Category Archives: A & B WRITINGS

Carib Plus Lit News (the First of 2020)

Happy New Year and let’s pray it is indeed a happy one. Here at Wadadli Pen, we’re gearing up for the 2020 season of the Wadadli Pen Challenge (keep checking back, ask to be added to the Wadadli Pen mailing list, or follow or subscribe for updates).  Meanwhile, here’s the first Carib Plus Lit News of  2020.

In Antigua and Barbuda, late physician, music producer, and HIV/AIDS activist Sir Dr. Prince Ramsey’s street in Paradise View has been renamed in his name.

(Photo of the Day at the Daily Observer on December 30th 2019 shows Sir Dr. Prince Ramsey’s family at the sign of the street name for him. Photo taken by Dotsie Isaac)

Dr. Ramsey died in 2019. You can find out more about him on this site in our obit here and our post on most influential Antiguans and Barbudans.

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Antigua and Barbuda’s DJ Quest spun and scratched his way to second place in the Caribbean 3Style Championships in Panama City, Panama, a journey he described as “an emotional roller coaster” and the “most memorable performances of my career to date.” He said in the linked article, “2020 is the year of vision and mine is clear.”

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Still in Antigua and Barbuda, the first edition of ApaNa magazine includes an article on my work with both the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize and Cushion Club Reading Club for Children.

You can read the full issue here. According to Deborah Hackshaw, the magazine’s founder in its launch release  “ApaNa provides an independent platform for communication and collaboration on sustainability and social responsibility challenges, developments and strategies for the Caribbean.  We leverage storytelling with articles on sustainability, business and marketing trends, social causes and community investment.  ApaNa shares the work that companies and partners are doing together.  We also offer executive perspectives to motivate and inspire organisations, people and communities in the region to take action.”

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We typically do an individual top 10 new posts of the year here on the blog. Time didn’t allow for it at the end of 2019 but I thought I’d do a quick-ish mention here so that you can check them out if you missed them:

  1. Antigua Con Not Dampened By Saturday Showers
  2. Celebrating Dr. Prince Ramsey; RIP, Sir
  3. Farewell Grand Dame (Saying Goodbye to Mary Quinn)
  4. On Bill Burt, the Burt Award (for Caribbean Literature), and the 18 Teen/Young Adult Caribbean Fiction Titles It Produced
  5. Antiguan and Barbudan Authors at St. Martin Book Fair
  6. The Votes are in and… (announcing the outcome of the Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year Initiative)
  7. Book of the Year Presentation (Photo Gallery)
  8. PRESS RELEASE The Antigua and Barbuda Readers’ Choice Book of the Year Is…
  9. #Girlscan – A Tribute to Team Antigua Island Girls
  10. Antiguan and Barbudan Writers Talking CARIFESTA Inclusion (or Lack Thereof)

Those are the new topics that attracted the most interest in 2019. Among the older posts that were still attracting heavy viewership in 2019, the top five were:

  1. The home page
  2. #ReadAntiguaBarbuda #VoteAntiguaBarbuda (listing the books in the running for the Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year Initiative)
  3. Antiguan and Barbudan Writings (our main literary data base)
  4. About Wadadli Pen
  5. Opportunities Too

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The Barbados Independent Film Festival is this January. Here’s the schedule.

Here’s a link to their social media.

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From my author blog, the last of the 2019 run of the CREATIVE SPACE series focused on the return of the Vagina Monologues to the Antigua stage for the first time since 2012 (a run that started in 2008). Zahra Airall, one of the original directors of the Antigua run of the Eve Ensler play and its homegrown counterpart When a Woman Moans, with her third production of the year after The Long Walk and Derek Walcott’s Ti-Jean and His Brothers (with her Honey Bee Theatre) plus multi-award winning participation in the Caribbean Secondary Schools theatre competition, used the staging as an opportunity to re-launch her Sugar Apple Theatre.

