Tag Archives: Barbara Arrindell

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid July 2022)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here).

Books

Puerto Rico born US raised and resident writer Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa’s A Woman of Endurance landed in the marketplace in April 2022. It illuminates a little discussed aspect of history – the Puerto Rican Atlantic slave trade – witnessed through the experiences of Pola, an African captive used as a breeder to bear more enslaved people. Her previous novel is Daughters of the Stone. (Source – instagram)

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Happy Pub Day to Jamaican writer based in Barbados Sharma Taylor whose much anticiated What a Mother’s Love don’t Teach You landed on July 7th 2022 (sidebar: July 7th 2022 is also the day I finished reading What a Mother’s love don’t Teach You and you can read my thoughts at Blogger on Books on my Jhohadli blog). But as fellow Jamaican writer Leone Ross (author of Popisho/One Sky Day) and also one of the book’s editors said, it is “vivid and authentic”. And it is here!

(Source – the author)

Events

Book of Cinz, founder of #readCaribbean, has announced a book/reading retreat for Saturday October 15th- Thursday October 20th. Venue is Sea Cliff Cottages, Calibishie, Dominica. Cost is US$950 inclusive of food, activities, ground transporation, and accommodations. Eight beds available. Activities will include cocktails, brunches, dinners, games, chocolate tour, picnic and beach day, bookish treasure hunt, a choose your adventure day (with options, for additional charge, including falls and hot spring, whale watching, yoga and massage), and, of course, book club night. Non-refundable 50% deposit due immediately and the balance due by September 30th 2022. Book here. (Source – Book of Cinz email)

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July 12th 2022 is Caribbean Literature Day.

Anyone can do something to mark this day. If you do, share online using the hashtag #Caribbeanliteratureday If you don’t do an event or activity yourself, look for the hashtag anyway and boost across your social media network. Caribbean Literature Day began in 2020 off of a proposal by St. Martin’s House of Nehesi Publishers and has been finding traction ever since. (Source – various but shout out to Sandra Sealey/Seawoman)

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PHILLIP THOMAS Barbershop, 2022 Mixed media on canvas 13’2”W x 7’2”H

The Kingston Biennial 2022: Pressure opened at the National Gallery of Jamaica on June 26th 2022 and will run until December 31st 2022. (Sidebar: In the June 29th 2022edition of my CREATIVE SPACE art and culture column, I suggest strongly a need for a national gallery in Antigua and Barbuda, and events like the Kingston Biennial is one reason why). This event features art work by 24 local and regional artists. (Source – social media)

Accolades

The Antiguan and Barbudan cricketer known as the “master blaster”, Sir Isaac Alexander Vivian Richards (hereafter affectionately referred to as Sir Viv) has received the region’s highest accolade, the Order of the Caribbean Community, and he had a few words:

“I excelled at cricket because I put my heart and soul into it. Each time I put my maroon cap on and I walked on to the field, I recognized I was not just representing myself or my island or just the West Indies team. I recognized I was representing my people – people who looked like me – all over the world. I wanted people who looked like me to know that we can achieve great things. My success was their success. I could not afford to let my team down or my people down.” Not one to be apolitical, Sir Viv ended by urging a similar mindset in the Caribbean leaders gathered for 43rd regular heads of government meeting of CARICOM.

Sir Viv is a local hero – literally – as the only living national hero of Antigua and Barbuda, where the world class international cricket stadium is named for him. Wisden has named him one of the top 5 cricketers of the 21st century as the only Windies captain never to have lost a test match, in the record books for the highest run scorer and fastest test century, and one of the most feared (and respected and charismatic) batsmen of all time. But it is his innings against racism that elevates his legacy – as he said, what he represented to “people who looked like me” and the decision he took to refuse a million dollar cheque to play in South Africa as an “honorary white” in protest to Apartheid of which he was a vocal opponent. This boy from Ovals, only the second Antiguan to play for Windies, after fast bowler Andy Roberts, is beloved all over the world.

He was a skilled artist, and we in Antigua and Barbuda stand at the head of the line in celebrating him on this regional honour.

‘Vivian Richards is a track from the Monarch King Short Shirt’s 1976 Ghetto Vibes classic album.

Happy CARICOM Day – July 4th 2022. (Source – various)

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Halo Humanitarian awards have been provided to Braimah Kanneh-Mason and Jamie ‘Au/Ra’ Stenzel, the former a classical violinist, British with Antiguan roots on this father’s side, and the latter a Spain-born, German-descended, Antigua-raised electro-pop singer were awarded during Halo’s Wings of Charity fundraiser in England. The presentation was made in June by patron and founder Sir Rodney and Lady Williams, respectively. Both were being rewarded not just for their musical achievements but for their humanitarian efforts around the world. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Opportunities

The Caribbean Broadcasting Union’s People’s Choice Awards is open for voting. View the entries and vote here.

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Opportunities Too here on the Wadadli Pen blog has been updated and includes workshops being offered by two of Wadadli Pen’s own.

The one on the left is mine (Joanne C. Hillhouse) – my once a month virtual creative writing workshops and the one on the right is Barbara Arrindell’s writing camp. (Source – in-house)

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 The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid June 2022)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here).

Opportunities

Reminding readers (especially writers and other artists seeking journals, competitions, grants, or fellowships, and students seeing scholarship opportunities) to regularly check Opportunities Too. (Source – me)

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Creative Writing sessions with me, Barbara Andrea Arrindell, begin this evening, Tuesday (June 7th 2022) via Zoom. WhatsApp 7257396 for details. (Source – N/A)

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My next writing session (Jhohadli Writing Project) is July 1st 2022.

