Tag Archives: Antiguans and Barbudans

Wadadli Pen 2020 – What Popped, What Flopped

Season’s Greetings.

Just doing my annual check-in to see what people responded (and didn’t respond) to on the blog this year. It’s an important part of building engagement and community – or so the experts say. Let’s dive in.

The Most Popular Post or Page apart from the Home Page (obvs) was the post on Most Influential Antiguans and Barbudans. This started out as an ask on a friend’s facebook page that I decided to archive here on the site. Listed are some of the people we lost in 2020 like Edris Bird, Swallow, Joseph ‘Calypso Joe’ Hunte If 2020 has taught us anything this year it’s how fragile everything is, life, reality, our sense of what tomorrow will bring. I always believe it’s important to recognize the people who put in the work and helped shape and define our culture; this year just underscored and put that in bold.

Andre Warner, pictured with the Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge Plaque, sponsored by the Best of Books, was co-winner of the Wadadli Pen challenge 2020 with youngest winner to date 11-year-old Cheyanne Darroux.

The Second Most Popular Post or Page was Wadadli Pen 2020 (which, God willing, will be flipping to Wadadli Pen 2021 soon) and the Fourth Most Popular was Who Won What in 2020? (referring to our annual writing challenge), while About Wadadli Pen (summarizing our work 2004 to date) was our Fifth Most Popular. The work we do at Wadadli Pen being this blog’s reason for being, I”d, of course, be happier if either of these was number one but I get it. Every year we’re able to keep this thing going even as our lives get more stretched is a miracle, but our passion endures. We had several people asking about the Challenge after it wrapped this year, by the way. So we invite you, while you’re, here give the blog a follow to give us a boost and ensure that you never miss any of our content again.

The Third Most Popular Post or Page was Antiguan and Barbudan Writings which I am personally happy to see because we work hard on keeping the records updated and, frankly, the new publications are coming so fast and furious these days, it isn’t easy. That said, if you are releasing new books, email us (wadadlipen@gmail.com) the details per the page’s format, so that we can keep the reading public informed and enter you in to the ‘official’ Antiguan and Barbudan canon. #fortherecord Oh and look up, I rotate covers randomly in the site banner at least quarterly as an extra way of giving our authors a boost.

Our calypso/music posts were also popular this year (likely for research purposes) and so our Sixth (Short Shirt’s Top 100), Seventh (Antiguan and Barbudan song writers), Eighth (Nobody Go Run Me (lyrics)), and Ninth (Antiguan and Barbudan Cultural Icon – Paul King Obstinate Richards) Most Popular posts were all about the calypso music.

From the Harper Collins catalogue images of Big Cat books including Turtle Beach by Antiguan and Barbudan author and Wadadli Pen team member Barbara Arrindell.

And I’m glad to see that something new (and publishing related) made the top Ten as the Tenth Most Popular post is Collins Readies Rollout of #OwnVoices Caribbean Children’s Books. Hopefully that means lots of sales. You can pre-order now.

As usual, we give a boost to the least viewed/least popular posts of the year as well. There are a bunch of them at basically the same level, so I’ll just put 10 I like at random (blogger’s privilege). Meeting Ashley Bryan – about my introduction to the famed award winning children’s writer who happens to have Antiguan and Barbudan roots, You and Your Wiki Caribbean Writers edition – in which I spoke about the need for us to create wikis for our Caribbean talent (not a cause=effect but I subsequently got, through no involvement of my own, my own wiki), Culture must be Free – Latumba (one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite calypsonians and the project to transcribe as many of our lyrics as we can continues), After Reading In the Black this is a book edited by Althea Prince and for those looking to read the Black experience in this year of Black Lives Matter worth revisiting right now, A Barbuda Adventure – the sister island’s been on my mind a lot lately and in this piece a prize recipient (actually someone who accompanied one of our recipients of a prize from Barbuda Express) reminds us of what’s so beautiful and precious about it (what should be preserved not crushed and run over by capitalist blindness), Wadadli Stories Q & A – this is 2017 event is last of our community literary festivals and that’s kind of a shame,
(image of Wadadli Pen prize recipients at the 2017 book fair – photo by Linisa George of Art. Culture. Antigua.)

