Tag Archives: Alwyn Bully

Reading Room and Gallery 48

Things I read or view or listen to 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. Possible warning for adult language and themes.

Poetry

“You’re wearing your yard slippers

Likewise, I say nothing

Think of the breaking of the shell

we call

self” – “The Last Time” by Jason Allen-Paisant

Fiction/Stories

‘“Keep ahead of those dogs,” Rose said. “They’re all hers. All mean just like her.”’ – “Last Stop on Route Nine” by Tananarive Due in Nightmare magazine

Video/Visual Art

Images from Art Week in Antigua and Barbuda in CREATIVE SPACE #9 OF 2023: MY BARBUDA ART HOP

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Virtual tour and other visuals from the 2022 Bermuda Biennial. The art is great but I love that it includes literary arts – they get it.

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“…it was only towards the end of his life that he became accepted.” (re Édouard Manet)

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Documentary film by Dr. James Knight – The Making of the Monarch –

Essays/Non-Fiction

“Judy taught a lot of people that they’ll never know everything. That your body will change, and so will your heart, so it’s OK to change your mind.” – Judy Blume doesn’t miss Writing. She’s not afraid of dying Either by Selome Hailu

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“He once said his goal was to create and produce plays which would be as popular in Dominica as the American films that packed in people by the hundreds every weekend.” – The Remarkable Alwyn Bully by Honor Ford-Smith in Stabroek News

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“In May we launched a vote to curate a list of ten essential books for men, written by women. Our campaign aimed to encourage more men to read novels by women born out of statistical research in Mary Ann Sieghart’s bestselling book The Authority Gap. Mary Ann’s research demonstrated that whilst women read novels by men and women almost equally, fiction written by women is rarely read by men.” – 10 Essential Reads for Men, by Women 

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‘“women were at the forefront of the protest” and have always been sparks in political action, notwithstanding their shamefully deficient numbers in elected office.’ – CREATIVE SPACE #7 OF 2023 – ANTIGUAN AND BARBUDAN WOMEN AND POLITICAL ACTION

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“Though she thought in an utterly non-nationalistic, pan-Caribbean way, Jennifer’s writing was always deeply immersed in the Trinidadian landscape. In Songster, the final piece reflects on what it means to stay and live in the land of her birth. Her Trinidad is ‘not a world in my head like a fantasy’, but the island that ‘lives and moves in the bloodstream’. Her reflections on the nature of small island life is as fierce and perceptive as Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place, but it comes from and arrives at a quite opposite place. What she found in her island was a certain existential insouciance and the capacity of its people, whatever their material circumstance, to commit to life in the knowledge of its bitter-sweetness. In her most recent published collection of poems, Sanctuaries of Invention, much of which was written under the curfew of Covid-19, there’s a brilliant sequence of poems, (“mapping home”) that chart journeys (made in the head) from Valencia, through Salybia, Balandra, Rampanalgas, Cumana, Toco and L’Anse Noir – places that these poems bring to sensuous geographic, human and historical life. You sense that this was her Trinidad, her places of resilience and hope.” – “A Season of Sorrow: Jennifer Rahim (1963-2023)” on Peepal Tree Press’ Wha’ppen blog by Jeremy Poynting

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‘It’s important to point out that because I’m a shameless self-promoter who’s also fairly friendly that sometimes many people that I don’t know reach out to me because they like my work and offer to assist me with random things. (That’s tip number four — network, network, network) That’s also how I got funding for my very first audiobook, The Secrets of Catspraddle Village, an anthology of award-winning short stories. A Bookstafriend sent me a link about a seminar for an audiobook class which the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) was hosting. I signed up because I thought “eh, why not?”. What I thought would just be an informative seminar turned out to be an even bigger blessing. Every single person who attended was given studio time to help them record their audiobooks. (Shout out to the NCF for supporting Bajan culture, btw!) BUT please note that (a) I already had material written which was deemed good enough for my application to the writing retreat (b) Catspraddle Village was already compiled since I had planned to release the anthology this year. I say that to say this: (tip five) you don’t have to get ready if you stay ready. In both of those instances, I was (unknowingly) prepared.’ – Callie Browning guest post: Callie Browning has “done everything wrong” and That’s All Right: The Bajan Author on the Secrets to Her Success

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“There’s a story behind every image in the segregation series, each doing its part to answer the question: What does it look like when Black women are othered and yet refuse to allow that othering to destroy them? The series became a rejection of the status quo, a denial to be deemed less than.” – ‘Through Gordon Parks’ Photographs, I Found My Beauty Outside the White Gaze‘ by Khalisa Rae in Jezebel

Interviews/Conversations

“I wasn’t trying to write to be funny; I wanted to just write normally in my own voice about things but to use the creole and I think I successfully did that.” – Woman’s HerStory Month 2022 Brown Girl Reads facebook live discussion with Lisa Allen-Agostini, discussing her Women’s Prize short listed book The Bread the Devil Knead

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“I was in a daze, I think, when I was in Yale.” – ZZ Packer (Drinking Coffee Elsewhere) on Ursa Short Fiction podcast with authors Deesha Philyaw (The Secret Lives of Church Ladies) and Dawnie Walton (The Final Revival of Opal & Nev)

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“I wrote what felt true to the character and the world of the story.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse

One correction: On the second page where it says “where the lick”, it should say “were the lick” (from the Antiguan-Barbudan vernacular). Pointed out as the error changes the meaning of the sentence.

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“Again there is a theme, it’s like people seeing some potential in me and me going ‘okay’…and also you have to do a bit yourself; luck is hard work meets opportunity” – Jacob Anderson, Black British actor and singer with Caribbean roots (currently appearing as Louis on Interview with the Vampire)

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“I will never forget my dad holding my face, looking me in my eyes, and letting me know how beautiful I am,” Tasheka said. “He told me my skin, the power that is in my melanin; he told me about my hair, how beautiful my hair is; and then he went on to speak about my African culture and specifically how powerful my ancestors were…he allowed this spark to light up within me.” – Tasheka Lavann in CREATIVE SPACE – BACK TO AFRICA

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“I’m happier writing about women’s lives, particulary their inner lives. Women’s outer lives are so much more owned by others. They have a great deal of responsibility for making sure the world runs for the maximum benefit for the maximum number yet often have little agency or power. How they manage responsibility and relative outward powerlessness makes for rich, complex inner lives.” – Barbara Jenkins in conversation with Jacqueline Bishop for her #InConversation series in the Bookends section of the Jamaica Observer.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, To be a Cheetah, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my blog, including my CREATIVE SPACE art and culture column, which is refresthed every other Wednesday, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late March 2023)

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 – credit and link back if you use).

