Category Archives: The Business

Section where you can find industry news and insights

Payment Chronicles

My latest addition to the Resources page on this blog will be about freelance rates. Some of you will know that I am a freelancing artist so this issue is personal to me but so are many of the issues on the Resources page not personal in an in my feelings way, but in that they deal with issues I’ve stumbled across in my time as a writer, as a freelancer, as an author seeking to get published, as someone on the hustle, as a published author.  I just wanted to use this posting as a reminder to you that that page exists (I add links to it as I can) and to do the following PSA (speaking as an independent artist and freelancer).

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We need to be paid.

We need to be paid on time.

Not being paid for any use of our time affects our ability to pay our bills.

Not being paid on time for any use of our time affects our ability to pay our bills and sets us back in unpredictable ways (yes, even when you allow yourself a financial cushion which you should try to put in place when money is flowing and hope it doesn’t empty out before things unblock).

We all have bills to pay, not just people with 9-5s.

Unlike people with 9-5s, our next cheque is not guaranteed.

Think about this the next and every time you ask an independent artist and/or freelancer to do something.

Yes, this includes brain picking.

Think about it before you approach them.

Keep thinking about it until they are compensated. Every freelancer and many artists (I won’t say all because some are not working independently) have had issues with payment and/or timely payment. It affects your ability to sustain yourself and retain whatever goodwill you’ve built up.

Stop acting like a grown adult who needs to be paid for their services doesn’t care about their community; many have the receipts of community involvement to show, but the banks and the APUA don’t care about that.

So, pay and pay on time.

Just be fair.

This, of course, does not negate and/or preclude trade exchanges, community service, mentoring, or favours where one is able to do any of the above but these cannot be the default options. Do not…stop…do not say the word “exposure”. I told you not to say that word. Yes, doing it for exposure is a thing, but it’s not the only thing and after a time it’s not enough.

Pay artists.

This PSA is not directed at anyone in particular (though I have my share of stories) but the new link on the Resources page prompted some reflections on this vexing issue. And it is a vexing issue.

The post though is not about not getting paid but the not unrelated issue of rates. I thought it a necessary share because of complaints I sometimes see related to rates and the posting of rates. I’ll excerpt it but it’s worth reading the whole thing.

‘Rates change per industry, company, writer, location and project (and many other variables) …When asked the question “How do you charge?”, freelancers overwhelmingly responded that “it’s a mix – it depends on the client.” In fact, nearly 60% of respondents vary their rates based on different clients, while 12% charge per hour, another 12% by word, and nearly 16% charge by retainer (or per project). This is good news for brands, as budgets and payment terms vary from business to business.”’

I myself have to consider the particulars of each project and estimate (based on my experience of past projects, what this particular project needs, my best guesstimate of how much time it will take to serve the project and the client fairly and thoroughly, what is the value of that time and/or the value of the time lost, what value I bring to it, industry standards v. what the market can practically allow, client size vis-a-vis individual budgets, and other variables). It sucks when after all of that and bending over backwards to deliver, you’re once again feeling around in the dark re pay. It ripples in to your ability to keep up with your obligations or even get ahead of them. So that was the trigger and the connection.

The link will be on the resources page and I encourage you to check that out because feeling around in the dark can be a lonely thing. I’ve learned some things in hard and soft ways, in some ways I’m still learning, and in more ways than I’d like I’m still feeling around in the dark, but I try to light a candle for someone else when I can (consider it part of my service to my community…if you want…either way I’m doing it).

But here’s the link, directly, as well.

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 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, 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, my books, and my freelance writing-editing-coaching-workshop services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Lit News (Whaaaat!)

I got an invite to the Miami Book Fair. Big up to Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure Lost Cover Front 4which landed me a spot on the ReadCaribbean Presents Adventures for Kids panel. Grateful for the opportunities #TheWritingLife affords me now and again to go somewhere and talk about my books and share the worlds and characters I’ve ‘created’. Plus my life (both my actual life and my writing life) could use this little reprieve right about now; so I look forward to being there.

There is Children’s Alley at the Miami Book Fair on November 18th at 4 p.m. I’ll be sharing the stage with Trini-American Marjuan Canady (Callaloo: The Trickster and the Magic Quilt), Jamaican Paula-Anne Porter Jones (Sandy, Tosh and the Moo Cow), and Haitian-American Francie Latour (Auntie Luce’s Talking Paintings).

My book is, of course, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure. If you’re in the Miami area (and especially if you hail from Antigua and Barbuda), I’ll be looking out for you.

Shout out to Caribbean Reads Publishing, the Caribbean/US indie which has published not only Lost! but Musical Youth. And shout out to the organizers of the MBF; looking forward to it.