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Richard Georges of the BVI and Ann-Margaret Lim of Jamaica collaborated on a Caribbean Writers edition of Anomaly. Writers featured in the international literary journal include some names which should be familiar to you if you’re a regular reader of this blog: Summer Edward, Shivanee Ramlochan, Juleus Ghunta, Celia Sorhaindo, Ayanna Gillian Lloyd, among others.

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The Caribbean Writer literary journal, a publication of the University of the Virgin Islands, published its annual lit prize winners for Volume 32. The Daily News Prize for an author resident in the U.S. Virgin Islands or the British Virgin Islands has been awarded to Virgin Islands author, poet, essayist Clement White for “Fia’bun An’ Dey Queen Dem—Re-Examination DWI Sits and History in Search of a V.I. Identity.”  This prize, awarded to a prose or fiction writer, is a longstanding prize sponsored for over two decades by the Virgin Islands Daily News. The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for best short fiction has been awarded to Trinidadian-Bahamian poet and fiction writer Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming for “Spider and the Butterfly.” This prize is made possible by the founder publisher of the St. Croix Avis, Rena Brodhurst. The Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize for a new or emerging writer has been awarded to Jody Rathgeb for “Uncle Jeep.” This prize is sponsored by Dasil Williams, wife of the late Marvin Williams, deceased editor of The Caribbean Writer. The Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize to a Caribbean author whose work best expresses the spirit of the Caribbean has gone to Jane Bryce for “When it Happened.” This prize is sponsored by former Governor John de Jongh, Jr. on behalf of his wife for her abiding support and interest in the literary life of the Virgin Islands and the region. The David Hough Literary Prize to an author residing in the Caribbean goes to Patricia Nelthropp Fagan for her story “Jewish Island Girl.” This is the final installment of this prize (a prize I, incidentally, won in 2011). The first Vincent Cooper Literary Prize to a Caribbean author for exemplary writing in Caribbean Nation Language has been awarded to Dionne Peart for her short story “‘Merica.” This prize is sponsored by University of the Virgin Islands Professor, Dr. Vincent Cooper, a longstanding member of The Caribbean Writer’s Board of Editors. A new prize has been announced for Volume 34. Read more about that here.

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Bocas has announced  that Monique Roffey, the Trinidadian Orange prize nominated author of books like White Woman on a Green Bicycle will be holding workshop sessions, Beyond the First Draft: Literary Craft Studios. The given dates are January 18th, April 29th, and May 9th 2020. “This is a series of three unique sessions at The Writers Centre for advanced writers of novels and short stories,” according to the mailed announcement. Roffey, who is also a lecturer and editor for The Literary Consultancy in London, will discuss some of what a writer must think about when revising and polishing a work of fiction, so it’s ready for showing to an agent or for publication. The three 2-hour interactive sessions will include talks, discussion handouts, and ‘q and a’. Meanwhile, another well-known Trinidadian writer and critic Shivanee Ramlochan will be delivering a master class, entitled Poetry as Ferocity: Writing Your Truth with Radical Honesty, on January 12th and 19th 2020, also at the Writers Centre in Trinidad. For registration information, contact Bocas Lit Fest. The next Bocas Lit Fest, meanwhile, takes place May 1st – 3rd 2020.

