Tag Archives: antiguan and barbudan writers

The ‘Count to 10 with Me’ Book Tag: Just for Fun

This site is a labour of love – mostly I’m driven by the love but sometimes I feel the labour. I’m feeling it today, so I thought I’d play a little. I typically do book memes over on my personal site but I thought this one could be fun and site consistent. So with a nod to Kristen at Kristen Kraves Books, where I found it, and Alyce at the Bumbling Book Blogger, who created it, and featuring only books from Antigua and Barbuda, for that site consistency, let’s count to 10 (Disclaimer: I haven’t read all these books and I may include my own if they fit; I’m basically going with what pops in to my head first – this is just for fun remember – referencing the site’s database of Antiguan and Barbudan Writings).

1st Book in a SeriesThe History of Bethesda and Christian Hill by Joy Lawrence kicks off a series of folk investigations in to the history of communities in Antigua and Barbuda. It’s followed by The Footprints of Parham, and Barbuda and Betty’s Hope, with likely more to come.

2 or more copies of the same book – the easy one here is one of mine (author copies and what not), so I’ll eenie meenie and go with my Caribbean faerie tale With Grace, which was a 2017 official pick for the US Virgin Islands Summer Read Programme (which makes it a good pick actually as I have both the originally hard cover and the paperback with the seal as an official pick for this programme). Fun fact: I had surgery shortly after this book came out and one of my recovery goals was to play mas again and specifically to play the magical character, the mango tree faerie, from this book – we actually thought about doing a whole float at one point creating the whole world of the story, and then thought about doing a stilt version of the mango tree, but downsized our imaginations). It was just me and two of my friends after all. We three were Grace’s Merrymakers, an officially registered Carnival troupe.

Hopefully, seeing all the fun we had playing her (the mango tree faerie) will entice you to introduce her and the picture book she is a character in to your young readers.

3 colours on the cover – I’m going to go with past Wadadli Pen finalist and award winning romance author Rilzy Adams’ Birthday Shot , which was recently a nominee for the Rebel Women Lit’s Caribbean Readers’ Awards and the Romance book industry’s Swoonies, for the deep red lipstick, the sparkly silver eye shadow, and that popping brown melanin glow.

4 or more perspectives Ladies of the Night by Althea Prince. Okay this is a bit of a cheat as it’s a short story collection, different points of view are part of the recipe. But the cake is sweet and textured, so I’ll allow it. Ladies of the Night references a particularly pungent nocturnal flower which works beautifully as a pun, while the stories capture the complex lives of Caribbean women in an enticing book that should be bigger part of the study of womanist Caribbean literature than it is. Prince is one of Antigua and Barbuda’s modern literary pioneers (writing and publishing when the field was a lot thinner and still) and one of our most prolific and profound with just a handful of her books making up the rotating Wadadli Pen site banner at this writing.

A 5 star read – I turned to Goodreads for this one (finding a book with an average 5 star rating was hard, as it should be) and extracted Painter and Poet: The Wonderful World of Ashley Bryan – the multi-award winning veteran children’s book writer and illustrator, and actual World War II veteran, was born in the US to Antiguan parents. Here he is on one of his trips to Antigua, interacting with fans at the Public Library.

6 or more short stories – the obvious choice is So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End: an Anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing, Vol. 1, edited by Althea Prince, because who else could pull together so many classic and contemporary, established and new voices from at home and abroad than a writer with Prince’s cred and connection. The book features about 30 authors, a mix of poetry and fiction.

Left to write holding copies of So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End: some of the contributors Motion, Yvonne James, Dr. Llewellyn Joseph, editor – Althea Prince, Gayle Gonsalves, Clifton Joseph, Amber Williams-King, and publisher -Miguel San Vincente.

A 7 on the cover of the spine – it seems fitting to follow the most recent anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan literature which what I believe to be the first (until proven different),  Young Antiguans Write: Prize-winning Selections in Poetry and Prose from School Creative Writing Annual Competition, 1968-1978. If there is an antecedent to Wadadli Pen, it is Young Antiguans Write and the project that birthed it, which I was not even aware of (I don’t believe) when I launched Wadadli Pen, to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda in 2004. The culmination of 10 years of a literary arts development programme, it had ended before I knew myself. I discovered the book at the home of one of the student writers featured in Young Antiguans Write, a founding partner of Wadadli Pen, and author in her own right, D. Gisele Isaac – yes, I’m using the lack of YAW cover to sneak in another book – that like Prince’s work should be receiving more academic attention than it is as a pioneer work vis-a-vis gay themes in Caribbean literature.

Photo by Sonji Davis

8 letters in the title – You know I had to include a Jamaica Kincaid (come on) and I’m going with Mr. Potter which is not one that comes up often in her ouevre in part because it’s the rare outlier in the potential Nobel Laureate’s catalogue that deals with the father instead of the mother.

Book ends on a page ending in 9 – yikes. Ok, I’ll need Amazon’s help for this one (I was hoping to get through this without a Bezos reference – the image of him in space suit and cowboy hat like a caricature of a billionaire is still too raw). And it tells me that Andy E. Williams’ In the Rum Shop and Other Flash Fiction has 39 pages.

10 books in a series – As my mother’s people (from the French Creole island of Dominica) would say, mondieu (sounds like mowj-yay), I don’t believe we have a local author with 10 books in a series. So, I’ll mention one who has a ton of books instead (close enough?). Among her many self-published romance books Kimolisa Mings has four books in her Friends to Lovers series – Book 1: More than Friends, Book 2: Just Friends, Book 3: Yesterday’s Gone, Book 4: Tomorrow’s End – and other series as well, which may well add up to 10 serialized books (There’s Integration and Oration: Integration Book 2, and The Bachaanal Sweet and Bachaanal Tu’n Up are tagged as Eros 1 and 2, respectively), and there may well be more -she’s pretty prolific.

THE END.

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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Wadadli Pen Diary – Three Interviews

How are you doing out there? You okay? It is the kind of time you read about but never imagine you’ll live through  but here we are, and all we can do is hang in there, resolved that this too shall pass.

Meantime, if you’re looking for a bit of distraction, you’ve come to the right place. Not the 2020 Challenge results, not yet; though we hope you’ve checked out the short list to see who’s still in the running.

What we have here though is three recent media interviews with three members of the Wadadli Pen family. In case you missed it.

First up, D. Gisele Isaac, co-founder of Wadadli Pen and a long time patron. She got some really good news this past week after a 6 year legal ordeal; we’re hoping this means she can turn her attention to more literary works. Because her underrated Considering Venus was groundbreaking for its time – a 1990s Caribbean book that was really progressive on love, sexuality, and gender in its telling of the story of love between two women. She went on to pen Antigua and Barbuda’s first and second feature films, The Sweetest Mango and No Seed. Her interview is from her visit to ABS TV’s Tuesday series, the Book Reading Corner.

Second, Barbara Arrindell, manager of the Best of Books which has supported the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize from the earliest years, but, in addition, she has become a core team member/Wadadli Pen partner. But did you know she was also a writer – a playwright of one of the most produced staged plays (Dreams…Faces…Reality)  in Antigua and Barbuda, and of two books for children (Antigua My Antigua and The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories), among other things. The Listen to Me club leader, former Caribbean Optimist leader, and founding member of Trees Inc 2020, among other community activities, is also a recent Women of Wadadli awardee as a change maker. She talks about some of this (plus the contract she just signed for her first publisher-issued book, a huge milestone in #TheWritingLife) during her appearance on ABS TV’s Book Reading Corner (in this repeat-posting).

Third and last, me, Joanne C. Hillhouse. I appeared on Antigua Today to discuss my Women of Wadadli Award for literature, my career as a writer (of books like The Boy from Willow Bend, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, among other things) and as the founder and coordinator of literary projects like the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize.

Videos shared under fair use terms. No copyright infringement is intended.

 

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You and Your Wiki – Caribbean Writers Edition

Recently, Caribbean Reads publisher and author Carol Ottley-Mitchell posted an article headlined, ‘Are You Wiki Ready?

