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I wasn’t going to write about Banned Books but…

YouTube pushed this at me (because they know I enjoy Roy Wood Jr’s Beyond the Scenes segments).


This PEN America report about book bannings for banned books week showed up in my inbox. But what does book bannings in America have to do with me, more to the point what does it have to do with Wadadli Pen? After all, it’s not like I have Caribbean book ban numbers to share. In fact, a quick google (cause that’s all I had time for) turned up only a 2018 twitter thread by Rebel Women Lit about the time the former eduction minister and current PM of Jamaica launched a campaign to ban books containing bad words, books like late Belizean writer Zee Edgell’s classic Beka Lamb. The same thread mentioned bans in the 1960s against books related to socialism and Black power, books like Alex Haley’s Malcolm X biography and Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.


Yes, book bannings can get ridiculous (let’s face it, they’re always ridiculous) but they also come at a cost – imprisonment, fines, law suits, and other financial and societal costs. Of course, the greatest cost is how it diminishes free thought and choice – underpinnings of democracy, and the opportunity books provide to expand your world.

When I was a kid coming of age in Antigua and Barbuda, it was calypsonian Latumba singing “culture must be free/they can’t muzzle me” in response to the banning of controversial songs from the airwaves – “they don’t even bound to play my songs on none of them two radio station”.

Believe it or not, I actually have some personal experience with books of mine being challenged if not banned.

With students who came out for my panel at the Anguilla Lit Fest, 2015. These are among students there studying my first book The Boy from Willow Bend which is on the schools’ reading list in Anguilla.


The Boy from Willow Bend was already on school reading lists when I was asked if I would consider cutting what was deemed to be sexual content – that request came through the publisher (from a school in another Caribbean country, not Anguilla) and, though grateful for the interest in my book, my answer was no. It’s a coming of age tale and as the main character moved from childhood to young adulthood feelings of attraction for the opposite sex and not quite knowing what to do with those feelings was a natural part of his journey. This character also experiences physical abuse and grief, loss and depression, poverty and abandonment etc. Ironically, the (admittedly off page but referenced) sexual abuse of a female character didn’t seem to raise any red flags. I was also once invited by the then language arts coordinator to the Ministry of Education here in Antigua to discuss some of the challenged content in the book. I remember being bemused (Jamaica Kincaid would never) at the whole scenario as she took me through the challenged areas underlined or circled in pencil. One challenge was for a bad word – the kind of bad words we said in conversation with each other as children and hoped no adult overheard or nobody told on us, and the other was for the same sexual feelings (but no actual sex) scene. In fairness, there is a physical reaction but I actually think you would have to know what’s happening to know what happened in that scene but maybe not; either way it’s a thing that happens. I couldn’t figure what I was expected to do. The book was several years published by then, nothing could be done to change that fact, and even if I could run a special censored version of the book, I wouldn’t. It was for them to decide to put (or in this case, keep it on the list) or not and I hope they would have vetted it before including it (its inclusion, again, meaning the world to me which is why I prepared this study guide). There is one other challenge-y thing, but it’s hearsay from a parent-teacher meeting where some parents allegedly objected to my book’s inclusion because of the use of the local vernacular. But, of course, that’s not all nor I hope the majority of parents.


I think literature and the arts provides opportunities for discovery and conversations, and in the controlled environment of a classroom an opportunity for context. In a world where young ones are exposed through their phones to more than we’ll ever know, having conversations about issues arising from reading a work of art together with the opportunity to guide said conversation seems a better option to me than the wild wild west of the internet.

I’ve told the story before of the parent at a medical lab who was taking my blood when she realized I had written the book Dancing Nude in the Moonlight. She related that a teacher at her daughter’s school was teaching it, which I knew as I had been invited to answer their questions (I don’t believe it was on the official schools reading list though).

It was a great session with enthusiastic and engaged students with great questions…and hugs.


She said some parents had contacted her to see what she thought about the book being taught, so she read it and told me (as she had them) that she had no issue with it, she thought her daughter could handle it. Dancing is a drama framed in a romance, which at the same time deals with societal issues. When I was her daughter’s age I was reading books like The Tempest and To Kill a Mockingbird in school – talk about societal issues. I believe it was important to the teacher who introduced Dancing to her students to introduce them to local and Caribbean authors (not to put words in her mouth but we know that’s an issue), to imagine their world (the kind of work I try to do here with Wadadli Pen) but eventually, as I understand it, it was a losing battle, her efforts were cancelled – and Dancing has since gone out of print.

I wanted to end though on a positive note; action – what can readers do to support books and take the air out of book bans. The American Library Association has a whole list of which, I would say, relevant to us here in the Caribbean…

read the books they don’t want you to read and the books they do want you to read, read and boost the books that you do read, and if you’re concerned about the books your children are reading, maybe read with them and have conversations about it, and advocate for books that are challenged at your children’s schools because, sure, books are dangerous but in the best way, they open up your mind, your empathy, your awareness of worlds beyond your world, your imagination, you don’t have to agree with them or even like them, but a book that challenges how you see the world is sometimes the best book reading experience, and the impact is not a fixed thing, it can change you or it can reaffirm you, or it can do nothing more than entertain you, and that’s okay too

…books are powerful things as are the various arts (and media generally), and that’s why autocracies try to silence artists (and burn books) because heaven forbid people think and feel other than what a strongman wants them to think and feel…

So, that’s why the universe moved me to take a minute (!) and blog about banned books because this might not be as topical in the Caribbean as it is in the US but don’t sleep.

Read.

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 The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid September 2022)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here – credit and link back if you use).

News

African American actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, daughter of Jamaican designer Ivy Ralph, has won her first Emmy, long overdue after decades in the entertainment industry, for her supporting role on the hit comedy Abbott Elementary. She had words of wisdom for all the dreamers.

Sharing just as much for that reminder “don’t you ever, ever give up on you”, as for the original Dreamgirls’ Caribbean bona fides. (Source – Twitter)

***

News of the passing of Britain’s queen, Elizabeth the second, has ignited conversation around the world – certainly it is dominating chatter on western media. There are, of course, the expected condolences, the unfortunate gossip, but as the conversation continues, a re-examination of the relationship between Britain and Commonwealth countries (in this case those in the Caribbean where the relationship was marked by the enslavement of Africans to build British wealth over hundreds of years including colonisation, both on the Continent and in the Caribbean, that continued thereafter in to the late monarch’s reign). It is this latter discourse that landed two prominent Caribbean writers and activists – Jamaican dub poet Mutabaruka and Antiguan and Barbudan writer Dorbrene O’Marde, both active in the push for reparations – in the segment below on the US’ Democracy Now!

Tl; dw? Mutabaruka sums it up with this assertion of what they expect of the new king, Charles: “He must understand how we feel as African people in this part of the world.” (Source – YouTube)

Opportunities

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is now open for submissions. The prize is £2500 pounds for regional winners and £5,000 overall. Winning stories will also be published online and in a special print collection. Judges are looking for “memorable stories, well written stories, stories from places they haven’t heard from before.” The prize is open to any one from a Commonwealth country who is over 18. Previously published stories are not accepted. (Source – Commonwealth Writers on instagram)

See other Opportunities with deadlines here.

