Tag Archives: Andre Bagoo

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid September 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here)

Opportunities

This is an opportunity to support Haiti relief – Films For Haiti is a September 17th -18th 2021 event – donate. share. watch. Make a donation, access the films, watch the films.

(Source – Karukerament email)

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Opportunities Too has the full schedule of Bocas workshops for 2021; so this is just your reminder that I (Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse) am scheduled (re-scheduled) to facilitate a workshop on writing children’s literature in October 2021. (Source – Bocas on Facebook)

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As you’ll see if you check our Opportunities Too page, it’s Commonwealth Writers Short Stories submission time and they’ve shared some tips.

(Source – CW Twitter)

Events

You can register for the 2021 Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival events, set for September 10th – 12. (Source – BCLF email)

Accolades

Bocas’ children writing (as in children doing the writing) contest winners have been announced.

David is 8 and Josh is 9. (Source – Bocas email)

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Trinidad and Tobago born, Canada resident M. Nourbese Philip has been named one of two recipients of Canada’s Molson Prize which comes with a $50,000 purse. She is the author of the award winning Harriet’s Daughter and other works like the genre-bending Zong! “NourbeSe Philip is a Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellow (Bellagio), and in 2020 she was the recipient of PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.” This is no small victory for a writer who in an interview on the Canada Council website said the biggest thing she has had to overcome is “Canadian racism in its myriad forms.” That same site asked her for advice for up and coming writers to which she responded: “Learn how to trust their gut instincts about their own work—sometimes the critics are wrong; be willing to risk—failure or success; and have someone in your life who loves what you do and will critique your work honestly.” (Source – John Robert Lee email)

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Jamaica’s Musgrave awards are given to people who demonstrate excellence in their respective fields. The 2021 literature recipients are Ishion Hutchinson (gold), Shara McCallum (silver), and Veronica Blake-Carnegie (bronze). They will be awarded in October. Read all about it in the Jamaica Gleaner. (Source – John Robert Lee email)

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The winning stories in this year’s Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival short story competition have been posted. They are ‘Daughter 4′ by Patrice Grell Yursik, winner of the Caribbean-American writers’ prize, and ‘The Wailers’ by Akhim Alexis, winner of the award for writers in the Caribbean. Both are of Trinidad and Tobago. Congrats to them both. (Source – BCLF Facebook)

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Environmentalist Brian Cooper was the Antigua and Barbuda selection for the Global Portrait Project, a mission to paint a person per country involved in conservation work. The artist explains about the project and why Dr. Cooper, originally from the UK and later Trinidad before moving to Antigua in the 1980s, was chosen for this project.

(Source – Antigua and Barbuda’s Daily Observer newspaper)

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Antigua and Barbuda’s Dorbrene O’Marde was one of three recipients of the President’s Award at the St. Martin Book Fair this past June. The other recipients were Deborah Drisana Jack and Fabian Adekunle Badejo, both of St. Martin.

“The Presidents Award is presented to individuals and institutions whose work is noted for its excellence and for combining literary, cultural, and liberation components in the service of progress, of their people or nation, and of humanity,” said Lasana M. Sekou from House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). O’Marde has written many plays and calypsos, and a couple of books. He has been a leading cultural worker in the Caribbean region for decades. (Source – Nehesi House press release via email)

New Books Reading Material

Allies: Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up, And Trying Again, co-edited by Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne and Dana Alison Levy just dropped. It includes essays by 17 writers in the teen/YA space on needing an ally, being an ally, and/or showing up for friends and families.

Image is from Shakirah’s instagram, @shakirahwrites
Also congrats to her on her recent nuptials.

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This collection on rejection includes the voices of Caribbean writers like Olive Senior and Colin Grant. Another Caribbean writer Caryl Philips described it as “an important anthology that spans generations, circles the globe, and embraces all forms of imaginative writing. Uplifting and inspiring.” (Source – N/A)

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I do hope that more and more of you are reading my CREATIVE SPACE series spotlighting local art and culture. I’m really enjoying doing it, I’m happy that it’s growing, and that it allows me to keep my hand in journalism which is my background. For the first installment of September 2021, I visited Clarence House within the National Parks. I was interested in the restoration work and the history. Did you know by the way that Nelson’s Dockyard within the National Parks, right below Clarence House, marked its 5th anniversary as a World Heritage site in 2021. I’m glad I got to do something in that space in this year – as I explored in the article the history of the relationship between us, the descendants of enslaved Africans and that space is complicated. Here’s a link to that article and other recent installments of CREATIVE SPACE.

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Cuban-American writer Achy Obejas released a new book this September. It is Boomerang/Bumeran, a bilingual poetry collection exploring themes of identity, sexuality, and belonging. (Source – author email)

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Cover reveal. This one won’t be out until August 2022 with Peepal Tree Press. Synopsis: Gay men search for sex, adventure, pleasure, self-realisation and love in Woodbrook, Trinidad.

(Source – Nature Island Literary Festival’s Facebook)

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I ‘discovered’ and wrote about the new Department of Culture – Antigua and Barbuda publication in the Carib Lit Plus Mid to Late February 2021 edition. I lost track after that but I just came upon issue 3 and want to commend them for keeping it going, and (having been involved in my share of local publications that have come and gone) express hope that they do keep it going.

Content includes a tribute to late former director Vaughn Walter – “a man who personified culture”, DIY Craft with DOC head of craft Sylvanie Abbott, a music focused article on copyright, features on music artists Andrew Dorsett and Zamoni, the behind the scenes of a local documentary – Own It, an interview with Pan-o-Grama founder Nevin Roach; then they have some listicles – one on the Top 150 Antigua and Barbuda Soca Songs by DJ Illest, who, judging by the list prefers midtempo tracks.

I went further back to find Issue 2.

Scrolling through this one, I find Antiguanisms, a recipe for bread pudding; articles about the role of government in the development of pan by Stafford Joseph, copyright (so, this seems to be a series), coverage of a craft exhibition, ‘Stamp 268’, organized by Culture, a history of Halcyon, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021, and reflections by Gilbert Laudat on dance in Antigua and Barbuda. Featured artists include cover artist Guava (Ron Howell) and pannist Alston M. Davis. This edition’s listicle is by bookstagrammer Lalabear, a teacher named Lakiesha Mack, who shared her top 5 Caribbean books. Since it’s only 5 and this is primarily a lit arts site, I’ll share them: Tea by the Sea by Donna Hemans of Jamaica, The Girl with the Hazel Eyes and The Vanishing Girls by Callie Browning of Barbados, whom she identifies as her favourite author, Where there are Monsters by Breanne McIvor of Trinidad, and How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones of Barbados. (Source – initially lalabear’s post about her listicle which sent me looking for the article and ended with me finding both issues of Fu Arwe Ting)

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Witness in Stone by Barbados poet laureate Esther Phillips actually debuted in April 2021 (sorry to be so late, Esther).

John Robert Lee, creator of the Caribbean lit bibliography featured on this site, with Caribbean writers George Lamming and Esther Phillips at a BIM literary event in 2008.

From the summary on the site of publisher Peepal Tree: “Esther Phillips’ poems are always lucid and musical; they gain a rewarding complexity from being part of the collection’s careful architecture that offers a richly nuanced inner dialogue about the meaning of experience in time. Not least powerful in this conversation are the sequence of poems about Barbadian childhoods, poems of grace, humour and insight. When Barbados chose Esther Phillips as its first poet laureate it knew what it was doing: electing a poet who could speak truth, who could challenge and console her nation – and all of us.”

Esther is also the editor of BIM: Arts for the 21st Century, a new edition of which dropped in June 2021. (Source – publisher site)

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. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Reading Room and Gallery 42

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.

MISC.

The 2021 Virgin Islands Lit Fest was virtual. Here are all the panels, in case you missed it.

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“If you’re a regular here, you know I’m a Caribbean author, reader, and blogger, and I stay reading Caribbean, but I could stand to read a lot more and I’d bet you could too (so consider yourself recc’d).” – from my blog, Top Ten Tuesday #ReadCaribbean

REPORTING

“Although not the traditional form of storytelling, video games, like any other game reflect the culture in which it was forged. Video games, however, get a bad rap, because the associations we give to them such as encouraging antisocial and sedentary behaviours and lifestyles. However, video games provide a particularly unique opportunity to incorporate elements of Caribbean culture through their unique method of interactive narrative during gameplay.” – The Creolisation of Video Games. ‘If We are to preserve Culture, We must continue to create It.’ by Christal Clashing

POETRY

‘and the takeoff/when the body comes fully in to play/is the throwing off of shackles” – ‘Dear Phibba’ by Ann Margaret Lim

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It’s work, it’s work, my cousins told me
when I complained about too many yachts in the sea,

how I didn’t feel safe swimming anymore.

