding that artists toil day and night in Antigua and that the greatest gift you can give an artist is time. Time to write, time costs money because artists have bills just like everybody else…putting on productions costs money and a lot of the time the artists are doing what they can but then they need someone else to help them get, whether it’s grant funding, whether it’s state commissions, whatever, to help them push things across the line, but artists are creating in Antigua every day. I remember a few years ago attending a street theatre production put on by the Antigua Dance Academy…it was a production centred on the story of Prince Klaas…it was our story…I don’t know that a production like that couldn’t have a place in our Independence.”

Dorbrene O’Marde
“Just to go back a bit, the whole idea that nothing exists, the 1972 Antigua Carifesta production was a play called the Legend of Prince Klaas that was written by Oliver Flax…we have Rick James Exif JPEG…who years and years ago… staged a one act piece about Olaudah Equiano, and I think he enlarged that subsequently and did a large production in the King George grounds… (Montserratian) David Edgecombe just within the last three or four years wrote and produced a piece called Book-Front-Cover-Lady-of-Parham-300dpi-184x300The Lady of Parham about the human tragedy surrounding the legend of the ghost of Parham; so material exists, and even though material doesn’t exist in …theatrical form…we’ve had a large number of writers in this country who have written biographies…or have put together a whole set of stories…there’s a lot of material that if the festivals commission or the whole ministry of culture etc. was interested, and let’s assume that they are, in really getting these things on stage…there’s space for leadership here, there’s space for commissioning such works, there’s an opportunity, a golden opportunity to support the writers in this country…we need to give that credit to understand the process of writing and to understand the challenges that we as writers face in this country…there is material there, converting the material to stage is, of course, the challenge and that is what needs the support of the commission..”

Heather Doram
“My feeling is that I have lived under several administrations and I really do not get the feeling that there is that widespread support for the visual and performing arts…you just use them when you need them…we do not even have a national gallery in Antigua and Barbuda so we the artists are there producing work in sort of isolation. I’ve seen it in many other countries where the national gallery would commission work; this sort of spurs the whole generation and activity of work and then the artists start to feel that sense of involvement and that their art work can actually support them…the same thing I’m sure applies to the literary artist…something like the cultural development division should be that nexus of that sort of leadership, this is where the cradle is…I would really like to see more support for the arts generally.”

Barbara Arrindell
“It has survived so far without the support of government… or with very little support…but it’s surviving, not thriving…you have people like the Reverend John Andrew Buckley…the first black Moravian minister anywhere in the world, and he came from Antigua…you have Elizabeth and Ann Hart…free coloured women who helped first established the first system of education for enslaved people…in the hemisphere…the building at Bethesda…these sisters got people who had to toil all day to come out at night and early morning to put up this structure so that their children could have an opportunity for education, how could we not celebrate them. …let’s say she’s the subject of our next independence…we’re talking about building up our knowledge base, our understanding of who we are.”

Joanne C. Hillhouse
“What’s missing a lot of the times… is continuity…and that will continue to be missing if there’s no master plan; and development, you can invest in a major prize or you can invest in the development of the arts…literary arts development is not an annual competition, it is day to day programmes in the schools, in the communities which foster creative thinking, which foster the imagination, which then bleeds in to other things…if we had ongoing programmes utilizing the artists in the community…then we could say we’re actually having continuity, that we’re having investment in the development of the arts. I know, because I have and I’m sure others have to, have made proposals and have seen those proposals fizzle or stagnate and go nowhere…not only have the artists been doing, but the artists have been proactive about proposing things and those things have gone nowhere. So I do think  that we could be doing a lot more in terms of not just the big show pieces but in terms of actual investment in the development of the arts, in utilizing the talent that we had here on a continuous basis.”

Dorbrene O’Marde
“We’re definitely not doing enough…you talk to groups today and mention Tim Hectorbuhlebook…in schools, the name is not know; what he does has not been heralded…my interactions with young people…points to this particular void…history clearly is the subject of interest here, that we know who we are…the decisions about where we’re going will be made on the basis of that knowledge…if you understand the history of how we came to own these lands…then we wouldn’t behave the way we’re behaving, for example, with our land…”

Heather Doram
“I think a government has a responsibility number one, to help develop these skills in the population…I don’t think in our developing of our young people we can just focus on the academic…and wouldn’t that (art) really enrich the lives of our people…I don’t think we’re developing these well rounded individuals…we need a balance.”

