Category Archives: The Business

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Good News for Six Caribbean Writers, Bad News for the Burt Award (Update)

The Burt Award finalists have been named. Congratulations to them all. They are Jamaica’s Diana McCaulay, a repeat finalist having also made the cut in 2015; Trinidad and Tobago’s Tamika Gibson, who previously won the prize in 2016; and Jeanelle Frontin, also from the land of the hummingbird – which has been especially dominant in this year’s Bocas administered prizes. See details here: https://www.bocaslitfest.com/2019/04/14/final-three-for-code-burt-award

Wadadli Pen

Six shortlisted writers have been named though dampened by the concurrent announcement that the CODE sponsored Burt Award for teen/young adult Caribbean literature is coming to an end. The award was first bestowed in 2014 but with the death of its founder Canadian philanthropist Bill Burt in 2017 has come a shift in priorities – reportedly to environmental matters, which is a pressing concern in these perilous times. The Caribbean leg of the award has been administered these five years by the Bocas Literary Festival in Trinidad and Tobago  in partnership with the Canadian non-profit CODE which runs similar programmes in Africa and among the indigenous community in Canada – all of which will need alternative funding if they are to continue. The purpose and effect of the award has been to generate and distribute new writing from typically marginalized communities with the youth population as a specific target.

This year’s short…

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April 15, 2019 · 5:06 pm

Arts in the News (Unfortunately)

Usually we’re happy here at Wadadli Pen about arts and the youth being in the news and try to keep you updated. Sometimes, not so much.

First up is this back and forth between Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister and a member of the calypso fraternity in response to criticism (or questioning?) of cultural ambassador designation being given to the British-based Kanneh-Masons (Antigua-descended family of classical musicians). The Kanneh-Masons are dope. Their Playing to Inspire series of concerts to raise funds for the national youth symphony orchestra (I believe) is a worthy pursuit and one of them has distinguished himself internationally as a soloist, notably performing at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. No shade against them AT ALL. That said, these appointments can seem arbitrary and questioning how these things are decided is fair (and forwards transparency).  It’s inevitable for some to wonder why some people get to be at the front of the line, (AGAIN) without any shade on them, and why some we would consider worthy artists who work and sometimes die overlooked despite accomplishments locally, regionally, and globally stay at the back. Disappointing then that, instead of engaging on that level, the conversation (as reported) seemingly descended into broadsides against Antigua and Barbuda’s calypso artistes because their lyrics are perceived as being too local (you can read the articles for yourself above – click on them to get a full sized view). I have personally found in the calypso I grew up listening to, including the music of the artistes both sides seem to agree represent the best of us, that the local/the specific can connect to the universal thematically and emotionally (especially if the music sweet – not necessarily always jumpy but melodic and soul touching in some way) without diluting itself and thus losing both its poetry and its potency. There are lots of reasons why something might be underdeveloped (and some of our arts is) and reasons why it might not travel that do not necessarily have anything to do with the lyrics or narrative – among those reasons, opportunity.

pledge

This one is not unfortunate per se, correcting the record – as Pledge writer Stanley Humphreys and singer Short Shirt did with these letters to the editor in response to an article (not the first one I might add from personal experience) crediting someone else with writing this particular song (I can think of a book with a similar claim and another book that actually went a long way in correcting the record on a whole lot of songs) – is always a good thing. The credit is correct in our song lyrics data base by the way though the past confusion is addressed in the actual Pledge link (above). I do wish to take this opportunity to underscore that one of the challenges for those seeking to get the record right is the sparseness of documented information – one of the ways to fix this is through comprehensive liner notes, the kind often lacking from local music CDs. Some liner notes include not only production credits but song lyrics. As someone who has long covered the local art scene and who has for several years on this site worked to build a data base of our songwriters and their songs for some time, it’s easy to get things wrong due to lack of available, accurate information (oftentimes, even when you ask).

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Okay, this one isn’t related to the arts but it is related to the youth which is the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize constituency. I don’t want to get too deep into this one – it’s too easy for the message to be missed for reasons that have nothing to do with the message itself – but I am disappointed not only with the delay in turning this facility over to the youth of the Grays Green (and I would add Ottos community and beyond) but that the optics for me say, the youth can wait, which is not a good look. The work of the Magistrate’s Court is important but I wish we had gone with an alternate site on this one, and proceeded with opening this facility post haste with all the fan fair our youth deserve. I can’t help feeling that whenever they get it now, it won’t be the same.