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Also, be sure to check out Antigua and Barbuda’s own Asher Otto jamming with international star Joss Stone on a beach. I write all about it (my love of Joss’ series and Asha’s music) in CREATIVE SPACE 11 – be sure to check it out – and anyone out there wanting to sponsor a future CREATIVE SPACE post, contact me at jhohadli at gmail dot com

Annnd shout out to Kimolisa Mings on her new book Into the Black Widow’s Web.41688072_10155549848492633_5636677081694732288_n I’ll be adding it to the Antigua and Barbuda bibliography here on the site as soon as I can. Meanwhile don’t sleep on it. Still forthcoming, I believe, is another book, this one, The Flowers in her Hair, by Linisa George39861953_691690201194663_8050367295236603904_n; so keep an eye  out for that. Already here, shout out to the Barbudan sister, is Asha Frank’s Dreamland Barbuda. Asha was scheduled to be a panelist at the Brooklyn Book Fair (a panel called Force of Nature – Writing a Hurricane) earlier in September and her book is on local bookshelvesAsha; check it out. Also a New Daughters of Africa is cominguntitled…and I have some news about that but for now that’s all the tease you get.

Finally, a reminder to check out the updates in Reading Room 30, Opportunities Too, Antiguan and Barbudan Writing, and Writing Antigua Barbuda ; and remember Support the Arts and, it should go without saying but sadly needs to be said, PAY ARTISTS!

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!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). 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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Reading Room and Gallery 30

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Share by excerpting and linking, so to read the full story or see all the images, or other content, you will need to go to the source. No copyright infringement is intended. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 30th one which means there are 29 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one.JCH

POETRY

“How many tied cotton bags of crystallized sugar were you and your father’s other
bastards given to suckle? So you could, years later, find yourself” – Poems by Jacqueline Bishop

THE BUSINESS

“You need an agent because you’ll be so eager to publish that you’ll pay them” – Tayari Jones

BLOG

‘More forgiveness and understanding.  I talk quite unexpectedly to Ronald Bickram.  (There’s no such thing as an innocent introduction.)  He was an entrant in the non-fiction category for the Bocas Prize.  He admits his work needed more vigorous editing.  “I went back and found a mistake on every page!”  We have a frank talk about the need for work to be in the best place possible before being released to the world, and for judges and entrants to have conversations similar to ours.  “For writers like me to know what to do—how to make the work better,” he says.  We shake on this, and he tells me he has a relative in Black Rock, St Michael, not far from where my mother grew up in Barbados.  She has a Chinese restaurant with local flare, Wing Kwong.  “Tell Rene you met me!”’ – NGC Bocas Lit Fest 2018—Day by Day by Robert Edison Sandiford

CREATIVES ON CREATING

‘Lovers Rock is also about what she goes through in the industry: “I walk into a room and I’ve had my own label for the past five to seven years and the energy is still like, ‘Who do you think you are?'” she says. “I finally was like, ‘No, no, no, you’re not gonna keep disrespecting me.’ The response to the question, ‘Who do I think I am?’ is always, ‘I know who I am, a queen. Who do you think you are?'” – British soul-pop singer Estelle talking to NPR about her new West Indian inspired lovers rock album.

FICTION

“People assume all kinds of things about you when you’re silent. That you’re stupid. That you’re smart. That you can’t hear. That you can’t communicate. That it’s a religious thing. That it’s an attention-seeking thing. Over the years, Ghillie heard them all. The religious thing was closest to the mark, although truth be told, his motives were far from holy. He made a vow to speak only when he had something worth saying, but he persisted with it because of how crazy it made people. Social workers, teachers, policemen, doorsteppers, they couldn’t bear his silence. Sympathy turned to rage in a surprisingly short space of time, particularly if he didn’t meet their eyes. It gave him a perverse sense of pleasure, saying nothing as they wheedled and cajoled, pleaded and threatened.” – Lynda Clark’s ‘Ghillie’s Mum’

***

“Laura had passed her entire life in a world of dreams. She dreamed of being beautiful, but was decidedly plain. She dreamed of living in a big house, but lived in a shack. She dreamed of having a large family, but had only her elderly parents.” – an Excerpt from Chechen Writer Zalpa Bersanova’s Novella ‘The Price of Happiness’

NON-FICTION

“Cap’n Tim Meaher, he tookee thirty-two of us. Cap’n Burns Meaher he tookee ten couples. Some dey sell up de river. Cap’n Bill Foster he tookee de eight couples and Cap’n Jim Meaher he gittee de rest. We very sorry to be parted from one ’nother. We seventy days cross de water from de Affica soil, and now dey part us from one ’nother. Derefore we cry. Our grief so heavy look lak we cain stand it. I think maybe I die in my sleep when I dream about my mama.” – Zora Neale Hurston ‘Barracoon’ excerpt