Joanne C. Hillhouse
“When Heather was culture director…I remember her starting a national collection where she commissioned pieces featuring Antiguan and Barbudan icons…what has become of that? What has been the continuity with respect to that national collection?… things like that, like you can have someone with a good idea start something

monarch

This painting of Short Shirt by Artist, part of the ‘national collection’ was included in this Carnival 50 anniversary anthology, which I edited for the Daily Observer.

…things happened before but there was no continuity, so if there’s no continuity it’s like you’re starting from scratch every time someone gets fired up and passionate about something so that’s the whole point…if you have that continuity then this person’s efforts will connect with that person’s efforts and we’ll have progression instead of starting from scratch every time…one of the things I do on the Wadadli Pen website is I have a project where I record the books that are put out and the plays and the songs that are put out by Antiguan and Barbudan creatives and there’s no shortage of stuff in the last 10 or so years, there’s a lot of people just feeling inspired and doing their own thing… there is stuff happening independently by artistes who feel inspired and creative but not by any system that’s giving them foundation or supporting their efforts.”

Barbara Arrindell
“Nellie Robinson, Dame Nellie Robinson is listed somewhere in our history as being the first chairperson of the artists association of Antigua and Barbuda, but so is a lady named Elizabeth Pickney…back in 17something… I found one in the 18th century too… we’ve had an artists association here many times and it’s been so far apart that each person thinks of themselves as the first chairperson of… in terms of history, there’s a book called A Brief History of Antigua written by Brian Dyde. Brian Dyde wrote brief histories for about four or five islands around the Caribbean, if it was five, four of them are still in print, guess which one is not in print, the other four were taken on and used in the school systems in the other islands, guess which one they couldn’t even sell one print run for…?”

Dorbrene O’Marde
“We must be thinking about the journey that brought us to that point in 1981…what does that mean to us…1981 is really just the start of a journey, the start of a process…the discussion we’re having here is the absence of guidance from our institutions, the ministry of culture…what independence in this particular world means, what it must mean, how we protect it, and the role clearly that artists, those of us on this panel, that artists have in doing that, that that role must also be encouraged, must also be supported, must also be helped, be guided in many ways…this is where we must be.”

That’s just some excerpts and here’s some post chat coverage in the paper:
22414442_10154684584571148_1867804070_n

And that’s that. Or it was, because now (October 20th 2017 update) there’s this our country I saw this play when it was staged in the King George V grounds in 2007 – I remember thinking it was quite ambitious, especially as James was the only cast member (really) with professional theatrical background and given that it spanned pre-Colombian times to the then present. If you missed it, this is an opportunity to catch a screening of it inspired, I understand, by that Big Issues episode; so that’s something.

Oh, one last thing, on the Observer programme, I mentioned that you could find here on this site the open letter read by Barbara Arrinell when she resigned her post as literary arts comp coordinator at the 2011 awards ceremony, the last time any type of literary arts anything (to my knowledge) was held during Independence until last year when there was a lit arts forum and an essay competition. There is no 2017 lit arts activity – apart from the Harriet Tubman workshops and play listed on the programme – and no visual arts activity apart from the fashion competition and show. You can, of course, double check the link to the programme linked earlier in this post.

I think that’s everything.

p.s. the slide show at the top is some of the works produced or co-produced – and/or projects with which they were involved – by the panelists quoted in this post.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Please note that, except otherwise noted, images on this site also need to be cleared if you wish to use them for any purpose. Thanks.

 

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From the Mailbox – Concerning Barbuda

Ben Rainey contacted me shortly after the passage of hurricane Irma and its decimation of Barbuda. He wanted to do something; a feeling all of us can relate to at this time – especially factoring how many of our neighbouring islands and countries have been hit between Irma and Maria (and the conflicting feelings of urgency and helplessness this can induce). As a related sidebar: remember this post linking ways you can help Barbuda and others affected this hurricane season (another sidebar: let us as Antiguans extend continued compassion to the people of Barbuda, empathy, and our ears and support re their future and the history and future of their land). Okay, sidebars over; back to Ben and the initiative he has taken to help our sibling island. After some back and forth with Ben, I decided to share it here because of its arts-driven nature (given that Wadadli Pen is and remains a community-focused arts project, here to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda…and on this occasion an opportunity for the literary arts to step up and help Antigua and Barbuda). Read on.