Let’s end on an upbeat note. I haven’t seen this in the paper – doesn’t mean it wasn’t there as admittedly I am a few days behind on the papers – or on my social media (apart from posts by individual winners) but it is one of my favourite events (celebrating our youth); I always take the time to make nominations (not just in lit arts) and I like to share the outcome here on the blog (click here to see who won what this year). Shout out to lit awards winner and Wadadli Pen 2018 Challenge winner Kyle Christian and to Latisha Browne of the Cushion Club (pictured below with her award).

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

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PRESS RELEASE The Antigua and Barbuda Readers’ Choice Book of the Year Is…

Issued April 3rd 2019

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize congratulates Vivian Luke, whose book, F.A.K.E., netted the most votes in its #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda Book of the Year initiative.

On being informed of the news, Luke said in a statement, “Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for my book…  Writing is a gift but the ability to conceive of and complete a well-structured story that is well received is a dream for any author.  So, I must congratulate the rest of the authors who were part of this process as well.”

The winning author has picked the Foundation Mixed School, alma mater of her mother and aunt, to receive a donation of books – valued at EC$900 – in her name. The donation is made possible by three Wadadli Pen patrons all of whom volunteered to make contributions anonymously – a fourth patron donated a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus.

Luke is a senior executive consultant and mother of two in the US. She is connected to Antigua and Barbuda through a line that goes back to her maternal great-great grandfather, with both sets of grandparents being born and raised in Antigua. She describes herself as “a proud Antiguan – 1st generation removed.”

Voters described F.A.K.E. as “a must read (that) reinforces the importance of creating true friendships,” “a page turner that shows us that friendship is valuable and we don’t need to live fake lives when we’re surrounded by real friends” and, simply, “a great read”. The people have spoken.


F.A.K.E. picked up the majority by one vote in a photo finish with Shawn N. Maile’s How to Work Six Jobs on an Island: an Island Boy’s Dream – described, among other things, as “a great example of time management and maximizing resources.” The book with the third most votes is Rilzy Adams’ The Gift – a romance described by one voter as “heartwarming and heartwrenching at the same time”.

The top three authors will be presented with certificates of their achievement during a brief ceremony at the Best of Books Monday 8th April 2019 at 10:00 a.m., at which time children from the Foundation Mixed will have the opportunity to select books for their school library.

This initiative is consistent – especially in a year when the usual writing challenge is absent – with Wadadli Pen’s mission since 2004 to nurture and showcase Antigua and Barbuda’s literary culture, a culture which, as illustrated by Luke’s win and Maile’s especially strong showing begins here but is not limited to our shores.

Luke’s message to the students can be read in full here. In it she spoke of her love of writing being fostered by a love of reading which she modelled from her parents, and urges, the children to “Read, Read, Read so that your intellectual curiosity may be heightened.”

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The Votes are in and…

Vivian Luke’s F.A.K.E. has won the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda Readers Choice Book of the Year of 2017-2018. It is our first time doing such an initiative and we thank all voters for their participation. Congratulations to Dr. Vivian Luke on her win and congratulations to Foundation Mixed School as her selection to receive the EC$900 plus promised (in books). The children will have the opportunity to select the books themselves on Monday 8th April 2019 at the Best of Books. Thanks to our patrons.

Below, we’ve published in full a statement from Dr. Luke and a bio which includes her Antigua-Barbuda connection.

Statement by Dr. Vivian Luke:

I am deeply humbled to be voted the 2019 Recipient of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize.  Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for my book, F.A.K.E.! Fake Lives, REAL Friendships.  Writing is a gift but the ability to conceive of and complete a well-structured story that is well received is a dream for any author.  So, I must congratulate the rest of the authors who were part of this process as well. Congratulations!  My love for writing likely spawned from my love of books at a young age.  My love of books definitely came from observing both of my parent’s love of the written word.  Their willingness to talk and share their opinions about whatever it was they were reading enabled me to formulate my own thoughts about a topic and engage in meaningful discourse with each of them.
I am so thankful to each of my parents for the exposure I was afforded to a variety of reading material – from poems to classical European literature to Caribbean and African American authored literature.  Honestly, as a child I did not always appreciate their efforts but once I became an adult I came to realize how invaluable it was to my overall growth and development.  I learned from my mother and aunt — both proud Foundation Mixed School alumnae — the impact of receiving a strong educational foundation that helped deliver each into their chosen professions, i.e., an accounting executive for a major airline and a Registered nurse who later became a pastry Chef.