Events

Bocas has been marking Trinidad & Tobago’s Independence 60th anniversary celebrations with a series of activities this September, spanning Independence Day, August 31st 2022 to Republic Day, September 24th 2022. Still to come (at this writing) are Voices of History (September 15th 2022), featuring newly commissioned writing telling the stories of “lost voices”; Letters to the Future (September 15th 2022) by 2021 NGC Youth Writer of the Year Harmony Farrell, fiction writer Rashad Hosein, and poet Ronaldo Mohammed; and Coming and Going, a conversation with Barbara Jenkins (The Stranger who was Myself) and Ira Mathur (Love the Dark Days) moderated by Andre Bagoo whose latest book The Dreaming also landed in September. (Source – Bocas email)

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The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival is live this year after two years online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Events will also stream on their YouTube. Here’s the line up:

Friday 9th September 2022 – 6 p.m. – I belong to the House of Music
Saturday 10th September 2022 – 4 p.m. – The Caribbean Pantheon: Goddesses and the Divine in Caribbean Spirituality
Sunday 11th September 2022 – 1 p.m. – Black Powerful – How One Trinidadian Man changed the Landscape of Language Forever
Sunday 11th September 2022 – 4 p.m. – Laureates of the Caribbean – The Rum Bar Lime

Register here. (Source – BCLF email)

Books

I’ll mention the 2021 Perito Prize Anthology for two reasons. One, I have a story in it and I have blogged about the book, which was an interesting read. Also, the deadline for this year’s prize is October 1st, and there’s a cash prize for the winner plus publication for the top entries (not sure if there’s a fixed number). Check it out and see if it’s for you and check out our Opportunities Too page so you don’t miss any submission deadlines. (Source – me & The Practicing Writer Newsletter email)

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Canada-based, Trinidad-born Dionne Brand’s latest book Nomenclature collects eight volumes of her previous works, from 1982 to 2010. It, also, includes a new poem “Nomenclature for the Time Being”. The other big news for the multi-award winning writer is that she is now heading the new publishing imprint at Knopf Canada, Alchemy. Brand’s accolades include the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry and the Trillium Book Award for her 1997 collection Land to Light On. Her collection thirsty won the 2003 Pat Lowther Award. In 2009, she served as the poet laureate of Toronto. Her novel What We All Long For won the City of Toronto Book Award in 2006. She won the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize for Ossuaries and in 2017, she was named to the Order of Canada. Her latest books include the novel Theory and the poetry collection The Blue Clerk, which was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry. (Source – JR Lee email)

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The Bread the Devil Knead, shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022, is available in audio book, narrated by the author Trinidad and Tobago writer Lisa Allen-Agostini.

Photo of Lisa Allen-Agostini by Margaret Busby.

The recording was done locally at Future Crab Studios Ltd, is available on Audible, and can be sampled here. (Source – Lisa Allen-Agostini social media)

Accolades

Former West Indies cricket captain, and Antiguan and Barbudan, Richie Richardson, and St. Vincent soca artiste Beckett will receive honorary doctrates at the University of the West Indies Five Islands campus, in Antigua, on October 8th 2022. (Souce – Daily Observer newspaper)

***

Martinique-born director Euzhan Palcy will receive the Governor’s Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences in November 2022. She is one of four recipients.

“The Academy’s Board of Governors is honored to recognize four individuals who have made indelible contributions to cinema and the world at large,” said Academy President David Rubin. “Michael J. Fox’s tireless advocacy of research on Parkinson’s disease alongside his boundless optimism exemplifies the impact of one person in changing the future for millions. Euzhan Palcy is a pioneering filmmaker whose groundbreaking significance in international cinema is cemented in film history. Diane Warren’s music and lyrics have magnified the emotional impact of countless motion pictures and inspired generations of musical artists. Peter Weir is a director of consummate skill and artistry whose work reminds us of the power of film to reveal the full range of human experience.” (Oscars.org)

Palcy’s films include César Award winning (for best first film) Sugar Cane Alley, which also won the Silver Lion award at the 1983 Venice Film Festival, a first for a Black director; A Dry White Season, the first major Hollywood film directed by a Black woman; and musical fairytale Siméon. She’s also directed a number of documentaries and television projects. (Source – N/A)

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Congrats to the winners of the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Elizabeth Nunez short story prize, Bahamaian Alexia Tolas and Yvekia Pierre of Haiti. The latter is the winner of the prize for a Caribbean writer inthe US and the former is Caribbean-based.

Alexia shared her joy on social media: “It’s a winner! I’m so excited and thankful to the organizers and judges for this year’s Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival 🥰. This story is near and dear to my heart – a story nearly five years in the making. It’s changed a lot over time, and sometimes I felt she’d never work, but knowing that someone laughed, someone’s gut pinched, and someone’s arm hair stood up makes it worth the while. I’m honored, and I can’t wait to share this story of love, obsession, and cuckoo soup with you all 😊.” (Source – Alexia Tolas on Facebook)

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 The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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ICYMI: Antiguan and Barbudan Artistes Discussing Art

Last year two Antiguan and Barbudan writers – Joanne C. Hillhouse and Rilzy Adams – were among the Caribbean writers of romance interviewed by the podcast Tim Tim Bwa Fik. You can find links to those interviews, both in two parts, in the Wadadli Pen A & B Artistes Discussing Art page – that and a lot more local creatives discussing aspects of their art. It is one of the pages in our R & D that is updated as often as we find new interviews to share. Here are excerpts from the page. Click the page title to read or watch or listen to more.

“When writing, where this was concerned, the one thing that I really wanted it to feel like and be like was Antiguan… I was very intentional with everything from the food choices to the music…but I also wanted them for the most part to be not necessarily heartwarming but …my general brand, for everything I write…Antiguan, full of love, and spicy.”

Rilzy Adams, a past Wadadli Pen finalist and subsequent patron, now romance novelist and lawyer

“Part of it is that I knew that world: I was the girl with the guitar slung over her shoulder, going to practice, playing in the choir, being shy about it, being self-conscious about walking with the guitar..for me the interesting things were the kids discovering their love of art, and discovering their potential within the art space, and connecting with each other through art…”

Joanne C. Hillhouse, Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, now president of Wadadli Pen inc, author

“I don’t think about it like that. I just tell the story. Sometimes the protagonist is a child, sometimes a teen, sometimes an adult, sometimes an old person, sometimes a jelly fish named Coral.”

Joanne C. Hillhouse, #gyalfromOttosAntigua

“I didn’t know I wanted to tell stories. I knew I wanted to write and I thought I wanted to write about my mother and me, and a lot of my writing is about mother and daughter. But really I could early on see before any critic, I may have pointed it out to critics, that I was really writing about imbalance of power.” 

Jamaica Kincaid, internationally acclaimed, from Ovals, Antigua

“The biggest wall I encountered, not that there weren’t others, but the biggest was my own fear. And once you get through that fear/feeling of will people understand this, will people accept this, are people gonna see my vision, once you go through that then everything else tends to be a lot more easy to deal with.”

Jelani ‘J-Wyze’ Nias, Canadian writer with Antiguan roots
J-Wyze (Jelani Nias)

Remember, to read, watch, or listen to more, go here.