The post touched on the unreliability of some of the content on Wikipedia – its bug being its feature, the fact that anyone can update Wikipedia makes it a dynamic resource but also makes it an unreliable resource (or, at minimum, potentially so). It is for this reason that when coaching students on the use of Wikipedia, when teaching Media Writing or Communications, I’ve encouraged them to check the citations and to make sure that content is verifiable as accurate…while also emphasizing that cutting and pasting Wikipedia content is not researching (it’s plagiarizing which is legal-speak for stealing). But I digress.

Ottley-Mitchell’s post encouraged Caribbean writers to check their Wikipedia entry for accuracy, correcting and/or reporting any inaccuracies.

“Wikipedia is notoriously unreliable, but widely used and so it is important that all artists, (but of course our main concerns at CaribbeanReads are Caribbean artists), make sure they are accurately represented on this platform… And so, while we are not organizing an official ‘wikipedia editathon’ …we encourage Caribbean artists to join with other artists and set aside some time tomorrow to look up your profile on Wikipedia and make sure you are accurately and effectively represented. Also feel free to post here about what you found and what you changed.”

This post noted that “(Caribbean) writers often do not have pages or their pages are incomplete.” This is true (from general observation; I haven’t actually done a count).

I may have mentioned here before, perhaps when politicians in Antigua and Barbuda were giving out IT hardware (laptops and ipads) to students and teachers, that it might be simultaneously important to help shape the way we use the hardware. Encouraging a culture that creates and not merely consumes online content, for instance – and, Wikipedia entries seemed a good place to start, in my view, with research, preparation, and uploading. A version of what I do here on the blog when I profile artistes or create data lists (re published writers from Antigua and Barbuda etc) – which is why the blog has become a resource where people come for Antigua and Barbuda song lyrics, writer listings, media history, artist obits. etc. Needless to say, there’s no evidence that anyone took me up on that (suggestion about ways to encourage students especially to engage with the Internet in more productive ways – creating content not just consuming it).

When I Google Antiguan and Barbudan writers the data base here on Wadadli Pen is at least in the top three, but at the top of the list (not surprisingly) is Wikipedia. Second is Antigua and Barbuda’s largest online platform where my CREATIVE SPACE series is syndicated for just that reason (Antiguanice.com) – sharing an article from a popular US LitHub in which Antiguan and Barbudan writer (me) is mentioned.

Incidentally, the featured images on Google were of three writers and two athletes of international renown who’ve had biographies written and/or co-written biographies about them.

On Wikipedia, the Antigua and Barbuda listing has three sub-categories and two pages – the two pages being for author Jamaica Kincaid (obviously) and Melvin Claxton (?) whom I will definitely have to look in to. But moving on for now to the first of the listed categories, I find five listings – can you guess? – Jamaica Kincaid, Marie Elena John (the only listed novelist – Kincaid is also a novelist but only John is cross-referenced in the Antiguan and Barbudan novelists sub-category), sisters Anne Hart Gilbert and Elizabeth Hart Thwaites, and Zahra Airall (also the only writer listed in the Antigua and Barbuda dramatists and playwrights sub-category): all legit listings but only a fraction of potential legit listings. Some of it is about incomplete listing and/or tagging as there are Antiguan and Barbudan writers (like Ashley Bryan whose parents are from Antigua and Barbuda, and like Althea Prince and Eileen Hall who were born and raised in Antigua and whose families go back generations in Antigua) who can be found on Wikipedia but are only recognized as American writers (or Canadian, in the case of Prince).

Since I’m at Wikipedia, I do one additional search ‘Caribbean Writers’ (re-directed to Caribbean Literature) which has a breakdown by country. Checking ‘Antigua and Barbuda’ (listed as ‘Antigua’ only), I find three names – Jamaica Kincaid, Marie Elena John, and Joanne C. Hillhouse (me – in red – signalling – no page). Here’s the thing, as I explained to Carol in conversation about her original post, the rules per my understanding, and I actually agree with them, are that you shouldn’t create (actually not so much a rule as “strongly discouraged” as it turns out) nor update (“acceptable” under very specific circumstances) a Wikipedia page about yourself.

Carol, who had edited other people’s pages, but not even looked at her own (which I can relate to) actually promoted self-editing (as seen in the original Caribbean Reads post) – Caribbean artistes, she said, are self-promotion shy.  My general feeling is this is true (re being self-promotion shy) – it’s something I’ve had to and still work to overcome in order to get the word out about my books as a writer from a small place for whom no one was (is) checking nor making space.

(Me at the Miami Book Fair in 2018…it took some time but I landed there finally and hope to be invited back)

You’ve got to build a brand, all my research told me, when I was fighting to get my first two books (The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight) back in print and trying to find representation for my third book and first full length novel (Oh Gad!). I did so (Google me). But my reason for not building a Wikipedia page for myself is not about that reluctance to self-promote. It’s about my belief that for the platform to be stronger as a resource, an encyclopedia, even one so open about who can contribute and update content, said content should be objectively written by people who deem you a necessary part of the public discourse based on the work you’ve done or the celebrity you’ve earned. Otherwise it’s just …facebook. That doesn’t mean I won’t correct or request corrections if there is ever such a page (as Carol points out, one reason for artistes to engage is to ensure that their page reflects their full accomplishments and does not do them harm with false claims). But as I have no page, it’s not been an issue.

How you choose to engage with Wikipedia is, of course, up to you. I do think I could do more to share some of the content I have researched about Antiguan and Barbudan, and Caribbean writers – but it’s a time issue. Still, I’ll see what I can do – I’ll try to do better. If you’re a writer and you opt to add or edit your own content, Carol and I both emphasize being factual – and, I would add, include (for all our students’ sake) proper citations. And I do hope that our schools, research institutions, librarians, and individuals in the Caribbean will plant as much as they consume online so that our Caribbean landscape (and not just literary arts) can have more of a presence on the information superhighway. Also, so that there is more content from our specific knowing (note I said knowing, emphasizing provable/verifiable data-driven content sharing) available to Caribbean and other researchers (including media and students).

Thoughts?

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, unless otherwise indicated, this is written by author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse. All rights reserved.

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Antigua & Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed IX

This picks up where the previous installments of Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed pages left off (use the search feature to the right to dig them up). As with those earlier pages, it features reviews about A & B writings that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible/professional reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. It’s all shared in an effort to underscore, emphasize, and insist on Antigua and Barbuda’s presence in the Caribbean literary canon.

mr potter“As in her previous books, Kincaid has exquisite control over her narrator’s deep-seated rage, which drives the story but never overpowers it and is tempered by a clear-eyed sympathy.” – Publisher’s Weekly reviews Jamaica Kincaid’s Mr. Potter

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my garden“Kincaid (who last year edited the anthology My Favorite Plant) shuttles constantly and with ease between the practical, technical difficulties of gardening and the larger meanings it makes available.” – Publisher’s Weekly reviews Jamaica Kincaid’s My Garden

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see now then“In her first novel in a decade, Kincaid (Autobiography of My Mother) brings her singular lyricism and beautifully recursive tendencies to the inner life of Mrs. Sweet, who is facing the end of her marriage, and who, over the course of the book, considers the distinctions between her nows and her thens, particularly when recounting what was while the memories bleed with a pain that still is.” – Publisher’s Weekly reviews Jamaica Kincaid’s See Now Then

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Lucy“This is a slim book but Kincaid has crafted it with a spare elegance that has brilliance in its very simplicity. Lucy’s is a haunting voice, and Kincaid’s originality has never been more evident.” – Publisher’s Weekly reviews Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy

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June 4 2019“This send-up of the Nancy Drew mysteries by Kincaid first appeared as a 1980 New Yorker story about a gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first book’s publication. Here, Kincaid’s piece is recast as a picture book with dramatic artwork by Cortés…Detailed, almost photographically realistic portraits of girls and partygoers by Cortés, shown against marble architectural backdrops that suggest the New York Public Library, engage throughout…A gem.” —Publishers Weekly reviews Jamaica Kincaid’s Party: a Ministry