Tell the People the Truth (lyrics) – another addition to our lyrics project and a reminder that you can help by submitting lyrics and credits, verified, for our data bases, You Feel Dat – from the Wadadli Pen open mic series, Re Resources, Opportunities, and More – telling you about some of the other work of the blog, and Read Beyond – because we all should be reading beyond our comfort zone.

Jamaican author Diana McCaulay is one of the Caribban authors interviewed in one of the blog’s most popular new postings of the year.

ETA: I should probably clarify that, unlike previous best ofs, this post wasn’t specific to posts or pages made in the year of popularity. That list takes considerably more time, usually, to pull together; so some of these posts and pages are years old. But I decided to do a quick scan of the insights to see if I could at least pull out which 2020 posts landed well. The who won what in 2020 and Collins posts already listed above are the top ones, followed by the 2020 Wadadli Pen short list announcement, and winning 2020 Challenge entries Two Worlds Collide, A New World, The Fabled Truth, Tom, the Ninja Crab, and The Beast of Barbados. At about number 5 most popular was the first post in the series of exclusive interviews with Caribbean writers on publishing – lessons, breakthroughs, and rights. Also making the top 10 of popular posts posted this year is the 2020 challenge patrons post (which is important in attracting future patronage, so thanks).

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 and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). 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 credit. 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, Wadadli Pen News, Wadadli Pen Open Mic, Wadadli Pen Year by Year

Reading Room and Gallery 33

Sit back and enjoy, and when you’re done, if you want to sit back and enjoy some more, use the search feature to the right to search ‘reading room and gallery’ and visit the previous installments.

MISC.

“In these revisions, Brathwaite seems to be Caliban discovering his mother’s voice through the  computer for the first time.” – Professor Kelly Baker Joseph’s Kamau Brathwaite Lecture

VISUAL ART

THE BUSINESS

“My mind was blown. As a lifelong perfectionist, it had never occurred to me that I should seek out failure as a means to level up. I felt both embarrassed and eternally grateful. This eureka moment—a trusty hand-me-down from Liao—inspired me to make rejection my New Year’s resolution.” – Courtney Kocak

For more Resources, go here.

CREATIVES ON CREATING


POETRY

‘“Your fault you were drinking”
“Well, was she wearing a thong?”
“Sounds like she just wants attention or something”’ – There is Strength in Our Stories: MeToo# – Christian Garduno

***

“Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night and
Wouldn’t you love to love her?
Takes to the sky like a bird in flight and
Who will be her lover?

All your life you’ve never seen
A woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?

She is like a cat in the dark and then
She is the darkness
She rules her life like a fine skylark and when
The sky is starless

All your life you’ve never seen
A woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?
Will you ever win?

Rhiannon
Rhiannon
Rhiannon
Rhiannon

She rings like a bell through the night and
Wouldn’t you love to love her?
She rules her life like a bird in flight and
Who will be her lover? – two time Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame inductee Stevie Nicks

***

“The motherland had called our sons to her bosoms
come, sons come fight for your motherland, she said;
that bitch

Son, I have no language for this loss
him dead” – from Unwritten (Caribbean poets sharing poems inspired by the Caribbean experience in the second World War) on BBC Sounds 

FICTION

“My body was a well of fear, but the neighbor was asking if he could come in for a minute and get warm. He appeared cold and gray, and he was trembling. He smelled as if he were his own ashtray. I imagined these past weeks hard alcohol had been his water, cigarettes worked as food, but on this day he was beyond human, some kind of wild animal, all bones of limbs and ribs. His cheeks sunken, his presence felt witchy. If I had asked him to leave, he might have cast a spell on me.” – Snow Line by Elizabeth Brinsfield

***

“Meanwhile, the smell of bread, the taste of it. We’d split a loaf, slice it, and the steam would bloom up. We’d devour it. I’d bring out some butter and salt from the walk-in fridge and we’d stand in that kitchen, facing the empty bar and two-tops, eating our prize in silence. This was our communion, a religious moment, and there was nothing to contemplate but bread, and the soft inside was hot enough to burn you, and the crust could cut up the roof of your mouth.

