Category Archives: The Business

Section where you can find industry news and insights

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late April 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)

Wadadli Pen News

Judging for the Wadadli Pen Challenge is still in progress. Meantime, check out our patrons.

Congrats are due to

Jamaican-British writer Leone Ross whose latest Popisho (also known asThis One Sky Day) debuts this month. It is getting a lot of hype (including lots of media coverage – e.g. in Bookseller.com, the Financial Times, and The Guardian). You can join her on any of her current tour stops (e.g. this one – click the image to register).

(Source – Leone Ross’ social media)

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Journalist Daphne Ewing-Chow of Cayman who has been adjudged winner of the PAHO/CDB/CBU Award ‘Celebrating Responsible Coverage of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support During Covid-19’. “Ewing-Chow’s winning article, ‘Mental health professionals voice looming concerns for Cayman teens’, earned her a cash prize of US$500 and a certificate. It was the only entry across all three categories that met the criteria of the four-member judging panel. The report, published on January 26, 2021 on the online news website Loop Cayman, featured the personal experiences of teens in the Cayman Islands who were feeling the psychological impact of Covid-19 lockdown measures. It also provided insight from experts and offered tips for supporting teenagers struggling with mental health challenges.” (Source – Loop’s social media initially)

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Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne who has landed a deal for two more books ahead of the summer 2021 release of her first US release Josephine Against the Sea (the Caribbean edition of which has been previously published with Jamaica’s Blue Banyan). See below (Source – Shakirah Bourne’s social media)

Read my recently posted review of the audio book of Bourne’s previously self-published In Time of Need.

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The writers, including a number of Caribbean writers, shortlisted for this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The full line up is here but, of course, we single out for mention Andre Bagoo of Trinidad and Tobago, who was also recently announced as the winner of this year’s Bocas non-fiction prize, Heather Barker of Barbados, Rashad Hosein of Trinidad and Tobago, Sharma Taylor, originally of Jamaica, resident in Barbados, a multi-award winning short story writer whose book deal we announced in a recent Carib Lit Plus bulletin, and award winning novelist Roland Watson-Grant of Jamaica, who previously made the Commonwealth long list back in 2017. (Source – Twitter)

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Shabier Kirchner, of Antigua and Barbuda, who recently wracked up awards for his work as cinematographer of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series, is attached to another winning project, Sundance short prize winner, Lizard.

Kirchner served as cinematographer on the project which was directed by Akinola Davies Jr. (Source – Facebook)

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Lawson Lewis, local artist and filmmaker, whose ‘Neighbour’, part of an ad campaign for North Coast Hardware, has won a silver award at the American Advertising Federation Awards, through the Caribbean Advertising Federation. “We are the only Leeward Islands Agency to reach this far. Usually, the winners are from bigger islands with well-established agencies, like Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, and Puerto Rico. To be listed among them is a huge accomplishment,” Lewis was quoted as saying in the Daily Observer newspaper. “What the Silver means is that now we will actually move to compete in the Florida segment and if we manage to get a Gold or Silver then we move to nationals to compete against other states in the US.”

The series of ‘Neighbour’ ads created some social conversation around community values.

Lewis’ agency, Tarsier, previously won a Marcom Gold Award in 2019, in the animation category, for the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s Cool is Clean campaign. (Source – Lawson Lewis on Facebook initially)

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

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid April 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)

Opportunities

An opportunity to pay it forward comes via the Royal Society of Literature. To mark 200 years of the Royal Society of Literature, the RSL is inviting recommendations for RSL International Writers – a new lifetime literary honour the Society is awarding. Founded in 1820, the RSL is the UK’s charity for the advancement of literature. They are inviting recommendations of your favourite non-UK writers by April 12th 2021. They’re taking recommendations of writers who’ve made a major contribution to global literary culture via this link. At a time of rising nationalism, RSL International Writers celebrates the many ways in which literature can shape a future world, celebrating the power of literature to bring us together across borders, cultures and languages. They are seeking recommendations of writers of diverse literary forms, including writers of drama, fiction, graphic fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and screenplays. In the inaugural year, recommendations will be reviewed by a panel of RSL Fellows, chaired by translator and writer Daniel Hahn, and including Elif Shafak, Philippe Sands, Lisa Appignanesi, Boyd Tonkin, Syima Aslam, Max Porter, Sophie Collins, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf and Sasha Dugdale. Writers selected by the panel will be nominated to receive the award, for final approval by the RSL’s governing Council.

Eligible writers

To be eligible, recommended writers must:

· not be resident in, or citizens of, the UK;

· have published two substantial works of outstanding literary merit (where works are translated into English, or originally written in English).

(Source – RSL email)

See more pending deadlines in Opportunities Too.

Wadadli Pen Challenge Update

Just a quick one for now. I am still processing the entries. This processing has been slowed by the fact that I am one person and the process is tedious, but also by the fact that it’s made that more tedious by people not following the submission guidelines and submitting at the 11th hour; but not to worry, there have been no eliminations so far…and I’m almost done. Watch this space. Shout out always to our Patrons. And check out my CREATIVE SPACE on the 2021 season of Wadadli Pen. (Source – in-house)

New Books

The books are coming so fast and furious I miss some and when I do I like to go back and grab them. This one released in Autumn 2020 of the publishing cycle (since we don’t technically have autumn here in the Caribbean) is A Million Aunties by Jamaican writer Alecia McKenzie, publishing with indie Jamaican press Blue Banyan and America-based Akashic, to great acclaim.

It is described as “a compelling novel about unlikely love, friendship, and community, with several surprises along the way. The story takes place against the backdrop of rural Jamaica, New York City and Paris.”

McKenzie is also the author of Sweetheart, winner of a Commonwealth Book Prize and the Prix Carbet des lycéens; the novella Doctors Orders and the collections Stories From Yard and Satellite City, which was the winner of a Commonwealth Writers Best First Book Prize. (Source – John Robert Lee)

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Love this cover. Interested in reading. New book by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Gayle Gonsalves. My Stories have No Endings. (Source – facebook)

It has been added to the listing of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing and Antiguan and Barbudan Fiction Writings.

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Check out this post re the Collins Big Cat Caribbean books.

Authors in this series – namely Summer Edward and Joanne C. Hillhouse have events coming up. Check out the flyers below. (Source – Harper Collins, UK, and in-house)

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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Book Publishing Q & A

I responded, last year, to some questions submitted via email by someone doing research for an MA programme. This questioner found me when I had the time (or made the time). That may not always be the case. I thought sharing my responses here might be useful to others who may have similar questions going forward (for days when I don’t have the time). Questions were specific to my books with independent press Caribbean Reads Publishing (which, I believe, was the chosen case study).

*Did you have to re-draft your books before they got published? What were some of the editor’s comments on your work? Did you find these critiques helpful?

Both books went through an editing process (not redrafting but fine tuning). Editing was outsourced to someone knowledgeable in critiquing teen/young adult books, and then a second round of editing, I believe, in house. I don’t remember the specific comments- the only thing that comes to mind is in the case of Musical Youth the addition of a chapter fleshing out one of the characters more, and some language notes, some cultural and some re suitability of content for the target audience. Probably some plot and character points that needed clarifying as well. Some I found helpful, some I did not.

*Can you describe the process of negotiating your contact? Do Caribbean own the rights to the books you have published with them?

I sought my agent’s advice re the contract – something I try to do always. The process was amiable considering the circumstances. The writer owns the rights but certain rights are licensed to the publisher – any rights not specified remain with the author. Standard contract.

*To what extent are you involved in the creative design and illustrations of your books?

The publisher has final say but in each case I’ve had input to varying degrees – with Caribbean Reads especially, it’s been quite collaborative with author feedback sought on character design at various stages.

Lost! character

Does Caribbean Reads provide an illustrator and cover the cost for you?

With traditional publishing, the publisher invests the money in publishing the book, including commissioning (selecting, hiring, and paying) the illustrator (in the case of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure) and cover design (in the case of Musical Youth). They do ask for and consider my recommendations re the artist – which is not the case with every publisher.