It’s work, it’s work, I tell myself when I clock
in my time for the day.” – from ‘Solastalgia‘ by Catherine-Esther Cowie

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“The day her practised palm cracked my cheekbone,
I crawled into grief.” – from ‘Mother suffered from Memories‘ by Juleus Ghunta

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I say, Mr. Jno Baptiste
Maybe you’re just not crazy about this world anymore
Maybe you’re just mad, mad, mad about something
But what do I know

-from ‘What do I know’ in Guabancex by Celia Sorhaindo

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“Run.
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.” – Running Orders by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

FILM + OTHER VISUAL ART

Isolation‘ by Carl Augustus of Antigua and Barbuda is a hybrid water colour and poem about mental health, published to the Intersect Antigua-Barbuda platform.

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CONVERSATIONS

“One night, I felt this feeling I’d been having my whole life: wake up, can’t see, can’t breathe.” – Courttia Newland in conversation with Johnny Temple of Akashic about out of body experiences, his new book, and the award winning Small Axe anthology series on which he was co-writer.

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“My mother being from the Caribbean and my father being from the South, and me having a huge need to fit in and low self-esteem, I lost my identity very quickly, trying to fit in, to go under the radar…the disconnect from getting to know who Michael was…and the ability to chameleon myself…that also started very early…I got addicted to fantasy very quick.” – Michael K. Williams (RIP) in one of his last interviews discussing his craft, his addiction, his background (which is part Caribbean on his mother’s side – she was an immigrant from the Bahamas), his love of cooking and trying new things, and more. Michael K. came to fame first as a back-up dancer and choreographer and later playing iconic roles like Omar in The Wire, and as a strong character actor in films like Bessie and When They See Us.

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“The Federal Art Project was part of something called Federal One, which had projects not just for the fine arts but also for theater, for writing, for music. There was a design index. It was one aspect of a really diverse and wide-ranging kind of project…the government saw it as an obligation, part of its duty, to provide artists in need with economic support. So they commissioned them to produce public art…The arts, for Roosevelt and the New Dealers, were seen as a fundamental component of a truly democratic society. A democracy could not call itself as such without art, music, theater, poetry, writing, design, photography, film.” – Alison Wilkinson in conversation with Jody Patterson for Vox

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“In the same ways that women were expected and didn’t slip in high school in reading Shakespeare and be expected to get all sorts of things from Shakespeare and from Walcott and from Brathwaite – men can get enormous things from this book and from reading these women as well and that’s what I’ll say to that. There is a stance that, “oh we have to think about the men’s feelings here, and whatnot,” but we don’t think about that when it comes to women reading male writers, right? Male writers, they have achieved, it seems, a kind of universality that “women have not”… Bullshit. I cry bullshit to that. Women, too, are universal. Right? So if you want good writing, if you want good interviews, if you want all of that, women can provide it as well. So male writers will get the exact same things and male readers will get the exact same things here that they would get from any good book.” – Jacqueline Bishop in conversation with Jamaica Creates

FICTION

“I arrived with kosher tacos, made from scratch with chicken liver and mole, and by the end of the night, all sixteen of them sat untouched in the pan, the sauce congealing beneath the foil.” – from ‘The Orphan Disease‘ by Jake Wolff in Kenyon Review

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“The sun hot like it beating your skin with a rubber strap.” – from ‘Cash and Carry‘ by Sharma Taylor, shortlisted for the 2020 Commonwealth short story prize

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“This is how you discover that you fall into that select category of People For Whom Ganja Is Useless.” – from ‘Hunger‘ by Andre Bagoo. This story was shortlisted for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. It is posted on the Commonwealth Writers Adda platform.

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Jamaica Kincaid reading her short story ‘Girl’

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“‘I sit down waiting on the bed, and I hear he start to cry. And I know I in for lash. But he come quiet quiet in the room, lie down and say, “Aditi, I sorry.” I wanted to walk out that house then and there, but I ask him for what. He say everything. He say he sorry for everything. The word so stink and nasty after all he do, but he bawling sorrysorrysorry like he feel it go fix something. Like he feel I go start feeling sorry myself.’” – English at the End of Time by Rashad Hosein, shortlisted for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

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“Don’t get me wrong: Long Island boys look good. When the Anglican Diocese host Jamboree here, all the girls from Exuma and Eleuthera drool over our boys like they ain’t got none back where they come from. But I ain’t never seen nothing like Demetri before. Brown sugar kiss his gilded skin. The sun blink at the golden glint of his hair. I almost drown in the cerulean waters that rise up to meet me when he look over. He got them eyes that shift with the light. Sometimes they so clear you could see right down to the bottom. Other times they froth with the Lusca’s rage.” – Granma’s Porch by Alexia Tolas

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“We meet our friends for happy hour, hand a twenty-dollar bill to the bartender, double-take when he quips, Still whiskey and Coke after all these years? We peer at him, recognize the brown boy we wrapped our arms around in a basement in Richmond Hill. While Aaliyah crooned on the radio.” – Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades, 2019 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest Winner

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“It looks as if I’ve been very prolific but actually there have been breaks” – Monique Roffey in conversation with Malika Booker for New Caribbean Voices – Books and Writers podcast

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“I spent a couple of summers as a kid in Barbados, but probably eight or nine summers in Antigua; so I actually spent a lot more time in Antigua with my dad’s family. So it’s a bit ironic that I spent so much time writing about Barbados ’cause I actually know a lot less about it and I’m less connected to my family there. But I think that actually opened up a space for me imaginatively to write about Barbados that wasn’t there for Antigua.” – Naomi Jackson on Writing Home: American Voices from the Caribbean

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“With all its horrors, the pandemic has led to a host of online workshops, open mics, events like poetry readings and literary festivals, virtual spaces to share, discuss and connect with other writers and writing communities, and a host of other opportunities. All of these have helped to improve my craft and my confidence. I have also been reading poetry voraciously from a diverse range of poets, and other articles that catch my interest, not just literary ones, from quantum physics to the amazing life and anatomy of an octopus. I assume it’s the same for everyone.” – Bocas longlisted poet (Guabancex) Celia Sorhaindo in conversation with US based Jamaican writer Geoffrey Philp on his blog.

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‘I’d had workshop earlier that day, and my professor, Elissa Schappell, said two pieces of advice that lodged in my brain: Don’t be afraid to take risks in your writing, and Write what only you could say. It was advice I needed to hear at that point in time; I’d been pursing art in an academic setting—the MFA—and the program had, ironically (or perhaps not-so-ironically), left me feeling creatively stifled. Elissa’s words reminded me of the thematic and formal risks I wanted, and absolutely needed, to take in my art. What she said helped me feel the freedom I needed to feel to begin “Brown Girls.”’ – Daphne Palasi Andreades, KR Conversations

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“Seabirds are a constant in my daily life. Along my daily commute frigates are flying overhead while pelicans rest on the waterside rocks. Just now, in the empty lot next to my apartment a lonely heron wanders about. When I ride the ferry over to the outer islands or over to St. Thomas, brown boobies chase the boat’s work. Sometimes I feel like my outstretched fingers may just graze their bellies.” – British Virgin Islands poet laureate and OCM Bocas prize winner Richard Georges in conversation with acclaimed and award winning Jamaican writer Jacqueline Bishop for her series in the Jamaica Observer Bookends supplement. Read the interview:

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“She changed the requirement that actresses in the movies being invariably likeable or attractive. She lifted the veil of appropriate behaviour in women to expose what was scary, unexpected, or ugly; in other words, to do what was appropriate for the character” – Meryl Streep on Bette Davis for Turner Classic Movies

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. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus Early to Mid October 2020

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.

Farewell

We’ve reported before on the passing of writer and art collector (also politician but that’s not what we’re here for) Sir Selvyn Walter. Sir Selvyn received an official funeral on October 12th 2020. Per the Daily Observer, “he was the founder of the Halcyon Steel Orchestra, along with Sam and Penod Kirby and Melvin Simon in 1972.” He authored the Daily Observer series Not a Drum was Heard and the book Bank Alley Tales – both capturing the life and times and forgotten culture and people of Antigua and Barbuda. Reportedly, the refurbished art gallery at Government House will be renamed for him. Observer writes, “We have lost one of our finest thinkers and historians – a curator of that which made us who we are.”

Congrats are in Order

For winners of the Catapult Caribbean Arts Grant Stay Home Artist Residency; including familiar (to the Wadadli Pen blog) names like Trinidad and Tobago’s Lisa Allen-Agostini and Shivanee Ramlochan, and the Bahamas’ Sonia Farmer. The residency enables 24 cultural practitioners from the English, Spanish, French, and Dutch Caribbean to be supported to the tune of US$3,000 each while continuing work from home over a two month period.

