Category Archives: Literary Gallery

Images of the Antigua and Barbuda literary scene

End of Year Book Tag (Caribbean)

No you didn’t sleep through the tail end of hurricane season, Independence season (if you’re in Antigua and Barbuda), nor, heaven forbid, Christmas season, but book blogger Kristen Kraves Books has announced this tag and as a Caribbean literary space, we never miss the opportunity to talk books…Caribbean books. So I’ll be answering the tag questions but in Caribbean. Read through and play along.

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

I don’t remember exactly when I started it but I would love to finish Trinidad and Tobago writer Monique Roffey’s The Mermaid of Black Conch. It’s picked up tons of awards, is in translation in many places, is critically acclaimed, is a book I’ve even used in the Jhohadli Writing Project workshop as it has some great craft moments, but, yes, I still need to finish it and I really really want to.

I should finish it at least before the new The Little Mermaid comes out (right?) just so I can check any notion when I write about it (because it feels like one of those books I’ll be wanting to discuss in Blogger on Books) that non-white mermaids do not exist, because in any world where mermaids exist at all, we’ve been there.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition to the end of the year?

I’m going to interpret this as books with endings since we don’t have autumn in the tropics and I’m going to be very literal about it since I’ve been reading Antiguan-Barbudan writer Gayle Gonsalves My Stories have No Endings, because it’s right there in the title and because I am in sight of the ending. This is an indie which has picked up several indie awards and which I’ve read in waves and stops; hoping to hit another wave.

Is there a New Release you’re still waiting for?

Based on Kristen Kraves Books response, this one is about books that have been announced but are not yet on the market. But I’m going to take the opportunity to boost a recent release from an Anguillan author, Cassilda Brookes who reached out to me recently to share news of the official launch of children’s book Anansi and The Hurricane, which has been in the market since earlier this year.

I met Cassilda when I went to the Anguilla Literary Jollification in 2015 and, a reminder that you never know how your energy is impacting another’s journey, because she said I helped motivate her and I appreciate her saying that. Maybe I needed to hear that. And we stan an Anansi tale in the Caribbean. So much is generational now that I tested this by asking my youngest kid about Anansi recently and, yep, he knew all about the trickster spider so we’re still passing on knowledge of this West African demi-god by continuing to tell our own Anansi tales. This one seems timely too with its focus on hurricane preparedness.

What three books you want to finish before the end of the year?

I would like to finish books I’ve started before turning to new books, so I’m going to list three in-progress books. Jamaican writer Curdella Forbes’ Songs of Silence, set so far in rural Jamaica, Reclaim Restore Return: Futurist Tales of the Caribbean edited by Barbadian writer Karen Lord and Grenadian and US and British Virgin Islands author Tobias S Buckell, and Fortune, which is shaping up to be a historical epic beginning in the oil fields of Trinidad, by T & T writer Amanda Smyth.

Is there a book that could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

I don’t think I’d be shocked but, keeping it Caribbean, I have finished and am working on my review of New Daughters of Africa. This book is almost 800 pages and there were times I thought I wouldn’t finish it. It was a marathon and right now, in addition to the review, I am working on a paper focussed on Caribbean authors in NDOA for the Antigua and Barbuda Conference, organized annually by the Antigua Studies Association, and focussed this year on “The Current State of the Global Black Struggle”. It’s in a couple of weeks. I may be in over my head.

Challenging as this book was in terms of sheer volume, it is easily a top tier read, and, yes, possibly my favourite of the year.

Have you started making reading plans for 2022?

I don’t make reading plans as such, though I do have an ever-growing TBR and do want to get caught up especially on Caribbean releases of the last few years. As there’s lots of exciting new content and I haven’t been able to keep up.

How about you?

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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Wadadli Pen – What’s Trending

Time for an update re what’s trending on Wadadli Pen YouTube and blog – the last one was in January. The goal with these trending posts (I do it on my Jhohadli blog as well) is to boost engagement (comments, shares, likes, subscriptions or follows) toward building support. If nothing else, it’s an opportunity to catch up with what you missed. So let’s go.