***

“I was reluctant to ask him where he was going, what he was doing these days.  Part of me was always reluctant to ask this of my friends from primary school, absurdly afraid to embarrass them.  At 14, I had been awarded a partial bursary to a private boarding school in the city, which got its prestige from selling itself as an international school, thus attracting children of ministers, ambassadors and the wealthiest in the country.  My single mother was a primary school teacher, with a permanent government job, so in primary school I had been considered fairly well-off.  As a boarder, I was one of the school’s poorest students, often called to the principal’s office because my mother had missed paying her share of my tuition.  The fact that I attended this school, taking French and Drama lessons, around students who spoke English all the time and talked back to their teachers, meant that the trajectory of my life had taken a sharp turn from my primary school friends.  Whenever I saw them, I worked hard to reassure them that I had not changed, that I was still the same person who had gathered with them over the soft sorghum porridge we ate at break time.” – Good Manners by Gothataone Moeng

INTERVIEW

“PS: When did you decide to pursue your art and writing full time?

Danielle: There was one very clear moment in 2011 when I just could not ignore the pull toward a creative life anymore. It felt like drowning very slowly, little by little each day. I had no idea how I would make it work financially, but I had to leap anyway and have faith. Before this I was an English teacher, and although I loved, and still love, working with children, my heart was pulling me toward something else. Not one day goes by where I am not thankful for the chance to live and work in my purpose.” – Danielle Boodoo Fortune interview

***

“When I actively started thinking about what I wanted to publish, Una Marson’s Pocomania was on the list. I had been coming across the name of that play as a quintessential Jamaican work since I was doing my BA. I then learned that it was housed in the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ)  and I thought, that needs to change. If that play was so important, why don’t more contemporary people have access to it? One of the key things to know is that without the printing press, we would probably have forgotten Shakespeare by now. We need to give more of our playwrights similar access. Publishing the works of our playwrights is a part of how we acknowledge, celebrate and keep good work from disappearing into the ether. I, therefore, made my first proposal to publish the works more than a few years ago and the timing wasn’t right. But finally, last year it came to be, and the more I learned about Una Marson, the happier I was that we had managed to publish this.” – Tanya Batson-Savage

***

“Many of the older writers are still important: Walcott, Brathwaite, Naipaul, Harris, Rhys, Lamming, Hearne among others. Lorna Goodison, Mervyn Morris, Earl Lovelace, Ian McDonald, the late Victor Questel, Dionne Brand and those who follow that first ‘Golden Age’ generation. Many new voices have arrived, many of whose works are rewarded by big prizes: Kwame Dawes, Claudia Rankine, Marlon James, Vahni Capildeo, Kei Miller, Vladimir Lucien, Tiphanie Yanique, Ishion Hutchinson, Shivanee Ramlochan, Ann-Margaret Lim, Richard Georges, Jennifer Rahim among others. These and their many other colleagues are important. Time will tell, of course, how truly important and significant they are. Then there are many Caribbean writers who have grown up in the diaspora: Caryl Phillips, Zadie Smith, Andrea Levy and others. Peepal Tree Press, Carcanet and Papillotte Press are doing a great job in publishing the works of the older and newer writers. And we have not even touched writers from the other language areas of the Caribbean.”    – St. Lucian poet and archivist John Robert Lee interview with Caribbean Literary Heritage

***

“In Ghana, I had worked in theater and for Ghana Television. In Barbados, I wanted to carry on theater directing. Since the theater companies were self-segregated, I (being white and nervous about intruding across evident racial lines) went to the one known for white or near-white members and a lot of European plays. They asked me if I had a play to suggest. Death and the King’s Horseman was an ambitious project to do outside Nigeria, requiring a lot of solid grounding in Soyinka’s cultural contexts. It was also ambitious as to the casting, in Barbados. It is a powerful story about English colonial intrusion on an ancient culture, told, as Soyinka carefully explains in his introduction to the play, from within Yoruba social space, focused on the strengths and weaknesses of the title character. He and his society are the core of the play, and so most of the main parts require actors of African descent. To find those actors, I needed to upset the self-segregation common in Barbados theater at the time, and I approached a group of black actors and writers. Earl Warner, later very well known as a major theatrical figure in the region, agreed to play the main role, Elesin. The white actors for the colonial parts came from the company producing the play. The production involved about fifty people, a fairly large budget, and a lot of work.” – Elaine Savory interviewed by Kelly Baker Josephs

***

“Our societies are not just diverse but complex, convoluted, so the poetry has to stretch itself formally to cope.” – Pamela Mordecai interviewed by Kelly Baker Josephs

***

“What I find myself most drawn to and excited by (both in my own reading and in programming the festival) are voices and perspectives which are not what anyone would expect. I think that many of us, even here at home in the region –  we should know better – we sometimes have very narrow ideas of what the Caribbean is, or should be. What is a Caribbean subject or voice, or topic or question or anxiety, and I’m not keen on that. I think we are far more various than we give ourselves credit for.” – Nicholas Laughlin interview for Caribbean Literary Heritage

***

“It took coming here to see that my voice was a voice that needed to be heard.” – Brenda Lee Browne, Real Talk with Janice Sutherland at Phenomenal Woman  And read more Antiguan and Barbudan artists discussing their art and more here on the site.