The Stay at Home Artist Residency is only one of the initiatives supporting Caribbean Creatives during 2020 under the Catapult: Caribbean Artists Grants. It is managed and funded through Kingston Creative, Barbados’ Fresh Milk, and American Friends of Jamaica. Through six initiatives they are supporting the work of Caribbean artists in a year that has sent the entire world in to a tailspin thanks to COVID-19. “These funding opportunities will increase the visibility of over 1,000 Caribbean-based artists, creatives and cultural practitioners to global audiences, provide much needed financial support, and develop the creative skills of our artists.” (Fresh Milk) In addition to the Stay Home Artist Residency (above), there is the Caribbean Artist Showcase, Caribbean Creative Online, Digital Creative Training, Consultancy Vouchers, and Lockdown Virtual Salon – the recipients of which are
“The CATAPULT Lockdown Virtual Salon programme aims to mitigate isolation, especially heightened during the current pandemic, by creating virtual platforms for cultural practitioners to engage in discourse about and explore their evolving practices. These one-hour artist talks from their homes or studios will be live-streamed via the Fresh Milk YouTube channel at 1PM and 4PM AST, every Tuesday and Friday between September 29th & November 20th, 2020.” (Fresh Milk)

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This year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature has been named: she is American poet and Yale professor Louise Glück. Here’s a sample of her poetry: Per this BBC article, she is amazingly only the 16th woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature since it was first awarded in 1901. Another woman who was trending as the Nobel announcement drew near was Antigua and Barbuda’s Jamaica Kincaid who was reportedly in top contention. Trinidad-American blogger Keishel Williams wrote after the announcement, in a piece headlined Waiting for Jamaica Kincaid’s Nobel Prize, “Unlike in previous years, I was particularly nervous about this year’s prize. The last time WE won a Noble Prize in Literature was almost twenty years ago and WE have only won this prestigious prize twice in its history – Derek Walcott in 1992 and V.S. Naipaul in 2001. Suffice to say, when Antiguan-born novelist, essayist, and short story writer Jamaica Kincaid was tipped as a top contender for the prize this year, I was over the moon.” The article ended, “WE will another Noble Prize in Literature and I will be there waiting, patiently, when it is awarded to Jamaica Kincaid.” Literature gods willing.

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Jamaican writer Diana McCaulay, recently interviewed for a series on publishing here on Wadadli Pen, later adapted for an article in Publishler’s Weekly, has been announced as part of the judging panel for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story prize. An environmental activist and award winning novelist whose books include Dog Heart, Gone to Drift, Huracan, White Liver Gal, and Daylight Soon Come is also a past winner of the prize. The Commonwealth Short Story prize has one judge from each Commonwealth territory. McCaulay is this cycle’s Caribbean judge alongside A. Igoni Barrett (Africa), Khademul Islam (Asia), Keith Jarrett (Canada and Europe), Tina Makereti/(Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Rangatahi) (Pacific), and chair South African writer Zoë Wicomb. For information on submitting to the Commonwealth Short Stories Prize and other opportunities, see Opportunities Too here on the blog for details.

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Diana again for the release this month of her Peepal Tree book Daylight Come, a Burt award winning title.

Congrats to her.

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Monique Roffey, award winning Trinidadian author, has had her latest book, The Mermaid of Black Conch, shortlisted for Goldsmith’s Prize recognizing the best in experimental fiction. The prize is worth 10,000 pounds. Re Roffey’s book, ‘Judge Sarah Ladipo Manyika said: “This is one of those rare gems of a novel that can be read and enjoyed on many levels—it’s a whimsical love story, a history of the Caribbean and its indigenous peoples, an ode to Mother Earth, and an allegory for our times.”’ (quoted here). The winner will be announced on November 11th 2020.

Book Recs

St. Lucian poet John Robert Lee recommends the latest from Ghanian-Jamaican writer Kwame Dawes and UK based Peepal Tree, Natural Mysticism. He describes it as a “page-turner” which isn’t something you often hear of books of this type. I personally remember really liking a previous reggae-themed book of Dawes Bob Marley Lyrical Genius for his breakdown and contextualizing of the universally familiar lyrics.

Lee said of Natural Mysticism, “Others no doubt have written of this seminal, water-shed period of Caribbean life and experience, from the mid- sixties to the mid-eighties (in my reckoning), but for the first time I was studying a closely- observed record of the lives and times and music and ideas that had so moved me and all the companions and lovers and artists among whom I lived in those heady days. Marley and the Wailers, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Jimmy Cliff, Culture, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse … But not only was Kwame Dawes writing a fascinating social and cultural history…but he was making a very bold assertion: that reggae and its spiritual heart of Rastafari, provided an aesthetic that could shape the arts and literature of the new Caribbean already taking shape around us.”

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For Coloured Girls. No, not the Tyler Perry movie; the play (“for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf “) by Ntozake Shange, who died in 2018, leaving an indelible mark, in the captured stories of various women’s inner lives. Seven women, including talent and director Wendy ‘Motion’ Brathwaite, who is Antigua-descended, staged a virtual reading of some of the play/book’s classic monologues in an event called For Colored Girls: A RemiX. The reading – consistent with the choreopoem’s use of word, sound, movement, and drama – can be viewed on the Band Gallery channel.

Watching it is reminding me how much I thought Anika Noni Rose was overlooked in Oscars conversation because whatever you thought of the linear framing of the narrative or of Perry’s direction, there were several standout performances, and for me Rose’s, and Loretta Devine’s, were among them. Watch the video, and revisit the book while you’re at it.

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Shivanee Ramlochan over at Caribbean Beat, a literary star in her own right, recs three books already on my TBR which should be on yours (either that or your AR – already read): Epiphaneia by Richard Georges (“Here are poems that reward several concentrated readings to mine their full, harrowing flavour”); Black Rain Falling by Jacob Ross, second in his fictional crime series that began with The Bone Readers (“Move over, Agatha Christie — Jacob Ross is in charge”), and Ingrid Persaud’s Love After Love. And Shivanee’s reviews are an art form in themselves. Read this about Love After Love: “Ingrid Persaud steers the world of her novel with a merciless kind of sensitivity, turning the very notion of a tiny existence on its clichéd head, rattling every cupboard in this narrative home for loose change, deep confessions, and dalliances sweeter than Demerara sugar.” So feel free to check out her Forward Prize nominated Everyone Knows I am Haunting which incidentally debuted in October (Happy Anniversary Month, Shivanee) back in 2017.

Events

Perhaps not unexpectedly, regional arts and culture showcase CARIFESTA 2021, scheduled for Antigua and Barbuda, has been pushed back to (August 11-21) 2022. This is according to a report in the Daily Observer newspaper of Friday 9th October 2020.

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You can revisit the 2020 virtual Bocas Lit Fest now on their YouTube channel. With over 80 writers, performers, events over three days, there’s a lot to see.

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The Caribbean Writer has announced an after-dinner reading affair, part of its Reader Response Discussion Series, for October 15th 2020, 7 to 9 p.m. The will be discussing four pieces from the recently published Volume 34, themed ‘Dignity, Power, and Place in the Caribbean Space’. Here are the details:

ZOOM LOGIN INFORMATION

https://zoom.us/j/96011298073?pwd=SHJJQzlacUVzZ09HV1VPRE5tUE0wUT09

Meeting ID: 960 1129 8073

Passcode: 521956

NOTE: If you would like a digital copy of volume 34, order here.

Pay it Forward

I remember Antiguan-Barbudan reggae singer Causion paying it forward for years in the 2000s with his concerts on an open field in his home community of St. Paul’s, cost of entry a canned nonperishable to be dropped in to a barrel for later delivery to those who need it. Now it’s the community’s turn to help him. Observer newspaper reporters that the singer is battling stage 3 colon cancer. Details of his fundraising mission for himself and others in the Daily Observer. Also here’s a direct link to the thankyoumission.com

All things considered, this one seems appropriate

Causion, born Gregory Bailey, performing Put Your Trust in Jah roughly 10 years ago.

New and Forthcoming Books

This is an August 2020 released but I’m not sure I mentioned it – Trinidad and Tobago writer Andre Bagoo’s poetry collection The Undiscovered Country. ‘The Undiscovered Country discovers many things, but one thing for sure: Andre Bagoo is a fearless, brilliant mind. He can take us from the formal critical perspective to new futurist “visual essay”, to verse essay, to sweeping historical account that is unafraid to go as far in time as Columbus and as urgently-of-our moment as Brexit—all of it with precision and attentiveness to detail that is as brilliant as it is startling.’ (Peepal Tree Press)

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Scholastic UK has acquired and will be publishing this October the previously self-published Windrush book by Kandace Chimbiri. The Story of the Windrush celebrates the Windrush pioneers who first arrived in London in June 1948. With a mix of historical fact and voices from that generation, the children’s book not only tells the story but underscores its importance in the formation of modern Britain. Chimbiri is a descendent of the generations of Black Caribbean people who travelled that route to make a life for themselves in the UK. She was born in London, England in 1968 to parents from Barbados. The Story of the Windrush was initially published through her Golden Destiny Ltd. independent publishing house, founded in 2009. This info comes via a release put out by Scholastic and reaching us via Barbados’ National Cultural Foundation. In that release, Chimbiri is quoted as saying, “I noticed a lack of diversity in books for children especially in the non-fiction genre. I began by self-publishing my work and am really excited now about working with a publisher who is going to make stories like these available to a much wider audience. I feel that Scholastic understands what I want to achieve. They can see the importance of books like The Story of the Windrush and why they are needed in the world right now.”

