Tag Archives: art

CARIB Lit Plus (early-ish June 2020)

Recommendations

Have you been listening to #40NightsoftheVoice at the Kamau Brathwaite Remix Engine on YouTube? Well, you should be as writers from across the Caribbean read the works of the late Barbadian poet. Brathwaite was held in great and popular esteem as one of the foundations of the Caribbean literary canon and a transformative figure with respect to the embrace of Caribbean creole as a means of artistic expression and experimentation within the language. Many see him as a mentor whether directly or through his written works, who encouraged and inspired new voices. The writers reading his work in the, at this writing, ongoing video series include Jamaicans Kwame Dawes and Opal Palmer Adisa, St. Lucia’s Vladimir Lucien and John Robert Lee, the BVI’s Richard Georges, Barbados-based Yvonne Weekes, an entire who’s who of the Caribbean canon (Pamela Mordecai to Merle Collins to Olive Senior), including Canadian of Antiguan descent Tanya Evanson. Go here for the readings.

Awards

Brian S. Heap of Jamaica is the Caribbean winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize of 2020. His story ‘Mafootoo’ has “been in the back of my head for almost five years, but this competition finally provided me with the opportunity, motivation and all important deadline to complete the work.” Heap is “the retired Senior Lecturer, Staff Tutor in Drama and Head of the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. He has worked in Drama and Education in Jamaica for over forty years. With Pamela Bowell he co-authored Planning Process Drama: Enriching Teaching and Learning (2001, 2013) and Putting Process Drama into Action (2017) as well as several conference papers and articles for refereed journals. He served as Conference Director and Convener of the Fifth International Drama in Education Research Institute (2006) in Kingston, Jamaica. He was honoured with the Silver Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica in 2002.” Other regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize of 2020 are Innocent Chizaram Ilo (Africa), Kritika Pandey (Asia), Reyah Martin (Canada and Europe), and Andrea McLeod (Australia). More here.

Art of the Moment

You may have noted that there are protests beginning in but not limited to America, sparked by a recent spate, part of a long tradition, of killings (and general oppression) of African-Americans by police. It has opened a wound perhaps some thought had scabbed over. These protests and the conversations the protests have sparked are not limited to America because anti-Blackness (including internalized or intra-community anti-Blackness) is not limited to America. There have been a number of what I’m calling #CaribbeanConversations (as I share them to my facebook page) in postings by the likes of Jamaicans Kei Miller and Trinidadian Shivanee Ramlochan and others reflecting on race in our region. And here in Antigua and Barbuda, these are recent art works that I am aware of in response to the moment.  DotkidChavy has given permission for re-posting of the image below, originally posted to his public facebook gallery, with the caption, “I’m tired. We are tired. Our demand is simple. #BlackLivesMatter”:

Another work of art, a poem, ‘Stepping on the Black Man’s Neck’ by Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau, published in the Daily Observer, is excerpted below:

“As we stretch our necks across the water/to the protests and murder in Minnesota/where is the outrage for all the necks that get stepped on in Antigua? …A British prisoner is housed in contrast conditions/to the black man’s daughters and local sons/who crap in buckets and old slop pails/who grow old and die in this overcrowded jail/A black prisoner walked in to a baton of blows/Cut-up he face and bruck-up he nose/but he can’t get no treatment./Meanwhile, Umberto Schenato got a quiet release/Now up by Fiennes receiving treatment. Please./Somebody had determined that as long as this Italian murderer is alive/he won’t spend another minute up at 1735/THAT, is kneeling on the black man’s neck….Bruce Jungle Greenaway belonged to somebody./He nah drop from hollow tree./He has children and a family./When the air left his lungs and his body could take no more/They dumped him at the altar of the shore/Waiting for the waves to wash away their sins/After they strangled him./And we wait./Every crime in this country is under investigation….Black man mek noise get kick inna he neck. Racism is alive and well in Antigua and Barbuda./So when we looking across the pond at Minnesota/REMEMBER/that plenty black man kneeling on black man neck inna dis country yah.”

Finally, this poem by me (Joanne C. Hillhouse), shared on my public facebook page, on June 3rd 2020, part of that morning’s writing exercise. It’s called ‘Sounds of Blackness’ (mostly because I wrote it during my musical meditation while listening to Sounds of Blackness):

“Not often enough but
Every now and again
The men in blue (and grey and black)
Are caught flat footed in their heavy boots
By the inconvenient realization
That the non-person discarded
Like old garbage
Hab smadee
That maybe they walk around the world in
Soot, caked on like unbelonging
And Maybe their mind is ‘modie’
But erasing them will take
Effort
Ka dem hab smadee
And somebody will say
Long time me na see so and so
Wey he?
He may be of no fixed address
(or other stories you spin)
But he know where to find his people
When he need them
And they make sure to check up on him
Where he roaming
And when dem na see he
Dem will ask smadee
And when dem see you ah abuse he
They will bear witness
With their eye-phones
And they will raise their voices
And other eyes will turn to the scene
And when that happens (if there’s to be any justice)
You will find a community of people
Turning eyes of inquiry in your direction
And your systems may protect you
This time
Or maybe this time you will be brought to account
And if there is justice in the world
(and we can’t often count on it)
You will sit in the realization
Within the walls built for people like him
That it is the man
Without feeling for his people
Who is the non-person”

