Category Archives: The Business

Section where you can find industry news and insights

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid August 2021)

Happy Emancipation Day (August 1st 1834).

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

Philanthropy

How can you help the arts?

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

Passings

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

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

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

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

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

Events

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

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The Caribbean Style & Culture Awards. See site.

Accolades

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

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

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

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

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

Publications

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

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New Anansi

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

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

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

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

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Caribbean Literature Day

July 12th 2021 has, as of last year, been dubbed Caribbean Literature Day. Shout out to St. Martin’s House of Nehesi Publishers for coining it in 2020.

Days like this are an opportunity to draw your attention to the literature that gets crowded out by more mainstream titles – and, unfortunately, even in the Caribbean, books from up North still define mainstream. But between #readCaribbean and #Caribathon during Caribbean American Heritage Month (i.e. June, which was also Pride Month and Black Music Month; World Environment Day, June 5th, was also in there making for the most intersection of observances all around) and now Caribbean Literature Day, we’re pushing back, baby.

I thought I would focus here on Wadadli Pen on the often overlooked solo pieces published in journals and anthologies – the readership is small which is unfortunate because some of them are quite good. If I had my way, I would popularize them with dramatized readings for radio. I’ve actually suggested that to local radio but been ignored. Maybe it’s a question of money; the rights of the pieces would have to be secured, voice actors would have to be paid etc. But it would be dope, the appetite for story is not the problem but access either due to money, availability, or even someone not realizing that they might be interested because, I hate to tell you, but if you like movies or mêlée, you like story.

One of the things I’ve tried to do here on the Wadadli Pen blog is share pieces I find in the Reading Room and Gallery series which is 41 deep at this point, a curated salon that you can chill in and come back to at your discretion – how cool would it be if we had the resources to turn it in to a real virtual salon for an immersive reading/listening experience. The arts need money, I tell you.

The other way I try to amplify these literary bites is by sharing every published or performed poem or short story or intertextual piece I can find in one of our many data bases – with the only proviso being it be a real credit (i.e. published in a journal, performed at an official lit event, that sort of thing). For many writers these are the foot in the door that, if the foot is not squeezed out and the door slammed, can lead to a writing career. It was for me.

Let me tell you about BIM.

BIM: Arts for the 21st Century edited by Barbados Poet Laureate Esther Phillips is perhaps the oldest surviving literary journal in the region that is still publishing and relevant today – and even BIM has an uneven publishing life.

Image, dated 2014, borrowed from the facebook page of the Nature Island Literary Festival.

BIM was started in 1942, edited first by E. L. Cozier, then by Frank Collymore, who shepherded many of the pioneers of the Caribbean literary canon in to the published world until he gave up the role in 1974. Per the about page of the BIM website, publication became irregular after that, and in 1996 went in to a long hiatus that didn’t end until the relaunch in 2007.

This is around the time that I became aware of BIM and I was a hungry young writer who wanted in. When I learned of the BIM event celebrating Caribbean women writers, I wrote to Phillips introducing myself and my at the time two published books – The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and she didn’t ignore me, as happens. In fact, before I knew what had happened (forgive me if I’m sketchy on the details, it’s been a while), I was on a panel with the likes of Ramabai Espinet, the Indo-Trinidadian Canada-based author of The Swinging Bridge; Curdella Forbes, the US based Jamaican author whose latest book A Tall History of Sugar won the Hurston Wright Fiction prize; Trinidadian poet and artist, Bocas prize winner for Doe Songs, Danielle Boodoo Fortune; Bermudan writer Angela Barry, author of Goree: Point of Departure; and Barbadian poet Dana Gilkes.

This isn’t a books post but see in bold several books you could be checking out (of your library or book store, online or brick and mortar) this Caribbean Literature Day.

Anyway, the imposter syndrome was real but I was also excited to be at this event where reconnections were forged, new friendships made, I soaked up knowledge, and moved the needle a little as a #gyalfromOttosAntigua inching in to the Caribbean literary canon, or trying to.

Publishing in BIM became a goal and, no matter the stage of your career, there is nothing so humbling as submitting to and being rejected time and again by journal editors. They are often brisk and to the point, if they take the time to give you specific feedback. And getting specific feedback – hurt though it might – is actually a good thing; it means that they see you, they just don’t want you quite yet. So you get back to work.

The piece that ended up landing me on the pages of BIM was initially workshopped over at the Caribbean Literary Salon (RIP to that valuable space). It’s a story about a big head boy, teased for that big head and other things, published as What’s in a Name in BIM: Arts for the 21st Century Volume 7 in 2015. See the time gap? Getting in was a hallelujah moment.

I have a bad habit that – with the possible exception of The Caribbean Writer – once I’ve published in a coveted publication I move on to climb the next mountain. New goals. So publishing in BIM again wasn’t something I really-really went after again. Maybe I didn’t want to kill my high at being published by giving them the chance to reject me again. Which is not to say that I never submitted again because I did for the current publication (and I do think the year we’ve had has something to do with me going for it) and one of my submitted pieces was accepted.

