Category Archives: Literary Gallery

Images of the Antigua and Barbuda literary scene

On editing and other services for Writers/Others

“So you’ve finally finished your first draft. Maybe it’s a novel. Maybe it’s a non-fiction book. Maybe you’ve written a picture book for children. Perhaps you love what you’ve written. Perhaps you’ve read it and decided it wasn’t really that good after all. Whatever you’ve written and however you feel about it, there is something you still need to do. Edit.” – this is from an article about – duh – why you should edit your writing. It gives good reasons. Check it out.

Having said that, I am now considering building another data base to add to the numerous Wadadli Pen data bases (bibliography and its sub-bibliographies of Antiguan and Barbudan writers, website linkages for local and Caribbean writers, Caribbean writers bibliography, Antigua and Barbuda lyrics and songwriters data base, journals in which Antiguan and Barbudan artists have been published, reading rooms, awards, art discussions, media history, plays, lit arts, opportunities, and opportunities too, the data base of past Wadadli Pen winners, and others including the one I direct would-be authors to most – the resources page which is a data base for published authors and freelance writers).

My serviceswriting, editing, training – will be listed but I’ll dig around and add other lit arts or maybe just general arts related services available in Antigua and Barbuda. What do you think? Is that something you’d be interested in? What services would you like to see listed?

 

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

 

 

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Tell the People the Truth (lyrics)

words and music by Fd

People think being prime minister of a country
Is an easy task
Check the credentials of those who threaten to dethrone me
One night they couldn’t last
They criticize me.. ostracise me
In every rum shop.. & every bar
Try to embarrass me.. most unfairly
On front page of them newspaper
Calypsonian you could help me out
That’s why ‘A’ come to you
What you think I should do

chorus 1
Prime minister tell the people the truth
Let honesty be your guide
Tell the people the truth
And let them decide
Don’t pretend you could walk on water  / No no no
Don’t expect you to build a bridge to Barbuda / No no no
You are the prime minister
You must be seen
To be incorruptible & squeaky clean
I strongly advise
Always look before you leap
And don’t make promises you cant keep

verse 2
Did you forget to mention your intention to raise taxes
Goin’ back a year or two
Is it crisis in the treasury or de threat of bankruptcy
Force you so to do
People need assurance.. private health insurance
Is it paid for with John Public money?
I’m a calypsonian.. & in my opinion
Present the facts on radio & tv
All rumour should be denied
Or guilt might be implied
Take friendly advice from me

chorus 2
Prime minister tell the people the truth
Let honesty be your guide always
Tell the people the truth
And let them decide
Share no chalice with them dictator / No no no
Don’t want this country to end up like Cuba / No no no
You are the prime minister
A messenger of hope
People under pressure unable to cope
Don’t give in to temptation
When you open your mouth to speak
Don’t make promises you cant keep

verse 3
When workers go on strike..  my dear boy it upset’ me
‘A’ cant sleep at night
Lie down & ponder how history will record me
What them historian’ will write
Will the compare me.. favourably
To men with insight wisdom & virtue
Will they compare me.. to my daddy
On Michael’s Mount erect my statue
Minister if you follow instruction
I will challenge any man
To point their finger at you

 

chorus 3
As long as you tell the people the truth
Let honesty be your guide always
Tell the people the truth
And let them decide
Don’t pretend you have every answer/ No no no
Don’t expect you to drive out foreign investor / No no no
You are the prime minister
Introduce legislation
To protect the right of workers  all across this land
Don’t have to swallow a bible
Or sacrifice a sheep
Just don’t make promises you cant keep

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Antigua Con Not Dampened by Saturday Showers

You thought the first ever Antigua Con was going to be stopped by the rains that persisted on August 17th 2019 just because it’s an outdoor activity (on the Environment Division Grounds)? Come on, now, fangirls and boys don’t melt in the rain…they have that superhero armor.

Event co-organizer (as part of ‘AnuCon268’ spearheaded by Dwayne Riley, Jho Donna Roacher, Mario Wade, and) – Best of Books bookstore employee, Wadadli Pen Open Mic founder and coordinator, and Wadadli Pen Challenge sometime judge – Glen Toussaint reports that it came off “pretty well” in spite of the rain – though we’d say from the pictures, very well.

There was an opening parade, a Carnival fare feel with various food vendors (sno-cones to cooked food) on site as costumed characters played,

face painting, bounce castle, and, shall we say, passionately-engaged comic book panels in true comic-con fashion. Not sure what a comic-con is? It’s a meet-up of comic book fans – including fans of not just the comic books but the films and TV shows, and also not always just comic books (Japanese anime to Marvel films to your favourite book or TV show with fantasy features, influences are everywhere). There are multiple such events all around the world – New York, which dates back to the 1960s, being the earliest and one of the biggest. Make no mistake, this is a global phenomenon, including right here in the Caribbean with Barbados’ AnimeKon, Puerto Rico’s PR Comic Con and Jamaica’s Anime Nation (source: Naomi n Doll’s Convention and Cosplay Culture in the Caribbean).