“From the first pages, we are witnessing the ravages of colorism. It plays on the perception we have of ourselves, it plays on our perception of others and on the perception that others have of us. The subtlety of Joanne Hillhouse has been to address the issue from several points of view by highlighting different aspects depending on the character involved.” – Musical Youth reviewed by My insaeng, ma vie (My insaeng, my life)

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TamekaViewfinder[1]“Featuring an attractive pair of lovebirds, Dinner is a sweetly poetic and vivid 12-minute verse-to-screen clip from an Antiguan writer/director with an appealing, if slightly provocative, voice. It’s a small film with a big heart that explores intimate love, employing a slyly clever approach – cloaked in the guise of meal preparation. While getting dinner ready a radiant young lady (played by Jarvis-George, who also provides a lyrical voice-over) is surprised by the early arrival home of her virile Rastafarian man, and before you can say ‘Come and get it’ a dining of a totally different variety plays out on-screen. Shot in vibrant hues by a surprisingly steady camera, Dinner is romp that ends all too quickly, but it was tastefully delightful while it lasted.” – Tallawah magazine on the Tameka Jarvis-George penned, voiced, and acted, short film, directed by Christopher Hodge and filmed and co-produced by Cinque Productions. Watch the whole film here.

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Dadli“an entrancing sensorial experience, an impressionistic assemblage of assorted shots of people, places, and things…Dadli draws its power from the cumulative effect of its imagery, the camera capturing everyone and everything it sees with a piercing empathy.” – Caribbean Beat on Shabier Kirchner’s short film Dadli

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the circuit“Phillips keeps the pages turning with an easy yet exacting style and keen observations.” – The Atlantic reviews Rowan Ricardo Phillip’s The Circuit

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Dancing Nude in the Moonlight ‘What makes the book a true pleasure is its political edge. Hillhouse arms the characters with larger social conflicts that far outshine the romance. Selena personifies the uphill struggle against sexism, violence, and stereotypes placed on Latin women in predominantly Black Caribbean countries: “that they all looked and dressed like whores, all wanted their men (as if…!) and were good for nothing more than a wild night.” Michael is the target of shadeism and anti-Black racism from members of Selena’s and his own family — all while struggling to keep employed amidst government corruption and few economic options on the island.’ – Broken Pencil reviews Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings

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A & B Artistes Discussing Art

Primarily, in this space, I’ll be sharing discussions, in Question and Answer format, of craft, and insights to not only the author/artist’s journey but the story of the arts in Antigua and Barbuda. This is a Work in Progress. The main criteria, so far, for inclusion, apart from the Q & A structure and the arts/art history focus, is that these are interviews not conducted by someone who is part of the artistes’ publishing and/or promotional team, and are interviews that are in the public sphere on a platform independent of the artistes and/or their publishing and promotional team. Beyond that, it’s what I come across and you can also link me interviews that fit the very broad stated criteria by emailing wadadipen at gmail dot com

A

Barbara Arrindell in conversation with Joanne C. Hillhouse for CREATIVE SPACE (2021)

“One of the early writings I did was a play called Dreams…Faces…Reality…and that play was actually performed over 25 times in Antigua and Barbuda… it was used as a tool to help students in the schools understand everything concerning HIV/AIDS.” – Barbara Arrindell with ABS TV (2020)

“Nellie Robinson, Dame Nellie Robinson is listed somewhere in our history as being the first chairperson of the artists association of Antigua and Barbuda, but so is a lady named Elizabeth Pickney…back in 17something… I found one in the 18th century too… we’ve had an artists association here many times and it’s been so far apart that each person thinks of themselves as the first chairperson of… in terms of history, there’s a book called A Brief History of Antigua written by Brian Dyde. Brian Dyde wrote brief histories for about four or five islands around the Caribbean, if it was five, four of them are still in print, guess which one is not in print, the other four were taken on and used in the school systems in the other islands, guess which one they couldn’t even sell one print run for…?” – Barbara Arrindell in conversation with Dorbrene O’Marde, Heather Doram, and Joanne C. Hillhouse on Observer Radio (2017). Read a transcription of the (2017) interview or listen to the interview.

“I don’t really have a routine, I just take advantage of times when I don’t have anything to distract me, when I can get stuck into writing for as long as I want. I like to write with my feet cocked up on a comfortable sofa, and a good view in front of me. We have a small apartment in the old walled city of San Juan, Puerto Rico, which looks out onto a plaza with trees, a few birds singing, passing salsa music, and sounds of people chatting and relaxing. That’s my spot. When I am researching, of course, it’s different: if I’m not working online on the above-mentioned sofa, I’m usually sitting at a table in a research library somewhere in the Caribbean, or in Cornwall.” –  Sue Appleby, author of The Cornish in the Caribbean (2019) 

“If I was to specify what path I’m on and what matters to me the most I think it would be inspiring people…I have a reservoir of information that I could then pass on.”

Sonalli Andrews, graphic designer in conversation with Joanne C. Hillhouse for her column CREATIVE SPACE (2020)

“At the time we did not know we were doing pioneering work in film. There was no pressure to get everything right. It was only after we began doing the film festival circuit did we learned it was not only the first indigenous feature film for Antigua and Barbuda but in fact the Eastern Caribbean. Some intellectuals thought our first film should have had more ‘grit’ dealing with social issues.” – Mitzi Allen in discussion with Karukerament about The Sweetest Mango, written by D. Gisele Isaac, directed by Howard Allen, with Allen as producer and Joanne C. Hillhouse as associate producer. The Sweetest Mango was Antigua and Barbuda’s first feature length film. 2020.

‘I was literally born into the theatre. My parents met each other through the Antiguan drama company “Harambee Open Air Theatre”… and since then they have both always nurtured the love and appreciation for the arts, exposing me to varying types of performances, including visiting ensembles to the island, and performances whenever I traveled. I remember my father taking me to see Cats on Broadway at a young age…it was exciting, and just cemented the fact that that was what I wanted to do with my life … perform and create productions that would make people feel the way I felt as a child sitting in that theatre. My mom then enrolled me in a drama programme called Child’s Play, under renowned Jamaican dramatist and storyteller Amina Blackwood-Meeks.’ – Zahra Airall talking to The Uncaged Phoenix (2018)

Glenroy Aaron participating in a virtual roundtable chaired by issue guest editor Joanne C. Hillhouse on Tongues of the Ocean along with Heather Doram, Emile Hill, Mark Brown, and the now late X-Saphair King (October 2014): “To be honest, I have learned a lot more about the Antiguan aesthetic from this conversation than from my years of observing art in Antigua. I say this because there is so little indigenous Antiguan art to observe, and historic recording of it is also quiet faint. My art is basically an attempt to capture the beauty around me and the moments in which they occur. My techniques and methods continue to evolve as exploring New continues to excite. Forays outside my comfort zone to explore deeper emotions have produced interesting results; with some apprehension as to the commercial viability of such ventures. The balance between creativity and viability is tricky but can be done, as others have found ways to make it work. Themes and scenes indigenous to an artist’s place of birth will ultimately make its way onto an artist’s canvas but considering the fusion of influences and cultures that have existed on the islands for some time now, an Antiguan aesthetic may be a bit difficult to define. Further, holding that many view art as a visual expression of the artist’s thoughts and emotions, we can appreciate that some of these ideas and emotions may not be “local” in scope.” Read in full.

B

“When I climbed down into the landing craft, my sketchbook was out, I was sketching men climbing down the ladder. And when we were on the beach I was drawing the men in the foxholes.” – Ashley Bryan talking about being an artist while doing active duty during World War II on The Story on American Public Media. 2013.

“When I was growing up there was the WPA…a programme the government set up for free schools in art and music for all the communities throughout the United States and my parents with six children…sent us all out to the free classes, so we were all painting and drawing and playing the piano… I was not able to get a scholarship (to art school) because they said it would be a waste to give a scholarship to a black person.” – Ashley Bryan talking to BBC Sounds about his early development as an artist.

