Tag Archives: Antigua and Barbuda

Is My Story/Poem/Essay Ready to be published? (Wadadli Pen 2023)

The ratio of people who tell me they want to publish a book compared to people who tell me that they want to write is probably 4:1 and I get it – the hunger to get your work out into the world but I often feel like they’re putting the cart before the horse. I mean, obviously, if they’re thinking of publishing a book, they’ve written something but that doesn’t mean that that something is ready to be published. Writing is the purpose of writing; publishing a book is another step altogether and a big one. & I worry sometimes that people are skipping the writing en route to publishing a book, in part because it’s easier to self-publish now than when I started out from my surveying of the landscape. But that still doesn’t mean that the work is ready to be out in the marketplace. But it sells, it makes money, people like it, you’re just a hater. I mean that’s one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is that I believe in writer development and that’s one of the reasons I started Wadadli Pen – to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. Before the baby is sent out in to the world, it has to grow – go through stages of development, which in the case of writing, may include revisions and self-editing, feedback from someone outside of yourself or from a later self who has some distance from the work (i.e. put it down and come back to it), writing groups and/or workshops, writing classes or seminars, submitting to journals and contests (test your writing in the markeplace, building a writing profile etc)…or just put the work out; that’s worked for some people. I come from a different school. & the truth is different schools can yield success; there are different paths to the goal.

I do hope that one of your paths, if you’re a writer or aspiring writer in Antigua and Barbuda takes you through the Wadadli Pen challenge.

Some of the interviews we’ve been doing to promote the 2023 challenge have included hacks or tips about writing and about submitting – the Voice of the People appearance, for instance, floats ideas to jump start new writing, while on The Review I talk about what’s meant by “keep it Caribbean” from our submission guidelines:

“the idea is to kind of re-wire our brain to think of ourselves as the center of the story; to think of ourselves as where the story starts. That doesn’t mean that you have to write a stereotypical, cliche Caribbean story. In fact, we would prefer if you didn’t. You can write any kind of genre, you can set it in outer space, you can set it in a parallel universe, you can set it in a future reality but the idea is that imaginatively, psychically center your Caribbean-ness…life as you see it but also as you imagine it.”

from The Review interview

Margaret during her We the People appearance reminds that you don’t have to be Antigua-Barbudan born (only resident) to submit; whoever you are you have a particular story to tell.

You shoud give these media appearances a listen.

And if you think you need help, sign up for one of this week’s Wadadli Pen workshops

and just so you know I will be offering scholarships to my Jhohadli Writing Project workshops as part of the prize package.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and To be a Cheetah – the latter scheduled for July 2023 release and available for pre-order wherever you buy books at this writing). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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28 Days, 28 Stories (& A Poem for World Poetry Day)

Happy World Poetry Day (March 21st 2023). For the occasion, I did a recording of the most recent of my published poems.

Also, I’ve been meaning to do a round up of my February literary project and this seems as good a time as any (March 20th was World Storytelling Day). During Black History Month (BHM), I shared one-minute-reads, one per day, of 28 of my journaled short stories (i.e. stories of mine accepted over the years for publication in literary journals) on my Antiguan Writer YouTube channel. It was also a challenge to myself to write each time I posted (creating new, albeit still unformed, writing in addition to advancing work on my short story collection in progress). How’s that for a writing/life hack? Because no matter what else was going on, I had that appointment with myself and, for the most part, kept them. By contrast, don’t ask me how March has been going on the writing front.

Below, in case you missed it, I’ve linked all 28 video postings. If the full story is available online, that’s linked as well. They are ordered in terms of increasing popularity (least to most viewed and engaged with, so that you have to scroll all the way down to get to number 1). Remember to engage (like, share, comment – let me know your fave, share a poem you vibe with etc.).

28. “The Night The World Ended” published in The Caribbean Writer vol. 32, 2018

27. “Game Changer” published in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters, issue 9, 2016

26. “Cold Paradise” published in Women Writers – Special Issue (Serving the Spirits: Women and Voodoo in Literature and Popular Culture), 2008.

25. “Somebody!” published in St. Somewhere Journal, 2010.

24. “Little Prissy Palmer” published in The Machinery, 2017. Link to one-minute read video.

23. “Zombie Island” published in 2016 in Interviewing the Caribbean vol. 2 issue 1, 2016.

22. “Is Like a Like It” (excerpt of a screenplay of an unproduced short film) published in The Caribbean Writer vol. 27, 2013.

21. “Carnival Hangover” published in intersectantigua.com (print and audio), 2020.

20. “After Glow” published in Tongues of the Ocean, 2009 – anthologized in So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End, 2012. Link to one-minute read video.

19. “Amelia at Devil’s Bridge” which was excerpted on PEN.org after being published in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean, 2014. Since 2017, it has been excerpted in the Harper Collins English A revision guide.

18. “All Fall Down” published in Womanspeak: a Journal of Art and Writing by Caribbean Women vol. 7, 2013.