***

“The irony of the Internet, which was supposed to rob us of our attention span and be the death of journalism, is that it has actually promoted a new passion for longform nonfiction. It’s also given us more opportunities to find and discover poets, who are a big part of the movement towards essays as well, since they are doing work that is increasingly hybrid. In general, the best thing I can say about social media and the Internet is that it has allowed a lot of people to bypass the gatekeepers, such that I don’t know if there’s a real gate any more.” – Alexander Chee

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!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). 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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Bestselling Black Caribbean Picture Books

Shout out to Jamaican-Canadian author Olive Senior and Antiguan-Barbudan-American illustrator Laura James on making the African American Literary Club’s Top 133 African American Children’s Books as determined by authors, industry professionals, and readers with both Bounounous Hair and Anna Carries Water.

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Also Antiguan-Barbudan-American Ashley Bryan, illustrator of African American poet Nikki Giovanni’s I am Loved, and writer and illustrator of his own Freedom Over Me.

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Also Jamaican Kellie Magnus’ Little Lion Goes to School with illustrator Michael Robinson is on the list – shout out to her.

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Don’t forget to check out other Caribbean books for children and specifically our list posted here of Antiguan and Barbudan children’s books.

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 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

 

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Writer to Writer (and Reader too)

This post piggybacks on a post over at Southern Writers Magazine about how writers can support other writers. Really, though, if you’re a reader who’s active online, some of it can apply to you too.

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When I attempted the low-to-no response book of the year readers’ choice poll on this blog last year, a poll which allowed writer and writer associate votes by the way, the idea was to boost the books. Why boost the books? Because a boost can mean, more sales, more readers finding the books, and more of the books that you like; if you’re not just a reader but also a writer of your own books now or in the future, it’s also about paying it forward.

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Publishing is a buyer’s market. Sure, we, writers, are out here trying to tell the stories dear to our hearts but self-published or traditionally published (i.e. with the resources of an established publishing house behind you), market matters.  It matters to getting signed, to not getting dropped, to making money off of your books, to being in a position to write other books.

In the Black cover
So, if we want more stories from the pen of whatever author we’ve ‘discovered’, and to be in a position to continue telling our own stories, this  W. Terry Whalin article has some of the bare minimum things that we can do.

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Like “write reviews of any book you read or hear”. I do this for most books that I read (see my blogger on books series). Maybe some find the words ‘write’ and ‘review’ scary. I get that. Sometimes someone will tell me face to face, or in an email, what they think (good and bad) about one of my books, but will balk at posting the very thing they just told me in a public forum (where, if it’s good, it can actually help me attract readers). Sometimes, someone honestly doesn’t think about it; well, I’m saying, think about it. It doesn’t have to be a review-review, just what you think. The internet makes it really easy (with all of those online book platforms or whatever social media you use) to just drop a word. Yes, even a word will do.

she wanted a love poem
Like “as you read the blog posts from others, make a short yet relevant comment”. If you’re blogging, it’s important to remember that communication works both ways – drop by other blogs and say a word, and chances are they’ll return the favour. I will say that part of modern book marketing, a feature of the internet age, is finding community. But don’t use the community like a billboard, to which you pin your notice/ad and bounce; participate.

Wadi Halfa
Like “use social media retweets”.  The buttons are right there! I’m not on twitter but I’m quite a few other social media platforms, most actively on facebook, and sharing articles and other interesting finds, often by other writers is something I enjoy doing. In fact, the same urge birthed the Reading Room and Gallery series here on this blog. On my facebook, one of my favourite things to do is to share an excerpt  from whatever book I’m reading on my social media with a #whatimreading which (sometimes) sparks curiosity and conversation.

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Like “Introduce writers to each other” which simply means where possible being the conduit from one writer to another, from writer to opportunity that you’d like others to be for you. Don’t force it, let it happen organically but don’t shut down a connection you could be facilitating just because you can. Blocking someone else’s blessings won’t open up ours. This one may be the hardest of all but it’s a mindset that’s worth having.

Time to Talk

I feel it’s important to add that I understand (and live) some of the hindrances – what if you don’t like the book? what if I don’t have time for all of that blog engagement? etc. To which I would say don’t put pressure on yourself to do everything – to write about every book, to gas up every book you do write about (honest reviews are always preferable), to engage with every blog, not to mention all of social media etc. I’m saying be conscious and if you can, do one thing one time and let whatever happens happen naturally. In the way that you would naturally tell someone about something you liked anyway, do that and realize that in a crowded publishing marketplace, it can make a world of difference.

