Category Archives: Workshop

Writing tips, prompts, craft exercises, and more

PRESS RELEASE: WORKSHOP WRAPS, DEADLINE IS HERE, NEW PATRONS ON BOARD

March 25th 2021

“It caused participants to see more creative ways to approach creative writing,” said Barbara Arrindell, who this week completed a series of pre-deadline workshops she volunteered to offer to people interested in submitting to the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. “For me, as the facilitator, if it causes one more person to become more excited about reading and writing, it was time well spent.” The submission deadline is March 26th 2021; submission form and details at wadadlipen.wordpress.com.

More development opportunities will be forthcoming for winning participants. One, via new patron, the Bocas Literary Arts Festival out of Trinidad and Tobago. They are offering a spot in one of their developmental workshops for several finalists, and a membership subscription to the overall winner giving them access to a number of Bocas facilities including workshops and events.

Glen Toussaint, owner of Ten Pages Bookstore.

Another new patron is also one of the newest bookstores in Antigua and Barbuda, Ten Pages bookstore, owned by an old friend of Wadadli Pen, Glen Toussaint. He has offered to gift a cache of books for young readers. These will be added to books already received from Harper Collins (UK), and books promised by award winning Jamaican author Diana McCaulay and her publisher Peepal Tree Press, and local author Patricia Tully. The winner of the Zuri Holder Achievement Award for writers 12 and younger will also receive a gift certificate toward the purchase of books; while Commonwealth and Bocas award winning author Olive Senior, recently announced as Jamaica’s third poet laureate, has already contributed EC$520 toward the purchase of books.

There is also cash, over EC$1000, to be won thanks to contributions from the likes of past finalists Rilys Adams and Daryl George, and longtime patrons Frank B. Armstrong and Juneth Webson. These are among the number of generous patrons already announced including day 1 patron The Best of Books, also Moondancer Books, and US based Jamaican Garfield Linton. Wadadli Pen extends thanks to all patrons and media like antiguanice.com which sponsors a page on its platform for Wadadli Pen and the various media – Observer, ABS, and others – who have hosted representatives for interviews, and print and online media for amplifying the message.

There is lots to win, including, and most vitally, Wadadli Pen believes, the opportunity to express yourself. As a reminder, especially because they look forward to receiving many entries, if you want your entry to be considered for the 2020 prize, please say so explicitly on the submission form and please be reminded that the submission form, completed and submitted electronically to the email address wadadlipen@gmail.com, is necessary for processing of entries.

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Press Release – Wadadli Pen Workshop, Additional Patrons Announced as Submission Deadline Approaches

March 16th 2021

Wadadli Pen team member Barbara Arrindell, an author and bookseller, will be offering a free workshop on March 18th 2021 ahead of the March 26th 2021 submission deadline for the annual lit arts challenge. The workshop is expected to cover creative writing, using local history in your writing, and bringing inanimate objects to life in your stories. The workshop will be offered via zoom and pre-registration is necessary. To register for the zoom link-up, email barbaraarrindell@yahoo.com or send a message to the ‘Free Creative Writing Workshop to get you ready to participate in the Wadadli Pen Challenge’ event page on facebook. Arrindell, who is also a trainer by profession, has volunteered her time for this extra activity, and anyone interested in submitting to Wadadli Pen is encouraged to take advantage of it.

The Wadadli Pen team is also happy to announce that a number of new patrons have been confirmed since previous announcements. These include Frank B. Armstrong, a contributor for the past 10 years, and Junie Webson, a US based Antigua-Barbuda businesswoman, who has been a patron since 2014 – both have pledged their usual EC$500 to Wadadli Pen 2021. “We don’t take any of these gifts for granted,” said Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, “especially in this hard guava crop season.”

Hillhouse announced as well that Garfield Linton, a Jamaican based in America, with whom she has been in talks re arts funding for a while, has committed to underwriting her delivery of two workshops in the Wadadli Pen post-season. She hopes to select up to 10 writers from the Wadadli Pen entrants to offer a spot in these workshops. A long term goal, she indicated, is development of their stories and writing skills, and if additional funding can be sourced adaptation of one or more of the stories for print and/or film format. “My goal with Wadadli Pen has always been, as our tagline says, ‘nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda’,” she said. “The competition, or challenge, as we call it, has been our flagship project along with the Wadadli Pen website, and to a lesser degree workshops and showcases we have delivered in the past, but it was never the end goal. Our goal is to be sustainable and ultimately self-sustaining as a non-profit supporting the arts in various ways, and the literary arts in particular. It has been little little full basket since 2004 but we continue the work and hope for growth and expansion.”

The patrons announced in this release join previously announced patrons Rilys Adams, the Best of Books bookstore, Daryl George, Harper Collins (UK) publishers, Cedric Holder, Diana McCaulay and Peepal Tree Press, Moondancer Books, Olive Senior, and Patricia Tully. Anyone interested in supporting the work of Wadadli Pen is encouraged to contact wadadlipen@gmail.com Anyone hoping to participate in Wadadli Pen is reminded to read the guidelines and download the submission form at wadadlipen.wordpress.com Remember to also vote for your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan book and help a local school win.

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Wadadli Pen 2021 Patrons

NEWEST! NIA COMMS

Thanks to the media and other platforms that have helped amplify our message including Antiguanice.com (which has for many years included a Wadadli Pen page on its platform in addition to sharing each new release), the Observer Media Group, ABS TV and Radio, and ZDK Radio (all of which have extended invitations to be interviewed in addition to disseminating our information across their audio-visual and print/online platforms), and the various online platforms which have shared our press releases.

Patrons who have specifically supported the 2021 season of Wadadli Pen are in alphabetical order:

RILYS ADAMS – The author, who writes as Rilzy Adams, recently won a Ripped Bodice Award for Excellence in Romance Fiction (for her book Go Deep), and has been a finalist in the Rebel Women Lit readers choice awards (for Birthday Shot) and the Swoon Awards (for Go Deep and Birthday Shot), and a nominee for a Black Girls Who Write prize (for Go Deep). She is currently a contender for the #readAntiguaBarbuda2021 readers choice book of the year prize (for several books). Rilys has contributed EC$300 to the Wadadli Pen 2021.

Rilys Adams (right) collecting her 2nd place Challenge prize from then Culture Director Heather Doram (left) at the 2005 Wadadli Pen awards.

Remember to #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda as your vote will boost a local author and ensure a gift in that author’s name to a local school. In addition to Rilys, other Wadadli Pen team members in the running for book of the year are Barbara Arrindell, Joanne C. Hillhouse, and Margaret Irish. This is just FYI; vote in the comments below the relevant post for your favourite from the complete list. You do not have to have read all the books to vote.

