Tag Archives: Antiguan and Barbudan

Carib Lit Plus March 2020

The timing of this post is funny (not haha) as the world slowly shuts down to halt the spread of an international pandemic. No hysterics here. Just a reminder to be safe – follow the guidelines – and don’t panic.

Check a trusted source and tune in to official fact-based updates via local news outlets. Recommended though that this news intake be in manageable bites (to reduce fear and panic), and that we all embrace ways to stay lifted. To wit, this being an arts site, we hope you’ll appreciate this montage of Italians coping with song.

Now, on to arts news from Antigua and Barbuda, and the wider Caribbean.


The Wadadli Pen 2020 Challenge has a short list! Thanks to judges Floree Williams Whyte (judging chief/Wadadli Pen partner), Glen Toussaint (bookseller, writer), and Danielle Boodoo Fortune (Bocas winning poet, and artist). Entries still in the running are: Oh, Beach that I once loved; The John Bull Effect; The Beast of Barbados; Two Worlds Collide; A Bright Future for Tomorrow; My Favourite Dish; A New World; A Mermaid; Lead Me Lord; The Fabled Truth; and Tom, the Ninja Crab. See who the writers were, here.

Zadie Smith, a UK writer, of Jamaican descent on her mother’s side, was shortlisted for the Folio Prize. Already well known and celebrated for books like White Teeth, Zadie is one of eight singled out, this time for her book Grand Union. The winner is due to be announced this March. More here.

Here in Antigua and Barbuda the Directorate of Gender Affairs Awarded 25 Women of Wadadli, a first time initiative held, appropriately, on International Women’s Day, March 8th 2020. “DoGA Executive Director, Farmala Jacobs, said that this year’s celebration of International Women’s Day is especially significant and that the Woman of Wadadli Awards aimed to recognize the unsung heroes among us.” Among the 25, there were broadly eight artists (Colleen Simpson – Culinary Arts, Heather Doram – Culture, Noreen Phillips – Fashion, Zahra Airall – Fine Arts, Marion Byron – Music and Entertainment, Mako Williams – recognized for Tech is also an artist, and Wadadli Pen core team member Barbara Arrindell – recognized as a changemaker, but also a writer). The Literature prize went to Wadadli Pen’s own Joanne C. Hillhouse.


Read more.

Exclusive Interview: M. J. Fievre

Featured on Hillhouse’s Jhohadli blog, this interview with Haitian-American writer M. J. Fievre traverses the territory of depression and her own experience with it and the creative expression that emerged. Her book Happy, Okay? uses various literary forms to speak to her mental health journey (in progress) and another book touched on, Badass Black Girl, is meant to be a guide to young girls in their own process of emerging. Check out the full interview here.










New Books

New from Peepal Tree Press, from PEN English Translation winners Puerto Rico-based Loretta Collins-Klobah and Maria Grau Perejoan, a bilingual anthology of thirty-three contemporary Caribbean women poets The Sea Needs No Ornament/ El mar no necesita ornamento. It is the first bilingual anthology of contemporary poetry by women writers of the English- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean and its Diasporas to be curated in more than two decades. The anthology presents a selection of work by poets from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and from various Anglophone Caribbean islands and the Diaspora. Each poem is presented first in the original, followed by the translation. The majority of poets have not yet been widely translated nor included in a bilingual anthology of this scope.

Klobah is a past Bocas winner.

This one actually came out in late 2019 but we missed it, so

The ArtsEtc Winning Words Anthology is very much in the spirit of what we try to do here at Wadadli Pen. It is a developmental programme that helps to nurture and showcase new writing in Barbados – from fresh and established voices. The only difference really is the resources behind it (e.g. the National Cultural Foundation). Kudos to the NCF for all it does to push literary arts in BIM.

We also want to acknowledge that past Wadadli Pen finalist Rilzy Adams dropped three new self-published ebooks late in 2019 – 12 Dates of Christmas (Love on the Rock Book 1); You, Me + Baby (Love on the Rock Book 2); and Brand New: A Love on the Rock Novelette.

Jacob Ross has released the second book in his Michael ‘Digger’ Digson crime noir series. Black Rain Falling (published with Sphere) picks up after The Bone Readers (Peepal Tree), which introduced the Caribbean forensic detective to the literary world, with a couple of new mysteries to solve.

Monique Roffey – already prolific and profound as the author of books like Archipelago and White Woman on the Green Bicycle (both published with Penguin) – has a new one  (with Peepal Tree) The Mermaid of Black Conch, in which a fisherman on a fictional Caribbean island meets a cursed woman of the sea. The UK-based Trinidad writer previously won the Bocas Prize for literature and has been shortlisted for several other major international awards. Early reviews for this one are good too: “The setting is slow and lush, full of colour and texture, which makes it beautifully three dimensional, with a feeling of movement that lifts and carries you through. There is beauty in the grimness too.” (Jess Sturnam-Coombs)

Also out this March, An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading (CSL Kreisel Lecture Series via the University of Alberta Press) by Dionne Brand. Most online bios found through google describe her as a Canadian poet but she is Trinidad and Tobago born and raised. And this book is informed by her Caribbean colonial upbringing. In it, the “internationally acclaimed poet and novelist Dionne Brand reflects on her early reading of colonial literature and how it makes Black beings inanimate. She explores her encounters with colonial, imperialist, and racist tropes; the ways that practices of reading and writing are shaped by those narrative structures; and the challenges of writing a narrative of Black life that attends to its own expression and its own consciousness.” (book summary)


Guyanese actress, Shuri from Black Panther, Letitia Wright has reportedly signed on to star in the bizarre story of a pair of Barbados-born, UK-based twins. In a nutshell, “They became known as The Silent Twins as they refused to communicate with anyone but each other, and ended up in Broadmoor Hospital after they turned to crime. Jennifer and June spent 11 years in Broadmoor where they were studied by doctors and psychologists, but the pair would still only communicate with each other and became catatonic when separated.” Interesting. Check it out.

Meanwhile, an Antiguan-Barbudan boy is Peter Pan in a new adaptation by the director of the critically-acclaimed, Oscar nominated Beast of the Southern Wild.

Yashua Mack, a local boy, made his big screen debut in February 2020 at the Sundance Film Festival playing the iconic literary character who has been re-imagined many times over but, perhaps not with quite so much melanin. The film was also partially filled in Antigua, primarily at local landmark Hell’s Gate – an offshore island which is a border between the calm of the Caribbean Sea and the wilds of the Atlantic Ocean. A red carpet premiere was planned for Antigua-Barbuda in March 2020 (can’t confirm if this has been cancelled in light of COVID-19 government ban of public gatherings of a certain size – with this and all events call first).

Reading Comps

Reading competitions seem to be catching on; there are two national ones in Antigua, one with a regional component. Here’s some news related to both.

A Grace Christian Academy student won the Rotary Antigua Reading Comp, for the third time. This is the second year in a row that it has featured a book by a Wadadli Pen associated writer – last year, The Wonderful World of Yohan by Floree Williams Whyte, Wadadli Pen’s chief judge and this year, The Boy from Willow Bend, the first book by Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse.

Reading Comp
(read the full article above from the Daily Observer newspaper 08-03-20 and this related blog post )

Meanwhile, Antigua and Barbuda placed third in the OECS edition of the Courts reading competition.