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As the author of Caribbean fairytale With Grace (coincidentally illustrated by Bajan artist Cherise Harris), I was interested to learn of Bajan artist Empress Zingha’s recently published fairytale Melissa Sunflower. According to LoopnewsBarbados.com, ‘Melissa Sunflower is Illustrated by Heshimu Akin-Yemi and is a Caribbean Fairy Tale story based in Fairy Valley in Christ Church. The main character Melissa Sunflower is a fairy with no wings and gets teased by her advisories (sic), “Sweet Cherry” and “Whatcha MuhCallit”. One day, a big challenge arrives throughout the land and Melissa finds the most potent magic of all.’ Asked why she wrote the book she says something that’ll sound familiar to you if you’ve read any of my posts about the need for diversity in publishing, and the need to tell our own stories, per the Wadadli Pen mission, “I created Melissa Sunflower because I wanted to see more representation for not only black girls, but Caribbean children’s books as well. Actually, I found out that black stories by black authors only make up about 2% of overall publishing globally. I figured, if I could just do my part, maybe it would inspire more writers. Also, I dedicated my book to Kamau Brathwaite, who is my favorite author. In his book, “History of the Voice” when I did my Masters and how important Nation Language and cultural identity was to one’s existence. I sent him the story for his birthday and he really loves it. Maybe one day I’ll get to meet him face to face.” If you’ve read With Grace, you’ll also here a thematic commonality when she says about the book’s takeaway, “To always believe in your magic. That all miracles start and end with love and are most potent and powerful when you believe in it and yourself.” Read her full interview here.

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Jamaican Poet Laureate Lorna Goodison received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2019 on the basis of her body of work. It was established in 1933 by King George V. Past recipients include W. H. Auden, Derek Walcott, and John Agard, the latter two also of the Caribbean, St. Lucia and Guyana, respectively, among others. Details here.

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 Interviewing the Caribbean journal, which has been recently acquired by the University of the West Indies Press, is preparing to launch its winter 2019 issue which is focused on Caribbean Children’s literature and the challenges and hopes of children in the region. One of our own, 2018 Wadadli Pen finalist Rosie Pickering’s poem ‘Damarae’ is included along with an interview with the teenage writer; I was invited to contribute an article on children’s and teen/young adult books she’s read recently and would recommend, and that article is also in this issue. Follow the UWI Press so that you can be in line when the issue drops this January. Bookstores et al, order here.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

 

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Text Books Written by Antiguan and Barbudan Authors

These are current texts written or co-written (included writers excerpted) by Antiguan and Barbudan authors.

The Life of Dame Georgiana Ellen Robinson by Barbara Arrindell in Unit 3: History in Collins Caribbean Social Studies 1. Harper Collins Publisher Limited. UK. 2017.

A social studies textbook adopted for use in schools in a number of  Caribbean Islands. The two-page spread on Nellie Robinson introduces the region’s youth to the lone female Antiguan and Barbudan national hero and speaks of her motivation, accomplishments, and awards. It also encourages students, through recommended activities, to find out more about celebrated Antiguans & Barbudans and other Caribbean heroes.

A Volar! Workbook 2 – ¡A Volar! Primary Spanish for the Caribbean by Tiffany Azille-Henry (ed. Tracey Traynor). Collins. UK. 2015.

Specially designed for the Caribbean, suitable for primary pupils whose first language is English, this engaging course makes learning Spanish fun while meeting the demands of Caribbean teaching and curriculums. It introduces the Spanish language to children in a highly accessible format for beginners and young learners, with careful progression through the levels. Lively, colourful illustrations, fact boxes, games, and toe-tapping songs all help to communicate the learning objectives in a fun and active way. All pupil books include an audio CD, featuring specially-commissioned songs and audio for listening and speaking exercises and pronunciation of vocabulary.

CAPE Revision Guide: Communication Studies by Brenda Lee Browne (w/Natalee Cole). Harper Collins.  UK. 2016.

Focuses on the content and skills students need to master for success in CAPE examinations, covers all aspects of the syllabus, and provides excellent help with exam preparation. With clear and accessible information, practice questions, and exam tips throughout, this resource helps students prepare for the exam by giving advice and guidance on techniques for the text questions and school based assessment. It also gives clear and comprehensive coverage of each module of the syllabus. Accompanying audio files are available online for listening and comprehension practice.

Amelia at Devil’s Bridge by Joanne C. Hillhouse (excerpted) in The Concise Revision Course for CSEC® English A. Harper Collins. UK. 2017.