COVID-19 News 

The country’s opening up and so is the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre which has relaxed its no visitor policy while keeping some restrictions in place. This is an arts site but we share this type of information because we need our community to act responsibly and to be safe. So, per an MSJMC release, all visitors (18 or older only with careful consideration given to anyone 65 and older) must wear a cloth face covering or mask (which, our edit, you should be wearing in public places anyway). Our space here doesn’t allow for a breakdown of visiting hours, which varies by department; so we’ll just say, call to check on the visiting hours – which are very tight and limited – and/or check their social media. Generally speaking, no more than 2 visitors per day, one  at a time bedside. Do not visit if you’re having any COVID-19 symptoms (in fact, our edit, call the hotline and/or your doctor for testing if you think that might be the case). You’ll be required to wash your hands with soap and water and/or apply hand sanitizer when entering and leaving patient rooms. Visitors will be required to stay in the patient’s room for the duration of the visit. Pray and take care; this is not over yet.

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 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). 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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A & B Arts Round up – February 12th 2020 –>

February 15th 2020 – Antigua Dance Academy –

 

February 16th 2020 –

February 17th – 22nd – @ the White House Gallery at Cedars Pottery – art by Jo de Pear –

March 1st 2020 – “The Ink Project : Expression” – an ALL-INCLUSIVE Visual Arts exhibition highlighting local and upcoming artists. With soothing music and performances by various spoken word artists, the art show and sale will entertain while benefiting the artists who will receive the full sale price of any art pieces sold. Tickets are on sale at Best of Books, Destination Area 51,  the Antigua Athletic Club or from any Spilling Ink member.

July 23rd 2020 – August 4th 2020 – Antigua Carnival –

 

Year-round – fete calendar –

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

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Wadadli Pen Diary – Why Youth Creativity Matters

Part of our promotion strategy which over the years and this year has variously included media releases and notices, media interviews, social media promotion with flyers and by other means, direct mailing to select mailing lists including schools, youth workers, past participants, etc., blog posts like this one, ads, psas, etc. etc. By whatever means we can. This post is a copy of a mail sent recently to teachers. Feel free to share. 

Teachers have always been a vital part of the Wadadli Pen ecosystem. This image is from the 2014 awards ceremony and teacher (then at T N Kirnon school at the time) Paula Russell Peters, centre, is pictured collecting one of her prizes. She was a finalist for the WP 10th anniversary Teachers Prize and also collected on behalf of T N Kirnon which netted a prize for the most submissions from a single school. One of her students was also a finalist. 

 

Encouraging youth creativity is about encouraging self-expression. This can be purely fun and about self-discovery; it can also open a portal to expressing and coping with challenging feelings and experiences. Encouraging youth creativity also promotes mental growth, potentially improving academic performance and emotional maturity. Encouraging youth creativity gives young people an opportunity to try new things, new ways of seeing, new ways of thinking, and new ways of problem solving. The ‘Imagine a Future’ special prize in this year’s Wadadli Pen Challenge, for instance, will create an opportunity to explore the potentials of action or inaction on climate change – the existential challenge of our day – do we survive and how. This may emerge as a dystopian shadowland or a bright sci fi future. Who knows? As small islands, we are on the front lines of climate change; it’s an opportunity for young people to think through what will be the first major battle of their life time, for bad or good. If you are a youth in Barbuda, you have been in the headlines at least since 2017 and hurricane Irma, the trauma of which you may not have fully explored even as you grapple with historical and political realities beyond your understanding, where is your voice in this, what’s your story? ‘The Wa’omani Prize’ is an opportunity to remember that there are no small stories, that every experience matters – from fishing with your dad/mom to being in the path of a storm to end all storms. The Wadadli Pen Challenge is not fixed on a theme – tell any story you want, about anything you want, however you want – but it is Caribbean, simply because we must centre our own imagination in our own stories. Storytelling is an opportunity to explore us. At the same time, it is an opportunity to experience our reality from a different perspective – where did the frigates go when they flew away …from the perspective of a frigate. For people working with young people it’s an opportunity to ask what if… allowing the imagination to zig from reality to fantasy and back again. The 3-strip comic panel is a challenge for those better at expressing themselves using visuals than words because visuals too can tell a full story filled with drama, humor, warmth, etc. Writers and artists can even collaborate for full expression of an idea. The important thing is that they feel the freedom to tell their story and the joy that self-expression can bring.