Developmental News

The Honorable Harold Simmons Folk Academy of The Monsignor Patrick Anthony Folk Research Centre has announced a FRC Saint Lucia Studies Conference for 2020 focused on “Creoleness/Créolité : Saint Lucian culture and cultural/creative industries in national development today.” The announced date is June 24-26 at the Finance Administrative Centre in Pointe Seraphine. The Conference seeks to provide an opportunity for researchers in the areas of Saint Lucian life and culture to present their findings in a Saint Lucian setting. For more information, email frc@candw.lc or the folkresearchcentrelibrary@gmail.com

Online literary journal (out of Jamaica) Pree has announced a Pree Writing Studio initiative funded by the Prince Klaus Next Generation Grant. “With tutors of the calibre of Marlon James, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Kei Miller, Garnette Cadogan, Ishion Hutchinson, Ingrid Persaud and Safiya Sinclair those lucky enough to attend PREE’s inaugural writing studio are in for a treat. In addition there will be a publishing studio by Little, Brown/Hatchette/Dialogue Books publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove.” There may be some subsidy for writers unable to meet the total cost and this seems to be only the first of a planned series. Read more.

International Publishing Announcements

UK-based Jamaican writer Leone Ross’ latest book is the talk of the publishing world after inking a deal with Faber for the 2021 release of This One Sky Day. ‘Set on a fictional Caribbean archipelago called Popisho, This One Sky Day is described by Faber as “a sensual meditation on the nature of love and addiction” as well as “a dazzling, funny and incisive disquisition on post-colonial politics”. It also called it “a major work of fiction in conversation with Gabriel García Márquez, Toni Morrison, Arundhati Roy and Junot Díaz via the Harlem Renaissance and Anaïs Nin”.’ Read more.


Barbados’ Shakirah Bourne has landed a publishing deal with Scholastic for her Burt Award winning title, already released as My Fishy Stepmom by Jamaica’s Blouse and Skirt Books, to be released in to the US market as Josephine vs. the Sea Spirit. Per Publisher’s Weekly, “This middle grade novel features cricket-playing Jo, who discovers that her father’s new girlfriend is a powerful and vengeful sea creature and has to convince everyone of the woman’s true identity before she loses her dad forever. Publication is slated for spring 2021.” We don’t know the details of the deal but this is a big deal and we join the Caribbean literary community in congratulating her. If we’re counting right, this is the third Burt title to land a separate US publishing deal – maybe she should team up for a ‘how they did it’ seminar with Diana McCaulay, author of Gone to Drift which landed at Harper Collins, and Lisa Allen-Agostini, author of Home Home which is forthcoming this year from Delacorte Press, a division of Penguin Random House,  after both being initially published by Dominica/UK’s Papillote Press.


Kim Johnson of Trinidad is seeking to republish his Illustrated History of Pan.

Meanwhile, in Antigua and Barbuda we say good bye to the long serving member of the longest running pan in the world the multi-award winning Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra, Eustace ‘Manning’ Henry.

Anansesem Announces a New Chapter 

The founding editor Summer Edward is stepping down but the online platform for Caribbean children’s literature will carry on – which is what you love to see; succession, continuity. Summer also took the opportunity to announce the pending publication of her own book. Read her full statement.

CREATIVE SPACE on a New Platform

The Antigua and Barbuda art and culture series by JCH is now running every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer newspaper and on the Jhohadli blog online with extras.

The latest edition – second on this new platform – is Black History Month and Women’s History Month themed and headlined Centering Us, Year Round. Above is that second published article – be sure to look out for fresh articles in the series every other Wednesday

Book Club

ABS TV has for several weeks been running Book Club, a Tuesday morning segment on Antigua Today. So far segments have included the likes of D. Gisele Isaac (Considering Venus) and Gayle Gonsalves (Painting Pictures and Other Stories). Not sure if it airs at a particular time in the daily national TV morning show but Tuesday’s the day. Kudos to ABS TV for this initiative.

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

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business, Wadadli Pen 2020, Wadadli Pen News, Workshop

Text Books Written by Antiguan and Barbudan Authors

These are current texts written or co-written (included writers excerpted) by Antiguan and Barbudan authors.

The Life of Dame Georgiana Ellen Robinson by Barbara Arrindell in Unit 3: History in Collins Caribbean Social Studies 1. Harper Collins Publisher Limited. UK. 2017.

A social studies textbook adopted for use in schools in a number of  Caribbean Islands. The two-page spread on Nellie Robinson introduces the region’s youth to the lone female Antiguan and Barbudan national hero and speaks of her motivation, accomplishments, and awards. It also encourages students, through recommended activities, to find out more about celebrated Antiguans & Barbudans and other Caribbean heroes.

A Volar! Workbook 2 – ¡A Volar! Primary Spanish for the Caribbean by Tiffany Azille-Henry (ed. Tracey Traynor). Collins. UK. 2015.

Specially designed for the Caribbean, suitable for primary pupils whose first language is English, this engaging course makes learning Spanish fun while meeting the demands of Caribbean teaching and curriculums. It introduces the Spanish language to children in a highly accessible format for beginners and young learners, with careful progression through the levels. Lively, colourful illustrations, fact boxes, games, and toe-tapping songs all help to communicate the learning objectives in a fun and active way. All pupil books include an audio CD, featuring specially-commissioned songs and audio for listening and speaking exercises and pronunciation of vocabulary.

CAPE Revision Guide: Communication Studies by Brenda Lee Browne (w/Natalee Cole). Harper Collins.  UK. 2016.

Focuses on the content and skills students need to master for success in CAPE examinations, covers all aspects of the syllabus, and provides excellent help with exam preparation. With clear and accessible information, practice questions, and exam tips throughout, this resource helps students prepare for the exam by giving advice and guidance on techniques for the text questions and school based assessment. It also gives clear and comprehensive coverage of each module of the syllabus. Accompanying audio files are available online for listening and comprehension practice.

Amelia at Devil’s Bridge by Joanne C. Hillhouse (excerpted) in The Concise Revision Course for CSEC® English A. Harper Collins. UK. 2017.

The Concise Revision Course for CSEC® English A provides comprehensive and authoritative guidance to preparing for the Paper 1 and Paper 2 examinations. The story Amelia at Devil’s Bridge – short listed for the Small Axe prize and published in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean – is excerpted in this text.

books by Anthea S. Thomas

Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda – STUDENT’S BOOK GRADE 3 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.


Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda — STUDENT’S BOOK GRADE 4 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.

Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda — STUDENT’S BOOK GRADE 5 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.


Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda — STUDENT’S BOOK GRADE 6 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.


Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda — WORKBOOK GRADE 3 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.

Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda — WORKBOOK GRADE 4 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.

Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda — WORKBOOK GRADE 5 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.

Primary Social Studies for Antigua and Barbuda — WORKBOOK GRADE 6 by Anthea S. Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. UK. 2019.

Antigua Primary Social Studies Workbook Grade 5& 6 2nd Edition by Anthea S. Thomas.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2018.

Antiguan Primary Social Studies Work book 4 3rd Edition by Anthea S. Thomas. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2018.