Once you’ve viewed the page (that page, not this one; this is just a sample), link us to any interviews we may have missed by emailing wadadlipen@gmail.com

Also, if you would like to volunteer with Wadadli Pen and help us do what we do (especially if you’re a college student and potential intern), reach out via wadadlipen@gmail.com

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, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside). 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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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen News

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late July 2022)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here – credit and link back if you use).

Projects

The latest NGC Bocas 100 Caribbean Books that Made Us latest project is a podcast. The first installment finds Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth and Bocas award winning writer Kevin Jared Hosein ruminating on No Pain Like This Body by Harold Sonny Ladoo. Listen here. (Source – Bocas email)

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Antigua Communications Specialist – and former Wadadli Pen judge – Brenda Lee Browne has shared a call for submissions to the Interreg Caraibes Caribbean Digital Film Library project. This project aims to document, digitalise and create a comprehensive digital library of films by and about people living, working, creating in and about the Caribbean. Film in this context includes and is not limited to: family home movies; feature films; documentaries; news clips; special events, interviews etc. These films can be made by amateurs, film makers, individuals, news organisations, sports/community and institutions – no genre or format is excluded. Browne is the inventory officer for Antigua and Barbuda. Her deadline to submit a comprehensive report of what films are available here and if they require special attention due to age, format etc. is August, 2022.

The Interreg CINUCA project is a collaborative project supported by APCAG and their partners: the
EPCC Tropiques Atrium Scène Nationale (Martinique), the association Guyane-Cinéma Audiovisuel et
Multimédia (the G-CAM-Guyane) (French Guiana), the production company Lee Productions Inc.
(Saint Lucia), and the production company Hama Films (Antigua and Barbuda). The project is
co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), under the Interreg V Caribbean
programme. If you have films you’d like added to the library, contact Brenda Lee Browne at brendalee.browne@gmail.com (Source – Brenda Lee Browne email)

A screening of Dr. James Knight’s documentary Nobody Go Run Me at UWI (Mona) in Jamaica.

You may know that I have been building a play and screenwriting data base here on Wadadli Pen, which I will be sharing with Brenda Lee, as I look forward to how this project develops. Remember if we have missed any screenwriting credits in our database, please share.

Opportunities

An Antiguan and Barbudan poet and former Wadadli Pen finalist has an opportunity to pursue further studies and you have an opportunity to help. Her name is Hilesha S. Humphreys and she has received the opportunity to study Ceative Writing at California College of the Arts’ MFA programme. Her writing focuses on abuse and centers the feminine experience. To take advantage of this chance Hilesha is requesting assistance to fund her studies. For more information, please email: hileshashumphreys@gmail.com  

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The Bocas Lit Fest’s Children’s Book Prize, sponsored by the Wainwright Family remains open to Caribbean authors resident anywhere in the world until the end of August. Started last year, the prize is given to one outstanding English-language children’s book for young independent readers. The Prize consists of a cash award of US$1,000. Last year’s winner was When Life gives You Mangoes by Jamaican writer Kereen Getten. The prize is judged by an independent panel of children’s literature experts. The panel is joined by a young reader who will contribute to selecting the winner at the second stage of judging. Eligible are works of fiction (including short story collections and books in verse), literary non-fiction and graphic novels written for independent readers ages 7 – 12 . Works of drama, multiple-author anthologies, picture books, textbooks or instructional manuals are not eligible.  Stories should be told primarily through prose. The book can include illustration, but should not rely primarily on visual storytelling and should have at least 1,500 words. Details here. (Source – Bocas email)

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This one is mine, my Jhohadli Writing Project; specifically, my once-a-month workshop session available to participants from anywhere and ideal for writers with works in progress. So far this year, participants have checked in from the US, Trinidad and Tobago, and Antigua and Barbuda, and participant goals have included advancing and receiving feedback on manuscript in revision, jump starting new writing, and learning more about the world of professional writing. What are your goals?

See this and other pending deadlines at Opportunities Too. (Source – Me)

Accolades

An Antigua Carnival update – Nekirah Nicholls of St. Kitts-Nevis won the Jaycees Caribbean Queen show ahead of runners up Trinidad and Tobago’s Chronna Khan and St. Lucia’s Wenia Verneuil.

Pictures (them in their introductory national costumes and them in their evening gowns during the prize giving) are from the Miss Jaycees Queen Show – JCI Antigua Facebook page. (Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

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The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Elizabeth Nunez prize longlists have, in short order, become one of the most anticipated rollouts of the year if you’re a short story Caribbean or Caribbean diaspora writer. These are the lucky ones in 2022 (Congrats to them all):

For the Caribbean prize (for Caribbean-based Caribbean writers)# – Bahamian Sara Bastien (“The Girl with Your Grandmother’s Eyes”) and Alexia Tolas (“The Fix”); Barbadian Martin Michael Boyce (“In the Secrets Place”), Callie Browning (“The Science of Garbage”), and Gregory Anderson Fitt (“Don’t Cry Precious Baby”); Bermudian Yesha Townsend (“Fishing”); Guyanese Jarryl Bryan (“Shemroy Cusbert”) and Cosmata Lindie (“Starchild”); Dominican/Kittitian-Nevisian Yakima Cuffy (“The Eleventh”); Jamaican Topher Allen (“A Familiar Friction”), Kellie Martine Magnus (“One for the Books”), Tonia Revers (“Hear Yah Now: Conversations”), Damion Spence (“Bull Buck and Duppy Conqueror”), Chaneka Taylor (“Salted Wounds”), and Stacy ann Williams-Smith (“Rio Cobre”); St. Lucian Alicia Valasse-Polius (“Beekeepers”); St. Vincent and Grenadinian Janielle Browne (“The Saddest Part”) and Denise Westfield (“The Valley”); Trinidad and Tobagonian Patti-Ann Ali (“Marley in a Maxi”), Lisa Allen-Agostini (“Meeting Beverley Jones”), Kirk Bhajan (“The La Diablesse of Ecclessville”), Christie Borely (“They lived Together”), Vishala Christopher (“Jumbie like Long Hair”), Rachel Espinet (“Davindra and the buck”), Lynette Hazel (“02.12.20 (Jumbie Make to walk the Road)”), Caroline Mackenzie (“Girls in the Dark”), Brandon McIvor (“Red Hand on a Smoking Gun”), Charmaine Rosseau (“A Real Place”), Portia Subran (“Please Take One”), Kwame Weekes (“Green Thumb”), and Sunil Whittle (“Rockette”).

For the Caribbean American Prize (for US-based Caribbean writers) – Barbadian Elizabeth Best (“Soup on Sunday”) and Rachelle F. Gray (“Peter 3:15”); Dominican Republican El Don (“Amaris Castillo”); Guyanese Elesa Chan (“Jumbie”); Haitian Yvika Pierre (“Nadege goes Home”); Jamaican Jazz Sanchez (“Cook Soup”); *Nicaraguan Marilyn Enriquez (“Devil’s Hole”); St. Lucian Catherine Esther Cowie (“Who wants to look like a Frenchman?”); Trinidad and Tobagonian Keisha Ali (“Uniform”) and Tricia Chin (“Genesis”).