As you journey through life I encourage each and every one of you to chase your passions and choose to become lifelong learners!  Read, Read, Read so that your intellectual curiosity may be heightened.  Further, books, through their pages, will enable you to “travel the world” while you tap the depths of your imagination and, as an added benefit, you will become well versed in a variety of topics.  Congratulations! Foundation Mixed School for nurturing the minds of many talented children over the course of 80 years and, for never compromising your standards of EXCELLENCE in the process.

Bio:

Dr. Vivian Luke is a senior executive consultant with 22 years of experience providing expert consultative support services to public and private sector Director and C-level clients in the areas of quantitative and qualitative research (survey research and design), data analysis, policy development, organizational analysis, knowledge management, personnel management, quality assurance/quality control, and training. Her advice and counsel are highly respected and consistently sought. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science with Honors (concentration in Political Science and Technology) from Howard University, Washington, DC; M.CRP degree in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University, Ames IA; and, B.A. degree in Justice from The American University, Washington, DC.

Vivian recently self-published her debut novel, F.A.K.E.! Fake Lives, REAL Friendships. She is the mother of two daughters, Raiven (19) and Elle (11).  Vivian is the daughter of Vincent Luke and Elaine (Edwards) Luke originally of St. John’s, Antigua.  Her roots run deep in Antigua as her maternal great-great grandfather was from Parham and both sets of grandparents are Antiguan born and raised.   She is the granddaughter of Carmen and Claude “Pitt” Edwards of Ottos.  Richard and Elfreda Luke of St. John’s – owners of R.K. Luke & Sons Hardware Store in St. John’s and the niece of Conrad Luke.  While not a resident of the beautiful island of Antigua, Vivian has always considered herself a daughter of Antigua given her heritage and close connection with family and friends. “I am a proud Antiguan – 1st generation removed.”

Read the press release announcing the outcome here.

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Good News for Six Caribbean Writers, Bad News for the Burt Award

Six shortlisted writers have been named though dampened by the concurrent announcement that the CODE sponsored Burt Award for teen/young adult Caribbean literature is coming to an end. The award was first bestowed in 2014 but with the death of its founder Canadian philanthropist Bill Burt in 2017 has come a shift in priorities – reportedly to environmental matters, which is a pressing concern in these perilous times. The Caribbean leg of the award has been administered these five years by the Bocas Literary Festival in Trinidad and Tobago  in partnership with the Canadian non-profit CODE which runs similar programmes in Africa and among the indigenous community in Canada – all of which will need alternative funding if they are to continue. The purpose and effect of the award has been to generate and distribute new writing from typically marginalized communities with the youth population as a specific target.

This year’s short list from a field of 46 consists of:

Jomo’s Story by Nastassian Brandon (Jamaica)

The Unmarked Girl by Jeanelle Frontin (Trinidad and Tobago)

The Accidental Prize by Tamika Gibson (Trinidad and Tobago)

The Mermaid Pools by Rehannah Azeeyah Khan (Trinidad and Tobago)

Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay (Jamaica)

Rise Of The Clearrock by Celia Sankar/ S.P. Claret (Trinidad and Tobago)

McCaulay and Gibson are repeat Burt finalists – Gibson placed first in 2016 for Dreams Beyond the Shore, subsequently published by Jamaica’s Blue Banyan Books, and McCaulay’s Gone to Drift was second placed in 2015 and subsequently published by Papillote Press of Dominica and the UK. The list of past Burt finalists can be found here.

From a 2019 Burt/Bocas email: ‘Action, adventure, fantasy, myth, and forbidden love are some of the themes that feature in the shortlist. The judges were effusive in their praise for the quality of the writing, the credibility of the characters and the effectiveness of the plots in these six titles. Their comments on the entries range from “haunting” and “dark” to “enjoyable, fun, educational” and “ground breaking”.’