Collins Antigua Primary Social Studies has been specially written by a local teacher to meet the needs of local schools, teachers, and students. The books in this series provide full coverage of the primary social studies syllabus for Antigua and Barbuda, with engaging illustrations and activities to keep students interested and to help them learn. Collins Antigua Primary Social Studies provides everything teachers need for the Antigua and Barbuda social studies syllabus at primary level. This course has been specially developed by an extremely experienced local teacher who truly understands the needs of primary students and how to keep them engaged and interested in learning. It provides a skills-based approach to learning fully set in local contexts to allow students to develop tools and skills for learning and a wider knowledge of their own island and the Caribbean. The Collins books followed Thomas publishing her workbooks independently.

Poetry for the CSEC English B Examination by Sharon Wilson-Strann. Macmillan Education. UK. 2008, 2012.


This companion explores the poems that will be covered in the 2012-2014 and the 2015-2017 CSEC English B examination in a systematic way in order to guide students through their studies. Alongside a section on understanding figurative language, tips on essay writing, sample essays and a glossary of literary terms, the treatment of each poem includes the following features: – A summary of the text – An exploration of the subjects/issues – A description of the poetic techniques used – A variety of pre- and post-reading activities – A series of extension activities – A list of websites or books that relates to the text.

*This post refers to books specifically written as texts or supplementary material for schools/learning institutions. It does not include but does acknowledge:
-other non-fiction books which would enhance any academic institution’s reading list (pick any from our non-fiction list – Elizabeth Abbott to Brian Dyde to Paget Henry to Natasha Lightfoot to Desmond Nicholson’s to Joy Lawrence’s Colours and Rhythms and The Way We Talk and Other Antiguan Folkways when I taught Communication)

-fictional books (e.g. my fictional books The Boy from Willow Bend and Musical Youth) that are on the schools reading list in Antigua and Barbuda and some other Caribbean islands

-other books which are not text but were written for potential use in education (e.g. 1970s and 1980s Nelson’s, Macmillan’s, and Key Caribbean readers in which you can find the work of Oliver Flax, and more recently S. Khalilah Brann’s The ABCs of the Black Panther Party).

This post exists in part because where texts are written by local authors inevitably there is likely to be more relatable material, more excavation of local history etc. As someone who studied at institutions from pre to tertiary where almost all the material (one secondary school teacher introducing us to Smith and Smith’s To Shoot Hard Labour being a notable exception) was not reflective in any way (including the wider Caribbean material which tended to focus on the larger islands) of the reality I lived. Does it matter? I think it does; I don’t think the material we use should be exclusively self-reflective but I think it should be in the mix.

Disclaimer: it occurs to me after the fact that these are almost all Collins books. I assure you we have not been paid for promotion by Collins. What prompted this post was the Nellie Robinson entry in the social studies text specifically and my personal feeling (which once led to a proposal to the powers that be for a children’s book series spotlighting our national heroes) that more children in Antigua and Barbuda need to read about her.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and its Spanish language edition Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe). All Rights Reserved. Please credit to Wadadli Pen if you share this list. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.


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

Carib Plus Lit News (Early September 2019)

UWI’s fourth landed campus opens in Antigua and Barbuda

UWI 1.jpg

“The establishment of the Five Islands campus in Antigua and Barbuda impacts the growth and development of this country in the same way that the establishment of campuses in Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago impacted development of those countries. Moreover, it holds the prospect of making a similar contribution to the countries of the OECS.” – Professor Stafford Griffith. The re-purposing of the building where the campus is being housed was controversial because it had been built initially as a secondary school to provide relief to overpopulation in especially urban secondary schools. With a change of administration came a change of agenda, and though there was some opposition objection (and even an article guest posted here on the Wadadli Pen blog by a former finalist explaining why he felt the campus should be used for its original purpose), the UWI fourth landed campus in Antigua and Barbuda is now reality. The campus began operations on August 25th and is registering students for programmes across the schools of Health and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities and Education, and Management, Sciences, and Technology.

Musical Youth Second Edition

This is one of my books, the second edition of which launched in early August. I wanted to share the release from Caribbean Reads Publishing:

(original cover art by Antiguan and Barbudan artist Glenroy Aaron)

Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 8, 2019. CaribbeanReads Publishing, a small press based in St. Kitts-Nevis, announced today the release of the second edition of Musical Youth, the award-winning title by Antiguan and Barbudan author Joanne C. Hillhouse. Over four thousand copies of the first edition of the book, which won second place in the 2014 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, have been distributed to young people throughout the Caribbean and the world. Musical Youth has been well-received by critics, reviewers, and most importantly by teens and is currently included on the book lists at schools in Antigua and in Trinidad and Tobago. While the text remains basically unchanged, the second edition sports a new cover and the kindle version contains links to a candid discussion about Hillhouse’s writing process, her vision of the characters, and more.

“This is such an important milestone,” commented Carol Mitchell of CaribbeanReads. “Caribbean books are finding their place in the global literature scene one book at a time. We are excited that thousands of Caribbean children have read this book, but we are also thrilled when we receive orders from Australia and Italy as it speaks to the human appeal of the story.”

Musical Youth is a coming-of-age story set in Antigua and, by chronicling one summer in the lives of a few teens, touches on a number of issues that our Caribbean youth face such as class differences, colourism, and relationships-romantic, familial, and platonic. The publishers credit the book’s success to the high quality of Hillhouse’s storytelling, the global appeal of the teen story, and the tremendous support they received from the NGO CODE, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, the Antiguan (and Barbudan) Ministry of Education, bookstores like Best of Books in Antigua and Paperbased in Trinidad, and book reviewers.

In the Acknowledgements of the new edition, Hillhouse thanks “readers everywhere—tout monde sam and baggai, as we say in Antigua and Barbuda—who bought and/or took the time to recommend the book; and specifically, Caribbean readers and young people who have told me how much they love Zahara, and how Zahara and Shaka are #relationshipgoals.”

Ms. Hillhouse has made several contributions to the literary scene in the Caribbean. In addition to the award winning Musical Youth, she is the author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, the children’s book, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and the mass market title Oh Gad! She has been recognized at book festivals in the Caribbean and the US, and featured in Essence magazine.



Hurricane season 2019 hit its first major target, the Bahamas. Specifically it (reportedly) took seven lives (though the numbers may rise at this writing) and inflicted (reported) billions in physical damage in the Abaco and Grand Bahama islands. It’s been heartbreaking and in some ways re-traumatizing for those for whom the 2017 season that wreaked havoc across the Caribbean region (via Irma and Maria) is still all too fresh. I don’t know what to add to the conversation except #climatechangeisreal and real action is required; help the Bahamas if you can; and pray that the season doesn’t do any more damage – we can’t take it (though we will if we have to…pray we don’t have to). Amidst all of the posts I saw, one that feels especially relevant to us here on this arts platform is this public social media post by Bahamaian professor and publisher/editor of the Tongues of the Ocean online literary journal Nicolette Bethel, director of the Shakespeare in Paradise festival, mere hours after the storm:  “We are rehearsing for Shakespeare in Paradise tonight. You may think us insensitive but we know how important theatre and the arts are in the healing process. It is also important for people to focus on other things, on inhabiting other skins, for a moment. One of our actors has been working tirelessly with the rescue efforts. She has been the conduit for texts from people waiting to be rescued and she has been linking them up with the rescue teams. She has been working for the past two days. She has come to rehearsal tonight because she needs the distraction. She had to take a moment to decompress but she is right now giving a rehearsal that is just about performance ready. I am so proud of her!!!” That’s a beautiful reminder of just how powerful the arts are in our lives.