*Nicaragua, I have learnt, despite being Central American, has a major Caribbean influence on its Atlantic coast – including Afro-descendant English speaking Caribbean towns and indigenous (e.g. garifuna) communities.

(Source – BCLF Facebook)

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Artistic director with the The Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts in the Bahamas for 40+ years, Philip A. Burrows, has been awarded the Order of Merit in the country’s 2022 Independence Honours list. Burrows has directed well over 100 productions, taught acting workshops, and written for the theatre; and is notably a founding member of Ringplay Productions and co-founder of the Shakespeare in Paradise theatre festival. Burrows has presented a number of Bahamian productions in the US, UK and throughout the Caribbean, and directed a number of National Events, from Cacique Awards to Independence shows, and both productions honouring Sir Sidney Poitier. There may be other people in Bahamas arts on the list – congrats to all. (Source – Facebook)

Content

You may know that this website tries to archive published reviews of books and other applicable content by Antiguans and Barbudans. The latest installment in this series includes reviews of my books Musical Youth (“a wonderful read” – RunWrightReads, “beautiful book” – Book of Cinz), The Jungle Outside (“masterful use of sensory details” – ACalabash), and (surprisingly) Oh Gad! (“an expansive page-turner” – ACalabash)as well as of the film The Sweetest Mango (“avante garde” – Karukerament), our first feature length film, and Pepperpot, a regional anthology in which I have a story, “Amelia at Devil’s Bridge” (“will make you shiver” – The Opinionated Reader). You can help build this and all of our data bases in two ways – applying to volunteer as a social media intern and sending us tips (and practicing patience when you do). (Source – Me)

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My CREATIVE SPACE art and culture series continues its every other Wednesday publishing schedule in the Daily Observer newspaper and online with extras at my Jhohadli blog. At this writing, the most recent installment asks “Do You know this Man?” while showcasing the careers of 1940s town crier and calypso pioneer Quarkoo and his all but forgotten 1800s to 1900s predecessor Thomas Joseph.

Working on this story, I am reminded of a friend’s feeling about firsts – that often someone did it before, we just don’t know or don’t remember.

(A humbling example of which for me is when years after I started Wadadli Pen certain I was doing something that hadn’t been done as there had been nothing like Wadadli Pen in my becoming, which was why I started it in the first place, I found out, on discovery of the 1979 publication Young Antiguans Write: Prize-winning Selections in Poetry and Prose from School Creative Writing Annual Competition, 1968-1978 , that an annual writing challenge for and publication of youth writing in Antigua and Barbuda for the primary purpose of literary development, was not new. Probably wasn’t new then. It only felt like I was inventing not reinventing the wheel because the car had broken down and been left to rot at the side of the road. I don’t know quite what happened but I do not remember this or any programme of this type (not counting Independence and Tourism essay competitions) existing as I came of age and came in to being as a writer in the 80s nor through my young adulthood in the 90s. And while this could very well be my ignorance, I had not even heard of it. This realisation in part fuels my motivation – though I don’t have institutional resources behind me as that project did – to create a record of our literary history and to not to be another start-and-stop-did-it-even-happen local arts initiative – there’ve been a few, stalled mostly due to lack of resources – but to find a way to keep it going with or without me, which is one reason I pushed for us to become a legal non-profit, daunting as that process has proven to be).

So, in the vein of things being lost, some of Thomas Joseph’s legacy has been folded in to Quarkoo’s, some has been all but erased. Notably, his authorship of “Man Mongoose” – a song popularized as “Sly Mongoose”, that was first recorded in Trinidad, and is thus credited as such, a song that has since been reproduced in many different genres and formats over the years and across the world. I must give credit to American researcher Dan Lanier, who on seeing my Quarkoo post on this site, reached out to ask me about Thomas Joseph and connected me to more about both men than I had previously known. This is one of my favourite CREATIVE SPACE articles of the year because of the connections it makes on and off the page; I hope you’ll give it a read. And if there’s to be intra-island beef over the authorship of “Sly Mongoose”, make it tasty. (Source – Me)

Events

The Antigua Jazz Project has announced a concert, “A Night for Statchel” Version 3.0, Vince McCoy and Friends, featuring Khadijah Simon and Mind Sound, Acoustic Infusion, and The Antigua Jazz Project. It’s 7 p.m. at Pink Mongoose Studio on Friars Hill Road on August 6th 2022. Proceeds in aid of the St. John’s Hospice and Asita Ngash. (Source – postcard picked up at Best of Books bookstore)

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No Panorama? No Problem! The Caribbean Union Bank Hells Gate Steel Orchestra presents it’s “Pan Rhapsody” competition on Saturday 6th August at the Villa Primary School, Antigua. 4 Groups, with up and coming Arrangers will contest this musical showdown.

(Source – Hell’s Gate on Facebook)

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Jamaica and specifically reggae and specifically Bob Marley is now in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and specifically the Black Panther verse with the release of the first trailer for the second Black Panther film: Wakanda Forever. The music featured is Marley’s “No Woman No Cry”, sung by Nigerian vocalist Sems, seamlessly segueing in to US rapper Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright”. Of course, the box office breaking, critically acclaimed, and popularly embraced, rare Black-centered series already had a Caribbean presence with Tobagonian Winston Duke as Mbaku and Letitia Wright, Shuri, being Guyanese.

***

Book of Cinz – a Caribbean book platform whose initiatives include a global Caribbean-focussed virtual book club and the #readCaribbean hashtag which promos the reading of Caribbean books in June – is having its first reading retreat in Dominica, with less than a handful of spots available. It will be at SeaCliff Cottages between October 15th and 20th 2022. Secure your spot here. (Source – Book of Cinz email)

***

We are all invited to listen in on The Caribbean Development Bank funded Cultural and Creative Industries Innovation Fund Creative Talks on Festival Futures in the Caribbean.

(Source – CIIF email)

***

It being Carnival season in Antigua, there will be a steady stream of events in the latter part of July in to early August. I can’t report on them all but I’ll share what I can, especially the new and unusual. Like the July 22nd 2022 Band Meet Band Showdown at Carnival City. It seems to be a project of the Antigua and Barbuda Jam Band and Soca Association and the Ministry of Creative Industries and Innovation. The listed line-up includes Sir Oungku and Red Hott Flames, Daddy Barlo and Revo Band, TKO Band featuring Laurena Davis and Ebony T, Byke and Enegee Band, High Tempa, and more. (Source – DJ Ibis on Instagram) & this massive event honouring the Monarch King Short Shirt:

(Source – Facebook)

***

This event is passed but if you’re a regular here you know that won’t stop me from mentioning it, plus it continues to make news. Dotsie Isaac has donated proceeds from her showcase “Senses: an Evening of Poetry and Music” to the Antigua and Barbuda Heart and Stroke Foundation. Isaac, a former Wadadli Pen judge, has also revealed plans to make “Senses” an annual event.

Poet Dotsie Isaac is seen in this Laura Hall photo participating in a joint Wadadli Pen-Museum fundraiser (Word Up!) in 2006. Isaac has also served as a judge (2011) and as a special guest at the awards ceremony (2015).

