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).
Lisa Allen-Agostini, a Trinbagonian writer based in Trinidad and published by Myriad Press in the UK, is on the just-announced short list for the coveted Women’s Prize for Fiction for her book The Bread the Devil Knead.
Funso Aiyejina and Merle Hodge are winners of the 2022 Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters. Born in Nigeria and resident in Trinidad and Tobago since 1989, Funso Aiyejina is a celebrated poet, short story writer, playwright, and scholar — a former Dean of Humanities and Education, and current professor emeritus at UWI, St. Augustine. Aiyejina won the 2000 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book in the Africa region for his short fiction collection The Legend of the Rockhills and Other Stories. As a scholar, he is especially well known for his work on Earl Lovelace, including a biography and film. He is a founding member and former deputy festival director of the Bocas Lit Fest. Hodge, meanwhile, is lauded as one of the first Black Caribbean women to publish a major work of fiction — her classic 1970 novel Crick Crack, Monkey. She is a beloved fiction writer, literary critic, social and cultural activist, and retired lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities and Education at UWI, St Augustine. The Bocas Henry Swanzy Award recognises their crucial parallel work as teachers and mentors of younger authors, and their dedication to nurturing a generation of writers grounded in Caribbean literary tradition and language, exploring the region’s social complexities. The 2022 Bocas Henry Swanzy Award will be formally presented to Funso Aiyejina and Merle Hodge in a virtual event on 30 April, part of the 2022 NGC Bocas Lit Fest. (Source – JR Lee email)
Commonwealth Writers has announced the longlist of its annual short story prize, 26 in all.
As far as the Caribbean is concerned there are a number of former long and short listed writers – Jamaican Diana McCaulay (‘Bridge over the Yallahs River’), Bahamian Alexia Tolas (‘No Man’s Land’), Barbados-resident Jamaican Sharma Taylor (‘Have Mercy’). The other Caribbean writers on the list are Cecil Browne (‘A Hat for Lemer’) listed as being of both the United Kingdom and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and J. S. Gomes (‘Omolara’) listed as being of both the UK and Trinidad and Tobago. Congrats to them and all writers on the list. Regional winners will be announced on May 23rd and the overall winner on June 21st 2022. (Source – Commonwealth Writers on Instagram)
A couple of British Royals (Edward and Sophie – son and daughter in law of Queen Elizabeth II, respectively) did a fly-through of some Caribbean countries, including Antigua and Barbuda. Sharing for two reasons – 1, because we celebrate our artists, always, here at Wadadli Pen, and a number of our artists formed part of the cultural showcase organized for the royal visit. According to this Daily Observer article, a Government House event included youth collective Honey Bee Theatre, fashion designer Shem Henry, Princess Margaret School steelband, writer Brenda Lee Browne (author of London Rocks and other books) and TV and film producer Mitzi Allen of HaMa Productions (The Sweetest Mango and other films and programmes) ; 2, as a sign of the times, the visit was controversial. Two writers captured some of the controversy. Poet Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau wondered – in a poem (‘The Royals are coming’) critical of the visit shared on Observer Radio and in the Daily Observer newspaper – wondered “what’s it all about/what is the point of this so called royal visit…/what does it mean to you or me?” Meanwhile, playwright and novelist Dorbrene O’Marde, in his capacity as head of the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission wrote a letter which has been picked up by the international media. It is copied below.
(Source – various including Daily Observer, Facebook, and …it’s just what’s in the air)
The report of the first round (which ran in 2020) of the CATAPULT Caribbean arts grant has been posted. Read about the partners, beneficiaries, lessons learned, and artists boosted.
“Residencies are literary gold in the timeline of any Caribbean writer. It’s just as true that to access these transformative, alchemical spaces of peer support, financially conducive/sponsored settings, and time to work, the Caribbean writer has always found it overwhelmingly necessary to leave her home.” – recipient of the CATAPULT stay at home residency Shivanee Ramlochan of Trinidad and Tobago, quoted in the report, which you can read here. (Source – Kingston CREATIVE on facebook)
A reminder that April 29th is the deadline to nominate a writer for the Royal Society of Literature International Writers. To be eligible, recommended writers must not be resident in nor citizens of the UK; and must have published two substantial works of outstanding literary merit (English or English-language translations of works first published in another language). Complete the recommendation form here. (Source – RSL email)
Summer Edward, founder of the Caribbean children’s lit zine Anansesem, has joined the staff of Kirkus Reviews as the magazine’s newest young readers’ editor. This was actually announced last October. Edward edits picture book and middle-grade book reviews for Kirkus. (Source – email)
After a two-year hiatus, one of Antigua and Barbuda’s biggest events, Sailing Week, returns in 2022. And with it the Reggae in the Park concert on May 3rd.
The reported headliner is former soca monarch for Antigua and Barbuda Tian Winter. But reportedly there will be a venue change – Reggae in the Park will not be at Shirley Heights Lookout; new venue to be announced. (Source – Facebook)
As previously reported, the Bocas Lit Fest, based in Trinidad and Tobago, takes place April 28th to May 1st 2022. I’m back to share with you the festival guide and programme.
Tune in on any of the following platforms:
All Festival events are free and open to the online public. Tickets or registration are NOT required, and you don’t need a YouTube or Facebook account to view events on these platforms.
Event recordings will be available on YouTube and Facebook pages for a limited time post-Festival.
And don’t forget that you can order any of the books on the programme from the Festival’s booksellers, Paper Based Bookshop and Metropolitan Book Suppliers!