Tammi Browne Bannister talking to David DaCosta (December 28th 2016):
“When I was little, I loved reading Aesop’s Fables and was attracted to the humor, the lessons, and the tragedies and of course the way these tales made me think about the characters long after reading. I’ve written a few.” Full interview.

“It took coming here to see that my voice was a voice that needed to be heard.” – Brenda Lee Browne, Real Talk with Janice Sutherland at Phenomenal Woman. 2018.

Mark Brown participating in a virtual roundtable chaired by issue guest editor Joanne C. Hillhouse on Tongues of the Ocean along with Heather Doram, Emile Hill, Glenroy Aaron, and the now late X-Saphair King (October 2014): “I view art making as a human activity which cannot be defined as mine or yours, and this is based on the type of work which I engage in. My work, in my mind, is about responding to stimuli, that act of engaging with my feelings about my environment, religion, identity, sexuality, all of which most, if not every human being faces at some point in life. As a result, for me Antiguan Art, like Art elsewhere, is individual voices singing their own tune. Of course we may use objects specific to our culture [that have] distinct meaning but many times these same objects may have a different name in another culture and [be] used in different contexts, but then it is also specific then to that locale. How else do we explain lending your voice in paint or any other medium to a specific issue in a way that you deem visceral and then later on somewhere else, Google for instance, you discover another artist on the opposite side of the globe exploring the very same idea in very similar ways. To me it is just the act of discovering, in visual format, that which is buried deep within with the ultimate aim of finding out the real reason for my being “here” and at this time.” Read the full discussion here.

Mark Brown (2015) on Popreel, Swedish TV: “The main aim of the Angel in Crisis series was to bring a sort of humanness to people like her (the nun), priests, people who have to bear that burden of conforming to what society expects of them.” Interview begins at 7:35.

Jazzie B. talking with Chris Williams for Wax Poetics (May 14th 2014): “’Keep On Movin’ actually came about lyrically because we were at the Africa Center in Covent Gardens, and we were being put under a lot of pressure by the police. It was due to the fact that other clubs in the area were empty and ours kept being full. Every so often, we would get the squeeze put on us. At one particular moment, they threatened to close us down. The whole concept of this song came from there.” Full interview.

C

A CREATIVE SPACE discussion on the domestic book market looks at which books are selling well and why.

D

“In my current creative phase, I feel so invigorated, so inspired, so playful, and so expressive. As both an artist and a woman, I am exploring new spaces, taking on new challenges, transcending my past, and shaping my future.” – Heather Doram (2020 interview with findyello.com)

Heather Doram on Observer Radio in a discussion which also included Joanne C. Hillhouse, Barbara Arrindell, and Dorbrene O’Marde (October 2017): “My feeling is that I have lived under several administrations and I really do not get the feeling that there is that widespread support for the visual and performing arts…you just use them when you need them…we do not even have a national gallery in Antigua and Barbuda so we the artists are there producing work in sort of isolation. I’ve seen it in many other countries where the national gallery would commission work; this sort of spurs the whole generation and activity of work and then the artists start to feel that sense of involvement and that their art work can actually support them…the same thing I’m sure applies to the literary artist…something like the cultural development division should be that nexus of that sort of leadership, this is where the cradle is…I would really like to see more support for the arts generally.” Read a transcription of the (2017) interview or listen to the interview.

Heather Doram participating in a virtual roundtable chaired by issue guest editor Joanne C. Hillhouse on Tongues of the Ocean along with Mark Brown, Emile Hill, Glenroy Aaron, and the now late X-Saphair King (October 2014): “They were reactive and passionate. They were not satisfied with the realistic interpretation of the Antiguan landscape. They wanted to push boundaries, they wanted to produce work with the visual language of engagement with their audience. Many of their works responded to and explored social, political, gender issues and self. The younger generation sought to explore their roles as messengers in their visual language. I think artists like Mark [Brown], Emile [Hill], and Zavian [Archibald] can be included in this group. They are much more open to expressing themselves and exploring a range of media and techniques in their work.” Read the full discussion here.

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“Art is not just a commercial transaction. When an artist shows you their work, they’re showing you their soul, their heart, and what’s important to them.” – Debbie Eckert on Sweden’s Popreel (2018) – beginning roughly at 4:30

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Cray Francis talking with Good Morning Antigua Barbuda (April 5th 2016):
“I felt like I had to write my own stories.”

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“It’s always a burning passion but it’s not a fruitful burning passion. You do the arts cause you love it and you have something you want to say.” – Gayle Gonsalves (2020) on ABS TV

“I’m a Caribbean poet foremost, I was not born in the BVI. I was born in Trinidad to a BVIslander father and a Trinidadian mother. His mother is Antiguan, her mother is Grenadian. He grew up in Guyana, and I grew up in the BVI. Because of that chain of connections, I think that the vibrations that drive my work are deep in the currents of this sea, those currents that touch each island – I would invoke that famous image of Brathwaite’s from ‘Calypso’, ‘the stone had skidded arc’d and bloomed into islands’.” – Richard Georges in Pree. 2018.

“As far as my poetic horizons go, I try to let the tides tug me along, and trust that they will take me where I’m meant to go. I thought I’d write a book of poems and then move on to spend some time experimenting with fiction, but poems seem to keep coming. I think I have to trust that.” – Richard Georges in Caribbean Beat. 2017.

Linisa George reads and talks about ‘In the Closet’, which was the Antigua and Barbuda Poetry Postcard  for the UK series featuring works from the Commonwealth in time for the 2012 Commonwealth Games. “I’ve always been a poet…” she says, then explains the journey toward stepping in to that power. Link.

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“Even the idea of taking on an internship as a writer, because he’s an aspiring writer, is a luxury…you have to be able to support yourself in order to do an internship that can help you figure out this writing thing sometimes; so all of the things you need to feed the life that will allow you to do the creative thing is sometimes the biggest challenge.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse on taking on her first personal intern; just one of the things discussed in this conversation with Diaspora Kids Lit

Joanne C. Hillhouse in conversation with Haitian-American writer M J Fievre for her Badass Black Girl vlog: “I do write from a specific place…it doesn’t matter if I’m writing speculatively or not, there is something that grounds me… my writing is grounded very much in real life Antigua, even when I’m writing fantasy.”

Joanne C. Hillhouse in conversation with Andy Caul of ACalabash: “To write those kids in Musical Youth, I reached back to my own teen-hood when I had my group of friends and I used to play the guitar. I used to go to guitar lessons, to play guitar in the choir. We went to fetes, Carnival, talent shows, walk-a-thons, the beach, we walked from school together. We had our clique. We had shared experiences. And I know in the reviews, they particularly commented on the Black joy in Musical Youth. And I appreciated that because that, in a way, was a joyful existence. The thing that people misunderstand about Caribbean life and Caribbean people is that while it can be very hard, marked by poverty and other things, it’s not just that. It is just life. It is love and laughter and we have some of the most inappropriate sense of humor when it comes to some of the darkness and the things that we joke about and the things that we find funny. So, yes, there’s poverty. Yes, there is political victimization. Yes, there is all the narratives but there’s also friendship, laughter, fun, music and all that stuff. I did not feel like I was writing against anything. It felt like I was just writing what was true.”

“I wanted her to be blacker, I wanted her to be on the dark-skinned side of the spectrum and I wanted her to be natural, have natural (hair) …because part of it for me …in the world of children’s picture books we don’t see enough people at the darker end of the spectrum, especially as characters that children can feel affection for and love and recognize themselves in.”

Joanne C. Hillhouse in conversation with Trinidad writer-artist Danielle Boodoo Fortune in a World Book Day chat that involved audience questions.