17. “Papa Jumbie” published in Akashic’s Duppy Thursday series, 2017. Link to one-minute read video.

16. “To Market, a Snapshot” published in Susumba’s Book Bag, 2013.

15. “Carnival Blues” published in The Caribbean Writer vol. 27, 2013, and as “Something Wicked” in The Missing Slate, 2014 .

14. “The Other Daughter” published in Adda, 2017. This has been used for the national assessment in Denmark.

13. “Teacher May” published in Poui, the Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing, 2011.

12. “Portent” published in Women Writers – Special Issue (Serving the Spirits: Women and Voodoo in Literature and Popular Culture), 2008.

11. “What’s in a Name” published in BIM: Arts for the 21st Century volume 7, 2015.

10. “Soca Night” published in 2007 in the Daily Observer 50th anniversary arts supplement Carnival Is All We Know (which I also pitched and edited).

9. “At Sea” published in Zimbabwean American journal Munyori, 2011. Link to one-minute read video.

8. “When We Danced” published in The Caribbean Writer volume 29, 2015 . It won The Caribbean Writer’s flash fiction prize.

7. “Martin, Dorie, and Luis: A Love Story” published in the Jamaica Observer Sunday Literary Arts, 2004. Link to one-minute read video.

6. “Rhythms” published in The Caribbean Writer, 2004. Link to one-minute read video.

5. “Ixie and Izzy”, part of the Sky Islands fictional universe, published in 2021 in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters issue 20. Link to one-minute read video.

4. “The Cat has Claws” published in Akashic’s Mondays are Murder series, 2013. Link to one-minute read video.

3. “Friday Night Fish Fry” published in the Sea Breeze Journal of Contemporary Liberian Writings, 2008. Link to one-minute read video.

2. “Bitter Memories” published in Collective Soul, 1998. Link to one-minute read video.

1. “Country Club Kids” published in The Caribbean Writer vol. 24, 2010. Link to one-minured read video.

Click through one by one or automate the playlist.

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

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late February 2023)

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


Antigua and Barbuda Cultural Director Khan Cordice co-arranged and drilled Republic Bank Exodus to a second place finish in the panorama of Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival. The presentation marked the return of local calypso legend King Short Shirt’s “Tourist Leggo”, their test tune, to TnT Carnival, after its popularity and outsider status resulted in it being banned from competition there in 1976. Khan and co-arranger Terrance ‘BJ’ Marcelle earned 280 points to the 283 points earned by winning pan orchestra Renegade. Khan holds the record as the youngest pan arranger to win in nantional competition, at 19, and ties with the late Victor ‘Babu’ Samuel for the most wins with eight. With this step, he is being hailed as a world class arranger. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)

Books and Other Reading Material

Let’s use Trinbagonian writer (still based in Trinidad) Kevin Jared Hosein’s current book tour (every writer dreams of such a publisher push!) and, in particular, his recent appearance on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom (live in studio, not no zoom t’ing), to big him up on the publication of Hungry Ghosts, which is already getting Booker Prize talk.

In Hosein’s British TV interview, we receive some insights and reminders re how story gets made. “In my childhood village, I was interviewing some elders including my grandfather about some of the literatures that had vanished over time and I wanted to make a small compilation of those moments that might have been lost in time or relegated to memory,” he said of the genesis of the book, set in 1940s Trinidad. Bringing his biology and environmental science training to the table, “I drew from a lot of what I knew of symbiotic relationships between animals and their relationship with landscape and habitat, and I fit that together because at the time this novel is set…(Trinidad) was kind of like a frontier.” The cowboys of that frontier, the interview suggests, were the British who saw their influence waning and the Americans who “brought with them a version of the American dream”, and, then, of course, the local people of varying ethnicities and their journeys there. The interview touched quite a bit on colonialism suggesting some exploration of that as a major theme. But for Hosein it was about reclaiming his country’s stories before they slip from memory. “I wanted to give life to those illustrations in the history books.”

Just in his late 30s, Hosein is already an accomplished writer, with milestones including the regional win for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (2015 for “The King of Settlement 4”) followed by the main prize (2018, for “Passage”). He has been published in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean (with “The Monkey Trap”, which was also shortlisted for the Small Axe Prize). He self-published his first book Littletown Secrets. Peepal Tree, a Caribbean focused press based in the UK, published his second book The Repenters, in 2016, and The Beast of Kukuyo was a Burt Award winning title published with Jamaica-based Blue Banyan imprint Blouse and Skirt Books in 2018. The Repenters was long listed for Bocas and nominated for the International Dublin IMPAC Award. Hungry Ghosts is published by Bloomsbury, a British worldwide publishing house.

Congrats to Kevin Jared Hosein and as a reminder of the journey, read “Kevin Jared Hosein breaks it down” published to Wadadli Pen in 2017. (Source – Kevin Jared Hosein on Facebook/image via Bocas on Twitter)


Antigua-born, Virgin Islands-raised, Switzerland-based poet Althea Romeo-Mark has a summer 2023 release planned.