Books and Other Reading Material

‘It’s important to point out that because I’m a shameless self-promoter who’s also fairly friendly that sometimes many people that I don’t know reach out to me because they like my work and offer to assist me with random things. (That’s tip number four — network, network, network) That’s also how I got funding for my very first audiobook, The Secrets of Catspraddle Village, an anthology of award-winning short stories. A Bookstafriend sent me a link about a seminar for an audiobook class which the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) was hosting. I signed up because I thought “eh, why not?”. What I thought would just be an informative seminar turned out to be an even bigger blessing. Every single person who attended was given studio time to help them record their audiobooks. (Shout out to the NCF for supporting Bajan culture, btw!) BUT please note that (a) I already had material written which was deemed good enough for my application to the writing retreat (b) Catspraddle Village was already compiled since I had planned to release the anthology this year. I say that to say this: (tip five) you don’t have to get ready if you stay ready. In both of those instances, I was (unknowingly) prepared.’ – Callie Browning guest post: Callie Browning has “done everything wrong” and That’s All Right: The Bajan Author on the Secrets to Her Success

***

I (Joanne C. Hillhouse) opened Twitter today to see my face …which was quite jarring as, though I had been interviewed by Jacqueline Bishop for Jamaica Observer’s #InConversation series in Sharon Leach’s Bookends column, that had been some months ago and I had not realized it was scheduled to be published this Sunday, March 26th 2023. I also had not realized, as I now do per a Facebook comment by Leach, that this is the last entry in the series (which is an annual series for Woman’s History Month). So, while I initially thought she meant last ever, it makes more sense that she means last for this year – in which case, I’ve never been so happy to bring up the rear.

I’ll track down the entire interview and post to Wadadli Pen’s Reading Room and Gallery 48 – where you can also find Bookends #InConversation with Trinidad and Tobago’s Barbara Jenkins – and the Media Page on my Jhohadli blog. (Source – Jacqueline Bishop on Twitter)

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March 25th is the International Day of Remembrance of the victims of slavery and in particular the trans Atlantic slave trade. In memory, here are links to some past Wadadli Pen posts about chattel slavery in the Caribbean and Antigua and Barbuda in particular:

More People You should know – about Eliza Moore, who used the Emancipation act in the British West Indies and the fact that she was born in Antigua, part of the BWI, to secure her release from enslavement in St. Croix, which was still a slave state.

The Beginnings of Education for Black People in the British West Indies – Historical Notes (Antigua and Barbuda) – about how two free Black sisters, whose family were paradoxically slave owners and ameliorists (not abolitionists), and the free and enslaved Black people who built the country’s first school.

About Court or Klaas – about Antigua and Barbuda’s first national hero, leader of the failed 1736 rebellion who was subsequently broken on the wheel and his head hung on a pike at Otto’s pasture as a deterrant.

The Full has never been told – key dates between 1674 and 1835 and reference texts.

(Source – A. McKenzie on Twitter)

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This post from A Writer’s Path and this recent posting on my Jhohadli blog both stress how pre-ordering can boost the success of forthcoming books. So let’s talk about some forthcoming books I’ve recently engaged or am involved with. Starting with Carol Mitchell’s debut novel What Start Bad A Morning. This is not Carol’s first book – in fact, she is a well-established independent author and publisher (including of two of my books). But this is her first full length adult contemporary novel with a traditional international press, Central Avenue Publishing. I read an advance review copy of What Start Bad A Morning for the purpose of blurbing and, as I do with books I like and/or have something to say about, I reviewed it for my Blogger on Books series.

The official publishing date is September 19th 2023 but it is already available for pre-order. Also available for pre-order is To be a Cheetah which, I’ve mentioned before is a collaboration with Antiguan and Barbudan artist Zavian Archibald.

This officially drops on July 4th 2023 – an easy date to remember right, especially as it’s with US publisher Sunbird Books. The third book I wanted to mention, meanwhile, is an abridged anthology of a previoiusly released (with US and UK publishers) anthology; the aa is with German publisher, Unrast. New Daughers of Africa, edited by Margaret Busby came out in 2019, 25 years after the similiarly seminal Daughters of Africa, aslo edited by Busby. Neue Töchter Afrikas – also edited by Busby who selected 30 of the 200 authors from the original anthology, including yours truly (my story “Evening Ritural”) for this German edition – officially launches June 20th 2023 in Cologne (wish I could be there) but it will be available for pre-order from April 25th 2023.

Pictured above, left to right, I am signing a copy of New Daughters at the Sharjah International Book Fair in 2019; that’s Margaret in the middle, a recent social media image, also with the book, and at right, the cover of the German translation. I’m excited about this because while it’s not the first time a creative work of mine has been translated, nor the first book in translation (see Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe) but it is my first German translation and I am happy to see this amazing collection continue to penetrate new markets years after its release.

I’ll end by circling back to my fourth picture book, eighth book overall, To be a Cheetah. Best of Books bookstore will be hosting a launch in Antigua and Barbuda and I am looking forward to that. But to the theme of this entry, you can also pre-order from them if in Antigua and Barbuda, or even the Caribbean (I just signed copies of one of my books bought at Best of Books by someone placing the order from St. Kitts). Between this and all of the online options for purchasing, I do hope you will consider ordering now – it’s a small thing you can do for an author you love or a book you’re anticipating to help boost it in the marketplace. (Source – me)

Assistance

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize has worked to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda since 2004, as a legal non-profit since 2021. From its inception, Wadadli Pen’s work has been voluntary, and, at this writing, it remains so. If you want to work with us (either as a volunteer or an intern – the latter ideal for college students seeking experience and mentorship), see this page for details. To contribute to the 2023 Wadadli Pen Challenge season, or to Wadadli Pen generally, see here.

(Source – in-house)

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Antiguan artist and art teacher, Rhonda Williams, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She’s relocated to the US and needs assistance covering the costs for treatment. Here’s her go fund me. (Source – Intersect Antigua on Twitter)

RIPs

“From helping found the Environmental Awareness Group and the Antigua Yacht Club, to her invaluable work with the national museum, the incredible legacy of Lisa Nicholson will continue to reverberate for many years to come.” (Daily Observer by Newsco)

Nicholson died March 20th 2023 at age 88. With her husband Desmond, she was not just active but pioneering in Antigua and Barbuda’s yachting sector – and its byproducts, such as Antigua Sailing Week and the Classic Yacht Regatta, research and restoration in their local English Harbour community and the island generally – including the works of the Dockyard and Museum, and environmental preservation – via the EAG.

“And she was an active member of many community organisations including the Expression Choir, Friends of Holberton Hospital, Sunnyside School, and the St Paul’s Crisis Intervention Group.” (Observer by Newsco)

The Expression Choir sang for the longtime community activist shortly before her death as she had done (as a member of the choir) for many others over the years. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)

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Montserrat is mourning the loss of its literary lion Howard Fergus.

Fergus died on March 23rd. He wrote poetry and non-fiction primarily if not exclusively about Montserrat. His publications include Montserrat: History of a Caribbean Colony, Volcano Verses, The Arrow Poems and Sunday Soup, Obama and Other Poems, and Road from Long Ground: The Twilight Years. (Source – House of Nehesi Publishers on Twitter)

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Our previous Carib Lit Plus shared the news of the passing of Dominican literary giant Alwyn Bully. We wanted to excerpt a couple of the tributes to enhance knowledge of his contribution to the arts. This one is from historian and writer also from Dominica Lennox Honeychurch (excerpt): “Alwin Bully was born in Roseau in on 23 November,1948 and was educated at the Convent Preparatory School, the Dominica Grammar School, the St. Mary’s Academy and the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill. He returned to teach at his old Alma Mater, eventually serving as its headmaster. During this time, he was deeply involved in promoting all aspects of the arts in Dominica including drama, painting, dance, folk traditions, creative writing and carnival. In 1965 he represented Dominica at the Commonwealth Arts Festival in Britain along with members of the Kairi and Dominica Dance troupes. In 1978, with the encouragement of then Minister of Education, H. L. Christian, he established the ‘cultural desk’ in the Ministry of Community Development which became the Cultural Division. In 1987 he left Dominica to work at the regional office of UNESCO in Jamaica, applying his creative skills to the wider Caribbean. Alwin Bully designed the national flag in early 1978 in preparation for the gaining of independence from Britain later that year and the Cabinet made certain small alterations to the original design. The flag was legally established by Act No. 18 of 1978, The National Emblems of Dominica Act, signed by the Governor, Sir Louis Cools-Lartigue on 31 October 1978, Gazetted 1 November 1978 and effective 3 November 1978.”