Hopefully, you’ll see the magic in that and encourage your children to create and submit by February 16th 2020. We urge you to post the flyer(s) at minimum but also to more actively encourage their participation, not just for the opportunity to win the schools book prize for most submissions, nor for the individual prizes they could win, but to encourage their creativity.

For full guidelines and submission form, visit https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/wadadli-pen-2020

-Wadadli Pen founder coordinator, Joanne C. Hillhouse

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Carib Plus Lit News (Late August 2019)

CARIFESTA

Antigua and Barbuda met up with the rest of the Caribbean in Trinidad for CARIFESTA (the largest showcase of its kind for Caribbean talent) – and, in case you didn’t know, Antigua and Barbuda is the venue for the next CARIFESTA (in 2021). I have very few details but I  got the image of the passing of the baton from the last venue to the next (via proxys Trinidad and Tobago’s Culture and Arts Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly and Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister responsible for Culture, National Festivals and the Arts, Daryll Matthew) from the Antigua and Barbuda CARIFESTA facebook page and  believe you can link up  there for things related to AnB and CARIFESTA as plans evolve. You already know my thoughts and that of some other writers in our community on the (non/under/limited) presence of Antigua and Barbuda literary arts in CARIFESTA over the years, and Mark Brown – one of Antigua and Barbuda’s top artists – expressed concern re the (lack of) visibility of visual arts at this year’s event as well on his social media. Granted, there’s a bit of the grass is greener dynamic at play as well as I’ve seen countries which do better on arts generally weigh in with similar complaints via social media; and from the images and videos generally Trinidad and Tobago and the participating countries put on a good show. I’ve tried to share what I could on my social media (because I still support Antigua-Barbuda, and Antigua-Barbuda arts every time, notwithstanding my criticisms [or my haterade/grudgefulness/badmindedness, for those who choose to see said criticisms that way]) – highlights like the Antigua and Barbuda delegation enthusiastically singing Burning Flames ‘Swinging Engine’ in the opening parade (minus the “in she gear box” part), and Hell’s Gate performing a medley of tunes by one of our Big Three calypsonians, Swallow, with infectious youthful enthusiasm. I know a number of our soca stars – Ricardo Drue, Menace, CP, Tizzy – performed, as did the national youth choir, and, I believe, the Antigua Dance Academy (founder of which, Veronica Yearwood, I spotted in some of the images). Shout out to our community of artists, always! And, a personal note, shout out to TnT writer and illustrator of my children’s picture book Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure who presented our book during a session with children and shared on social media – so that I had a small presence there, in spirit. Pardon any oversights in the mentions – it’s not intentional. To that point…I note that a film I worked on as associate producer HAMAfilms The Sweetest Mango, Antigua and Barbuda’s first feature length film (released 2001) also showed – for the record, as you know from our data base/s we are all about the record here at Wadadli Pen, and because I’ve caught this error in a few reports, the film was produced by Howard and Mitzi Allen, directed by Howard Allen, but written by D. Gisele Isaac (both this and HAMA’s second film, No Seed, on which I served as production manager, were written by D. Gisele Isaac, who before her current life in politics also penned the boundary shifting book Considering Venus, not to mention being a founding partner of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize). The record is important. And, for the record, I wish the hosting of CARIFESTA in Antigua and Barbuda well. Someone posted wondering if they would expect full participation from the artists who have been overlooked CARIFESTA after CARIFESTA (the 2019 edition was the 14th iteration, going all the way back to the 1970s); and they well might…and I venture that for the love of the arts, our artists will show up; still, it is cynical to expect support from the artists in an environment where support for the artists has been so lacking. Hopefully, the road to CARIFESTA will include some reflection and a renaissance that embraces all forms of artistic expression.

Art Conversation

I wrote before about the Rooted at Home and Abroad exhibition at the national museum featuring the works of Zucan Bandele and Walter J. Parker. The exhibition will run to the end of August. Meanwhile, last Friday (August 23rd 2019), the exhibitors invited the community in for a conversation around the art being displayed. Curator Mali Olatunji (who was fine arts photographer at the Museum of Modern Art in New York for more than 20 years) also spoke about some of his own art (e.g. the dirty beauty of the polluted sea at sunset) and about other art made in Antigua and Barbuda. And as he showed works by Frank Agard (copper and brass craftsman whose displayed work was an image of the St. John’s Cathedral) and Freeston Wright (an image of his work on canvas – a scene from earlier Antigua), I couldn’t help lamenting, again, the lack of a national art gallery (as a repository of Antigua and Barbuda’s art past and present, a creative space to encourage new artistic expressions, and a showcase with potential commercial value). Too often we find ourselves rediscovering what should never have been lost and not recognizing, embracing, celebrating, and encouraging what is.  A space for discussions like this. One young girl stood and spoke about her own art, and about what she saw in Parker’s art, and in some ways a connection she saw between them: “I totally get that he would make these beautiful things and not be caught up in exposing them.” Yes, among the things discussed was why the artist makes art, and how we interpret art – with attendees noting that sometimes the artist’s intention is clear and sometimes “the persons who look at it will get different interpretations” (Olatunji). Bandele spoke about his masks series and about the African deities he had captured on canvas – the former, poetic pieces inviting the viewer to look in to the head of the masquerader and the latter embodiments of goddesses like Yemojah (Mami Wata) who has dominion over the water. The works of the two exhibitors – Bandele and the deceased Parker whose paintings were of people in different poses and scenarios, all colourfully masked – seemed to be in conversation with each other.