“The Boy from Willow Bend is by any measure growing up in abject poverty and in an abusive situation, and yet there is laughter and yet there is love and yet there is hope and yet there is dreaming and fancifulness because that is life. Life is not just one thing. It’s a myriad of things, and so that’s what I try to capture of this young boy coming of age in Antigua in this particular time.” Joanne C. Hillhouse is the first National Public Library Author of the Month in January 2021

“For me they were people first and, of course, I had to research just how the world of the underwater would move, what I would need to know about arctic seals, what I would need to know about jellyfish, what I would need to know about sea turtles. So there was a lot of research in that regard. But in terms of the voices of the characters, they were children. They wanted to play and explore the ship, and, of course, Dolphin the Arctic Seal wants to get back home so he can tell his own adventuring grandmother about his own Caribbean sea adventure.” Joanne C. Hillhouse in 2020 self-made video on her own platform but with audience submitted questions for the #Catapultartsgrant (specifically a Catapult Caribbean Creative Arts Online grant). She answered questions submitted via social media about story, craft, theme in Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and all her books

“Songs are universal and you don’t even have to know the lyrics sometimes to feel it.”  –  Joanne C. Hillhouse discussing Musical Youth with gender advocacy group Intersect (2020)

“The first storytellers I knew were the calypso writers the Shelly Tobitts of the world,these were the people that taught me how to tell a story and how to tell Antiguan stories in particular.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse, ABS TV (2020)

Joanne C. Hillhouse interview on Caribbean Literary Heritage (June 2018): “Honestly, the first thing that flashed in to my mind is Antiguan and Barbudan calypso and Paul Keens Douglas – especially Tanty and Slim at the Oval – on the radio. Neither of which qualify as reading but which were foundational to my introduction to Caribbean literature. It’s there in Antigua and Barbuda’s King Obstinate’s Wet You Hand – a song which was fun and funny to me as a children and which I’ve used as an example of scene building and character description in my workshops, or in the way he knits the story of Anansi stealing the birds’ feathers into another of his songs – songs that did what Calypso did which was be bold-faced and satirical and reflective of our lives and our truth (especially the truths we didn’t dare speak) while bearing our unique brand of humour and matter of factness about life’s tragedies. It’s there in the writings of Shelly Tobitt – named for Romantic era poet Percy Bysshe Shelley; though I wouldn’t see the connection until college. A romantic idealist in his own right, or so his lyrics would suggest, as a child Shelly, the calypso writer and frequent collaborator of Antigua and Barbuda’s best calypsonian and inarguably one of the best the region has ever produced the Monarch King Short Shirt (who Dorbrene O’Marde writes about in his Bocas longlisted biography Nobody Go Run Me), was to me a poet who used the frustrations of the people to comment on economic, social, and political issues in a way that was deeply and enduringly philosophical, with melodies that captivated. So, the calypsonians and the oral tradition (including the jumbie stories) would have been my first reading of Caribbean writing.” Full interview.

“When Heather was culture director…I remember her starting a national collection where she commissioned pieces featuring Antiguan and Barbudan icons…what has become of that? What has been the continuity with respect to that national collection?… things like that, like you can have someone with a good idea start something… but there was no continuity, so if there’s no continuity it’s like you’re starting from scratch every time someone gets fired up and passionate about something so that’s the whole point…if you have that continuity then this person’s efforts will connect with that person’s efforts and we’ll have progression instead of starting from scratch every time…one of the things I do on the Wadadli Pen website is I have a project where I record the books that are put out and the plays and the songs that are put out by Antiguan and Barbudan creatives and there’s no shortage of stuff in the last 10 or so years, there’s a lot of people just feeling inspired and doing their own thing… there is stuff happening independently by artistes who feel inspired and creative but not by any system that’s giving them foundation or supporting their efforts.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse in conversation with Heather Doram, Dorbrene O’Marde, and Barbara Arrindell on Observer Radio (2017). Read a transcription of the (2017) interview or listen to the interview.

Joanne C. Hillhouse talking to The Culture Trip (July 2017): “in The Boy from Willow Bend, Vere’s mother leaves Antigua for better economic and personal opportunities in the U.S., and Vere himself leaves at the end; in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Selena and her sisters move to Antigua from the Dominican Republic for better opportunities, and at some point one of the sisters moves away from there as well; in the story, ‘The Other Daughter’, the title character moves to the US for educational purposes. I don’t know if it holds significance to me (there are many stories in which people don’t leave) so much as being a reflection of the reality that movement is a part of the Caribbean existence—whether it’s to seek higher education, economic opportunities, or a different kind of life—the Caribbean diaspora (i.e. the number of Caribbean people no longer resident in here or in the Caribbean country of their birth) is significant. We are a region of small islands with intelligent and talented people, sometimes the desired opportunities to recognize our full potential or even the cover needed to brave the economic storms stirred up in bigger places isn’t there. So, it’s just a reflection of the reality, I think (but just one part of the reality that I write).” Full interview.

Joanne C. Hillhouse in the Meet the Writer series at Grab Life by the Lapels: “I just enjoy experimenting within the story writing form, short and long. Much of what I write is character driven and distinctively Caribbean with (I like to believe) universal resonance – because I do believe the stories that are about the human condition can cross over without having to be diluted.” Full interview. 2016.

Joanne Hillhouse in conversation with book blogger Geosi Gyasi (2015): “I don’t think about it like that. I just tell the story. Sometimes the protagonist is a child, sometimes a teen, sometimes an adult, sometimes an old person, sometimes a jelly fish named Coral. The writing is always character first, not audience. During the editing process that’s when I’m challenged, often by the assigned editor, to think about things like can the target age group for this picture book understand abstract thinking, do I maybe need to be more literal, more detailed, more specific, provide clearer resolution, like that.” Read the full interview.

Joanne C. Hillhouse on Popreel, Swedish TV (2015): “The characters come to me; they don’t always reveal their stories fully, so for me writing is a journey of discovery. I can’t always see where it’s going but I’m kind of wandering my way through it and trying to figure out what is it all about.” Interview starts here at 8:50.

“When I was growing up, I didn’t know any writers from here, from Antigua, until I discovered Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid; the writers from here that I knew, and I have great respect for them, were the calypso writers, people like Shelly Tobitt and Marcus Christopher, because when I was coming up, calypso was the literature that I would hear that had some relevance to my community, the other literature that we read was mostly from America or from Britain. So it was a while before I could wrap my mind around this idea that this was what I was called to do.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse (2015) on Bookworm, Swedish radio 

Joanne C. Hillhouse talking to M. J. Fievre at the Whimsical Project (November 21st 2014): “Calypso, the calypso at that time, sang the things people were afraid to say and reflected the concerns and reality of the folk, authentically, in their voice, in a way that stirred spirits. I think there’s a part of me that strives for that in my writing.” Full interview.

Joanne C. Hillhouse talking to Commonwealthwriters.org (2014): “I use a lot of detail, a lot of specificity in rendering the world, and I write from a very character-driven place – Who are they? What do they want? What is their truth (don’t compromise on telling their truth)? Why should we care?” Full interview.

Joanne C. Hillhouse is interviewed by Jamaican publisher-writer for Susumba (2013): “Honestly, I think it comes down to the material. I see publishing as the end game not the first step. Develop your craft, read a lot, experience life, write; these are more important. And when you’re ready do your research… take your shot, and don’t give up.” Full interview.

Emile Hill participating in a virtual roundtable chaired by issue guest editor Joanne C. Hillhouse on Tongues of the Ocean along with Heather Doram, Mark Brown, Glenroy Aaron, and the now late X-Saphair King (October 2014): ‘Ok so I’m a bit of a texter (cell phone, social media etc.) and on more than one occasion I’ve found myself engaged in several conversations, all completely different subject matter and all requiring a different “Emile” to deal with each of them. And I think, in this day and age, this happens to most persons at some point in time. The series I’m working on presently deals with the “multi-sidedness” of human interaction and relationships. It’s caused me to ask myself some questions, looking at whether this is a means of masking the true self and why? Is Survival a reason? What makes us accommodate each other so, switching faces? Is the face we see real, fake (and sometimes, does it even matter)? With regards to the Antiguan and Barbudan aesthetic, I think that every artist’s contribution is one that continues to make up the grand tapestry of who we are and so I think it fits simply as a local artist’s perspective on things… another thread in the tapestry.’ Read in Full.