Then I’d drive home. I’d circle my neighborhood, looking for parking, craving sleep, late afternoon, the sky turning orange. In my dreams I baked bread, ruined bread, ate bread. It went like this. Soon it would be early morning again, and I’d be trying to remember where I put my car so that I could drive back to the kitchen to bake bread, to make the kitchen dirty with flour again.” – Butter by Eve Gleichman 2016 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest Winner

***

“She told me I could serve her in heaven. She accompanied me to school each day.” – from Genesis by Tope Folarin

***

“They’re showing familiar-looking aerial footage, a SWAT team crossing the sports fields and the track, when I realize I’ve seen this all before, because I recognize that track.” – Breaking by Christopher Fox

***

“I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal— having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition.” – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

***

– Jojo Instiful and Tamera George reading from the children’s picture book With Grace by Joanne C. Hillhouse at a 2018 Black History Month event organized by the Barnes Hill Community Development Organization and held at the Barnes Hill Community Reservoir Park.

For published short fiction and/or poetry by Antiguans and Barbudans, click the links for A-M and N-Z.

REPORTING

“I propose we start by giving the prophets honour in their own land while they’re alive. Let us like Barbados and Jamaica establish positions of writer laureates or poet laureates in our country for a defined period for each of our accomplished writers, giving them the opportunity to promote writing and their own missions either in schools or in other public spaces.” – Chairman of the Folk Resource Centre, St. Lucia, Embert Charles

***

“As a child of generations of immigrants and a victim of civil war, she communicates her experience of feeling naked in a new and often unwelcoming environment. Thus, the poems in the collection reflect her attempt to get into the marrow of the immigrant’s ordeal.” – Ghana Writes Editor, Ekuwa Saighoe, interviews Prof. Mark-Romeo on The Nakedness of New

***

“Gonnella depicts boxing great Muhammad Ali as young and strong in his fighting stance, the slightest hint of amused confidence hiding in his eyes; smoke escapes in a sinewy wisp from Jimi Hendrix’s lips, parted in a playful smile.” – Pop Phiz Fantastic by Naydene Gonnella as reported by Andrea Milam in Maco

***

‘“Ryan really wanted them to have these blankets close off their costumes because he wanted them to have this moment of reveal, where they push the blankets back and you see their weaponry and they go into battle,” said Carter of her work on Black Panther. “Ryan felt he couldn’t really do the Black Panther story without having gone to Africa, so he went and spent some time with the Basotho people [in Lesotho] and he fell in love with these blankets and I see why — they’re beautiful.”

Having purchased 150 Basotho blankets from South Africa and “stamped [the fictional metal] vibranium on one side to make them like shields for the warriors,” Carter said, the blankets were inevitably screen-tested by Marvel as too thick and unusable. So one of Carter’s assistants spent hours shaving each one of the 150 blankets with a men’s shaver to get it right.’ – 10 Surprising Facts About Oscar Winner Ruth E. Carter and Her Designs

***

“Of course, Debbie Eckert, I feel like there are two main lanes to her visual art – her portraits, she has an incomparable knack for capturing the light in her subject’s spirit, especially when it comes to children; and her nature canvases which are all about that magical glow. Right away I knew Approach, the full moon’s golden glow hitting the water and rippling out, was hers.” – from ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: AN ART, HISTORY, CULTURE TOUR 2 – CREATIVE SPACE #14 OF 2018 (coverage of the 2018 Independence Visual Arts Exhibition, spotlighting several local artists including one former Wadadli Pen finalist) 

REVIEWS

Doe Songs
“This is a fascinating collection, recommended for readers who like their poetry with teeth, claws and a dash of surrealism.” – PN Review of Doe Songs, an acclaimed poetry collection by Danielle Boodoo Fortune (past Wadadli Pen judge and patron, Trinidad and Tobago writer, illustrator – including of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure by Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse) – Also check out Danielle Boodoo Fortune in Reading Room and Gallery 31, 30, 26, 25, 22, 18, 17, 14, 11, 5, 4, 2, and 1

For reviews of works by Antiguans and Barbudans, go here.