BARBARA ARRINDELL – The bookseller, author, playwright, HR and public speaking trainer, amateur historian, community activist, and Wadadli Pen team member has offered to run zoom sessions (what I’m calling zoom-shops) offering tips for (1) creative writing (2) using local history in your writing (3) bringing inanimate objects to life in your stories for people interested in participating in the Wadadli Pen challenge. The workshop is scheduled for March 18th 2021; see link with info here. As a reminder, the Wadadli Pen 2021 Challenge submission deadline is March 26th 2021. Submission guidelines, here.

Barbara Arrindell (right) at the 2013 Wadadli Pen awards ceremony with that year’s winner Asha Graham (left).

THE BEST OF BOOKS BOOKSTORE – The St. Mary’s Street bookstore is a local institution and has been a Wadadli Pen patron consistently from the very beginning, its contributions ranging from gifts of books and other concessions to hosting the annual awards to sponsoring the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque which bears the name of each winner. Through a similar mix of support, it remains a patron in 2021.

The old (right) and new (left) versions of the Challenge plaque.

THE BOCAS LIT FEST – The Trinidad and Tobago based festival has become an appointment destination for Caribbean literature even with having to go virtual in both 2020 and 2021. It hosts the region’s major literary awards and rolls out development programmes quite often as well. We are, therefore, happy to report that they have offered spots to 2021 Wadadli Pen category winners in a future Bocas workshop (virtually) and free membership access (valued up to US$50) for up to a year to the main prize winner – including discounts on merchandise, events, workshops, and access to event archives. These prizes will be a growth opportunity for anyone serious about the craft of writing.

FRANK B. ARMSTRONG – the leading wholesale distributor has contributed to Wadadli Pen for the past 10 years and continues to be one of our most generous patronages with its usual contribution of EC$500.

2020’s winner Andre Warner (right) collecting his cash prize from Frank B. Armstrong.

DARYL GEORGE – this past Wadadli Pen finalist (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016) was one of the first to step up, proactively, to offer to contribute a gift (EC$250) to Wadadli Pen 2021.

Daryl George (right) last competed – and won – in 2016. Here he is alongside Douglas Allen, (left) holding the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque named for the latter’s late sister.

HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS – 84 books – 12 each of Collins Caribbean School Dictionary, Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell w/illustrator Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay w/illustrator Stacey Byer, The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse w/illustrator Danielle Boodoo Fortune, and six each of You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen, Social Studies Atlas for the Caribbean and Social Studies Atlas for the Caribbean Workbook

Collins book contributions.

CEDRIC HOLDER – plaque in the memory of his son Zuri Holder who, at the age of 20, was tragically the first road fatality of 2021 in Antigua and Barbuda. Zuri was a Wadadli Pen finalist in 2011 and 2013 in the 12 and younger category – the category set to benefit from the prize. The plaque will be called the Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award and will be accompanied by a gift certificate. Cedric is the chief volunteer with the Cushion Club, which he has made a contribution on behalf of since 2004, the very beginning of Wadadli Pen, and has also volunteered in the past as a Wadadli Pen judge in 2016.

Zuri and Cedric during a 2008 Cushion Club activity.

GARFIELD LINTON – This Jamaican, US based individual, keen on supporting literary arts development in the region in some way, has signed on to contribute two payments of US$500 to cover Wadadli Pen founder-coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, who offers workshops through her Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, facilitating workshops (facilitator fee and expenses). At present, the plan is to select up to 10 of the most promising writers (finalists and non-finalists), 16 and older, and offer them the opportunity to participate in two workshop sessions (virtual or in person depending on what’s safe/practical) between pre-summer and late 2021. One goal is the development of a piece of writing through intensive workshopping, covering writing tips and practice, and story development through to self-editing and peer evaluation.

N.B. One longer term goal (pending funding) is publication (possibly, given the 2020 sub-theme, a reflection on 2020) and/or short film development of one or more of these pieces (If you would like to support/finance the latter effort, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com). We also continue to work on finalizing the non-profit status of Wadadli Pen and ideally this publication/film development aspect could potentially benefit from crowd sourcing and, in addition to showcasing local literary talent, assist with Wadadli Pen fundraising. This is shared in the interest of transparency (and speaking possibilities in to reality) but be mindful that these are ideas in development, not fixed.

SEKOU LUKE – a private individual who one day dropped off some books for Wadadli Pen which we are grateful to receive.

DIANA MCCAULAY (via PEEPAL TREE PRESS) – The Jamaican author has gotten her publisher to pledge a copy of her book – Daylight Come. They’re in the UK and it should be en route; so, fingers crossed.

Really looking forward to reading this Burt award winning book. The premise is both of our times and a nightmarish possible future if we don’t get a handle on climate change.

MOONDANCER BOOKS – Wadadli Pen team member Floree Williams Whyte is the owner of this independent publishing imprint which is creating and sponsoring ads for the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2021 season.

NIA COMMS – Founder Marcella Andre reached out to offer EC$500 and we receive it with thanks as we welcome her on board as a first time patron.

OLIVE SENIOR – the Commonwealth and Bocas prize winning Jamaican author is a much respected and still high producing member of the literary canon – delighted with her offer to contribute US$200 to the prize.

This image is from the social media of Olive Senior (right), a few years ago when she reconnected with Joanne C. Hillhouse (left) who had participated as an aspiring writer in her workshop in 1995.

TEN PAGES BOOKSTORE – The latest bookstore on the scene – launched in 2020 as a local, online bookstore whose mission is to connect people to good books – is owned by Glen Toussaint who is a part of the Wadadli Pen family as a past judge and, for several years, master of ceremonies at our awards ceremony (and all around advocate for the literary arts, including organizing activities like the Wadadli Pen Open Mic). We are delighted that he has offered to contribute (and we already have in our possession) children’s books (favourites like Hardy Boys #6: The Shore Road Mystery, Nancy Drew #4: The Mystery at the Lilac Inn, Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham, plus Barron’s SAT Premium Study Guide 2020 – 2021) to our prize package.

PATRICIA L TULLY – This first time author stepped forward to contribute a copy of Pioneers of the Caribbean written by Ingrid V Lambie and Patricia L Tully

Patricia Tully’s book is also in the running for the #readAntiguaBarbuda readers’ choice book of the year prize.

JUNETH WEBSON – This business woman, Anitguan-Barbudan, based in the US, has been a patron since 2014, contributing in cash and kind towards the annual challenge and the building of Wadadli Pen. In 2021, her cash contribution to the prize will be EC$600.

Juneth Webson (left) in addition to cash contributions has made a habit of shopping for gifts for the prize. She is pictured in 2016 delivering her gifts to Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (right).