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Collins (UK) is preparing a rollout of a number of Caribbean titles for its Big Cat series of children’s books. They include non fiction titles Sea Turtles and How to become a Calysonian, and fictional works Turtle Beach, The Jungle Outside, Wygenia and the Wonder of the World Leaf, Finny and the Fairy Fish, and The Lost Sketch Book. Authors and illustrators include Jamaica’s Diana McCaulay, Guyana’s Imam Baksh, St. Kitts-Nevis Carol Mitchell, and others including several from Antigua and Barbuda. Get the run down here on the Wadadli Pen site – and see which Wadadli Pen team members are involved with this series.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Reading Room and Gallery 23

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 23rd one which means there are 22 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one.

NON FICTION

“It wasn’t as bad as I make it sound now; it was worse.” – Jamaica Kincaid’s essay On Seeing England for the First Time

MISC.

‘We must never for a moment doubt that it is absolutely vital that a nation should foster and honour its writers. The good writer devotes his energy to searching for truth. And in the love of truth, straight and unvarnished, lies not only the hope but the safety of a nation. “The people need poetry,” the great Russian Poet, Osip Mandelstam, wrote, “to keep them awake forever.” The good writer, the true writer, as Cyril Connolly said in Enemies of Promise, “helps to unmask those pretenders which distract all human plans for improvement: the love of power and money, the short-sighted acquisitive passions, the legacies of injustice and ignorance, a tiger instinct for fighting, the ape-like desire to go with the crowd. A writer must be a lie-detector who exposes fallacies in words and ideals before half the world is killed for them.”’ – Ian McDonald

FROM THE BLOGS

“People think writing children’s stories is some simple, easy thing. You’ve heard that, right? It is not; children deserve that as much attention be taken with their stories as would be taken with an adult novel. The child doesn’t need to recognize the many layers in a story. The layers of meaning will come later, or not, but the layers create the finished picture. The child just needs needs to enjoy the story, just needs that satisfying feeling of reading a story where the ending spreads like joy from the tips of the toes to the tips of the fingers and creates a bubbling-up-joy in the heart and mind.” – Caribbean Children’s Literature Diane Browne

***

“he dipped his toe in the puddle
of her first words” – SimplyNatural1

STORIES

“Being a migrant is like living in a limboland where you never fully belong anywhere, the positive perspective being it also gives you a wider and deeper empathy and universality.” – Maggie Harris interview

***

Commonwealth Writers site

***

“In the lateness of the night, she rises from the table. After these many years, she has become attuned to the restaurant, and to her beloved. They work in tandem. She can hear the eaves sigh in the wind, feel the dining room chairs sag with relief as the frenetic energy of the day finally draws to a close.” – The Woman Who Lived in the Restaurant by Leone Ross

***

“Across a field of short, sparse grass, she spied another group of aliens, facing each other in silence as usual, with their silver-stones piled in the center. Some were young—short with thick fur. Others were old—their scaly skin showing where hair had fallen out in patches about their body. She wondered if they considered this planet theirs. The family parrot, Rupert, considered the bell on his cage to be his property and pecked anyone who tried to move it. And the aliens of this world were certainly smarter than Rupert. Clara remembered her father’s stories about Columbus invading the Caribbean a thousand years before and declaring himself its discoverer. Maybe Clara and her family were the invaders now.” – from Clara in the New World, 2492 A.D. by Imam Baksh – See more here.

***

“Placing one slender, manicured tip on the backspace key, she erased every word, every trace of what she’d been feeling. It was four in the afternoon, and Laurie was beginning to feel suffocated. She needed this meeting to end. The only consolation was that she’d chosen a seat with her back against the wall, so her screen was not easily seen. Today was not her day to present, nor did she have the energy to rebut the statements being made, so she blindly allowed her mind to wander – a dangerous pastime.” – The Looking Glass by Zahra Airall (also posted to A & B Writings in Journals and Contests)

INTERVIEWS

“I would say to young writers be true to yourself and go for what is deeply meaningful for you, ask yourself over and over: What do I want to say?   Be as authentic to yourself and your subject as you can be.  Write every day.” – Lawrence Scott

***

“It’s scary out there, man. It’s so scary.” – Kendrick Lamar with Rick Rubin

***

“My mantra is definitely slow and steady wins the race. I apply this mantra to a lot of things, but I think in terms of my business I really avoid the sensation of being overwhelmed.” – Holly Wren Spaulding

***

Several Caribbean writers sharing their work and insights, including Jamaica’s Tanya Shirley – “Matter of fact which women really needs a head unless she’s proficient in giving head and keeping her mouth shut when she’s not”; St. Lucia’s Vladimir Lucien – “…no land, not enough last name to get the loan…”; and Barbados’ Karen Lord – “It appears that war, when deprived of one reason, simply seeks out another; we are still a people divided.” – listen to the full thing at the BBC.

***

“…if you have just finished writing your first story, you may want to take some time honing it and your craft and ensuring that it is truly ready for publication before approaching publishers. Completing a draft for most writers is the first step in a long journey of becoming a published author.” – advice from agent Anna Ghosh

***

“Every day I learn to write a better sentence.” – Ingrid Persaud and other Caribbean Commonwealth short story finalists interviewed by Shivanee Ramlochan

POEMS

“Bob Marley doesn’t know
His song has been hijacked
And drummed into heads
Knees weak from fear
Do not allow us to stand up.” – Althea Romeo-Mark’s Revolution and Reggae (Liberian Coup 1985) in Calabash

***

“light      smoke      how to dance

disco ball blocked by bodies

the sun eclipsed by moons

men growing like trees

in this club we leap

we do not look” – After Oliver Senior, ‘Flying’ by Andre Bagoo in Cordite Poetry Review 

***

“I think of you like a storm remembered—a marker in my life

Stalking my dreams and my memories like a phantom” – Stormy Night by Damian Femi Rene in Cordite Poetry Review

***

“when I was eight, a priest came and flicked holy water

into the four corners of this wooden house

that kept my parents, two sons, a daughter,

and a darkening forest in its mouth.” – Exorcism/Freeport by Richard Georges in Cordite Poetry Review

***

“Their point guard calling an illegal pick

as we double teamed, breathing like dogs

on a leash. I was staying in the spare room

of your house. Living below the line

like denominators until I learnt Algebra;

from the word Al-jabr – the reunion

of broken parts. Your nephew the third man,

floated by (a silver shadow) and drained

a three crunch through the chains.” – Pythagoras Theorem by Nick Makoha in Adda

***

***

“Nennen’s toothless smile

Granny lifts her skirt high

before plunging them back between her thighs

and a laugh from deep within bellows joy

Another aunt tears streaming from her face

thumps a table and gasps for air

and a laugh escapes

peeling sorrow away from the wooden walls

of the house

in Salem” – Chadd Cumberbatch, Norene’ s Laugh

***

“Beautiful man, you are

the ocean churning inside a skull. Every cuss

a broken piece of bottle. You never left

the island but long to. Fingertips smelling

of tobacco or herb, always ready

to fight someone or something.

Thrusting a gun finger

into the air, rigid—

a brown beacon; I will you

to life: fuse sinew, blood

tendons, bones, memories.” – Poem for a Gunman by Soyini Ayanna Forde

***

“I am the last in the line of the man Massa bury.