(Source – Daily Observer/Antigua)

***

July 20th 2022 is the red-carpet, invitation-only premiere of documentary film Redonda: the Road to Recovery. Wide public screenings begin at Caribbean Cinemas on July 21st (image from Lawson Lewis’ facebook) with advance tickets of only $5 available at the Environmental Awareness Group office or online via the Ticketing app. The doc which is about the recovery of the Antigua and Barbuda offshore island was teased when I interviewed director Lawson Lewis in May 2022 for my CREATIVE SPACE series.

Lawson Lewis on the job.

(Source – Daily Observer newspaper/Antigua)

***

July 29th 2022 is African Dress Day in Antigua and Barbuda, the kick-off of the Reparations Support Commission’s Emancipation Day celebrations. The highlight of the celebrations will be, per usual going back 14 years, Watch Night. Date and venue is July 31st the Botanical Gardens. It will be a night of cultural performances, including staples the Nyabinghi drummers and various singers, dancers, and more.

Calypsonian/calypso writer King Zacari, seen here performing at the NVSP awards years ago, is one of the announced performers at this year’s Watch Night. (File photo by Joanne C. Hillhouse/do not reuse without permission or credit)

(Source – Daily Observer newspaper/Antigua)

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 The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Some More Antiguan History

‘I can remember a time ago there was a very popular song on the seminary. It goes something like this. “Me send me daughter a seminary, now she come back with a big fat belly.” A man by the name of John Quarkoo use to sing for money and one day he was singing this song to some people in town when a Moravian parson by the name of H. B. Hutton was passing by and he hear Quarkoo. That parson get very angry. He told singer Quarkoo that he, the parson, would never allow him or anybody to disgrace the seminary that has been doing so much good for the people of Antigua and the West Indies. He then took Quarkoo to court. At the sitting, the magistrate share the same view as the parson and he sent old Quarkoo to jail for six months.’ (p. 97, To Shoot Hard Labour The Life and Times of Samuel Smith, an Antiguan workingman 1877-1982 by Keithlyn B. Smith and Fernando C. Smith)

You may have read about Quarkoo already here on the blog but in my latest CREATIVE SPACE I share more about him and his all but forgotten predecessor Thomas Joseph.

‘a man whose identity often gets conflated with Quarkoo, a man who like Quarkoo composed songs he sang on the streets of St. John’s, Antigua, songs he also printed and sold as broadsides. One of those songs may even be the original version of the song popularly known as “Sly Mongoose” (and popularly mis-credited). Originally “Man Mongoose”, it has a lyric “Mongoose go in a Forrest Kitchen/Tief out one of ‘e big fat chicken” which references St. John’s “Scottish storekeeper” (per this Dan Lanier presentation) William Forrest, while the song is allegedly about a local scamp known as “Mongoose” (or could just be a reference to the thieving animal of the same name) – both of Thomas Joseph’s time. The song was, per Lanier, the sole reference to Thomas Joseph at Antigua and Barbuda’s National Archives.

Thomas Joseph reference from the National Archives as shown by Dan Lanier during his presentation.

The song’s credit credibly should be his.’ (Excerpted from CREATIVE SPACE: DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN?)

Click the link to read more.

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, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, With Grace, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved.

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid July 2022)

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).

Books

Puerto Rico born US raised and resident writer Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa’s A Woman of Endurance landed in the marketplace in April 2022. It illuminates a little discussed aspect of history – the Puerto Rican Atlantic slave trade – witnessed through the experiences of Pola, an African captive used as a breeder to bear more enslaved people. Her previous novel is Daughters of the Stone. (Source – instagram)

***

Happy Pub Day to Jamaican writer based in Barbados Sharma Taylor whose much anticiated What a Mother’s Love don’t Teach You landed on July 7th 2022 (sidebar: July 7th 2022 is also the day I finished reading What a Mother’s love don’t Teach You and you can read my thoughts at Blogger on Books on my Jhohadli blog). But as fellow Jamaican writer Leone Ross (author of Popisho/One Sky Day) and also one of the book’s editors said, it is “vivid and authentic”. And it is here!

(Source – the author)

Events

Book of Cinz, founder of #readCaribbean, has announced a book/reading retreat for Saturday October 15th- Thursday October 20th. Venue is Sea Cliff Cottages, Calibishie, Dominica. Cost is US$950 inclusive of food, activities, ground transporation, and accommodations. Eight beds available. Activities will include cocktails, brunches, dinners, games, chocolate tour, picnic and beach day, bookish treasure hunt, a choose your adventure day (with options, for additional charge, including falls and hot spring, whale watching, yoga and massage), and, of course, book club night. Non-refundable 50% deposit due immediately and the balance due by September 30th 2022. Book here. (Source – Book of Cinz email)

***

July 12th 2022 is Caribbean Literature Day.

Anyone can do something to mark this day. If you do, share online using the hashtag #Caribbeanliteratureday If you don’t do an event or activity yourself, look for the hashtag anyway and boost across your social media network. Caribbean Literature Day began in 2020 off of a proposal by St. Martin’s House of Nehesi Publishers and has been finding traction ever since. (Source – various but shout out to Sandra Sealey/Seawoman)

***

PHILLIP THOMAS Barbershop, 2022 Mixed media on canvas 13’2”W x 7’2”H

The Kingston Biennial 2022: Pressure opened at the National Gallery of Jamaica on June 26th 2022 and will run until December 31st 2022. (Sidebar: In the June 29th 2022edition of my CREATIVE SPACE art and culture column, I suggest strongly a need for a national gallery in Antigua and Barbuda, and events like the Kingston Biennial is one reason why). This event features art work by 24 local and regional artists. (Source – social media)

Accolades

The Antiguan and Barbudan cricketer known as the “master blaster”, Sir Isaac Alexander Vivian Richards (hereafter affectionately referred to as Sir Viv) has received the region’s highest accolade, the Order of the Caribbean Community, and he had a few words:

“I excelled at cricket because I put my heart and soul into it. Each time I put my maroon cap on and I walked on to the field, I recognized I was not just representing myself or my island or just the West Indies team. I recognized I was representing my people – people who looked like me – all over the world. I wanted people who looked like me to know that we can achieve great things. My success was their success. I could not afford to let my team down or my people down.” Not one to be apolitical, Sir Viv ended by urging a similar mindset in the Caribbean leaders gathered for 43rd regular heads of government meeting of CARICOM.

Sir Viv is a local hero – literally – as the only living national hero of Antigua and Barbuda, where the world class international cricket stadium is named for him. Wisden has named him one of the top 5 cricketers of the 21st century as the only Windies captain never to have lost a test match, in the record books for the highest run scorer and fastest test century, and one of the most feared (and respected and charismatic) batsmen of all time. But it is his innings against racism that elevates his legacy – as he said, what he represented to “people who looked like me” and the decision he took to refuse a million dollar cheque to play in South Africa as an “honorary white” in protest to Apartheid of which he was a vocal opponent. This boy from Ovals, only the second Antiguan to play for Windies, after fast bowler Andy Roberts, is beloved all over the world.

He was a skilled artist, and we in Antigua and Barbuda stand at the head of the line in celebrating him on this regional honour.

‘Vivian Richards is a track from the Monarch King Short Shirt’s 1976 Ghetto Vibes classic album.