(Source – me)

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The next big regional writing comp for short stories is the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival with only weeks left to polish and submit your entry. We’ve told you about it before but, as a reminder, the prize is US$1750 to a previously unpublished work of short fiction of 3000 words or fewer. The prize is named for Trinidad-American writer Elizabeth Nunez. The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival is a Brooklyn-based organisation devoted to blazing a trail for Caribbean literature within the American diaspora. The BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest is geared towards unearthing and encouraging the distinctive voice and story of the Caribbean-descended writer and expanding the creative writing landscape of Caribbean literature. Go here for more information. This year’s judges are editor and publisher Tanya Batson-Savage of Jamaica and Ayesha Gibson of Barbados. (Source – email)

Accolades

Elaine Jacobs, born in Antigua, though living most of her life in the US Virgin Islands was named in December 2021 as the winner of the Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize for new or emerging writers from The Caribbean Writer. She won for the story ‘Going without Shoes’.

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Antiguan writer Brenda Lee Browne’s Just Write page won a six word ‘Gratitude’ themed story competition and Hazra Medica has been announced as the winner for her story, “Time and cocoa butter lightens scars”. Alison Sly Adams has also been awarded a prize for “Not terminal was a new beginning.”

Hazra has won the 5.0 gift bag with gifts from Just Write – Brenda Lee Browne (collage, black and white print, Just Write Antigua journal and mug), Ten Pages Bookstore (Books of Wings by Tawhida Tanya Evanson), Kimolisa Mings (She wanted a Love Poem), Mangohead Productions (plaque), and Galtigua (a tote bag); and Alison won an original Paper Relief art piece gifted by artist Imogen Margrie and Just Write Antigua Journal (BLB). The prize was announced on June 4th 2022, Brenda Lee’s birthday, planned as it was as part of her celebration, open to writers 18 and older in Antigua and Barbuda. (Source – Facebook)

New Publications

There’s a new CREATIVE SPACE arts and culture column every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer newspaper, extended edition online at Jhohadli. If you’ve missed the 2022 season of CREATIVE SPACE, you’ve missed conversations with authors, cultural activists, producers, fashion designer; as well as, musical revues, discussions around gender, and reporting on Caribbean arts activity. Catch up on CREATIVE SPACE 2022 here.

(Source – me)

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The publication of Voices: Monologues and Plays for Caribbean Actors (edited by Yvonne Weekes), print publication 2021 and e-publication 2022 , and Disaster Matters: Disasters Matter (co-edited by Yvonne Weekes and Wendy McMahon), published 2022, both by St. Martin’s House of Nehesi Publishers saw Weekes making book stops at the St. Martin’s Book Fair, Montserrat where Weekes lived after re-locating from the UK before finally settling in Barbados where she still lives, and Antigua and Barbuda where she conducted a series of workshops and had a launch and book signing. She also held a writers clinic via zoom with Barbados’ National Cultural Foundation. Voices has been added to the listing of plays and the main books data base here on Wadadli Pen as it includes two plays by local leading playwright and director Zahra Airall. As seen below, contributors hail from Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Martin, and Antigua-Barbuda.

(Source – Facebook)

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Trinidad-American author Elizabeth Nunez has a new book, Now Lila Knows, out with Akashic Press. Lila Bonnard has left her island home in the Caribbean to join the faculty as a visiting professor at Mayfield College in a small Vermont town. On her way from the airport to Mayfield, Lila witnesses the fatal shooting of a Black man by the police. It turns out that the victim was a professor at Mayfield, and was giving CPR to a white woman who was on the verge of an opioid overdose. The two Black faculty and a Black administrator in the otherwise all-white college expect Lila to be a witness in the case against the police. Unfortunately, Lila fears that in the current hostile political climate against immigrants of color she may jeopardize her position at the college by speaking out, and her fiancé advises her to remain neutral. Now Lila Knows is a gripping story that explores our obligation to act when confronted with the unfair treatment of fellow human beings. A page-turner with universal resonance, this novel will leave readers rethinking the meaning of love and empathy. (Source – N/A)

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The first book in Trinidad and Tobago writer Alake Pilgrim’s middle grade fantasy series Zo and The Forest of Secrets has landed as of June 2022. Pilgrim has previously twice won the regional Commonwealth short story prize, and been published in The Haunted Tropics and New Daughters of Africa and journals like Small Axe. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, thanks to the Booker Prize Foundation Scholarship. In Zo and The Forest of Secrets, diverse children with special gifts, work together to battle hybrid creatures and dangerous adults who try to use them and their powers. The series features unique characters, creatures, legends and landscapes from the Caribbean, re-imagined in an exciting and at times, futuristic way. These are images from her UK tour – stock signings at Waterstones. (Source – ed_pr on twitter)

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SIX STEPS – An African-Barbudan-Caribbean Story – by Claudia Ruth Francis is an African-Barbudan-Caribbean story that’s been added to her listing in Antiguan and Barbudan Fiction Writings and Antiguan and Barbudan Writings. Charity is born in the city of Leicester in England in 1950. She is an orphan. She lives in a number of foster homes. At the age of ten, she receives a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school and hopes that her loneliness will lessen in her new environment. It is during this period that she discovers her ability to commune with her African ancestors. Charity learns that her grandmother five times removed was kidnapped from Africa in 1813. She is able to relive her ordeal and is introduced to the lives of her subsequent grandmothers born on the island of Barbuda in the Caribbean. Eventually Charity meets her mother and, together with her female forebears, she learns the history of Barbuda, the sister island to Antigua, part of the Leeward Islands. But in 2022, is the island at risk from climate change, home grown gold diggers, foreign designs, and re-colonization? Claudia Ruth Francis writes political and historical fact fiction. Her LION SERIES is set in the UK, Caribbean, and Africa. Her interests are many and include global history and the politics shaping African History on the continent and in the diaspora. (Source – Author email)