For all news relevant to the Wadadli Pen 2021, see this link.

If you would like to support the work of Wadadli Pen, email wadadlipen@gmail.com

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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Wadadli Pen Update – Workshop

We want you to win.

One of the ways team member (author of Turtle Beach, The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories, and even more stories) Barbara A. Arrindell is trying to help you win is with an announced March 18th 2021 workshop. This series of short workshops will provide you with tips that may help you to select your topic, develop your characters, allow your creativity to flow, utilize local sites and folklore, and much more. You must pre-register. Do this by sending a message via the link above or via email to barbaraarrindell@yahoo.com. The zoom link and additional information will then be sent to you. Register early to secure your spot. This year Wadadli Pen is accepting entries from children and adults.

The submission deadline for the 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge is March 26th 2021. I just posted videos (one to my AntiguanWriter YouTube Channel and one to the Wadadli Pen YouTube Channel – both which you should rush over and subscribe to by the way) of a recent interview I did breaking things down re both the Challenge and the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda readers choice book of the year initiative.

Re FAQs

A recent commenter here on the blog asked about the submission form. “Would it be possible to fill out the application form electronically please? I do not have access to a printer right now and it would be very useful if alternative methods could be made available. Thank you!” – A. It’s a fair point; we should look in to uploading directly via submittable or other platform, but to be clear you do not need to print the form and you are submitting electronically. What you need to do is download and fill out the form electronically and submit said form via email as an attachment along with your entry, also as an attachment, to wadadlipen@gmail.com

A questioner to my DMs wondered if there was a penalty for going over the word count. – A. We’ve actually extended the word count from 750 to 1000 words in recent years. Since doing so we’ve gotten fairly strict about the word count. Challenge yourself to tell your story with precision – after all, you already have 250 extra words to play with.

We also had a request to direct mail the submission form; obviously it’s not practical for us to do so for everyone. We simply don’t have the time nor the numbers. But I’ve doublechecked that the form is downloadable and can be filled out electronically; so please act accordingly. Find the form and submission guidelines above at Wadadli Pen 2021.

ICYMI

In case you missed it, we’ve followed up our launch announcement with a second press release shouting out the latest patrons to come on board. The news you may be particularly interested in from that is that, while the Challenge is open to all ages this year, we will have a special prize for 12 and younger aged writers, sponsored by Cedric Holder, who is doing so in the name of his son Zuri, a former Wadadli Pen finalist who died tragically in the first road fatality of 2021. Also team member Floree Williams Whyte’s Moondancer Books has sponsored the ad below.

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CARIB Lit Plus (Early – Mid July 2020)

A Note from the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Team

Recently, an eagle-eyed reader of this blog brought an incident of plagiarism related to a 2016 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge entry to our attention. While it is four years too late to retrieve the prizes this entry would have received, we have removed it from public view and corrected the record, we will be informing the recipient, and will be more diligent in future to ensure that plagiarized entries are not rewarded. The development of young people, the encouragement of original creativity, and the integrity of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize are important to us. We wish to thank Mary (the reader’s name) for bringing the offence to our attention and we apologize to the author of the original piece which was plagiarized. It is not in keeping with our mission and our standards to steal from another writer. We will do our best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Awards

Britain based, Jamaican born dub poetry pioneer Linton Kwesi Johnson is the 2020 recipient of the PEN Pinter Award. The award is meant to defend freedom of expression and celebrate literature. Read details of his win at The Guardian.

Book News

FINAL-Obeah-Race-and-Racism-Invitation-page-001-232x300 British Virgin Islands writer Eugenia O’Neal’s latest book investigates Obeah, Race and Racism: Caribbean Witchcraft in the English Imagination. Her book is being published by UWI Press. A virtual launch is set for April July 17th 2020 11 a.m. Register here. Her previous books include the pirate adventure Dido’s Prize, reviewed on this blog. She’s also been previously interviewed here on the blog about Publishing.

crCaribbean Reads Publishing has announced that it is actively seeking #ownvoices manuscripts for middle grade readers, roughly 8 to 13 years, with a Caribbean setting.  There’s no published cut off date but don’t sleep on it. Go here for submission details.

The Bookseller reported that Hamish Hamilton has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, Doubleday the US rights, and Bond Street Books the Canadian rights to Ayanna Gillian Lloyd’s The Gatekeepers. A ghost story and a love story set in modern Trinidad, Lloyd’s homeland,  it has been described (per Hamish Hamilton) as “mythic and timeless” and at the same time “sharply contemporary”. The book is set to debut in 2022 with a second novel Dark Eye Place to follow in 2024. Now, that’s how you do it!

Reading Recs

Bocas Curated Reading

Bocas has been very active this COVID-19 season with a lot of online content including an arts survival kit that includes readings of works by Bocas prize winning poet Richard Georges, former Commonwealth Short Story prize winner Ingrid Persaud, Andre Bagoo, Anu Lakhan, a tribute to Kamau Brathwaite, and more. Find it online here.

You can also find up to 40 renowned Caribbean and other writers reading Brathwaite’s work on YouTube at the Kamau Brathwaite Remix Engine.

Home Home

The US edition of Home Home (Delacorte Press) by Trinidadian writer Lisa Allen-Agostini dropped somewhat quietly during quarantine but it’s been getting some big reviews. The Burt Award winning title, initially issued with Papillote Press, was written up in Publishers’ Weekly, which said: “Allen-Agostini (The Chalice Project) uses clear, concise prose to break down the daunting reality of depression and anxiety. Strong interpersonal dynamics balance hard themes, including homophobia, suicidal ideation, troubled parent relationships, and the minimization of depression, resulting in a quietly optimistic story.”

You can also catch Allen-Agostini in conversation with Diana McCaulay, Shakirah Bourne, and me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) in Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights right here on the Wadadli Pen blog.

Lit Events 

Antigua and Barbuda Conference Cancellation

The annual joint conference of the University of the West Indies (Antigua and Barbuda Open Campus) and the Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association, usually held in August, has been cancelled. The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books which typically launches at the conference will be out in the Fall.