This one is from St. Lucian researcher and poet John Robert Lee (whose email blasts I reference often in this series): “Alwin was a close friend from our years at Cave Hill from 1969. We acted together and taught theatre workshops in many islands. He was one of those seminal figures of my youth who remained a formative influence. Our friends were the generation of artists, writers, theatre persons throughout the Caribbean with whom we formed lasting friendships. Both our own age group and older friends like Kamau Brathwaite, Derek Walcott, Rex Nettleford, Lorna Goodison and many others. We were children of those dynamic 70’s when so much was happening in our Caribbean in the arts and culture, popular music, politics, literature, ideas etc etc. He was the star, the leader among us. Now in our mid seventies, our generation is slowly but surely moving on….” (Source – JR Lee email)

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Jennifer Rahim, an award winning Trinidadian and Tobagonian writer of poetry, fiction, and literary criticism, has died. She is the author of Mothers are Not the Only Linguists: and Other Poems for which she was named writer of the year by the Writers Union of Trinidad and Tobago (1992), Songster and Other Stories (2007), Casa de las Americas prize winning Approaching Sabbaths (2009), Redemption Rain: Poems (2011), Ground Level: Poems (2014), Bocas prize winning Curfew Chronicles: A Fiction (2017), and Sanctuaries of Invention (2021). Paper-Based Bookstore in tribute to her said, “Her backlist remains sought-after by students, critics, as well as everyday lovers of literature. She was a thoughtful & tremendously intelligent correspondent, whose updates on new writing we always looked forward to receiving. We recommend her bibliography without hesitation.” ETA: Jennifer has a book, Goodbye Bay, forthcoming July 2023 with Peepal Tree Press.

Book synopsis: It is 1963, one year after Independence, and Trinidadians are beginning to wonder what they can expect. But for Anna Bridgemohan, the year is one of crisis. Her mother has just died, bringing to the fore issues about Anna’s parentage, and she has broken up with her boyfriend. Since they both work at the central post office in Port of Spain, she decides to take up a temporary post in the small coastal village of Macaima, remote and declining cocoa country whose simpler rhythms, she thinks, will give her space and time to reflect, away from the pressures of the city and the intense political discussions at work. But neither space nor time is granted; the life of Macaima passes through the post office, and there is no way Anna can hold herself aloof from the stories that the villagers bring. Long before the year is up, Anna has been immersed in an intense seasoning in Macaima that will change her for ever. (Source – Paper-Based Books on Twitter)

Events

The theme of this year’s US Virgin Islands Literary Festival & Book Fair, a virtual and in-person live event, set for April 13th – 16th 2023, is “Carrying: Recognition and Repair” – also the theme for volume 37 of The Caribbean Writer, currently being prepped for publication. The headliner will be Charmaine Wilkerson, New York Times bestselling author of Black Cake, with Augustown author Kei Miller, A Million Aunties author Alecia McKenzie, Now Lila Knows author Elizabeth Nunez, and Fear of Black Consciousness author Lewis Gordon among the supporting cast of writers. Planned workshops cover topics like “Using Virgin Islands History to Write Fiction” by Tiphanie Yanique, “Teaching Caribbean/Virgin Islands Literature in Virgin Islands Classroom” by Velma Pollard, writing plot, building character, weaving setting, writing about political controversy, writing poetry, and writing for children and publishing. The popular Book Bacchanal reception will be held at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts. The festival also has a Children’s Corner and among the authors in this genre expected to hang there, real or remotely, are Denene Milner, Tohira Durand, Michael Fleming. The Festival will also pay tribute to unsung Virgin Islanders like Valerie Combie, Vincent Cooper, and Joan Medlicott. Announcement of prizes for pieces published in The Caribbean Writer will be announced during the festival. For more information visit: http://www.usvilitfest.com or email usvilitfest@gmail.com (Source – JR Lee)

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Soothe, a neo-soul-ish talent showcase and lime in Antigua and Barbuda was back to live events at Sugar Ridge on March 11th 2023 for the first time since the pandemic (a time during which they ran the online Sessions by Soothe series). The Resurgence, as it was called, included award winning pannist and Culture director Khan Cordice, soca queen Claudette Peters, among other singers – Arlen Seaton, Christian Ivy, etc., groups like the Serenade jazz ensemble, spoken word artist Kadeem Joseph, and singer Laikan (covered twice recently in CREATIVE SPACE), among others; a reported 16 performers. And Soothe (started in 2014 by Gemma Hazelwood and Taslim Gordon) with its line-up and stylized ambience delivered the vibes to its stylish audience.

Images from Soothe on Facebook. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)

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St. Anthony’s Secondary School ‘Make It Art Fest’ competition and family fun day has been announced for April 1st 2023. Categories include painting, drawing, and face painting. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)

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HAMA Films, the independent film company (producer Mitzi Allen, and co-producer/director husband Howard Allen) that brought Antigua and Barbuda it’s first full length feature film with The Sweetest Mango back in 2001 premiered its fifth film, Deep Blue first in Barbuda, March 11th, and on March 25th, in Antigua. There was an advanced screening in Montserrat late in 2022 during the Alliougana Festival of the Word.

Early reviews of the premiere event and the film itself on social media have been positive. Example, this one from Colin John Jenkins, prominent architect known for his commentary on various things including life in Antigua and films, “

Movie Review: Deep Blue

Last night was a really nice outing man. Familiar faces, both ladies and gents dressed up and such, and the venue was aptly set for the first showing of Deep Blue.

Without giving away too much, the plot focuses on the familiar story of development in a small island state, corruption, village politics, and environmental issues. Very timely, if I don’t say so myself.

It was really cool seeing people I know stepping up like this and the cinematography was enjoyable as the punch lines.

We do have great access to actors here and I hope the film industry and these kinda events continue to grow.

Maybe I might even do a 15-minute short film after this inspiration right here.

Kudos to everyone involved! I enjoyed it.