On the Borders of Belonging, she said, is dedicated to “my forefathers, the Finches, Marshes, Josephs, Hendriksons, Willetts and Maynards, who willingly and unwillingly crossed the Atlantic to the Caribbean Islands from European and African shores; my parents, Gilbert Romeo, Daisy Marsh Romeo with whom my siblings and I had our first immigrant experience and whose animated storytelling lit my imagination; and immigrants who have sacrificed everything in search of new homelands. For most, these are havens, the secondhand homes, which, though ill-fitting at first, eventually become the accepted abode after several decades. Despite living on the edge of belonging, passing time, and survival instincts, allow most to settle well in heart and mind, in new SHELL/ters.” (Source – ARM in the Caribbean Writers group on Facebook)


Barbadian writer Karen Lord‘s The Blue, Beautiful World – described as a space opera – has an August 29th 2023 release date.


“The world is changing, and humanity must change with it. Rising seas and soaring temperatures have radically transformed the face of Earth. Meanwhile, Earth is being observed from afar by other civilizations . . . and now they are ready to make contact.

Vying to prepare humanity for first contact are a group of dreamers and changemakers, including Peter Hendrix, the genius inventor behind the most advanced VR tech; Charyssa, a beloved celebrity icon with a passion for humanitarian work; and Kanoa, a member of a global council of young people drafted to reimagine the relationship between humankind and alien societies.

And they may have an unexpected secret weapon: Owen, a pop megastar whose ability to connect with his adoring fans is more than charisma. His hidden talent could be the key to uniting Earth as it looks toward the stars.

But Owen’s abilities are so unique that no one can control him and so seductive that he cannot help but use them. Can he transcend his human limitations and find the freedom he has always dreamed of? Or is he doomed to become the dictator of his nightmares?”

Lord who has wracked up several awards (the William L. Crawford Award and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature) and nominations (the World Fantasy Award ) in her career has announced that two books from her backlist (Redemption in Indigo and Unravelling) have been acquired and are slated for re-release. “The reprints will have new covers, and extra material. I’ve written four short stories about our favourite characters from Cygnus Beta, filling in some offscreen events.” (Source – Karen Lord on Twitter)


Jamaican writer Jacqueline Bishop has published her eighth book.

Patchwork: Essays & Interviews on Caribbean Visual Culture has been issued with the support of Intellect Publishing and the University of Chicago Press. On the cover is an image of the writer’s great grandmother Celeste Walker holding up one of her patchworks and it seeks to shine a spotlight on Caribbean women like Ms. Walker, whose art is ripped from cloth and reflects their African heritage. Bishop’s previous books are Fauna, My Mother who is Me, The River’s Song, Writers who Paint Painters who write, Snapshots from Istanbul, The Gymnast and Other Positions, and The Gift of Music and Song: Interviews with Jamaican Women Writers. (Source – the author via JR Lee email)


“Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won’t have as much censorship because we won’t have as much fear.” – this Judy Blume quote inspired a post featuring Antiguan and Barbudan Children’s Literature <—check it out. (Source – in-house)


“Notoriously, Caribbean slave owners extracted greater profits from working an enslaved person to death and purchasing a new one than from providing for a slave until old age and creating the conditions for natural reproduction.” – p7 from Troubling Freedom #whatimreading

Consider this your reminder to visit Blogger on Books, my book review series. (Source – me)


Their are still spots – and financial aid to participate – in two of Breadloafs’ summer workshops. Worth it – I’ve been.

Though, alas, the fiction workshops are closed. See what’s still available in Opportunities Too. See also Opportunities. (Source – in-house)


Antigua and Barbuda’s Ministry of Education, Sports, and Creative Industries will be holding the 2023 National Literacy Festival on March 2nd 2023 under the theme “Enriching Lives and Preserving Our Culture”. All citizens are invited to Drop Everything and Read for at least half an hour. The Ministry hopes that all business places and corporations will join the activity. We at Wadadli Pen hope that all participants will make it an Antiguan and Barbudan book.

(Source – Daily Observer by Newsco.)


The classic Caribbean film The Harder They Come is having a stage run at The Public in New York. Twenty 22 was the 50th anniversary of the film’s 1972 release and activities included an exhibition in its country of origin Jamaica and this stage play whose run has now been extended.

Like the film, the play features the music of reggae legend Jimmy Cliff and other Jamaican artists, including the titular track. The film was produced and directed by Perry Henzell and co-written by Trevor Rhone. Pulitzer prize winning playwright, who has also written new music for the stage adapation, Susan Lori-Parks is responsible for bringing it to Broadway.

Choreography of this stage musical is Edgar Godineaux, and Sergio Trujillo and Tony Taccone are co-directors. (Source – The Public Theatre on Twitter)


The St. Martin Book Fair is getting the word out early. Here’s their save the date:

Google them. (Source – St. Martin Book Fair email)


HaMa Films will have the first local screening of their fifth feature film, Deep Blue, on Barbuda – this is after a screening during Montserrat’s Alliougana Festival of the Word. The local premiere is scheduled for Feburary 18th 2023, 7 p.m. at McChesney George Secondary School.