I’m always a little jazzed when a poem is accepted because I don’t consider myself a poet though I have published so many poems in journals at this point that that’s a lie. Maybe something to do with one of my more scalding rejections, from a revered Caribbean editor and mentor being “your poetry is not up to the standard of your fiction”. Rejections don’t stop me even when they scald, I keep working, keep submitting, and it’s …nice…when something gets through. I tell that story still not because it’s baggage but because I hope it will inspire some other writer, whether rejected by Wadadli Pen or your dream publication; don’t give up. Maybe your writing could be better, you’ve always got to entertain that possibility, or maybe it’s just not it’s time. Either way, keep writing and keep trying.

And read, read a lot.

I’m still reading the current issue of BIM: Arts for the 21st Century and you should to. You should also check out the journaled writings by Antiguans and Barbudans I’ve compiled here on the blog, so many that they are divided alphabetically A to M, N to Z.

Happy Caribbean Literature Day.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid July 2021)

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

Remembering

Bunny Wailer (1947-2021) died earlier this year and though I am late in marking this seismic moment in music, I couldn’t let the transitioning of the last of the iconic Wailers, which included legends Bob Marley (1945-1981) and Peter Tosh (1944-1987), go by just so. (Source – JR Lee email)

News

Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters out of the Virgin Islands have teamed up with Syllble Inc out of the US (its founder is out of Haiti) to stimulate the writing and boosting of Caribbean speculative fiction. “The story bible founders will design an overview of the fictional universe. As short stories get written the story bible is expected to grow. The best short stories will be short listed for Moko’s consideration.” Read more in this press release. (Source – Syllble email)

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Plans advance for an African Slavery Museum in Antigua and Barbuda.

It is to be constructed at Tomlinson’s Estate and is spearheaded by the African Slavery Memorial Society founded by Edith Oladele to preserve African heritage and memory in Antigua and Barbuda. Details of the planned museum can be read here:

(Source – ASMS email)

Events

The publishers of The Caribbean Writer Vol. 35 have announced an after reading dinner affair reader response discussion series for July 15th 2021, 6 to 8 p.m. They will be discussing the poems in tribute to the late Kamau Brathwaite published in volume 35. RSVP here and order volume 35 here. (Source – TCW email)

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I’ll be reading at the Medellin World Poetry Festival in August. Read about my recent test and watch a preview in my latest reading journal. (Source – Jhohadli)

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July 12th 2021 is Caribbean Literature Day. This started last year (I believe) and I’m not sure what activities are planned (will update as able) but let us know how you’ll be celebrating. (Source – N/A email)

Accolades

It’s become hard to keep up with the awards and award nominations scooped up by Antiguan and Barbudan Shabier Kirchner for his cinematography on Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ – hereafter known as one of the most egregiously snubbed anthology series of the 2021 Emmys season. Kirchner who previously picked up nominations and/or awards for Small Axe from the New York Film Critics Circle (win), the National Society of Film Critics Awards, the Lost Angeles Film Critics Awards, (win), International Online Cinema Awards, International Cinephile Society Awards, Florida Film Critics Circle, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, British Society of Cinematographers, Boston Society of Film Critics, among others, added to his haul with a trophy from the BAFTA TV Craft awards for Photography and Lighting: Fiction. He was also a 2021 Independent Spirit Award nominee for best cinematography for ‘Bull’. Talk about a year and a career on the rise. (Source – various)

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Late on this one but St. Lucia’s Canisia Lubrin (Poetry) and Trinidad and Tobago’s Dionne Brand (fiction), both Canada-based were announced among the eight recipients of the Windham-Campbell Prize, one of the richest international literary prizes with its US$165,000 purse to each writer. The money is strings-free, allowing them to focus on their work without the pressure of financial commitments. (Source – JR Lee email)

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The winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize has been announced. It is Sri Lankan author Kanya D’Almeida. Her story ‘I cleaned the – ‘ can be read here. The regional winner for the Caribbean is Jamaican writer Roland Watson-Grant. You can read his story, ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Dell’, here. (Source – Commonwealth Writers email)

Roland

Opportunities

Also see Opportunities Too for pending deadlines.

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The UNESCO-sponsored cultural/creative industries mapping project is requesting the participation of artists in Antigua and Barbuda in its data collection phase before October 31st 2021.

Cultural advisor with the Creative Industries Minister Dr. Hazra Medica advises us that data gathered during this phase and the resultant reports will serve as “the most important advocacy tool in our lobby arsenal–both inside and outside of Antigua and Barbuda– for our cultural/creative industries.” They have framed it as a help us help you scenario for local artists and cultural practitioners, and while we have been asked to register before, Dr. Medica insists that this time is different. The goal, she indicated, is to move beyond talk. I have talked more with Medica on this and hope to say more about it in a future edition of my CREATIVE SPACE column (subscribe to Jhohadli) to make sure you don’t miss it. Meanwhile, here’s where you can complete the data collection form. (Source – Dr. Medica email)

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The Bocas Lit Fest has adjusted the criteria for its first ever children’s book prize which is open for entries to July 30th 2021. The word count is now 1,500 words (down from 6,000) and the books no longer need to be structured as chapter books to be eligible. The books must still be appropriate for children 7 to 12 years old, and must have been published between January 1st 2020 and July 31st 2021. Self-published books are eligible and the author and/or publisher do not need to be Caribbean based. Details on the Bocas site & below:

(Source – Bocas email)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, The Business

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late June 2021)

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

Arts News

This is an interesting one. African American actor (a personal fave) Michael B. Jordan has trademarked J’ouvert for use as the name of his new announced rum. It has raised issues of cultural appropriation, which is fair (if complicated), but the part that made this interesting to me and relevant to this site was the trademark issue (a google search of j’ouvert also turns up this other trademark claim …?). I read (e.g. in this Trinidad Express article) that ‘the trademark filing …claimed “J’Ouvert” has “no meaning in any language”.’ Not true. Not for any Carnival loving Caribbean person. Literally Day Open, it is historically the start of our mas and for us in Antigua is the start of Carnival Monday, Emancipation Day. I want to make clear that though Trinidad-American rapper Nicki Minaj was the one to raise this on social media, J’ouvert also does not belong to Trinidad – I speak this as the daughter of a patois speaking J’ouvert loving mother from the French Creole island-country Dominica whose earliest memories include being hugged against my mother and sister jamming during J’ouvert in Antigua whose Carnival, Calypso, J’ouvert, Mas, Music, and Pageantry is Carnival to me. This is a Caribbean t’ing not a Trini t’ing. To me. It has meaning to us, collectively. Per the Dothraki, it is known. This move though raises questions of legal ownership, trademark of so many cultural attributes – one of the things not documented in my recent CREATIVE SPACE (CREATIVE SPACE #13 Eat n Lime), for instance, from a conversation with the owner of the oldest family owned business, a rum distributor, on the island about the reason we can’t export Cavalier – our island rum – being a (failure to) trademark issue. There’ve been discussions around steelpan, as it’s become more and more international, and other things over the years. A product is one thing though but what of something that is part of the collective culture, like j’ouvert, who owns that? can anyone? I think we would agree that whoever it is, it probably shouldn’t be an African American actor? BUT What if a percentage of profits was put in to a fund for the preservation and development of Caribbean culture and art – since we know that is lacking in the region? Is that a discussion to be had? Re use of a word we claim but have no legal standing to so do, I’d be interested in an opinion from a Caribbean luminary on this. Just in general. I mean, Antigua is the name of my island. It means old in Spanish. It’s also been used as a fashion brand which, as far as I know, we don’t profit from. Where is the line? So that’s why I’m sharing this. To fuel that conversation around ownership of the things we consider our own. (Source – Caribbean Entertainment Magazine which is making a comeback after a three year hiatus – Read more)

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Canadian artist of Antiguan descent Motion (Wendy Brathwaite) has announced the release of her feature film (she co-wrote it with director Charles Officer) Akillah’s Escape, which earlier premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. (Source – Email)

Remember you can check Antiguan and Barbudan Plays/Screenplays and Playwrights and Screenwriters (the Antigua-Barbuda connection) for more film writing credits.

Events

A reminder that July 12th 2021 is Caribbean Literature Day. Will share details of activities as they become available and as time allows. But keep an eye out. (Source – email)

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Wadadli Pen team member, local author and publisher Barbara Arrindell presented on the regional publishing industry at a World Intellectual Property Organization webinar. She crowdsourced responses from writers who talked about difficulties balancing the creative with the business of writing, the challenges with distribution, the strong emphasis on self-publishing and the greater ease of self-publishing in lieu of grappling with the gatekeepers in international publishing, the barriers to regional creative industries in terms of capitalization and taxation, “real money has to be put in in terms of grants, awards, …and angel (investors)” one of her respondents said, heralding initiatives like the Burt Award, the need for government investment, support, and promotion of local books, and Ministry of Education buy-in, were highlighted, as was the printing and publishing infrastructure, literature councils to gather and tell our stories was recommended. Could go on and on the full has never been told. The Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property has shared a link where the entire webinar can be viewed with the passcode Passcode: J.Smu26a (Source – ABIPO facebook page)

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Post note: Olive Senior couldn’t make it. Ivory and I read our stories in full and fielded a number of thought provoking questions. Fruitful discussion. Good lime.

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The Commonwealth Short Story prize winner will be announced on June 30th 2021. Virtual attendees will hear readings from winning regional stories during the event being held in partnership with the London Library. Regional winner for the Caribbean is Roland Watson-Grant of Jamaica. Kei Miller, also of Jamaica, is one of several announced guest readers. Registration information here. One snag – it’s announced for 1 p.m. India Standard Time which is foreday morning in our Atlantic Standard Time time zone. (Source – CW email)

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Antiguan and Barbudan artist Heather Doram has a live coming up on Untapped Potential with Dr. Simone Mathieu. June 19th, 5 p.m. Watch on facebook at @Pushpast10 and live on TDNtv.net See also http://www.pushpast10.com (Source – instagram)

Opportunities

Upcoming Bocas workshops include my own Writing for Children rescheduled to October 2021. Full line up here.