RIP

To George Lamming. In the words of Barbados prime minister Mia Mottley, “Sadly, it seems now that almost weekly, we are forced to say goodbye to one of our national icons.” Lamming died on June 4th 2022. He leaves a long shadow and has since the publication, in 1953, of In the Castle of My Skin – which was award winning and critically acclaimed. Originally from Barbados, he is of that generation of Caribbean writers, many of whom went to England to realize their dreams as writers in the 1940s and 1950s, and became the foundation of the modern classic Caribbean canon. Lamming worked for the BBC Colonial Service as a broadcaster, published in Barbados literary journal Frank Collymore, and read his poems and stories, and that of other young (at the time) Caribbean voices like Derek Walcott, on BBC’s Caribbean Voices. A Guggenheim fellow, he was a world-travelling professional writer who would go on to publish The Emigrants, Of Age and Innocence, Season of Adventure, The Pleasures of Exile, Water with Berries, Natives of My Person, Coming, Coming Home: Conversations II – Western Education and the Caribbean Intellectual, and Sovereignty of the Imagination: Conversations III – Language and the Politics of Ethnicity. He was writer-in-residence and lecturer at the University of the West Indies, and has been a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Connecticut, Brown University, Cornell University, and Duke University in the US, as well as lecturing in Denmark, Tanzania, and Australia. He has directed the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute at the University of Miami, and judged major Caribbean literary prizes. His awards include the Order of the Caribbean Community, the Langston Hughes Medal, the first Caribbean Hibiscus Award from the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, the lifetime achievement prize from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, having the George Lamming Primary School in St. Michael, Barbados named for him, as well as the George Lamming Pedagogical Centre at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination. Lamming was 94 at the time of his death. (personal note) I heard Lamming speak here in Antigua in 2007 for the Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Week, and was inspired to write ‘Prospero’s Education (on hearing George Lamming)’. I met him in 2008 when I was invited to read at the BIM Symposium ‘Celebrating Caribbean Women Writers’.

One of the first major regional literary panels I was asked to be a part of – after reaching out to them – the BIM forum celebrating Caribbean Women Writers, 2008. The man in the mix is legendary Caribbean writer George Lamming.

Our paths crossed a couple more times, at mixers at the Nature Island Literary Festival in Dominica and again in Barbados at the BIM Lit Fest and Book Fair. Fleeting interactions, yes, but memorable for me – and my awareness of his long shadow – if not for him. What PM Mia said feels so resonant, with the exception that Lamming was not a national icon but a Caribbean literary legend, and that while we say goodbye to the life, the words live on for those who grew up on them and those still to discover them. RIP, Sir. (Source – a friend)

ETA: This was a guest opinion by Alister Thomas in Antigua and Barbuda’s Daily Observer on Lamming’s passing life.

Events

The Commonwealth Short Story prize winner will be announced on June 21st 2022. You can sign up to watch in real time here. (Source – Commonwealth email)

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Love the Dark Days is a new book by Indo-Trinidadian Ira Mathur and UK-based Peepal Tree Press. A launch event is planned for July 13th 2022, 19:30-20:30 at Waterstones Victoria, London. Mathur will be in conversation with Irish Trinidadian author Amanda Smyth and non-fiction author and editor-in-chief of Newsday Trinidad. (Source – JR Lee email)

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The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival’s Support Caribbean Writers tour is on in early June, featuring award winning writer of Pleasantview Celeste Mohammed. Her book has been selected by Caribbean readers as their fave and by the OCM Bocas prize a fave among the literati. She’s having quite the year and she also seems very personable and down to earth. I’d see her in person if I could and if you choose to you’d be right on time as her book is the CARIBATHON group read of 2022.

See tour stops here. (Source – Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival email)

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June 9th 2022 @ 7 p.m. EDT (which I believe is 8 p.m. AST) – Word Thursdays Online featuring Bocas winning (for Sounding Ground) St. Lucian poet Vladimir Lucien. Watch it here via zoom or via Bright Hill Press’ facebook page. (Source – Bright Hill Press on facebook)

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June is #readCaribbean month and also #CaribAthon. I’m participating in both by getting caught up on my reading (Caribbean books and related material only), journalling my progress, and sharing with the hashtags on social media. How will you be participating? (Source – various social media, me)

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There was a second year of Vigo Blake Day, May 29th 2022, in memory of the man who built the first school for Black people, free and enslaved in the then British West Indies. The school opened its doors in 1813. Read about it in CREATIVE SPACE: Mining Nuggets of Historical Gold. In case you missed it, CREATIVE SPACE is my art and culture column which has, since the start of 2022, covered books, fashion (and fashion restrictions), folklore, music and music legend the Monarch King Short Shirt, other notable personalities, commercial production and other visual art, and gender advocacy. (Source – me)

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Antigua’s Carnival schedule was announced as early as March 2022 but it’s changed quite a bit in the time since and, frankly, may change again after this posting; making for a shaky return for the Caribbean’s greatest summer festival after a two-year COVID-19 induced hiatus. This is the official programme as published in the Daily Observer newspaper in March 2022.