Cosplay in which fans dress up as a favourite character (like I did when I played the mango tree faerie from my book With Grace during Carnival 2017) is a huge part of any comic-con. A culture steeped in Carnival can presumably easily grasp and embrace cosplay (hell, I did the entire Wadadli Book Fair in 2017 wearing a literal Carnival mask and a pirate hat from a past Carnival J’ouvert troupe). So, I say bring on the costumes.

The young man in orange and black, Jeremiah Toussaint, cosplaying as Bill Cypher from Disney animated series Gravity Falls, was adjudged the winner. The day’s other big winners – and of particular interest to us here at Wadadli Pen (given our track record with lit and visual arts challenges for young people) – were Trinity Archibald and Lemuel Richards, who secured the bag in the 12 to 15 and 16 to 19 age categories of the Antigua Con art competition. Their challenge was to design an Antiguan (and presumably Barbudan) superhero. As long time fans of the Caribbean Justice Alliance superhero art series, or other forays in to drawing our reality through art generally, and specific to this piece, the lens of the comic/animation genre/s, I think they did pretty good.

(Trinity’s drawing) (Lemuel’s drawing)

Of the Comic Soup panel, Toussaint said, a variety of topics were discussed, and just as importantly, “new friends were made, people learned stuff, and the Comic Soup group gained a few new members.”

Other event features included a graphic design workshop led by Sonali Andrews, whom you may remember did the Team Antigua Island Girls graphic featured on the site some months ago – “their discussion went on quite past the allotted time; there was real interest there,” according to Toussaint; drawing with Maurizio Martin; a gaming station; a Purple Dragon martial arts display; and performances by Shiva’s School of Dance, and soca singers Drastic and Ezzy Rattigan, a former Party Monarch winner, with DJ Soundmaster.

So, was Antigua and Barbuda ready for its first comic-con? Seems so. Toussaint reports “we had a decent turn out, about 80 persons at peak, most of which were in costume or had Cosplay elements or paraphernalia.”

We here at Wadadli Pen embrace anything that pushes artistic expression and youth engagement, and so we stan this. Congrats, AnuCon268.

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

 

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A & B Arts Round Up – August 16th 2019 —>

December 14th 2019 – also Wesley.jpg

Until the end of summer – Rooted Home and Abroad, an exhibition in the upper gallery of the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda opened August 8th 2019 68886815_341954680076655_5515842098126913536_n.jpgand will run to the end of summer. It features the work of Zucan Bandele and Walter J. Parker (the former an Antiguan-Barbudan artist based in the US), the latter a deceased NY artist. The exhibition is curated by Mali A. Olatunji, an Antiguan (co-author with Paget Henry of The Art of Mali Olatunji) who worked as a fine arts photographer at the Museum of Modern Art for more than 20 years. Featured pieces emphasize African masques and mythology. This includes Parker pieces like Becoming, Symbiosis No. 7, A Coat of Many Colors, Symbiosis No. 8, Be Pleased Now to Bless Your Servants House, Revealed (Spirit Aloft) – my personal favourite, How Beautiful is Your Face, The Conversation, and Speak Your Servant Hears – all colourful pieces in which larger than life characters and some in quite pedestrian poses are masked, to godlike effect. Zucan more directly engages with gods of African religiousity, Santeria in particular – Yemaya to Shango – seeming to capture their essence in motion and suggest the reflection of them in us. Olatunji explained that he was familiar with Walter’s work from the East Village and that after his death his family wasn’t sure what to do with the remaining pieces (and considered destroying them) – he saw a connection between Walter’s and Zucan’s aesthetic and a collaboration was born. A common connection is what he sees as the effort to dismantle modern art (the art elevated in venerated institutions like MoMA) and invent something more difficult to understand (the motif of masks – i.e. hiding – being a key component), “and they just did that”.  We don’t have pictures or examples of the art; but check it out. UPDATED TO ADD! 69697718_10218337672100629_3434646704790437888_n.jpg

By the end of Summer – Cushion Club Summer Reading Challenge 2019

Before the end of August 2019 – Do you want another Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project before the end of summer? If so, email jhohadli@gmail.com for a registration form – last promo.jpg

August 31st 2019 –

August 21st 2019 – @ the Best of Books bookstore – email bestofbooks@yahoo.com for more information at best of books.png

August 17th 2019 – 59775614_329036067810776_4410562896208068608_n

August 17th – 18th 2019 – Pineapple Mango Festival –

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

 

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Musical Youth Reflection after Release of the Second Edition

The thing they don’t tell you about your book coming out is how busy you’ll be, too busy sometimes to take it in – and depending on what else is going on in your life not necessarily anything close to the high the moment demands. It’s not ingratitude that has you thinking, when another person says “congrats”, “what for?” – you’re just too tired, maybe even too stressed to remember that there’s even something to celebrate. And there is, there is. This book, your first or your 15th, is the culmination of so many hours of dreaming and working, is the fulfillment of so much possibility and improbability, it’s ingratitude not to be grateful for it. And that feeling can add to the stress as well. But hang in there, a time will come, maybe on a random Wednesday afternoon about a week or so late too late when the feeling will hit you. Feel it. You did that.