73297806_1482817935189902_5047018221308215296_n“I wanted to bring the element of sound to my piece. If you saw my design in a room (by itself), I wanted you to hear the waves crashing on the shores…that’s why I did the ruffles on the bottom (and the peplum at the waist).” – Nicoya Henry, winner of the 2019 A & B Independence fashion competition, interviewed for CREATIVE SPACE

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‘Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to tell other types of stories. For HaMa Films I wrote “No Seed”, which is a political drama (set on the fictional island of St. Mark) that mirrors the political reality of Antigua & Barbuda. It shows the dark side of “paradise,” where money, greed, manipulation, self- interest, and even murder are played out. I have also written “Considering Venus”, the story of a relationship between two women – one gay, the other straight – that is set in New York and Antigua. It acknowledges what was taboo (in 1998): not only same-sex love but same-sex love among Caribbean people. It speaks to how the relationship affects the families of each woman and what people are prepared to sacrifice – or embrace – to find emotional fulfillment. It is my absolute best work!’ – D. Gisele Isaac being interviewed by the Karukerament website about writing The Sweetest Mango, one of two films produced by HaMa Films Antigua, which she wrote, the other being No Seed – Antigua and Barbuda’s first and second feature length films. 2020.

“No it was not difficult getting started because I was always writing” – D. Gisele Isaac on ABS TV. 2020. Full interview below.

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Foster Joseph, jazz vocalist and musician, in conversation with Joanne C. Hillhouse for CREATIVE SPACE

Clifton Joseph talking with Andy Williams: ‘…the first person to really encourage me into the writing/performing arts was an older man in my village of New Winthropes in Antigua, Mr. Murray, probably, visually, the most black, blackest person in “Blizzard” as we called our home on the northern coast of the island. I think I was around ten years old and in addition to singing the Antiguan calypso songs we heard on the radio, Mr. Murray would actually pay me a penny, or sometimes two-pence (we were still using the British colonial currency at the time) to make up my own “calypso” verses. The only snippet I remember from then are three lines: “in January they called me clinky, then in February they start to call me sebassie, and in June they start to call my cousin boone”…I have to give Mr. Murray maximum props for sparking that early interest in writing and performing.’ Full interview.

Clifton Joseph talking with Ian Ferrier (2007): “Hip Hop, Dub Poetry, Dancehall, Reggae all sort of come out of the same African inspired, Caribbean, American, emphasis on words, rhythm, repetition; all of those things pull from the same pool of stylistic influences.”

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Tameka Jarvis-George interviewed about her comic series August by Jump magazine: “I wrote to escape everything I didn’t like and anything that made me uncomfortable. I love my fictitious world.” Full interview. 2018.

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Shabier Kirchner’s Love Letter to Antigua, an interview with Penelope Bartlett on Criterion Collection: “We are very proud people and yet we are so underrepresented on-screen by ourselves. I think Ousmane Sembène said it best: If we continue consuming images solely from abroad, and telling the stories of other people or absorbing others’ perspective of us, we will eventually lose our identity—and I truly believe that. The Caribbean is my home. Our people are the most interesting to me, and I just want to share the truth of who we are through local eyes.” Full interview. 2020.

Shabier Kirchner talking to Caribbean Beat magazine about his film Dadli: “While I was shooting this test footage, there was no agenda. I wasn’t looking for a main character. We weren’t recording sound, so there weren’t any interviews. I was just walking around shooting things that were interesting. It wasn’t until many months later that we realised there was this boy who kept appearing in the footage. So Tiquan became the force behind the narrative. After we had an idea of what we wanted the film to be, we tracked him down and interviewed him.” Full interview. 2019.

(Shabier) Kirchner: That’s Antigua’s old sugar factory. It’s been abandoned for many years; I used to go there as a kid. It was like Tarkovsky’s Stalker. You could completely lose yourself there, let the imagination would run wild. I always loved that place. Visually, I’ve been shooting it for years, and I knew I had to shoot it on 16. It’s a coincidence that Tiquan was talking about running away from home and finding a place where he could just let loose. It wasn’t that specific place for him, but I’m assuming it was similar. What he described was what the sugar factory was for me.” Full interview. 2018.

JamaicaJamaica Kincaid talking with the BBC (in an interview which also included Jacob Ross and Claire Adam, 2018): “I didn’t know I wanted to tell stories. I knew I wanted to write and I thought I wanted to write about my mother and me, and a lot of my writing is about mother and daughter. But really I could early on see before any critic, I may have pointed it out to critics, that I was really writing about imbalance of power. And the mother country and the domestic mother is quite intertwined. If you really give a cursory and then thoroughly investigation into colonialism, you will see how much the colonial world has to do with the domestic and the domestic is almost always the female domain.” Full programme.

Jamaica Kincaid talking with Mother Jones (January/February 2013): ‘I think I was trying to understand how, short of an accident—you know, you pick up the phone, he says, “Your mother is dead. Her car. The Earth fell”—I never expected the everyday to suddenly become an accident. Suddenly you go downstairs and the pine floor is a gravel pit. I was trying to understand how the everyday suddenly becomes the unexpected.’ Full interview.

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Natasha Lightfoot talking with Renee Goldthree for Black Perspectives (April 4th 2016): “In the UWI archives, there was an almanac for the West Indies in the nineteenth century, and it contained an entry in the year 1858 for Antigua. The entry mentioned that there had been a riot and that the island’s jails were completely full, but it also claimed that the riot was nothing of any political significance. The entry suggested that the rioters were basically rabble in the streets causing trouble—and not at all political. That entry raised my antenna so to speak. I thought that the way the entry was written was a sign that whatever had occurred was very political: there had been a riot in the streets for several days and the jails were full of rioters. I wanted to figure out what happened and why.” Full interview.

JoyLapps1Joy Lapps talking with Joanne C. Hillhouse (December 2nd 2012): “I think that my strengths lie in composition and writing lyrics for music composed by others and by myself. My inspiration comes from my lived experience and some things I read about or see on the news, my spirituality and love of God, falling in love with my husband, the everyday challenges of life…etc.” Full interview.

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Jelani ‘J-Wyze’ Nias, author of Where Eagles Crawl and Men Fly, talking about following his path to publication: “The biggest wall I encountered, not that there weren’t others, but the biggest was my own fear. And once you get through that fear/feeling of will people understand this, will people accept this, are people gonna see my vision, once you go through that then everything else tends to be a lot more easy to deal with.”  – Watch the video.

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Dorbrene O’Marde in conversation with Heather Doram, Joanne C. Hillhouse, and Barbara Arindell on Observer radio’s Big Issues (2017): “We’re definitely not doing enough…you talk to groups today and mention Tim Hector …in schools, the name is not know; what he does has not been heralded…my interactions with young people…points to this particular void…history clearly is the subject of interest here, that we know who we are…the decisions about where we’re going will be made on the basis of that knowledge…if you understand the history of how we came to own these lands…then we wouldn’t behave the way we’re behaving, for example, with our land…” Read a transcription of the (2017) interview or listen to the interview.

Dorbrene O’Marde talking with Judd Batchelor at Batchelor of Arts Theatre Online (2016): “And one of the comments I made -which seemed to rattle some of the young writers, was the total absence of socio political concerns in this region, at this particular point in time when there is so much need for concern and there is so much need for understanding the post-colonial independence bind that we find ourselves in, that our leaders find themselves in that we as persons trying to inform leadership have not really clarified for ourselves. And my view of the role of the artist is to help in that clarification.” Full interview.

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Rupert Littleman Pelle, final interview, with the Cultural Development Division Research Department (2021): “I never believe I write a good song until I hear somebody criticize it. If I write a song and we can’t sit down in a group and discuss the song, and add and subtract, something wrong with the song, something definitely have to wrong with the song. And you can’t just change a line in a song like that. You write a song and somebody take it and they change a line can destroy the whole song. Because you na know what is leading up to the second verse or the third verse that have to do with the line in the first verse that you interfere with.”