CARNIVAL WRAP

Speaking of Art conversations there are one or two stories from the Antigua Carnival season that ought not be purely seasonal – a few really – but I’m just going to drop a couple. One has to do with panorama which was adjudged a success despite a too drawn out show and the absence of one of Antigua and Barbuda’s top bands, Halcyon due to lack of sponsorship (so Babu told me when I asked him on Carnival Tuesday – as Halcyon was in the parade). I heard a media report in which when it was pointed out to our PM that the band, Halcyon, had given lack of funds as the reason for their non-participation he jested that they were just running scared. Winning band Hell’s Gate is from the PM’s community so this response was likely some of that ages old rivalry between the seasoned bands and their respective communities, no harm no foul. The rest of the comment though, that a couple of other bands had checked him for funds and Halcyon could have done the same misses the point though in my opinion that arts development is continuous, that the arts developers need systems put in place to access philanthropy, investment, and/or sponsorship – that one of the top bands bowing out due to lack of any of these is …not a good look. even as we compliment not only the winners but the growing youth participation in pan – even as we remember that not too long ago pan was all but gone from the Carnival line-up and its resurgence is owed in great part to the pan fraternity and to the advocacy and attention given to it in Culture during the tenure of culture officer Barbara Mason. This is not my area of arts, obviously, so maybe I’m missing something, but those are some of my general observations. As for the other issue that will likely continue to bubble, copyright and use of artists’ work, stay tuned, I guess.

(Source of newspaper clippings: Daily Observer Antigua)

Pengereng

‘“Pengereng” is a Belize Kriol word for the noise made when something, especially a metallic object, falls to the floor. Figuratively, it refers to a great disturbance or upheaval. Hence, the title of my new book of short stories in which each protagonist experiences a life upheaval that forces him or her to make extremely difficult choices.

Kriol activist Silvaana Udz describes the book as a “ground-breaking” publication as it includes the first major work of fiction written entirely in the standard Belize Kriol spelling system. The 74-page collection contains two relatively long stories, one of which is presented in both English and Kriol, plus an essay in which I discuss why Kriol should be used more extensively by Belizean writers and should be made Belize’s second official language alongside English.’ – Belizean writer Ivory Kelly is fresh from representing her country at CARIFESTA (August 2019) in Trinidad. Shortly before that she debuted her latest book, Pengereng. Click here to read more about it.

(Ivory, right, 2014 in Glasgow at the Aye! Write lit fest – where we met)

Rocket Mama Set to Rock the Literary World

One of our favourites on the track is Jamaican sprinter Shelley Ann Fraser Pryce – long known as the pocket rocket for her diminutive size and the way she breaks out of the blocks like a bullet. The multi-Olympic gold medalist has not let motherhood slow her down and is preparing to drop a children’s book this September.

(source of newspaper clippings: Daily Observer Antigua)

Other new book announcements include: the second edition of my teen/young adult novel Musical Youth, former Caribbean media association president and TnT columnist Wesley Gibbings second collection, Passages, and Escape by former Wadadli Pen finalist Rilys Adams (to be uploaded to the data base of Antigua and Barbuda writings as soon as I get the time – but teasing the cover here for now).

 

 

 

 

 

RIPs

The literary world was still reeling from the passing of our mother of modern African American literature, Nobel Prize Winning African American author Toni Morrison (Beloved, The Bluest Eye, Tar Baby, Sula, Paradise, Jazz, and other classic works including my personal favourite Song of Solomon) when Barbadian-American writer Paule Marshall passed as well. She won’t get as much press but the author of Praisesong for the Widow, Browngirl Brownstones, and other classic Caribbean works is a giant in her own right.

Participants in the 2016 BIM Lit Fest: front row, left to right, Olive Senior, A-dZiko Gegele, Selma James, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Tanya Shirley, and Evan Marshall (son of Paule Marshall who was there to collect a lifetime achievement award on her behalf). Middle row, left to right, me (Joanne C. Hillhouse), Mrs. Foster, and Esther Phillips; back row, Cecil Foster, Bernice McFadden, and Mervyn Morris.

Paule Marshall with her award from BIM.

As we mourn their deaths, we celebrate their lives and their words which have enriched, uplifted, revealed our lives.

If I missed any big news or commentary, apologies, this is just a labour of love.

