Category Archives: Literary Gallery

Images of the Antigua and Barbuda literary scene

Schools Prize to be Given in the Name of Winning Author/Book; #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

Some good news. One of our regular Wadadli Pen Challenge partners has pledged his usual EC$500 (anonymously as usual) to the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda Antigua and Barbuda Readers Choice Book of the Year. Yay!

This prize will benefit a school in Antigua and Barbuda.

So here’s how you can help a school in Antigua and Barbuda get some local and/or Caribbean books for its class/school library. VOTE!

The winning author’s alma mater or a school of his/her choice will receive the gift of books sponsored by this patron, in the author’s name and on behalf of Wadadli Pen. Granted EC$500 won’t buy a TON of books but our goal here is to give a lit arts gift to young Antiguans and Barbudans as we do with the Challenge, to encourage the reading of local and regional literature, and, of course, to celebrate and boost our local authors.

If you need to be reminded of what books to vote for and where your favourite books stand, here’s a breakdown (so far) – remember voting is open until the end of March 2019 (but don’t wait until the last minute to vote):

Leading Vote getters –

brannThe ABCs of the Black Panther Party by S. Khalilah Brann (with illustrator Chemay Morales-James)

518mjhfgmal__sy346_F.A.K.E. by Vivian Luke

maileHow to Work Six Jobs on an Island: an Island Boy’s Dream by Shawn N. Maile

lovers-rock2London Rocks by Brenda Lee Browne

sutherland added DecThis Woman Can: the No Bullsh*t Guide for Women Who Lead by Janice Sutherland

On the board –

roxy-3Be with You: a Valentine’s Romance by Roxy Wilson

roxyFriends to Forever by Roxy Wilson

giftThe Gift (Falling like a Johnson Book 1) by Rilzy Adams

roxy3The Guardian Vampire by Roxy Wilson

No votes so far –

A 2nd Anthology of Radical Thoughts & Empowering Perspectives by Marcus Mottley
Bothism by Tanya Evanson
The Cleansing of the Souls by Romenita Barrett
Delilah the Donkey and the Missing Tooth by Anne Harewood George (w/illustrator Izzy Bean)
Dreamland Barbuda A Study of the History and Development of Communal Land Ownership on the Island by Asha Frank
Explore Antigua and Barbuda by Gemma Handy w/ Irene Danic and illustrator Manuel Morgado
Frank Walter: the Last Universal Man by Frank Walter (w/Barbara Paca)
A Friend Indeed by Kimolisa Mings
Friends to Forever: A BWWM Friends to Lovers Romance by Roxy Wilson
Fu You Tongue Heavy Lakka 56 by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo
Gillie’s World by Gillian McDonald Howie
God’s Sovereignty Over Our Lives by Aloma Mason-Stanislaus
Greer’s Alphas: A Paranormal Menage by Roxy Wilson
Hidden Secrets of St. Croix by Clarice C. Clarke
Hol de Line and Other Stories by Mary Geo Quinn
I Do…NOT by Kimolisa Mings
If the Shoe Fits by Kimolisa Mings
Into the Black Widow’s Web by K. N. Mings
Just One More Time (Falling Like a Johnson Book 3) by Rilzy Adams
Just Write Antigua Journal by Brenda Lee Browne
Learning Bible-verses: the Vow, the Wow, the Now by W. Elloy D. de Freitas
Legend of Integrity and Courage by Nuffield J. Burnette
Life as Josephine by Claytine Nisbett
Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure by Joanne C. Hillhouse [w/illustrator Danielle Boodoo-Fortune]
Meant to Be: A BWWM Friends to Lovers Romance (Loving A Morrison Book 1) by Roxy Wilson
Milo’s First Winter (Milo’s Adventures) by Juneth Webson (w/illustrator Ros Webb)
My Guardian Vampire: a BBW Paranormal Romance by Roxy Wilson
The Nakedness of New by Althea Romeo-Mark
Off Key by Rilzy Adams
The Plantations of Antigua, the Sweet Success of Sugar, Volume I by Agnes Meeker (w/Donald Dery)
The Royal Wedding by Dotsie Isaac
The Shout: For HALCYION STEEL’S CHAMPIONSHIP PANORAMA 1975 by Franklyn Jones
Sunny Dreams Of Rainbows (The Secret Lives of Babies) by Jacquelin Webson and  Faye France (w/illustrator Ros Webb)
When Grandma Comes to Stay (When Family Comes to Stay Book 1) by Jacquelin Webson and  Faye France (w/illustrator Jayamini Attanayake)
Will you be Mine? (Falling like a Johnson Book 2) by Rilzy Adams
Will You Be My Friend? (Making Friends Book 1) by Jacquelin Webson and  Faye France (w/illustrator tullipstudio)
The Wonderful World of Yohan by Floree Williams Whyte (with illustrator Stoogeco)

