Tag Archives: Alwyn Bully

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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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).

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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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