Who is Toni Morrison?

I’ve covered the deaths of Toni Morrison and Paule Marshall in the last and second to last editions of this Carib Plus Lit series but when two such important literary lights go out of the world, there will be and there has been multiple conversations as we process. This round of my processing is prompted by a particular conversation.

Someone asked me the sub-headed question when I told them Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison had died – ‘who is Toni Morrison?’ And once I got over being outraged, I reminded myself that we all have our areas of interest and if someone had told me about the death of some Nobel winning physicist, I might have had a similar ‘who is that?’ moment. I tried to explain who Morrison was but they were distracted and uninterested, and I was legit hurt by that because of how much she means not just to me as a writer but to the world. The same person, once  they caught the unavoidable coverage of Morrison’s death returned to ask me, ‘did you hear about the death of this author woman?’ And, after I banged my head against a metaphorical wall, I got it…I got it. I mean, I’m not perfect, I did have a moment of ‘are you kidding me, I tried to tell you about this?’ But I get it, we all have our areas of interest and only so much space in our heads. In fact, when it comes to Nobel prizes I pay attention to literature and peace; so I’m guilty of focusing on what interests me too. I’m prompted though by these conversations to share my favourite Morrison books (mostly focused on her fiction), the must-read Morrisons I haven’t yet read, the ones I’m not sure/don’t remember reading, and the ones still/definitely on my to-read list (for the ones I haven’t read yet but really want to); I’m going to do the same for Paule Marshall, because she too is a literary giant we lost recently, one with Caribbean roots (while Morrison is African-American). I promise to be honest if you promise not to be judge-y.


Song of Solomon – this may have been my first Morrison, an assigned read for one of my lit classes at the University of the West Indies, and one that it was an absolute joy to excavate – there were so many layers to it. The story of a family in early 20th century America and the inexorable connections to the past. I remember it cracking open pathways in my mind, in my soul, and my own history.

The Bluest Eye – I remember being powerfully moved by this story of a girl who wanted to be white and blue eyed when I first read it during my university days, in part because I think on some level every little Black girl (speaking very broadly, of course) can relate to how much of a journey it is to self-love (unfortunately).

Sula – I remember this book about, among other things, the bond between two girls-cum-women being a joy to read despite its dark turns.

Jazz – this one, with a love triangle at its core, was so much like jazz (with its complex and improvisational qualities) that it took me a few attempts to get in to it but once I did, I loved it; her technique especially with voice (and especially near the end) and the way it interacted with itself and with the story it was telling and, to some degree, with the reader was a mindblowing lesson.

Must-reads I haven’t yet read

Beloved – this story of a woman who escaped slavery only to be haunted by the ghost of the daughter she aborted is, from all accounts, a classic – its status not dimmed by the Oprah film which I remember not being very well received. I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet nor feel a great urge to read it – maybe it’s been in that zone of classics everyone insists you absolutely have to read for a little too long. Some times you just have to let go of those have-tos. I may read it someday still; it’s definitely not off the table. I mean, it’s Toni Morrison.

Paradise – like Jazz I’ve started this a few times and I pressed on because I came to love Jazz despite our bumpy start and because Oprah assured during her O’s Book Club discussion that it was a rough start but once you got 30 or so pages in, you wouldn’t be able to put it down. Well, I’ve put it down and taken it back up, and started over and put it down, and picked it up a few times; and it’s been down for a long time. I still hope to finish it some day especially as, as it’s not uninteresting – not with his opening:”They shoot the white girl first. With the others they can take their time.”.

God Bless the Child


Not sure/don’t remember reading

Tar Baby

Love – I think I may have read this one sometime in the late nineties, early 2000s with my book club but I’m not sure it counts if I don’t remember.

Still/Definitely on my to-read list

Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination – the title has always intrigued me.

A Mercy

The Origin of Others

The rest, I think, are children’s books, anthologies edited by her, and books of non-fiction so I’ll stop by saying, I highly recommend you pick a Morrison and read one. My individual struggle with any book of hers does not change the fact that she is a master craftsman whose characters and settings are solidly and deeply drawn, whose premises are never conventional, whose execution is always assured, who for all her layers and distinctiveness as a writer never let the writing get in the way of the story. Barbadian-American writer Paule Marshall meanwhile is not as well known as Morrison but there’s no denying that she, too, made her mark.


Praisesong for the Widow – your first is always your favourite right? This story of a well-to-do widow kind of deconstructing while on a Caribbean vacation and making some ancestral connections that move it beyond the personal is my first Paule Marshall read and a favourite from my uni days – iconic even, with certain images from it permanently marked on my mind and soul.

Browngirl, Brownstones – this coming of age story about a Caribbean family making new life in America was a solid read if not my absolute favourite; and it is a classic. Literally, it was first published in the 1950s and then revived on rediscovery in the 1980s (kind of reminds me of the rediscovery of Zora Neale Hurston by Alice Walker chronicled in In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens).

Daughters – a fairly epic tale of family and politics between the US and the Caribbean.

Must-reads I haven’t read

Soul Clap Hands and Sing

Reena and Other Stories – one of my favourite writings by Marshall is ‘To Dah-duh, in Memoriam’, a great generational, cultural, past and future divide story set in Barbados, which was originally published in 1967 and re-published in Reena and Other Stories in 1983.

Merle: a Novella and Other Stories

Triangular Road: a Memoir

Not sure/don’t remember reading

The Chosen Place, the Timeless People – I’m about 50 percent sure I haven’t read this story of an island in transition and a clueless American woman linked to the island (I think), and yet the synopsis seems familiar..

Still/Definitely on my to-read list

Conversations with Paule Marshall – I love to read writers talking about their process like when Marshall in a piece I read (not sure it’s included here) talked about the kitchen table talk that helped her develop her voice as a writer.

The Fisher King


Antiguan Hip Hop-er LogiQ Benefits from US Cultural Exchange

LogiQ at the US Embassy in Barbados prior to departure for the US. (Photo courtesy the US Embassy)

This one came in via press release from the US Embassy. Antiguan rapper Vincent Aldin Pryce, commonly known as LogiQ, has traveled to the America to participate in US government sponsored Partners of the Americas’ Education and Culture Exchange Program. His specific destination was announced as the PATH Hip Hop summer Academy of Music and Art. “The exchange is a part of Partners of the Américas’ Education and Culture program, which provides exchanges and small grants for communities across the Americas. The Education and Culture Program is funded by the United Sates Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and connects people and institutions to promote service in the community, enhance cross-cultural understanding and cooperation between the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and build professional development of participants and the communities they visit.” The two-week programme in Miami was expected to yield several benefits. “Mr. Pryce will contribute to and benefit from projects aligned with Partners of the Americas and PATH Inc.’s shared objectives and programs while developing creative leadership skills through professional development workshops and strengthening the social impact of his creative work. He will also develop and exhibit a professional series of creative work in collaboration with local artists, and connect with professional counterparts in the creative and community development sectors.”