And with that, I’m here to say that I’m about a week late on posting here about the release of the 2nd edition of Musical Youth.

(cover art by Antiguan and Barbudan artist Glenroy Aaron)

Let me tell you about this book. It’s about creative teens doing creative ish like me and my pals did in our teens, all the while learning and growing. You know already (maybe) that I wrote it in a fortnight and took a shot at submitting this very rough thing (unedited and beta read only by my teenage niece which made sense to me at the time since she was the target audience) to the CODE Burt Award inaugural competition for teen/young adult literature with a little gentle prodding from my sister and the guy at the first book binding place I tried. Yes, I had to get it printed, bound and Fed Ex’d to Trinidad – talk about investing in yourself.  I was checking my email about 3 a m or so one morning months later when I received the news that I had made the short list and immediately called Alstyne (the person who always made sure I stopped to celebrate but who has since passed over but) who was still very much alive then and joined me in screaming and can you believing over the phone. I travelled to Trinidad and came home to no fan fair (which a friend of mine still gripes about) though, honestly it didn’t occur to me then to expect anything. It seemed to me that I had won more than I had dared hope when I submitted the manuscript. Did part of me wish I had won? Of course but the winning book AdZiko  Gegele’s All Over Again is delightful and I am happy to be in company with it and Colleen Smith-Dennis’ Inner City Girl as the first in a series of award winning Caribbean books targeted at contemporary teen readers in the region, with appeal for lovers of good literature everywhere. This book has taken me places (and through CODE, Burt, and Bocas – the entities funding and/or administering the prize – I’ve had opportunities to judge, organize and run a workshop, mentor, and more) and these characters are among my favourites that I’ve written – so much so that I’m working on a sequel (I have been pretty much since the beginning but this past week have legit done some work on it).

Writing hasn’t made me rich in a way that the world recognizes (the opposite probably) but I love being able to write and tell stories that reach people in some way, and I love that one of those books has seamlessly rolled in to a second edition. Yes, I have had second editions of my books before (notably The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight) but usually it’s more bumpy (involving a book underperforming and/or going out of print, the legalities of reclaiming rights, the challenges of finding a new publisher); the publisher reaching out to say that the book has performed well enough for them to justify investing more in it, is a different corner turned in the winding road I’ve taken as a writer, journeying. The closest comparison is, again, The Boy from Willow Bend which has had longevity as my first book.

It is a week or so after Caribbean Reads, an independent press with roots in St. Kitts, announced that they have released a second edition of Musical Youth, and I am grateful (whatever else is going on in my life now, and there is a lot that’s not perfect, but I am grateful, this #gyalfromOttosAntigua is grateful).  Shout out to the friend who made me stop to toast the moment. As for my journey with Caribbean Reads (one of four publishers with which I have books currently contracted – the others being Hansib -The Boy from Willow Bend, Insomniac – Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Little Bell Caribbean – With Grace), when faced in 2014 for the first time really with the opportunity to choose from among several regional publishers interested in publishing the Burt winning titles, I was uncertain which way to go – which was positioned to do the most for the book, which would be most invested in working with me like I wasn’t an afterthought (which can happen with big publishers), which would be fairest; so many uncertainties in my mind as I narrowed my options to the three or so I was giving serious condition.  I honestly don’t remember  what tipped it in Caribbean Reads’ favour (and, no, it wasn’t just that of all the options it was, as an imprint with Eastern Caribbean roots, closer to home) but I haven’t regretted it yet – and, in fact, I was able to sell them on  a re-issue of another book I had reclaimed from a publisher I felt wasn’t doing anything for it (those uncertainties I spoke about) and re-issue that book as Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure which now has a Spanish language edition with an activity book pending.

I believe in Musical Youth and I am delighted that readers both at home and abroad continue to discover and embrace it, and I hope for much much more (and bigger and bigger sales – let’s keep it real) as the book moves in to its second life. Thank you to everyone who has been there in whatever way you have been there. I am grateful.