*Were there any pro’s or con’s to publishing with Caribbean Reads specifically?

See the video – it doesn’t speak to the nitty gritty of publishing with anyone but it does make a distinction between working with big and small publishers. Caribbean Reads as an independent Caribbean press is on the small side.

*How did Caribbean Reads market your work to boost sales? Which was the most effective method?

A number of ways from sending books out for review to advertising to social media to giveaways to festival bookings to media releases etc. I think a combination of approaches rather than a single thing, and consistency, yields the most success.

*Once your book was published, did Caribbean reads organise book tours or readings to promote the book?

Not a book tour, no, but as noted they did facilitate certain bookings like the Brooklyn Book Fair and, in tandem with my efforts, the Miami Book Fair.

*What advice do you have for writers who want to be successfully published?

See this video

You can check the resources page on the Wadadli Pen blog (i.e. this blog right here) which I maintain – some of my other blogged content re the publishing process is there among the resources by other people that I share (you will need to dig through it to see what is mine as most of it is links to third party sites).

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, Oh Gad! and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my 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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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late March 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)

Opportunities

One of the great losses in Antigua and Barbuda in 2020 was broadcaster Carl Joseph of the Observer Media Group. Antiguans and Barbudans for Constitutional Reform and the staff of Observer/Newsco Ltd are offering a young person in Antigua and Barbuda the opportunity to be a ‘journalist for a day’. The Carl Adrian Joseph Memorial Reporter for a Day Service Project invites students between 13 and 17 to write a newspaper story about an event that happened, or is happening, in their community. Opportunity also open to teen photo journalists.

Read pdf for more details:

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A reminder that March 26th 2021 is the deadline deadline extended to April 2nd 2021 for submission of entries to the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2021. See the following press releases:

Finally! Wadadli Pen Launches
Wadadli Pen – New Prize Pays Tribute


Wadadli Pen Workshop, Additional Patrons Announced as Submission Deadline Approaches

Workshop Wraps, Deadline is Here, New Patrons on Board


Read about this and other pending Opportunities here. (Source – Wadadli Pen)

Events

Be sure to check my appearances page (on Jhohadli) for my upcoming events. Like this World Book Day live on my AntiguanWriter YouTube channel – subscribe and hit notifications to make sure you don’t miss it.

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The Bocas Lit Fest (virtual again this year) has been announced for April 23 – 25th 2021. The programme is here. Some of the events that caught my eye: Crowdsourcing a Canon, Placing the ‘Caribbean’ in Caribbean Writing, “Toussaint was a Mighty Man”, Making History: Lawrence Scott & Lauren Francis-Sharma, Imaginary Homelands: Barbara Lalla and Leone Ross, and Launch of the Caribbean Books that Made Us.

Bocas has come on board as a Wadadli Pen patron in 2021 by the way; how dope is that? (Source – Bocas)

Other (Non-Book) Reading/Art Material

A reminder that Heather Doram merch is available on redbubble and that she now has colouring books available through Amazon. Kids can play with them if they want but these colouring books are for adults. The Heather Doram Colouring Book Collection is our latest addition to the Antiguan and Barbudan Writing data base (and we won’t be putting these colouring books in the children’s section).

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This is an In Case You Missed It and not limited to reading. Here you’ll find listed all of the Catapult Arts Caribbean Creative Online Grants recipients. There are a number of us but my goal is to go through and discover every one. I invite you to do the same. (Source – from my involvement as a Catapult Arts recipient)

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New books are still below but I’ll drop the latest edition of the Journal of West Indian Literature here. You’ll need to purchase it, of course, to read its book reviews and various articles. This issue, Vol. 28 No. 2, is an open issue edited by Glyne Griffith with cover art, Keeping it Close, by Mark Jason Weston. (Source – St. Lucian poet John Robert Lee email blast)

For access to some free content be sure to check our Reading Room and Gallery.

Accolades

Here comes the Bocas Long List with some of the books that have been trending for much of the year and maybe some that have fallen below your radar. ETA: Short listed books in bold.

Poetry
The Dyzgraphxst by Canisia Lubrin (St. Lucian)
Guabancex by Celia Sorhaindo (Dominican)
Country of Warm Snow by Mervyn Taylor (Trinidadian)

Fiction
These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card (Jamaican)
Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud (Trinidadian)
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey (Trinidadian)

Non-Fiction
of colour by Katherine Agyemaa Agard (Trinidadian)
The Undiscovered Country by Andre Bagoo (Trinidadian)
Musings, Mazes, Muses, Margins by Gordon Rohlehr (Guyanese)

Read all about them on the Bocas website. (Source – Rebel Women Lit newsletter)

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Three Trini writers (Ahkim Alexis, Desiree Seebaran, and Jay T. John) have been short listed for the 2021 Johnson & Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize. These “top contenders were accomplished or very promising. History, myth, gender, and identity are the most common areas of engagement. At the level of experiment, robber talk, the mechanics of spoken word, the tradition of nursery rhymes, rasta groundation, and elegiac tradition are evident.” (Bocaslitfest.com) The Johnson & Amoy Achong developmental prize is aimed at advancing the work of an emerging Caribbean voices, this year in the poetry genre (genre changes annually). But the domination of this and most regional prizes by the bigger countries continues. The longlist included 8 Trinis, one Barbadian, and one Guyanese. In this, the final year of the prize, the organizers (the Bocas Lit Fest) note that there were 35 submissions from across seven countries – the others being Jamaica, Grenada, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, and Bahamas. And they seemed unimpressed with the general quality. “Many of the poets failed to sustain their opening imagery, some deployed disconnected symbolism, inappropriate diction, inconsistent code-switching between English and Creole, and in some cases, were obviously too prosaic.” (Bocaslitfest.com) The Johnson and Amoy Achong Writers Caribbean Prize consists of a cash award of US$3,000, participation in a workshop at internationally renowned Arvon, three days networking in the UK, where Arvon is based, mentorship by an established writer, and a chance to be agented by Aitken Alexander Associates Literary Agency. Congrats to all long and, especially, short listed writers who are in line for a boost. (Source – Bocas email)

Believing that there is abundant talent in the region and Wadadli Pen being a project concerned with nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, the limited advance of writers from home and neighbouring small islands through vital programmes like this one (which will hopefully attract funding to continue) is of concern – to date, among local writers, only Brenda Lee Browne has been longlisted for the previous version of this particular prize (Hollick Arvon). None since and it is not clear how many, if any, of us are even submitting (or are perhaps discouraged from submitting). We are happy to report though that Bocas, a 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge patron, has agreed to offer spots in upcoming workshops to a handful of our 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge finalists and access to member services to our winner.

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Kwame Dawes of Jamaica (and Nigeria and America-based), editor of the literary journal Prairie Schooner, ‘is the recipient of the biennial PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing. The award honors an editor whose high literary standards and taste have contributed to the excellence of the publication they edit. Judges Patrick Cottrell, Carmen Giménez Smith, and John Jeremiah Sullivan call Dawes “a bold and visionary editor” who has “proved the ongoing validity of the literary journal and taken it to new places.”’ (Source – PEN America email)

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Two overseas writers of Caribbean origin Dionne Brand and Canisia Lubrin are in the running for the US$165,000 Windham-Campbell Prize. There are eight remaining finalists. “Established in 2013 and administered by Yale University, the prize annually honours a selection of fiction, nonfiction, drama and poetry writers who have been nominated in secret. The prize is given to support their writing.” (CBC) Trinidad born Brand is recognized in the fiction category and St. Lucian Lubrin is recognized for poetry. (Source – Lubrin’s twitter)

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“The Surinamese writer Astrid H. Roemer (Paramaribo, 1947) will receive the 2021 Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren (Dutch Literature Prize) this fall. The Prize includes a sum of € 40,000…The Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren is the most prestigious literary prize in the Dutch language area and distinguishes authors of important literary works originally written in Dutch. The Prize is awarded once every three years to an author whose body of work occupies an important place in Dutch literature. The Prize is funded by the Taalunie. It is organized alternately by Literatuur Vlaanderen and Nederlands Letterenfonds.” (Source – Repeating Islands)

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Congrats to Olive Senior who has been named Poet Laureate of Jamaica. Watch the full ceremony linked in this Olive Senior appreciation post. (Source – right here)

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Antiguan and Barbudan cinematographer is up for a British Society of Cinematographers award for the first film in the Steve McQueen Small Axe series, Mangrove. The awards will be announced on April 9th 2021. The film is nominated in the TV drama category. As previously reported this series has been wracking up nominations and awards this season.