Caribbean Literature Day 

July 12, 2020 has been proposed by St. Martin’s House of Nehesi Publishers as Caribbean Literature Day. The call was made a the closing of the 2020 St. Martin Book Fair, its 18th.  Writers, aspiring writers, literary festivals, book clubs, journals, creative writing programs, and all creative artists, institutions, and media of the Caribbean region; all Caribbean peoples; and all lovers of Caribbean writings, authors, and books, from everywhere in the world have been asked to participate. How? Per a press release, “by reading the works of your favorite Caribbean authors; buying Caribbean books, published in the Caribbean and beyond, and by Caribbean authors; and presenting Caribbean books as gifts. Celebrate the day with books, recitals, and with discussions about books, of poetry, fiction, drama, art, music, and all the other genres by Caribbean writers.” Here’s the full press release: OES News 20_Statement_Caribbean Literature Day

ETA (09/07/20) The Institute of Gender and Development Studies Regional Coordinating Office (IGDS-RCO), out of the University of the West Indies’ Jamaica campus, has announced that it will be teaming up with House of Nehesi Publishers to celebrate Caribbean Literature Day. It will host two Zoom webinars under the theme: The Gendered Word on July 12, from 12 noon to 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Poets, writers and teachers of literature in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean are invited to read their work and the works of other Caribbean writers or comment on Caribbean literature. Those who wish to participate may email their interest at: igdsrco@gmail.com.

Also, contact Lasana M. Sekou Projects Director Nehesi@sintmaarten.net

To Shoot Hard Labour

The seminal Antiguan and Barbudan retelling of the history of Antigua and Barbuda from the lived point of view of Samuel ‘Papa Sammy’ Smith is being celebrated all month long on Observer Radio 91.1 FM. The virtual summer reading project will air specifically Fridays (July 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st) on the popular Voice of the People programme which typically runs from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., later, I believe, on Fridays. It is being co-produced by Beverly Georges of the Friends of Antigua Public Library based in New York. Special guest presenters will include Dr. Natasha Lightfoot, Agnes Meeker, Paddy ‘the Griot’ Simon, children from The Cushion Club Reading Club for Children in Antigua and Barbuda, me (Joanne C. Hillhouse), and the co-author of To Shoot Hard Labour Keithlyn Smith. A number of activity tie-ins for young readers are planned. See flyer:  diorama

TSHL-Project2

Don’t forget to check Opportunities Too for more opportunities with pending deadlines.

TCW Webinar and Launch

The Caribbean Writer has announced that Volume 34 after COVID related delay launches its digital edition on July 7th 2020 and the print edition “on or about July 16th 2020”. The editor, Alscess Lewis-Brown (who has Antiguan and Barbudan roots by the way, though resident in the US Virgin Islands) has also announced a July 19th 2020 webinar. The six hour event, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., will be held under the theme ‘Interrogating the Past, Re-imagining the Future’. There will be presentations and an opportunity for contributors past and present to share for five minutes one of their published pieces. This is The Caribbean Writer’s facebook page; here’s the sign up link.

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

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Carib Lit Plus March 2020

The timing of this post is funny (not haha) as the world slowly shuts down to halt the spread of an international pandemic. No hysterics here. Just a reminder to be safe – follow the guidelines – and don’t panic.

Check a trusted source and tune in to official fact-based updates via local news outlets. Recommended though that this news intake be in manageable bites (to reduce fear and panic), and that we all embrace ways to stay lifted. To wit, this being an arts site, we hope you’ll appreciate this montage of Italians coping with song.

Now, on to arts news from Antigua and Barbuda, and the wider Caribbean.

Awards

The Wadadli Pen 2020 Challenge has a short list! Thanks to judges Floree Williams Whyte (judging chief/Wadadli Pen partner), Glen Toussaint (bookseller, writer), and Danielle Boodoo Fortune (Bocas winning poet, and artist). Entries still in the running are: Oh, Beach that I once loved; The John Bull Effect; The Beast of Barbados; Two Worlds Collide; A Bright Future for Tomorrow; My Favourite Dish; A New World; A Mermaid; Lead Me Lord; The Fabled Truth; and Tom, the Ninja Crab. See who the writers were, here.

Zadie Smith, a UK writer, of Jamaican descent on her mother’s side, was shortlisted for the Folio Prize. Already well known and celebrated for books like White Teeth, Zadie is one of eight singled out, this time for her book Grand Union. The winner is due to be announced this March. More here.

Here in Antigua and Barbuda the Directorate of Gender Affairs Awarded 25 Women of Wadadli, a first time initiative held, appropriately, on International Women’s Day, March 8th 2020. “DoGA Executive Director, Farmala Jacobs, said that this year’s celebration of International Women’s Day is especially significant and that the Woman of Wadadli Awards aimed to recognize the unsung heroes among us.” Among the 25, there were broadly eight artists (Colleen Simpson – Culinary Arts, Heather Doram – Culture, Noreen Phillips – Fashion, Zahra Airall – Fine Arts, Marion Byron – Music and Entertainment, Mako Williams – recognized for Tech is also an artist, and Wadadli Pen core team member Barbara Arrindell – recognized as a changemaker, but also a writer). The Literature prize went to Wadadli Pen’s own Joanne C. Hillhouse.

WoW

Read more.

Exclusive Interview: M. J. Fievre

Featured on Hillhouse’s Jhohadli blog, this interview with Haitian-American writer M. J. Fievre traverses the territory of depression and her own experience with it and the creative expression that emerged. Her book Happy, Okay? uses various literary forms to speak to her mental health journey (in progress) and another book touched on, Badass Black Girl, is meant to be a guide to young girls in their own process of emerging. Check out the full interview here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Books

New from Peepal Tree Press, from PEN English Translation winners Puerto Rico-based Loretta Collins-Klobah and Maria Grau Perejoan, a bilingual anthology of thirty-three contemporary Caribbean women poets The Sea Needs No Ornament/ El mar no necesita ornamento. It is the first bilingual anthology of contemporary poetry by women writers of the English- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean and its Diasporas to be curated in more than two decades. The anthology presents a selection of work by poets from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and from various Anglophone Caribbean islands and the Diaspora. Each poem is presented first in the original, followed by the translation. The majority of poets have not yet been widely translated nor included in a bilingual anthology of this scope.

Klobah is a past Bocas winner.

This one actually came out in late 2019 but we missed it, so

The ArtsEtc Winning Words Anthology is very much in the spirit of what we try to do here at Wadadli Pen. It is a developmental programme that helps to nurture and showcase new writing in Barbados – from fresh and established voices. The only difference really is the resources behind it (e.g. the National Cultural Foundation). Kudos to the NCF for all it does to push literary arts in BIM.

We also want to acknowledge that past Wadadli Pen finalist Rilzy Adams dropped three new self-published ebooks late in 2019 – 12 Dates of Christmas (Love on the Rock Book 1); You, Me + Baby (Love on the Rock Book 2); and Brand New: A Love on the Rock Novelette.

Jacob Ross has released the second book in his Michael ‘Digger’ Digson crime noir series. Black Rain Falling (published with Sphere) picks up after The Bone Readers (Peepal Tree), which introduced the Caribbean forensic detective to the literary world, with a couple of new mysteries to solve.