(Source – Bocas email)
CariCon 2022 has published its schedule. It includes sessions on copyright and literary contracts, pitching, self-publishing, marketing, social media marketing, book to screen literary adaptations, and getting your books in to libraries. There will be a workshop led by Donna Aza Weir-Soley (Caribbean erotic poetry) and a session titled ‘The Making of a Storyteller’ with Amina Blackwood-Meeks. The various speakers are listed here. The Caribbean Literary Conference is a commercial event and exhibitors are being invited to register. The event is out of the US and it’s not clear to me if it’s online or on site or both, but it’s during Caribbean American Heritage Month, and will be held June 3rd – 5th 2022. (Source – CariCon Facebook)
To Jamaican poet Ralph Thompson.
Thompson first published in 1987 ‘Florida’ in London Magazine. He subsequently published more than 20 poems in British, US, and Caribbean journals, including The Caribbean Writer and Mississippi Review. His work is represented in The Heinemann Book of Caribbean Poetry (1992), A World of Poetry for CXC (1994), several Observer Arts Magazine anthologies, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse (2005), and Writers Who Paint / Painters Who Write (2007). He has published two collections of poetry (The Denting of a Wave and Moving On) and a verse novel (View from Mount Diablo). Thompson was also a businessman and educator. Born in 1928, he died in January 2022. (Source – JR Lee email)
Speak OUT! is a collection, on the Commonwealth Writers ADDA platform, curated by guest editors Brenda Lee-Browne (of the UK and Antigua-Barbuda), Beatrice Lamwaka, Rifat Munim and Peter Sipeli, from a call for submissions related to Freedom of Expression and its wider subthemes of gender, LGBTQIA+, race/ethnicity, and politics among others. The collection will comprise four issues, each featuring an introduction and six or seven works of fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction, selected and edited by all four editors. This first selectionwas made from the 1130 entries received. Read Issue 1 NOW curated and introduced by Peter Sipeli. It includes Lloyd D’Aguilar of Jamaica (‘Things must change’), Nnadi Samuel and Priscilla Keshiro of Nigeria (‘Chaos Theory & Non-Binary Worship’ & ‘Dubem’), Andy Winter of Singapore (‘Archipelago’), Meera Ganapathi of India (‘Birds at the Border’), Christina Coates of South Africa (‘Fish nor Fowl’), and Lisa J Latouche of Dominica (‘Atiya Firewood’).
Thought I would share the tri-annual Antigua and Barbuda Culture department magazine (the January – March 2021 and 2022 editions) here.
Thoughts re 2021 issue: it’s a largely well-produced, glossy, magazine-style cultural digest. There are some minor formatting issues that could (and should) be fixed with tighter proofing but in general a good production covering arts history, arts education, arts business, and artists themselves. It’s the kind of publication that’s been needed for some time, with obvious room for improvement. Especially enjoyed Alvin Livingstone’s insights to teaching visual arts, the interviews with Abi McCoy and Zahra Airall, and beautiful art work by Kendra Davis. As for the somewhat loaded question in the artist Q and A’s “is it the government’s responsibility to ensure that the industry thrives’, I like that though McCoy and Airall had an opposite sides approach – McCoy more artist led with the government playing a supporting role and Airall with the government taking more of a leadership role, both answers rather than being in contradiction with each other land on the point that the arts is not just for “exposure” and should not be treated as such and that the artist needs to continue creating and the government needs to be doing a lot more a lot, more consistently (see my CREATIVE SPACE column #7 of 2022, on pan) to ensure it continues to thrive. Read the entire issue.
The 2022 issue – the other issue in my possession – continues the focus on art history (specifically the first part of a history of pan) and arts issues and art profiles and Q and A’s, getting to know others in my community, are always interesting: e.g. learning more about dancer Susan Shaw, writer Kimolisa Mings, and cover artist Gormie.
As steeped as I am in our culture, there is always discovery and I appreciate that. I would appreciate if the things the artists call for (captured in the interviews especially) are taken to heart. Example playwright Jamian Benta (one of those discoveries-for-me I mentioned), calling for a professional space for the staging of local theatrical productions in this issue. Read the whole issue.
(Source – Department of Culture – Antigua and Barbuda)
Jamaican writer and artist Jacqueline Bishop has been stirring conversation in the art world with her History at the Dinner Table series of ceramic plates. As seen, the art juxtaposes dark images from the enslavement of Africans during Colonialism with colourful flowers against china plates, the epitome of fine dining. Referencing the precious plates once displayed in cabinets largely untouched in Caribbean homes and commenting on a still unreconciled past, the plates, displayed in magogany cabinets, have been acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge University). The US based artist’s statement reads: “My work focuses on making visible the invisible, in making tangible the ephemeral, in speaking aloud the unspoken, and in voicing voicelessness.” It’s fair to say that this series of plates continues that work. (Source – Jacqueline Bishop social media)
This series is also mentioned in my CREATIVE SPACE column #8 of 2022.
The window of opportunity to nominate a writer to become a Royal Society of Literature International Writer is closing. The submission deadline is April 29th 2022. This is the second year of the RSL International Writers and one of the inaugural RSL International Writers last year was our own Jamaica Kincaid. I have tried to take the time to make nominations this year and last and invite you to do the same. By entering your recommendations, you can possibly win 1 of 5 Digital Events Passes, giving you a year’s access to all RSL events online. Submit nominations online. Your nominees must not be resident in nor citizens of the UK and must have published two substantial works of outstanding literary merit translated or originally published in English. (Source -RSL email)
Did you know Antigua and Barbuda has a robotics club for children?
Well, now you know and the Splash junior Robotics Club seems from the images on its facebook page to be just what it sounds like: a programme designed to guide children through designing, building, and programming robots.
Here’s the programme pre-registration form. (Source – Facebook)
Wadadli Pen’s own Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Jhohadli Writing Project 2022 Workshop Schedule.
(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, 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.