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Bermudian writer Florenz Maxwell had her book, the Burt Award winning Girlcott singled out as a “must-read” by Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine.

‘The coming-of-age novel is set during the 1959 Theatre Boycott and seen through the eyes of Desma Johnson as she approaches her 16th birthday.

Ms Maxwell based her book partly on her own experiences.

She was a member of the Progressive Group that organised the boycott in order to break down segregation on the island.

Stephanie Castillo, writing in O Magazine, included Girlcott among “some of the best classic and contemporary books about the Caribbean”.’ (RoyalGazette.com)

The book was a 2016 finalist for the Burt Award, and a boost from Oprah has helped many a book soar, making this a valuable notice for both the first time author and Jamaica-based independent Blue Banyan Books. (Source – N/A)

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Monique Roffey is on a roll. On the heels of her Costa best novel win, we have learned that she is shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize for her book The Mermaid of Black Conch, described as “a tale of love against the odds, a feminist revision of an old Taino myth, an adventure story set in a small coastal Caribbean village.” (Source – the author’s social media)

New Books

Dangerous Freedom is the latest from UK based, award winning Trinidad writer Lawrence Scott. It explores the life of Dido Belle. The book is published with Papillote Press which debuted it with a reading by the author himself.

‘Scott’s first novel since Light Falling on Bamboo in 2013, Dangerous Freedom was published in March 2021. It weaves fact with fiction to reveal “the great deception” exercised by the powerful on a mixed-race child, Dido Belle, born in the late 18th century and brought up in the London home of England’s Lord Chief Justice.’ (Papillote press release)

The video above is part of a series featuring authors with the Dominica/UK publisher on its youtube channel; so while there, check out readings by the likes of Lisa Allen-Agostini (Home Home), Diana McCaulay (Gone to Drift), and others. I’ve read and reviewed Allen-Agostini and McCaulay’s books and am currently reading The Art of White Flowers by Viviana Prado-Núñez, also from Papillote. I don’t mind saying I’d like to read Lawrence’s novel as well – I’ve been meaning to read him since meeting him at a literary festival some years ago (we got along well, I think and I liked the reading that he did then, it’s just been a case of too many books, too little time since). Also Belle interests me. We all know the painting plus I saw the film starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the title character, Belle. Plus I would have learned about the Somerset case referenced in the film in history class in secondary school – remembered enough anyway to remember that I learned about it and that it was a pivotal precedent in the anti-slavery narrative. Scott’s video talks about trying to “redress the image and historical sense we have of Dido Elizabeth Belle” and I’m interested. I mean, I’m interested in a lot of the books I post here, so this isn’t new but nothing wrong with declaring it one time.

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ireadify.com isn’t so much about new books as new platform for perusing books. Specifically, the platform develops and promotes digital books (ebooks and audio books) accessible to children birth-14 years old, representing African Stories, Black, Indigenous and People of Color. I have confirmed with the publisher that my books with Caribbean Reads Publishing are on this platform.

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Desryn Collins, Antigua and Barbuda’s language arts coordinator with the Ministry of Education, is latest author to be featured in the Collins Big Cat series of Caribbean #ownvoices releases and the latest to be added to our bibliography of Antiguan and Barbudan books and Children’s Literature in particular here on the site. Her book How to become a Calypsonian (with illustrator Ricky Sanchez Ayata) drops in March.

The story “told through the words of Mighty Glen Glen, a calypso singer (introduces) the world of calypsos and (teaches) what it takes to become a calypsonian.” Collins, originally from Guyana, has worked in Antigua and Barbuda for close to two decades, as senior lecturer at the Antigua State College between 2005 and 2017 and as Education Officer for Language Arts since 2017. (Source – N/A)

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.

Leave a comment

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 March 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)

Misc.

While Antigua and Barbuda is not specifically named, Antiguan and Barbudan writer Jamaica Kincaid is on this USA Today list of 100 Black novelists and fiction writers you should read… (that includes other Caribbean writers like Marlon James of Jamaica and Edwidge Dandicat of Haiti). Read the full list.

Thanks

The Wadadli Pen patrons list continues to grow in spite of challenging times – the latest pledges come from former Wadadli Pen finalist cum award winning writer Rilys Adams, Cedric Holder of the Cushion Club, and Diana McCaulay with her publisher Peepal Tree Press. They join celebrated Jamaican author Olive Senior, another past Wadadli Pen finalist Daryl George, new local writer Patricia Tully; plus Moondancer Books and the Best of Books. Additional books have also arrived from the year biggest donor to date Harper Collins UK. The Wadadli Pen Challenge gives writers and artists in Antigua and Barbuda until March 26th 2021 to respond to the Challenge to reflect and create. Readers also have to this time to #readAntiguaBarbuda and vote for their favourite books. Details here.

For more opportunities with pending deadlines check this link, and, because I’ve recently received requests for information re publishing, here too are links to the main Opportunities and Resources pages.

Reflection

I wrote about the death in December 2020 of Belizean writer Zee Edgell in the first Carib Lit Plus of the year. I’m revisiting her life to share a link to the review I posted in February of her book The Festival of San Joaquin which was one of my picks for my Black History Month #abookaday project.

I want to thank Trinidad filmmaker (Banyan Ltd.) Christopher Laid for giving permission to share the following Zee Edgell interview from the Second Conference of Caribbean Women Writers (1990). Access it by clicking the image below and using the password ‘zee’.

I also wanted to share an announcement from her daughter Holly, received via email from St. Lucian writer John Robert Lee (excerpted): ‘ST. LOUIS, Missouri — Zee Edgell, Belize’s foremost author of fiction, has died at the age of 80. She passed away on December 20, in her home after a battle with cancer. Born in Belize City, British Honduras in 1940, Mrs. Edgell was the daughter of the late Clive Tucker and Veronica Tucker (nee Walker). She was married to the late Alvin Edgell for 52 years. Together they raised two children: journalist Holly Edgell, 51, and physician Randall Edgell, 45. …Mrs. Edgell authored four novels and five short stories set in Belize, the only Belizean writer of fiction to do so. Her first book, Beka Lamb (Heineman 1982), is beloved in Belize and throughout the Caribbean. It has been part of school and examination curricula in the region and in other parts of the world since its publication. Mrs. Edgell received an honorary doctorate in literature from the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, Barbados in 2009. She holds a Master of Liberal Studies degree from Kent State University and earned a diploma in journalism from Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster). In 2007, she received an MBE from Queen Elizabeth II, for her services to literature and the community. Among Mrs. Edgell’s many services to Belize was her founding of the “The Reporter” newspaper in 1967. In addition, she served as director of the Women’s Bureau (later the Women’s Department) under the People’s United Party and the United Democratic Party in the 1980s. Later, she was a lecturer at the University College of Belize (now the University of Belize). …After retiring from Kent State University as a tenured English professor in 2009, Mrs. Edgell moved to St. Louis, Missouri with her husband.’ (Source – re additional content – John Robert Lee via email)

New Books

The Caribbean Literature in Transition series from Cambridge University Press has dropped – electronically in December 2020 and hard copy in January 2021. Its authors are:

Evelyn O’Callaghan, professor of West Indian Literature, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, and author of writings on women’s writing, early Caribbean narratives and more recently, ecocritical readings of Caribbean landscapes in visual and scribal texts. She has edited early Caribbean novels such as Antiguan and Barbudan writer Frieda Cassin’s With Silent Tread. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of West Indian Literature.

Curdella Forbes, professor of Caribbean Literature at Howard University and award winning fiction and non-fiction writer. She serves on the editorial advisory board of JWIL and Anthurium. Her most recent work of fiction is A Tall History of Sugar (Akashic 2019, Canongate 2020).