Here is Caribbean Reads announcement re the re-issue (excerpt):

“Musical Youth is the first of two Burt Award winners published by CaribbeanReads, the second being The Protectors’ Pledge by Danielle Y. C. McClean. The success of these titles speaks to the fact that we need Caribbean books and, more generally, #weneeddiversebooks.”

And here is a gallery of Musical Youth moments so far – captions in order pictured (Musical Youth on the bookstagram, Musical Youth part of a middle school chef competition in NYC, gifting Musical Youth to my alma mater after serving as narrator at the annual carol service, my niece and beta reader taking a book selfie, me taking a book selfie on holding the book for the first time, me with co-panelists at the Brooklyn Book Fair after presenting Musical Youth, me with co-presenters and education officials during a schools tour in St. Croix where I was presenting Musical Youth during the USVI Lit Fest, me presenting copies of Musical Youth to the Public Library during the launch at the Best of Books, me accepting the Burt award from the late founder Canadian philanthropist William Burt, and me presenting Musical Youth to students in St. Maarten as part of a schools’ tour during the St. Martin lit fest):

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

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Carib Plus Lit News (Early – to – Mid August 2019)

(Sula is a great first read for the Toni Morrison novice and one of my personal favourites)

First, this isn’t Caribbean-specific but I think we can agree that Toni Morrison through the impact of her literature was a global citizen, a Nobel Laureate, and the writer of several seminal works and many words of wisdom and insight re writing and living. Given how huge her presence was it struck me sideways when someone I adore asked ‘who’s that’ when I commented on her passing this past weekend. No shade, just a reminder that we all occupy different realities and though Toni Morrison is one who overlapped with her being a cultural and social critic/commentator, being adapted to film, and writing books like The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Jazz, and Love – and that’s just counting the ones I’ve read. To that list can be added Beloved, Paradise, Tar Baby, and others – including ones on my TBR like The Origin of Others, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, and Paradise which I’ve started and re-started but not yet finished. No it’s not an official DNF. Toni could never be that plus I had a similar experience with Jazz and it turned out to be a personal favourite – proving to be one of those the right book reveals itself to you at the right time experiences. My favourite is my first, Song of Solomon, which I’m now feeling an urge to re-read all these years after I was introduced to it and Morrison in University (though I don’t typically re-read books). As with some other icons I thought would be around forever, I think I’m still in the numb-shock stage of Toni’s passing. I’m short on the deep insights and eloquence some have mustered. I want to suggest only that one of the ways we learn to write is by reading and part of the ways we learn to make sense of our living is to see its reflection in our art. Toni created writing that teaches us how to write and informs us on our lives lived – especially so our lives as black people, especially given that she was a writer very specific about not writing for the white gaze. If you haven’t already, go read her. That’s the best tribute we can pay to a writer of her caliber (or any writer, really) on their dying (and, as it happens, on their living).

***

This next one isn’t Caribbean exclusive but it is Caribbean inclusive. Some months ago, the Commonwealth Foundation asked me to participate in a survey re the work of the Commonwealth and how I have benefited from it. And I have – between an editors’ workshop, a fiction writers’ workshop, publication of my Commonwealth short story prize submission in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean (which included the winning piece and the best of the rest from the region), being published on the Commonwealth Writers platform Adda, being invited and sponsored by the Commonwealth to participate in the Aye Write! literary festival in Scotland, and probably more that I’m not thinking of right now. Thankful for those opportunities and was quoted saying as much in the report.

Read the full report on the work of the Commonwealth, not just in the area of the creative arts and not just in the Caribbean but across the Commonwealth in areas ranging from health to land rights to climate change: Stronger-civic-voices-across-the-Commonwealth (1)

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

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A & B Arts Round up – August 9th 2019 —>

December 14th 2019 – also Wesley.jpg

By the end of Summer – Cushion Club Summer Reading Challenge 2019

Before the end of August 2019 – Do you want another Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project before the end of summer? If so, email jhohadli@gmail.com for a registration form – nothing confirmed; assessing interest.

August 31st 2019 –

August 21st 2019 – @ the Best of Books bookstore – email bestofbooks@yahoo.com for more information at best of books.png

August 17th 2019 – 59775614_329036067810776_4410562896208068608_n

August 17th – 18th 2019 – Pineapple Mango Festival – quick search didn’t turn up any specific details but I believe it’s being held at the Pineapple farm at Cades Bay. Will update if more or corrective information comes to hand.

August 15th – 16th 2019 – The 14th Annual Conference and Distinguished Lecture – After the Ecological and Political Storms: Whither Barbuda’s Development? – contact paget_henry@brown.edu or janetlofgren@gmail.com

August 13th 2019 – 67543874_10102401753942904_8346986627280666624_n

August 8th – 12th 2019 –

August 11th 2019 –

August 8th 2019 –

In progress to August 30th 2019 – 66784053_3438730469486327_1069002722725855232_n

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

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