To vote, go here, and vote 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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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New Book Alert!

My main and social media knows me well; it’s been flooding me with news of multi-award winning Jamaican author Marlon James new book (I mean, that’s the marketing dream team any writer wish they had amirite? because they are outchea!). The book is Black Leopard, Red Wolf (from Riverhead Books) and it’s the first of a three book epic fantasy fueled by African mythology. In other words, fan of fantasy or not (which I am), it’s the book we’ve been waiting for. As I said on Marlon’s facebook, I like that he takes big swings and with some like Bill Maher recently trashing comic books and comic book readers, that he doesn’t give a tosh (is that an expression…well, it is now) about your genre snobbery. I haven’t read Jim Crow’s Devil but I have read the historical slavery narrative The Book of Night Women and the historical crime drama A Brief History of Seven Killings. And in addition to points blogged in my reviews, as he adds Black Leopard, Red Wolf to his bibliography, it’s easy to see that he’s someone who responds to the challenge of big ideas and deliberately or not (because I wouldn’t presume to speak his intention) creates literature (say it with a high brow accent) with popular appeal. And I’m here for it because I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again a good story is a good story and he tells them well.

With Black Leopard, Red Wolf, he steps, from everything I’ve been reading (haven’t read the book yet though), in to George R. R. Martin territory (doing what Game of Thrones did with its euro-rooted historical fantasy and mythology for African-diasporic storytelling – a la Black Panther). And I’m here for that. Don’t put Black literature, Caribbean literature, nor for that matter Marlon James literature in a box.

Here are some links:

“In these pages, James conjures the literary equivalent of a Marvel Comics universe — filled with dizzying, magpie references to old movies and recent TV, ancient myths and classic comic books, and fused into something new and startling by his gifts for language and sheer inventiveness.” – New York Times

‘Kris Kleindienst, Co-owner of Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Missouri, selected the new novel Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, whose novel A Brief History of Seven Killings won the 2015 Man Book Prize. Kleindienst told Forbes, “Marlon James possesses almost frightening levels of talent. The arc of his career has barely begun, but he has already shot past the best of what other writers could ever hope for. His work is wholly original, while paying homage to all the important literary ancestors. Black Leopard, Red Wolf holds the promise of being an archetypal epic for the 21st century.’ – Forbes

I have some other links bookmarked but I haven’t had time to read them as yet (this only got posted today because people are inboxing me links as well)- bottom line from Lit Hub to Time this book is getting all the buzz. I peep in my timeline that it is in Antigua (at the Best of Books)

red wolf.jpg

From the Best of Books’ social media.

– and I’m not above hard hinting them that I have a Blogger on Books series wherein I talk books I’ve read (think they’ll share a review copy? yeah, I tried it!), but until then I’ll let the anticipation build (because the way my book buying budget is set up…)

In all seriousness though, did I say new book alert!