(Source – various on Facebook)

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In Jamaica, there’s the ArtWalk Festival. What’s that? It’s a free public arts event, the last Sunday of the month, that showcases artistic and cultural talent (dancers, musicians, visual artists, poets, writers) in Jamaica. Partially funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, it is a Kingston Creative project started in 2018 and held in Downtown Kingston. March’s theme is Literature and Storytelling and poet and activist Stacey-ann Chin was the announced special guest for the March 24th meet-up and this is the March 26th festival line-up:

(Source – Twitter)

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The Bocas Lit Fest will be back live for the first time since the pandemic April 28th to 30th 2023 in Trinidad and Tobago. Booked authors announced include authors who’ve dropped acclaimed texts in the intervening years including Celia Sorhaindo (Guabancex, 2020, and Radical Normalisation, 2022), Sharma Taylor (What a Mother’s Love don’t Teach You, 2022), Cherie Jones (How the One-Armed Sister sweeps Her House, 2021), Alake Pilgrim (Zo and The Forest of Secrets, 2022), and Ayamna Lloyd Banwo (When We were Birds, 2022) among others. See also the kids’ programme. (Source – N/A)

Accolades

Jamaican writer Marcia Douglas has been announced as the 2023 winner of the Whiting Award for Fiction.

Read more about Marcia here. Here are all the current winners. (Source – Whiting Foundation on Twitter)

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Recognising the winners of Priest Kailash of Antigua and Barbuda’s annual African Heritage/Black History essay competiion and the programme itself. Winners were announced during an awards ceremony at Cortsland Hotel and received laptops and tablets. These are 12-year-old Gloria Sampson, Raffael Davis, and Tezjah Smith. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)

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Sandra Pouchet Paquet of Trinidad and Tobago is this year’s recipient of the Bocas Swanzy Award for distinguished service to Caribbean Letters: “in recognition of her pioneering contributions to the fields of academia, literature, and cultural studies.” The award is for editors, broadcasters, publishers, critics, and others working behind the scenes in service to Caribbean literature. Pouchet Paquet is remembered as a pioneering scholar in the field of Caribbean literary studies – “her book The Novels of George Lamming (Heinemann, 1980) remains a seminal text” – and many of us, Caribbean writers, also remember her Caribbean Writers Summer Institute out of the University of Miami in the early to mid-1990s. I (Joanne C. Hillhouse) attended in 1995, the programme’s penultimate year; it was my first international workshop and reading – and it was life changing. Credit to Pouchet Paquet, the programme’s director, for, as Bocas said, “shap(ing) the careers of a generation of authors”. Pouchet Paquet is also the founder of Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal. She will receive her award on April 29th 2023. (Source – Bocas email)

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Jamaican writer Colin Channer is one of Poets & Writers announced recipients of the 2023 Writers for Writers award. A committee made up of present and past members of the P & W board of directors made the decision. The committee’s chair, literary agent Eric Simonoff, commented: “We are thrilled to celebrate these three [Channer, Reyna Grande, and Celeste Ng] outstanding authors and one extraordinary editor [Jennifer Hershey], who have each shown a deep commitment to broadening the literary conversation. Through their dedication to writers and writing and their insistence on the importance of representation, they have enriched the publishing landscape immeasurably—to the benefit of us all.” The awards will be presented on March 27th 2023. Channer is best known for his fiery first novel Waiting in Vain and for being a co-founder of the Calabash International Literary Festival. (Source – Christian Campbell on Twitter)

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Jamaican Ishion Hutchinson is to receive the Susannah Hunnewell Prize, which honors a writer for an outstanding piece of prose or poetry published by The Paris Review in the previous calendar year. The prize was established in 2023 in memory of Hunnewell, who worked with the magazine for over 30 years up to her three-year stint as editor, the role she held at the time of her death in 2019. Hutchinson is the prize’s first winner for an essay entitled “Women Sweeping”, published in the Spring 2022 issue (no. 239). (Source – JR Lee email)

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One of if not the Caribbean’s most coveted literary prizes, OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, has announced its 2023 long list. In poetry, the celebrated writers are Michael Fraser (The Day-Breakers), Anthony Joseph (Sonnets for Albert), and Pamela Mordecai (de book of Joseph); in fiction Marlon James (Moon Witch, Spider King), Ayanna Lloyd Banwo (When We were Birds), and Jasmine Sealy (The Island of Forgetting); and, in non-fiction, Ira Mathur (Love the Dark Days), Patricia Joan Saunders (Buyers Beward: Insurgency and Consumption in Caribbean Popular Culture), and Godfrey Smith (Diary of a Recovering Politician). Fraser is Canadian with Caribbean roots, Joseph and Banwo are UK-based Trinis, Mordecai a Canada-based Jamaican, James a US based Jamaican, Sealy a British born Barbadian Canadian, Mathur an Indian born Trinidadian, Saunders lives in the US (I am unsure of the specific island connection but she is part of the Caribbean diaspora) and Smith is a Belizean.

The winners of the genre and main prizes will be announced during the Bocas lit fest which returns to live for the first time during the pandemic, April 28th – 30th. This is the 13th year of the prize; past main prize winners are Derek Walcott (White Egrets), Earl Lovelace (Is Just a Movie), Monique Roffey (Archipelago), Robert Antoni (Like Flies to Watless Boys), Vladimir Lucien (Sounding Ground), Olive Senior (The Pain Tree), Kei Miller (Augustown), Jennifer Rahim (Curfew Chronicles), Kevin Adonis Browne (High Mas), Richard Georges (Epiphaneia), Canisia Lubrin (The Dyzgraphxst), Celeste Mohammed (Pleasantview). If you’re in to stats, that’s six writers from Trinidad and Tobago, three from St.Lucia, two from Jamaica, and one from the British Virgin Islands; and six books of fiction, four books of poetry, and two non-fiction books. (Source – JR Lee email)

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Guadeloupean writer Maryse Condé, 89, is on the International Booker Prize long list. I mention her age as its been revealed that she is the oldest writer ever to make the list. Her longlisted book is The Book According to The New World, translated by her husband Richard Philcox. Per this article, “[they] are the first husband-and-wife team ever nominated for the prize. Condé, who has a degenerative neurological disorder that makes it difficult to see, dictated The Gospel According to the New World to Philcox, who then translated it into English.” Condé was previously shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2015. (Source – Facebook)

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Grenadian filmmaker Teddy Frederick’s documentary film New Land: The Kalinago Dream has picked up awards at the Tokyo International Short Film Festival and the Rome International Movie Awards.

It has received honourable mention at the Munich New Wave Short Film Festival, and is an official selection at the Amsterdam International Awards, the Berlin Lift-Off Film Festival, and the Nouveaux Regards Film Festival. These selections place it in contention for more accolades. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)

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The Derek Walcott Prize was awarded in 2022 to Saddiq Dzukogi’s Your Crib, My Qibla. The prize, named for St. Lucia’s late Nobel Laureate, is awarded in a partnership between Arrowsmith Press, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Walcott Festival. (Source – JR Lee email)

Arts and Culture

Tropical Fete led off this year’s art and culture column series CREATIVE SPACE. It’s annual report, just in to my inbox,highlights its top three accomplishments of the past year as its cultural enrichment programmes in the areas of music and dance; the mas in Time’s Square and at the Brooklyn Public Library experiences; and providing college scholarships to two students. Twenty 23 goals include finding a location from which to operate 24 /7, game app development, and continued exploration of art and culture in relation to mental and physical health in a research setting. Read the full report.