Ben Rainey

Ben Rainey.

 

From Ben Rainey:

‘A humanitarian crisis’ – so PM Gaston Browne has said is developing in Antigua, with the entire population of Barbuda forced to seek refuge on the larger island. The prime minister’s rhetoric has become increasingly fiery over the weeks since the hurricane (hurricane Irma), as he travels from the UN (United Nations) to music festivals in the USA, seeking to raise both funds and awareness. Climate change is real, and needs to remain at the very top of the agenda.

The authoring of crises to serve the wealthy is already endemic in the Caribbean. Structural adjustment programmes, such as those offered by the IMF and World Bank, are often predicated on debt crises themselves originally manufactured by the same organizations – hence PM Browne’s heartfelt plea to the UN. Barbuda, however, represents a real challenge to the consensus of debt-as-freedom – an island which is one of the longest running modern projects in genuine mutual aid and common ownership in the world, and not to mention a pioneer in climate change research, given the Blue Halo initiative and all it represents. To allow these achievements and insights to be overwritten for the sake of quick dollar would be a grave mistake and a travesty.

If there is anything we can do from London to effect and help the people of Barbuda with preserving what they have, with not losing it to prospectors and investors, then we owe it to them. To that end we are starting a journal, ‘Reef’, aiming to feature poets, writers and thinkers from both the Caribbean and London – of the diaspora and beyond. Barbuda needs the solidarity of all who refuse to consent to erasing the future, and who believe in the power of poetry, art and words to effect change. If you would like to submit any poetry, writing or thoughts, please send them to:

reefanthology@gmail.com

As this is a grassroots effort we are aiming to keep overheads minimal, and will be printing on Risograph; so a few guidelines:

● 300 words max for poetry/500 for prose
● Feel free to submit multiples, but we may only be able to accept one piece per writer
● First rights are unimportant, we welcome poems previously published
● We cannot offer payment, but will provide all contributors with a subscription to the journal as it develops
● Deadline October 5th.

We’ll also be having a promotional night in Clapton, north-east London on the 6th of October, to present the project and more importantly show our support for the preservation of Barbudan life for the Barbudan people. Poems submitted to the journal will be read out on the night.

Pending investigation, all profits from both of these efforts will be sent directly to the Waitt Institute’s Barbuda fund – you can find details, as well as a full transparency statement, at: https://donate.icfdn.org/npo/barbuda-recovery-conservation-trust-fund

Please join us – to speak, sing, dance and most of all shout our support for those who have lost their homes and who we will not allow to also lose their way of life.

x

About Ben Rainey: Originally from Antigua, Ben Rainey is a student in Linguistics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, UK, with an interest in creole studies and pragmatics – specifically, metaphor and reality and where they meet – and where he also works on Grambank, an international project documenting grammar in languages from around the world. When not studying he co-runs the art night and radio show ‘voice of god’ , looking at ways to talk about the invisible in art, as well as producing music as äkeä and playing in punk band Business Lunch.

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Congratulations, Moondancer

This just popped in to my social media newsfeed so I had to pause to big up Floree Williams Whyte who now has her own publishing imprint, Moondancer.

Moondancer

Floree Williams Whyte is part of the Wadadli Pen team: she’s been a judge since 2012 and, in 2016, became a part of the core advisory and action team as we move toward becoming a formal non-profit and solidifying the foundation we’ve been building since we launched in 2004. Floree with Kaeiron2So, we had to take a moment to shout her out and big her up for this major milestone on her publishing journey.

Per Moondancer’s facebook page: Moondancer Books is a small press, publishing Caribbean based books. This ever expanding brand, owned by Floree Williams Whyte, encompasses anything that is creative, inspiring and literary.

She’s also announced on the page that this book is coming soon: Yohan book

Per us: Floree is a talented writer who first hit the market with Pink Teacups and Blue Dressesfloreebookcover, a book of sometimes quirky and always authentic vignettes of growing up, Antiguan. Her second book was Through the Window.Floree book launch

While Floree has self-published before (Through the Window), setting up an imprint is a different level (a level at which you’re a business woman with an independent publishing house). Kudos to her for taking that step.