Call 776-3339 for tickets. HaMa’s previous films are The Sweetest Mango, a first for Antigua and Barbuda and the OECS, No Seed, Diablesse, and The Skin. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco.)

Art and Culture

See my review of the Antigua and Barbuda Online Cultural Information System. (Source – me)


Kimolisa Mings was interviewed for the Valentine’s week edition of my (Joanne C. Hillhouse’s) CREATIVE SPACE art and culture column. It’s been added to the A & B Artistes Discussing Art page here on the blog. You can also read the article on my Jhohadli blog and watch the full interview on my Antiguan Writer YouTube channel.

The video has also been added to the Carib Lit Plus playlist on the Wadadli Pen YouTube channel. (Source – me)

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

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Wadadli Pen Trending (November 7th 2022 minus 30)

I’m prompted by this trending post on my Jhohadli blog to do a check in here to see what’s been trending for the past month here on the blog (where the last what’s trending post was at the end of September and January before that). As is my usual with these posts, this is mostly a way of boosting posts you may have missed. Also, as Antigua and Barbuda is now coming out of Independence season (Independence being November 1st – Happy 41st anniversary), I’m curious to see what the season has wrought as there’s usually an interest in cultural content in the build-up to the big day.

(Pictured is one of our Independence awardees. See the latest Carib Lit Plus for more)

Over the last 30 days, the top trending posts and pages here on the Wadadli Pen blog 1-10 have been.

1- “Nobody go run me” (lyrics)

2 – Antiguan and Barbudan Poetry

3 – Commonwealth Short Story Prize Reminder, Judges Announcement

4 – Antiguan and Barbudan Cultural Icon – Paul King Obstinate Richards


6 – Antigua and Barbuda’s Other-Other-Other ‘Anthem’

7 – Wadadli Youth Rally

8 – Antiguan and Barbudan Writings

9 – Land of Democracy (lyrics)

10 – Antigua and Barbuda Children’s Literature

It makes sense to me. 1, 6, and 9 are part of the Wadadli Pen project to build a song lyrics data base and are patriotic songs (fit for the season). 7 is Independence specific – youth rally being one of the top seasonal events – only this post is from 2015. But as I myself was looking for youth rally pictures even though I attended, I understand. It also makes sense that the search for nationalistic content will have people rifling through the literary database – 2, 8, 10, including artist profiles – 4. Also Wadadli Pen is a literary resource and the Commonwealth short story comp (3) had a November 1 deadline; hope there are many submissions from Antigua and Barbuda.

If you were searching 5, looking for information on Wadadli Pen generally, thanks for your interest and you’re welcome to reach out via wadadlipen@gmail.com with any questions or to support our work in any way.

Finally, an FYI re my next Jhohadli Writing Project:

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

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Do You Get the Picture (lyrics)

(sung by Latumba; written and composed by Shelly Tobitt)


When in the course of human history

The people find it necessary

To dissolve the bonds that holds them

… (???)

Shake off their chains and be free

Nobody cares

They don’t give a damn in this country

Political… ??

subjugate my people

who suffering endlessly


Think of the children

Think of the many youths in this land

Struggling against unemployment

and fighting starvation

Young women they walking the street

Selling their very soul for a fee

Do you get the picture, Mr. Legislator

Answer me, answer me

Do you like what you see, do you like what you see

Oh yeah


Some of you pretend to be concerned

??? have you learned

Corrupt and oppressive leaders

Never fail to fool us again and again

But nobody cares

They don’t give a damn in this country

….? laws legalize oppression

Strangling the youths of our land



We, the people living in this land

Better wake up and understand

That we are the cause of our own despair

It’s high time we stop and be aware

Nobody care

They don’t give a damn bout ‘Tumba

Carnival, Short Shirt and Swallow, the rest of ???

Is the Bird and Walters affair


What of the children

What of the many youths in this land

Struggling against unemployment and raging starvation

We need another enquiry

Shot at the bruk foot industry

Do you get the picture

I talking to you, Mr. Voter

Answer me, answer me

Do you like what you see

Did you vote for it to be

Oh No

Transcribed by Joanne C. Hillhouse. Any errors are my own and unintentional. Question marks refer to lyrics that I was not able to decipher. To assist with the song lyrics data base project, contact us at wadadlipen@gmail.com 

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late July 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 – credit and link back if you use).