New Caribbean Book of Local Writings 

About the series Local Writings: The series Local Writings is composed of monographic books that compile essays, chronicles, manuscripts, testimonies and various writings of curators, theorists, cultural critics, thinkers and artists of the region. This series seeks to make accessible a selection of several of the most important discourses and critical positions that have shaped critical paradigms in Central America and the Caribbean. This book is added to the two previous ones of this same series, dedicated to the critical work of Raúl Quintanilla Armijo (Nicaragua), Rosina Cazali (Guatemala), Adrienne Samos (Panama), Tamara Díaz-Bringas (Cuba / Costa Rica). The next titles in this series include the critical work of Virginia Pérez Ratton (Costa Rica), Michy Marxuach (Puerto Rico) and Rolando Castellón (Nicaragua / Costa Rica). Read more.

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Under the Carpet (2002)

by Marcus Christopher (as posted to Tongues of the Ocean special Antigua and Barbuda issue, 2014)

Around here things use to give man fit
The way they does sweep bad deeds under the carpet
You and I know what I saying is true
How them does cover up what certain people do
Once you up there with rank and file
You get away clean—a tap on the wrist and a smile
Though you get catch red-handed in corruption
Like a reward you get transferred with promotion

Chor: And everything get swept—under the carpet
………..Ask Outlet ‘bout Christian Children funds—if it’s under the carpet
………..And if the forensic report tried to put anything—under the carpet
………..Like the hurricane lumber business went—under the carpet
………..Etc. etc.. etc etc ————-

Around here man use to get real vex
But had no means to take out their text
You could only grumble and take your blows
You were exclusively held in check by the likes of Mr. Rose
No matter how you frustrate stress out yourself and tug
They will sweep whatever they want to, under the rug
It’s the order of the day once you in the club
Your punishment for misdeed is transfer to a bigger job

But ’round here like things changing over
Since the advent of Radio Observer
School Children say they watching with the eyes of the Eagle
And nothing go pass—everything go get the needle
They say all the under-hand boo-bul, they go make disable
And is only clean cards they can play on top the table
From captain to cook, nobody getting no break
That’s why they investigating the video tape

Chor: Cause no longer will things be swept—under the carpet
………..No corruption cesspool can be swept under the carpet
………..Etc. etc. etc etc

More Antiguan and Barbudan song lyrics in the song lyrics data base and writer credits in the song writer’s data base.

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

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A & B Arts Round up – February 8th 2019 —>

July 6th 2019 – 6 p.m. – The Royal Society of Literature – New Daughters of Africa – part of the Africa Writes Festival @ the Knowledge Centre, the British Library, London – this is obviously not being held in Antigua (and though I’m unlikely to be there, I wanted to let my Caribbean and especially my Antiguan people know about this, one of the events being held to promote the New Daughters of Africa). “Twenty-five years after Margaret Busby’s Daughters of Africa anthology, a new companion volume brings together the work of over 200 writers from across the globe – Antigua to Zimbabwe, Angola to the USA – to celebrate a unifying heritage, illustrate an uplifting sense of sisterhood and showcase the remarkable range of creativity from the African diaspora.” Details here.

April 30th 2019 – A feature of Antigua Sailing Week is Reggae in the Park at the Nelson’s Dockyard, an official UNESCO heritage site. Go here for details.

March 31st 201951558809_2021898281220325_2135068856052350976_n – last year this empowering afternoon had everyone from Destra to CP and even one of the authors up for book of the year Janice Sutherland.

March 31st 2019 – Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year voting deadline. If there’s a book, released between 2017 and 2018, by an Antiguan and Barbudan that you read and liked. Vote. If you haven’t read any of the books on the list; there’s still time. Here’s where you go to see the books and vote.

#readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

March 9th 2019NEW_DAUGHTERS_HIGH-RES-670x1024the public launch event of New Daughters of Africa at the WOW – Women of the World Festival on London’s Southbank. This is not being held in Antigua (and though I’m unlikely to be there, I wanted to let my Caribbean and especially my Antiguan people know about this, one of the events being held to promote the New Daughters of Africa). “Twenty-five years after Margaret Busby’s Daughters of Africa anthology, a new companion volume brings together the work of over 200 writers from across the globe – Antigua to Zimbabwe, Angola to the USA – to celebrate a unifying heritage, illustrate an uplifting sense of sisterhood and showcase the remarkable range of creativity from the African diaspora.” More here.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

Remember to vote for your favourite book by an Antiguan and Barbuda, 2017-2018.

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Antiguan and Barbudan Authors in New Photography Book: Author

You might be interested to know that three Antiguans-Barbudans are included among the 200 images in the new book Author: the Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan.

This collection features multi-award winning, critically acclaimed darlings (Salman Rushdie who also wrote the book’s foreword, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood whose Handmaid’s Tale is itself currently an award winning, critically acclaimed darling, Jonathan Franzen, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jamaica’s own Marlon James, Claudia Rankine, and Ishion Hutchinson, Wole Soyinka, Jacqueline Woodson, Colson Whitehead), commercially successful heavyweights (David Baldacci, J. K. Rowling whose Harry Potter series is its own sub-industry, Neil Gaiman, Walter Mosely, John Irving, Irvine Welsh), authors known for pushing the conversation forward (Noam Chomsky, Malcolm Gladwell, Gloria Steinem, Charles M. Blow, Masha Gessen, Roxane Gay), authors of note who have passed to the after life (E. L. Doctorow, Chinua Achebe, Edward Albee), the uncategorizable (John Lewis, Joe Biden), and (for me) personal favourites (Tayari Jones, Edwidge Dandicat).


The three Antiguan and Barbudan authors are Jamaica Kincaid (born Elaine Potter Richardson in Antigua, now US based and one of the most celebrated authors out of the Caribbean) – author of At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, Annie Gwen Lilly Pam and Tulip, A Small Place, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, My Brother, Mr. Potter, My Garden Book, Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalayas, See Now Then; Rowan Ricardo Phillips (who is technically American of Antiguan-Barbudan descent, which counts in my view) – author of The Ground, Heaven, When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness, The Circuit: a Tennis Odyssey, and a translation of Ariadne in the Grotesque Labyrinth; and (yours truly) Joanne C. Hillhouse – author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure.

I don’t have the images but I can try to describe them – Ricardo Phillips, for instance, is wearing a blue striped suit and lying on his stomach, legs crossed and raised behind him so that his soles are in view, posed with a book – Lustra by Ezra Pound; Ms. Kincaid is in close up, wearing black on black, red lipstick, one of her signature head scarves, eyes meeting the camera head-on; while my (JCH) eyes are closed, face – and mouth- open in laughter, with red hair and zebra stripes. My picture was not a posed or commissioned portrait so much as a candid in the green room of the Westbeth Centre, where I was in 2014 for a reading as part of the PEN World Voices Festivals’ Literary Safari.

I got a copy in the mail just last week and have been reading it over the weekend. The author shares his stories of how some of his photographs were made and a bit of his own journey as a photographer – in the introduction. The stories make me curious to go back and read what he said about each photo. That’s Donna Tartt on the cover by the way, author of The Goldfinch and The Secret History, whom he asked for her poise and grace but by his own words didn’t really need to since she brought it. Wild to be in this collection with so many lions of literature; humbled to be in their company.

A couple of launches are scheduled for New York in the fall. Visit the photographer’s page for details.

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!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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London Rocks, Just Write Antigua

Congratulations to former Wadadli Pen judge, Brenda Lee Browne, on the publication of her first novella, second book this year, London Rocks.