Also new, this one already has its own post (a couple of them) but I’m mentioning it here as the publisher (UK/Caribbean independent Papillotte) now has it posted on their site, Saint Lucian Writers and Writing (edited by John Robert Lee) – an author index of prose, poetry, and drama. So look out for that one as well.9780995726314-300x462

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

Remember to vote for your favourite book by an Antiguan and Barbuda, 2017-2018.

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A & B Arts Round up – February 8th 2019 —>

July 6th 2019 – 6 p.m. – The Royal Society of Literature – New Daughters of Africa – part of the Africa Writes Festival @ the Knowledge Centre, the British Library, London – this is obviously not being held in Antigua (and though I’m unlikely to be there, I wanted to let my Caribbean and especially my Antiguan people know about this, one of the events being held to promote the New Daughters of Africa). “Twenty-five years after Margaret Busby’s Daughters of Africa anthology, a new companion volume brings together the work of over 200 writers from across the globe – Antigua to Zimbabwe, Angola to the USA – to celebrate a unifying heritage, illustrate an uplifting sense of sisterhood and showcase the remarkable range of creativity from the African diaspora.” Details here.

April 30th 2019 – A feature of Antigua Sailing Week is Reggae in the Park at the Nelson’s Dockyard, an official UNESCO heritage site. Go here for details.

March 31st 201951558809_2021898281220325_2135068856052350976_n – last year this empowering afternoon had everyone from Destra to CP and even one of the authors up for book of the year Janice Sutherland.

March 31st 2019 – Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year voting deadline. If there’s a book, released between 2017 and 2018, by an Antiguan and Barbudan that you read and liked. Vote. If you haven’t read any of the books on the list; there’s still time. Here’s where you go to see the books and vote.

#readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

March 9th 2019NEW_DAUGHTERS_HIGH-RES-670x1024the public launch event of New Daughters of Africa at the WOW – Women of the World Festival on London’s Southbank. This is not being held in Antigua (and though I’m unlikely to be there, I wanted to let my Caribbean and especially my Antiguan people know about this, one of the events being held to promote the New Daughters of Africa). “Twenty-five years after Margaret Busby’s Daughters of Africa anthology, a new companion volume brings together the work of over 200 writers from across the globe – Antigua to Zimbabwe, Angola to the USA – to celebrate a unifying heritage, illustrate an uplifting sense of sisterhood and showcase the remarkable range of creativity from the African diaspora.” More here.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

Remember to vote for your favourite book by an Antiguan and Barbuda, 2017-2018.

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Check This Out

I try to use this space to boost the literary arts, to boost other writers etc. – especially those with an Antiguan an Barbudan connection and/or those who pass through.

But.

Things slip through the cracks. This is unfortunately neither my job nor my hustle but I do try to keep up. And when I can’t keep up, I try to catch up. Or if I need to let it go let it go let it go…lol

But I did want to recapture something that I missed … and share these images that have been sitting on my hard drive.

That’s author N. C. Marks and that’s her book Plastered in Pretty. Pretty cover right? She had a launch/event in Antigua. I missed it. But don’t you miss out.

Google her.

I do know someone who’s reading the book right now (if she’s not done already); maybe I can convince her to share a review when she’s done.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

Remember to vote for your favourite book by an Antiguan and Barbuda, 2017-2018.

 

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100+ Essential Books by Black Women Writers

NEW_DAUGHTERS_HIGH-RES-670x1024

This post seems like a good opportunity to remind you of the imminent release of The New Daughters of Africa featuring works by 200 or more black women writers from all over the world including right here in Antigua and Barbuda.

Honestly, tons more books could be added to this list of 100+ Books by Black Women that Should be Essential Reading for Everyone (some of my essentials are definitely not listed) but it’s a list full of new to me discoveries and that’s always fun – and slightly shaming (why wasn’t I aware of some of these again?). I also am happy to see some of my To Be Reads (TBRs) listed and some (though maybe too few) that I’ve read – some of those read and loved. Sharing the list broken down according to my relationship with the respective books; scroll through…your TBR will thank you.