Happy CARICOM Day – July 4th 2022. (Source – various)

***

Halo Humanitarian awards have been provided to Braimah Kanneh-Mason and Jamie ‘Au/Ra’ Stenzel, the former a classical violinist, British with Antiguan roots on this father’s side, and the latter a Spain-born, German-descended, Antigua-raised electro-pop singer were awarded during Halo’s Wings of Charity fundraiser in England. The presentation was made in June by patron and founder Sir Rodney and Lady Williams, respectively. Both were being rewarded not just for their musical achievements but for their humanitarian efforts around the world. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Opportunities

The Caribbean Broadcasting Union’s People’s Choice Awards is open for voting. View the entries and vote here.

***

Opportunities Too here on the Wadadli Pen blog has been updated and includes workshops being offered by two of Wadadli Pen’s own.

The one on the left is mine (Joanne C. Hillhouse) – my once a month virtual creative writing workshops and the one on the right is Barbara Arrindell’s writing camp. (Source – in-house)

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 The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late June 2022)

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

The Bocas Lit Fest Children’s Book Prize is back. It is given to one outstanding English-language children’s book for young independent readers, written by a Caribbean author. The Prize consists of a cash award of US$1,000, and Caribbean-born authors, resident anywhere in the world, of English-language books which have been published between 1 August 2021 and 31 August 2022 are eligible. The prize is open for entries from 20 June 2022 to 31 August 2022, and the winner will be announced in November 2022. The 2022 prize is administered by the Bocas Lit Fest, and is sponsored by the Wainwright family. Read about this and other opportunities with pending deadlines in Opportunities Too here. (Source – Bocas email)

STAGE

Late Bahamian-American actor and director Sidney Poitier’s life is being adapted for the stage. The source material will be his memoir The Measure of a Man. Poitier spent his youth on Cat Island in the Bahamas before migrating to the US in young adulthood and going on to a stellar career, which includes being the first Black man and only the second Black person to win an Academy Award when he won best actor in 1963 for his performance in Lilies of the Field. Poitier died in January of this year. (Source – The Root)

VISUALS

Barbados has tapped star architect David Adjaye (the Ghanaian-British architect responsible for designing the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.) to design its Barbados Heritage District as a testament to the island nation’s culture and identity. Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced the plan, which is to include a memorial, a global research institute, and a museum that will tell the story of slavery’s impact on Barbados and its inhabitants. The district will also house the Barbados Archives, a massive historical catalogue documenting 400 years of the slave trade in tens of millions of pages of documents. The archive, which includes sales ledgers, ship registers, manumission papers, and other documents, is one of the largest repositories of the British Transatlantic Slave Trade in the entire world. When complete, the center will be the first research institute based in the Caribbean dedicated to the Transatlantic Slave Trade. (It would be remiss of me, however, not to mention the African Slavery Memorial Project of Antigua and Barbuda which has been shared on this site before, including its plans for construction of a museum, also previously mentioned on the site). The first step in the development of the district in Barbados will be the building of the Newton Enslaved Burial Ground Memorial next to the site where the remains of 570 West African slaves were found in low earthen mounds and graves using LIDAR technology in the 1970s. Read more about the memorial which breaks ground in November 2022 here. (Source – friend in real life)

***

Barbadian visual artist Sheena Rose will be showing in ‘Holy Water’, an exhibition at the Eric Firestone Gallery in East Hampton, NY. The Zoe Lukov curated exhibition featuring 20 artists and exploring the mundane and mythological aspects of water. The show opens July 2nd and closes July 24th 2022. (Source – artist’s facebook)

EVENTS

Early in June, the organizers of the St. Martin Book Fair observed the 20th anniversary of the festival. Shujah Reiph, founder and coordinator (with Conscious Lyrics Foundation), said, “The journey that we began 20 years ago out of a Creative Writing Program organized by the House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP)not only gave birth to the book fair but to a new generation of St. Martin authors, many of whom contributed with youthful exuberance to the organization of the St. Martin Book Fair. We have had a symbiotic collaboration with HNP from the get-go. And with the University of St. Martin (USM) as
well. Our modest ambition was to have a book fair that would bring the entire family closer to the book and,among other things, show as a lie the saying that if you want to hide something from a Black person, put it in a book.” Activities at the popular event included author and publicist roundtables, readings, masterclass, exhibition, and more featuring Yvonne Weekes, Sharma Taylor, Lasana M. Sekou, Max Rippon, N. C. Marks, Yona Deshommes, among others. (Source – House of Nehesi Publishers email)

***

The Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra, a youth development non-profit music programme in Antigua and Barbuda is preparing (at this writing) for a musical event featuring movie theme songs. The event is scheduled for July 3rd 2022. Event details here.

(Source – Facebook)

FAREWELLS

I keep changing this sub-head title, not quite knowing what’s a fitting send-off, always wishing I didn’t have the need to include it. This is where we salute the ones who have impacted Caribbean art and culture, and there have been too many of these farewells by COVID and other means – but exacerbated by the pandemic – in recent years.

Renowned Antiguan and Barbudan pannist Victor ‘Babu’ Samuel has died. He passed on June 28th 2022, two years after a stroke diminished his capacity to function. Babu is one of our country’s most celebrated pan arrangers – notably for his work with one of the winningest pan orchestras, Halcyon (video link to an upload of the 1990 panorama tune arranged by Babu on the Halcyon Orchestra facebook page). He has also been a key figure in pan development through his work with the National Youth Pan Orchestra. His work bringing pan to the Police Marching Band was also acknowledged just this year. Babu was also well known as a pan soloist – regrettably I have not been able to find video of a Babu performance (and once again bemoan our failure to capture and catalogue the vibrancy of our Culture as a matter of intent/purpose). The last time I saw Babu was just before COVID at Carnival, a year in which Halcyon – again one of Antigua’s winningest pan orchestras – had to opt out of panorama due to lack of funds (at least that’s what he said to me when I asked him as we passed each other on Market Street during the Carnival parade). I don’t have a recent interview with Babu (whom I profiled years ago for a limited run newspaper column I called Vintage – there’s a lot from my archives that I need to dig through and share and this is one of them) but credit to Petra the Spectator for posting this interview with him in 2021.

Credit also to rival band Hell’s Gate for recently organizing Play one for Babu, fundraising concerts that were also a celebration of the art form that Babu loved so much. Catch the vibes (image borrowed from Hell’s Gate’s facebook page).

(Source – Observer Media by Newsco Ltd facebook page)

***

Lynn Sweeting of the Bahamas is known to us here on the Wadadli Pen blog. I posted an interview with her in 2012. She was committed to amplifying female Caribbean voices, our art and our words, and did via the Womanspeak journal.

Some of Lynn’s poetry has been shared by her friend Nicolette Bethel who edited and published the online Tongues of the Ocean literary journal. You can read her eulogy and the poems here. And like Lynn wrote in one of those poems, remember

“Fear is the meaning of their favorite song,
but not the meaning of yours.
Love up your own self fearlessly.”
(from ‘Wheelbarrow Woman’, Tongues of the Ocean, 2009)

The last Womanspeak was published in 2018 and I know at least one was in the works after that and had to take a pause, and maybe now a full stop, in light of everything. (Source – Nicolette Bethel on Linkedin)

***

Antigua and Barbuda is mourning the passing of prominent son Gordon ‘Banks’ Derrick. Though he is best known for his contributions in sports administration (as president of the Caribbean Football Union and general secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association) and business, I add him here for the reason Cricket Association head Leon ‘Kuma’ Rodney said.