(Source – Tropical Fete email)

***

Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority has announced a new festival: Antigua and Barbuda Art Week April 16 – 22. The line-up of activities notably omits literary arts despite the number of published books by Antiguans and Barbudans, and past community-organized literary art showcases like the Antigua and Barbudan International Literary Festival, Wadadli Stories Book Fair, and the Wadadli Pen organized Word Up!. That line-up, as published on visitantiguabarbuda.com, is a schools art competition just posted in Opportunities Too; an art week exhibition at the Boom at Gun Powder House and the V C Bird International Airport with artists like Heather Doram and Mark Brown and fashion designers like Argent and Nicoya Henry announced; art walks and studio tours (with stops at galleries like Zemis, Guava de Artist, Fig Tree, Edison Arts, the Hunts, Rhythm of Blue, Papa Zouk, Ana’s on the Beach, Copper and Lumber, Abracadabra, and Art Cafe in Barbuda); movies under the stars (not sure which movies are to be featured but the time and venue are April 19 and a place named “garrot blacks” – a name that perhaps needs some unpacking especially when you add its gorilla motif); an artist showcase on April 21st spotlighting performing artists in the musical and spoken word space (no names announced at the link); and on April 22nd, a sip and paint activity led by Gerron Farquharson at Greencastle Ranch. Here’s a posted promo video spotlighting Doram in her studio.

(Source – Daily Observer by Newsco.)

Opportunities

March 25th 2023 is the date for the previously reported Celeste Mohammed short story writing workshop. It is being held via zoom and costs US$100.

Get started here. (Source – Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival email)

***

The Caribbean Media Awards is open for submissions and will remain so until April 12th 2023. Details of the various categories, across various media platforms and topics, are listed and linked in the Opportunities Too database. The awards are being held this year in partnership with the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, with the addition of a category focussed on a healthy Caribbean. Per an emailed press release, “As the effort continues to promote healthy food policies, the region’s lead advocacy body in this area, the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) will be recognising print journalists who are covering this area, and doing so well.” The prize will include a trophy as well as a US$500 bursary for the award winner to produce additional material under the theme. Example of topics that would be a good fit for this theme include school food environments, healthy food fiscal policies, and efforts to strengthen regional food labelling. Entries must have been published between January 1st and December 31st 2023, and can be submitted through April 12th 2023. Again full award details here. (Source – personal inbox)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid March 2023)

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 – credit and link back if you use).

Music Drop

New from Antiguan and Barbudan artist’s Laikan’s The Lore.

Read about it in CREATIVE SPACE. (Source – Laikan on Instagram)

Opportunities

To empower researchers in sharing their research, Antigua and Barbuda’s Education Ministry will be hosting its third annual research symposium, Wednesdays in May 2023, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Interested researchers are invited to submit abstracts up to 300 words in editable Word format to MOEresearchantigua@gmail.com by March 24th 2023. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)

***

The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Fest has announced that it will be holding workshops ahead of its annual short story contest. Read about the first of them and more in Opportunities Too. (Source – BCLF email)

Events

Late Brooklyn born artist of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent Jean-Michel Basquiat continues to be relevant. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts ran an October 2022 to February 2023 exhibition “Seeing Loud: Basquiat and Music”. “Organized in collaboration with the Musée de la musique – Philharmonie de Paris, Seeing Loud: Basquiat and Music is the first large-scale multidisciplinary exhibition devoted to the role of music in the work of one of the most innovative artists of the second half of the 20th century.” – Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

“Released in English and French by the MMFA’s Publishing Department, in collaboration with Éditions Gallimard, this catalogue is an unprecedented study of the role of music in Basquiat’s painting. It includes essays by major art, music and culture historians as well as interviews with public figures who knew Basquiat or who were inspired by his work, such as George Condo, Anna Domino, Fab 5 Freddy, Michael Holman, Lee Jaffe, Nick Taylor and Toxic. It also includes new compositions by American poet Thomas Sayers Ellis and saxophonist James Brandon Lewis.

Richly illustrated, the book is divided into four sections, which follow the exhibition’s main themes and trace the history of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s artistic production. Each section comes with a playlist to further immerse readers in the artist’s sonic landscapes.”

This catalogue can actually be purchased online. (Source – a good friend who keeps me up on culture)

***

Barbadian visual artist Sheena Rose‘s Earth Black Lipstick Solo Show has been on at Johansson Projects, a gallery space in California since February 2023. Here she is with her mom and one of the images from the show.

The show is scheduled to run to April 1st 2023. (Source – Sheena Rose on Facebook)

RIP

Alwyn Bully of Dominica, founder and first chair of the Nature Island Literary Festival, passed on March 10th 2023.

(Bully pictured with Natalie Clarke White at the NILF)

While most recently known in this space, he has a long string of accomplishments including being the designer of the Dominica flag, a playwright, director, graphic artist, set designer, poet, short story writer, Carnival costume designer, and composer. His accolades include Dominica’s second highest honour, the Sisserou, induction in to Jamaica’s Culture for Development Hall of Fame, the National Drama Association of Trinidad and Tobago Cacique Award for contribution to regional theatre, the University of Technology of Jamaica’s Arts Award, the University of the West Indies Alumni Award of Excellence and a doctrate for his contribution to Caribbean society in the field of art and culture, the Golden Drum Award from Dominica’s National Cultural Council, and the LIME Creole Lifetime Achievement Award. He has worked as UNESCO’s Caribbean Culture advisor, chaired the CARIFESTA regional advisory body, was advisor to the Ministry of Culture in Dominica and a board member with the Festivals Commission. He has written 10 full length plays (including 2007’s “Hit for Six”, 2010’s “A Handful of Dirt”, and 2018’s “Oseyi and the Masqueraders” – all of which he directed), four radio serials, four screenplays, and numerous short stories. (Source – Nature Island Literary Festival on Facebook)

***

Halycon Steel Orchestra has lost soloist, percussionist, arranger, and pan player Fitzroy ‘Blakey’ Philip, who joined the Grays Green based pan orchestra in 1978 at just age 13. They describe him as an integral part of Halcyon’s 10 panorama titles – a utility player who could do it all, “the real deal”. More than that, though, it is the man they celebrate as they mourn, saying in Antigua and Barbuda’s Daily Observer newspaper, ‘To Halcyon you represented everything that was good and pure.. You were indeed the “heart” of the band.’ His individual accolades include being selected national solo champion in 1993 and his community contributions include being an instructor with the Halcyon school of pan. “We still feel like we’re in a bad dream and we are not ready to wake up without you.” – Halcyon and the entire pan fraternity. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco.)

***

Politician and personal friend of the deceased Senator Shawn Nicholas eulogized Ivor Ford, a public figure with many roles perhaps best captured by her when she said at this funeral, “I never quite understood his role back then, but he was a staple at ABS Radio & Television, and was ever present to guide the younger ones in the field of broadcast media.” ABS could perhaps be substituted for the public sphere and the commentary he provided covered a wide span of public sector issues. Nicholas mentioned some of the projects she collaborated with Ford (also a producer of a number of the youth educational programmes which were staples on ABS) on, including The 150th Anniversary of the See and the City of St. John’s for the Anglican church in 1992 and the revised edition of historical tome The Struggle and the Conquest by Novelle Richards. She expressed a desire to continue the work started by Ford’s LAVONGEL foundation started in 2021 to document the history of Antigua and Barbuda “and to put to use the volumes of documents stored in the Fort Knox Archives that capture dates, times, places, and persons, and the social political history of Antigua and Barbuda.” (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco.)