London Rocks

London Rocks is the story of Dante Brookes, a young man growing up in London in the late seventies and early eighties when sound systems ruled the party scene for young, Black British youth of Caribbean heritage. He navigates the loss of friends, police harassment and being a teenage father while forging a career as an MC. Dante stumbles into the acting profession and also becomes a writer. It is through these disparate experiences that he learns that the pen and mic at mightier than the sword.

Also in the final quarter of 2017, Browne – whose volunteer initiatives in the Antigua and Barbuda arts community, in addition to judging for the Wadadli Pen Challenge, have included a creative writing programme in the prison, coordinating the Independence literary arts competition, the Just Write Writers Retreat, various creative writing workshops, and spearheading advocacy for a national gallery – published a literary journal (her first book), the Just Write Antigua Journal, made up of visual writing prompts which she captured herself during her photographic wanderings around the island.


London Rocks is the latest addition to the data base on Antiguan and Barbudan Writing.


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A & B Writer in New International Collection

Shout out to Antiguan and Barbudan writer, Tammi Browne-Bannister, included in the collection So Many Islands – announced earlier this year, published this month. peekash-so-many-islands-cover

The collection also includes works by

Tracy Assing • Trinidad and Tobago
Heather Barker • Barbados
Angela Barry • Bermuda
Cecil Browne • St Vincent and the Grenadines
Sabah Carrim • Mauritius
Damon Chua • Singapore
Marita Davies • Kiribati
Fetuolemoana Elisara • Samoa
Kendel Hippolyte • St Lucia
Erato Ioannou • Cyprus
Emma Kate Lewis • Malta
Karlo Mila • Tonga
Jacob Ross • Grenada
Melanie Schwapp • Jamaica
Mere Taito • Rotuma, Fiji
Mikoyan Vekula • Niue
Afterword by Sia Figiel

The collection which includes a foreword by Marlon James is edited by Nicholas Laughlin and Nailah Folami Imoja.

Congrats to Tammi (see what else she’s been published in in our Antiguan and Barbudan Writings and Literary Journals pages) and to all the selected writers. Read about the collection here: so many islands info sheet Final (1)

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Antiguan and Barbudan Plays/Screenplays

N.B. This is specific to items written for the stage or screen which have been published in book form (not including screen/plays excerpted in journals which will be posted to the journals list). It’s short but I decided to share it anyway. The list of produced plays and films is longer (though still comparatively short). Use the search feature to find it. This list is also cross-posted to the main list of Antiguan and Barbudan writing which I started building in 2005 for the Independence Literary Arts exhibition at the National Museum. Use the search feature to find that. For other genre specific listings , search for fiction, non fiction, poets, children’s literature, songwriters, or whatever else. This list is all books all the time, but you can also search this site for publications by Antiguans and Barbudans in journals, contest wins, and performances. Chances are it’s somewhere here on the site. Some listed books are traditionally published (i.e. the rights acquired by trade publishers for sale with writers receiving an advance and royalties per contract), published with a small or independent press (still traditional but on a different scale), published via a hybrid press (a mix of traditional publishing and self-publishing), or self-published (including vanity press or any mechanism through which the author pays to publish). If you’re looking for Wadadli Pen winners, use the drop down menu on the right or search Wadadli Pen by year, name, story or other feature. Do your own research re the quality of any books posted here (we even have some reviews posted to the site) and if you share, credit. Hope you find what you’re looking for.


Name: Zahra Airall


“Makeba’s Walk” (p. 96) and “You should have been there” (p. 102) in thumbnail_9798985040104

Voices Monologues and Plays for Caribbean Actors (ed. Yvonne Weekes). House of Nehesi Publishers. St. Martin. 2021.

“Over the Hill and Through the Wood” in

She Sex

She SEX – Prose and Poetry: SEX and the Caribbean Woman. Bamboo Talk Press. Trinidad. 2013.

About the Book:

Per Weekes’ introduction in Voices Monologues and Plays for Caribbean Actors, theatre arts was introduced as a CXC and CSEC course offering in 2001. Voices, which includes monologues on historical figures and real events, dramatically fictionalized, offers students across the Caribbean insight to the region and what sets it apart from the rest of the world.

Sex, Prose and Poetry, SEX and the Caribbean Woman has been described as “an important gathering of women’s voices” (Tiphanie Yanique, author of How to Survive a Leper Colony). Airall’s story, “Over the Hill and Through the Wood” is about an older woman finding sexual gratification for the first time.

About the Author:

Zahra is an educator, photographer, spoken word artist, poet, and stage and TV writer, director, and producer. She is a part of the following teams: Women of Antigua (which brought The Vagina Monologues and When a Woman Moans to the Antiguan stage), August Rush (producer of the Expressions Poetry series), and the team that brought the first TEDx event to Antigua. She’s also put on several well-received productions under her Sugar Apple Theatre and Zee’s Youth Theatre banner, in Antigua and abroad, and has racked up several awards as writer-director in local and regional secondary schools theatre competitions. See her credits for film-TV and stage productions in Playwrights and Screenwriters (The Antigua-Barbuda Connection). See also writings on her plays in CREATIVE SPACE herehere, and here. She is, also, a teacher, writer, and photographer.

Wadadli Pen connection: Zahra was part of a small grouping of Antiguans who organized a week of Black History Month activities culminating with the Wadadli Pen Challenge awards. This was the return of the Wadadli Pen Challenge after a three year break and the first year of the Wadadli Pen visual arts challenge. The Wadadli Pen/BHM week of activities included a national Museum exhibition of visual art by Antiguans and Barbudans including Zahra/byZIA Photography, who, also directed ‘Word Up! 2010’ (sequel to ‘Word Up! 2006’, a joint Museum-Wadadli Pen fundraiser and literary arts showcase) which was a mix of fashion, poetry, calypso, theatre, with Zee’s Youth Theatre headlining, and the Challenge awards. 2010.


Name: Edson Buntin


Anu Bantu: Treasure Island and Haunted Park. Antigua Printing and Publishing. Antigua. 2007.

About the Book:

“The format of this book is that of both a novel and a play rolled into one”–p.324.

About the Author:

Edson Buntin is a dramatist and an instructor in French at the Antigua State College. His contributions to theatre are both onstage and off, as an actor including serving as a cast member in the 1979 production of Dorbrene O’Marde’s Tangled Web and as founder of the Scaramouche Theatre and overseeing several productions at the College, such as Conjugal Bliss. Plays written by Buntin include Con Man Sun Sun, Mr. Valentine, and Wedlock. He has also acted in local films such as Once in an Island.


Name: David Edgecombe



Lady of Parham.Caribbean Reads Publishing (second edition). St. Kitts. 2014.

About the Book:

Lady of Parham, set in Antigua, introduces the audience to five revelers who have come together to form a Carnival troupe but settle for dramatizing the tale of the Parham ghost. In the telling of the ghost legend, Justin, Tulip, Sauna, Kyle, and Mabel must confront the demons that threaten to derail their lives. Lady of Parham is based on a local Antiguan legend. The play has been staged, including an eight night run at the Little Theatre, University of the Virgin Islands.