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The images in this post are all books by Antiguans and Barbudans, and all linked to the reviews thoughts I shared about them. The last one is an example of another reason why: the book being out of print and sales not being a factor, it’s about owning and/or reclaiming a literary legacy (especially in a place where before things like the bibliography of Antiguan and Barbudan books built on this site) so much of it was unknown and/or ungathered.

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 Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me 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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At the Half Year

I usually do a year-end top posts of the year post on my blogs. But I’m in the mood for a half-year assessment just now so here’s the top ten so far for 2018.

Seat of Power

#1 – the most viewed post of the year so far – Art ‘Revelations’ (Antigua-Barbuda) – This art show, located at the Antigua Girls High School, featured the work of a handful of local art teachers and was an opportunity to check a pulse point of local visual arts evolution. The success of this post is also, to my mind, an indicator of interest in this type of content, and is one of the drivers behind launching/reviving the CREATIVE SPACE series on my author/writer services blog. – The post actually ties for second most shared on the blog so far this year and though it’s only received one comment, it’s a good one “Enjoyed the exhibit, and appreciate the writing of (it) … Gives a feel of the busyness and buzz in the room. As an artist it was quite refreshing to see the heavy weights of the industry within our 268 take front stage.” (pictured is one of the images from the show, Seat of Power by Bernard Peters)

Rilzy 2Yohan book

#2 – this was an interesting one – Vote for Your Favourite Antiguan and Barbudan Book of the Year – posted in December 2017,  and inspired by a similar poll in Trindad and Tobago, it got a lot of looks and tied with the #1 post for second most shares but had next to no response, not enough even to hit the minimum number of votes to select a winner; hell, not even the writers voted. Maybe it’s not a thing anyone wants, maybe they hadn’t read even one of the books yet, maybe I just launched it too late, maybe it didn’t run long enough, maybe all of these maybes but because I think it’s a good way to push not just an author but the literary culture in Antigua and Barbuda, I’m inclined to do it again (maybe in sync with the Wadadli Pen Challenge season) – but then I’ve been wrong before. In case we do try this again, and if you want to get a jump on the 2018 poll, the A & B releases (limited to books/literary CDs where Antiguans and Barbudans are the main or primary author and/or editor) for 2018 so far, according to the blog’s records are: The Plantations of Antigua, the Sweet Success of Sugar, Volume I (w/Donald Dery). AuthorHouse. USA.(Agnes Meeker); Learning Bible Verses: the Bow, the Wow, the Now. (Elloy DeFreitas); Milo’s First Winter (Milo’s Adventures). Amazon Digital Services. (Juneth Webson); The Nakedness of New. CreateSpace Independent Publish Platform North/South Carolina, USA. (Althea Romeo Mark); Fu You Tongue Heavy Lakka 56. USA. (Iyaba Ibo Mandingo); The Royal Wedding. Antigua. (Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau). (pictured are the 2017 books by Antiguan and Barbudan authors that tied for most votes)

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#3 – Creak by Kyle Christian (Wadadli Pen Winning Story, 2018) – the winning story in the 2018 Wadadli Pen Challenge got a lot of views and a lot of shares  – it’s typical for one of the winning stories (if not always the winning story, as in 2017 for example) to make the top 10. The reviews for Creak have been positive if few: “Excellent!”; “Brilliant, bold and witty, delivered with passion; drawing attention to (a) hidden history”. (pictured, Kyle Christian)

Rosie Pickering

#4 – Damarae by Rosie Pickering – this was an honourable mention in the estimation of the judge of the Wadadli Pen Challenge. It was a win for the readers as the fourth most viewed and first most shared post so far of the half-year. (pictured, Rosie Pickering)

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#5 – Shout out to Caribbean Actors in Black Panther – well, duh. (pictured, Wakanda forever!)

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#6 – Barbados, Guyana, Bermuda Finalists for the Burt Award – this post title is actually something of a misnomer as it begins with news of the 2018 finalists but gives the full listing of all the books that either exist or have had a bigger reach because of this prize – as a reminder, submissions are invited for the 2019 prize – and you (and your teen) are encouraged to read all the books. (pictured are some of the winning books through the years)

winners2b#7 – Who Won What in 2018? – another regular in the top 10 because there’s always a high level of interest in the outcome of the annual Challenge which is good for both our patrons and participating writers/artists, both of which we always need more. (pictured are winners from 2018 and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, holding the Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge plaque, sponsored by the Best of Books, at the awards ceremony)