And you can be sure we’ll be trying to grab her for a  guest post or Q & A about this new step here on Wadadli Pen soon.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, and With Grace; also a freelance writer, editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator). All Rights Reserved. If you like the content here follow or recommend the blog, also, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. Thank you.

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Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed Vl

This picks up where the previous Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed pages left off (there was one, two, three, four, five – use the search feature to the right to dig them up if the links don’t work).  As with those earlier pages, it features reviews about A & B writings that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible/professional reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. It’s all shared in an effort to underscore Antigua and Barbuda’s presence in the Caribbean literary canon.

“The book (The Art of Mali Olatunji) is engaging, and in reading it, we travel into Paget’s passion for Antigua, his country, and the impulses of anti-imperialism that have deep roots in colonial Antigua and Barbuda trying to find its way in today’s globalized world.” – Rekha Menon ‘Paget Henry: the Classic Afro-Caribbean Savant’ in the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books Volume 10 Number 1 Summer 2017

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In the Black cover“This cadent collection of poetry and prose from some of Canada’s most gifted black writers is moving, and sometimes disturbing, for readers of any colour.” – Philip K. Thompson writing in The Herald about In the Black: New African Canadian Literature edited by Althea Prince

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Troubling Freedom

Dr. Lightfoot signs copies of Troubling Freedom at the launch event organized by the Friends of Antigua Public Library. (Photo by Barbara Arrindell of the Best of Books/Do not use without permission and credit)

Reviews of Natasha Lightfoot’s Troubling Freedom: Antigua and the Aftermath of British Emancipation:

“By tracing the development of Antigua in the post-emancipation period, Lightfoot has produced a work that will interest scholars who study conceptions of freedom, working-class solidarity, labor, Antigua, and the wider Caribbean. Recommended.” — J. Rankin, Choice

“Lightfoot’s Troubling Freedom sheds light on how freedpeople in Antigua negotiated the terms of their labor and the conditions of their freedom in Antigua….The book also illustrates that space and spatial relations were at the heart of Antiguans’ struggle for freedom after emancipation: between Antigua and Barbuda, the city and the country, the free villages and estates.” — Kaneesha Cherelle Parsard, American Quarterly

“Instead of a ‘narrative of valiant and unified subaltern struggle,’ a moral tale of progress and expanding unproblematic liberation, Lightfoot offers a more complex and ambivalent history of freedom, which contains not only hope and solidarity, but also internecine conflicts and violence. For this very reason, this is an important and insightful history that deserves to be read.” — Henrique Espada Lima, Canadian Journal of History

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Antigua launch of Oh Gad at Best of Books photo by BYZIAPhotography

Me at the 2012 launch of my book. (Photo by byZIA Photography)

“Oh Gad! is a major artistic triumph of which all Antiguans and Barbudans can be justly proud. I certainly am delighted by this publication of this novel and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. As a work of fiction, it is beautifully written and flows like a river on its way to the sea. The conversations between the characters are well crafted dialogues, often very sharp, with verbal darts that pierce the thick armors of several of the characters.

Along with being very well written, this is a very Antiguan and Barbudan novel. Hillhouse’s fiction bears and reflects the cultural marks and tensions in our society, its patterns of in and out migration and its dependence on metropolitan cities like New York. Oh Gad! very artfully encodes in its characters and plot lines rich slices of the culture of Antigua and Barbuda…we encounter very directly the cultural values, proverbs, practices, and everyday crises that make up life in our twin-island state. Many of the difficulties that challenge her characters, Hillhouse links to slave past and the matri-focal family structure that it has left us. Thus, among the major achievements of this novel is the extent to which the social and cultural life of our society gets woven into its most basic fabric.

In spite of its carefully embedded cultural riches, Oh Gad! is a character driven novel. Its characters are very well developed, clearly delineated, and very artfully kept alive by Hillhouse.” – Badminded Nikki: A Review of Joanne Hillhouse’s Oh Gad! by Paget Henry in the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books and in Journeys in Caribbean Thought: the Paget Henry Reader. Other reviews of Oh Gad! in the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books here.

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