Monique Roffey – already prolific and profound as the author of books like Archipelago and White Woman on the Green Bicycle (both published with Penguin) – has a new one  (with Peepal Tree) The Mermaid of Black Conch, in which a fisherman on a fictional Caribbean island meets a cursed woman of the sea. The UK-based Trinidad writer previously won the Bocas Prize for literature and has been shortlisted for several other major international awards. Early reviews for this one are good too: “The setting is slow and lush, full of colour and texture, which makes it beautifully three dimensional, with a feeling of movement that lifts and carries you through. There is beauty in the grimness too.” (Jess Sturnam-Coombs)

Also out this March, An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading (CSL Kreisel Lecture Series via the University of Alberta Press) by Dionne Brand. Most online bios found through google describe her as a Canadian poet but she is Trinidad and Tobago born and raised. And this book is informed by her Caribbean colonial upbringing. In it, the “internationally acclaimed poet and novelist Dionne Brand reflects on her early reading of colonial literature and how it makes Black beings inanimate. She explores her encounters with colonial, imperialist, and racist tropes; the ways that practices of reading and writing are shaped by those narrative structures; and the challenges of writing a narrative of Black life that attends to its own expression and its own consciousness.” (book summary)

Film

Guyanese actress, Shuri from Black Panther, Letitia Wright has reportedly signed on to star in the bizarre story of a pair of Barbados-born, UK-based twins. In a nutshell, “They became known as The Silent Twins as they refused to communicate with anyone but each other, and ended up in Broadmoor Hospital after they turned to crime. Jennifer and June spent 11 years in Broadmoor where they were studied by doctors and psychologists, but the pair would still only communicate with each other and became catatonic when separated.” Interesting. Check it out.

Meanwhile, an Antiguan-Barbudan boy is Peter Pan in a new adaptation by the director of the critically-acclaimed, Oscar nominated Beast of the Southern Wild.

Yashua Mack, a local boy, made his big screen debut in February 2020 at the Sundance Film Festival playing the iconic literary character who has been re-imagined many times over but, perhaps not with quite so much melanin. The film was also partially filled in Antigua, primarily at local landmark Hell’s Gate – an offshore island which is a border between the calm of the Caribbean Sea and the wilds of the Atlantic Ocean. A red carpet premiere was planned for Antigua-Barbuda in March 2020 (can’t confirm if this has been cancelled in light of COVID-19 government ban of public gatherings of a certain size – with this and all events call first).

Reading Comps

Reading competitions seem to be catching on; there are two national ones in Antigua, one with a regional component. Here’s some news related to both.

A Grace Christian Academy student won the Rotary Antigua Reading Comp, for the third time. This is the second year in a row that it has featured a book by a Wadadli Pen associated writer – last year, The Wonderful World of Yohan by Floree Williams Whyte, Wadadli Pen’s chief judge and this year, The Boy from Willow Bend, the first book by Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse.

Reading Comp
(read the full article above from the Daily Observer newspaper 08-03-20 and this related blog post )

Meanwhile, Antigua and Barbuda placed third in the OECS edition of the Courts reading competition.

 

Developmental News

The Honorable Harold Simmons Folk Academy of The Monsignor Patrick Anthony Folk Research Centre has announced a FRC Saint Lucia Studies Conference for 2020 focused on “Creoleness/Créolité : Saint Lucian culture and cultural/creative industries in national development today.” The announced date is June 24-26 at the Finance Administrative Centre in Pointe Seraphine. The Conference seeks to provide an opportunity for researchers in the areas of Saint Lucian life and culture to present their findings in a Saint Lucian setting. For more information, email frc@candw.lc or the folkresearchcentrelibrary@gmail.com

Online literary journal (out of Jamaica) Pree has announced a Pree Writing Studio initiative funded by the Prince Klaus Next Generation Grant. “With tutors of the calibre of Marlon James, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Kei Miller, Garnette Cadogan, Ishion Hutchinson, Ingrid Persaud and Safiya Sinclair those lucky enough to attend PREE’s inaugural writing studio are in for a treat. In addition there will be a publishing studio by Little, Brown/Hatchette/Dialogue Books publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove.” There may be some subsidy for writers unable to meet the total cost and this seems to be only the first of a planned series. Read more.

International Publishing Announcements

UK-based Jamaican writer Leone Ross’ latest book is the talk of the publishing world after inking a deal with Faber for the 2021 release of This One Sky Day. ‘Set on a fictional Caribbean archipelago called Popisho, This One Sky Day is described by Faber as “a sensual meditation on the nature of love and addiction” as well as “a dazzling, funny and incisive disquisition on post-colonial politics”. It also called it “a major work of fiction in conversation with Gabriel García Márquez, Toni Morrison, Arundhati Roy and Junot Díaz via the Harlem Renaissance and Anaïs Nin”.’ Read more.

My-Fishy-Stepmom

Barbados’ Shakirah Bourne has landed a publishing deal with Scholastic for her Burt Award winning title, already released as My Fishy Stepmom by Jamaica’s Blouse and Skirt Books, to be released in to the US market as Josephine vs. the Sea Spirit. Per Publisher’s Weekly, “This middle grade novel features cricket-playing Jo, who discovers that her father’s new girlfriend is a powerful and vengeful sea creature and has to convince everyone of the woman’s true identity before she loses her dad forever. Publication is slated for spring 2021.” We don’t know the details of the deal but this is a big deal and we join the Caribbean literary community in congratulating her. If we’re counting right, this is the third Burt title to land a separate US publishing deal – maybe she should team up for a ‘how they did it’ seminar with Diana McCaulay, author of Gone to Drift which landed at Harper Collins, and Lisa Allen-Agostini, author of Home Home which is forthcoming this year from Delacorte Press, a division of Penguin Random House,  after both being initially published by Dominica/UK’s Papillote Press.

Pan

Kim Johnson of Trinidad is seeking to republish his Illustrated History of Pan.

Meanwhile, in Antigua and Barbuda we say good bye to the long serving member of the longest running pan in the world the multi-award winning Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra, Eustace ‘Manning’ Henry.

Anansesem Announces a New Chapter 

The founding editor Summer Edward is stepping down but the online platform for Caribbean children’s literature will carry on – which is what you love to see; succession, continuity. Summer also took the opportunity to announce the pending publication of her own book. Read her full statement.

CREATIVE SPACE on a New Platform

The Antigua and Barbuda art and culture series by JCH is now running every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer newspaper and on the Jhohadli blog online with extras.