Announcements have trickled out since – no Golden Eye calypso tent, no Myst on the road for the big parade, that sort of thing – the biggest of which was arguably no Panorama. But, after pushback, inside of a week that announcement was rescinded and Panorama was reported to be back on. Per Cabinet minutes, once again reported in the Daily Observer, “Every effort will be made to have a Panorama 2022; the effort will include providing some resources to the steelbands that are likely to participate, and ensuring that there is adequate space on the stage to ensure that the bands can play their tunes to the applause of an ARG audience.” ETA (June 10th 2022): I won’t be doing these minute by minute Carnival updates but I felt it important to update that the panorama is back off again – the pan orchestras reportedly have too far of of a financial breach to leap in order to be competition ready, largely due to economic setbacks caused by COVID-19, even with assistance from the government. There may be a pan show, however, instead. While we’re here, government will be changing the Carnival mas parade route – details unknown but it will apparently be moved out of the city to the vicinity of the stadium. But Carnival will remain at ARG in the city…a bit confused with the logistics, especially with plans to demolish the original double decker stand, but…apparently that’s what it is. And this might be the last of the Antigua Carnival posts in this space as me cyaan keep up. (Source – Daily Obsever newspaper)

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 The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late May 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here)

Wadadli Pen News

Our annual awards were held on May 30th 2021. Read all about it here or catch clips on our YouTube channel.

It’s a family affair: Meet Wadadli Pen’s first father-daughter winners.

Events

New Writing

Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters has dropped a new issue with writing from John Robert Lee of St. Lucia, Lisa Allen-Agostini of Trinidad and Tobago, Lawrence Scott, also of TnT, and art from Nadia Huggings, among others. Read the full issue here.

Congratulations Due

Winners of the Antigua and Barbuda Halycon Steel Orchestra 50th anniversary facebook competition: soloist Emmanuel Joseph of Trinidad and Tobago and 5-piece Pantastick Music out of St. Lucia. View also this retrospective, also on facebook, on Petra-The Spectator’s page. It explores the birth and growth of the band, second only to the oldest continuous steelpan orchestra (Hell’s Gate) in panorama titles, and one of the prides of the Grays Green community.

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To the regional winners of the 2021 Commonwealth Writers short story prize. The Caribbean winner is the amazing Roland Watson-Grant of Jamaica (author of the novel Sketcher) for his short story ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Del’. Namibian Rémy Ngamije is the Africa winner; Sri Lankan Kanya D’Almeida is the Asia winner; UK writer Carol Farrelly is the Canada-Europe winner; and Australian Katerina Gibson is the winner from the Pacific.

One of the judges, fellow Jamaican Diana McCaulay (whose latest book is Daylight Come) said of Roland’s submission: “A wiseass, pitch-perfect teenager tells the story of a pear tree near to the rail tracks of a bauxite train in a rural Jamaican district – no one will eat from this particular tree – but why? ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Dell’ teems with lightly but perfectly sketched and familiar characters – a hellfire preacher, a scammer, community elders and shadowy politicians. Promises are broken, warnings are ignored, and the now power of social media supersedes the then magic of obeah. Rich, funny and deeply rooted in the Jamaican countryside, this story reverberates with the drumbeats of the ancestors and delivers an incisive commentary on what gets protected, by whom and why.”

Commonwealth Writers reports that they received a record 6, 423 entries from 50 Commonwealth countries this year, making judging very challenging. The overall winner will be announced on June 30th 2021, online for the second year in a row. This is the 10th year of the Commonwealth short story prize. And if you – like me – are from a small island, and wondering if you’ll ever crack this nut, here’s a bit of trivia: this is Namibia first time making the short list and they ran all the way to the head of the class as regional winner. (Source – Commonwealth Writers email and website)

Opportunities

Writing for Children with Joanne C. Hillhouse • Bocas Lit Fest

Capturing the attention and imagination of young readers can be challenging; join prize winning author Joanne Hillhouse for a workshop in writing for children.

For intermediate and advanced writers! Details here. (Source – Bocas)

Click for other Opportunities. ETA: This workshop has been postponed as a result of a surge in COVID cases in Trinidad and Tobago where Bocas is based. An announcement will be made at some point re the rescheduling.

New Books

As a fan of Kei’s last essay collection and his writing generally, I’m looking forward to reading this one, Jamaican writer Kei Miller’s Things I have Withheld, which Rebel Women Lit describes as a great artistic achievement and a work of beauty which challenges us to say the unsayable. Connect here to attend Kei’s upcoming launch event. (Source – initially, the author’s facebook page)

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Michael Joseph, pharmacist and former president of the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross and governing board member of the international Red Cross body, has a chapter in a the World Dream book project.

The editors are Taichi Ichikawa and Ibun Hirahara who conceived the idea of gathering dreams from across the globe after attending the One Young World global summit for young leaders. The book is published, in Japanese, by Iroha Publising. (Source – Michael Joseph’s facebook page)

Celebrating Books

The May 23rd issue of Lit Hub’s This Week in Literary History newsletter had a really cool story about John Steinbeck, his dog, and his iconic novella Of Mice and Men. But I’m really sharing because of its shout out to Antigua-born writer Jamaica Kincaid whose birthday week it reminds us is this week. Here’s the quote:

“One of the things that young people need to know when they go into writing is that they ought to stop writing these stupid books that please people. They should write as if they might fail at it. To succeed at something mediocre is worse than to fail at something great.”

It being Jamaica Kincaid birthday week, I’ll list my faves, top to bottom, from her bibliography in the order of my love for them (this list will obviously be limited to what I’ve read and will clearly disagree with how others might order them – hence, my list):

Lucy
Annie John
See Now Then
A Small Place
My Brother
Mr. Potter
The Autobiography of My Mother

*I linked some of the places I’ve shared my thoughts about Jamaica Kincaid and/or her named books – anything unlinked was read before I started sharing my book thoughts online.

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The National Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda has for a while now been celebrating books via its Author of the Month series. The most recent guest of the series has been Turtle Beach author and bookstore manager Barbara Arrindell who spoke about her own books, the role of libraries, and why Antiguans and Barbudans should be building their library of local books.