The Concise Revision Course for CSEC® English A provides comprehensive and authoritative guidance to preparing for the Paper 1 and Paper 2 examinations. The story Amelia at Devil’s Bridge – short listed for the Small Axe prize and published in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean – is excerpted in this text.

books by Anthea S. Thomas

Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda – STUDENT’S BOOK GRADE 3 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.

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Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda — STUDENT’S BOOK GRADE 4 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.

Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda — STUDENT’S BOOK GRADE 5 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.

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Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda — STUDENT’S BOOK GRADE 6 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.

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Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda — WORKBOOK GRADE 3 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.

Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda — WORKBOOK GRADE 4 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.

Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda — WORKBOOK GRADE 5 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.

Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda — WORKBOOK GRADE 6 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.

Antigua Primary Social Studies Workbook Grade 5& 6 2nd Edition by Anthea S. Thomas.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2018.

Antiguan Primary Social Studies Work book 4 3rd Edition by Anthea S. Thomas. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2018.

Collins Antigua Primary Social Studies has been specially written by a local teacher to meet the needs of local schools, teachers, and students. The books in this series provide full coverage of the primary social studies syllabus for Antigua and Barbuda, with engaging illustrations and activities to keep students interested and to help them learn. Collins Antigua Primary Social Studies provides everything teachers need for the Antigua and Barbuda social studies syllabus at primary level. This course has been specially developed by an extremely experienced local teacher who truly understands the needs of primary students and how to keep them engaged and interested in learning. It provides a skills-based approach to learning fully set in local contexts to allow students to develop tools and skills for learning and a wider knowledge of their own island and the Caribbean. The Collins books followed Thomas publishing her workbooks independently.

Poetry for the CSEC English B Examination by Sharon Wilson-Strann. Macmillan Education. UK. 2008, 2012.

 

This companion explores the poems that will be covered in the 2012-2014 and the 2015-2017 CSEC English B examination in a systematic way in order to guide students through their studies. Alongside a section on understanding figurative language, tips on essay writing, sample essays and a glossary of literary terms, the treatment of each poem includes the following features: – A summary of the text – An exploration of the subjects/issues – A description of the poetic techniques used – A variety of pre- and post-reading activities – A series of extension activities – A list of websites or books that relates to the text.

*This post refers to books specifically written as texts or supplementary material for schools/learning institutions. It does not include but does acknowledge:
-other non-fiction books which would enhance any academic institution’s reading list (pick any from our non-fiction list – Elizabeth Abbott to Brian Dyde to Paget Henry to Natasha Lightfoot to Desmond Nicholson’s to Joy Lawrence’s Colours and Rhythms and The Way We Talk and Other Antiguan Folkways when I taught Communication)

-fictional books (e.g. my fictional books The Boy from Willow Bend and Musical Youth) that are on the schools reading list in Antigua and Barbuda and some other Caribbean islands

-other books which are not text but were written for potential use in education (e.g. 1970s and 1980s Nelson’s, Macmillan’s, and Key Caribbean readers in which you can find the work of Oliver Flax, and more recently S. Khalilah Brann’s The ABCs of the Black Panther Party).

This post exists in part because where texts are written by local authors inevitably there is likely to be more relatable material, more excavation of local history etc. As someone who studied at institutions from pre to tertiary where almost all the material (one secondary school teacher introducing us to Smith and Smith’s To Shoot Hard Labour being a notable exception) was not reflective in any way (including the wider Caribbean material which tended to focus on the larger islands) of the reality I lived. Does it matter? I think it does; I don’t think the material we use should be exclusively self-reflective but I think it should be in the mix.

Disclaimer: it occurs to me after the fact that these are almost all Collins books. I assure you we have not been paid for promotion by Collins. What prompted this post was the Nellie Robinson entry in the social studies text specifically and my personal feeling (which once led to a proposal to the powers that be for a children’s book series spotlighting our national heroes) that more children in Antigua and Barbuda need to read about her.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and its Spanish language edition Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe). All Rights Reserved. Please credit to Wadadli Pen if you share this list. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Plus Lit News (early December 2019)

Interviews

Caribbean Voices was a programme out of the BBC that helped either launch or popularize the artists who would come to be known as the foundations of the 20th century Caribbean literary canon. And now we have a New Caribbean Voices podcast for the 21st century, hosted by Caribbean-Brit poet Maliker Booker. Read about it at Repeating Islands and then check out the podcast as we will be. Check out our Reading Room and Gallery if you still need to satiate your arts-appetite.