New discovery: Ghana must Go by Taiye Selasi; We love you, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge; The Girl who smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya; The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat; Whiskey and Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith; How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs; The Mothers by Britt Bennett; Here comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn; The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate (though I’ve previously read The Fall of Rome, and Third Girl from the Left and Another Way to Dance are already on my TBR); Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzu; Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi; The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis; The Prisoner’s Wife by Asha Bandele; Who fears Death by Nnedi Okoraforx; The House Girl by Tara Conklin; Stay with Me by Aboyami Adebayo; Halsey Street by Naimi Coster; A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton; The Terrible by Yrsa Ward; The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta; Ruby by Cynthia Bond; Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue; Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson; Heads of the Coloured People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires; My Soul Looks Back by Jessica B.Harris; Things I should have told my Daughter by Pearl Cleage; Training School for Negro Girls by Camille Acker; Whatever happened to Interracial Love by Kathleen Collins; Jam on the Vine by Lashonda Katrice Barnett; The Warmth of Other Suns by Elizabeth Wilkerson; Cane River by Lalita Tademy; Jubilee by Margaret Walker; On Black Sisters’ Street by Chika Unigwe; All about Love by bell hooks (though her Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism has been on my TBR probably since university); Killing the Black Boy by Dorothy Roberts; The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips; This will be my Undoing by Morgan Jerkins; My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite; Ordinary People by Diana Evans; Washington Black by Esi Edugyan; Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta; American Street by Ibi Zoboi; Dread Nation by Justina Ireland; Piecing me Together by Renée Watson; We are taking only what we need by Stephanie Powell Watts; The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso; Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi; How long til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin (though her Broken Earth trilogy is already on my TBR); When they call you a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele; Rabbit by Patricia Williams; Pushout by Monique W. Morris; So You want to talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo; Crossing the Mangrove by Maryse Conde (though her I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Conde (translated by Richard Philcox) is already on my TBR); Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson; Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert; Daddy was a Number Runner by Louise Meriwether; Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith; Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis (though I’ve previously read Women, Race, and Class).

Not a new discovery but haven’t read: Beloved by Toni Morrison (though I have read The Bluest Eye, Sula, my fave Song of Solomon, Jazz, Love, and have made a few attempts with Paradise, which I will return to again, and Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination is on my TBR and Tar Baby should be, I think); Krik? Krak! By Edwidge Dandicat (though I have read Breath Eyes Memory, The Farming of Bones, Create Dangerously, Eight Days: a Story of Haiti, part of Claire of the Sea Light which is on my TBR and also on my TBR Untwine, Anacaona, Behind the Mountains, Brother, I’m Dying, and The Dew Breaker – I’ve also read a number of her short stories, seen her short film, and she’s just one of my literary GOATs); Assata by Assata Shakur; Dear Martin by Nic Stone; The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander; Why I’m no longer talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge; We need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo; She would be King by Wayétu Moore; Becoming by Michelle Obama.

Already on my TBR: The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor (though I have seen the movie and another of her works, Mama Day, is also on my TBR); The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon; Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (though that Nora Roberts kerfuffle was not a good look); Kindred by Octavia Butler (her Parable of the Sower is also on my TBR); White Teeth by Zadie Smith (her On Beauty is also on my TBR); What we lose by Zinzi Clemmons; Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (have previously read The Thing Around Her Neck and Half of a Yellow Sun has been on my TBR for a while); Homegoing by Yaa Gyaasi; The Great American Read by Tayari Jones (loved her book Silver Sparrow and am eager to read this one); Gathering of Waters by Bernice L. McFadden (have read Sugar and Glorious by her and also have The Book of Harlan on my TBR); Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward; The Girl who fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow; What it means when a Man falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah (have been loving her short stories like Who Will Greet You at Home and Light – linked from my JWP Reading List); Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (whose Brown Girl Dreaming is also on my TBR); Negroland by Margo Jefferson; Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (her books An Untamed State and Difficult Women are also on my TBR); The Street by Ann Petry (and her Harriet Tubman biography is also on my TBR); Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (and also Balm are on my TBR); Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde; Sister-Citizen by Melissa Harris-Perry; The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo; Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste; and Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor.