INTERVIEWS

“I think a great many of us thought that Independence would lead to a kind of progress; that things that seemed inadequate like education, medical care, infrastructure that we feel had been neglected – we thought well they denied it to us, at least that was my view – but now that we were in control, we would proceed and show them how to manage small places with small, dedicated, intelligent people and morally good people, people on the right side of history. So when I returned I met kind of a universal chorus of ‘oh, they’re so corrupt, oh this, oh that, and the disturbing thing I think for me was the way the citizens reveled in it.” – Jamaica Kincaid on the BBC (interview also features Jacob Ross and Claire Adam)

***

“When you live in Baltimore City, especially coming up in the crack era, people dying is not a strange thing. Witnessing murders is not a strange thing, or being in a situation where you’re on a basketball court and somebody starts shooting is not a strange thing.” – Baltimore author D. Watkins in conversation with NPR

***

“I got a message a few years ago from a minister of government when I returned to Grenada accusing me of giving the island a bad name and I said to the messenger I’d like you to tell the minister I’ not writing tourism brochures.” – Jacob Ross  – interview with Jacob Ross, Jamaican Kincaid, and Claire Adam with the BBC

***

“It was really fun to get inside each others’ heads and understand how we see the world.” – Jennifer Miller w/Jason Feifer in conversation with quickanddirtytips.com

***

“First and foremost, I think she is an unquestionably talented writer whose books and poems shed light on a very interesting literary and geopolitical period.” – Eliot Bliss biographer Michela Calderaro in conversation with Jacqueline Bishop. Read the whole thing: Bookends Eliot Bliss

***

“We inhabit the life of a theoretical stranger and we really get to know a point of view that we might not otherwise really understand.” – Barbara Kingslover (interview on BBC) 

***

“I acknowledge the assimilation of many writers from what I think of as a Caribbean Tradition in the writing of my first novel Witchbroom. Africa, India, Europe all mixed up – a creole culture, so many languages. That’s what I celebrate. Beacon movement, our part in Harlem Renaissance, but also what I call the greats of the 50s, 60s, 70s novelists, poets and historians and now such a lot going on, many many more women: poets, story tellers, novelists, historians, Bridget Brereton; critics – Ramchand and Rohlehr, setting the pace in 1977. Dear Pat Ismond! London calling: New Beacon, Bogle Overture. And let’s adopt Jimmy Baldwin. I went on pilgrimage last December to St Paul de Vence. Volunteering at The George Padmore Institute. I get so excited at the lives and the works that are being archived there.” – Lawrence Scott

***

“When I was writing my dissertation in the 80s, this was my initial quest to unearth the first and earliest novel/poem/play, anything by a Caribbean Woman. As a teenager I had read Herbert G. De Lisser, 1929, novel The White Witch of Rose Hall, but I yearned for the stories of black enslaved women and free working class Caribbean women. I read the Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Mary Seacole in Many Lands,1857; The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave, 1831, and I wanted to find the Caribbean equivalent to Phillis Wheatley. I had read poems by Una Marson, and of course everything by Louise Bennett. Read Sylvia Wynter’s novel, The Hills of Hebron, 1962, then stumbled on Phyllis Shand Allfrey, The Orchid House, 1953; Ada Quayle’s first novel, The Mistress, 1957; Eliot Bliss’ Luminous Isle, 1934; and finally Alice Durie’s One Jamaican Gal, 1939. Although, Durie is an outsider, a white American who married a Creole Jamaican, her text offers important insights. Sadly, when I was doing field research in Jamaica and sought out and met her son, he confessed to burning her papers and other unpublished novels, because he didn’t know what to do with them, he claimed. This was a man with a successful business and warehouse. I was so angry I gritted my teeth to keep from slapping him. If this was the fate of an upper class white woman, then what chance during those earlier times for the poems and novels of a poor black woman, especially in the Caribbean.” – Opal Palmer Adisa  – Also check out Opal Palmer Adisa in Reading Room and Gallery 21, 13,  5, 4, and 1.

***

James book
“MARLON JAMES: A lot of it came out of all the research and reading I was doing. African folklore is just so lush. There’s something so relentless and sensual about African mythology. Those stranger elements aren’t about me trying to score edgy post-millennial points. They are old elements. A lot of this book was about taking quite freely from African folklore, specifically from the area below the Sahara Desert. And that’s important to me. Mostly when people think of sophisticated Africa, they think of Egypt. And even that they attribute to aliens.” – Interview magazine. Also check out Marlon James in Reading Room and Gallery 31, 28, 18, 1514, 6, and 1.

For Antiguans and Barbudans discussing their art, go here.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Oh Gad!, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All rights reserved. Subscribe to this site to keep up with future updates.

 

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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 News