Aye Write April 2014

#8 – Literary Arts in Antigua and Barbuda: a Reflection – I have been recently reminded that when you share the journey (the good and the bad), people read and sometimes mis-read the full accounting of your life. Rest assured that my full life will never be shared on social media (so be careful how deeply you read) but my journey in writing and my frustrations with and love for Antigua and Barbuda, and Antigua and Barbuda in relation to the arts, and the literary arts in particular, that I have shared to a fair degree. In order to vent sometimes, yes, but also in order to inform understanding about the journey and about the challenges artists face, celebrate the victories, and underscore that they are often hard-won. I try to pass on what knowledge I can – resources, to opportunities, to my own hard-earned lessons, stumbles, breakthroughs, and triumphs. What an upside down world we live in when the people who create are pitied for doing what they were put here to do, for continuing to work against the odds to explore, interrogate, and affirm our existence for a time in this space called life. Well, this post is about what some of our literary artists (not just me, have been doing in our space and time). (this picture is actually from 2014, a Commonwealth panel in Scotland which I was invited to be a part of after my story Amelia at Devil’s Bridge, submitted to the Commonwealth short story competition and losing, was selected for inclusion in the collection Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean – which included the winning Commonwealth short story and the best of the also-rans to the best of my understanding. Amelia is now one of my most travelled stories and is a reminder to me that on the writing journey the road may be potholed but keep moving, you never know where you might end up…and, if you’re lucky, your art will travel further than you do and sometimes take you along for the ride)

Wadadli Pen Logo

#9 – Kyle Christian Wins Wadadli Pen – This was the announcement press release re the Challenge – so no surprises about this being in the top 10 – the Challenge is our main project; it attracts submissions from young writers in Antigua and Barbuda who are typically eager to hear how things turned out for them and in the Challenge as a whole. (pictured, the Wadadli Pen logo which was created by Ken Shipley)

author books#10 – Writers Shoutout, Diversity Discussion – you know I had someone hit me up on social media recently to push back on all this diversity talk and all I’ve got is a hit dog will holler. Diversity isn’t about taking anyone’s place (it’s about making space for other voices) nor is it about tokenism (funny how people go there as if the hushed voices are inherently inferior), it is about all the interesting landscapes, voices, stories, perspectives that the world is missing out on (it is about making the world a richer place). This popular piece is just one part of the discussion. (pictured, books by Yolanda T. Marshall which were the jump-off for the most recent diversity post)

With thanks to anyone who engages with any thing I write or share in this space – keep reading and sharing; like and comment more (what’s up), and let’s see if these favourites hold up to the end of the year.

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). Excerpting, reblogging, linking etc. is fine, but PLEASE do not lift ANY content (images or text) wholesale from this site without asking first and crediting the creator of that work and/or copyright holder. All Rights Reserved. If you like the content here follow or recommend the blog, also, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. Thank you.

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Reading Room and Gallery 29

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. ( share by excerpting and linking, so to read the full story or see all the images, or other content, you will need to go to the source. No copyright infringement is intended. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 29th one which means there are 28 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one. – JCH

POETRY

“The thing about friends, I thought to myself, is that it’s hard to know when to let go.” – Ben Loory, The Friend with the Knife in His Back

***

“Long after the laugh track, it seemed
only rational, practical: this new thing.
Not because we were too stupid to know
what was sad, but because, as in the logic
of the canned guffaw, the producers
knew something about us we did not…” – The Invention of the Cry Track by Bruce Bond

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“This fall I want to start a Short Story Club. I want to read them and then write them with students. Since I’m all about mentor texts stories, writing them is right along with my teaching style.” – Tammy L. Breitweiser

***

“It’s a matter of feeling and it’s also a matter of sound.” – Aretha Franklin (on creating)

***

“WARNING: I know amazing writers who struggle to progress because they don’t know their novel’s essence. Maybe something in us resists summing up our complex book in simple terms because we’re DEEP, don’tchaknow. Yeah, yeah. Find out. Say it. Commit.” – Leone Ross

VISUAL

A video dissecting the artistry of Aretha Franklin

***

EarthSky_03_LSimpson_2016

“Black women are the beginning and the end. 
Black women are the law.
 Black women are the ground and the sky, the horizon. Black women are the lucky number seven.

Black women are all the books in the Ancient Library of Alexandria, Egypt. Black women are Hammurabi’s code and the Rosetta stone: vexation and answer, secret and revelation.

Black women are surpassingly beautiful, and that is why you cannot stop looking at Lorna Simpson’s pictures.” – Elizabeth Alexander on Lorna Simpson’s Collages (at Lit Hub)

NON-FICTION

‘Her (Roxane Gay’s) advice to writers? “You have to be relentless and you have to find a way to grit your way through all that rejection. … It’s OK to feel dejected and hopeless, as long as you don’t let that keep you from continuing to write and continuing to try and put yourself out there.”’ – 10 Writers and Editors who have changed the National Conversation

***

“That was the beginning of the end of Jacob’s poetry writing, but the poet himself never disappeared, animating each novel and short story he was to write. Jacob himself has been astounded by people talking of the ‘amazing lyricism’ even in the noir whodunnit (The Bone Readers)- amidst all its raw grittiness. This semi poetic mode of his style is an unconscious part of him, stemming from his eye for the metaphor, the sharp, clearly defined and unusual image, and an unusual way of seeing things and saying things.” – The Sunday Times on UK based Grenadian writer Jacob Ross