The latest NGC Bocas 100 Caribbean Books that Made Us latest project is a podcast. The first installment finds Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth and Bocas award winning writer Kevin Jared Hosein ruminating on No Pain Like This Body by Harold Sonny Ladoo. Listen here. (Source – Bocas email)


Antigua Communications Specialist – and former Wadadli Pen judge – Brenda Lee Browne has shared a call for submissions to the Interreg Caraibes Caribbean Digital Film Library project. This project aims to document, digitalise and create a comprehensive digital library of films by and about people living, working, creating in and about the Caribbean. Film in this context includes and is not limited to: family home movies; feature films; documentaries; news clips; special events, interviews etc. These films can be made by amateurs, film makers, individuals, news organisations, sports/community and institutions – no genre or format is excluded. Browne is the inventory officer for Antigua and Barbuda. Her deadline to submit a comprehensive report of what films are available here and if they require special attention due to age, format etc. is August, 2022.

The Interreg CINUCA project is a collaborative project supported by APCAG and their partners: the
EPCC Tropiques Atrium Scène Nationale (Martinique), the association Guyane-Cinéma Audiovisuel et
Multimédia (the G-CAM-Guyane) (French Guiana), the production company Lee Productions Inc.
(Saint Lucia), and the production company Hama Films (Antigua and Barbuda). The project is
co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), under the Interreg V Caribbean
programme. If you have films you’d like added to the library, contact Brenda Lee Browne at brendalee.browne@gmail.com (Source – Brenda Lee Browne email)

A screening of Dr. James Knight’s documentary Nobody Go Run Me at UWI (Mona) in Jamaica.

You may know that I have been building a play and screenwriting data base here on Wadadli Pen, which I will be sharing with Brenda Lee, as I look forward to how this project develops. Remember if we have missed any screenwriting credits in our database, please share.


An Antiguan and Barbudan poet and former Wadadli Pen finalist has an opportunity to pursue further studies and you have an opportunity to help. Her name is Hilesha S. Humphreys and she has received the opportunity to study Ceative Writing at California College of the Arts’ MFA programme. Her writing focuses on abuse and centers the feminine experience. To take advantage of this chance Hilesha is requesting assistance to fund her studies. For more information, please email: hileshashumphreys@gmail.com  


The Bocas Lit Fest’s Children’s Book Prize, sponsored by the Wainwright Family remains open to Caribbean authors resident anywhere in the world until the end of August. Started last year, the prize is given to one outstanding English-language children’s book for young independent readers. The Prize consists of a cash award of US$1,000. Last year’s winner was When Life gives You Mangoes by Jamaican writer Kereen Getten. The prize is judged by an independent panel of children’s literature experts. The panel is joined by a young reader who will contribute to selecting the winner at the second stage of judging. Eligible are works of fiction (including short story collections and books in verse), literary non-fiction and graphic novels written for independent readers ages 7 – 12 . Works of drama, multiple-author anthologies, picture books, textbooks or instructional manuals are not eligible.  Stories should be told primarily through prose. The book can include illustration, but should not rely primarily on visual storytelling and should have at least 1,500 words. Details here. (Source – Bocas email)


This one is mine, my Jhohadli Writing Project; specifically, my once-a-month workshop session available to participants from anywhere and ideal for writers with works in progress. So far this year, participants have checked in from the US, Trinidad and Tobago, and Antigua and Barbuda, and participant goals have included advancing and receiving feedback on manuscript in revision, jump starting new writing, and learning more about the world of professional writing. What are your goals?

See this and other pending deadlines at Opportunities Too. (Source – Me)


An Antigua Carnival update – Nekirah Nicholls of St. Kitts-Nevis won the Jaycees Caribbean Queen show ahead of runners up Trinidad and Tobago’s Chronna Khan and St. Lucia’s Wenia Verneuil.

Pictures (them in their introductory national costumes and them in their evening gowns during the prize giving) are from the Miss Jaycees Queen Show – JCI Antigua Facebook page. (Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)


The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Elizabeth Nunez prize longlists have, in short order, become one of the most anticipated rollouts of the year if you’re a short story Caribbean or Caribbean diaspora writer. These are the lucky ones in 2022 (Congrats to them all):

For the Caribbean prize (for Caribbean-based Caribbean writers)# – Bahamian Sara Bastien (“The Girl with Your Grandmother’s Eyes”) and Alexia Tolas (“The Fix”); Barbadian Martin Michael Boyce (“In the Secrets Place”), Callie Browning (“The Science of Garbage”), and Gregory Anderson Fitt (“Don’t Cry Precious Baby”); Bermudian Yesha Townsend (“Fishing”); Guyanese Jarryl Bryan (“Shemroy Cusbert”) and Cosmata Lindie (“Starchild”); Dominican/Kittitian-Nevisian Yakima Cuffy (“The Eleventh”); Jamaican Topher Allen (“A Familiar Friction”), Kellie Martine Magnus (“One for the Books”), Tonia Revers (“Hear Yah Now: Conversations”), Damion Spence (“Bull Buck and Duppy Conqueror”), Chaneka Taylor (“Salted Wounds”), and Stacy ann Williams-Smith (“Rio Cobre”); St. Lucian Alicia Valasse-Polius (“Beekeepers”); St. Vincent and Grenadinian Janielle Browne (“The Saddest Part”) and Denise Westfield (“The Valley”); Trinidad and Tobagonian Patti-Ann Ali (“Marley in a Maxi”), Lisa Allen-Agostini (“Meeting Beverley Jones”), Kirk Bhajan (“The La Diablesse of Ecclessville”), Christie Borely (“They lived Together”), Vishala Christopher (“Jumbie like Long Hair”), Rachel Espinet (“Davindra and the buck”), Lynette Hazel (“02.12.20 (Jumbie Make to walk the Road)”), Caroline Mackenzie (“Girls in the Dark”), Brandon McIvor (“Red Hand on a Smoking Gun”), Charmaine Rosseau (“A Real Place”), Portia Subran (“Please Take One”), Kwame Weekes (“Green Thumb”), and Sunil Whittle (“Rockette”).