The winner and up to two finalists will be announced during the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, May 1st to 5th in Trinidad, with $10,000 CDN going to the winning book and $2,000 CDN each to two finalists. A distinctive feature of the Burt award which accepts both published and unpublished manuscripts is that it invites regional publishers to bid for the opportunity to publish one of the winning titles, and purchases and distributes copies of the finished product – the former helping to build the publishing infrastructure in the region, the latter ensuring that the books get in to the hands of their target readership.

Personal note: I am sorry to see this competition die (potentially, if it doesn’t find new funding – though Bocas has done a good job of sourcing alternative funding for, for instance, the Hollick Arvon prize which is now the the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize). I think Burt has been good in terms of generating fresh content and creating renewed enthusiasm among secondary schoolers especially for Caribbean writing to which they feel they can relate. That’s certainly been my experience with Musical Youth, my second placed Burt title, published by Caribbean Reads Publishing, in its inaugural year, 2014, and now on schools reading lists in two Caribbean islands (but more than that the word of mouth enthusiasm from teenage readers). I am happy to have had the opportunity to serve as a Burt Award workshop leader here in Antigua, as a judge of the Caribbean leg of the award, as a mentor of the Africa leg, and as a Burt title editor; I have also enthusiastically promoted the programme – whether reviewing books like All over Again, Gone to Drift, Home Home, and Inner City Girl, which are unsurprisingly of high quality, or encouraging people to enter the competition. I only wish more of us, small islanders, had made it to the winners’ circle – to date (not including 2019) winning books have hailed from Trinidad and Tobago (5), Jamaica (3), Guyana (2), Bermuda (2), Barbados (1),  Puerto Rico (1), and Antigua and Barbuda (1). I want to thank Mr. Bill Burt for this initiative; he did a good thing.

I hope that some other philanthropist or philanthropists sees that arts funding is also a priority – especially in such perilous times.

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, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). 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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Literary Festivals of the Caribbean (Updated)

The original Literary Arts Festivals of the Caribbean post dates back to 2014. This is a revamp with some additions and will list only festivals active at the time of this posting to the best of our knowledge.

literary_festival2_290Antigua and Barbuda’s literary festival activities (pictured above, 2007) have been fractured – from the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival which was one of the firsts when it started in 2006 to a community effort that resulted in the Wadadli Stories one day activity in 2017. There is a Literacy Day on the Ministry of Education calendar and literary limes like Expressions Open Mic (currently on break), Soothe, the Just Write Writers Retreat (also on break), there have also been literary arts showcases (of sorts) in recent Independence programmes, but a funded lit arts festival on par with ABILF, no. And for the future, who knows?

Caribbean-based Events

VI Lit Fest panelAnguilla –

Anguilla Lit Fest

Barbados –

BIM Lit Fest

Cayman Islands –

Gimistory

Cuba –

Havana International Book Fair

Dominica –

Nature Island Literary Festival

Guadeloupe –

Congress of Caribbean Writers

Montserrat –

Alliouagana Literary Festival

Jamaica –

Calabash

Kingston Book Festival

Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta

St. Lucia –

Nobel Laureate Week

St. Martin –

St. Martin Book Fair

Trinidad and Tobago –

Bocas Lit Fest

United States Virgin Islands –

United States Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair

Events based outside of the Caribbean

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USA –

Califest – Caribbean Literary Festival

Miami Book Fair’s Read Caribbean program

If there’s a Caribbean literary arts festival that you feel has been overlooked, please send me the information at jhohadli at gmail dot com

Images in this post are top to bottom from the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival 2007 (featuring Donna Hill, Verna Wilkins, Dawne Allette, and Victoria Christopher Murray), the USVI Lit Fest and Book Fair 2015 (Sharon Millar, Tiphanie Yanique, Gillian Royes, and Joanne C. Hillhouse), and Bocas in Trinidad 2014 (A-dZiko Simba Gegele, Joanne C. Hillhouse, and Colleen Smith-Dennis).

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, 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, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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A & B Arts Round up – March 25th 2019 —>

April 26th 2019 –

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April 7th 2019 –

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March 31st 2019 – Voting deadline – #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

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Between now and summer – for summer youth writing camp –

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Ongoing –

Every Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon – Cushion Club Reading Club for Kids – University of the West Indies Open Campus (Antigua and Barbuda) – Queen Elizabeth Highway

Every Saturday (?) –

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As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Oh Gad!, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All rights reserved. Subscribe to this site to keep up with future updates.

 

 

 

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