***

“The memory of music goes down very deep, deeper even than language, maybe even to the very bedrock of personality.” – Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Peter Trachtenberg

***

‘And now? The practical value of the prize he’s just won is significant. “There’s not many publishing opportunities in the Caribbean”, and name recognition is vital to attract foreign publishers. Would he go live in London, though, as VS Naipaul did? Would he quit the teaching job, and abandon small, problematic Trinidad? Kevin pauses: “Yeah, people ask me this”. He pauses again: “Yes and no, right?”.’ – Prize-winning Trinidadian Writer (Kevin Jared Hosein) Leads Double Life in Cyprus Mail Online

***

‘I explained to him (Austin Clarke) that I wanted Brother to be about the generation after the one he was the first to chronicle, about children growing up in a land their immigrant parents needed to imagine as one of clear promise, but which the children knew also posed often unacknowledged dangers. I wanted my novel to be about youth shadowed by poverty, by the racist gaze, by the threatened violence of those in authority. But I also needed my book to reveal beauty, and to show how toughened youths and young men could brave great acts of tenderness and love. I wanted it to be a novel of painstaking attention to both language and narrative form. And as Austin drew inspiration from the music of his generation, from the legacies of jazz, soul, and reggae, I wished to honor the music that was closest to me as a youth—the hip hop of the late 80s and early 90s, including the advent of turntablism, all set within a Toronto that had rocked and found its own voice years before the “breakthrough” emergences of artists like Drake and the Weeknd. I dreamt of celebrating the completion of this novel with Austin, but he died before it was published. I ended up dedicating it posthumously to him.’ – David Chariandy

INTERVIEW

“I had posted some stories just on my Tumblr, and she read them, and shared them, and Jacques who runs The White Review asked me to send in some stories for consideration, accepted “Agata’s Machine” for his website then signed me for a collection based off “Agata’s Machine” and “Waxy” with his publishing house.

Then I wrote him a bunch of new stories over a period of several months in 2016. I sent them off to him as I finished them, and he edited them as I wrote more and sent them back to me with notes, which is perhaps an unorthodox way for a short story collection to be written. I imagine most writers have a polished collection to present to an editor at the beginning. Jacques chose which ones he wanted to include in a collection and I insisted on the title. It was an intense seven months, at least for me. It was all through email, I’ve never met Jacques. I guess he is some sort of 21st-century European James Laughlin. Now I have a box of blue books in my bedroom, that’s about it. It doesn’t feel any different to be published. It’s all happened in Britain which is quite far away. You have to just focus on the next writing project if you are to keep your sanity.” – Camila Grudova interviewed by the Culture Trip

***

“Philip Levine advised his students: don’t be in a rush to find your ‘voice’. I am in my mid-fifties, and I try to not bore myself by writing poems that are always in the same voice, form and style. I want continually to be learning and surprising myself as I write. Still, something of a recognisable voice emerges in my first book, The Twelve-Foot Neon Woman. The second book, Ricantations, is different in approach: there are more marvellous and speculative elements: mythic creatures, animals and anomalous beings, such as a flying gargoyle, a man who wears a Green Lantern suit at his wake, a Spanish Baroque girl with hyperphagia and a circus family of high-wire walkers. However, in both books the voice combines the quotidian and the luminous, the beautiful and the atrocious, grim humour and what Vidyan Ravinthiran, remarking on Ricantations, has called the ‘exact, terrible word’ to portray the realities of a colonised society ransacked by debt, mass migrations, narcoculture, gender violence and hurricanes.” – Loretta Collins Klobah

***

“The poem presents, word for true word, what different men said to me when I was walking on the street, riding a bus or taking a taxi. I could have included so many other instances that got left out of the poem; for example, once I was walking on Hope Road when a man driving past leaned out of the window to say some kind of sweetness to me (while a woman was in the passenger seat of his car!). I truly felt bad when he mashed up his car, hitting the back bumper of the car in front of him.” – Loretta Collins Klobah in an interview with Jacqueline Bishop for the Bookends series in the Jamaica Gleaner Loretta Collins Klobah interview – the first part
Part 2 of the interview is below in two parts:
Jacqueline Bishop interviews Loretta Collins Klobah 1
Jacqueline Bishop interviews Loretta Collins Klobah 2

***

“The majority of people on this earth work a job they hate all their lives and life is precious…how many lives have been ruined because their parents told them you can’t make any money being a musician, you can’t make any money being a writer, you can’t make any money dancing, and we know the sacrifices that our parents have made so we bend in to parental pressure and we end up choosing a  major, choosing a direction in life, choosing a job that is now what we want to and we end up miserable and hating our parents…and that’s why I thank my parents who from a very early age, they didn’t know I was going to be a filmmaker, but they wanted to give us exposure to the arts, so everything I’m doing today is because my mother was dragging me to the movies.” –Spike Lee with Pharrell Williams