There’s also this new interview with me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) at U.S. online platform Ravishly, in which I talk about my teen/young adult novel Musical Youth.

Read it here. More of my interviews can be found on the Media page on my author blog.

New Books

Sandra Sealy, Barbadian artist and writing professional who has been sharing opportunities for writers in the Caribbean longer than I have, has launched her first book Chronicles of a Seawoman: a Collection of Poems. Be sure to support her as she has supported the journey of so many writers.

PLUS New releases from Antigua-Barbuda Samantha Dian Samuel’s Journey to Discovery: Carl’s Summer of Adventure illustrated by Sonali Andrews, and (it’s been out for a minute but has it’s Antigua and Barbuda launch the first Saturday in December at the Museum Sue Evan-Wong aka Sue Appleby’s Cornish in the Caribbean. Finally, Wadadli Pen alum (a finalist 2005 and 2006) Rilys Adams, writing prolifically as Rilzy Adams’ dropped her latest, Twelve Dates of Christmas (Love on the Rock Book 1).

 

Remember books make great gifts and check out data base of Antiguan and Barbudan books (note: some of the newer ones haven’t been added yet), the Wadadli Pen post on children’s book for your Christmas shopping list, or our last Carib Plus Lit News in case you missed it, for the right book for that person in your life.

Showed/Showing

The fourth iteration of Human Stories in November 2019 marked the UK solo exhibition debut by Nadia Huggins (Trinidadian, based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines), whose photographic and filmic works capture intimate moments between sea and surface around St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Curated by Kaia Charles, Human Stories is a series of annual photography exhibitions that encourage a contemporary discourse on modern life via a human point of view. Source.

You can catch independent Barbadian filmmaker Shakirah Bourne’s take on Shakespeare’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Caribbean Dream, on Amazon Prime.

Be sure to check the latest A & B Arts Round up to see what’s coming up in Antigua and Barbuda this December. Including a return of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues directed by Zahra Airall fresh from her wins at the Caribbean Secondary Schools Drama Festival (added to the Antiguans and Barbudans Awarded page).

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, unless otherwise indicated, this is written by author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse. All rights reserved.

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Children’s Books for Your Christmas Lists #WeNeedDiverseBooks

These lists, highlighting books by people of colour or otherwise outside of the mainstream will remain necessary as long as books by people of colour or otherwise outside of the mainstream (e.g. Caribbean books even in the Caribbean) remain in the margins. And I’ll keep sharing them even as I hope to see my books on those lists, as more people with the power to put them in the conversation become aware of them.

 

 

 

 

 

If those images and the title of this post haven’t given it away, this post is about children’s books specifically (i.e. the people not yet in double digits, give or take a pre-teen or two). And we return for that list to the greatest resource I’ve found online for Black books, the African American Literary Book Club which polled industry professionals for its 150 Recommended African American Children’s Books. I’m not sharing the full list, you can view that here, but I thought I’d pull out the Caribbean creatives I found on the list (apologies if  I missed anyone).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boonoonoonous Hair and Anna Carries Water by Canada-based Jamaican writer Olive Senior collaborating with Laura James, a US illustrator with Antiguan-Barbudan roots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am Loved for which he illustrated the words of Nikki Giovanni and his own written and illustrated Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan who is also American of Antiguan descent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am Mixed by Garcelle Beauvais, former star of the Jamie Foxx show, born in Haiti; Jamaica’s Cedella Marley, daughter of late reggae icon Bob Marley, doing a book inspired by his song One Love; US based Canadian born Zetta Elliott who has Kittitian roots and her book Bird; and Jamaican Kellie Magnus’ independent juggernaut Little Lion goes to School.