“Banks was not only known in football, but he was a Carnival man and came out of one of the better organised promotion groups, DSC Promotions, and there was a Mas’ troupe as well in Xtreme. He was chairman of the soca monarch when, I think, we had one of the biggest soca monarch shows ever in Antigua under the chairmanship of his buddy, Neil Cochrane.”

Signature DSC events included pre-Carnival fetes before pre-Carnival fetes (not including calypso tents) were their own cottage industry, notably Calypso Spektakula, which launched in the mid-1990s. He chaired the Party Monarch committee during its upsurge (between 2005-2007) to the head of the pack as far as popularity of main show Carnival events are concerned. He’s also a former chair of the Independence committee and co-founder of one of the original all-inclusive party mas bands, a pressure point between mas’ past and current flavours, Xtreme mas, which first hit the road in the late 1990s. I remember, I was there, for Spektakula limes and that first year of Xtreme. Banks’ death caught the community by surprise, prompting former West Indies cricket legend and fellow Antiguan and Barbudan Sir Vivian Richards to say, “It’s just some sad news today and I am going to agree with the rock group that sang ‘I don’t like Mondays’ because it’s a punch that hits you where it hurts.” (Source – Observer Radio 91.1 FM)

BOOKS

Puerto Rican writer Xavier Navarro Aquino in January 2022 released his debut novel Velorio with Harper Collins press. Velorio–meaning “wake”–is a story of strength, resilience, and hope; a tale of peril and possibility buoyed by the deeply held belief in a people’s ability to unite against those corrupted by power.

***

Fashanu Henry-Giddings has published her book Reading is Fun & Andre and the Bully. It’s her first book and it’s been added to the Children’s Literature and Antiguan and Barbudan Writing listings here on the blog. Congrats to her and to illustrator Anderson Andrews. (Source – email)

ACCOLADES

A street in Harlem has been renamed for founder of the Antigua Progressive Society Bishop James P. Roberts Sr. He worked as an elevator operator while pursuing studies at night after migrating to the US. He and 22 fellow Antiguans (Barbudans were later brought in) founded the group in 1934 during the Great Depression, to provide support for new immigrants. The Society has owned the brownstone at 12 West and 122nd Street where it is still headquartered since 1964. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

***

Canada based Jamaican writer and current poet laureate Olive Senior has received an honorary doctor of laws from Canada’s York University. “Nothing has prepared us for the moment, but we can seize it with courage and curiosity,” Senior said during the convocation ceremony. (Source – author’s twitter)

***

The Antigua Film Academy, the educational arm of the Motion Picture Association of Antigua and Barbuda, has had a short film, ‘Nobody hit me Pickney’, accepted to the Commffest Film Festival, September 15 – 22 2022, in Toronto, Canada. The script was reportedly developed by the Academy students during their two-week theory workshops and filmed over a period of time. Dr. Noel Howell, filmmaker and head of the Film Academy told the Daily Observer that the mix of practical and theory is part of the AFA’s summer workshops. The workshop’s 2022 dates are July 11 – 22. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

***

Canadian writer and producer of Antiguan-Barbudan descent Motion (Wendy Brathwaite) and Andrew Trotman-Burrows who is of Guyanese descent are two of only three people selected for the inaugural CBC-BIPOC TV & film showrunner catalyst programme. The other is Tanzania-born Ian Iqbal Rashid who is of Indian descent. The Showrunner Catalyst offers a high-level professional coaching opportunity, designed through an anti-racist and equity-focused lens, and provides participants with additional tools and support systems necessary to reach a showrunner level in the Canadian film and television industry. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, BIPOC TV & Film and the Canadian Film Center have made an initial commitment of three years to the program, with the opportunity to renew. (Source – BIPOC TV & Film on Linkedin)

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 The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Antiguan-Barbudan Writer, Wadadli Pen Founder to Read at World Poetry Festival – How to Watch

To Watch – Click the Image and set your reminder where ever you are.

August 10th 2021 – 8 p.m. if you’re in Antigua and Barbuda and/or the Atlantic Standard Time (AST) time zone.

Please double check the time where you are by doing the time zone conversion – isn’t google great!

Related links:

Programme – 31st Festival Internacional de Poesia de Medellin

Joanne C. Hillhouse – Antigua Y Barbuda – presentation samples

Jhohadli – Appearances

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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, 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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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid August 2021)

Happy Emancipation Day (August 1st 1834).

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)

Philanthropy

How can you help the arts?

For one, the Bocas Lit Fest has a Friends of Bocas initiative, inviting participation from individual stakeholders (regular people). For a contribution, you get access to a whole host of exclusive activities. Our winning Wadadli Pen writer of 2021 was gifted membership access as part of his prize thanks to Bocas, in addition to workshop access to some of our other finalists. Want to get in on the action while supporting the work? Details here.

Passings

Flags are being flown at half mast after the August 9th announcement of the passing of former Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister and National Hero Lester Bird in early August. Bird who was only the country’s second prime minister after Independence, and successor to his father, often referred to as Father of the Nation and National Hero Vere Bird Sr., was also author of two books found in our literary database of books by Antiguans and Barbudans on this site: Antigua Vision – Caribbean Reality: Perspectives of Prime Minister Lester Bryant Bird and The Comeback Kid: An Autobiography of Sir Lester Bryant Bird K.N.H. with Lionel Max Hurst.

***

Milton Benjamin, veteran journalist from Antigua crossed over late in July. His passing in part inspired me to write about Antigua and Barbuda’s media culture in my first CREATIVE SPACE of August which you can read here.

***

Kassav, the Guadeloupe band whose ‘zouk-la’ had the ability to enliven any soca fete I’ve been to has lost co-founder Jacob Desvarieux, also in late July. His passing brought forth an outpouring of tributes, like this one that landed in my inbox from Karukerament.

***

Jamaican writer Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, associated with the early dub poetry movement, has also passed on the ancestral plane. The Jamaica Observer reports.

(Source – the local news I heard about locally, the others via social media)

Events

Antiguan and Barbudan author and Wadadli Pen founder-coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse will be reading at the Medellin World Poetry Festival (virtually) on Augutst 10th 2021 at 8 p.m. AST. Here’s how you can watch.

***

The Caribbean Style & Culture Awards. See site.

Accolades

ETA: The BCLF list below is of Caribbean writers resident in the Caribbean. Above is the long list of Caribbean writers resident in the Caribbean. It includes 9 writers from Trinidad and Tobago, 5 from Dominica, 5 from Jamaica, 3 from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 1 from Barbados, 1 from Puerto Rico, 1 from St. Lucia, 1 from Guyana, 1 from Grenada, and 1 (Joanne C. Hillhouse) from Antigua and Barbuda. Click images to enlarge.

The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival’s short story competition has been one to watch. And we’re watching this incredible 2021 long list.