Books and Other Reading Material

River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer was launched in January 2023. Named a Good Morning, America book club pick, and one of Book Riot and BookBub‘s most anticipated, it is set in a Barbados caught between slavery and freedom – i.e. during the interim period known as apprenticeship in the then British West Indies. Rejecting apprenticeship the fictional Rachel runs away and travels the Caribbean to find her children, presumably sold away during enslavement. It was the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival’s February read and was discussed on their Cocoa Pod podcast. The author is the grandchild of Windrush immigrants (from Barbados and St. Lucia) to Britain from the Caribbean. (Source – BCLF email)

***

To be a Cheetah, a collaboration between writer Joanne C. Hillhouse and artist Zavian Archibald, both of Antigua and Barbuda, is available for pre-order as announced in Publisher’s Weekly. It lands on July 4th and is currently available for pre-order. (Source – me)

***

March 1st kicked off Women’s History Month and a new CREATIVE SPACE landed on that day. It features two young Antiguan and Barbudan women in conversation. Read it here and watch below.

(Source – me)

***

Anderson Reynolds’  They Called Him Brother George: Portrait of a Caribbean Politician, is now in stores. The Vieux Fort Launch is at 4PM Sunday 5 March at the American Medical University building, and the Castries Launch is at 6:30 PM Saturday 18 March, at the Financial Center, Pt. Seraphine. The VFort South Parliamentary Rep, Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, is expected to provide special remarks at the Vieux Fort Launch, while Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre is expected to do so at the Castries Launch.

The book captures from multiple perspectives the political, artistic, and personal life of George Odlum. (Source – email Jako Productions) 

Wadadli Pen

Michaela Harris was a Wadadli Pen finalist in 2012; she would work with the project as an intern in 2017.

We missed last season; we missed the start of this year; but we will have a Wadadli Pen Challenge in 2023. We need help though. See our recently posted Interns and Volunteers page and let us know if you can be that help. (Source – in house)

Accolades

Wadadli Pen team member Barbara Arrindell is one of several women celebrated by the United Progress Party Women’s Forum. “For reinforcing the human right to freedom of information, via social media, and for balanced national discussion of political and social issues, respectively: Dr.  Jacqui Quinn and Barbara Arrindell.” Arrindell who has written for the Outlet, Observer, Antigua Sun, and other publications, in addition to being an author, bookseller, and consultant, is the current host of Observer Radio’s Big Issues. Veteran broadcaster and politician Quinn hosts the station’s morning show. (Source – Antigua Newsroom)

***

The Bocas Long List has been announced.

Nine writers – three based in the region – from Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Belize are in the running for the region’s most coveted book prize. On the poetry long list are Grenada born Canadian Michael Fraser (The Day-Breakers), Trinidad born United Kingdom based Anthony Joseph (Sonnets for Albert), and Jamaica born Canada based Pamela Mordecai (de book of Joseph), with special mention made of Guyanese born UK writeer John Agard’s Border Zone and Trinidad and Tobago writer Andre Bagoo’s Narcissus. In the fiction category are US based Jamaica born Marlon James (Moon Witch, Spider King), UK based Trinidad and Tobago born writer Ayanna Lloyd Banwo (When We Were Birds), and Barbadian-Canadian Jasmine Sealy (The Island of Forgetting). The longlisted non-fiction books were written by India born Trinidadian Ira Mathur (Love the Dark Days), Trinidad born US based Patricia Joan Saunders (Buyers Beware: Insurgency and Consumption in Caribbean Popular Culture), and Belizean Godfrey Smith (Diary of a Recovering Politician). Read about the books and authors, and read up on Bocas here. (Source – Bocas on Facebook)

***

Fire Rush by Jamaica-born British writer Jacqueline Crooks has been longlisted for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction.

It is one of 16 books in the running for the prestigious prize. Set amid the Jamaican diaspora in London at the dawn of 1980s, Fire Rush is described as a mesmerizing story of love, loss, and self-discovery that vibrates with the liberating power of music. Crooks’ short stories have been shortlisted for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize and the BBC National Short Story Award. Her story collection, The Ice Migration, was longlisted for The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. Fire Rush is her first novel.

(Source – Eric Karl Anderson on YouTube)

The winning essays in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Antigua and Barbuda’s essay competition are by Kaleb Hatton, Zanaba Simon, and Tella Martin. They wrote in response to the theme “Tribute to an African Queen” with 14-year-old Tella of Christ the King High School and Kaylee, 12, of Sir Novelle Richards Academy both writing about their moms, and Zanaba, 11, of the Nyabinghi Theocracy Church School writing about Queen Nzingha of Ndongo and Matamba (read about her in my She’s Royal series). (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)

***

Canadian writer of Antiguan and Barbudan descent Motion (Wendy Brathwaite) is a writer on the digital series Revenge of the Black Best Friend which has been nominated for nine Canadian Screen Awards. The series features on all-Black writers room. Motion’s penned episode “The First One to Die” is up for Best Writing. It is one of two episodes written by her in the 2022 season. (Source – Motion email)

***

Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Award for Arts and Letters to Antiguan and Barbudan writer and Wadadli Pen founder (that’s me…and what can I say but #gratitude). Read about it and watch video on my Jhohadli blog.

ETA: Observer Radio did a Big Issues segment about the award, and I’ve clipped and uploaded it to my channel:

(Source – me)

***

Sixteen young Barbudans were feted during Antigua’s sister islands first solo youth awards – a National Youth Awards covering youths in the entire country already exists. Among the recipients of awards, in the arts, are young poet-writer award honoree Kaylean Williams and young artisan Kyrollos Greaux. Culinary arts awardee was Glenesha Payne while Allyson Turner won for Culture and Performing Arts. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late May 2022)

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).

Publications

SOS: Season of Storms by Fabian Adekunle Badejo was released in 2021 by House of Nehesi in St. Martin. Endorser Jeannine Hall Gailey described the book as “A frank, passionate description of a life in the Caribbean impacted by hurricanes, power outages, health crises, and pandemic. …also highlights the region’s history of racial injustice and provides insight into St. Martin protests.” (Source – publisher email)

***

Alwyn Bully’s book The Cocoa Dancer and Other Stories dropped late last year. The stories are set in several Caribbean islands including his own Dominica. One of the book’s endorser’s, quoted in Dominica News Online, Trinidadian director/playwright, Rawle Gibbons, described it as “one of victory over historical suffering, political apocalypse and person tragedy. There can be no more urgent time for this message than now.” (Source – Caribbean Writers and Poets on instagram)

Events

There’s a visual art exhibition on at Government House, Antigua, until June 13th 2022. It features the work of art teachers and it’s free. (Source – Facebook)

***

Babu is one of Antigua and Barbuda’s premiere pannists with his work with Halcyon Steel Orchestra and the National Youth Pan Orchestra among his contributions to culture and nation building. Proceeds from the concert are to offset his medical costs. (Source – Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra’s facebook page)

***

July 12th is Caribbean Literature Day, which began in 2020 with this declaration by St. Martin’s House of Nehesi Publishers, which is once again urging regional participation.

(Source – House of Nehesi Publishers email)

ARTS News

Your kids are plugged in to the world wide web anyway, Bocas Storytime on YouTube is somewhere wholesome and fun to direct their attention.