Tim Watson, professor of English at the University of Miami and author of several books on Caribbean culture and writing.

Raphael Dalleo, professor of English at Bucknell University whose most recent book, American Imperialism’s Undead: The Occupation of Haiti and the Rise of Caribbean Anticolonialism (2016), won the Caribbean Studies Association’s 2017 Gordon K. and Sibyl Lewis Award for best book about the Caribbean. He serves on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of West Indian Literature.

Ronald Cummings, associate professor of Postcolonial Studies in the Department of English Language and Literature at Brock University. He is co-editor of the Literature Encyclopedia volume on Anglophone Writing and Culture of Central America and the Caribbean.

Alison Donnell, professor of Modern Literatures in English and Head of School of Literature, Creative Writing and Drama at the University of East Anglia, who has published widely on Caribbean and Black British writings, with a particular emphasis on challenging orthodox literary histories and recovering women’s voices. She is the author of Twentieth Century Caribbean Literature (2006) and Caribbean Queer: Creolized Sexualities and the Literary Imagination in the Anglo-Caribbean (2021), as well as co-editor (with Michael A. Bucknor) of The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature (2011). She leads a major project funded by the Leverhulme Trust: ‘Caribbean Literary Heritage: recovering the lost past and safeguarding the future’.

***

Some people got creative and busy during the pandemic; Jamaican writer Olive Senior got so busy and so creative she got a whole book of Pandemic Poems: First Wave out of it.

“Early in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Olive Senior began posting her series of Pandemic Poems on social media. The project was a way of bearing witness to the strangeness of it all and forging a reassuring connection with readers. Each poem is a riff on a word or phrase trending in the first wave of the pandemic – an A to Z of the lexicon newly coined or quickly repurposed for our historic moment. By presenting these words and phrases in sequence, Senior offers a timeline of the way events unfolded and how the language and preoccupations kept changing in response. In this accessible collection, Senior captures the zeitgeist of 2020.” (Repeating Islands) (Source – posting by another author on facebook)

p.s. Olive is a Wadadli Pen 2021 patron. So, buy her book!

***

Visual artist Heather Doram has turned her talents to publishing with a new series of colouring books.

A variety of Heather Doram merch can also be found exclusively at her online store. (Source – Heather Doram, artist, on instagram and/or facebook)

***

The latest release from Caribbean Reads, its first book of 2021, is The Talking Mango Tree by A. H. Benjamin of the UK with illustrator Daniel J. O’Brien of Trinidad. The mango tree, so says the plot, begins demanding a performance from each animals who wants its fruits and as one child reader reveals below Papa Bois is not happy.

This link includes various Caribbean booksellers that carry Caribbean Reads books but also see online and wherever books are sold. (Source – Caribbean Reads on instagram)

***

Jacqueline

I previously posted this book in 2020 – not sure if pub was delayed or if I got the date wrong but I just learned that it was actually published this year, January 28th 2021, by Peepal Tree Press. So I did something I don’t normally do (deleted it from that 2020 Carib Plus Lit to re-post here). Shout out to Jacqueline Bishop whose The Gift of Music and Song: Interviews with Jamaican Women Writers has been described as a “beautiful collection of interviews, conducted by journalist, poet, novelist and artist Jacqueline Bishop, features insightful and entertaining conversations with many of Jamaica’s most significant writers including Olive Senior, Lorna Goodison, Marcia Douglas and many more.” A Peepal Tree press release, also, said, “Beginning at childhood, each interviewee narrates their fond memories of the Caribbean country with a nostalgia and yearning for a place that is complex and freighted with political, social and racial difficulties. The Gift of Music & Song is a space for these writers to talk deeply about writing back to their homeland; about being female voices from Jamaica, how one should represent the country, its rhythms and cadences, and what it means to be a female writer in the world today.” (Source – update via email from John Robert Lee)

***

Observer Media Group (Antigua and Barbuda) reporter Shermain Bique-Charles has published a romance novel, Jasmine: Shedding My Skin. According to the Daily Observer newspaper, “the story follows the life of a young woman who is teased in school and considered to be unpopular. In a series of intriguing developments, a young man teams up with his friends planning to violate her. Instead he falls in love with her, putting aside all his wealth, pride and ego to gain her trust and love.” The veteran journalist is originally from Dominica. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Shedding My Skin is just outside the publication window for the #readAntiguaBarbuda 2021 initiative (which closed in January 2021) but remember to vote for your favourite among the books that are in contention. (Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

Congrats Due To…

Eric Barry of Trinidad and Tobago, regional winner of the International Playwriting Competition of 2020 with ‘Delisa Brings Home the Rainbow’. The full list of winners here.

***

Richards Georges. Don’t remember if I mentioned this but, hey, it’s worth mentioning twice or thrice…Richard Georges is settling in to his role, announced late last year, as the first poet laureate of the Virgin Islands. Richard, who has Antiguan and Trinidadian roots, is a BVI author, most recently celebrated for his Bocas best book win. Speaking of Bocas, Georges is, at this writing, participating in a celebration of Black Britain that’s a collaboration between Bocas and Penguin Books UK. “Linking current voices with their past influencers, the partnership will criss-cross the Atlantic to celebrate the re-publication of six previously out-of-print works by Black British authors, including James’s fictional masterpiece, and newly-commissioned work by a younger generation of Black British poets and writers, including Malika Booker, Richard Georges, Keith Jarrett, Hannah Lowe, Maureen Roberts and Roger Robinson.” – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday (Source – email, various)

***

Aishah Roberts on her appointment to director of film development – Europe & UK at Fandomodo Films. Aishah is from Antigua and is the daughter of another film vet Conrad Roberts. Sidebar – Conrad Roberts‘ name was familiar to me as someone growing up in Antigua and Barbuda in the 1980s as he was maybe the only local working in Hollywood (e.g. Mosquito Coast, Miami Vice) I was aware of at the time.

***

Shabier Kirchner who has been collecting nominations and awards this season for his work as cinematographer on Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series. Read all about it in the latest installment of my CREATIVE SPACE series – Small Axe, Big Talent.

***

Edward Baugh and Mervyn Morris, joint announced recipients of Bocas’ Henry Swanzy Award.

“Baugh and Morris are widely considered pioneers of the study of West Indian literature, over careers that each span half a century. …

The Award, established in 2013, is named for the late BBC radio producer Henry Swanzy. Irish by birth, Swanzy worked as producer of the influential Caribbean Voices radio programme — originally founded by Jamaican Una Marson — from 1946 to 1954, becoming an essential figure in the development of modern West Indian literature.

The Bocas Lit Fest founded the award to honour and celebrate the contributions of the editors, broadcasters, publishers, critics, and others who have shaped the evolution of Caribbean literature behind the scenes.” (Repeating Islands) Personal congrats to my former mentor, Mervyn Morris. Well deserved. (Source – Facebook)

***

Sharma Taylor.

Sharma Taylor whose debut novel, What a Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You, has been acquired Virago at auction, part of a two-book deal. Via this March 1st 2021 article on thebookseller.com, ‘Described as “a powerful story of belonging, identity and inheritance”, the novel brings together a host of voices to evoke 80s Jamaica’s ghetto, dance halls, criminal underworld and corrupt politics, and at its heart, a mother’s unshakeable love for her son.’ About the book: “At 18 years old, Dinah, a Jamaican maid, gave away her baby son to the rich American couple she worked for before they left Jamaica. They never returned. She never forgot him. Eighteen years later, a young man comes from the US to Kingston. From the moment she sees him, Dinah never doubts—this is her son. What happens next will make everyone question what they know and where they belong.” The first of Taylor’s books are to be published in July 2022. Use the search feature to find the other times Sharma Taylor has shown up here on the blog (and there’s this exclusive interview on my other blog); it’s a lot as she’s been having breakthrough after breakthrough in recent years. I first met the Jamaica-born, Barbados-resident lawyer and writer when she participated in a 2016 workshop I co-facilitated at the BIM Literary Festival (we were co-participants in a 2018 Commonwealth workshop in Barbados). In the time I’ve known her, it’s been a meteoric rise including being shortlisted twice for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (in 2018 and 2020) and winning the 2020 Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Prize and 2019 Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize for emerging writers. Her short story “How You Make Jamaican Coconut Oil” won the 2020 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize. In 2020, ‘The Story of Stony’ (which I wrote the author was “heartbreaking”) was longlisted for the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean. An earlier version of What a Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You was awarded second prize in the 2020 First Novel Competition (organized by Daniel Goldsmith Associates). “I wrote this book to showcase Jamaican culture and to explore the relationship between mothers and their children. I was captivated by Dinah’s voice the moment she came to me in the kitchen of my apartment in Barbados.” (via email and social media – from the author)

***

From left, Jamilla Kirwan, Marcella Andre, and NIA Mentor inaugural winner Nissa Butler.