(Source – Bocas)

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Webinar Opportunity! Are you an inspiring author or simply interested in publishing a book? If so, this webinar will be of much use to you! The World Intellectual Property Organization in collaboration with the Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office will be hosting a webinar for authors and publishers.
Join our regional and international experts on June 21, 2021, at 10 am – 12 pm, as they walk us through the ins– and- outs of publishing a book! This session will cover the foundational strategies that govern:

• State of the industry in the Caribbean region (Speaker Ms. Barbara Arrindell, Writer and Manager, Best of Books)
• ISBN identifier (Speaker Ms. Ms. Stella Griffiths, Executive Director of the International ISBN Agency)

• The landscape and opportunities for publishing. Why do you need a publisher? (Speaker Mr. José Borghino, Secretary General of IPA)
• The author –publisher relation (Speaker Mr. Luke Alcott, International Author’s Forum)

Join the Zoom at: https://wipo-int.zoom.us/j/65607210845

(Source – National Public Library via Facebook)

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A recent addition to our Opportunities Too page is the Bocas Lit Fest Children’s Book Prize. Chapter books by Caribbean writers for readers 7 – 12, roughly 6000 words, are eligible. Details here and here:

(Source – social media and direct mail)

Remember to check for more pending opportunities here.

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Third Horizon Film Festival has posted its schedule which runs from June 24th – July 1st 2021, and includes virtual screenings, preceded by three evenings, June 21st – 23rd 2021, of free keynote and masterclass conversations. RSVP here for discussions on the Caribbean cinematic aesthetic, film financing, and distribution.

Book News

I met Audrey Edwards at the Anguilla Lit Fest in 2015. She moved to France after the 2016 US election and actually the day before the inauguration of he who shall never be named on this site in 2017. Here she discusses her book American Runaway: Black and Free in Paris in the …Years. Her father is from St. Croix and he is described as coming from “a line of proud West Indian men who tolerated no bad behavior from Blacks or whites…”

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Joy James, whom you may remember as the owner of the Art at the Ridge gallery and a patron of Wadadli Pen, has announced the release of 101 Black Inventors and Their Inventions, a crowdfunded self-publication. The book is targeted at late primary and early secondary school ages. The author, Joy, recently started writing non-fiction children’s books to help educate and inform curious, young minds. She and her husband, whose family originates from Antigua & Barbuda, raised their own children on our twin island nation. “This book was an idea long before I started writing it,” Joy said in an exclusive to Wadadli Pen. “When my children were younger, I wanted a book about Black role models to help inspire them and expand their minds. I knew this information was out there somewhere, but I couldn’t find anything in an organised format or in the form of a children’s book. I hope that everyone young and old will enjoy reading about the many Black inventors in our world and their wonderful contributions that help to improve our lives. I hope that they will be heartened by this. Our world has certainly benefitted from these amazing inventions!”

From Gerald Lawson’s home video game console that led to the Xbox and PlayStation to Annie Malone’s haircare products which led her to become a millionaire, the book narrates how “these real-life superheroes” overcame adversity, including discrimination, in achieving their goals.

The book is now available online. Joy has a book on the same theme, this one for ages five and younger, scheduled for an October 2021 release. Congrats, Joy. (Source – Joy James via facebook and direct mail)

Programmes and Projects

Look up. There’s a new R & D page hereon the Wadadli Pen blog. The R is for resources and the D is for Databases. All gathered in one place.

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A local, UNESCO-funded “culture mapping project … will see information gathered to assess the sector’s economic impact in Antigua and Barbuda. The aim is to highlight the contribution creative industries make to national development, identify ways to increase participation in them, and lobby for more funding, among other things.” Details here. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Prize Winners

The National Cultural Foundation, Barbados, offers hearty congratulations to writer Linda M. Deane who won the $10,000 top prize at the 23rd Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Competition on Sunday, February 14.
Her collection of poems, An Ocean Away; My Mother Smiling: Tales of Migration and Memory, was selected the best over 60 other entries. Linda is a British-Barbadian writer, editor, publisher and graphic designer. She is also a NIFCA Governor-General Awardee, having won the award in 2017. She is also co-editor of the on-line journal ArtsEtc. (Source – JR Lee email)

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Antigua-Barbuda-born Dionisia Diaz, 20, has won Digicel’s Regional BIP Mascot 3D Design Challenge and US$10,000. The Challenge was to create a 3D mascot for the BIP messaging app. Entries came from 10 countries and Diaz won with a robot-themed design.

(Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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PRESS RELEASE – WADADLI PEN FIRST: FATHER AND DAUGHTER WIN

A Wadadli Pen first – father and daughter in the top 3.

Kevin Liddie’s name has been added to the Alstyne Allen Memorial Plaque, sponsored by the Best of Books, as winner of the 2021 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. The writer of ‘Mildred, You No Easy’, benefiting from the opening up of the usually youth-focused Prize, finds himself in company with his 13-year-old daughter Antigua Girls High School student Aunjelique, third placed with her poem ‘The Beach’. Teen, Ashley-Whitney Joshua, author of ‘Hiraeth’, ranks second. Wadadli Pen congratulates them for emerging victorious from among 72 entries. The announcement of winners was made on May 30th 2021, in the second year of virtual awards.