Althea Prince talks about her research and her writing with A Different Booklist bookstore in Canada: “We need to hear from women about their experiences, their creative journeys, so The Black Notes brought together older and younger women. The contributors include some young girls who are just reaching the age of maturity. The book seeks to bring together the two generations. We have then the viewpoint – not a complete cross-section of those, but as far as I was able – of those women and girls from the African-Canadian community. So the same objectives: the same business of giving equity, giving voice, allowing space for these voices to express their creativity. Some of it is non-fiction, some of it is fiction and some of it is poetry.”

Rowan Ricardo Philips talking with Deadspin about his tennis themed book The Circuit: a Tennis Odyssey: “Carribeans love racket sports. My dad played a lot, so I started out going to his matches and serving as a terrible ballboy. The only thing we watched as a family on television was tennis, Breakfast at Wimbledon was big in my house. I had forgotten about those days, but I am fond of them. I never would’ve written the book without it. Here’s a good example: My dad rarely calls with breaking news, but one day he rang me up and said, ‘Turn on the TV, there’s a tennis poem being read on the air.’ It was Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated encapsulating his time at one of the big tournaments. Dad wanted to make sure I saw my personal Venn Diagram becoming one circle.” 2019.

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Paul ‘King Obstinate’ Richards: “We’re prophets; a lot of things we write about comes true.” (King Obstinate on calypso, September 2013)

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“…my little house is my own piece of paradise and it’s very conducive to creativity because it’s so peaceful and quiet. Singles’ Holiday and Sweet Lady are set on the island, and I’ve also developed a writing career over there. I wrote a TV series called Paradise View, which was shown on Antigua TV. When I last left the island, the people at the check-in desk were asking when they would get to see more. I’m now working on another show called Maisie and Em, which I describe as Golden Girls set in the Caribbean.” – UK writer Elaine Spires who made Antigua a home away from home speaking to Write’s Editing Services on the impact of island living on her writing

“They were great times – with the most amazing, talented, creative, strong, wonderful women. Their writing and innovative theatre pieces were daring and searingly truthful and just blew me away. I was honoured to be asked by Zahra Airall one of the founder members of Women of Antigua to write a piece for their show When A Woman Moans. I wrote the first Maisie and Em sketch which I performed as Em with my great pal Heather Doram taking the role of Maisie. Heather is an internationally famous artist and actress who has since become a TV host. The sketch brought the house down which was rewarding and humbling and so I was invited to write for them again the following year. It was a thrill and honour to be a part of it.” – Elaine Spires speaking with The Publish Hub

“One of our goals was to have the Cultural Division of Government fully support this organization and work alongside us and our artists. A fraction of that goal has been achieved as the Festivals Division recently came on board to sponsor our signature event, The Ink Project.” – Spilling Ink, for CREATIVE SPACE. 2020.

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“What I’d like to see really is, to be honest, is not just for Halcyon but steelband in general, especially at Carnival time apart from panorama, the bands, they not that important. …You know before time steelband used to dominate the road and be an integral part of the whole Carnival thing. Now apart from panorama, after panorama, nobody waan here no pan again. …steelband will have to move to a next level, they will have to amplify the bands an’ dem.” – George ‘Scenty’ Thomas, former captain of Halcyon Steel Orchestra, on the occasion of the Grays Green band’s 50th anniversary, 2021

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Amber Williams-King talking to the Toronto Arts Foundation: “The reality is that the voices, experiences and identities of those who are not a part of the dominant culture are often erased and disappeared away. As a Black femme who grapples with suicidal ideation, disability and the medical industrial complex, imagining myself in the future has, at times, been almost impossible. Art offered me the space to name these parts of myself, connect with others, and help build a world that does not thrive on the absolute destruction of me and my people.”

PHOTO credits: Pictures of Joanne C. Hillhouse and Joy Lapps are from the 2011 event Telling our Stories at the University of Toronto – event photo; of Tameka Jarvis George is from the 2006 Wadadli Pen/Museum literary showcase Word Up! – event photo/Laura Hall; of Jamaica Kincaid is from the 2014 University of the Virgin Islands literary festival – event photo; of Jelani Nias is a screen grab from a televised interview.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Fish Outta Water, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Please note that, except otherwise noted, images on this site also need to be cleared if you wish to use them for any purpose. Thanks.

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Antiguans and Barbudans SpillingInk

Really sorry I missed this…

all-three

SpillingInk launches its second collection in two years.

As I indicated to someone recently, though I haven’t yet had the opportunity to read their books (because so many books, so little time), I am impressed with what this collective is doing to stir things up literarily in Antigua. They have participated in developmental showcases like Wadadli Pen and Expressions, and are rippling the water in their own ways – beyond these publications, activities like the Ink Project which they described as “an artistic explosion of young talent… (a) Live Art exhibition (providing) opportunities to the present and next generations in showcasing their talent in areas of Drawing, Painting and Literary art.” Find them online here.

signing-copiesThanks to the Best of Books bookstore for these pictures from their launch and this breakdown of the highlights (with special thanks to Glen Toussaint):

“Spillingink launched Ashes: The Continuum. This is the Sequel to Ashes: A Broken Inception – their first publication, also launched last year at Best of Books. The launch was held here on Wednesday 9th November 2016 amidst paintings produced from an art event the group hosted in 2015. Zahra Airall hosted the launch seducing and tempting the audience with juicy excerpts from the book, which, like its prequel, wove its tale through Poetry and Prose. The floor was then opened up to the audience who were able to ask questions covering the entire production process. Some questions were hilarious while others sought to wring as much information of the production process as possible. There was also a brief moment when the audience was asked to interpret a piece of art that was being done on the spot by a young female  artist who worked as Zahra read. Spillingink then posed a question to the audience:

‘When did you first know you were a poet/artist/musician?’

-eliciting answers here and there. Some were amusing, some relatable. At that point, the audience discovered they were the set up for a live, seemingly spontaneous performance. In true Spillingink fashion, the poetry of Olsfred began seamlessly disguised as part of the conversation with the audience. He was promptly ‘interrupted’ when colleague Mikhail, who up until then was absent, burst through the doors of the bookstore  completing Olsfred’s sentence, seamlessly flowing into his verse and setting up Gloreen who in turn flowed into her verse and set up for Olsfred to conclude – ‘since he was so rudely interrupted’. It was brilliant. The night wrapped with thanks and acknowledgments followed by book signings and purchases. Both titles are available at Best of Books for EC$20.”

You heard?

gloreen-and-osfredCongrats, Gloreen and Olsfred (a Wadadli Pen 2015 finalist, by the way) – pictured, and Mikhail; keep spilling that ink.

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, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Fish Outta Water, and, forthcoming, With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Thanks.

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Caribbean Writers Online

Links to artiste/writer pages (websites and/or blogs) from the Caribbean region – artistes listed here are either Caribbean born or Caribbean descended (in the latter case, they are listed under their country of lineage). I’ve opted to list per country of birth or origin, though the writer may have grown up on elsewhere.

Please note, this page is a work in progress – links will be added over time – if you have a link you would like added, email wadadlipen@gmail.com for consideration – if linked or if sharing this post, please link back.

Antiguan_writers_group_with_Caryl_Phillips_2[1]

From left, Antiguan and Barbudan writers S E James, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Brenda Lee Browne, Akilah Jardine, Marie Elena John w/Kittitian author Caryl Phillips at the Calabash literary festival in Jamaica (2007).

 Antiguan and Barbudan Writers on the Web

group photo

This image is from a fiction editing workshop in Guyana and participants included some of the writers listed on this page – Joanne C. Hillhouse, first left back is listed among the Antiguan and Barbudan Writers on the Web; and below Shivaneee Ramlochan (Trinidad and Tobago), second from left, front; Richard Georges (BVI), second from left, back; Nailah Imoja (Barbados), third from left, front; Ruel Johnson (Guyana), third from right, back; Felene Cayetano (Belize), front, right. (2016)

Barbados

Shakirah Bourne

Babara Ann Chase

Nailah Imoja

Karen Lord

Sandra Sealey

Edison T. Williams

Belize

Felene Cayetano

Ivory Kelly

Bermuda

Yesha Townsend

the British Virgin Islands

Richard Georges

Eugenia O’Neal

Dominica

Celia Sorhaindo

the Dominican Republic

Junot Diaz

Grenada

Tobias Buckell

Oonya Kempadoo 

Guyana

Imam Baksh

Maggie Harris

Ruel Johnson

Yolanda T. Marshall

Caribbean Writers Congress with Marin Bethel and Leone Ross 2013

Leone Ross, right, shows up in the Jamaica section. Pictured here at a writers’ conference in Guadeloupe with Joanne C. Hillhouse and Bahamas’ Marion Bethel.