My great- grandmother run to the hills

same day, with Papa in her belly. Papa

was a wild one, kill plenty backra. Each time

he kill one  him say, ‘Massa me no dead yet.’” – Penny Kill Shilling by Monica Minnot 

***

“Because to him
Giving in
Is the only real sin” – Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Differences (also posted to A & B Writings in Journals and Contests)

***

“Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.” – Love after Love by Derek Walcott (read by Tom Hiddleston)

***

“I felt sleepy, bored by the mundane,
the usual conversation and the continual beauty
of sun and sea” – from The Day The Sea Turned Brown by Tania Haberland in Adda

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“I had this image of a woman grieving the illness of her lover, but yes, the lover is not-quite-human. He’s a construction or a creation or a person who has been made in our own image. I was thinking of love as a double helix between attraction to the other, the opposite; and attraction to some unarticulated part of ourselves that we recognize in another. And then, out of the blue, I could see Jin and Naomi dancing together, and the perspective was that of child, a neighbor, watching this love affair unfold, and interpreting that otherness, that not-quite-humanness, in a very different way. So that was the beginning.” – Five Questions for Madeleine Thien

***

“You learn about the objective art of rhetoric, more specifically about the structural choices that bad and good men have made in speeches to lead us down certain garden paths – not by magic, but by repetition and specific diction and verb choice.” – Leone Ross on The Answer to that Question: Where do I get Ideas from

***

“The reason an inciting moment matters is that it determines what the story is about. It’s like a snowball that is pushed down a hill. It will gather it’s own momentum, and direct the story to its conclusion unless you put obstacles in the way (like a rock) to throw it off track and into another direction. If you don’t want your story about Cinderella to hinge on the prince’s ball, you might not want to include the invitation in the plot in the first place.” – Andrea Lundgren

***

Solange Knowles jam sessions and creative process for Seat at the Table.

***

“When I sat down to write Ashael Rising, I knew very little about KalaDene. In fact, it didn’t even have a name until the third draft or so. My world-building was all done as I went along. I once heard an excellent description of the process; it explains just what it feels like to me so I’m going to share it here. World-building is like walking through a tunnel (the world) with a torch (the story) so I can see as much of the world as the story shines a light on and a little bit around the edges but everything else is just fuzzy shapes in the darkness, with maybe a puff of cool air indicating that there might be a door to somewhere else off to the left.” – Shona Kinsella talks world building

***

“Here’s the catch: More than one type of character arc exists. Our characters can change for better or worse. Or, perhaps they might not change much, except in strength of resolve. So, how do writers determine what kind of arc a character is following, or which arc fits our story best?” – Fantasy writer Sara Letourneau blogging on character arcs

***

“People think writing children’s stories is some simple, easy thing. You’ve heard that, right? It is not; children deserve that as much attention be taken with their stories as would be taken with an adult novel. The child doesn’t need to recognize the many layers in a story. The layers of meaning will come later, or not, but the layers create the finished picture. The child just needs needs to enjoy the story, just needs that satisfying feeling of reading a story where the ending spreads like joy from the tips of the toes to the tips of the fingers and creates a bubbling-up-joy in the heart and mind.” – Jamaican author Diane Browne blogging Children as Heroes/Heroines of Their Own Stories

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!, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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

Reading Room and Gallery 21

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artists by rippling the water together. For earlier iterations of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 21st one which means there are 20 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one.

INTERVIEWS

Judd Batchelor: What advice would you give to young writers
Dorbrene O’Marde: Two things. Firstly, I want them to write, keep writing it will get better as you write more – read the full interview

***

“I just looking to give back, I looking to show that you can be some body, especially in the arts.” – Sheena Rose

***

“I didn’t set out to write a faerie story, just write myself out of the headspace I’d landed in because of this unexpected negative encounter. As I wrote, I was drawn in by the challenge of doing something I hadn’t done, I enjoy experimentation, and something about taking this negative and working through it in a genre where typically good and bad are clear, and they all lived happily ever after, appealed. Also appealing was this idea of how passion for something can help it flourish, and how good can attract good, do good and good will follow you; and then the faerie was there awakened by, responding to the goodness that this girl was sending her way. It was an interesting development, and I enjoyed exploring it – and that this became a faerie story is the thing I’m most excited about. I like when something I’m writing surprises me.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse

***

“The heart wants what it wants. But I chose to, and aspire to, becoming as good a writer as possible in the circumstances, given the relatively short space of time I’ve got left.” – Andre Bagoo

***

“What I am coming to realize is that long before my preoccupations and obsessions become fully known to me, they are at play in my work.”  – Jacqueline Bishop in conversation with Loretta Collins Klobah

***

“I am a writer first and foremost, but I did a lot of side jobs and odd jobs while I was writing my novel,” Islam says. “I freelanced. I wrote copy for Uniqlo. I modeled for an Al Jazeera campaign. But as I was finishing my book, it struck me. I was like, ‘What am I going to do next? I can’t sit in an office all day. I just can’t.'” She found her answer in her final revisions of Bright Lines. For starters, the patriarch of the story is an apothecary. And as she delved deeper into his persona during the decade she spent at work on the novel, Islam fell hard for fragrance. Besides, she adds, “Brooklyn is such a place to launch a brand. I was really inspired by other beauty brands that had started here. I wanted to have a part in that movement.” And, finally, Islam points to a scene at the end of the novel in which a trio of girls throws wildflower seed bombs into different areas of Brooklyn. The women want the crops to “grow up and into something.” – from Elle.com interview with Tanwi Nandini Islam

***

“Lightfoot:  Chapter Five was difficult to write, but it was also incredibly revealing. It shows that even within such a homogeneous population of working peoples there was an added set of constraints on black women. Specifically, constraints around what women’s roles were supposed to be and the dangers of masculinized black women. And, of course, there was never the sense that black women in post-emancipation Antigua should have the right to stay home and be dainty ladies. Whatever stock ideas about femininity that might have been applied in the middle of the nineteenth century to white women certainly didn’t apply to black women, ever.” – Dr. Natasha Lightfoot, a historian of Antiguan and Barbudan descent, interviewed by the African American Intellectual History Society on her book Troubling Freedom: Antigua and the Aftermath of British Emancipation

***

“The assumption was very real. And then it was actually named, ‘does Solange know who is buying her records?’ So it became a totally different conversation than what I was first approached to be a part of and then it became a conversation yet again about ownership. And here I was feeling so free, feeling so independent, feeling like I had ownership finally over my art, my voice, but I was being challenged on that yet again by being told that this audience had ownership over me. And that was kind of the turning point and the transition for me writing the album that is now A Seat at the Table.” – Solange Knowles talking to Helga on Q2 Music

***

INTERVIEWER
Do you have a reader in your mind when you write?
BALDWIN
No, you can’t have that.
-from James Baldwin, the Art of Fiction No. 78 in the Paris Review

***

“Writing a novel is like pulling a saw out of your vagina. Writing a memoir is like pulling a saw out of your vagina while others are looking on.” – 5 Questions for… Emily Raboteau

***

“It is a myth of my own invention. I am taken with the idea of creating new myths that speak to our current world in the same way that old mythology spoke to the world in its creators’ time.” – Lesley Nneka Arimah on Imagining a Universe of Handcrafted Babies  in her story Who Will Greet You at Home published in the New Yorker

***

“My mother also tells me that for Celeste different children and their various broods would be assigned various colours in her quilt-making schemata which is all quite interesting to me, one set of children being red, one being yellow etc. What I think is lost to us is the stories that my great grandmother was telling in her funky multi-coloured quilts about her family, because no one knows who was assigned which colour. I also mourn the fact that when my great grandmother died my cousin Mary told me that she was wrapped in two of her biggest and best quilts and taken to the morgue in Port Antonio Bay and no doubt those quilts were simply discarded. This is why I so appreciate your interest in this subject and you doing this interview Veerle because we might all be discarding and getting rid of quite valuable things.” – Jacqueline Bishop

***

“Is it lazy to look at the Caribbean as a unified whole rather than individual states?

I think it’s lazy to look at a country as a unified whole. But there are resonances and reasons why I think of myself as writing Caribbean literature more profoundly than Jamaican literature. The Caribbean isn’t a whole but there are aspects of unity and Jamaica isn’t a whole either, which is what this book is trying to say.” – Kei Miller

FICTION

‘But Theo never remembered that the pedal of the trashcan was broken. He would step on it without looking and drop the banana peel or the wet tuna-juicy baggie directly on top of the still-closed lid, and then walk away, leaving the garbage there for Heather to clean up, a habit that had finally caused her, just last night, to spit at him, in a voice that came straight from her spleen, “Pay attention, for Christ’s sake! Why don’t you ever, ever pay attention!”’ – Amy Hassinger’s Sympathetic Creatures

***

“I don’t know what gods watch me, or how it came to be that my fate brought me to an island in the Caribbean sea. It was miraculous, not least because, in the novel I am currently writing, there is a shipwreck in that same sea. I would not know how to write it if I had not found myself in a Jamaican fishing boat one wet and windy day in June, contemplating the whims of the sea and the alligators up the river. But it is equally miraculous to find myself in a humble neighbourhood in my own country, face to face with women who quietly go about their lives, walking between worlds, singing up salvation by connecting us with our own roots.” – ‘On All Our Different Islands’ by Tina’s Makereti, Pacific regional winner for the 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

***

“It’s sick and it’s soulless but it’s one of the things I love about my job; here you can force the world to be something it’s not.” – audio reading of The November Story by Rebecca Makkai