I want to also do some picks (a personal list) spotlighting Caribbean and Antiguan-Barbudan children’s books. For the Caribbean, I’ll mention 7 (3 I heard excerpted when I shared a panel with the authors from the Miami Book Fair last year, 3 read and liked previously, and 1 extra because I liked the cover and the author is always generously boosting other writers on her blog as I’m trying to do here).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And six from Antigua and Barbuda that I’ve read and liked or in the case of Jamaica Kincaid’s want to read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, the last one is Kittitian and Trinidadian not Antiguan but she does have Antigua connections.

 

 

 

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, unless otherwise indicated, this is written by author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse. All rights reserved.

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A & B Arts Round Up – November 25th 2019 —>

November 28th 2019 –

November 30th 2019 –

December 6th and 7th 2019 –

December 7th and December 13th 2019 –

December 12th, 14th, and 19th 2019 –

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December 14th 2019 –

December 15th 219 – 78546829_535029177084335_7697283746138947584_n (1)

January 18th 2020 –
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As with all content on Wadadli Pen, unless otherwise indicated, this is written by author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse. All rights reserved.

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Carib Plus Lit News (late November 2019)

Since I decided to start this news round-up, it’s all I can do to keep up. Sorry for the things I missed. Here’s some news (some not so new anymore).

Death

Antigua and Barbuda mourns the passing of Vaughn Walter Mbe, a cultural actor and longtime Culture Director and former Carnival chair, who passed unexpectedly. Walter, son of the country’s second premier and national hero Sir George Walter, who himself ran for elected office in 1999, was assigned to lead prep for Antigua and Barbuda’s hosting of CARIFESTA 2021, and reportedly collapsed on the job. The self-styled ‘de Vagabond’ (Vagga for short) is, also, remembered in the larger public consciousness as a broadly comedic personality known for catchphrases like “you haffu come man, you haffu come”. He has acted in a number of plays and other stage (e.g. calypso) presentations, plus local films. Walter who was also a certified marriage officer and event (weddings) planner, was set to retire from public service after his stint with CARIFESTA. I couldn’t find a listing of Walter’s performance credits but I will share one from memory. When, in 2007, the Rick James Theatre Ensemble undertook to tell the story of Antigua and Barbuda, Our Country, Walter took on the role of the man referred to as the Father of the Nation. Incidentally, this man Sir V. C. Bird Sr. was also his father’s greatest political rival (and vice versa) during the pitched battles of the late 1960s to late 1970s  – arguably the most contentious time in modern Antiguan-Barbudan politics. The accuracy and authenticity he brought to the moment of delivering one of Bird’s rallying speeches was one of the highlights of the play.

Appointment

On the heels of an adversarial Carnival season, in which the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization (ECCO) was at loggerheads with local event promoters over artist royalties, the copyright management organization has designated an Antigua-Barbuda director in the person of Vaughan Skerritt. Skerritt works in the industry as copy writer and producer,  and was a member of Antigua and Barbuda’s premier hip hop group back in the day – Da Rock 1761.

Awardees

The Antigua and Barbuda Independence honours list included two members of the arts community, musical arranger Jagger Martin and songwriter Rupert ‘Littleman’ Pelle, as well as educators Dr. Edris Bird, first and former resident tutor of the UWI Open Campus, and Glendina Jacobs, among others. Congratulations to them all.

Marlon James, Jamaican and former Booker prize winner, was a finalist for the National Book Awards in the US where he lives, thanks to his latest epic novel Black Leopard Red Wolf.

Congrats due as well to Dionne Brand, winner of the 2019 Toronto Book Award (and $10,000 CDN) for Theory. The awards are now in their 45th year and are intended to honour books of literary merit that are evocative of Toronto. Brand is originally from Trinidad and Tobago.