For the Caribbean American Prize (for US-based Caribbean writers) – Barbadian Elizabeth Best (“Soup on Sunday”) and Rachelle F. Gray (“Peter 3:15”); Dominican Republican El Don (“Amaris Castillo”); Guyanese Elesa Chan (“Jumbie”); Haitian Yvika Pierre (“Nadege goes Home”); Jamaican Jazz Sanchez (“Cook Soup”); *Nicaraguan Marilyn Enriquez (“Devil’s Hole”); St. Lucian Catherine Esther Cowie (“Who wants to look like a Frenchman?”); Trinidad and Tobagonian Keisha Ali (“Uniform”) and Tricia Chin (“Genesis”).

*Nicaragua, I have learnt, despite being Central American, has a major Caribbean influence on its Atlantic coast – including Afro-descendant English speaking Caribbean towns and indigenous (e.g. garifuna) communities.

(Source – BCLF Facebook)


Artistic director with the The Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts in the Bahamas for 40+ years, Philip A. Burrows, has been awarded the Order of Merit in the country’s 2022 Independence Honours list. Burrows has directed well over 100 productions, taught acting workshops, and written for the theatre; and is notably a founding member of Ringplay Productions and co-founder of the Shakespeare in Paradise theatre festival. Burrows has presented a number of Bahamian productions in the US, UK and throughout the Caribbean, and directed a number of National Events, from Cacique Awards to Independence shows, and both productions honouring Sir Sidney Poitier. There may be other people in Bahamas arts on the list – congrats to all. (Source – Facebook)


You may know that this website tries to archive published reviews of books and other applicable content by Antiguans and Barbudans. The latest installment in this series includes reviews of my books Musical Youth (“a wonderful read” – RunWrightReads, “beautiful book” – Book of Cinz), The Jungle Outside (“masterful use of sensory details” – ACalabash), and (surprisingly) Oh Gad! (“an expansive page-turner” – ACalabash)as well as of the film The Sweetest Mango (“avante garde” – Karukerament), our first feature length film, and Pepperpot, a regional anthology in which I have a story, “Amelia at Devil’s Bridge” (“will make you shiver” – The Opinionated Reader). You can help build this and all of our data bases in two ways – applying to volunteer as a social media intern and sending us tips (and practicing patience when you do). (Source – Me)


My CREATIVE SPACE art and culture series continues its every other Wednesday publishing schedule in the Daily Observer newspaper and online with extras at my Jhohadli blog. At this writing, the most recent installment asks “Do You know this Man?” while showcasing the careers of 1940s town crier and calypso pioneer Quarkoo and his all but forgotten 1800s to 1900s predecessor Thomas Joseph.

Working on this story, I am reminded of a friend’s feeling about firsts – that often someone did it before, we just don’t know or don’t remember.

(A humbling example of which for me is when years after I started Wadadli Pen certain I was doing something that hadn’t been done as there had been nothing like Wadadli Pen in my becoming, which was why I started it in the first place, I found out, on discovery of the 1979 publication Young Antiguans Write: Prize-winning Selections in Poetry and Prose from School Creative Writing Annual Competition, 1968-1978 , that an annual writing challenge for and publication of youth writing in Antigua and Barbuda for the primary purpose of literary development, was not new. Probably wasn’t new then. It only felt like I was inventing not reinventing the wheel because the car had broken down and been left to rot at the side of the road. I don’t know quite what happened but I do not remember this or any programme of this type (not counting Independence and Tourism essay competitions) existing as I came of age and came in to being as a writer in the 80s nor through my young adulthood in the 90s. And while this could very well be my ignorance, I had not even heard of it. This realisation in part fuels my motivation – though I don’t have institutional resources behind me as that project did – to create a record of our literary history and to not to be another start-and-stop-did-it-even-happen local arts initiative – there’ve been a few, stalled mostly due to lack of resources – but to find a way to keep it going with or without me, which is one reason I pushed for us to become a legal non-profit, daunting as that process has proven to be).