Yes, it’s been mentioned before but it bears repeating. (Source – Bocas email)

***

Antiguan and Barbudan reggae artist Causion (Gregory Bailey) has recently undergone surgery for colon cancer. The 11-hour surgery took place in Florida. Reportedly his song ‘Thank you’ was played during the surgery. Causion has a charity by the same name – its aim to support him and other artists fighting cancer or other diseases.

I remember years ago, Causion running a music festival in the Falmouth area at which the price of entry was a canned food item that, I believe, went back directly to the community, so he’s been about cooperation for a long time. For now, he has to cooperate with his doctor’s recovery plan for him which is months of rest. We wish him well. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

***

This isn’t exactly new – it was announced back in December 2021 – but its certainly news that Jamaican writer Marlon James has landed a series order from HBO and the UK’s Channel 4 for a six-part crime drama ‘Get Millie Black’, which he will be writing and co-executive-producing. Read about it in Deadline. (Source – N/A)

Accolades

Leone Ross of Jamaica and the United Kingdom has won the 2021 Manchester writing competition. This is the UK’s biggest prize for unpublished fiction. In acknowledgment of the prize, Ross said, “I have such affection and respect for the Manchester Prize – one of few in the UK that celebrates the short story so very generously. Whether subversive, experimental or just thumpingly good old fashioned story-telling, the Fiction Prize reminds us that the short story is a fluid space for amusement, beauty and politics alike. ‘When We Went Gallivanting’ is about the increasing gap between rich and poor, about dancing in the face of injustice, and it imagines a reclamation of joy in the very architecture around us. The story celebrates every-day miracles, not least its lead character, Athena Righteous-Fury, a fat, Black woman, surviving and thriving and inspiring just as she is. My deepest thanks to the judges, for their time and consideration in the name of Carol Ann Duffy, who established the prize. To know that you’re trying and becoming a better writer, for that effort to be acknowledged, is a very special experience.” Read the Manchester fiction writing short list here. (Source – Leone Ross social media)

***

In 2021 (late again) blogger Harmony Farrell was announced as Bocas’ Youth Award winner. The first, I believe. Trinidad-Tobago specific, I also believe. Judging by this, she seems to be the only one to date. You can read her blog here. (Source – N/A)

***

Virgin Islander Daisy Lafond was 3rd honourable mention in the 2021 Anita McAndrews poetry contest for her poem ‘Only among the Wise’. (Source – Email)

***

Romance novelist Kimolisa Mings emerged winner of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Love and Wanderlust short story competition – a first time initiative that will see the winning piece, ‘Rule No. 3’, integrated in to the national tourism campaign. Mings is a self-published novelist of romance ebooks in the double digits plus print books that include a poetry collection (see Antiguan and Barbudan Writing). Her win comes with a $1000 cheque. Full disclosure (JCH): I was brought on board by the ABTA as a consulting judge for Love and Wanderlust, and they have also offered to sponsor participation of two of the finalists in my upcoming workshop, which per my Jhohadli Writing Project schedule takes place on June 3rd 2022. Thanks to ABTA and Congratulations to Kimolisa and the other finalists. (Source – Antiguanice.com)

***

Jamaican publisher Tanya Batson-Savage Cine Qua Non Lab, a screenwriter’s lab in Mexico that gives independent filmmakers from around the world the opportunity to work intensively on their feature-length narrative scripts. Batson-Savage will be working on ‘Escape to Last Man Peak’. In her announcement on social media, she said, “Writing is the most important part of my creative life, but increasingly, it’s the thing I do the least. I’m therefore beyond thrilled that my project Escape to Last Man Peak has been selected to be part of @cinequanonlab Storylines lab 2022! Looking forward to the meeting the 17 other filmmakers from Brazil, Canada, Finland, Guatemala, India, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden and the United States. Most of all, I’m looking forward to the writing.” (Source – Tanya Batson-Savage’s social media)

***

The Commonwealth Writers short list has been announced and the top writer from the Caribbean is Jamaica’s Diana McCaulay, who previously won the regional prize in 2012 for ‘The Dolphin Catcher’. Her short-listed story this time around is ‘Bridge over the Yallahs River’. Commonwealth Writers’ 2022 short list also includes Ntsiki Kota of Eswatini, winner for the Africa region; Sofia Mariah Ma of Singapore for Asia; Cecil Browne of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom for Canada and Europe; and Mary Rokonadravu of Fiji for the Pacific. More here. (Source – Twitter)

Opportunities

Bocas lit fest has in its June workshop line-up a three-part series on Writing for Children. Tracey Baptiste will explore writing fantasy, Carol Mitchell character and development, and Jeunanne Alkins design and illustration.

Here’s where you register. (Source – Bocas email)

***

This is a gentle reminder related to the call for applications and nominations of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes 2022. Every year, the prizes are organized around a specific theme. This year’s focus is on: ‘Transforming literacy learning spaces’. The nomination process is taking place via an online platform. An applicant can request the access to the online application form through this link. All applications will go through a nomination process by the National Commissions for UNESCO or an NGO maintaining official relations with UNESCO. The deadline for the candidates to submit an application to the nominating entities is set on 6 June 2022. The deadline for nominations is Sunday 20 June 2022. Any enquiries with regard to the application and nomination process should be addressed to the Secretariat of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes, located within the Section of Youth, Literacy and Skills Development of the UNESCO Education Sector (phone: +33 1 45 68 08 59; e-mail: literacyprizes@unesco.org).

***

The Caribbean Development Bank and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) and its partners are teaming up through The Caribbean Animation Business Network to produce the Caribbean animation business model. It’s a way of collating resources and attract global opportunities. They put out a call for people (not sure if it’s specifically creatives and/or animators) to help them research, develop, and test the model. Here’s where you register. Looks like it requires Company information, Professional Skills and Training, and Sector Experience. (Source – Cultural and Creative Industries Innovation Fund email)

***

This is a reminder (since it was mentioned in the last bulletin) that we should all be scribbling away in preparation to submit to the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival short story contest. The BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writer’s Prize seeks to unearth hidden storytellers in the United States and Canada and is open to unpublished writers of Caribbean heritage. The BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean, on the other hand, is open exclusively to Caribbean writers of all levels who reside and work in the Caribbean. The 2022 BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest will award $1750US in cash for each of the two prizes for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (3000 words max). Submissions close on July 1st, 2022, 11:59 pm EST. Katia D. Ulysse and Ifeona Fulani will judge the BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writer’s Prize . Tanya Savage-Batson and Ayesha Gibson-Gill will judge the BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean. This and more is on the Opportunities Too page; check it out. (Source – BCLF email)

***

The Catapult Caribbean arts grant programme for 2022 has wrapped but I thought I’d share the video of the virtual mixer held by the organizers to discuss the programme and meet the artists and learn how the grant initiative has impacted us.

(Source – CATAPULT: A Caribbean Arts Grant on YouTube)

***

The Bocas Lit fest workshops continues with a June 4th 2022 session led by Debbie Jacob.