Jamaican writer Olive Senior, also Canada-based, won the Matt Cohen at the annual Writers’ Trust Awards in Toronto, celebrating her body of work.


She is pictured here in Antigua (with local author/Wadadli Pen founder-coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse -i.e. me) after attending the Alliougana book fest in Montserrat. We go back to 1995 when, as I have related more than once, I did my first writing workshop at the University of Miami, the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute, which Olive facilitated. It was during that workshop that I began work on my first book The Boy from Willow Bend. Senior was by then already a Commonwealth award winning writer for her book 1989’s Arrival of the Snake-Woman and Other Stories.

Finally, shout out to the Antigua and Barbuda delegation to the Caribbean Secondary Schools’ Drama Festival. They cleaned up, returning home with awards for production, original script (historical drama, The Long Walk by Zahra Airall), directing (Airall), set design, sound, lighting, actress (Khadelia Williams), and best overall contingent. Her production The Forgotten previously won the main prize at the CSSDF in 2015. Without missing a beat Airall is planning at this writing a staging of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues which she originally brought to Antigua and Barbuda as part of Women of Antigua in 2008.

Repping Books

Antigua and Barbuda’s Best of Books bookstore, a Wadadli Pen patron and partner, won representative of the year from UK publisher Collins alongside Jamaica and Belize.

 

Young Composers

Antiguan and Barbudan Brianna Georges, 16, was a finalist for the Commonwealth International Composition Award. Georges is a former member of the prize winning Antigua Girls High School pan orchestra. The Antigua State College student reportedly wants to be both a forensic scientist and professional musician. Khadijah Simon is also a finalist, also from Wadadli. She is still a student at AGHS, where she serves as the choir’s pianist and as a musician at the Spring Gardens Moravian Church. Another Antiguan and Barbudan Erienne Peters, also had a highly recommended entry. The Composition Award’s stated purpose is to promote composition around the world and give young composers the skills they’ll need to further their careers. This is its first year.

Film Arts Awards (Local)

Did you know that Antigua and Barbuda had two film festivals this Independence season? Well, it did. I’m sorry to have missed both (the Motion Picture Association of Antigua and Barbuda’s International Film Festival back after a hiatus, the last one was held in 2012, and the first time Wadadli Short Film Festival led by off-island folks with Antiguan-Barbudan roots) – as not only a film lover but as someone who served as associate producer on Antigua and Barbuda’s first feature length film (The Sweetest Mango) and production manager on its second (No Seed), both written by D. Gisele Isaac, and as a writer and arts advocate. Especially though as someone who likes to see the arts thrive and the work of our artists and art producers celebrated. So congrats to the women in film recognized by the MPAA’s festival – Heather Doram, artist and former Culture Director, who cameod in The Sweetest Mango, starred in No Seed, and who has featured in a number of local productions on stage (Sweet Lady, When a Woman Moans), on TV (Paradise View, Keeping it Real), and on film (Maisie and Em film shorts) among other activities since the early 2000s; Julie Hewlett who has appeared in a number of UK TV series (e.g. East Enders and Turks and Caicos per her IMDB) and who was among the main supporting cast of The Sweetest Mango and is forthcoming in HAMA’s Deep Blue, in addition to teaching and facilitating workshops; and Mitzi Allen, a TV and radio producer, also independent producer of Antigua and Barbuda’s main feature films and TV shows (movies The Sweetest Mango, No Seed, Diablesse, The Skin, TV series Paradise View, and any number of commercial productions, and informational or edutainment programmes e.g. Pet Playhouse, Let’s Talk) as co-founder and co-director of HAMA. Also recognized, Sandie de Freitas who is Canada-based (not sure there’s a direct Antigua-Barbuda connection, the article cited was light on information, but she is festival director and founder for Commffest community film festival in Toronto). The Wadadli Short Film Festival is Antigua-Barbuda based but counts the wider Eastern Caribbean/Caribbean community as its constituency, and UK-based personnel as its principals, and its inaugural awards reflected that with best film going to London-based director Jordan Pitt’s Coffee, best OECS film going to French filmmaker Alain Bidard’s The Flight , and best music video going to Hard Knaxx’s Life in Paradise. See the full list of finalists and short list from 130 submissions. Speaking of Antiguans and Barbudans in film, the Peter Pan inspired Wendy, by critically-acclaimed Beast of the Southern Wilds’ director Benh Zeitlin includes local locations and children (notably Yashwa Mack).