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

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NAACP Image Award Nominees

If you’re a Black writer (or a Black person in entertainment), the NAACP Image Awards is on your radar (up there with the Hurston Wright Awards, and for children’s books the Coretta Scott Award, and if you’re in the Caribbean Bocas and the Burt Award). There are so few opportunities for us to be the cream rising to the top, we can’t be out here lukewarm with our ambitions. And unaware of the niche opportunities. So, it follows that Wadadli Pen welcomes the opportunity to celebrate the winners (yes, nominees are winners too) of these awards (if you’re a book lover these long and short lists are always good for ‘discovering’ books you might not have heard of before). Here (with random ramblings so that this isn’t just another list) are (some highlights of) the NAACP 2019 literary winners and nominees (full list after the link)– shout out to the African American Literary Book Club for always being on the ball.

In the memoir/autobiography category, I recognize Francesca Ramsey’s face if not her name or the book (Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist) as I’ve watched episodes of her de-coded series on MTV on Youtube, where she tackles topical issues with a humorous spin – sort of like a comedy-esque wiki.This is the first one I saw (I think) You might also remember her from the What White Girls Say video series.

Years on from his death, Nelson Mandela (also a nominee in this category) remains an inspiring global figure. If you haven’t read his Long Walk to Freedom, you should; his nominated book this time around though is The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela.

If the Harlem Renaissance is of interest to you (and if you like the writings of Zora Neale Hurston, check; Langston Hughes, check; Claude McKay, check; and others of this transformative time in 20th century Black literature, it will be), another nominated book The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart will catch your eye as it did mine. Locke is described as the father of the Harlem Renaissance.

Speaking of, a book that is quite possibly the literary find of the past year or so (and one on my TBR), Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon: the Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’ is sure to be interesting reading (I’ve read excerpts and that’s my opinion, and would be even if she wasn’t already one of my faves). I only wish Zora had realized how much her writing meant to all of us while she was still alive (check out her classic work Their Eyes Were Watching God if you haven’t already).

You knew this one was going to be on the list, the bestselling before it even dropped biography of our US First Lady forever Michelle Obama – it’s fascinating to me how public attitude toward Michelle transformed between the campaign during her husband Barack’s first run to, well, now where she is quite possibly more popular than him. Her book is Becoming.

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In the children’s category, there is Facing Frederick: the Life of Frederick Douglass by Tonya Bolden. I hadn’t heard of this one before but I can testify to how inspiring the life of the enslaved man turned abolitionist can be for a child, as it was for me when I first came across his autobiography (a section of it at least) as a child.

Can I just say that picks in this category remind me of our own lack of vision (because I know I have, and perhaps I’m not the only one, pitched to the powers that be – separately and on more than one occasion – for funding – because researching, writing, and producing takes time – for a book and TV mini-series re Antigua and Barbuda’s National Heroes as a way to inform and inspire our young people… and, ah well).

That brings me to a children’s book treatment of Hidden Figures, the story of the black women whose brains made America’s achievements in the space race possible. It has already received the big screen treatment in an award winning film; and now it’s an award nominated picture book with Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. Point of interest, there are four women on the book’s cover when only three were featured in the movie; so, more to discover. hidden figures.jpg

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One of the books in the debut author category is one I’ve been seeing around the book blogs for awhile Small Country by GaëL Faye Gael.jpg– I think the universe is trying to tell me something.

Tyler Perry and gospel music fans will likely be excited about this one – Us Against the World: Our Secrets to Love, Marriage, and Family by David Mann and Shaun Sanders – so this one’s for you.

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Then *blows loud horn* the category I love because I love fiction and I love the first author among the fiction nominees Tayari Jones and her latest novel An American Marriage – critically acclaimed and well received – with extra boosts for being an Oprah’s Book Club pick and a pick for Obama (yes, that Obama, Michelle’s husband’s) summer reading list. Hey now! – p.s. I highly recommend Tayari’s immediate previous novel Silver Sparrow.

Envy: A Seven Deadly Sins Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray – I haven’t read this one but this is another of those authors who’s on my radar as a past participant (very cool and down to earth and forthright as I remember) in the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival (yep, we had one of those and attracted high caliber talent too…never forget).

Oh, oh, oh! Imma just drop this one right here Who Is the Black Panther?: A Novel of the Marvel Universe by Jesse J. Holland. Make that who is the three-time Academy award winning Black Panther.. I actually just read a novelization that features T’Challa before he was King, Storm: Prelude to the Wedding of the Century.

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In the Instructional book category, fans of the now cancelled The Chew (and other sisters opting to embrace their funky grey locs) will likely appreciate Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration by Carla Hall.

Politics junkies and fans of another sister in funky greyness (Donna Brazille) may find For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics by Donna L. Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, and Veronica Chambers interesting. I’ve seen some of their interviews about this book and I may read it someday, as I’ve very much enjoyed – and been baffled by – the bits I’ve heard.