Jamaica

Raymond Antrobus

Tanya Batson-Savage (publisher and editor Blue Banyan Books)

Jacqueline Bishop

Amina Blackwood-Meeks

Diane Browne

Colin Channer

Carolyn Cooper

Kwame Dawes

Jonathan Escoffery

Yashika Graham

Diana McCaulay

Alecia McKenzie

Kei Miller

Opal Palmer Adisa

Annie Paul

Geoffrey Philp

Leone Ross

Olive Senior

Safiya Sinclair

Renaee Smith

Puerto Rico

Lisa Paravisini-Gebert

Ivette Romero-Cesareo

St. Kitts & Nevis

Carol Mitchell 4 by Joanne C Hillhouse

Carol Mitchell is pictured here as a guest presenter at Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Jhohadli Summer Youth Project writing camp in Antigua, 2013.

Carol Mitchell

Caryl Phillips

St. Lucia

John Robert Lee

Derek Walcott

Suriname

Rihana Jamaludin

Karin Lachmising

Trinidad and Tobago

Lisa Allen-Agostini

Vashti Bowlah

Danielle Boodoo Fortune (see also this link to her various past blogs)

Summer Edward

Marsha Gomes-McKie

Nicholas Laughlin

Sharon Millar

with Sharon Millar

Sharon Millar, left, makes a point at the V I Lit Fest 2015 as Joanne C. Hillhouse listens.

Paula Obe

Ingrid Persaud

M. Nourbese Philip

Shivanee Ramlochan

Leshanta Roop

Lawrence Scott

Liane Spicer

U. S. V. I.

Tiphanie Yanique

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Coming Soon – A River of Stories

A River of Stories

The editors of this series sought out work from writers all over the Commonwealth. Including from right here in Antigua, Joy Lawrence whose The Whirlwind will appear in book 3, Air; and me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) whose poem, Under Pressure, will appear in book 4, Fire. Lawrence reports that her poem dates back to 1996. My poem, Under Pressure, previously appeared in my self-published poetry collection On Becoming which had a very limited, very limited run back in the early aughts (around 2003-ish) so when I received the initial email from Lift Education I thought it was spam. And acted accordingly. But in the end it came together; so it’s all good. Look forward to receiving the books…and I wonder if any other Antiguan and Barbudan writer is featured. If you are hit me up so that I can update your listing on the site.

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Flashback – VI Lit Fest (2015)

Specifically, these images (taken from the event’s facebook page) are of Antiguan and Barbudan writers participating in the 2015 Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair. You may recall that I was one of those writers, as blogged at my jhohadli blog.

books

Antigua-Barbuda related books at the book fair included Alscess Lewis Brown’s Moko Jumbie series of children’s books; Jamaica Kincaid’s Mr. Potter, Annie John, Autobiography of My Mother, My Brother, and See Now Then; Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Music Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!; Lady of Parham, a David Edgecombe play, inspired by Antiguan lore; and Pepperport which includes a story, Amelia at Devil’s Bridge, by Antigua and Barbuda’s Hillhouse.

 

VI Lit Fest panel

This was one of two panels I participated in.  That’s me, far right, and that’s Virgin Islands-US author Tiphanie Yanique with the mic in her hand; to her left is Trinidad and Tobago writer Sharon Millar and to her left Jamaican-VI author Gillian Royes.

reaching for the words

Making a point.

 

biggest turnout

A strong turn out for U.S.-based, Antiguan and Barbudan author Jamaica Kincaid.

Alscess

Virgin Islands author and The Caribbean Writer editor, Alscess Lewis-Brown.

Edgar Lake

Edgar Lake, author of The Devil’s Bridge.

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not cookie cutter in celebration of personal style

Musical Youth

Me, reading from Musical Youth …the last activity of a very long (at once stimulating and tiring) day.

 

The next installment of the Fair will be in April 2016.

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, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. Seriously, a lot of time, energy, love and frustration goes in to researching and creating content for this site; please don’t just take it up just so without even a please, thank you or an ah-fu-she-subben (credit). 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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WADADLI PEN 2015: TEACHER CLAIMS PRIZE WITH JUSTICE

The Wadadli Pen Awards ceremony photo call: pictured, from left guest presenter and poet Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau, Olsfred James, Melicia McCalmon, Margaret Irish, Ondrej Austin-McDonald, and founder/coordinator of Wadadli Pen Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of Musical Youth and other books). Front are the two youngest prize recipients of 2015 Judah Christian, 8, and Avriel Walters, 10.

The Wadadli Pen Awards ceremony photo call: pictured, from left guest presenter and poet Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau, Olsfred James, Melicia McCalmon, Margaret Irish, Ondrej Austin-McDonald, and founder/coordinator of Wadadli Pen Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of Musical Youth and other books). Front are the two youngest prize recipients of 2015 Judah Christian, 8, and Avriel Walters, 10.

Margaret Irish, winner of the 2014 Teachers Lead by Example Prize, takes it all in 2015 with ‘Justice’, a story in which the bitterness felt by a Jamaican facing deportation from Antigua emerges as a searing inner narrative:

“The laugh erupts before I can stop it.

Now-I can talk?

Just before I’m deported to Jamaica for stealing an iPhone?”

‘Justice’ is only 199 words, just one short of the 200 limit of 2015’s Wadadli Pen Flash Fiction Challenge; but, typical of the sub-genre, it is a story fully told.

“The author of ‘Justice’ successfully completed a story,” said Floree Whyte. “You got to know the character, the reasons for their behavior and felt a connection, all in 200 words.”

Whyte (author of Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses) was part of the judging pool consisting of Monica Matthew (Journeycakes), Linisa George (When a Woman Moans), Carol Mitchell (founder of Caribbean Reads publishing) and Danielle Boodoo Fortune (longlisted for the 2015 Hollick Arvon Prize) which selected Irish’s ‘Justice’ for the win from 31 entries.

Irish's name will join that of past winners emblazoned on the Wadadli Pen Challenge trophy sponsored by the Best of Books. Pictured making the presentation is Gavinia Michael of Flow, one of the 2015 Wadadli Pen patrons.

Irish’s name has joined that of past winners emblazoned on the Wadadli Pen Challenge trophy sponsored by the Best of Books. Pictured making the presentation is Gavinia Michael of Flow, one of the 2015 Wadadli Pen patrons.

Wadadli Pen took a different turn this year with its winner-take-all format. Irish’s prizes are sponsored by Flow, Raw Island Products, Art at the Ridge, CODE – sponsors of the Burt Award for Teen/Young Adult Caribbean Fiction, Bocas – administrators of the Burt Award, the Best of Books, and an anonymous donor.

But thanks to Best of Books, longtime Wadadli Pen patron and partner, some of the other promising writers were also recognized. Best of Books’ picks were Olsfred James, author of ‘Get Set, Go…’, Judah Christian, 9, author of ‘Judah and his Friends save the Day’, Ondrej Austin-McDonald, 16, who submitted an untitled entry, Avriel Walters, 10, author of Teenagers, and Melicia McCalmon, 17, author of The First Time I went to St. John’s. [CLICK HERE FOR A RUNDOWN OF WHO WON IN 2015 WITH STORY LINKS]

Antiguan and Barbudan author Joanne C. Hillhouse (Musical Youth) launched the first Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge in 2004 with the goal of nurturing and showcasing the literary arts. This is the programme’s 11th year.

To keep up with developments related to Wadadli Pen and literary life in Antigua and Barbuda, and the wider Caribbean, follow the blog – https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com

Photos courtesy of Glen Toussaint of the Best of Books.

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