The latest edition – second on this new platform – is Black History Month and Women’s History Month themed and headlined Centering Us, Year Round. Above is that second published article – be sure to look out for fresh articles in the series every other Wednesday

Book Club

ABS TV has for several weeks been running Book Club, a Tuesday morning segment on Antigua Today. So far segments have included the likes of D. Gisele Isaac (Considering Venus) and Gayle Gonsalves (Painting Pictures and Other Stories). Not sure if it airs at a particular time in the daily national TV morning show but Tuesday’s the day. Kudos to ABS TV for this initiative.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on 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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WADADLI PEN Entrants Encouraged To Be “Extremely Creative”

The 2020 Wadadli Pen Challenge is an opportunity for budding literary and visual artists in Antigua and Barbuda, 35 years and younger, to test themselves and push their craft forward. This was the point emphasized by Wadadli Pen volunteer and a former winner Margaret Irish during a recent appearance on ABS TV’s morning programme Antigua Today.

“What the judges are looking for,  apart from the fact that it should be Caribbean oriented, they’re looking for that creativity, that spark, that we bring a slice of (the) Caribbean to life,” Irish said. The teacher, winner of the one-time Teachers’ Prize offered in 2014, the 10 year anniversary of the Wadadli Pen Project, added, “we want an unusual approach in writing techniques; not just duplicating what we’ve read in school but bring your own writing style to the piece that you’re going to be presenting. So, very imaginative, extremely creative, very Caribbean centric and you should do very well.”

Of course, Irish, who also took the prize in 2015, when the Challenge was opened up to all ages, said doing well is not just about winning prizes – rather it’s about pushing your writing forward.

“It’s an excellent way,” she said, “of helping you to assess your own skills and then helping you to decide ‘okay, this is what I need to develop’ and that’s what Wadadli Pen did for me; it said to me ‘okay you can write a thing or two and people can read it’.”

The other big advantage of Wadadli Pen which has as its stated mission nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, Irish said, is “giving you that opportunity to expose your work.”

There are prizes, of course. Patrons on board so far this year include Caribbean Reads, sponsor of the prize for the school with the most submissions, Juneth Webson, Adventure Antigua, Brenda Lee Browne, Photogenesis, D. Gisele Isaac, the Best of Books bookstore and manager Barbara Arrindell, a project partner, as well as Joanne C. Hillhouse, Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, and Floree Williams Whyte, chief judge and judging coordinator. Irish is one of two past winners, the other being 2011 winner Devra Thomas who make up the core Wadadli Pen team. Other volunteers and patrons to contribute prizes have and still are being recruited.

“Because of what Wadadli Pen has done for me and other people we’re now very committed to encouraging people to write,” Irish said during her ABS TV outing. The full interview can be seen here on Hillhouse’s AntiguanWriter youtube channel.

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize is open to all themes but is offering a special climate change themed prize ‘Imagine a Future’, the Wa’omani Prize for Barbudans, and for artists an opportunity to tell a story in a three-panel comic strip. For more visit https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/wadadli-pen-2020

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

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Carib Plus Lit News (Middish January 2020)

Condolences

We begin with condolences to the friends and family of Victor Chang, and the community at the University of the West Indies. He actually died some weeks ago, in 2019. This Jamaica Gleaner article described Dr. Chang as a former lecturer in the Department of Literatures in English at UWI.

“Chang’s academic career is characterised by his involvement with the wider community and beyond, having served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Hull, England in 1981, carried out assignments with the Ministry of Education and Jamaica Festival. The noted academic was a contributor to the National Association for Teachers of English Workshops for some 20 years and was assistant chief examiner in English Literature with the Caribbean Examinations Council …(in addition to) service to the West Indian Association for Commonwealth Language and Literature Studies (WIACLALS).” There were many expressions of condolences being shared among the Caribbean literary community including my own memory of him as head of my department during my time at UWI (Mona, Jamaica) and this one (unknown) “He gave brilliant conference papers about Caribbean writers, and his sense of humor was wicked.”

Trinidad Poet wins the T. S. Eliot Prize

We move to celebratory news with Trinidad and Tobago poet Roger Robinson’s win of the T. S. Eliot Prize, the only major poetry prize judged solely by established poets. He won for A Portable Paradise about which judges said: “Roger Robinson’s characters bear witness to a country where ‘every second street name is a shout out to my captors’. Yet though Robinson is unstinting in his irony, he also gives us glimpses of something that his chosen protagonists also refuse to surrender – a taste, through the bitterness, of ‘life, of sweet, sweet life’.” A Portable Paradise was published by Peepal Tree Press in the UK. Robinson receive a £25,000 cheque.

Wadadli Pen 2020

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge is back for 2020 with several new categories to stimulate artistic expression among young people in Antigua and Barbuda. …The Wadadli Pen Challenge is open to any resident aged 35 and younger. Entries – fiction, poems, creative non-fiction –1000 words max. must be original. Beyond that entries can be as creative or tonally diverse as the artist desires; as long as it retains a Caribbean sensibility (i.e. feels Caribbean). Young Antiguans of all ages are encouraged to try – there will be, as usual, age category prizes, with a slight adjustment to the breakdown (six and younger, seven to 12, 13 to 17, and 18 to 35) – in addition to an overall top three. All entries require completed submission forms (2020 WADADLI YOUTH PEN PRIZE SUBMISSION FORM). Incomplete and plagiarized entries will be disqualified.

Special Prizes

Imagine a Future – A special prize will go to the story which per the sub-head ‘Imagine a Future’ best illustrates either the consequence of inaction (dystopia) or action (futopia) on climate change. This is an opportunity to venture in to speculative fiction (including science fiction). What does the future look like through your eyes? Be creative.

Art Prize – Visual artists can also tell their story, solo or in collaboration with others by creating a comic strip – telling a complete story using visual art and (optionally) words in three horizontally-aligned art panels of equal size, fitting on to a single sheet of paper. Art entries can be hand inked and coloured (per standard comic panels) or electronically created. No collages. Winning collabos get a single prize.

The Wa’omani Prize – Eligible Barbudans are also invited to write a story or poem, or create a comic strip (telling their complete story using visual art and, optionally, words in three horizontally-aligned art panels of equal size, fitting on to a single sheet of paper). This prize is designed to encourage greater participation from Barbuda and create a space for Barbudans to tell their unique stories.
An entry can be considered for more than one special prize (indicate with entry), and everyone vying for a special prize will also be considered for the main prize and for their age category prize. There will also be a prize for the school with the most submissions. Submit by 16/02/20 with ‘Your Name Wadadli Pen Challenge Submission 2020’ in the subject line.