***

“The blue plumes of the peacock’s tail were shot through with filaments of silver and, twenty years on, the ink hadn’t faded. It sat on her long slim body like a birthmark.” – from Peacock by Sharon Millar

***

“Now, listen to this next bit carefully: in the morning THE WHOLE KIPPS FAMILY have breakfast together and a conversation TOGETHER and then get into a car TOGETHER (are you taking notes?) — I know, I know — not easy to get your head around. I never met a family who wanted to spend so much time with each other.” – from Zadie Smith, On Beauty

***

“No, Pa, it really could happen that way!” – A Conversation with My Father by Grace Paley as read by Ali Smith

***

“I do not lie,” Crispín replied. “Adannaya is not only the most beautiful mulata of this hacienda and the best bomba dancer; she can also change brown sugar into white. Yes she can! And if I only had some brown sugar, I would prove it to you.” – from Adannaya’s Sugar, a fairytale by Carmen Milagros Torres

***

“We were surprised to find ourselves thinking again, it had been so long.” – from We by Mary Grimm

***

“Tantie Lucy had drunk from the cup of happy living and the shop was her world.” – Lance Dowrich’s In and Out the Dusty Window

***

“It was a joyous occasion in a young woman’s life when her mother blessed life into her child. The two girls flushed and smiled with pleasure when another woman commended their handiwork (such tight, lovely stitches) and wished them well. Ogechi wished them death by drowning, though not out loud. The congratulating woman turned to her, eager to spread her admiration, but once she had looked Ogechi over, seen the threadbare dress, the empty lap, and the entirety of her unremarkable package, she just gave an embarrassed smile and studied her fingers. Ogechi stared at her for the rest of the ride, hoping to make her uncomfortable.” – Who will greet you at home by Lesley Nneka Arima

***

“Some days I am alone, and I wonder whether I exist.” – Circus by Anushka Jasraj

***

“The three of us, smelly and itchy, clinging to each other, waiting for the gasoline and vinegar in our hair to start the killing. We had lice. Our heads were wrapped in bright turbans made from my mother’s old hippie skirts. She was reading my left palm to see if I was going to pass my math test. With one hand, my sister was holding my nose, and with the other she was drawing skulls and bones on my brother’s arm with a red pen. With his left hand he was holding her foot, and with his right, the table. We were always prepared in case somebody tried to separate us by force.” – from A Bunch of Savages by Sofi Stambo

***

“But what angered Zeke even more than the ancestors’ silence was the knowledge that he was helping Sonia to seduce a man who, sometime in the foreseeable future, would beat her for burning his dinner or create any other excuse he could think of to abandon her, as he done to all his other baby mothers after he had gotten what he wanted.” – Myal Man by Geoffrey Philp

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“I think, there’s a couple of songs.  I’m, I’m really proud of  “How far I’ll go.” I literally locked myself up in my childhood bedroom at my parents’ house, to write those lyrics. I wanted to get to my angstiest possible place. So I went Method on that. And really, because it’s a challenging song. It’s not ‘I hate it here, I want to be out there.’  It’s not, ‘there must be more than this provincial life.’  She loves her island, she loves her parents, she loves her people.  And there’s still this voice inside.  And I think finding that notion of listening to that little voice inside you, and, and that being who you are. Once I wrote that lyric… It then had huge story repercussions. The screenwriters took that ball and ran with it.” – Lin Manuel Miranda on writing songs for the animated film Moana

***

“…it comes down to cause and effect, but and therefore.” – Janice Hardy on plotting

***

‘So much as it is possible in a manuscript, every scene should be followed by another scene that dramatizes either a “Therefore” or a “But,” not an “And Then.” So if, in one scene, a girl has intimate eye contact with a beautiful male vampire, the next scene should either dramatize the consequences of that eye contact, which will likely raise the stakes or escalate the emotion—THEREFORE she kisses him; or introduce a complication/obstacle—BUT she remembers she hates vampires, so she drives a stake through his heart. If they continue to stare into each other’s eyes, or maybe they just get some tea, that’s an AND THEN—nothing new is happening, because it’s at the same level of emotion as the previous action, and so while movement is occurring in the plot, it isn’t necessarily dramatic action. And action is ultimately what keeps readers reading:  change, challenge, consequence, growth, for a character in whom they’re invested.’ – Trey Parker and Matt Stone

***

“Now this: mistakes are everything. Write, abandon, start again. But understand you will do this on your own, over and over.” –  Ellene Glenn Moore

***

“At one point, I got the idea to ‘set a clock’ in the Antarctica thread. Instead of making her time there quasi-borderless, I would limit her stay at the station to four or five days. This simple question about literal time led me to a host of new questions and discoveries: Instead of a scientist, she was now a civilian, which would account for why she, as a kind of interloper, would have limited access. From there, I wondered: what would a civilian want with an Antarctic research station? What is she in Antarctica to do? What will happen if she fails? Eventually I located the timeline that unfolds in the past, and explores the nature of the estrangement and how a secret shared between the narrator and her sister-in-law brought about an irrevocable fracturing. In this version, the past informed the way the narrator experienced the present; it helped the present to matter.” – from Inventing Time by Laura van den Berg

***

“3.Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.” –Kurt Vonnegut’s rules of writing

***

“different works have different ambitions and, therefore, require different approaches” – Zehra Nabi

***

“I abandoned short stories and wrote a novel.  Maybe short stories weren’t my thing.  In a book, I had more elbow room.” – The Big Rush, or What I Learned from Sending a Story Out Too Soon by Julie Wu

***

“You have to do the work; you have to do your research. There are no short cuts.” – Justina Ireland in discussion on Writing the Other

POETRY

“Here’s to the fools who dream
Crazy as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that break
Here’s to the mess we make” (from La-La Land. Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)

***

“That is how life is.

When you are placed in hot oil

be patient

keep going

you will be ready soon.” – Browning Meat by M. A. Brown in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters

***

“My father
would not have imagined

seeing me here,
hearing of me fleeing a war.” – Althea Romeo-Mark’s A Kind of Refugee

***

“Maybe it is best
not to know.
Maybe it is
Inevitable.” – I am Unsure by Ashley Harris

***

“That’s one thing nobody tells you. Sometimes it’s okay to give up.” – Boys Don’t Cry

“give yourself a chance Andre
be open
love someone
do not fret, fete” – A Prayer to Andre

“When the nurse takes
blood you won’t have to be afraid
of her knowing you are afraid.
And then maybe you could tackle your
your fear of white cars next.” – Incurable Fears
from Poems by Andre Bagoo in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters

***

“as I walk

people

stare and pass by

on the far side” – Madness Disguises Sanity by Opal Palmer Adisa

***

“The mirrors of their eyes only blind me.” – from Ivy Alvarez’s What Ingrid Bergman Wanted

***

“He is a writer a sensitive man
a thundering terrible intelligence” – from Pamela Mordecai’s Great Writers and Toads

***

“The new therapist specializes in trauma counseling. You have only ever spoken on the phone. Her house has a side gate that leads to a back entrance she uses for patients. You walk down a path bordered on both sides with deer grass and rosemary to the gate, which turns out to be locked.

At the front door the bell is a small round disc that you press firmly. When the door finally opens, the woman standing there yells, at the top of her lungs, Get away from my house. What are you doing in my yard?” – Claudia Rankine reading excerpts from her book Citizen 

***

“Another glittering day without you; take my hand
and bring me to wherever we were: the empty house
in Petit Valley or the city of Lapeyrouse
where headstones multiply like sails on a Sunday,
where a widower tacks under a pink parasol,
where people think that pain or pan is good for the soul.” – excerpt from Derek Walcott’s Lapeyrouse Umbrella published in Morning, Paramin

***

“I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to” – from God says Yes to Me by Kaylin Haught

VISUAL ART

Cloudrise from Denver Jackson on Vimeo which I discovered through the Wardens Walk blog  which I discovered through the Pages Unbound blog

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team-painting-by-rachel-bento-commissioned-by-gov-gen

Painting by Antiguan artist Rachel Bento, on commission from the Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, of Team Wadadli, which took the Talisker Whisky Challenge (2015-2016) rowing approximately 3000 nautical miles across the Atlantic – from the Canary Islands to Antigua – in 52 days. They set two world records – oldest team and oldest rower – in the process. Bento’s commission commemorates their historic achievement. See more of Bento’s work here.

MISC.

Speculative fans, I thought you might find this bibliography interesting. It’s a Bibliography of Caribbean Science Fiction and Fantasy.