Previous guests in recent months have included self-help and business guru Janice Sutherland who was in October 2020 the first online/virtual Author of the Month when the series returned after the COVID lockdown began; Floree Williams Whyte, author of three books beginning with Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses, who made a return trip to the platform; the first author of the month for 2021 Joanne C. Hillhouse, author of seven books and more; Shawn Maile whose book How to work Six Jobs on an Island the library describes as “a most interesting read”; another non-fiction author (of three books and counting) T. Lerisa Simon; and Jo-Ann Carr, author of Broken to be Blessed: My Life Story. For these and more library content, including their Career and Entrepreneurship: Tips and Tricks series, visit their facebook and youtube platforms.

The National Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda has a very storied history. The building above (by Mali A. Olatunji), on lower High Street, was destroyed during the 1974 earthquake and eventually torn down in the 1990s while the library continued to operate from upstairs a store front on Market Street, in the main commercial district of St. John’s City. The cramped space meant that the country was without full library services for at least two generations as the new library building project didn’t reach completion until 2014. The new library, pictured below, is at Hailes Promenade, near the East Bus Station, just outside of St. John’s City.

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The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival celebrates Trinidad and Tobago writer Lisa Allen-Agostini’s The Bread the Devil Knead.

Lisa will also be participating in an event at Books and Rhymes on May 21st 2021. Virtually, of course. Here’s where you register.

(Source – Lisa Allen-Agostini’s facebook)

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ireadify.com, a new platform for diverse, including Caribbean, audio and ebooks has announced its top April 2021 reads. We can’t promise we’ll be sharing these every time (or any other time, really) but we’re sharing it this time in order to celebrate these books:

Black Girl Magic Sprinkles is by a mother and daughter duo, Chaunetta and Trinity Anderson, who founded the publishing company Black Girl Magic Books out of their home base in Maryland. The illustrator is Nana Melkadze.

Munna and the Maharaja, by Fawzia Gilani Williams with illustrator Deepa Balsavar, is a product of India’s Tulika press.

Abigail’s Glorious Hair (see image below from ireadify’s twitter), a book by veteran Jamaican children’s book author and blogger Diane Browne, with illustrator Rachel H. Moss. Publisher is Jamaica’s Blue Banyan Books.

(Source – ireadify.com email)

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

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Wadadli Pen Diary – Three Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Most Influential Antiguans and Barbudans

This list is not scientific.

But that’s not the point. The point is….there is no point just an opportunity to acknowledge some of the people who’ve helped shape life in Antigua and Barbuda over the last hundred years or so according to … a very small group of people …with internet access … and a facebook presence … who had time today (not today) … and were aware that there was a poll being run by a random person on the internet.

Like I said, it’s not scientific.

But it was fun and educational, and culturally-relevant; all reasons I thought sufficient to bring the top 10 here to the Wadadli pen blog. My primary interest was in seeing how many of our artists made the list but it’s an opportunity for us to reflect (especially as the year winds down, and as we lose more and more) on the people who have shaped life in Antigua and Barbuda.

 So, here we go.

Top 10 Most Influential (in Antigua and Barbuda) of the last 100 years … (according to some people on facebook):

10 – tied – Elvira Bell, Christal Clashing, Samara Emmanuel, Kevinia Francis, and Junella King (i.e. Team Antigua Island Girls – first all Black, all female team to row the Atlantic), Baldwin Spencer (former Prime Minister and former leader of the Antigua-Barbuda Workers’ Union),

 

 

 

 

Jamaica Kincaid (celebrated international author of fictionalized memoirs like Annie John, Lucy, and See Now Then whose newest book is a children’s picture book based on one of her early short stories), Lester Bird (former PM and officially designated National Hero who published his autobiography The Comeback Kid in 2019), Prince Ramsey (Doctor/HIV-AIDS awareness activist, calypso writer and producer who died in 2019) – one social media commenter said of Dr. Ramsey “I think he’s the most inspiring of them all”

9 Short Shirt (most decorated Antiguan calypsonian; the Dorbrene O’Marde penned biography about him Nobody Go Run Me was longlisted for the 2015 Bocas prize)

8 –  Obstinate (undefeated calypso icon)

7 – tied –

Edris Bird (former resident tutor of the UWI Open Campus who in 2019 also became a Dame), Andy Roberts (bowler, first Antiguan and Barbudan to play for the West Indies Cricket team, knighted),

Winston Derrick (deceased host of Observer Radio’s Voice of the People and co-founder of Observer Media Group which transformed the media landscape and broadcast media especially after a legal battle for the right to broadcast that went all the way to the privy council and with its victory opened up the broadcast media door for others to enter)

6Alister Francis (late former principal of the Antigua State College, a groundbreaking tertiary institution of its time for Antigua and Barbuda and the eastern Caribbean)

5George Walter (Antigua and Barbuda’s second premier and former leader of the Antigua-Barbuda Workers Union; officially designated National Hero)

4  Nellie Robinson (late former educator, founder of the TOR Memorial school which is credited with breaking down class/social barriers in Antigua and Barbuda, and officially designated a Dame and our only female National Hero)

3 V. C. Bird (deceased; second president of the Antigua Trades and Labour Union, which is credited with boosting the voice and fortunes of Black and working class people in late colonial era Antigua and Barbuda, first Chief Minister, Premier, and Prime Minister – Father of the Nation, and first officially designated National Hero)

2  Tim Hector (late pan African political activist; media pioneer – founder of the Outlet newspaper and writer of the Fan the Flame column; fighter for press freedom through his investigative reporting, and battles in and out of court including the privy council, arrests, and alleged arson; award winning journalist;  commentator on politics, culture, sports; and political candidate)