Some early patrons have pledged their commitment and will be announced in a subsequent release. Other businesses or individuals wishing to contribute, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com To keep up with all things Wadadli Pen follow the blog. For all things Wadadli Pen 2020, check https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/wadadli-pen-2020

Sharma Wins

Sharma Taylor, Jamaica born, Barbados based, inaugural winner of the Johnson and Amoy Achong prize in 2019 starts 2020 with another win – first prize in Barbados’ 22nd annual Frank Collymore Literary Endowment award for an unpublished collection of short stories called Hollow Calabash which one judge described as “unputdownable”. She wins $10,000 (I’m not sure if this is US or BDS but either way).

Sharma credits the support of Commonwealth Writers (CW) through initiatives like the short story prize for which she was shortlisted, a 2018 fiction writing workshop in Barbados, and the individual mentoring the CW provided in 2019, as well as encouragement from other writers.

Congrats to her (pictured below, second from left).

‘Second place went to Claudia Clarke, who was awarded $6,000 for her “CircleSquare.” Anderson Lowe’s “Inside the Blackbelly Sheep” secured him third place and prize money of $4,000. Lowe also received the Prime Minister’s Award. Ingrid Persaud and Sarah Venable received honourable mention for “So it Go” and “The Tropic of Sweet and Sour” respectively.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes spoke of the importance of Barbados having a strong literary tradition, saying, “seeing your culture reflected and celebrated in print is a powerful and validating experience.”

The Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Awards was started in 1998 to support and develop the literary arts in Barbados. In addition to the annual competition, the programme includes outreach to secondary schools and technical workshops for writers.’ Read more.

Sabga

The 2020 Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence have been announced. They are:

Arts & Letters: Mr Jallim Eudovic, Sculptor, St Lucia
Entrepreneurship: Mr Andrew Mendes, Energy Services Entrepreneur, Guyana
Public & Civic Contributions: Dr Olivene Burke, Community Activist, Jamaica
Science & Technology: Dr Shirin Haque, Astronomer, Trinidad & Tobago

The Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards is the only programme in the Caribbean which seeks out and rewards outstanding nominees in Arts & Letters, Public & Civic Contributions, Science & Technology and Entrepreneurship. It has been in existence since 2005, and has named, inclusive of the current inductees, 43 Laureates from throughout the region.

The 2020 ceremony will be staged on April 25, 2020 at a venue to be announced in the near future. Here’s the press release: 2020-Laureate-announcement-Press-Kit

Impac Dublin Caribbean

I first became aware of the Impac Dublin award back in 2012 when I was researching possibilities for which my novel Oh Gad! could contend. I bring that up because I wondered then and I still wonder now which books have been nominated by our local library service with which I’ve shared the Impac Dublin information. The latest Caribbean author to be nominated and longlisted for the Impac Dublin prize is Viviana Prado-Nunez, the Puerto Rican author of the Burt award winning The Art of White Roses which the nominating Jamaica Library Service describes as  “a striking debut novel with a cast of engaging characters. Told through the eyes of a 13 year old who lives with her family in Marianao, a quiet suburb six miles away from Old Havana, the novel gives an intimate view of the struggles of the working people fighting for independence fuelled by a burning desire to end corruption. It is a sharp-eyed study of power, community, questioning values and the contradictory messages of adults.” The Art of White Roses is published by Dominica’s Papilotte Press.

Also nominated by the Jamaica Library Service, also long listed, another Burt Award title Kevin Jared Hosein’s The Beast of Kukuyo. This is published by Jamaica’s Blue Banyan.

Congrats to them and to the library service for nominating them. See the entire long list. The prize is €100,000 which is awarded to the author if the book is written in English. If the winning book is in English translation, the author receives €75,000 and the translator, €25,000. The winner also receives a trophy provided by Dublin City Council. Nominations are made by libraries in capital and major cities throughout the world – libraries interested in participating can contact the organizers.

The shortlist for the 2020 prize will be announced in April.

Publishing News

Papilotte press, of Dominica and the UK, continues to make major moves with the acquisition of UK based Trinidad author Lawrence Scott’s Dangerous Freedom, a novel described as “radical and moving”. Said the author, “In Dangerous Freedom I am trying to redress what I see as the romantic portrayals of Dido in art, film and literature. I wanted to question the sketchy history we have of Dido and, through fiction, to alter the psychological and political perspectives. I hope that the novel can add to our understanding of a pain that remains just below the surface of contemporary life.” I’ve seen at least one of the film adaptations, Amma Asante’s Belle which starred Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the daughter of an Englishman and an enslaved African who lived with her aristocratic uncle, none less than Chief Justice Lord Mansfield at a time when he was adjudicating a critical case in the anti-slavery movement. Papilotte publisher Polly Pattullo bought world rights, excluding translation, for Dangerous Freedom from Johnson & Alcock. It will be published in May 2020 and distributed by NBN International.

New Music Awards for Antigua and Barbuda

You might remember that there was a music awards held in Antigua and Barbuda some years ago. It was produced by a private person and called the National Vibes Star Project Award. It was a  great Grammy-style event that I truly enjoyed covering. But it was a one-time event. And while I will always wish we weren’t reinventing the wheel, the announcement of a national musical awards by the Culture Department is, on the surface of it, a welcome development.

 

Deputy Director of Culture, and accomplished musician, Mr Khan Cordice described the awards, to be held on April 16th 2020, as a “Grand Celebration’ to recognize the work of all musicians and music practitioners alike to include vocalists, instrumentalists, pannists and DJs for the work they would have contributed to music over the years, but more specifically, throughout the year 2019.”

There are six categories: ‘Vocal Awards’; ‘Instrumental Awards’; ‘Steelpan Awards’; ‘Best Recording Artiste of the Year’; ‘DJ of the Year’ and ‘Special Awards’. In the vocal awards category, the breakdown includes:
Junior Soca Artist of the year
Junior Calypsonian of the year
Junior Reggae Artist of the year
Junior Gospel Artist of the year
Soca Artist of the year
Calypsonian of the year
Reggae Artist of the year
Gospel Artist of the year
Choir of the Year

At a glance, one difference between this and the NVSPA is that the latter also included hip hop and artists that didn’t fit in to the usual boxes.

For the Steelpan Awards announced categories include:

Steelpan Awards
Junior Pannist of the Year
Pannist of the Year
Arranger of the year
Junior Steelband of the Year
Steelband of the Year

The rebirth of pan continues – you love to see it.

The Instrumental Awards include:
Junior Instrumentalist of the Year
Instrumentalist of the Year

Two young Antiguans and Barbudans having recently featured in the finals of the Commonwealth International Composition Awards, as reported in Carib Plus Lit News in November 2019, it makes sense to continue to encourage our Musical Youth in this way.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday month to one of my literary icons Zora Neale Hurston who LitHub informs me was born January 7th (two days after me) 1891 (so not exactly the same century).  