Congratulations to the 22 long listed writers. The wealth is spread on a list that includes 7 writers from Trinidad and Tobago, 5 from Barbados, 3 from the Dominican Republic, 2 from Jamaica, 2 from Guyana, 1 from Dominica, 1 from Puerto Rico, 1 from Haiti, 1 from St. Lucia, 1 from Sint Maarten/Saint Martin, and 1 from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. No your math isn’t wrong, you know how it is in the Caribbean – some writers are from multiple places. (Source – Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival facebook page)

***

Belated congratulations as well to St. Lucia’s Canisia Lubrin, who with The Dyzgraphxst (poetry, McClelland & Stewart) becomes the third St. Lucian to claim the main Bocas prize after Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott (White Egrets, poetry, Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2011) and Vladimir Lucien (Sounding Ground, poetry, Peepal Tree Press, 2015). Other winners of this coveted main book prize and its considerable purse have been the British Virgin Islands current Poet Laureate Richard Georges (Epiphaneia, poetry, Out Spoken Press, 2020), Jamaica’s current Poet Laureate Olive Senior (The Pain Tree, fiction, Cormorant Books, 2016) and, also of Jamaica, Kei Miller (Augustown, fiction, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2017), and Trinidad and Tobago’s Earl Lovelace (Is Just a Movie, fiction, Faber & Faber, 2012), Monique Roffey (Archipelago, fiction, Simon & Schuster, 2013), Robert Antoni – of Trinidad descent and raised in the Bahamas -(As Flies to Whatless Boys, fiction, Peepal Tree Press, 2014), Jennifer Rahim (Curfew Chronicles, fiction, Peepal Tree Press, 2018), and Kevin Adonis Browne (High Mas: Carnival and the Poetics of Caribbean Culture, non-fiction, University Press of Mississippi, 2019.

***

Canada-based Gayle Gonsalves of Antigua and Barbuda was a National Indie Excellence Awards finalist for her latest book My Stories have No Endings. (Source – the author’s social media)

Publications

Barbados’ Shakirah Bourne is now out in the world even as she works on its follow up.

***

New Anansi

The author is from Trinidad and Tobago. I haven’t been able to find more information about it, which is odd. (Source – JRLee email)

***

It occurs to me that I’ve, not by design, reviewed a number of books by Dominica’s Papillote Press – perhaps more than any other Caribbean press, because they proactively reach out with ARCs, no pressure if I can’t read the books right away. I generally have enjoyed their catalogue, what I’ve read of it and thought I’d share my reviews.

Dangerous Freedom by Lawrence Scott – currently reading
Guabancex by Celia Sorhaindo
Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini
The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Nunez
Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay

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Impact Magazine dropped in May 2021 (I believe). I thought I’d mention it as it describes itself as the newest source of entertainment and lifestyle news from Antigua, the Caribbean and the world at large. (Source – N/A)

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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, 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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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late July 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)

Events

See my upcoming events here.

Books

Former Jamaican poet laureate Lorna Goodison’s new book is Mother Muse. Details here. (Source – Repeating Islands – shout out to JRLee email for the link)

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“We all want to keep you safe, especially your father. He was very

lucky: he didn’t get sick. Problem is, if you leave quarantine, he could

catch it from you, and it would make him a lot sicker than it made you.

It’s kinder to children, you see. And when it gets into you, it doesn’t

want to leave. If something else makes you sick, or very tired, the gray

pox will wake up again, and this time it could make your father sick, or

anyone else you might sneeze on.”

from The Plague Doctors by Barbadian speculative fiction author Karen Lord in Take Us to a Better Place – read more about it on my Jhohadli blog

Lord’s story’s inclusion in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2021, edited by Veronica Roth, has recently been announced. (Source – Karen Lord’s twitter)

***

Praise Song for the Widow by late Barbadian writer Paule Marshall has been re-issued. I actually studied this book in university – and that’s probably the main reason I wanted to share this. But it’s not just about personal preference.

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Praise Song is listed among QBR: The Black Review’s 100 essential Black books and is a 1984 American Book Award winner.

The new McSweeny’s hard cover edition, part of its Of the Diaspora series of previously published Black books, came out in April 2021. It includes a new introduction by Jamaica-born writer Opal Palmer Adisa. Praise Song for the Widow was originally published in 1983. (Source – AALBC email)

Accolades

Past Wadadli Pen finalist Rilys Adams (writing as Rilzy Adams’) Go Deep has been experiencing an award winning successful run. Recently we also picked up this mention in bookriot.com on a list of ’15 of the Best Erotic Short Stories and Novellas’.

“An all-time favorite book and one of the winners of The Ripped Bodice Award for Excellence in Romance Fiction, this little novella is simply wonderful.”

See more Reviews for books by Antiguans and Barbudans in our series on Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed.

***

Canisia Lubrin, a Lucian based in Canada, has been announced as co-winner of the second annual Derek Walcott Prize for her collection The Dyzgraphxst. She will split the US$1000 prize with Serhiy Zhadan for A New Orthography. They were selected from a field of 20 poets. Canisia is also the 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize Canadian winner. (Source – JR Lee email)

***

Linda M. Deane claimed Barbados’ Frank Collymore Award, which comes with a $10,000 purse. The prize was for her poetry book An Ocean Away. Sixty manuscripts were in the running for the 23rd annual FCA. (Source – JR Lee email)

You should know that…

Caribbean Books Foundation has launched a new initiative to promote new Caribbean books. Read about it in the Book promotion section of our Resources page or go straight to the source. (Source – Caribbean Books Foundation email)

***

While updating the CREATIVE SPACE master list since its migration to the Daily Observer newspaper, I decided to link here two entries of possible interests to artists who venture here.

Beyond Talk?‘, about a Culture, sorry, Creative Industries, initiative to survey the arts in Antigua and Barbuda toward assisting us in accessing opportunities. I know, it sounds familiar, but the whole crux of the article is the reasons we have to be wary and why the person I spoke with believes this time will be different – maybe it’s a fool me once, situation, maybe not; either way I want artists in Antigua and Barbuda to have this information and decide if they trust it and if they wish to act on it.

&

Arts Support: Walk That Talk, about a region-wide arts grant programme in response to the hit taken by everyone, including artists, this past year. Some countries – not Antigua and Barbuda – also had arts grants. Obviously, we’d like to see more but sharing what I’m aware of for now.

Plus this post about Wadadli Pen – ‘Creating Space for Literary Expression‘. (Source – Me)

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Video of the V I Lit Fest can be viewed online. (Source – VI Lit Fest email)

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Dena Simmons, a New Yorker of Antiguan descent has been announced as one of two plenary speakers – the other being Emmy award nominated Scandal and Little Fires Everywhere actress Kerry Washington – at the Grantmakers for Education Annual Conference set for October 2021. The educator and activist “writes and speaks nationally about social justice and culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogy as well as creating emotionally intelligent and safe classrooms within the context of equity and liberation.” This will be the 25th anniversary of the Grantmakers for Education Conference. (Source – Linkedin contact)

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The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books is now available online. Current and back issues have been uploaded to the Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association website – also new. ABSA is responsible for the annual Antigua Conference, held since 2005.

Dr. Paget Henry, pictured here at a past conference at the Enlightenment Academy, is one of the chief members of the ABSA, editor of the A & B Review, and convener of the annual conference.

The site also currently has information on the next conference including the call for papers. Check it out. (Source – office of Paget Henry via email)

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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, 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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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love