1Viv Richards (second Antiguan drafted to the West Indies cricket team, the only Windies captain never to have lost a Test, one of Wisden’s top five cricketers of the 20th century, and officially designated National Hero)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So a handful of artists made the top 10 which is always good to see. But I did wonder who were the top 10 artists in the poll overall, hence this second list. According to the same poll – but in reverse order – and highlighting only the arts side of their life – these are the top 10 artists among the Most Influential in Antigua and Barbuda of the  last 100 years or so…according to the voters in this particular social media poll:

1 –  Obstinate

2 –  Short Shirt

3 – tied – Prince Ramsey, Jamaica Kincaid

4 – tied – Swallow (who with Obsinate and Short Shirt make up the Big Three of Antiguan calypso, known especially for his road march hits), D. Gisele Isaac (writer, cultural critic, author of Considering Venus, The Sweetest Mango, No Seed), Burning Flames (iconic jam band)

5Barbara Arrindell (writer)

6Reginald Samuel (sculptor, national flag designer)

7Ralph Prince (writer)

8 – tied – Oscar Mason (musician, masquerade artist), Yvonne Maginley (musician, composer, Community Players), Dorbrene O’Marde (playwright, cultural critic and activist, calypso writer, novelist), Roland Prince (musician), Joseph ‘Calypso Joe’ Hunte (calypsonian), Marcus Christopher (calypso writer), Alister Thomas (mas designer and builder), Robin Margetson (pan composer, Panache founder – pan school and orchestra)

9 – tied – Stachel Edwards (musician), Rupert Blaize (singer), Wendel Richardson (musician, one of the founding members of Osibisa), John S. Laviscount (musician, founder of the island’s oldest band Laviscount Brass), Isalyn Richards (director of the combined schools choir), Winston Bailey (musician), Althea Prince (writer), Oliver Flax (writer, playwright), The Targets (music group), The National Choir, Shelly Tobitt (calypso writer known for many Antiguan and Barbudan top calypsos of the 70s and early 80s especially through his collaborations with Short Shirt e.g. classic albums Ghetto Vibes and Press On), Ivena (calypsonian, Antigua and Barbuda’s first and to date only female calypso monarch), Bertha Higgins (musician, involved with Antigua Artists Society, Hell’s Gate), Veronica Yearwood (Afro-Caribbean dancer and choreographer, founder of the Antigua Dance Academy), Zahra Airall (writer, award winning dramatist and playwright – Zee’s Youth Theatre, Honey Bee Theatre, Sugar Apple Theatre plus her work with Women of Antigua, poet, arts event producer – notably Expressions Open Mic, photographer), Hilda McDonald (writer)

10 – tied – Novelle Richards (writer), Conrad Roberts (actor)

*

Apologies if I’ve offended anyone or breached protocol by leaving off all honorifics; that was a choice I made to leave off all instead of forgetting some as I am likely to do (better to have you mad at me for something I chose to do than for something I didn’t mean to do). All honorifics are, however, of course, acknowledged. Also acknowledged is that the named people have done much more than captured in my mini-bites. Some books are pictured in this post but remember to check our listing of Antiguan and Barbudan literature for books on or by any of the named influential Antiguans and Barbudans – if you’re looking specifically for biographies/autobiographies, scroll through the non-fiction list. Also, if someone’s picture is not included it’s because they’re not in the Wadadli Pen photo archives and time constraints didn’t allow for scouring the internet. Hopefully, that covers it – this is just FYI and for fun and I would encourage you to continue the conversation by sharing your picks for most influential Antiguans and Barbudans of the last 100 years or so (the or so is really 20th century forward to this year – I think those were the parameters).

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, 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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A & B Artistes Discussing Art

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

A

Barbara Arrindell being interviewed for ABS TV International Literacy Day Featurette  – September 2022

Barbara Arrindell and Joanne C. Hillhouse discussing creative writing on ABS TV’s Antigua Today –

– (January 12th 2022)

Barbara Arrindell in conversation with Joanne C. Hillhouse for CREATIVE SPACE –

– (2021)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Tim Bwa Fik podcast discussion with Rilzy Adams part 2 (2022) – “When writing, where this was concerned, the one thing that I really wanted it to feel like and be like was Antiguan… I was very intentional with everything from the food choices to the music…but I also wanted them for the most part to be not necessarily heartwarming but …my general brand, for everything I write…Antiguan, full of love, and spicy.”

Tim Tim Bwa Fik podcast discussion with Rilzy Adams part 1 (2022) – “I started writing epic fantasy. I think that’s what I wrote for a very long time…but eventually I said to myself, well, this is what I like to read so I’m really confused as to why I’m not writng it and that’s when I started to segueing into trying my hand at writing romance novels.”

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

B

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C

“We shot this at Half Moon Bay and this was supposed to embody just light and sand and turqouise waters, and just playfulness and joy, like there was supposed to be an innocence to it because this is where you meet the Yemoja character and so this was really just about having fun and just playing with my body and the dress under the water and trying to imagine what Yemoja wuld have felt just being in clear chrystal blue waters.” – Christal Clashing discussing Yemoja’s Anansi in a February 2022 CREATIVE SPACE art and culture column

D

HD

“Sometimes I try to have this hope that we have reached a stage where black people are not being treated unfairly and [this news] just dropped me into a rabbit hole again.” – Heather Doram (Daily Observer, 2021)

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

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

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

E

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

F

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

Claudia Ruth Francis talking with Italy’s Conoscere TV about her book Six Steps: An African-Barbudan-Caribbean Story (2022):

“I was very surprised when I realized that I was only six steps away from my ancestor who was on the slave registry in Barbuda.”