Another reason I’m shouting out the late Harlem Renaissance writer, she has a new book coming with a foreword from Tayari Jones (whose book, the Oprah’s book club pick An American Marriage I’m currently reading after absolutely loving her previous book Silver Sparrow). Hurston died in 1960 – and while she had published significant work like Their Eyes were watching God – had slipped in to obscurity until resurrected by Alice Walker in In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, the title piece in the latter’s 1984 essay collection. Hurston has been a staple on university lit syllabuses since then including my African-American lit courses at UWI, which is where I discovered her and, in her, a literary model. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is Hurston’s second posthumous book (after 2019’s Barracoon: the Story of the Last Black Cargo) in three years.  Can’t wait.

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

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The Wedding Project (a prompt response)

Because we have to practice, here’s my response to a writing prompt from Tammy at Writing Wednesday.

The Wedding Project

Receive the wedding invitation.
Settle on the spread for the marriage bed as your gift. You will make it.
Buy the thread, one spool to start.
Dig up the needle Tanty taught you to crochet with.
Try to remember what she taught you.
Remind yourself what the short hand means (sc, tr, dc, sl st).
Remember only some of it.
Start crocheting anyway.
Unravel and start again.
Unravel and do not restart.
Go to the wedding. Promise yourself to re-start (which you do not manage to do before the divorce).
When you hear of a possible reconciliation, contemplate restarting the unfinished wedding project.

The prompt was to write 12 steps of something and my brain ended up going with 12 steps of making something unmade. Where does your brain go? Write something.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, unless otherwise indicated, this is written by author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse. All rights reserved.

 

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Built on Faith

Updated (April 19th 2018)

“Lots of little bits is still a lot.” – from Antigua & Barbuda (gift cards, The Caribbean Folklore Project by Monique S. Simon)

folklore

A set of these gift cards were the first contribution I received from a patron for the 2018 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge season. It seems like a good lead-off for a post on this year’s patrons, not just because this card is one of the gift items to be taken home by our winner when the winner is announced on April 21st, but also because this likkle likkle full basket approach has been the Wadadli Pen model since we first launched in 2004. We didn’t – and don’t – have big bank and as we are still a project, not a non-profit with the infrastructure to do our own fundraising and bank the profits. Our prize packages have always been about pulling together whatever we get (sometimes a little, sometimes a lot) in to something that can tangibly serve as a satisfying incentive and reward for those who dared. We are still very much dependent on the generousity of people I’ve come to think of as Friends of Wadadli Pen – new friends, old friends, friends we haven’t met yet…

mock logo

Of course, in 2004, all I had when I stepped out to ask people to give was faith – faith that my community would support this fledgling project, faith that our newness wouldn’t make them think twice, faith that they would trust that their money would be used for its intended purposes. One of the ways I sought to reassure them and myself, a practice that continues to this day, is that no cheque is written to Wadadli Pen or to me (or any of the other partners I’ve drawn to the project over the years). What I’ve always sought from our patrons before each launch is the promise to give – a pledge. So, I have to have faith that when time comes they’ll deliver exactly what they promised (and for the most part they have). Once the winner has been determined, the patrons who’ve pledged money are supplied with the name so that they can prepare the cheque specifically for and to the intended recipient. Only more recently have we from time to time received (and accepted) cash which we then pass on to the intended recipient. But I think by this point – 14 years on  – they have some confidence that we are who we say we are and will do what we say we will do. Evidence of that, I think is the way patrons have come through with pledges in 2018, in spite of us not having our ducks in a row before the launch (that’s right, for the first time ever we launched with a set of gift cards and no other confirmed pledges…stepping out on faith) because for a protracted period of time we debated doing a Challenge this year at all or taking the time to put our energies in to getting our status together.

SIDEBAR One of the reasons I am and have been concerned about our non-status is my desire to create continuity long term and to expand what we do in the medium term. For example, if our status was solidified, we could – whether through seeking grants or through fundraising projects – raise money that belongs to Wadadli Pen to do more: development projects such as workshops year-round, projects showcasing the arts – such as short films inspired by one or more of our winning shorts, and more. But that is still in the dreamscape. I tell you what I’d like right now is a lawyer who does pro bono work for non-profits to assist us with getting set up – I feel like I’ve been reading through the legalese for some time now and am still turned around; up is down (lol). Also, I feel like I need a break and (if I’m being honest) Wadadli Pen might be due for another hiatus until I can get myself sorted out. SIDEBAR OVER

But with a date (April 21st), time (6:30 p.m.), and venue (the Best of Books on St. Mary’s Street) set for the awards, we are pressing on for this year at least and the finish line is in sight. And so we pause to give a shout out to the people who continue to act on faith by pledging to support our project and who, by so doing, are (along with the young writers who dare each year) the wind behind our backs. Much love and respect to them (and to any business or individual) who continues to bet on the arts and our young people.

OUR 2018 PATRONS (CONFIRMED*)

best

Challenge Plaque/Certificates

  • The Best of Books

Art_Culture_Antigua-logo fa

Cash  (EC$2900+)

  • Pamela Arthurton (EC$500)
  • Art. Culture. Antigua (EC$300)
  • Carol Mitchell (EC$100)
  • *Unnamed (EC$500)
  • Frank B. Armstrong (EC$500)
  • International Women’s Club of Antigua (EC$500)
  • Juneth Webson (US$200 = EC$537.65)

ba  Moondancer

danz

Gifts

  • Barbara Arrindell (Books: Antigua My Antigua & The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories -1 each)   bat's cave best-of-books-colouring-book-1
  • Barbara Arrindell & Associates (Two hour training session to a group of the top writers – session will focus on “Presenting: Telling your story orally”)
  • The Best of Books (Books)
  • Brenda Lee Browne (Books: Just Write Writers’ Journal and London Rocks)
  • Cedric Holder for the Cushion Club (Gift certificate for books valued at EC$100)
  • Danz’s Sweet Dreams (Gift Certificate valued at EC$225)
  • Floree Whyte/Moondancer Books (Book: The Wonderful World of Yohan -1)  Yohan book
  • Jane Seagull (personalized writer’s journal)
  • Joanne C. Hillhouse (Books: With Grace – 3; Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure – 2 & scholarship to participate in the Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Series – series 3)    with_grace-3d-standingLost Cover Front 4
  • Monique S. Simon (Gift cards from her Caribbean Folklore Project)

*Patron unnamed, by choice.

To all, for stepping out with us on faith, we say thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!

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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