***

“The Caribbean population is small but it is teeming with writers – has been for a long time.” – Pamela Mordecai

***

“TC: On the plus side, I think it’s made it easier to connect with other critics—and, in many cases, link up with editors, which is useful for a host of reasons. On the negative side, I worry that social media has changed the perception of book reviews in some unhelpful ways as well. I have no issues with GoodReads (I’ve had an account there for years) and I understand why a lot of people review books on Amazon, but I am more than a little alarmed at the idea that those can or should be viewed as a replacement for a good book review.” – Tobias Carroll on Geek Love, Goodreads, and the Books that Haunt Him

***

“Gowdy: I return to the childhoods of one or two of my main characters in most of my books, I think. It’s nothing I plan on doing ahead of time, but I guess it’s as if I need to establish certain propensities in the child before I can fully create the adult. And then there’s the joy of writing about children because they haven’t yet formed a shell sturdy enough to hold in their souls. Children are so expressive and hilarious. They’re all poets in that they’re trying to get a fix on the world, so they’re comparing everything to everything else, sounding out words, taking what you say too literally, even as they believe in magic. I hope the young Rose is recognizably the grown Rose, but neither is quite the other, and that’s where I live as a writer, in the place between the living, personal self and the remembered self. Or in the place between the living self and the different self.” – The Impossible is Now Possible: A Conversation by Barbara Gowdy and Helen Phillips

***

“(Danielle) Boodoo-Fortuné is a fresh new voice on the poetry scene. This collection creates vivid images of the rural Trinidadian world, where the real and the mythical rub along together.” – Esther Phillips, Barbados’ Poet Laureate speaking with Zing on her new role and 5 Great Works by Caribbean Poets

***

 – Juleus Ghunta

FICTION

pahe_life_0208_2– from “Life of Pahé” by Pahé Translated by Edward Gauvin

***

“Maria has a big ass. My grandmother tells Maria this regularly. She has reached that age where she lacks tact. Despite my grandmother’s concern about the size of Maria’s ass and her unwillingness to call Maria by her given name, they get along quite well. Maria treats my grandmother like her own. She brushes my grandmother’s thin, silver hair each night before bed. They love to argue about the shows they watch. They talk about the islands where they were born, the warmth of suns they once knew.” – Sweet on the Tongue by Roxane Gay

***

“But this is a good book, he said. And he explained the plot to me: the story of a young Muslim, polygamous, with four wives, a revolutionary and a terrorist, but who one day finds himself calling into question the Koran and its teachings and ends up converting to Christianity and casting off three of his wives. Except that some time later he’s assassinated by a conspiracy of the abandoned women who subsequently roll dice to decide which of them should keep his penis that they’d severed at the base . . .” – The Bestseller by Germando Almeida translated by Daniel Hahn

***

‘“Sorry, no one’s allowed through,” he said in a rough manner, while raising the window to keep the conditioned air from reaching me.’ – Cat’s Eyes by Ahmed Alrahbi

***

“As soon as I locked myself inside, I smoked everything I could reach. But the pain is still here. And I’m still here.” –Eve Out Of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi, trans. by Jeffrey Zuckerman

***

“It’s 4 a.m. in Zagreb, Croatia, and you’re wide-awake. You and your husband are on your honeymoon. While he sleeps, you admire his black curly hair and thin nose, envious of his ability to rest. As he rotates to his side, you wonder what images are crossing his unconscious and whether he’s ferried a phantom of you into his dreams.” – Last Chapter on Hotel Stationery: A Short Story by Ursula Villarreal-Moura

***

“Bills gather in heaps at my feet. I watch them beat about on the paint encrusted tiles, in the slight breeze seeping in under my door through a space big enough to let in the lizards, centipedes and mice which use my house for shelter when the rains come.  But the rains have not come. A week to Easter, and still no rain. Not even back to back cricket matches, usually enough to entice the rains to douse the field just when our team is winning, can sweeten the rain to fall. Young fruit die sunburnt under confused mango trees that flower and bear at the same time. The plants look like when you drink something sour and your face falls into itself. The cow itch vine, whose windblown fibres make me want to scratch skin off my bones, head in the ground. Even the weeds are seeing trouble.” – A Whiff of Bleach by Suelin Low Chew Tung

***

“In those days, it was the custom to roll out a lemon from the delivery room. The midwife in charge always had a lemon at hand. As soon as the baby arrived she would roll it out of the room. The exact moment that the fruit exited the room would be registered and used to cast the horoscope. Ayya did not have much faith in this fruit-rolling practice. He would wait for the baby’s first cries. He contended that the wail was enough to give him the time of birth. Amma’s vote was for the fruit. The accident that followed my birth made Ayya change his stand.” – Horoscopes by Appadurai Muttulingam, translated from Tamil by Padma Narayanan

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 Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me 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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