Nissa Butler emerged winner of the first NIA Mentor Award. The initiative, launched and funded by NIA Comms founder Marcella Andre and media relations specialist at the Ayre Group Jamilla Kirwan, is intended to invest in and boost an Antiguan and Barbudan female entrepreneur – providing her money ($7,000) and mentorship (from seven women in business) for a year. Nissa’s business is Butler Inscriptions and Butler Graveside Concierge service. Novel (and creative) ideas to be sure. In her publicly posted thank you, Nissa pledged to do just what the NIA Mentor Award is poised to do for her. “I will continue my efforts to pay it forward and I await, with pleasure, the bringing about positive development and opportunities for my personal growth, business and for you, my fellow female entrepreneurs.” We share this because we recognize and applaud creativity and in an environment starved for opportunity, Marcella got creative. (Source – Observer newspaper, Antigua and further research via facebook)

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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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late February 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)

Misc.

Follow, if you will the WADADLI PEN 2021 page for news upcoming re the launch of the 2021 Challenge (yes, we are late), for the latest on patronage and how you too can become a patron, and to vote for your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan book of recent years. (Source – me)

***

Listen, if you haven’t already to Sunday 21st February 2021’s Sessions in Steel on Observer Radio on the station’s facebook page, for a full reading of Jim Nanton’s reflections on his time with the Harmonites International Steel Orchestra. It is, as they said, very poetic in its use of language, comprehensive in its recollections, and incisive in its reflections. It wasn’t my first time ‘reading’ this longform essay as its author James Nanton had hired me to edit it some time ago (see JN, client, longform essay in Performance Reviews) but when he contacted me today to let me know that the piece had found a home, I gladly listened and I think you should too. I do hope it gets printed at some point for all the invaluable pan and cultural history it contains. Sam Roberts’ superb reading of it though was surely bountiful in terms of the essay’s reach. (Source – James Nanton)

***

Read, if you will, the latest installments of my column CREATIVE SPACE, a column covering local (Antiguan-Barbudan/Caribbean) art and culture, the latest headline of which is How does Your Garden grow?

(Source – me)

Obits.

Clarvis Joseph of CaribSeas was an arts philanthropist as a backer of Point steel orchestra Harmonites for a considerable time. News of his passing circulated on February 20th 2021 – I don’t have a full obit but I did want to acknowledge his contribution.

***

The deaths of local and global cultural icons since the start of the year has been almost too much to keep up with – from beloved African American author well known to us here in the Caribbean Eric Jerome Dickey, a fAntiguan who had been a regular at our local literary festival and lived and wrote in Antigua and Barbados, to legendary Hollywood actress of Nevisian descent Cicely Tyson to Trinidadian calypso barrier breaker Singing Sandra to star with Antigua and Barbuda’s legendary musical Mason family Tyrone Mason. Read about the passing of the latter in this Daily Observer article:

Issues

“A people are known by their culture
A people are known by their past
The past determines the future
From the present we could forecast
And that is why in Antigua
We must rectify our history
And remove all dem false heroes
Retarding our destiny
So that is why we must now
Proclaim our own
And drop all those false names
That aliens imposed upon we
Let’s reclaim our own history”

If you’re familiar with our song lyrics project, or if you are Antiguan and Barbudan, these lyrics should ring a bell. They are from King Obstinate’s True Heroes (Sons of the Soil) and they seem relevant again in light of global anti-racism #BlackLivesMatter FedUprising that recently peaked in 2020. The recent publication of a letter dated 2019 from the Reparations Support Commission to the Minister of Culture

adds to the conversation on a part of this discussion – reclaiming and renaming spaces named for colonizers. We’ve seen the likes of the ceremonial removal in 2020 of the Nelson Statue (as in Admiral Lord Nelson) in Barbados. Antigua and Barbuda’s own Nelson’s Dockyard is a World Heritage site but the conversation has been happening here as well and this letter serves as a reminder of that, and this 40 or so years old song reminds that, at least in Antigua and Barbuda, it is not a new conversation. I was a child when I saw King Obstinate perform these songs at Recreation Grounds (which Obsti’s song suggested be renamed “Vivi Richards Recreation Ground”) and witnessed not long after as several streets in St. John’s City, whether coincidentally or consequentially, renamed for national heroes – streets like “Drake, Hawkins, and Nelson streets” previously named for enslavers became (and I don’t remember which was which) the likes of Vivian Richards, Andy Roberts, and Nellie Robsinson street, and Coolidge Airport did indeed become V. C. Bird International Airport (as Obsti recommended). With the passing of one of Obsti’s contemporaries, Swallow, in 2020 talks of how to honour him saw renaming his village of Willikies in his honour in the conversational mix (though poo-pooed by some) – a fitting tribute in my view. And per this once again timely song, Obsti would go even bigger. He sang in the latter part of the verse opening this section, shouting out the other two calypsonians who, alongside him, are known as the Big Three of Antiguan and Barbudan calypso,

“English names like St. George and St. John,
Falmouth, Willikies, and Codrington,
they don’t reflect our background,
call dem Short Shirt village or Swallow t’ung (town).”

(Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Opportunities

There are always Opportunities (such as the Collins Big Cat Writing Competition for chidlren) being added for writers and artists of all ages; so don’t forget to visit our Opportunities Too page. (Source – Big Cat, via email from Collins; Opportunities Too)

Accolades

UK-based Trinidad writer Monique Roffey landed atop the Times (UK) bestseller list even as her Mermaid of Black Conch continues to pick up awards (such as the Costa best novel prize).

(Source- the author’s social media)

***

Former Wadadli Pen finalist (2005, 2006)and one of our 2021 patrons Rilys Adams, who has been exceedingly prolific in the romance and erotica genres has won the Ripped Bodice Awards for Excellence in Romantic Fiction for Go Deep. How prolific is Adams? She keeps me very busy when it comes to keeping up with published Antiguan and Barbudan books. She published Go Deep (which is in the running for the #readAntiguaBarbuda 2021 readers choice book of the year prize launched back in January 2021) back in June 2020, and since then has released Birthday Shot which was a nominee for the Rebel Women Lit Caribbean readers choice of the best Caribbean novels of 2020, Ate: an Erotic Novelette, Ho! Ho! Ho!, Deeper: Navaya and Xander Tie the Knot (Unexpected Lovers), and most recently Love Scammed. Adams, who publishes as Rilzy Adams receives US$1000 and the opportunity to gift US$100 to a charity of her choice; she chose The Asha Project, an organization in Wisconsin which provides support to Black women who are survivors of domestic violence, trafficking, and sexual assault. (Source – the author’s facebook page)

***

Son of the Antiguan and Barbudan soil Shabier Kirchner continues to receive praise for his work, and most recently for his work on the Steve McQueen anthology series Small Axe. He was named Best Cinematographer in the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. “I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d ever receive anything like this,” Kirchner said in his acceptance video. He credited McQueen, an Academy Award winning director for 12 Years a Slave, for “being a teacher, a friend, a collaborator, …(who) really encouraged me and gave me the opportunity to put the biggest part of my soul into something that will outlive us all.” His final word: “I really want to thank my home, the West Indies, my family, the culture, I see you. I love you. Bless up.” Full video here. (Source – online generally, awards scrolling)

***

Jamaican Renaee Smith, my former block sister at Taylor Hall at the University of the West Indies, made Yahoo! News with her latest series of children’s books. In an article headlined ‘International Award-Winning Author Renaee Smith Launches Entertaining and Informative Children’s Book Series’, we’re told that “Renaee Smith, prolific author of the Freddie series, is pleased to present a series containing four of her celebrated children’s books in a single collection. With stunning full-color illustrations and educational messages that will inspire young readers, Smith’s work is an engaging way to teach children about their own power as agents of change. This 4-part series is the perfect way to experience the series as a whole and follow Freddie’s adventures in different environments and situations. In the first book, The Great Compost Heap, Freddie introduces the concept of recycling. Next, in Freddie’s First Race, he learns to follow his dreams of being a track star by putting in the hard work. Smith’s series also covers important interpersonal concepts like empathy for others in Freddie’s Good Deed and spending time with family in Freddie Goes to the Beach.” Read the full article. (Source – the author’s facebook page)

New Publications

Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne’s next book, Josephine Against the Sea, her first with one of the US publishing industry’s big houses is due this year and is, as you read this, available for pre-order.