G

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

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

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

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

H

Tim Tim Bwa Fik podcast discussion with Joanne C. Hillhouse part 2 (2022) – “Part of it is that I knew that world: I was the girl with the guitar slung over her shoulder, going to practice, playing in the choir, being shy about it, being self-conscious about walking with the guitar..for me the interesting things were the kids discovering their love of art, and discovering their potential within the art space, and connecting with each other through art…and the instinctive urge to explore colourism in that space because it exists in our spaces, our Black spaces, our people of colour spaces, it exists, so all of those things were interesting to me; the romance, yes, but all of those other things as well.”

Tim Tim Bwa Fik podcast discussion with Joanne C. Hillhouse part 1 (2022) – “I think that I write that type of romance and that I see romance as this sort of not this fanciful thing but sort of rooted in these realities as well is a product of growing up in the Caribbean. …Caribbean romance for me is real.”

Barbara Arrindell and Joanne C. Hillhouse discussing creative writing on ABS TV’s Antigua Today (January 12th 2022) –  “It doesn’t have to be perfect. It is not for you to judge what you’re creating as you’re creating it. Let it be. Let it breathe. But part of what I’m doing in my current stream of workshops is now when you come back to the work, how do you begin to edit it, how do you being to redraft it? Because if you are serious about putting your work out in to the world, that is going to be a part of the process. And one of the things I always encourage budding writers to do is to begin to think of putting their work out in to the world. Whether it’s submitting to journals, or contests, or beginning the process of starting to query longer works that they wish to publish. But before you get to that point, once you get past the ‘just write’, once you get past the ‘let it breathe’, is beginning to dig in to the work and refine it, and begin to put it out in to the world.”

“One of the things that you grow up hearing in the Caribbean is girls shouldn’t climb trees because they going blight the tree, meaning that the tree not goin’ grow or not goin’ bear, so I wanted to put a girl in a tree; we need to break those sort of stereotypes. One of the magical things about children’s picture books is that they are what begins that process of socializing children in to who they are and who other people are.” – presentation by Joanne C. Hillhouse at Write the Vision’s Aspiring Authors and Writers Virtual Literary Event

(October 2021)

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

(2021)

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

(2021)

Joanne C. Hillhouse in conversation with Andy Caul of ACalabash: “To write those kids in Musical Youth, I reached back to my own teen-hood when I had my group of friends and I used to play the guitar. I used to go to guitar lessons, to play guitar in the choir. We went to fetes, Carnival, talent shows, walk-a-thons, the beach, we walked from school together. We had our clique. We had shared experiences. And I know in the reviews, they particularly commented on the Black joy in Musical Youth. And I appreciated that because that, in a way, was a joyful existence. The thing that people misunderstand about Caribbean life and Caribbean people is that while it can be very hard, marked by poverty and other things, it’s not just that. It is just life. It is love and laughter and we have some of the most inappropriate sense of humor when it comes to some of the darkness and the things that we joke about and the things that we find funny. So, yes, there’s poverty. Yes, there is political victimization. Yes, there is all the narratives but there’s also friendship, laughter, fun, music and all that stuff. I did not feel like I was writing against anything. It felt like I was just writing what was true.” (2021)

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

Joanne C. Hillhouse in conversation with Trinidad writer-artist Danielle Boodoo Fortune in a World Book Day chat (2021) that involved audience questions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“There’s a piece that I did that I call ‘8-8-21’ that I wrote after teargas Sunday last year. I call it ‘Freedom 8-8-21’…it starts by saying, I think, ‘Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. When the youth are protest ready, they become revolutionary’. And it goes on from there and it just kind of encapsulates the entire Sunday, everything that happened that Sunday. Because I happened to be there. That was my personal experience. I was caught up in it. I was gassed as well… that piece means a lot to me not only because it was my experience but also it’s history, it’s chronicling what happened that day.” – Dotsie Isaac, in conversation with Joanne C. Hillhouse for her art and culture column CREATIVE SPACE

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

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

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Foster Joseph, jazz vocalist and musician, in conversation in 2021 with Joanne C. Hillhouse for CREATIVE SPACE

Clifton Joseph in Never Apart: ‘…the first person to really encourage me into the writing/performing arts was an older man in my village of New Winthropes in Antigua, Mr. Murray, probably, visually, the most black, blackest person in “Blizzard” as we called our home on the northern coast of the island. I think I was around ten years old and in addition to singing the Antiguan calypso songs we heard on the radio, Mr. Murray would actually pay me a penny, or sometimes two-pence (we were still using the British colonial currency at the time) to make up my own “calypso” verses. The only snippet I remember from then are three lines: “in January they called me clinky, then in February they start to call me sebassie, and in June they start to call my cousin boone”…I have to give Mr. Murray maximum props for sparking that early interest in writing and performing.’ Full interview.

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

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

Naomi Jackson, a New Yorker of Antiguan and Barbadian descent, author of critically acclaimed novel The Star Side of Bird Hill, in conversation with Writing Home: American Voices from the Caribbean –

“The Caribbean was both this place of joy and possible exile.” Listen here.

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

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

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

“Writing, it seems to me, depends primarily on a kind of chaos [so] that categorisation . . . only hinders the reader and the writer,” says Kincaid, explaining that she prefers to think in terms of “different forms” because “when I started to write, I just wrote”. – Jamaica Kincaid, from interview in the Financial Times, 2022

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

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

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

Joy Lawrence in conversation with Joanne C. Hillhouse for Wadadli Pen (2013): “The history books we are familiar with are usually written from the European or American perspective. I want people to understand our story from our perspective – how we feel, our likes and dislikes, our goals and aspirations. No outsider can tell our story the way we can.” Full interview.