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‘I have not yet had a student turn me down.  Some of the ARCs came back after a few days with a negative review, but most of the time the readers would seek me out before school in the morning to tell me they had finished the book and thought it was, “GREAT!”  The readers who brought back the “GREAT” ARCs often brought a friend with them who wanted to be the second person in the building to read the book.  And before my eyes, dormant readers woke up!’ – teacher, librarian Mary Jo Staal on the Power of the Arc in stoking her students’ interest in reading

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Reading Room and Gallery XVIII

This page is for sharing links to things of interest around the internet. It’ll be sporadically updated; so, come back from time to time. For the previous reading rooms (I, II, III, Iv, v, vI , vII, vIII, Ix, x, xI, xII, xIII, xIv, xv, xvI, xvII), click the links or use the search feature to the right, to the right.

ON PUBLISHING

“#3 Not following guidelines.
Double check all guidelines before submitting to a magazine. Is there a word count requirement? Should your name be removed from the piece? Should your document be in Word, pdf, or rich text format? If it’s an email submission, do they want the document attached, or pasted into the body of the email? Do they accept simultaneous submissions? Don’t risk getting your piece being tossed out because you didn’t follow the rules.” – (here at Wadadli Pen I know this one well) – read the rest of the list of mistakes writers make when submitting.

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“My advice for young writers is to keep reading widely and for pleasure. And don’t get discouraged! So much of it is just mule-like persistence. That’s what I feel I learned this time around. There were many times when Swamplandia! failed and I had to pick it up and try and write it again. There were stories in my collection that were just duds, they’ve been voted off the island, and it was only because I had this material commitment to getting them out the door that I was willing to keep working at them. I really do think that’s the best advice—to keep at it.” – Karen Russell

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“An interesting insight into the process came when the pair considered how they had arrived at rather different descriptions for the location of the windmill-giants – Jull Costa has them ‘on that same plain’, whereas Bush situates them ‘in the nearby field’. It transpired that, rather than seeking a literal translation of the Spanish ‘en aquel campo’, each had pictured what they read the original to mean and then found a way to render the image in English.” – Ann Morgan on dueling translations of Don Quixote

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“Not only do I not see movies as I write, I can’t visualise, well, anything. At all. I don’t even dream in pictures. I have absolutely no concept of what it would be like to see things that no one else can see.” – Jo Eberhardt

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“It happens too often that beginning fiction writers fail to give their characters jobs or occupations. Weak stories by beginning writers often feature adults who are wealthy without any discernible means of income or who perform the indiscernibly ambiguous task of “work.” Characters are described as working each day, but the reader is never told what they do or how their daily jobs affect them or their interactions with others. Characters do not earn money; they simply have it. There are no bills, no expenses, and, of course, no financial struggles.” – Amina Gautier

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“So here you have a man at the beach, but he can’t enjoy it; he has to sit, because of his paranoia, with his back to the water, sitting in a chair; he wears a Hawaiian shirt but there’s a bullet proof vest under it; he likes a red wine spritzer but it tastes like Skittles which is very loaded…Trayvon Martin had a pack of Skittles.” – Rowan Ricardo Phillips, born in New York to Antiguan parents, reflecting on his poem News from the Muse of Not Guilty after a reading of the poem, from his collection Heaven, on CBC Radio.

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“You start from building this world with their rules, and then you just follow logic in order to come up with the rest of the details. So once you have this simple fact that you’re treating couples in a certain way and single people in another way—and there’s a bit of a concept that this is almost like a prison drama or something, at least in the first half of the film—then you pick up on those things and you borrow things from other kinds of situations … We tried to get into the heads of people that would be in charge and what they would come up with.” – Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos on the making of his film The Lobster

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Writing other…Mary Robinette Kowal provides some insight to culturally sensitive approaches to doing so.

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“The second thing is reminding myself: You don’t have to write anything that you’re not deeply interested in. Every time I remember this, it’s a relief and a surprise.” – Rita Mae Reese on curing the affliction of not-writing.

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“I use traditional women’s techniques, such as sewing, beading and applique. I incorporate found objects in my work; they are clues towards understanding my story and that of women in general.” – Heather Doram

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“So much of what the filmmakers did in creating and then editing their work is what we writers strive for when polishing a manuscript: pinpoint the heart of the story and stay true to it, cut what can be lost, and always direct conflict and pacing.” – Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton w/ Elena Greene discuss The Lord of the Rings’ adaptation from book to film and what writers can learn from the choices the filmmakers made. It’s a five part series that begins, here.

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A long form interview on the arts is a rare thing, especially in a Caribbean print publication, so kudos to Jamaica’s Observer for this series of poetry month features, this one spotlighting American Tim Tomlinson, co-founder of the New York Writers’ Workshop, in conversation with Jamaican-American poet and artist Jacqueline Bishop. Tomlinson’s book Yolanda, an Oral History in Verse, is focused on the Phillipines but his connection to the Caribbean – his time spent visiting and diving in various islands and countries but most especially the Bahamas is explored as well. Essentially, this interview is about both his journeying as a person and how that has informed his writing, how he creates, generally, and specifically in the case of Yolanda. W/thanks to Jacqueline Bishop for sharing, here have a slow as you sipping your iced tea kind of read:

Tim Tomlinson 1Tim Tomlinson 2Tim Tomlinson 3

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“That was one of those magic moments. That came out pretty much whole cloth. Every now and then you ride the tiger. Most days the tiger rides me, but every now and then I ride the tiger. That’s my favorite chapter in the book. The opening chapter of The Given Day is another example. It’s my favorite chapter in The Given Day. It was written in two nights. It was rewritten extensively for prose, but it just came out.” – Dennis Lehane

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“When I closed my eyes, I could smell flue-cured tobacco. I could feel the hot sun beating down on me. I could hear the southern accent of a teacher whose voice reminded me of poetry.” – Shannon Hitchcock on the inspiration for her book Ruby Lee & Me

VISUAL ART

Online gallery of Netherlands artist Marijke Buurlage.

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“Nature is completely indifferent to the human endeavours whether they are good, evil, otherwise, whatever.” – Lori Landey and Beth Harris discussing Joseph Mallard William Turner’s Slave Ship

NON FICTION

“How many times over the years
I have explained
This.
Celie and her “prettier” sister Nettie
are practically identical.
They might be twins.
But Life has forced on Celie
all the hardships
Nettie mostly avoids…” – Is Celie actually Ugly? By Alice Walker

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“Why, I asked my brother, did you like the film so much? So many messages. Look at the title. Everyone has problems underneath. Just because you are smart doesn’t mean u can work everything out yourself.” – Sejal Shah writing on Ordinary People

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“You must read to develop a deeper understanding of literary elements, such as character arc, subtext, voice, and narrative distance.” – Chuck Sambuchino in his article The Pros and Cons of getting a Creative Writing MFA at Writer’s Digest

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Kei Miller’s essay in this BBC piece resonates with me – it’s truthful and thoughtful and bold as so much of his writing is even when speaking of his tentativeness writing the issue of race -how our whiteness and blackness mediate our interactions. That said, I feel that same prickle of disagreement I feel stir in me whenever a black person, black writer (especially if they’re from colonized or formerly colonized places like I am) say, I didn’t know I was black until… because it’s not my truth (my blackness didn’t limit my sense of possibility but the reality is that, like class and other things, our blackness or shades of blackness was and remains a way of separating ourselves from ourselves) even in the predominantly black places I have lived (including Kei’s Jamaica). The Caribbean is not insulated from these issues, though they are not as starkly or sharply or consistently experienced in whiter places like the US and UK. Beyond my own experiences (some touched on in my February 2016 Essence article Mirror Mirror and issues of colourism/shade-ism explored in my book Musical Youth), this fairly recent memory comes to mind: being in a roomful of children of different shades of black, in a public child-friendly space, right here on our predominantly black island, only to have another adult, call out to one of the children, “black boy, black boy” with a tone and cadence that suggested “bad boy, bad boy” and to have him look up, in full acceptance of this (internalizing it). My aside aside, give the audio clip a listen; it’s a really engaging and touching reflection from one of the Caribbean’s best.

INTERVIEWS

“A writer always benefits from being a kind of outsider. That is why I try not to belong to anything too much. [Alienation] makes you an insider-outsider . . . sharpens [your] sense of observation. You look at things with detached eyes. Even some words. Pondering these English words with your Creole eyes. . . . There always is a sort of dialogue going on [within] most artists anyway. They just soak things in that they ultimately try to reproduce some other way. I think having this dual lens has been very helpful.” – Edwidge Dandicat

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“Grounded in the realities of our history and geography, but unbounded in their imaginative possibilities” – Philip Sander describing the work of Nalo Hopkinson jumped out at me as the very thing I’ve been trying to define when I speak of a Caribbean aesthetic as a criterion for (but not a limitation of) Wadadli Pen submissions.