About the Author:

Edgecombe’s inclusion on this list is due to the Antigua-specific nature of this play. He hails from neighbouring Montserrat where he was the founder of touring company, the Montserrat Theatre Group. He has written over a dozen plays which have been staged throughout the Caribbean, in Canada, and in Nigeria. He joined the faculty of the University of the Virgin Islands in 1990 to teach English and was artist-in-residence in 1991. He also taught Journalism, Speech Communication, and Theater before becoming Director of the Reichhold Center for the Arts. He went on to become a full-time professor in the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, University of the Virgin Islands. He has published several of his plays with Caribbean Reads Publishing; but, notably, Lady of Parham was shortlisted for the Guyana Prize for Literature Caribbean Award.


Name: Gus Edwards

Books: gus

The Offering & Other Plays by Gus Edwards.

Black Heroes in Monologues (ed.). Heinemann. US. 2006.

50 African American Audition Monologues (ed.). Heinemann. US. 2002.

More Monologues on Black Life (ed.). Heinemann. US. 2000.

Monologues on Black Life (ed.). Heinemann. US. 1997.

Classic Plays from the Negro Ensemble Company (w/co-editor Paul Carter Harrison). University of Pittsburgh Press. US. 1995.

The Offering. Dramatists Play Service Inc. US. 1978.

Old Phantoms. Dramatists Play Service Inc. US. 1969.

About the Books:

Black Heroes in Monologues – What is a hero? How is one defined? When Gus Edwards discovered that the majority of the young actors, playwrights, and teachers he encountered didn’t know who Nat Turner was—nor many other key men and women in black history—he summoned the power of theatre to correct the situation. Black Heroes in Monologues brings these and other influential African Americans to life once again.

50 African American Audition Monologues – Finding authentic African American material has never been easy for actors. Gus Edwards continued to remedy that situation with this third collection of powerful, original monologues for African American men and women. The pieces offer a refreshing alternative to recycled standards. And they showcase the language and frame of reference that are immediately recognizable, both emotionally and culturally, to the people who will perform or view them. Edwards has arranged the monologues by performance length, a key component in auditioning.

More Monologues on Black Life – This collection presents fresh material written in a voice that reflects the modern African American experience. The collection offers the complete text of Gus Edwards’ remarkable ‘Lifetimes on the Streets’, in a volume with another collection of monologues entitled ‘Reaching for the Dream’. Together, these two sets of monologues are a vital resource for actors and actresses looking for honest, vibrant material. The characters in ‘Lifetimes on the Streets’ range from a woman on her way to her hairdresser who enters into a strange relationship with a painter who invites her to have a cup of tea with him, to the Common Man, an old man carrying a bag who warns that Harlem is entering a new ice age, to a businessman who, on the death of a homosexual friend, wanders into a porn movie and is forced to confront his own discomfort and lack of confidence. The rest of this volume is a collection of monologues for men and women, ranging in age from 15 to 50.

Monologues on Black Life – In acting classes all over the country, African American students are routinely given monologues either from old Black plays like A Raisin in the Sun or contemporary Anglo plays, prompting them to ask, “Where are the new works aimed at us?” Students need material that is fresh and authentic, material that speaks in their language and to their concerns.

Classic Plays from the Negro Ensemble Company – This anthology celebrates more than twenty-five years of the Negro  Ensemble Company’s significant contribution to American theater.  Collected here are ten plays most representative of the eclectic nature of the Negro Ensemble Company repertoire. The Negro Ensemble Company (NEC) was formed in New York City in 1967 with support from the Ford Foundation to aid in the establishment of an independent African-American theater institution.  Under the artistic directorship of Douglas Turner Ward, the NEC offered a nurturing environment to black playwrights and actors who could work autonomously, guaranteeing authenticity of voice, full freedom of expression, and exploration of thematic views specific to the African-American experience. Since its inception, the NEC has introduced audiences to more than 150 theatrical works.  Classic Plays from the Negro Ensemble Company allows scholars to review a diversity of styles which share common philosophical, mythic, and social ideals that can be traced to an African worldview.  A foreword by Douglas Turner Ward and an afterword by Paul Carter Harrison and Gus Edwards assess the literary and/or stylistic significance of the plays and place each work in its historical or chronological context.

The Offering – The scene is a shabby basement apartment on New York’s West Side, where Bob Tyrone, an aging black, lives with his young wife, Princess. Now on welfare, Tyrone spends most of his time dozing, or glass in hand, watching television. Unexpected visitors arrive in the form of Martin, an obviously prosperous young black man, and Ginny, his beautiful white girlfriend. Martin offers Tyrone a large sum of money, but Tyrone declines and invites his visitors to stay the night. In a series of highly atmospheric scenes, it develops that Martin, a hired killer, had known Tyrone when he too was a power in illegal activity, and he still regards him with awe. At first the action seems to be concerned with Martin’s desire to help his former mentor. But gradually, as the sense of menace deepens, we are aware that a struggle for sexual dominance has now become the focus of their relationship – as Tyrone seduces Ginny, and Martin, suddenly powerless, yields to the psychological battle of wits to which his now reinvigorated master has subjected him. Successfully produced by New York’s renowned Negro Ensemble Company, this arresting first play blends menace and humor, with unique stylistic originality, as it details the confrontation between a young man, his aging mentor and the women with whom they share their lives.

About the Author:

About the Author: Gus Edwards was born 1939 in Antigua and raised in St. Thomas. He moved to New York in 1959. His plays have been showcased by the Negro Ensemble of NY among other companies across the US. Initially, a protégé of Stella Adler, he worked as an actor in films and on stage. But limited by his accent, he began writing his own material. These included The Offering (1977), Black Body Blues (1978), Old Phantoms (1979), These Fallen Angels (1980), Weep Not for Me (1981), Tenement (1983), Manhattan Made Me (1983), Ramona (1986), and Louie and Ophelia (1986). Most of his plays are reportedly set in “the slums and ghettoes of New York…his characters often exist outside of the boundaries of what is thought to be appropriate behavior in society.” (Notable Caribbeans and Caribbean Americans: a Biographical Dictionary, p. 157). His works for television include Aftermath (1979) and a TV adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel Go Tell It on the Mountain. He also wrote narration on the Negro Ensemble Company for PBS. Though self-taught, the critically acclaimed playwright has taught theatrical writing at several US colleges and became associate professor of theatre at Arizona State University, directing  where the multi-ethnic theatre and teaching in the film studies programme. In 2000, he was appointed artistic director to the Scottsdale Ensemble Theatre in Scottsdale, Arizona. “Gus Edwards is one of the first Caribbean writers  to contribute to American theatre.” (Notable Caribbean and Caribbean Americans: a Biographical Dictionary, p. 158)


Name: Fransene Massiah-Headley


Pepperpot…A Caribbean Woman’s Story…Poems for the Stage. Dominica. 2008.

About the Books:

Pepperpot is a Look at the Antigua culture. It documents a  Caribbean woman’s life story while revealing some of Antigua’s rich history employing the Antiguan Nation Language to tell the story of the characters.

About the Author:

Fransene Massiah—Headley is an Antiguan educator, writer and dramatist. Writer and Dramatist.


Name: Ian McDonald

Books (select):

“The Tramping Man” (one-act play) in A Time and A Season (a collection of eight Caribbean plays). UWI’s School of Continuing Studies. 1976.