Read excerpts (plan to read more): The Turner House by Angela Flournoy; and The Star Side of Bird Hill.

Read In whole: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (actually via audio book and saw the film as well); Push by Sapphire (and saw the movie Precious it inspired); Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga (and saw the short film Everyone’s Child by the writer-filmmaker); Their Eyes were watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (her new novel Barraccoon is on my TBR, and I’ve also read I Love Myself When I Am Laughing … and Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive: A Zora Neale Hurston Reader edited by Alice Walker and Valerie Boyd’s Hurston biography Wrapped in Rainbows, as well as short stories like The Conscience of the Court by Zora Neale Hurston, linked in Reading Room and Gallery 19); I know why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (as well as Gather Together in My Name, Singin and Swingin and Getting Merry Like Christmas, The Heart of a Woman, All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes, her collected Poems, On the Pulse of Morning, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now, and Even the Stars Look Lonesome…plus other engagements with her creativity in film etc.); Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid (also Annie John, The Autobiography of My Mother, My Brother, Mr. Potter, A Small Place, and See Now Then); The Colour Purple by Alice Walker (also Temple of My Familiar, Possessing the Secret of Joy, Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems, In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens: Womanist Prose, and Living by the Word – probably other stuff too but those are the main ones); Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer; Brown Girl Brownstones by Paule Marshall (also Praisesong for the Widow and Daughters as well as short story and non-fiction as found in Reading Room Xl); and Ugly Ways by Tina McElroy Ansa.

… and after getting sucked in to that particular wormhole of books read and unread, all I can think is wow, that escalated quickly.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

Remember to vote for your favourite book by an Antiguan and Barbuda, 2017-2018.

 

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Mailbox – Saint Lucia – for the Record

9780995726314-300x462

Now available from Papillote Press.

Wadadli Pen

I’m sure they have their complaints – and they did suffer the debilitating loss of their Folk Research Centre to fire earlier this year – but from where I’m sitting St. Lucia does a commendable job of researching and documenting its artistic resources, resource people, and accomplishments. I’ve written before about The Bibliography of St. Lucian Creative Writing Poetry, Prose, Drama by St. Lucian Writers 1948-2013, The Saint Lucian Literature and Theatre: an Anthology of Reviewsfor instance, and credited the work they’ve been doing in the area of documentation and research with funding from the state and private sector, and lamented the lack here – even as we do what we can here on the site – documenting what we can of our media history, art developments, and literary publications, to start, and in fact one of the ‘documents’ here on the site, a curated Caribbean lit…

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Before You Ask…

I spied a comment recently lamenting the difficulty the writer had getting friends and family to read a manuscript, in part or whole. The comment was posted to a writers’ group and the discussion that followed, as happens, seemed a good topic for a post in this space.

First, I understand the writer’s desire for feedback and frustration at the lack thereof. Speaking as a writer myself, I’ve experienced this and, conversely, I’ve experienced writer-editors who’ve been more than generous with their time. One, my friend Gisele, also my editor on the job at the time, returned my manuscripts red inked with edit notes (something she did whether I asked for editorial feedback or not); another, Christine, a writer I’d met at a workshop, gave me some critique notes (after informing me that she only had time to read part of the manuscript) and a suggestion that I apply for the international fellowship to participate in the Breadloaf Writers Workshop. Both were extremely helpful. I made the edits, and I applied and was accepted to Breadloaf with an international fellowship; and I have three books to show for those relationships. While working on draft eleventybillion of the third one of these books, I would read excerpts  to my friend Alstyne (RIP) and though she was not herself a writer, her feedback purely as a reader – what she reacted to enthusiastically or less than enthusiastically, the questions she asked, the commentary she gave – was helpful to me not only in shaping that book but in keeping me going. The thing she gave me that was invaluable was her genuine curiousity about how the story would turn out and her belief not only in the story I was struggling to tell but in me as a writer. Yeah, I miss her.