This virtual shift is not the only way ‘2020’ impacted Wadadli Pen; ‘2020’ was also a subtheme. The subtheme winner is Jason Gilead, whose story ‘The Great Old Woodslave’ is also an honourable mention for the Wadadli Pen 2021 main prize. Sheniqua Greaves, ‘The Juxtaposed Reprieve’, is honourable mention for both the ‘2020’ subtheme prize and the main prize.

Other main prize honourable mentions are last year’s winner Andre Warner, ‘The Brave One’, and 15-year-old Christ the King High School student Razonique Looby, ‘Vixen’.

The other special prize in 2021 is the 12 and younger prize. Gazelle Goodwin, a 12-year-old Island Academy student and writer of the poem ‘Beautiful Disaster’, will be the first name on the Zuri Holder Achievement Award – a new plaque memorializing the former Wadadli Pen 12 and younger finalist who died in a road accident earlier this year. The prize is sponsored by his family.  Nine-year-old Baptist Academy student, ‘The Blackboard’ author Eunike Caesar, is honourable mention in the 12 and younger age category.

The school with the most submissions was St. Anthony’s Secondary School and a couple of their students Aria-Rose Browne, also a finalist last year, and Naeem DeSouza are on the Wadadli Pen 2021 long list.

Reportedly, the school has incorporated Wadadli Pen in to its curriculum. “We are going to do so much better next year,” said teacher Margaret Irish during the awards. “I dare any other school in this country to try to beat us.”

All long listed writers – including former finalist Latisha Walker-Jacobs, Linita Simon, Anastatia Mayers, Jai Francis, Annachiara Bazzoni, Kadisha Valerie, Rosemond Dinard-Gordon, and Noleen Azille – will have the opportunity to participate in development workshops sponsored by US based Jamaican Garfield Linton and facilitated by Wadadli Pen founder-coordinator-patron and Antiguan and Barbudan author Joanne C. Hillhouse.

Rotary Club of Antigua was a first-time major patron in 2021. RCA member Kevin Silston, who attended the virtual awards, explained, “Rotary usually supports the spelling bee (and reading) competition and this year in particular because of the COVID related challenges, we were unable to do that. More broadly, this year, our theme has been opening opportunities by supporting youth development and healthy lifestyle choices. …Us coming on board to be able to provide some support allows us to execute our mandate while at the same time supporting a worthy cause.”

Other prizes have been contributed by past Wadadli Pen finalists Rilys Adams, Daryl George, and Devra Thomas; new patrons the Trinidad and Tobago’s Bocas Lit Fest, Harper Collins UK, Peepal Tree Press (UK), Jamacia’s Poet Laureate Olive Senior, Ten Pages Book Store, Sekou Luke and new local writer Patricia Tully; and long time patrons Frank B. Armstrong, Juneth Webson, and Barbara Arrindell.

Marcella Andre, owner of another first time patron NIA Comms, which ran its own NIA Mentor Award earlier this year, said, “Wadadli Pen is something that inspires creativity and I think that is something that’s very important…I want to support people who want to get their thoughts out in to the world.”

For Awards clips go to the Wadadli Pen YouTube   and to read the stories visit the Wadadli Pen blog. The team members – Barbara Arrindell, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Margaret Irish, Devra Thomas, and Floree Williams Whyte – thank all patrons, media, partners, past and present for bringing the project from 2004 to the present, nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

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A Preview Post + ICYMI

Today is Awards Day for the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. This is our period of peak activity, the climax of our year of activities. Right after the Awards, things will be getting busy on the site as I upload the winning stories, prize breakdown, and related news. Things may get lost in the shuffle as things do which is why you should get subscribed so you don’t miss anything. I also hope to upload the Awards video to our YouTube channel, so follow us over there as well.

Meanwhile, some ICYMIs

Our Wadadli Pen season launch back in February and our updated About Wadadli Pen page (in case you’re wondering what Awards I’m on about)

Our World Book Day post with links to the various lit activities around this day

We update our banner about once every quarter or so with books by Antiguans and Barbudans, so look up; currently listed are Oration and The Pleasure is Mine by Kimolisa Mings, Oh Gad! and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings by Joanne C. Hillhouse, and Palaver and If Only the Dust would settle by Althea Romeo-Mark. Check them out.

Updates to the Mixed Anthology data base; Updates to the playwrights and screenwriters database; Updates to the Antiguan and Barbudan database of non-fiction writing; Updates to the overarching Antiguan and Barbudan data base; Updates to the Reading Room and Gallery which is a salon of curated arts and arts related content from around the world; Updates to the database of journalled Antiguan and Barbudan lit and art – part 1 and part 2, plus Antiguans and Barbudans discussing art

A post revisiting the treatment of arts and artists in Antigua and Barbuda

Updates to the Opportunities page which is where you’ll find markets, funding opportunities, opportunities to pay it forward, a listing of publishers of Caribbean fiction, and more information of use to writers; Updates to the Opportunities Too page where deadlines are posted; Updates to the Resources page with even more resources for writers; Updates to the Antiguans and Barbudans Awarded page; Updates to the Song Lyrics Database which is ever a work in progress; Updates to the latest Antiguan and Barbudan works reviewed wherein I track critical reviews of works by Antiguans and Barbudans