So, in the vein of things being lost, some of Thomas Joseph’s legacy has been folded in to Quarkoo’s, some has been all but erased. Notably, his authorship of “Man Mongoose” – a song popularized as “Sly Mongoose”, that was first recorded in Trinidad, and is thus credited as such, a song that has since been reproduced in many different genres and formats over the years and across the world. I must give credit to American researcher Dan Lanier, who on seeing my Quarkoo post on this site, reached out to ask me about Thomas Joseph and connected me to more about both men than I had previously known. This is one of my favourite CREATIVE SPACE articles of the year because of the connections it makes on and off the page; I hope you’ll give it a read. And if there’s to be intra-island beef over the authorship of “Sly Mongoose”, make it tasty. (Source – Me)


The Antigua Jazz Project has announced a concert, “A Night for Statchel” Version 3.0, Vince McCoy and Friends, featuring Khadijah Simon and Mind Sound, Acoustic Infusion, and The Antigua Jazz Project. It’s 7 p.m. at Pink Mongoose Studio on Friars Hill Road on August 6th 2022. Proceeds in aid of the St. John’s Hospice and Asita Ngash. (Source – postcard picked up at Best of Books bookstore)


No Panorama? No Problem! The Caribbean Union Bank Hells Gate Steel Orchestra presents it’s “Pan Rhapsody” competition on Saturday 6th August at the Villa Primary School, Antigua. 4 Groups, with up and coming Arrangers will contest this musical showdown.

(Source – Hell’s Gate on Facebook)


Jamaica and specifically reggae and specifically Bob Marley is now in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and specifically the Black Panther verse with the release of the first trailer for the second Black Panther film: Wakanda Forever. The music featured is Marley’s “No Woman No Cry”, sung by Nigerian vocalist Sems, seamlessly segueing in to US rapper Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright”. Of course, the box office breaking, critically acclaimed, and popularly embraced, rare Black-centered series already had a Caribbean presence with Tobagonian Winston Duke as Mbaku and Letitia Wright, Shuri, being Guyanese.


Book of Cinz – a Caribbean book platform whose initiatives include a global Caribbean-focussed virtual book club and the #readCaribbean hashtag which promos the reading of Caribbean books in June – is having its first reading retreat in Dominica, with less than a handful of spots available. It will be at SeaCliff Cottages between October 15th and 20th 2022. Secure your spot here. (Source – Book of Cinz email)


We are all invited to listen in on The Caribbean Development Bank funded Cultural and Creative Industries Innovation Fund Creative Talks on Festival Futures in the Caribbean.

(Source – CIIF email)


It being Carnival season in Antigua, there will be a steady stream of events in the latter part of July in to early August. I can’t report on them all but I’ll share what I can, especially the new and unusual. Like the July 22nd 2022 Band Meet Band Showdown at Carnival City. It seems to be a project of the Antigua and Barbuda Jam Band and Soca Association and the Ministry of Creative Industries and Innovation. The listed line-up includes Sir Oungku and Red Hott Flames, Daddy Barlo and Revo Band, TKO Band featuring Laurena Davis and Ebony T, Byke and Enegee Band, High Tempa, and more. (Source – DJ Ibis on Instagram) & this massive event honouring the Monarch King Short Shirt:

(Source – Facebook)


This event is passed but if you’re a regular here you know that won’t stop me from mentioning it, plus it continues to make news. Dotsie Isaac has donated proceeds from her showcase “Senses: an Evening of Poetry and Music” to the Antigua and Barbuda Heart and Stroke Foundation. Isaac, a former Wadadli Pen judge, has also revealed plans to make “Senses” an annual event.

Poet Dotsie Isaac is seen in this Laura Hall photo participating in a joint Wadadli Pen-Museum fundraiser (Word Up!) in 2006. Isaac has also served as a judge (2011) and as a special guest at the awards ceremony (2015).

(Source – Daily Observer/Antigua)


July 20th 2022 is the red-carpet, invitation-only premiere of documentary film Redonda: the Road to Recovery. Wide public screenings begin at Caribbean Cinemas on July 21st (image from Lawson Lewis’ facebook) with advance tickets of only $5 available at the Environmental Awareness Group office or online via the Ticketing app. The doc which is about the recovery of the Antigua and Barbuda offshore island was teased when I interviewed director Lawson Lewis in May 2022 for my CREATIVE SPACE series.

Lawson Lewis on the job.

(Source – Daily Observer newspaper/Antigua)


July 29th 2022 is African Dress Day in Antigua and Barbuda, the kick-off of the Reparations Support Commission’s Emancipation Day celebrations. The highlight of the celebrations will be, per usual going back 14 years, Watch Night. Date and venue is July 31st the Botanical Gardens. It will be a night of cultural performances, including staples the Nyabinghi drummers and various singers, dancers, and more.

Calypsonian/calypso writer King Zacari, seen here performing at the NVSP awards years ago, is one of the announced performers at this year’s Watch Night. (File photo by Joanne C. Hillhouse/do not reuse without permission or credit)

(Source – Daily Observer newspaper/Antigua)

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

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Antigua and Barbuda Children’s Literature

What are your children reading this summer?
Make sure there’s something from the Antigua and Barbuda Children’s Literature book list.