Read about Josephine.

***

New magazine, Fu Arwe, landed in the first quarter of 2021. The 22-page magazine is a publication of the Department of Culture. I haven’t read it yet but a scan reveals articles on The Relevance of Moko Jumbies by Silvyn Farrell, Copyright Royalties and Their Importance in the Music Industry Within Antigua and Barbuda Part 1 of 4 by Vanesa Mortley, Art: Not Just a Subject, But It’s Importance to the Development of the Student by Alvin Livingstone (whom you might remember as our 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge art winner), and Q & As with performing artists Abi McCoy and Zahra Airall. The magazine is intended to be quarterly. Contributions can be emailed to Culture at CDDANU.INFO@GMAIL.COM (Source – Zahra Airall’s facebook)

***

I signed 60 copies of The Jungle Outside, my latest book (with illustrator Danielle Boodoo Fortune) – my seventh published book overall, third children’s picture book – at the Best of Books bookstore Antigua; so limited edition signed copies are now available at the bookstore. The Jungle Outside and Turtle Beach by (Wadadli Pen team member) Barbara Arrindell with Zavian Archibald, both Antiguan and Barbudan, both launched in the UK in January and are now both available here. They are also available for pre-order online in other markets like Canada and the US where they will shortly become available. See Barnes and Noble, and wherever books are sold. (Source – me)

***

For the duration of the readers choice book of the year initiative, we will continue to encourage you if you’re reading this to take a minute and go to over to vote in the #readAntiguaBarbuda 2021 installment of the initiative. The goal is to spotlight our local publications and the tangible reward goes to a local school – selected by the winning author – to receive books as made possible by whatever patronage we receive. Remember, you can give to both this and the Wadadli Pen challenge 2021 by emailing wadadlipen@gmail.com (Source – me)

ArtrEpreneurship

Leading Antiguan and Barbuda artist, Heather Doram, who has been exceedingly prolific during the pandemic, is an independent artist creating amazing designs for great products – canvas, t-shirts, stickers, posters, phone cases, and more. This is a new venture for Doram and we love to see it. You can now by her work from anywhere in the world and with any budget via the Redbubble online retail platform. We checked with the artist and items have to be ordered online, cannot be sourced directly from the artist.

(Source – the artist’s facebook; image from the artist’s redbubble.com account as an example of some of the artist’s merchandise)

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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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid February 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)

Publishing News

Pree, an online literary journal out of Jamaica, has announced its first print edition. Bookmarked launches with a webinar in collaboration with the Shuttleworth Foundation. The forum features Diana McCaulay (Judge, The Commonwealth Short Story Prize); Kwame Dawes (editor-in-chief at Prairie Schooner magazine) and Luke Neima (deputy editor of Granta) moderated by Isis Semaj-Hall (Associate Editor, PREE), looking at submission and rejection and tips for acceptance. The forum will take place February 24th at 12 noon. Details to come – for which I would suggest following Pree online. (Source – facebook post by Pree co-founder Annie Paul)

***

I have been running a #BlackHistoryMonth #bookaday initiative across my social media for the month of February 2021. On Day 13, I wrote about the audio book of Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne’s self-published In Time of Need, scheduled for release on February 14th 2021.

Here’s what I wrote: ‘I’ve listened to only three stories from the audiobook and enjoyed them so much, I plan to listen to the whole thing though I’ve already read the book. Back then, I wrote of the book, “It’s genuinely funny and then clocks you in the middle of the laughter with some hard truths – rooted in our Caribbeanness but also in our humanity.” The audio book, what I’ve heard of it, and especially so Four Angry Men, reminds me of listening to Paul Keens Douglas stories of Slim and Tanty Merle at the Oval on the radio as a child. The Caribbean, and Four Angry Men in particular, is well suited to the audio book format given an oral storytelling tradition that makes it less a reading and more a radio play of ole talk and a weaving (and at the same time specific and grounded) narrative. The Caribbean and the collection’s natural, sometimes absurd, humour comes through, but this is not all easy laughs, there is a certain poignancy within the broad laughter of the rum shop. The production is atmospheric, without crowding out the story, and the voices, distinctive Bajan voices, are well cast and directed by …Barbadian literary media arts company Story Shyft. White Sand, the story of a naive girl stepping in to the lion’s den, has a light and hopeful tone and an undertone of dread. And I absolutely loved The Five-Day Death of Mr. Mayers as much as I did on the page – the story is still funny and thanks to the characterization and imagery, the layering of voices and addition of a score, almost cinematic. In Time of Need is Story Shyft’s first audio book production and if these three stories are anything to go by they’re one for one. For my full review of the print edition of In Time of Need visit Blogger on Books. Look out for Josephine Against the Sea (sis is about to blow up).’ (Source – Story Shyft reached out to ask me to listen to sections of the audio book and provided the audio files)

***

Congrats to Wadadli Pen team member Margaret Irish, who has published her first book, a children’s alphabet book A is for Arawak. “The inspiration behind it started with a question, …why do we begin to learn by using objects from cultures outside of the Caribbean? Why can’t we learn by utilizing objects, the history and parts of our lives that we are quite used to? So I decided that I wanted to create a book that would help young people in the Caribbean, in particular Antigua nd Barbuda to  be proud of their identity… I wanted to start with the alphabet,” Irish said in a 2021 ABS TV interview. Irish, originally from Jamaica, works as a 3rd to 5th form English teacher at St. Anthony’s Secondary School. She holds an Msc in material cultures and history of the book from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She is the winner of two Wadadli Pen prizes – the 2014 Lead by Example Teachers Prize for The Skipping Rope and the 2015 flash fiction prize for Justice. She subsequently became a volunteer with and core Wadadli Pen team member.  (Source – stumbled upon author interview on ABS TV via YouTube)

***

St. Lucia-based independent press, Bumpkin Books, started by Jamaica-born Rachel Thwaites-Williams has published its first non-self-published book. A subset/affiliate of her Baby Charlotte enterprise featuring flower crowns, Bumpkin’s first books were Rachel’s own Charlotte and the Two Puffs and What do the Stars do When It’s Time to Go To Bed. In December, Bumpkin Books launched its first book by another author, Antiguan and Barbudan Ladesa Williams. As with Rachel, Ladesa’s book is influenced – and in some ways, co-written – by her child. Zane visits Costa Rica, based on a father-son trip to Costa Rica, is illustrated by Rahana Dariah. Per pandemic realities, the book was launched by Zoom. You can view the video here. We have added Zane visits Costa Rica has been added to our Antiguan and Barbudan Writing, and Antigua and Barbuda’s Children Literature data bases.

This book is one of more than 50 eligible for the Antigua and Barbuda Readers Choice Book of the Year award. (Source – another local author reached out to let me know about this one and then I watched the virtual video launch)

***

Antigua & Barbuda- and UK-based Art At The Ridge founder Joy James’s first book, 101 Black Black Inventors and Their Inventions, is about to be published.