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“Shorter doesn’t mean faster or easier! Short story writing is a very different art from that of the novel, from pacing to character development. So for a novelist, it can actually take longer and be more of a stretch to try her hand at writing a short story. A rewarding challenge, certainly, but definitely a challenge.” – Lauren Willig

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“I remember myself as a young child, my mother had books inside here, and one of them dealt with the Haitian Revolution. I was ever so proud of Toussaint L’Ouverture. I was just proud. I mean, there he was, sitting in the same book with Napoleon and all of these other great men. So, for me, the Haitian Revolution was very significant. I don’t know how it is in popular memory, because right now everybody’s sorry for the Haitians—and “sorry for” in the sense of, “We’re better off” or “They can wear our old clothes.” So I don’t know about it in the popular memory. But certainly historically, Haiti served to frighten late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century governments. Frightening them, and as a matter of fact, had them even more repressive towards their black enslaved workers because their fear of Haiti was so strong. So, I don’t know that it has popular resonances, but certainly for nineteenth-century politics, it did.” – Erna Brodber interview at SX Salon, a Small Axe Literary Platform

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“What’s interesting to me is that of the women who have read this, every single one thinks that it is absolutely sexy and totally horny. Then I was like, ‘oh, so this is erotica’. And I was reminded again that erotica does not need to be explicit. And, of course, what is erotic and what we find sexy and will respond to viscerally in that way is entirely subjective.” – Leone Ross

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“The fiction writer in me likes gaps in stories because I can jump into that gap and try to suggest something.” – Marlon James’ Vogue interview

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“There’s a place for everything…” – says Barbados’ Shakirah Bourne in this NIFCA interview:

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“To move past the ugly parts of history, you have to acknowledge them, on all sides, and this is what I think historical fiction can do so well: show how we got from there to here, but told through characters who see themselves not as history but as completely modern.” – Andrea Mullaney, author of The Ghost Marriage, 2012 Commonwealth Short Story winner for Canada and Europe

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“The area where I spent my childhood years was surrounded my trees, and always seemed just on the edge of wilderness. That area has changed so much, but there is still that space in my imagination that’s the same…” – Danielle Boodoo Fortune, Woman of Colour interview

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“What I’m trying to bring out is the power of words themselves, the power and musicality of words.” – Clifton Joseph

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“Reading was such a sanctuary when I was a teenager, I wanted to see if I could tell a Jamaican story, a Caribbean story, that would interest even an urban teenager.” – Diana McCaulay re her new book Gone to Drift

FICTION

“In April of 1945, after facing only minimal resistance, Rhett was part of the Allied force that liberated a concentration camp named for the beech forests that surrounded it. The day was damp and overcast, with a heavy ground mist that sometimes hid the heaped bodies and sometimes revealed them. Living skeletons stood at the fences and outside the crematoriums, staring at the Americans. Some were horribly burned by white phosphorous.” – Cookie Jar by Stephen King

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“In death, we live far more richly than we do in life. Our lives are pale shadows in which we are preoccupied with the business of living. It is in death that we take on nuance and colour. We seep through the floorboards of houses, spread out and nestle there. We whistle through windows, ruffle curtains and inhabit the minds and memories of others. We take on a resonance that only memory provides. We become deities. We become ancestors.” – from Ayanna Gillian Lloyd’s Walking in Lapeyrouse

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“There was no rebuttal. She ended the call. From the decanter on side board, she poured herself a drink. The rum quelled the chill in her stomach — a chill reminiscent of rain-fly wings brushing against her skin. Where did they find him? They were hunting him for so long. Did he put up a fight? Errol had a point: There was really no need for her to kill him herself. But she wanted to.” – H. K. Williams’ Celeste in Moko

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“They’ve taken you, in the rolling melody of their steps and song, to the river Aripo inside the forest, and when they sit and beckon you to come join them, their feet, you notice, are not as they’re supposed to be. It’s a peculiar thing to miss, really, backwards feet. You sense that your own feet have been treading air when they come into contact once again with the marshy forest floor. You look back into the bush where you think you came from, and you want to go home.”- Wenmimareba Klobah Collins

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Edwidge Dandicat reads and discusses Jamaica Kincaid’s Girl and her own Wingless. And here’s Girl, so you can read along.

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“My wife is happiest on Sunday afternoon, when I leave the house. We have been married five years – too soon for us to take pleasure in each other’s absence.” – from Radio Story by Anushka Jasraj – Commonwealth Short Story winner for Asia

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“After years of working like a dog, clawing his way to fame and fortune—forfeiting family in the process—Desiree and the people of the island had broken down his mighty reserve and rewarded him with passion, friendship and the happiest times he’d ever experienced. He loved living in a place where everyone was aware of who he was, but not impressed or intimidated by what he had done. He admired the lack of social divides, that the Chief Minister played dominoes with ‘The People’, and that his best friend and “liming partner” was her cousin, and his Captain.” – Trudy Nixon’s Anguilla Boat Race, part of Akashic’s Mondays are Murder series

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Mary Akers said about ‘Viewing Medusa’ after it had been posted at The Good Men Project: “For all you writers out there, this story’s publication is a testament to persistence. It won the Mary Mackey Short Story Prize, it was the story I submitted for my successful Bread Loaf waiter application, but for ten years, I tried unsuccessfully to get it published. I submitted it to 101 journals, 100 of whom rejected it before Matthew Salesses believed in it and brought it out into the world.” Here’s an excerpt from the story:  “I found myself unable to look away as she slurped her soup, dipping the pieces of dasheen in the broth and sucking them dry after each dip. When the soursop was served, she peeled away the bumpy green skin and slurped the fruit into her mouth, rolling it around until the smooth brown seeds were free, spitting them onto her plate. Soursop juice ran down her wrists and dripped off her elbows to the floor. I thought of Miss Connie, later, on her hands and knees, wiping up the stickiness while shaking her head at the lack of manners displayed by scientists.” – the voice/point of view and descriptions work well together to create a clear picture of the part of Dominica in which the story (which feels less fiction and more here’s how it happened) is set – the beauty and ruggedness in the landscape and the character of the people as compared with the visiting (presumably white) scientists, to create as well a certain mood of foreboding, and to suck the reader in…even if it spits that reader out the other end with questions, or rather one lingering question: so wait, she nar go do nutten? – Read the whole of Viewing Medusa here.

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“The fuel tank was empty. He’d collapsed from sunstroke and dehydration. He’d been raving incoherently. When he finally recovered he’d lost all memory of where he’d left his men. A Lysander was sent out to look for them but nothing was ever found. The unforgiving maw of the Sahara had simply swallowed them up.” – Bully Beef and Biscuits by Guy Carter – this was the 2015 winner of the Mogford Prize for Food & Drink Writing

POETRY

“In Trinidad, everyone knows

the Pitch Lake but few have been

few have seen the dark and strange

surface, the vast dirt a mind of its own:

asphalt lake as constant as change.” – from La Brea. Read that and other poems by Andre Bagoo in Moko.

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“No one sees my tears
wafting through the branch clusters
weeping airy patterns into the jungle silence.” – from Mangrove Armour by April Roach in Moko

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“We read menacing messages in the scowls
of passers-by. Some circle around,
mark the territory with treads of footprints,
count down days to our departure.” – Camp by Althea Romeo-Mark in Moko

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“…crushed lemongrass
overcooked tourist flesh sizzling in the noonday sun
barnacled, rusted boats off Devonshire Dock
my neighbour’s garbage ripped open by feral cats
overpriced perfume – from Trimingham’s, I think
‘mountain fresh’ detergent scent of laundry drying on the line
frying fish and sun-ripened fish guts
Baygon and stale beer
overripe cherries
Limacol and sweat..” – from Kim Dismont Robinson’s Scents of Bermuda: Or, All De Smells That Accosted My Nose One Day When Ahs Ridin My Bike From My Momma’s House on Norf Shore To My House in Smif’s Parish

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‘In the roaring of the wolves the doctor said “Do you feel tenderness”
She was touching me’ – Niina Pollari, sharing and discussing her poem Do You Feel Tenderness

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“There’ve always been Sunday mornings like this,
when God became young again
and looking back you see
that childhood was a Sunday morning.” – Kendel Hippolyte (Sunday) – be sure to also check out the Dunstan St. Omer Red Madonna that accompanies the poem.

BLOG

“I think I had a very different vision of myself when I was young, and definitely thought I’d have a family and be a loving parent by now. Instead I’ve birthed books” – Zetta Elliott

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“Neglected authors fascinate me. While the particulars for their disregard may vary over time and from culture to culture, one thing remains constant: their perseverance despite official recognition. Such is the case of Eliot Bliss, a ‘white, Creole, and lesbian’ Jamaican novelist and poet whose collected poems have been resurrected by Michela A. Calderaro in Spring Evenings in Sterling Street.” Geoffrey Philp

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“Getting to the place in yourself that is beyond influence is the radical edge.” – Brooke Warner

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“…exploring a new space is a thing of wonder and an entirely individual experience…” – Sonia Farmer, blogging her Fresh Milk residency in Barbados

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