Jacob is an award-winning journalist, author, librarian, and prison reform activist, whose career spans over three decades and books such as Wishing for Wings and Making Waves: How the West Indies Shaped the United States. (Source – Bocas email)

***

There is a new initiative (Creative Caribbean) designed to boost creative industry or what’s being called the orange economy via UNESCO. Per project documents, it “seeks to develop a robust creative ecosystem in the region, to enable more globally competitive creative businesses; support increased training and capacity building; and strengthen the enabling environment in relation to policy, planning, incentives and legislation.” Up to 15 Caribbean countries are eligible; check the links and documents shared below re your eligibility. The application process (reading the information provided – copied below) seems steep if not prohibitive, plus it’s a lot of documentation. But as I am trying to do, I encourage Caribbean artists to read through and try to see if you can find rungs to clear the hurdles if you could use the money – and couldn’t we all. Submit application by June 16th 2022. (Source – Antiguan and Barbudan writer Kimolisa Mings on Facebook)

Remember to see Opportunities and Opportunities Too which are always being updated.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Personal Highlights from NILF and the Nature Isle

So the question I think I got most at the Nature Island Literary Festival was some version of what do you do? Ironic, considering I was at a literary festival, but understandable when you consider that most of us aren’t able to live by the pen. I ought to know. I’m living it, and way too often, it’s touch and go; other times though, weekends like this, it’s filled with words and laughter and opportunities to connect with other writers from our too far apart islands, to bathe in the language and creative spunk and spark of my people.

Me, with Barbadian poet Adrian Green who much to the delight of the audience performed twice during the festival. (Photo courtesy Celia Sorhaindo)

Highlights

I was able while at the NILF to re-connect with a former professor and mentor from my University of the West Indies days, Mervyn Morris

With former mentor and professor, Mervyn Morris. (Photo by Natalie Clarke)

; to re-connect with a newer friend from the land of publishing, Mario Picayo; to connect for the first time with the supremely talented Bajan brother Adrian Green, one of my festival favourites; to sit and chat with literary elder and engaging storyteller George Lamming (whomI’d seen speak a couple of times and whom I’d met before but never heard read from his work nor got the opportunity or maybe the nerves pre-NILF to sit and chat with).

It was also an opportunity to share my writing.

Photo by Celia Sorhaindo.

I read a new poem, Ode to the Pan Man, an old favourite, Ah Write! and, of course, an excerpt or two from my book Oh Gad!  one of the first readings I’ve done incidentally where nerves weren’t eating out my insides right beforehand – something I can only credit to how distracted I was by the opportunity to hear and listen to such great Caribbean talent, too distracted to wonder what I was doing among them and worry if I was about to fall flat on my face.

Photo by Celia Sorhaindo.

I didn’t, by the way. The reviews to my reading were largely positive and I’m hoping (as I do after every such event) that word of mouth will be positive and it will be reflected in my sales going forward.

But honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about that, then.

Such sentiments were drowned out by the festival energy, out under the tent, flanked by the green mountains of Dominica, on the grounds of the UWI campus, which was filled with music: from the Sisserou singers who opened the festival to the Venezuelan musician and dancers who provided lunch time entertainment to the Rastafarian (Nyabinghi) drummer who spontaneously accompanied some of the poets or just played for pleasure during the breaks so that it never felt like there was nothing happening to the blast of the trumpet during the poetic performances by Reseau Poetique Guadeloupe…

If you missed it, and I hope you won’t again, hint hint, you also missed:

Roger Bonair-Agard: the coolest things about him aren’t even the “duende” he has tattooed into his arm or the Mohawk he sort of seems to be growing out, though those were pretty cool, not when his words of fire are the main attraction;

Lennox Honychurch: the esteemed Dominican historian still has a charmingly boyish enthusiasm for his subject and an ability to make history come alive – as his audience, we were well and truly enraptured as he did a literature review of books mentioning Dominica by visitors, all the way back to Columbus’ time, all the way forward to the near-present (one of the striking things was how people really do see what they want to see, which is not necessarily the same as what’s right in front of their nose);

The Book Fair: though I would have liked to see my book and books by all the participating authors on sale at the event, it was for any bibliophile, a temptation, especially the Papillotte Press and local books section in no small measure because these, well, they are books by local authors and/or books reflecting local culture, and if you’re like me you kind of want to take a piece of wherever you visit with you (case in point the book of french creole sayings that I bought);

The Craft Fair: And how inspired of them to marry a craft fair to the book fair and literary festival, as if they just knew that Creatives (or is it just women?) can’t resist well crafted jewelry (I got three, count ‘em, three pieces – let’s just say that artisans Albert Casimir and Julian James are also persuasive salesmen);

The Workshops: It was nice sitting in a class led by Professor Morris again with whom I was paired in the UWI mentorship programme and who also taught my first fiction writing course, and subsequently recommended to me the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute at the University of Miami, which I applied to and was accepted, where I started The Boy from Willow Bend during my first grueling workshop experience, and the rest is history, as they say. What I remember of Professor Morris, apart from the things that he introduced me to (including the Jamaican theatrical scene), was that he was one of the early readers and critics and encouragers of my work (perhaps the most significant since previous mentor Calvin Holder, who taught me English Lit at the Antigua State College). I didn’t think he’d remember me (it was so long ago). But he did and it was nice to see him again and to sit quietly (mostly quietly) while he gently nudged writers to discover the best in their work as he’d done for me all those years earlier. On a morning such as that, even the buzzing cell phones (sorry, this is one of my pet peeves… should you have to tell people to silence their cell phones in certain settings) were a mild nuisance, at worst. I enjoyed the bit of play he brought to the session and indeed, Professor Morris, randomness can be quite logical and illuminating, revealing things that are surprising and true (because, as you said, if you’re only using your conscious mind, you’re only writing about what you think you know);

The opportunities to engage in impromptu discussions around artistic issues and the issues that spring from that – from Dominican artistes lamenting some of the unexpected realities of attempts to collect artiste royalties to book publishing it was illuminating…and a reminder of how far we still have to go as writers in the Caribbean to creating an environment that encourages us along our path;

The organized discussions around issues like the lyrics in the bouyon music (which echoed the controversy surrounding Antigua and Barbuda’s road march winning song, Kick een she back doh and made me wish that just as WCK founders readily stepped to the stage to explore the meaning and the music, our artistes here could be similarly engaged) and the challenges (and contradictions) vis-a-vis press freedom (again, an issue all too familiar to Antiguan and Barbudan people);

The opportunities to reflect – like I’ll be musing over this point from George Lamming’s keynote address, borrowed I believe from Norman Manley: “There is a difference between living in a place and belonging to it”;

The opportunity to be engaged by fiction and poetry with which you feel a real sense of belonging – a connection – because at heart it’s about you, your world whether written by Merle Hodge in Trinidad or Adrian Augier in St. Lucia.

It is that sense of connection that no doubt stirred the audience to laughter and stirred other darker and more heated emotions, leaving us all (or certainly me) feeling filled, fulfilled, and enlightened, if a little wet – this is the nature isle after all.

Kudos to Alwyn Bully and his team, especially my host Natalie Clarke

who, combined with all the above, made this a truly enjoyable experience.

Please note all except one photo used in this post are courtesy Celia Sorhaindo. Other images from the festival can be found here. Please do not use any of her photos without her permission.

Find out more on the festival here.

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

As for that recurring question about what I do for a living. This might answer the question.

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