Wadadli Pen

I started putting together a list a list of books by Antiguan and Barbudan authors and books about Antigua and Barbuda back in 2005 for the Independence literary arts exhibition at the national Museum; I’ve been editing and updating it ever since. There’s a master list which you can find using the search feature to the right; and sub-lists like this one. It includes books by Antiguan and Barbudan writers, both born and adopted, as well as books by Antiguan descendents born elsewhere; some with non-specific connections to the island who feature Antigua and Barbuda prominently in their writings may also make the cut. I’m just trying to make it as complete as possible. Any errors and/or omissions are unintentional. Just let me know and I’ll do the research and add them. Before you do, though, check the main list ‘Antiguan and Barbudan Writing’ which is the master list.  These lists are works in progress and I’ll never get…

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Dawn of a New Day by Rupert ‘Swallow’ Philo

Sung by Rupert ‘Swallow’ Philo
Written by Rupert ‘Swallow’ Philo

See also our song lyrics data base; and our song writers’ data base. All lyrics are transcribed from the song recording. Errors and omissions are my own; feel free to help me correct or fill in the blanks. – JCH, blogger

An uprising nation could never be a nation
When undoubtedly, it’s heading in the wrong direction
We need cooperation just to solve the problems
Or otherwise, things will remain the same
If we let frustration and hopelessness prevail
By all means, the nation is going to fail
With a little practical ???
??????? action
We will overcome our whole division
We need a sense of purpose
A sense of community
And a welcome hope of sincerity
that blocks the flow of progress
I’m positively sure we must gain success
cause tug-o-war wouldn’t take us to our goal
is cooperation I’m sure
to bring the problems under control

Only when we start to see eye to eye
We will move to higher heights by and by
Only when we stop all the back biting
We will have a true country progressing
When we work together
through the stormy weather
When we file our motion
Into one direction
We will definitely be
Open up our eyes to see
That dawn, beautiful dawn
of a new day

Hatred and suspicion
Vice, poverty, and crime
Would only put this place in plenty turmoil
A little time and patience
good public relations
bound to uplift the character of this nation
If we to determine nation’s future
We must fight to get conditions better
Success must come either by force of by will
???? plenty room for improving still
We can’t let this country’s plans lay in ruin
Because all of us will end up suffering
It’s a long, long way ???
But we should all be willing and able
You can’t let this country wake by day
and sleep by night without goal
??? third world


Some people real heartless
Heartless in every way
They do nothing else
But paint this country black every day
Their efforts are fruitless
??? production
They do not believe in
righting the country’s wrongs
The past wouldn’t make the future impossible
If we would decide to fight that struggle
Although mother nature turns against us sometimes
this country nevertheless should be all sublime
We need that love that comes from deep within
If we should see this place improving
???? country will rise or fall
Or else is a good chance for survival
Self-respect and pride along the way
is ??? I say
to see the dawn of a rising day


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#ThrowbackThursday Antiguan-Barbudan Artists on Swedish Programme Popreel (2015)

I shared this back in 2015 but just retrieved the video link and felt like sharing again. It’s from Season 2 of the Swedish programme Popreel. Producer Pamela Taivassalo Wikholm came here and interviewed a number of local artistes.

Including yours truly.

The globe trotting programme explores different cultures and is even used in schools in Sweden.

Episode one of season 2 includes pan players from the Antigua Girls High School with a number of the players explaining where pan fits in to their school, life, and culture. “It’s really electric and it makes you want to dance,” one (Ken-Nyse Lynch) said.

Episode two spotlights some of the opportunities opened up for young sailors in Antigua and Barbuda via the sailing academy. “After I’ve finished being a dinghy instructor here I’m going to try to get on a boat…something on the ocean where you could just go round, see the world; that’s what I really want to do, travel the world,” one (Janeild Smith) said.

I am in episode 3. I shared a reading from my novel Musical Youth and talked about how my history and culture and “this pepperpot of language” informs my work.

Episode 4 spotlighted visual artist Mark Brown and per the show’s teaser “a naked, pregnant nun” from his Angel in Crisis series. “The main aim of the Angel in Crisis series was to bring a sort of humanness …to the people who have to bear the burden of conforming to what society thinks of them,” Mark said.

Episode 5 begins with soca star Tian Winter who spoke about wanting to sing and about his hopes that soca and calypso will someday be as big as other global art forms. “If you have a dream, don’t let anybody, not your mother, not your brother, kill your vibe.”

Can’t argue with that.

Watch all the episodes of season 2 of Popreel here.

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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NaPoWriMo Poetry Challenge Day 25: “Lady Wadadli” — chattinatti

For #napowrimo poetry challenge day 25, my challenge is to write a poem that recounts a dream or vision, and in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area in which I’m from.

NaPoWriMo Poetry Challenge Day 25: “Lady Wadadli” — chattinatti

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