James is inviting patrons to support the project via Kickstarter and receive a copy of book at the end. The book is intended as an educational children’s book about Black inventors and their inventions; it’s intended for upper primary/lower secondary students. Funds will only be collected if the Kickstarter reaches the project’s financial goal. James’ pitch explains, “My book proposal received a lot of early interest from a number of UK publishers before I chose to use professional publishing services in order to retain control over my work. I am also keen to learn about the publishing process. The funds I am trying to raise will cover the cost of these services as well as illustrations. This is my first book – I already have a few more projects and ideas in the pipeline and am very excited about this adventure!” (Source – Joy James reached out to share information on this initiative)

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Jamaica Kincaid speaking at the VI Lit Fest in 2015.

Late last year, it was announced that Picador had won a four way auction for 10 Jamaica Kincaid titles. Jamaica Kincaid is originally from Antigua-Barbuda, a country she has written about in books like Annie John, A Small Place, My Brother, and Mr. Potter, and tangentially in Lucy.

“The 10 titles to be released by Picador are the novels Annie John, The Autobiography of My Mother, Lucy, Mr Potter and her most recent novel, See Now Then; the non-fiction works Talk Stories and My Brother; the books on gardening, My Garden Book and Among Flowers; and the short-story collection At the Bottom of the River.

“The first selection of titles will be published by Picador in summer 2022, and the second selection will be published in summer 2023. Publication will be supported by a significant marketing and publicity campaign featuring the author.

“Her books Lucy, Annie John and At the Bottom of the River were published in Picador’s paperback white-spine series in the 1980s. Kincaid is published by FSG in the US, and the move to Picador brings all of her work in the English language to Macmillan.”

For more, go here. (Source – Don’t remember but probably social media)

As with all content on this site, unless otherwise noted, this is prepared by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, Joanne C. Hillhouse. As we try to do, credit if sharing.

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Collins Readies Rollout of #OwnVoices Caribbean Children’s Books

Updating this post to share the good news that the two Antiguan and Barbudan titles quoted in this post about the Collins Big Cat series, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell w/Zavian Archibald and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse w/Danielle Boodoo Fortune, are now available in the UK market. So many intersections – Danielle, a Trini, previously illustrated my book Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure. Zavian, an Antiguan, illustrated the earlier edition of that book Fish Outta Water. Barbara has variously over the years been a patron (in her own right and as manager of The Best of Books), partner, and Wadadli Pen team member. And I am, of course, the founder and coordinator of Wadadli Pen.

Barbara’s book is already picking up reader reviews days in to its release: “This is a lovely book and beautifully illustrated” and “I liked the succinct text. The subject matter encourages the reader to consider their personal interaction with the environment.  It is lovely to think of Anais returning for the anniversary.”

We all look forward to your support of The Jungle Outside and Turtle Beach, children’s picture books with strong environmental messages and/or energy. Find them online or in the real world wherever books are sold as the UK January 2021 launch is followed by rollout in other markets in the coming months.

Wadadli Pen

Image of new Caribbean titles in the Collins Caribbean Schools Catalogue 2021.

A number of Caribbean authors and illustrators, including some from Antigua and Barbuda, have signed on to produce books for the Collins Big Cat series of children’s books. I am one of those authors – and my book The Jungle Outside, (ETA cover) illustrated by Trinidad and Tobago’s Danielle Boodoo Fortune, who also created visuals for my Caribbean Reads edition of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, is among books in the series (my only book under contract with Collins) that are already being promoted online. Let’s check them out.

Each book has the following preamble: “Collins Big Cat supports every primary child on their reading journey from phonics to fluency. Top authors and illustrators have created fiction and non-fiction books that children love to read. Book banded for guided and independent reading, there are reading notes…

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Reading Room and Gallery 39

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.

ESSAY/NON-FICTION

“Writing helps me attain knowledge of Trinidad and Tobago, helps me understand it and appreciate it, and helps me forgive the hurtful parts of it.” – from The Fishing Line by Kevin Jared Hosein

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‘She carries Jamaica in her spirit, and particularly the rural Jamaica she grew up in, which is as she said “embedded in her heart beat”. They really couldn’t have picked a more Jamaican Jamaican from the esteemed writers of a culture that has produced so many great writers.’ – from my Olive Senior Appreciation Post on Wadadli Pen

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“I am a black woman writer from Trinidad and Tobago. I was born here to Trinidadian parents. I have lived here all my life. I do not have an escape route to Elsewhere, whether the route is through money, family connections or non-TT citizenship.” – Lisa Allen-Agostini, 2018 in Repeating Islands

POETRY

“America, I am poor in all
ways fixed and unfixable. My poverty a bullet point” – from Double America by Safiya Sinclair, Montreal Poetry Prize International

INTERVIEWS/CONVERSATIONS

“When I was young, people didn’t think children could see or hear, they would do and say anything in front of them… but from my own experience, children hear a lot.” – Zee Edgell talking about her work in a 1990 Banyan TV interview (click on the image below and type pass word ‘zee’ to access)

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“I wanted to create a book that would encourage people in Antigua and Barbuda to be proud of their identity… so instead of A is for Apple, let’s begin with A is for Arawak.” – Margaret Irish

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“We were all asked to give details of what we wanted to see in terms of the art work, at least I know I was, and to me it’s like she took my thoughts and she somehow created almost exactly what I had in my head. That’s the way it felt (and)..it’s everything I would have wanted it to be. The people look as if they’re our people and there are a mix of people in the story book. And I say that because there are times when I’ve seen some books that are supposed to be our books and the people look perhaps the way other people think we look.” – Barbara Arrindell

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“It’s about when you see these things to not get depressed by it and to make the change you can because you mightn’t be able to create the world you want to see but you can do one thing that does that and it’s very important that we do those things.” – Tanya Batson-Savage

MISC.

“It is revealed that all of the appointments to the University of the West Indies were vetted in London by a committee on which there was a representative of MI5 which aimed ‘to keep the university free of communism’. Within the West Indies communism was an elastic category into which were consigned anyone with an uncompromising relationship to the colonial order and its successor.” – from a public lecture by Richard Drayton

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“First, I made a collage of 6 recent rom-com covers I loved, that reflected the current look of the genre—hand-drawn fonts, bold color, big fonts. I noted I wanted an inclusive, modern design (no male/female cake topper or thin white bride etc).” – Georgia Clark, author of It Had To Be You on the process of conceptualizing a cover; click the instagram link to read (and see) more. (Source – direct author mail and instagram)

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‘Impressionist/actor Jay Pharoah has a zeroed in on a few distinctive traits — some comics call them “handles” — to help flesh out his version of Biden; there’s the little rasp in his voice, as well as favorite Biden phrases like “c’mon man,” “malarkey” and, of course, “here’s the deal.” “The key to a great impression and keeping it fresh, is always trying to look for things that person does, that other people don’t know yet,” says Pharoah, who played President Barack Obama, Jay-Z, Denzel Washington and many more notables in six years on Saturday Night Live. With Biden poised to take office as the nation’s 46th president, comics like Pharoah face a crucial question: How to impersonate him in a way that really resonates? … Pharoah recalls Saturday Night Live sat on an idea he brought up when he joined the show in 2010; a character who was Obama’s more emotional subconscious. Years later, Comedy Central’s show Key & Peele debuted Obama’s “anger translator,” Luther, in a similar sketch, and Pharoah saw an opportunity missed. “There was not a Black person in America, sitting there while Barack Obama had to take everything that he took from the Republican party, [who didn’t think] ‘He has got to be ticked off,” Pharoah adds.’ – NPR

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“So don’t start with exciting plot; start with people.” – Leone Ross, masterclass on characterization

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“Film is so powerful, television is so powerful, it can literally change perception and change culture.” – Gina Prince Bythewood, writer-director of Love and Basketball, Beyond the Lights, and The Old Guard.

This blog is maintained by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, and author Joanne C. Hillhouse. Content is curated, researched, and written by Hillhouse, unless otherwise indicated. Do not share or re-post without credit, do not re-publish without permission and credit. Thank you.

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late January 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)

Appointments

Richards Georges, an award winning BVI writer with Trinidad and Antiguan roots, has been named the first ever Virgin Islands Poet Laureate. Per the image below, he was actually appointed back in November – I’m just tardy in posting.