Or how about this one, anyone remember FUBU (yeah, yeah, I know he’s on Shark Tank but since I don’t truck with reality TV he’s the founder of FUBU to me) – Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life by Daymond John.

Of course, the one in this category that sounds right up my alley is Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim – not because I am but because, as many books as I’ve read, it feels like I’m discovering more and more books everyday and when will I have the time to read them all. Sigh.

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Brazille and co’s book is also nominated in non-fiction, as is Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon: the Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’.

As is Black Girls Rock!: Owning Our Magic. Rocking Our Truth. by Beverly Bond, a brand you already know as a dope annual TV special. (goosebumps RIP Queen of Soul)

Do you know all the words to the Negro Anthem? Do or do not, this might be the book for you (or me, since I love this song and I’m also the music nerd who likes reading liner notes and lyrical annotations and cultural history): May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem by Imani Perry.

Alice Walker, a forever fave (for books like The Colour Purple, The Temple of My Familiar, In Search of A Mother’s Garden, Living by the Word, and my most recent read Possessing the Secret of Joy), is also on this list for Taking the Arrow out of The Heart.

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There is also a poetry section and a teen/young adult section with Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin by James L. Swanson as a nominee in the latter category , as well as Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson who has been winning alllll the awards of late.

Props to all the nominees. See the full list here.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad! ). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me 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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Dame Yvonne Maginley (a short note)

Copied from my facebook page where Antiguan and Barbudan playwriters and screenwriters was the Wadadli Pen Blog Post of the Week:

I had hoped to write something more but time is not on my side so I’ll just say here that for all her Tourism related accolades, the recently deceased Dame Yvonne Maginley, had a hand in the development of the arts in Antigua and Barbuda as well. … touching on her contribution to theatre and the folk music tradition, the Antigua Community Players has been at the forefront of this performing arts tradition since 1952. Their play Priscilla’s Wedding, written by the players, is always listed as a benchmark in the development of local theatre. Dame Yvonne Maginley took on the role of musical director in 1957, guiding the Players’ development into a choral group renowned for performance of international musicals and Antiguan and Barbudan folk music productions, and composing many folk/national songs over the years. For more on the Community Players and Antiguan and Barbudan playwrights follow the link. Thanks to the Dame who was laid to rest this past week (Rest in Peace to her), it is Your Wadadli Pen Blog Post of the Week. 

Also the Community Players entry on the playwrights and screenwriters page has been updated. (Edit: And, FYI, a publication of Maginley’s is also recorded at Antiguan and Barbudan Writings and Antiguan and Barbudan Non-Fiction Writings.).

Dame Yvonne Maginley died on January 27th 2019. She had been knighted in 2003 and, also, received a lifetime achievement award from the Caribbean Tourism Organization, after serving as Tourism Director General for many years (and, before that, executive director of the Eastern Caribbean Tourism Association). Maginley who received broadcasting training at the BBC and was programme officer at ABS (making her also a media contributor – as you know, I’ve been tracking the development of media in Antigua and Barbuda) on her return, and tourism training at the University of Surrey, also served as Governor General’s Deputy of Antigua and Barbuda; chair of the first children’s carnival, Queens committee chair for many years, and secretary of the Carnival Steering Committee – all this in the early years of the national festival; helmed the National Public Library re-building project; taught music; and, of course, all her work with the Community Players. (source: guest editorial by Sir Dr. Rodney Williams in the Daily Observer 12th February 2019)

As with all content (words, images, other) 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. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. You’re also invited to follow me on my author blog http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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A & B Arts Round up – January 3rd 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 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

January 29th 2019 (give or take) – Team Antigua Island Girls due to return home – follow their page for the latest (and to read up on them if you haven’t been following their 3,000 mile row across the Atlantic) as this kind of thing is hard to pin down – also check out our tribute here on Wadadli Pen #Girlscan

January 14th – 18th 2019 – Schools Drama Festival & January 17th 2019 – Honey Bee Theatre’s The Long Walk ETA: Encore showing set for February 9th 2019 – Dean William Lake Centre.49682638_10156651453962931_7641356855263887360_n

January 8th 2019 (5 p.m. – 7 p.m.) – Art Show and Wine Tasting featuring Tracy Salmon.48356852_371261727012898_7963534236311355392_n

49115870_762893680740981_3748126278847299584_nJanuary 4th (6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and 5th 2019 (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) – The Black Exhibit presents ART: A Research Study Redefining Gender Norms Through Photography by Jesseca Ormond at the Reginald Samuel Art Gallery located at the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy (Old BBC building in Lightfoot). Admission is free. For more information you can email theblackexhibit@gmail.com, call (268) 734-7359, or visit the facebook event page for details. Another showing to be organized – watch this space (or check with The Black Exhibit’s facebook page or email them for more)

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.