About the Books:

“Tramping Man” was performed in Guyana in 1969, broadcast by GBS in 1972, and published in A Time and A Season ed. Errol Hill, 1976. It is about a Dionysian carnivalesque figure, a spirit of unquenchable freedom who is seen by the state to challenge its power. The play has been frequently staged.

About the Author:

McDonald is the author of several books of fiction and poetry, including Caribbean Classic The Hummingbird Tree – which has been made in to a BBC production. He has described himself as “Antiguan by ancestry, Trinidadian by birth, Guyanese by adoption, and West Indian by conviction.” Ian McDonald’s Antigua connection is through his father (who is of Antiguan and Kittitian extraction, while his mother is Trinidadian). He himself was born in Trinidad in 1933 and went to Guyana in 1955. He has lived there ever since. From a white West Indian family, he worked in the sugar industry, pre-and-post retirement.  He wrote a weekly newspaper column and worked to revive the seminal literary journal Kyk-over-Al. His writing began in the 1950s with publications in BIM and New World. He has considerably more publications than mentioned here, including appearances in The Caribbean Writer, Poui, and the Caribbean Review of Books. He has received an honourary PhD from the University of the West Indies. Adept at sports – specifically tennis – he was Guyana’s 1957 Sportsman of the Year. His backstory includes a five times great-grandfather Edward Dacres Baynes, 1790 to 1863, who served as a soldier in Jamaica just after emancipation and after that a colonial civil servant in the Leeward Islands including the post of President of the Council of Montserrat, who eventually settled in Antigua with his wife and fifteen children. Baynes published a poetry collection entitled Child Harold in the Shades. His family line also includes a great-uncle Donald McDonald, an Antiguan trader, businessman and Assembly member who also wrote verse and published a volume in London in 1917. His grandmother, Hilda McDonald was the first female member of the Antiguan House of Assembly and author of a small booklet of verse, Sunflakes and Stardust.


Name: Motion


“Aneemah’s Spot” (pg. 181 – pg. 207) in Give Voice: Ten Twenty Minute Plays from the Obsidian Theatre Company Playwright’s Unit (edited by Rita Shelton Deverell). Playwright’s Canada Press. 2011.

About the Books:

“Aneemah’s Spot” is a riveting dramatic duet set over one night in the Toronto mega-city. The real-time tale is a stealthy mix of dialogue, rhyme and spoken word that follows two childhood friends – Aneemah and Wan – left to deal with the fallout of a tragedy that comes too close to home. The murder of “G” brings them together to mourn and share histories as they are forced to let go of the past, and decide how they will navigate life from this moment on – apart or together. Written by Motion, the most recent award-winning production (up to this posting in 2018) was directed by Charles Officer, starred Amanda Parris and Shomari Downer, and featured an infectious sound-scape by DJ L’Oqenz.

About the Author:

Motion is the daughter of an Antiguan mother. She is an award winning artist whose accolades began when she became the first female Hip Hop artist to be nominated for MuchMusic’s Best Rap Video. Her pioneering presence continued when her commentary on urban life and love in Toronto made her the winner of the CBC National Poetry Face-Off with her nationally acclaimed poem ‘Connect the T.Dots’. Motion is the first Hip Hop artist in Canada to publish a collection of writings, Motion in Poetry, with the companion album, the Audio Xperience. She’s performed at Russell Simmonds Def Poetry Jam on HBO and is a member of the Obsidian Theatre’s Playwrights Unit. She’s written for stage and screen.

Wadadli Pen connection: Motion and her publisher Women’s Press (Canada) contributed copies of her debut collection Motion in Poetry, a poetry book/CD combo, to the Wadadli Pen Challenge prize package. 2005.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Song Lyrics Database (WIP)

This page is hardly worthy of the name database. But I thought it made sense to put the song lyrics on the site in one place for easy searching – especially since people are always searching for song lyrics, and seem to think I have them to hand. I don’t. But I have transcribed (imperfectly) some Antiguan and Barbudan songs. If I do more; I’ll link them here. If you want to contribute, welcome! Incidentally, the songwriters database (incomplete as it is) remains one of the more searched and visited areas of the site, and individual articles on the artistes as well – especially kings Obstinate, Short Shirt, and Swallow. Venturing a guess, I’d say this probably has to do with school research projects.

Antigua’s True Heroes (sung by King Obstinate::lyrics by King Obstinate/Paul Richards)

Believe (sung by King Obstinate::lyrics by King Obstinate/Paul Richards)

Children Melee (sung by King Obstinate::lyrics by King Obstinate/Paul Richards)

Cry for Change (sung by Short Shirt::lyrics by Shelly Tobitt)

Culture must be free (sung by Latumba::lyrics by Shelly Tobitt)

Dance with Me (sung by Short Shirt::lyrics by …)

Dawn of a New Day (sung by Swallow::lyrics by Rupert ‘Swallow’ Philo)

Do you get the Picture (sung by Latumba:: lyrics by Shelly Tobitt)

The Fire (sung by Short Shirt:: lyrics by Shelly Tobitt)

Forward Together (lyrics by Fd)

Gold Rush (sung by King Obstinate::lyrics by King Obstinate/Paul Richards)

Heaven Help Mankind (sung by King Short Shirt::lyrics by Fd)

Hit Man (sung by Latumba::lyrics by Shelly Tobitt)

Illusion (sung by King Short Shirt::lyrics by …)

Inspite of All (sung by King Short Shirt::lyrics by Shelly Tobitt)

Land of Democracy (sung by Paul ‘King Obstinate’ Richards)

Lamentation (sung by King Short Shirt::lyrics by Shelly Tobitt)

Nationalism (sung by King Short Shirt::lyrics by Stanley Humphreys and King Short Shirt/Mclean Emmanuel)

Nobody Go Run Me (sung by King Short Shirt::lyrics by Shelly Tobitt)

Old Road Fight (sung by Queen Ivena::lyrics by Best)

Pledge (sung by King Short Shirt::lyrics by Stanley Humphreys)

Press On (sung by King Short Shirt::lyrics by Shelly Tobitt)

Protect Yourself (sung by Zero::lyrics by Dr. Prince Ramsey)

Short Shirt’s Wedding (sung by King Obstinate::lyrics by King Obstinate/Paul Richards)

Star Black (incomplete) (sung by King Short Shirt:: lyrics by …)

Summer Festival (sung by King Short Shirt::lyrics by Stanley Humphreys and King Short Shirt/Mclean Emmanuel)

Tell the People the Truth (sung by King Short Shirt::lyrics and music by Fd)

Tourist Leggo (sung by King Short Shirt::lyrics by Shelly Tobitt)

True Antiguan (sung by Short Shirt::lyrics by Fd)

Under the Carpet (sung by Sleepy::lyrics by Marcus Christopher)

Viva Grenada (sung by King Short Shirt::lyrics by Shelly Tobitt)

Wet Yuh Han (sung by King Obstinate::lyrics by King Obstinate/Paul Richards)

Where land and sea make beauty music sheet (music by Yvonne Maginley::lyrics by B. O. Breton)

Who Kill Mi Sister (sung by King Obstinate::lyrics by King Obstinate/Paul Richards)

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-and its Spanish language edition Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen, my books, and my freelance writing-editing-coaching-workshop services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

Please note, all lyrics are shared here for informational and educational purposes; no profit (no money at all) is being made. If you share, please credit the artistes for their work, and the site for the time and effort of transcribing.

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