The Carib Lit Plus series is how I’ve been sharing the arts and culture news from the region that drops in my inbox (usurping the spotty from my inbox series) and on my radar via personal connections, news articles, social media, or other means. During 2020, it became regularized to twice a month – the first half and the back half. You may have missed some like Mid to Late February 2021, Mid to Late March 2021, Early to Mid April 2021, Mid to Late April 2021, Mid to Late May 2021

And this one is definitely a throwback, the obit I did back in 2016 after the loss of musical giant Roland Prince, at one time proclaimed the best jazz guitarist in the world…yes, the whole world

You should be mostly caught up now and then some. Thanks for coming by, for the support, and, here we go.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Seriously, a lot of time, energy, love and frustration goes in to researching and creating content for this site; please don’t just take it up just so without even a please, thank you or an ah-fu-she-subben (credit). If you enjoyed it, check out my personal page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Revisiting The Conversation: Art in Antigua and Barbuda

I struggled with this headline because the purpose of this post is to continue rather than revisit a conversation and maybe not even that but to document somewhere what someone with a loud megaphone added to the conversation, someone I respect and wish good things for but whose message as framed ruffled me some, though on deeper read I do understand what they were saying (I think) even if I still think it is a bit misplaced. Anyway, I just wanted to place it here since I have in the past shared my own thoughts on the powers that be and their supportorlackthereof for the arts, other thoughts, and other thoughts, and the thoughts of others, even as I’ve tried to share resources and opportunities to assist us, artists. My feathers will always be ruffled by anyone implying or seeming to imply that artists in Antigua and Barbuda are sitting waiting for handouts and boosts from government or other powerbrokers, since that’s not my lived experience nor the experience of many artists I know, quite the opposite.

The Please, sir, may I have some more scene from the movie ‘Oliver Twist’.

I do take the point about what needs to be done on the professional side to access external opportunities but I will add the caveat that there needs to be an enabling environment – an acknowledgment of the fact that there is nuance to the needs of an artrepreneur v an entrepreneur v an enterprise v a business (small, medium, big, or mulinational), one size does not fit all, an acknowledgment that there needs to be room for philanthropy, an acknowledgment that capital and cash flow are just different for the artist, and that there may be a role for tech support re things like capitalization and cash flow, from brand building to merchandising to amplifying, all of the things artists are pressed to try to figure out for themselves while keeping a roof over our heads. This framing of artists as coming to government for handouts is untrue and damaging. Message better because even when a point is being made (and there is a point being made), it will be missed. I may be guilty of that too; we all stand to learn. And it’s possible others will have received this differently than I did. In all fairness.

So I’m excerpting below and linking the original article: Calls for better support of the arts on World Art Day. The conversation continues.

‘As the globe celebrates World Art Day today, a local cultural official is reiterating calls for the continuous support of fine arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

Director of Culture, Khan Cordice, speaking exclusively to Observer, encouraged the general public to support local artisans during this difficult time.

“Whether it be music, purchasing CDs or music online, whether it be hiring someone to dance, or maybe even buy a painting. Buy some sort of clothing from our fashion designers, pick up a book from one of our local writers.

“Pick up a handbag, a purse, something from our handicraft makers just to show your appreciation but also to encourage the artists going forward as we continue to build our creative industries here in Antigua and Barbuda,” Cordice said.

He said that the time has come for local artists to begin thinking outside of the box to support themselves.

“There’s a level of entrepreneurship that we need to have. We need to start getting into that mindset so that the dependency is not always on the government. There are many organisations across the globe that offer fellowships, grants, and financing to individuals that are eligible.

“Some of them require you to be an official entrepreneur, a registered business practitioner. Some require you to document what you do and those are things that anywhere you go across the world and you want to be taken seriously, you will have to start doing,” Cordice shared.

Although he believes that local artists need to begin finding avenues to support themselves, Cordice admitted that more can be done by the government.

In that attempt, Cordice mentioned the addition of the new culture magazine ‘Fu Are We’.

“There’s always room for improvement and that is something where support is considered that we are trying to do. We have the second edition of the ‘Fu Are We’ magazine and that is our April-June issue.

“That magazine is in support of the people in this ministry, the people who are behind the scenes doing…”‘

Read the full original article on the Observer Media Group’s website.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, its Spanish language edition Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, With Grace, and The Jungle Outside; and freelance writer-editor-writing-coach-and-course-and-workshop-facilitator). Find me at Jhohadli. All Rights Reserved.

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid May 2021)

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

Tribute

Popular African American novelist Eric Jerome Dickey called himself a fAntiguan (in fact the picture often used as his author photo, in the attached article was taken by Antigua-based photographer Joseph Jones). Barbados claimed him too. As his long time agent Sara Camilli (also my agent) suggests in this LitHub article, being at home anywhere in the world was part of his charm. Eric lost his battle with cancer in January – one of two losses I felt personally right around my birthday in early January. One was one of my young Cushion Club/Wadadli Pen kids who died in an accident (and for whom his father has now set up the Zuri Holder Achievement Award as one of our Wadadli Pen prizes) and the other was the author, EJD, who had always been kind to me since we met at one of the literary festivals here in Antigua and whom I had no idea was sick. None at all. Like Chadwick Boseman, it feels like he put every effort in to living rather than dwelling on his inevitable death. I urge you to read Sara’s tribute which was enlightening for me, both in terms of the depth of their relationship and in the many things I didn’t understand about him. He truly is an example of someone gone too soon.