That’s just a sampling of the times I reached out for and received feedback, and these are the books that came to be as a result – once you add on the editors that actually worked with me on prepping the books for publication.

There were many other times when I reached out to people and did not receive feedback.  Or the time I received only partial feedback  from a certain teenage reader in a very tight window but it was enough to help me figure out if the content, tone, and language of a certain teen/young adult novel would connect with a teenage reader.

Djeri with Musical Youth.jpg

Sometimes, as with the children’s books, I got creative about seeking feedback by sneaking them, blind, in to reading material being critiqued (kids, teen workshop) or testing them on children I would be reading to anyway (children’s reading club, schools).

The times when feedback was sought and the answer was either no or no follow through, I may have been disappointed at the time but I wasn’t mad. Honestly. Okay, maybe a little mad but I understood.

See, some of this overlapped with me getting requests to read this, write that from other people and sometimes saying yes even though I knew I didn’t have the time either because I genuinely wanted to, wanted to give back some of what had been given to me, or couldn’t figure out how to say no. So when I say I understood, I understood. The requests to pick my brain or read work became more plentiful after I became a published author i.e. a writer in the public domain. And the thing is each person thinks that they’re not asking much, but it adds up, you know, it takes time.

That’s one of the reasons I added editing and critiquing to my freelance services after a time – (initially with some guilt but) I was doing it anyway and with my time covered, and a commitment made to a client, there was a guarantee that I could get it done and in a timely manner.

The person who inspired this post also griped about the circle not leaving reviews that could help with promotion once a book had been published. I’ve experienced this as well. And it’s frustrating. But I remember, too, the times I’ve been asked to review books. It’s time consuming and a positive review is not guaranteed (at least not from me, nor do I expect them from others if they believe the work doesn’t merit it). I got one of my most scathing reviews from a Caribbean blogger I reached out to and bent over backwards to get the book to, and I have others here and there who took the book and never bothered to post anything. The former is one of the realities of being published, the latter I can’t do anything about except choose more carefully next time. Meanwhile I do try to pay it forward by posting reviews – hence my Blogger on Book series, which I have to admit is more fun than writing reviews for a paying publication (though not financially smart, right?) because I feel freer to review or not review (I never want reading to feel like a chore). That said, I will take those paying review gigs because baby’s gotta eat.

The responses to the original poster was pretty much as I expected though – people are busy, there’s no expectation that they’ll have the time, or interest, if they do, say thank you; if they don’t, accept it without malice. And if they still don’t follow through after saying yes, roll with that too and don’t keep them in your mind; sometimes people are well-intentioned but time is short (been there, both sides).

I suggested some other avenues that have been helpful to me in terms of feedback re  works in progress or, more usually, fresh drafts – and better, in some ways, if you wish to receive constructive critical feedback:

  • A writers’ group
  • Writing workshops (physical and/or online)
  • A writing mentor
  • Online writing platforms where you can post work for feedback (I’ll count here online writing memes and prompts)
  • A paid editor, critique
  • Submitting to writing contests and lit journals (short story, poem, longer work in progress)

I have benefited from all of these and I offer at least three (see my services here).

As for friends and fam, and writers you know, try to understand, before you ask that it’s a big ask. If they can do it, sure, but, if not, it’s important to remember that everybody’s busy living their life. Frustrating as it can be.

Friends and fam are not always the best critics in any case – though they can be good for encouragement.

Take what you can get and find other avenues.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

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