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Carib/World Arts News

RIPs

To The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

Check out this video on her early years among other things in the Reading Room and Gallery, and my own picks for favourite Aretha music.

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On the passing of Nobel Laureate, Man Booker Winner; and House for Mr. Biswas, Miguel Street et al Trinidadian Author V. S. Naipaul.

“In many ways embodying the contradictions of the postcolonial world, Mr. Naipaul was born of Indian ancestry in Trinidad, went to Oxford University on a scholarship and lived the rest of his life in England, where he forged one of the most illustrious literary careers of the last half-century. He was knighted in 1990.” – from his obituary in The New York Times

“If you are offended by his remarks, then be doubly aware: he would push as many of your buttons as he could perceive, just to have fun watching you lose your mind. The book of his collected interviews is uproarious just for that alone.” – Kirk Meighoo. Read his full commentary at Caribbean News Now.

‘On the other hand, you almost wanted him to fade, not because his star was too bright, but because it had become incandescent with shame. He was an embarrassment as much of riches as of vile, venomous bigotry. In an example of misogyny so blatant as to almost seem comical, Naipaul argued that women could not write as well as men—and that, so as to avoid wasting his time reading the products of such inferior minds, he had learnt to tell from the first few paragraphs of any book the gender of its author. With a blend of demented pride, blunt honesty, and self-flagellation, he told his authorized biographer, Patrick French, just how he had beaten and bruised Margaret Gooding, the Anglo-Argentine lover he met in 1972. “I was very violent with her for two days with my hand; my hand begun to hurt,” he was recorded as telling French in The World Is What It Is (2008). “She didn’t mind it at all,” he continued. “She thought of it in terms of my passion for her. Her face was really bad. She couldn’t appear in public. My hand was swollen. I was utterly helpless,” he added, somewhat surprisingly. “I have enormous sympathy for people who do strange things out of passion.”’ – Gabrielle Bellot. Read her full commentary on the enigma that was V. S. Naipaul at Lit Hub.

Big Up to

“Internationally renowned dub poet Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze was honoured with the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Jamaica Poetry Festival, in association with the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ).

The event took place at the Jamaica Poetry Festival, at the Louise Bennett Garden Theatre on Sunday, August 12, 2018.” Read more.

Finally

If you were a fan of the Blogger on Books series on this site, remember, the series has continued over on my Jhohadli blog; latest installment The Nakedness of New by Switzerland based Antigua born poet Althea Romeo Mark.

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Here’s some additional reading, the August edition of the Poui Con-texts journal: POUI Con texts 2018 August

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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Wadadli Pen (Art and and Update)

A short update re the 2018 Wadadli Pen Challenge. We’re still working but hope to have the awards ceremony in April 2018. Specific date and other details to come. This year is Winner Take All and thanks to the patrons named below said winner (pulled from a field of almost 70 entries) will be amply rewarded.

Art. Culture. Antigua – Barbara Arrindell – Barbara Arrindell & Associates Best of Books Carol Mitchell – Cedric Holder on behalf of the Cushion Club Frank B. Armstrong – Jane Seagull – Joanne C. Hillhouse – Juneth Webson – Monique S. Simon – Pam Arthurton

As usual not all patrons wish to be named and one or two aren’t confirmed, but to all we say thank you.

And now as my thanks to you for stopping by and for your patience (all who submitted), I’m going to share my favourite of the winning Wadadli Pen art submissions over the years. So that you have something beautiful to look at while you wait. And to remind you that Wadadli Pen hasn’t been exclusively about the literary arts. In 2010, we had our first Art Challenge themed Black and Beautiful. In 2011, we invited artists to register to create illustrations for shortlisted stories. In 2013, we had an Anansi Challenge broken down in to junior and senior categories. In 2014, we had a cover art challenge. That was the last one.  Art notes after the images. What do you think, should we bring back the art Challenge?

10.jpgLast Cry (Final) Alvin Livingstone

7

winner

second runner up

Miss

Delinquent Development

 

twins artwork final

The Knock On My Door.jpg

9.jpg

Art notes (disclaimer – these contests are gone and done, and the prizes spent; and I had no hand in the selection of the winner. Point being, my musings are my own):

First image – 2010 – one of my absolute favourites – and unfortunately I lost the record of which image from this year belongs to which of the winning artists – so the artist is either Ashley Clendenen, Akeem Barry, or Shem Alexander.

Second image – 2014 cover image for Last Cry if it were a book – artist: Alvin Livingstone – every time I look at this I see something new. Another of my absolute favourites.

Third image – 2010 – another one by either Ashley Clendenen, Akeem Barry, or Shem Alexander – and you know what’s striking to me about this not the profile in the foreground but the symbolism and parchment effect in the background.

Fourth image – 2011 – this is so whimsical to me and such a good match with its story, Sands and Butterflies – the artist is Hudle Jennings.

Fifth image – 2011 – this artist was eight year old Freya Platts-Costeloe and I thought she did a really good job capturing her matched story (The Scary Night)- love the level of detail.