Trending on YouTube (1-5) since the last trending post –

AB TODAY BEST OF BOOKS International Literacy Day FEATURE (uploaded September 16th 2022)

“Do we learn only in a building? I think we recognize no, we can learn anywhere.” – Wadadli Pen team member Barbara Arrindell

GMAB June 2nd 2021 (uploaded June 3rd 2021)

“This is a journey for me and I’m not going to stop…I’ve always wanted to write a book.” – 2021 Wadadli Pen winner Kevin Liddie

Sheniqua Greaves on GMAB (uploaded June 6th 2021)

“I really want to speak to my demographic as a woman of colour.” – Sheniqua Greaves, 2021 Wadadli Pen challenge honourable mention

World Book and Copyright Day Chat with Barbadian Author Cherie Jones (May 4th 2021)

“For me, I think people are complex and therefore the characters in my fiction should be as well.” – Cherie Jones, Barbadian writer

Misinterpreted (uploaded February 9th 2021)

“You have carried this baggage with you for so long that it has become a part of you. It is choking you.” – “Misinterpreted” by Liscia Lawrence, honourable mention in 2005 Wadadli Pen challene

Trending posts and pages on Wadadli Pen blog over the last quarter (1 – 5) –

Nobody go run me (lyrics) – from Wadadli Pen’s project to build a data base of all writing from Antigua and Barbuda including song lyrics

About WADADLI PEN – project background

Antigua and Barbuda Cultural Icon – Paul King Obstinate Richards – a discographic retrospective of one of our top calypsonians

WADADLI PEN WINNERS THROUGH THE YEARS – STORY LINKS – all winning Wadadli Pen Challenge entires, 2004 to present

Opportunities Too – a page where opportunities (with pending deadlines) for writers and other artists are posted

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This past week (the last 7 days) – the trending posts and pages on the blog (1-3) have been Antigua and Barbuda Media: An Abridged Record, About WADADLI PEN, and Wadadli Pen Challenge – Who Won What in 2020?

& on the Wadadli Pen YouTube channel (1 – 3), AB TODAY BEST OF BOOKS International Literacy Day Feature, JWP vid promo (above), and World Book and Copyright Day Chat with Barbadian author Cherie Jones.

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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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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Mimic (A Writing Exercise)

A digital story club I am a part of (sort of) had a writing exercise this week that I participated in. It gave pieces written in several different writing styles and challenged us to mimic the style of a piece of our choosing. Just writing about whatever and freely (constrained only by trying to mirror another’s style and the 200-word count). I tried the one that had a let me explain…style; and that’s what I attempted, using what was on my mind at the time (I was on a break from editing my CREATIVE SPACE column (CREATIVE SPACE #19 OF 2022 – THE “HEADKERCHIEF”; HERITAGE, FASHION, CELEBRATION, AND RESISTANCE). So I explained headwrapping. &, though that’s not why I wrote it, it’s meant only as a writing exercise, shared it in the extras of the posted online edition of the column as I’ve done a few times because a column called CREATIVE SPACE literally has space for that.

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This is a skill that requires a sense of style and a willingness to allow instinct to lead. Letting instinct lead is only successful if you have a sense of style. Even a small bit of one will do.

You place the short end of the cloth on one side, the long side on the other, an unevenness that the body wants to fight. We are designed to appreciate symmetry. But fight it, fight the conditioning and listen to your fingers, they know what to do. The body remembers, not just the whip, not just the slave ship, but the customs and teachings of home. How to turn fungee, how to cornrow hair, how to wrap a head in a language that those like you, also of your community, can read.

The tie for romance, the tie for war, the tie for sadness, the tie for salaciousness; we know it all. Just listen to yourself. And ‘llow the long end to drop, then drape it over the short end, in a V. Wrap the head. Build up. High as you like. It’s your crown. Let it stand, threading in other cloth as you like. You’ve got style and you know it. Now, strut, Queen.

by jhohadli

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If you try the exercise and feel like sharing what came out, you’re welcome to do so in the comments.

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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The Fire (Fyah)

(sung by Short Shirt; written and composed by Shelly Tobitt)

1.