Me on a panel with Eric Jerome Dickey at the ABILF

Accolades

Due to Barbadian writer Cherie Jones’ whose How the One-Armed Sister sweeps the House is shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. See the announcement below. (Source – Women’s Prize for Fiction email)

New Books

May 20th 2021 is Publication Day for Trini author Lisa Allen-Agostini. Her latest The Bread the Devil Knead lands at the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival. (Source – the author’s facebook)

Wadadli Pen News

We have posted the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2021 Long List. ETA: and now the Short List. And be sure to see the continually updated Opportunities and Opportunities Too pages for more…opportunities. ETAA – We’ve set May 30th 2021 @ 3 p.m. as the time for the virtual awards ceremony. (Source – in house)

Lit News

Bocas wrapped with a panel on the 100 Caribbean Books that Made Us. We posted about it here. We’d love to hear your thoughts. Not about the post so much but continuing the conversation – what are the Caribbean books that made you. (Source – live observance of the Bocas fest on YouTube and in house)

For Your Viewing Pleasure

The Ministry of Education, Sports, and Creative Industries of Antigua and Barbuda has, as of May 5th 2021, launched the first in a series of virtual symposiums on Meaningful Research: Enabling, Informing, and Creating Positive Change. This will continue every Wednesday in May, 5 to 6:30 p.m. AST on the MoE Facebook and YouTube platforms. “I am hoping that there will be some positive action and change coming out of the presentations,” said Dr. Desiree Antonio, event chair. Education director Clare Browne said the symposium is intended to be a permanent part of the Ministry of Education’s annual calendar. For more information, call 781-5038 and 722-6541. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper and additional research)

***

We mentioned the US Embassy’s World Book and Copyright Day chat with Barbadian author Cherie Jones in our last bulletin. Well, now we have video. (Source US Embassy Bridgetown)

It’s also been added to our newest Reading Room and Gallery along with my Book and Copyright Day chat and a reading of my story Carnival Hangover by Intersect’s Nneka Nicholas. Be sure to follow both my channel AntiguanWriter and Wadadli Pen‘s, and check out the reading room and Intersectantigua.com (Source – in house)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Reading Room and Gallery 40

Things I read that you might like too. Things will be added – up to about 20 or so – before this installment in the Reading Room and Gallery series is archived. For previous and future installments in this series, use the search feature to the right.

BLOGS

June was Caribbean American Heritage Month, prompting the return of the #readCaribbean and #CaribAthon hashtags around social media. Over on my other blog Jhohadli, I participated with some recommendations.

REPORTS

“Like any journalism, film criticism often displeases those being written about. And, like any journalists, film critics must have the support of their publications when that displeasure, usually coming from people far more powerful than any journalist, is made known — especially when that publication claims to report on the industry those powerful people inhabit,” the statement reads. “It is appalling that, in this instance, Variety chose to side with that power rather than supporting its writer.” – a report on the criticism of the response to criticism of criticism in The Wrap.

***

“James uses vibrant colors and draws on Ethiopian Christian iconography in her work, an influence evident in the wide, almond-shaped eyes of the people she depicts.” – Antigua-descended, Bronx-artist Laura James work discussed in Fordham News’ Behind the Cover: Together We Rise by Laura James

“In an effort to fight conoravirus fears, Antigua-rooted artist Laura James posted a painting powered message of hope on Facebook …” – read more about it in the NY Daily News.

***

“I knew I wanted magic and I knew I wanted magical realism.” – Leone Ross discusses her new book Popisho/This One Sky Day with Alicia O’Keeffe in The Bookseller. Read in full.

STORIES/SHORT FICTION

“He remembered a time before, when his mother’s breath smelled of almonds and her neck smelled of roses and cinnamon. She used to hold him in her arms and he used to breathe her in. A long time ago.” – from Cam and the Maskless by Lisa Allen-Agostini in About Place Journal Vol. II Issue II Pandemic Blues

***

How to Marry an African President by Erica Sugo Anyadike – Wasafiri Magazine

“Your husband is no longer the authoritarian figure he was, tall, forbidding, back ramrod straight. His shoulders droop now, he falls asleep at the dinner table. Still he is respected and revered. What he says counts and he has crowned you his political heir.” – How to Marry an African President by Erica Sugo Anyadike

***

“Carnival is much more than a show.” – Mario Picayo’s It Takes a Village read by Chef Julius Jackson

***

“When she wakes up, she is alone on the back of a float, pieces of her costume missing and other pieces askew, and the mas yard is all but abandoned.”

This is an audio recording of my (Joanne C. Hillhouse) story Carnival Hangover as prepared for posting on the intersectantigua.com platform. It is read by Nneka Nicholas. Pay attention to the trigger warning.