Sixth image – 2013 – this character study of Mrs. Anansi was one of three images submitted by Garvin Jeffrey Benjamin – she’s a character isn’t she?

Seventh image – 2014 – Something about this one really appealed to me but don’t ask me to explain what…something to do with the house itself and the way it captures in a single image both the narrative and the mood of the poem Delinquent Development – artist is Shazianne/Hilesha Humphreys.

Eighth image – 2011 – This didn’t win or place (as I remember) but it was one of my favourites – the way both sides of the image mirror each other and capture the individual personality of the twins in the story Market Day, the market lady in the middle, and the mangos in sync with the story itself in my opinion – artist is S A Dixon.

Ninth image – 2014 – Emile Hill is a professional artist in his own right and I thought he handled the challenge (cover art for The Knock on My Door) well – from the creepy font to the looming monster to the eye in the doorway.

Tenth image – 2010 – As noted, the artist is either the artist is either Ashley Clendenen, Akeem Barry, or Shem Alexander, and the medium (with all of them) seems to have been some form of mixed media – but it’s the little stormy face, not the extras, that catch my eye in this one.

As with all content (words, images, other) 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. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Art ‘Revelations’ (Antigua-Barbuda)

Renee Philip is part of the Wadadli Pen family having served as a judge of our first art competition back in 2010 and again in 2011. Renee, an art teacher and artist, among other professional endeavours, was also the founder of the Sidewalk Art Festival I’ve written about here on the blog. I’m shouting her out today because I recently had the opportunity to visit an art exhibition a collective of Antigua and Barbuda art teachers of which she is a part, put on at the Antigua Girls High School (there’s time to catch it still, morning to evening, upstairs the first building on the left after entering the gate).

I love talking with artists and people who appreciate art which is why I ended up staying longer than anticipated and now writing about it (though nobody’s paying me anymore to cover the local art scene). This work deserves to be seen though so I hope you check it out. Participating artists besides Renee include Rody Christopher, Spencer Derrick, Bernard Richardson, Harlon Nathan, Bernard Peters, Mark Brown, and Phillip’s daughter Déjà Phillip – a past Wadadli Pen arts finalist. Déjà’s work is impressive, though I understand from her mom that her professional ambitions lie elsewhere.  The range of art ranged from oil on canvas to ceramic sculpture to fashion to photography. It is the first time the teaching artists have gotten together for an exhibition of this type, Phillip told me, since 2001. Seems like it should be more often but as another of the artists, Peters, explained the difficulty even finding a place to exhibit much less (I might add) sponsorship and all that comes with it, including an artistic climate in which there is no national gallery and artists come and go, unheralded, unsupported, it wasn’t hard to understand why the delay. The fact is –speaking as a writer now – being a creative in Antigua and Barbuda is a sheer act of will. Well, I’m glad they had the will to do it because, though I have attended a fair amount of the exhibitions in Antigua and Barbuda over the years, the artists on show included some whose work I hadn’t seen.  Two of these are Peters and Harlon Nathan.

The way Nathan’s paintings move between the extremes of dark and light (the primal scream captured in ‘Enough’ to the early morning brightness and tropical colourulness of ‘Natural Beauty’, for instance) moved me to ask the artist about his oeuvre. There is much of himself, his beliefs, moods, and loves captured in these vertical pieces. One of his loves is music and that comes through in ‘Double Bass’, with both its subject and its use of negative space to create a bluesy-jazzy mood.

My most extensive conversation, however, was with Peters. His painting ‘Seat of Power’ with the lithe but towering (note her perspective relative to the elements) female figure and nature stirred up (watch the way the wind moves through the image) around her, but her seemingly in control of it all, even holding the sky as if on a leash was a wild, interesting, and sprawling canvas. He spoke of influences like the discussions around female power (referencing the strong women in his life) and the challenges women face (the many revelations of the #metoo campaign, for instance). We discussed how art speaks to these things, and how vital it is as a result; we spoke as well about creating outside the box in an environment that privileges everything-tourism. Speaking of, he pulled a section from the larger canvas for this piece, ‘The Horizon’ (look closely it’s more suggestive of Devil’s Bridge than a beachscape and is pulled, literally from a section of the painting). That’s the closest Peters, who counts Belgian surrealist Renee Magritte, as well as Antigua and Barbuda’s Heather Doram and Muerah ‘Mighty Artist’ Bodie (sidebar: does anyone know what has become of the Artist?) as influences, gets to anything remotely touristy.

Of course, it’s also a joy to see new work by Mark Brown as well (it’s been too long, Mark) – and from the charred wings of ‘Black Icarus’ to the penetrating gaze and beautiful ebony skin in his portraits, he did not disappoint. Be sure to check out these and all the other works on show before February 9th 2018. The show is called Revelations, and indeed it is.

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. 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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