A man who is a liar

A man who go and steal

Just because he’s hungry

And to give his children meal

We can understand his kind

We can also forgive his crime

A man who knows about it

And keep it a secret

He shows no dishonour

To safeguard his starving brother

And even though he’s damn wrong

We can all understand

And so we turn a blind eye

2.

A man who is a liar

A man who go and steal

Just because he’s in the position

To do what the hell he please

We can’t just turn our heads away

We must stand up and make him pay

And all those who surround him

Trying to protect him

They are just as guilty

And must suffer the penalty

We can’t let them walk away

And the truth be told

Let God forgive

But their heads go roll

Cho.

the fyah

the fyah coming after

don’t you see them smoking

don’t worry

let them go ahead and prosper

because their smoke

it will not last forever

man it’s blowing in the wind

and when it blows away

watch it

fyah (fyah, fyah, fyah)

oooh oh my

I could tell you how they lie

oooh oh my

they will swear and hope to die

while they dig out yuh eye

3.

A man who is a talker

Raise his voice and scream

Preaching fire and brimstone

Eternal wrath revealed

We can understand his kind

They prey upon the naive mind

Look to gain salvation

This is their solution

Go keep the commandments

Wash and clean your garments

Strip away your envy

And send them all your money

so they can live life …?

Cho.

the fyahthe fyah coming after

don’t you see them smoking

don’t worry

let them go ahead and prosper

because their smoke

it will not last forever

man it’s blowing in the wind

and when it blows away

watch it

fyah (fyah, fyah, fyah)

oooh oh my

I go tell you how they lie

oooh oh my

and ah so they love to cry

while they dig out yuh eye

4.

A man who is a talker

Who raie his voice and scream

For my friends and following

We must stop and think a while

We must not be fooled by smiles and lies

Those whose work are evil

Children of the devil

They will stop at nothing

To spread and sell their doctrine

Their lying and their cheating

Are just their colours showing

No joke

Just look out for their smoke

Cho.

I say

the fyah

the fyah coming after

don’t you see them smoking

just leave them

let them go ahead and prosper

because their evil

it will not last forever

man it’s blowing in the wind

and when it blows away

watch it

fyah (fyah, fyah, fyah)

oooh oh my

I could tell you how they lie

oooh oh my

they will swear and hope to die

while they dig out yuh eye

Transcribed by Joanne C. Hillhouse. Any errors are my own and unintentional. Question marks refer to lyrics that I was not able to decipher. To assist with the song lyrics data base project, contact us at wadadlipen@gmail.com 

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Filed under A & B WRITINGS, Literary Gallery

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)

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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)

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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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Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business

Do You Get the Picture (lyrics)

(sung by Latumba; written and composed by Shelly Tobitt)

1.

When in the course of human history

The people find it necessary

To dissolve the bonds that holds them

… (???)

Shake off their chains and be free

Nobody cares

They don’t give a damn in this country

Political… ??

subjugate my people

who suffering endlessly

Cho.

Think of the children

Think of the many youths in this land

Struggling against unemployment

and fighting starvation

Young women they walking the street

Selling their very soul for a fee

Do you get the picture, Mr. Legislator

Answer me, answer me

Do you like what you see, do you like what you see

Oh yeah

2.

Some of you pretend to be concerned

??? have you learned

Corrupt and oppressive leaders

Never fail to fool us again and again

But nobody cares

They don’t give a damn in this country

….? laws legalize oppression

Strangling the youths of our land

Cho.

3.

We, the people living in this land

Better wake up and understand

That we are the cause of our own despair

It’s high time we stop and be aware

Nobody care

They don’t give a damn bout ‘Tumba

Carnival, Short Shirt and Swallow, the rest of ???

Is the Bird and Walters affair

Cho.

What of the children

What of the many youths in this land

Struggling against unemployment and raging starvation

We need another enquiry

Shot at the bruk foot industry

Do you get the picture

I talking to you, Mr. Voter

Answer me, answer me

Do you like what you see

Did you vote for it to be

Oh No

Transcribed by Joanne C. Hillhouse. Any errors are my own and unintentional. Question marks refer to lyrics that I was not able to decipher. To assist with the song lyrics data base project, contact us at wadadlipen@gmail.com 

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Literary Gallery

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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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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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