INTERVIEWS/CONVERSATIONS

“I can’t think of any one favorite poem now. At present, I love the poetry of Dionne Brand, who is in many ways different from me politically. You know, she is an activist, LGBT, and we get on well, we talk well, I love her work. Somebody would want to know, how come I, kind of a conservative Christian, and this activist LGBT connect but we admire each other’s work. Our connection is the literature and writers we look to. I admire the vision and movements of her poetry.” – John Robert Lee in conversation with Andy Caul

***

“I like to think of myself as a superhero.” – Ibtihaj Muhammad in conversation with Jewell Parker Rhodes (and vice versa)

***

“I remember just really resenting how much my little body was policed as a child.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the birth of her feminism in this conversation on Bookshelfie.

***

“I’m proud of this. I’m proud that I keep getting asked about the food… the challenge was to find different ways to make food beautiful, accessible, interesting, magical, multilayered.” – Leone Ross of Jamaica and Britain in conversation with American author Amber Sparks about her book Popisho/This One Sky Day.

***

“I wasn’t able to kind of bring out those nuances enough but I hint at them. The idea that the urban gay person has access to a culture and support network that the rural Indian boy…does not have. …and it really does seem to spin on socio economic factors.” – Trinidad born author Ingrid Persaud in conversation with Grenada born author and editor Jacob Ross about her book Love After Love.

***

“We have a governor who is attempting to sell the magic and again, they push it away; again, society says we will not have it.” – Jamaican writers Leone Ross and Marlon James in conversation about Ross’ new book – Popisho in the US; This One Sky Day in the UK.

***

“My journey is my own and once I’m learning from it and growing from it, then it’s a success.” – Cherie Jones, Barbadian, author of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House, during the US Embassy celebrates World Book and Copyright Day with a Writers Book Chat featuring Cherie Jones ‘Inspiring Eastern Caribbean Female Writers’

***

“The beautiful thing about the creative arts, isn’t it, if you’re doing the thing you’ve always done, then you’re not really creating. For me, as challenging as these new endeavours are, because I always like to experiment, you’re always trying to discover the boundaries not only of your talent, of the ideas that are in your mind, of your potential, of your ability to imagine the world…. as a writer, you don’t get to see the side work as much, but I feel that we do that as well…it’s always about challenging yourself, push your boundaries technically but also express, …for me the things that I’m trying to understand, or the things that I’m trying to explore.” – me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) in conversation for World Book and Copyright Day with artist and award winning poet Danielle Boodoo Fortune, of Trinidad and Tobago, who has illustrated my books Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and The Jungle Outside. We discuss the process of creating together.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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100 Caribbean Books that Made Us

The full list (linked) includes three books by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Jamaica Kincaid: At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, and A Small Place. And there are many familiar titles from the classic and recent Caribbean literary canon, from V. S. Naipauls’ A House for Mr. Biswas (Trinidad and Tobago) to Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings (Jamaica) to perhaps lesser known tomes like Harlem Renaissance writer Claude McKay’s A Long Way from Home, a non-fiction work on a list which panelists at the Bocas lit fest in 2021 found lacked surprises and non-fiction.

“The one thing I want to say about that list is that it is to me totally predictable,” said Olive Senior at the start of the Bocas discussion about the crowd sourced list. The sourcing began give or take a year ago and I even weighed in via video back in June 2020

– it is not meant to be a definitive list, as re-emphasized during the discussion – but Caribbean people’s perspective of the books that made them.

The list, she noted, is based mostly on fiction and poetry, influenced by what was taught in schools (what co-panelist UWI Cave Hill professor Raymond Kamugisha referred to as the CXC booklist) and by things like the Bocas effect, and does not engage with the post colonial academic tradition.

Notable omissions, according to Kamugisha, included Aime Cesaire and George Lammings’ The Pleasures of Exile; and for Senior, the lack of dub poetry and language poetics (Linton Kwesi Johnson, Mutabaruka, and Louise Bennett) was also disappointing. Johnny Temple, publisher, Akashic, questioned how one even defines Caribbean literature given the linguistic, racial, ethnic, religious etc., diversity of the region. The list perhaps inevitably leans anglophone.

But looking at the current publishing and distribution landscapes, there was some hope of a radically transformed future list.

“It will be more a list of people’s own thoughts and desires,” Senior said of future lists which will perhaps be less a result of schools’ reading lists, given how differently reading habits are being shaped in the age of the internet and social media (blogs, bookstagram, booktube etc.).

Roughly 1/3 of the list, from the discussion, is female – Kamugisha noticed though that in the example of Kincaid, the surprise was that with three books listed, her most significant work, per critical reception, The Autobiography of My Mother, was missing.

Kwame Dawes was for Johnny Temple a “glaring omission”.

Though, obviously, they all agreed that the determining factor is who is making the lists, and Johnny in particular noted, for instance, that if a list was made in the US no Caribbean book before 1980 would make it – Sam Selvon, essential as he is to the canon, he said, is unknown there. Olive chimed in with the post-note that he (Selvon) lived and worked in Canada as a postman, in obscurity.

Full discussion here.

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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