 

Antiguan and Barbudan author  included in the line-up for the Sharjah International Book Fair

More here. And here.

New Books

Not all the new books – just the ones that came across my attention to this writing – including The A to Z of Caribbean Art which is due in early December (no Antiguan-Barbudan artists that I could see); Una Marson by Lisa Tomlinson (fifth in the University of the West Indies press Caribbean Biography series, spotlighting the Jamaican poet, dramatist, broadcaster, and advocate and curator of Caribbean literary arts – Media Release_Una Marson); the latest historical novel by ex-pat writer Apple Gibley’s US Virgin Islands historical novels (Transfer, which just came in the mail along with her earlier work Fireburn, courtesy of the author for review – hopefully I can finish reading them quickly enough to donate them to the Wadadli Pen challenge prize package); a memoir and/or biography by  Antigua and Barbuda’s former PM Sir Lester Bird (The Comeback Kid); US-based Jamaican writer and Howard University professor Curdella Forbes (A Tall History of Sugar); several social studies text and workbooks by local educator Anthea S. Thomas who wrote them initially to fill a material gap in her classroom and landed a publishing deal; and a new anthology, Winning Words, out of Barbados spotlighting winning pieces from the National Independence Festival Creative Arts writing competition.

Finally, on December 1st 2019, Haitian American writer M. J. Fievre drops her latest book – ‘Happy, Okay?’. The Florida-based writer’s book is sub-titled “Poems about Anxiety, Depression, Hope, Survival”. A recent press release described it as “an exhilarating exploration of depression, anxiety, grief, and loss”. It is, according to the release, meant for people living with mental illness and those closest to them. Edwidge Dandicat, another famed Haitian-American writer endorsed the book: “‘Happy, Okay?’ is a beautifully written meditation filled with poignant and lyrical meditations of the joys, pains, and complications of life and the daily struggle to survive, create, and love.” Here’s the press release in full: Fievre_Press Kit

Speaking of books

Sandals knows what’s up. Books makes good gifts. I do hope some Caribbean and Antiguan and Barbudan books are in the mix.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Antiguan and Barbudan Author and Wadadli Pen Founder/Co-Ordinator on Young Adult Literature Panel at the Sharjah International Book Fair

“Sharjah 24: Young adult literature dominates bookstores these days. While the genre only began to gain momentum in the 1970s and ‘80s, but it has definitely gone through a growth spurt since then.

Deliberating on the topic was Science Fiction Writer Noura Al Nouman, and author of Ajwan, and Antiguan and Caribbean writer Joanne C Hillhouse whose penned several books in this genre like, The Boy from Willow Bend.

While the discussion reflected on concerns surrounding the current reading patterns among children and young adults, it also touched on the overriding influence of the digital media. While today’s teens have come of age with smartphones in their pocket, compared to teens a couple of decades ago, its equally true that the way they interact with traditional media like books and movies is fundamentally different.

Sharing her thoughts on the issue was Joanne who said, “Internet to video games, there is a lot more that’s pulling children’s attention now. If you find the right story, then any young person would be inclined to sit there and take it in, because film, television, movies, video games they are all stories and I am yet to meet a child who doesn’t like stories”.

(Read the full article at Sharjah24.ae Also read at the official SIBF websiteGulf  News and UAE News).

Joanne also visited the Gulf Model School (pictured below first with the principal then with the students) and participated in a panel on the New Daughters of Africa book with editor Margaret Busby and co-contributor Ella Wakatama Allfrey (third picture below):

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