As explained at the programme, the Poet Laureate is selected from among the territory’s most accomplished poets and must serve for three years. Nomination and appointment is based on the subject matter of their written work which should speak to the unique experience of the virgin islands and the volume, quantity, and quality of their work as evident by literary awards and other achievements. The laureate programme was established by the Minister of Culture. Richard who has specific duties under the laureate programme but who sets the intention of making time to write every day, said, ” ‘Writing isn’t just the physical act of writing, it’s researching, it’s reading, it’s thinking actively about a particular project.” You can find Richard’s books listed in the Antiguan and Barbudan poetry page. (Source – Social Media – Facebook; with additional links via email from House of Nehesi and John Robert Lee)

Accolades

Instagrammer shows love for two Antiguan and Barbudan books.

This was in a series breaking down the bookstagrammer’s favourite reads of the year. And since part of what we do here is amp up Antiguan and Barbudan books, I thought I’d share some of what she said:

Re Brand New – “I’m a fan of Rilzy Adams. She also writes about Antigua. “Brand New” is a spin-off from the Love on The Rock universe she created to tell the stories of ordinary Caribbean millennials looking for love in Antigua. I loved it because of the lead man (a teacher with dreadlocks…) but mostly because of the 90s party atmosphere.” She named Brand New named one of her top five #readCaribbean novels of 2020.

Re Dancing Nude in the Moonlight (10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings) – “I’m a fan of Joanne C. Hillhouse. Her writing (highlights) the issues of Caribbean societies. Here she tells the love story between a man from Antigua and an immigrant woman from the (Dominican) Republic. Colorism and xenophobia (complicate) a relationship that at its core seems doomed. I don’t put it higher in my ranking because (it’s) not a feel good romance. And I think the book is more about showing how one person tries to figure out which path to take in that actual romance. It is realistic and anchored in our present. …Although it was written more than 15 years ago.”

(Source – instagram/bookstagram)

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Rilzy Adams (pen name of Rilys Adams, Antiguan and Barbudan romance writer and past Wadadli Pen finalist) is in the running for her book Go Deep for the Black Girls Who Write 2020 Award (an awards initiative targeted at Black romance writers and their readers, for Best Black Erotica – vote here). (Source – the author’s social media/facebook)

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ETA: Roffey goes on to win the Costa Book of the Year Award for The Mermaid of Black Conch, of which BBC arts correspondent Rebecca Jones said: “At first, the novel might sound a bit odd. Set on a Caribbean island in the 1970s, it is a bittersweet love story between a beautiful young woman cursed to live as a mermaid and a fisherman.” Read all about it at BBC.com (Source – social media/facebook)

Trinis Ingrid Persaud and Monique Roffey were Costa Book Awards winners – first novel and novel, respectively.

(Source – Social Media – Facebook author announcement and other sources)

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A portrait of late Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite hangs in Pembroke College in the UK. Jamaica-born Errol Lloyd was commissioned by the College to paint this first portrait of a BME Fellow to go on permanent display. “It is a great honour for us to be able to place Kamau amongst our other distinguished alumni, here in our Hall”, said the Master, Lord Smith. “He was a hugely distinguished, major international literary figure. He put Caribbean literature very firmly on the literary map.” – More at the College website. (Source – Email from St. Lucian poet John Robert Lee)

New Books

UK-Jamaican author Leone Ross’ latest This One Sky Day landed on January 15th 2021. It is published by the prestigious Faber & Faber, and, in the US, Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux. And promoting it, the author landed herself on the cover of Bookseller.

In the article, she said, of the gap between her las novel and this third work – 20 years (not counting her 2017 short story collection Come Let Us Sing Anyway) – ‘“It felt, for reasons I don’t quite understand, that everything went to sleep a little bit,” she says. “I think probably because I needed to hustle more, probably because I needed a different agent, we could say all kinds of things… I don’t know what I needed to do. But I do know that at the end of Orange Laughter I was exhausted emotionally. It had taken a lot to write those two novels over a very short period of time.” It felt, she says now, as though nobody was waiting for book number three, not that anyone should have been, she adds hastily. “I didn’t feel entitled, but also I didn’t get very much support. So I kind of thought, ‘Oh, that’s the end of that’.”’ As someone who first heard Ross read in Guadeloupe in 2013, becoming immediately intrigued, and as a fan of stories of hers like The Woman who lived in a Restaurant and The Mullerian Eminence in Peepal Tree collection Closure – both out in 2015, I believe – I have been waiting, and can’t wait to read. (Source – Leone Ross’ social media)

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Two Caribbean specific Collins (UK) Big Cat books hit the UK market on January 7th 2021 – The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse (me) and Turtle Beach by Wadadli Pen team member and bookseller Barbara A. Arrindell, illustrated, respectively by Danielle Boodoo Fortune of Trinidad and Tobago and Zavian Archibald of Antigua and Barbuda. Per this post on The Spectator’s facebook page, Barbara’s book, though “a story set in the Caribbean, … goes beyond the Caribbean and highlights environmental issues of interest to everyone. Barbara’s hobby for swimming and love of beaches are strong influences this children’s book.” She noted the influence my mother and nephew had on my story, and, I would add, that it is, too, in its way a pro-environment story of potential appeal to young readers everywhere. Both will be rolled out in other markets in coming months. (Source – Petra Williams, The Spectator)

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Trinidad and Tobago author Lisa Allen-Agostini (you may remember her from this interview here on the blog) is preparing to launch her latest book, The Bread The Devil Knead, her third overall and her first for adults, and first book since the award winning Home Home.

Cover art by Brianna McCarthy.

Launch day is in May 2021, ahead of which Lisa did this January 19th 2021 live special with TTT News on facebook. (Source – Lisa Allen-Agostini’s social media – facebook and instagram)

Showcase

Dominica/UK’s Papillote Press has launched a video series spotlighting its book titles. The series started with readings from teen/young adult titles Home Home by Trinidad and Tobago’s Lisa Allen-Agostini, Gone to Drift by Jamaica’s Diana McCaulay, The Art of White Roses by Puerto Rico’s Viviana Prado-Núñez, and Abraham’s Treasure by Dominica’s Joanne Skerrett; and continued with Riff: the Shake Keane Story, a biography of the poet and jazz musician, by Philip Nanton. Publisher Polly Pattullo, who introduces the readings with a personal note about each title, says, “Even though the pandemic has kept us apart it has also brought the Caribbean literary community together online. These readings in En Papillote are a way of bringing our authors and their important writing to readers everywhere.” The series will continue with other books across other genres and sub-genres in the Papillote catalogue. (Source – Papillote press release)

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On January 20th 2021 (yes, that January 20th 2021), I was the virtual guest of the National Public Library, the first of the year for their Local Author of the Month series.

Next up is Shawn Maile, author of How to work Six Jobs on an Island, on February 17th 2021. (Source – Me)

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The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize channel, launched late in 2020, continues to add content – lately dramatized readers of past winners. Check them out and remember to like, comment, share, subscribe, and hit the notification bell.

Image and story from the first Wadadli Pen Challenge Awards in 2004. Go to YouTube for the full playlist of stories recorded between 2004-2005.

(Source – Me)

Press

Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine picked up news of the Caribbean Reader’s Awards in an article headlined ‘The 7 Best Caribbean Books for Your 2021 Reading List, According to Rebel Women Lit’s Readers’ Awards’. From the article: ‘The Caribbean Readers’ Awards are like the Goodreads’ Choice Awards in that they are completely reader-led. While it may be smaller in scale, the response was even greater than (co-founder Jherane) Patmore expected, with some readers already suggesting candidates for the 2021 awards. “I’m excited for new people to discover different genres and to have this space to celebrate literature that has been pushed aside or ignored,” Patmore tells OprahMag.com.’ Read the full article by Hearst magazines SEO manager Stephanie Castillo. (Source – Social Media in general)

As with all content on this site, unless otherwise noted, this is prepared by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, Joanne C. Hillhouse. As we try to do, credit if sharing.

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