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

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“I was the representative for the Clare Hall Secondary school, my alma mater… I fell on stage…the crowd’s reaction was a mixture of *gasps* and laughs, and at that point I had to make a decision, ‘hey, you go continue or you go stop.’ Cause you can either be poor thing and people laugh at you for the rest of your life or you can act the shit out of this and make it worth it. And I stayed on that floor and I continued my entire performance from the floor. The next day, I was the front page article: If at first you don’t succeed, you try and try again . The next year, I was the billboard for the website. I had my own billboard on the road…which is something that is not normally given to an unplaced contestant…that experience that you would think would have deterred me or broken me down in some kind of way was something that opened a whole big spectrum to me as a person in terms of confidence and being able to think on your feet, you know, ‘you need to get this done, wha you go do.'” – Kevon Moitt, designer

(the self-produced documentary series was released in 2021)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Celene Senhouse discusses and demonstrates her headwrapping technique and the why behind her love of the African-Caribbean style. “As Afro-Caribbean people the headtie is…cultural and historical and a celebration of our Antiguan and Afro-Caribbean heritage,” she explained in conversation with Joanne C. Hillhouse for CREATIVE SPACE #19 of 2022: THE “HEADKERCHIEF”; HERITAGE, FASHION, CELEBRATION, AND RESISTANCE.

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

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

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

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

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

Floree Williams-Whyte discusses her book Dance on the Moon, and the writing and publishing journey in the first CREATIVE SPACE of 2022:

“You send the draft to the editor and you sit nervously for the next two weeks or how ever long …waiting for that email or that call…then you take the feedback, you kind of sit with it for a while, you think about it, then you try to work on another draft. Sometimes you agree, sometimes you won’t agree…it should be a conversation…it’s a dance back and forth that you have to be patient with, and, once again, give it some space, read the review, and give it some space before you go and work on the redraft.”

PHOTO credits: Pictures of Joanne C. Hillhouse and Joy Lapps are from the 2011 event Telling our Stories at the University of Toronto – event photo; of Tameka Jarvis George is from the 2006 Wadadli Pen/Museum literary showcase Word Up! – event photo/Laura Hall; of Jamaica Kincaid is from the 2014 University of the Virgin Islands literary festival – event photo; of Jelani Nias is a screen grab from a televised interview; of Nicoya Henry – event photo (credit unknown). Barbara Arrindell, Foster Joseph, Sonalli Andrews, and Floree Williams-Whyte video links are to Joanne C. Hillhouse’s CREATIVE SPACE vlog. Video links also pulled from ABS TV, Words Aloud, the Dan David Prize, Novek Designs, edwin1030, Petra the Spectator – this is believed to be within the realm of fair use – no copyright infringement is intended. Some of my own appearances on platforms by Write the Vision, Diaspora Kids Lit, Badass Black Girl, ABS TV, National Public Library, Intersect Antigua, and some videos produced for my AntiguanWriter YouTube channel are also included.

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

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Summer Reading List – Wadadli Edition

I’ve been stumbling over summer reading lists like…like…potholes in Antigua. And I thought, well, if everybody’s doing it!

But first, I wondered, what makes a good summer read. I mean, we have summer pretty much year round in Antigua but I imagine the summer read means something different to people from other places, the ones we see lying out on our beaches during their summer. What are they reading? Is it what’s hot, what’s new, what’s easy …the kind of book you read and discard? My parents worked in hotels when I was growing up, I got some of those left-behind books …but for the life of me I can’t remember a single one. Is that a criterion that it entertain but then go away…like a clown? No that couldn’t be it. I turned to the book blogs for a definition and found one that I decided to let guide me in creating my own Summer Reading List of Antiguan and Barbudan books. This blog broke it down to books that are escapist, interesting, fun to read – not haha fun necessarily but it should have some popular appeal and not be so ponderous it feels like a chore to read. It’s summer time after all and the reading should be easy – but hopefully NOT disposable.

Other things to keep in mind before you curse me about why your favourites – or your book – isn’t on the list: I have to have read the book and I have to be able to back up my pick with one other recommendation (which will err on the side of reader recs because it’s that kind of list); if there is more than one author, the primary author/s must be from Wadadli and/or Wa’omani; Availability – so available you can walk in to a book store or order it online without having to special order it and cross your fingers hoping it’s not out of print; I know e-readers are the lick but my picks must not only be a physical copy but one that can travel easily in your beach bag, in keeping with the whole summer reads theme; quality can be subjective but I’m not reccing anything that feels slapped together and unedited; finally, I’m a novelist – I have books too and I’m going to mention the ones I think fit the criteria (yes, it’s a conflict of interest, but this is a fun summer reading list nothing here is binding and you are free to leave your own picks and recs in the comments).

Here now are my picks for your Summer Reading List – Wadadli Edition

1. Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid – Lucy, a teenage girl from the West Indies, comes to North America to work as an au pair for Lewis and Mariah and their four children. Lewis and Mariah are a thrice-blessed couple–handsome, rich, and seemingly happy. Yet, almost at once, Lucy begins to notice cracks in their beautiful facade. At the same time that Lucy is coming to terms with Lewis’s and Mariah’s lives, she is also unravelling the mysteries of her own sexuality. Gradually a new person unfolds: passionate, forthright, and disarmingly honest.
LucyWhy I picked it: Of all Jamaica’s books, the ones I’ve read, this is the best fit for this particular list – though you are encouraged to check out her extensive and extensively important, acclaimed, and awarded catalogue. Jamaica Kincaid is a bona fide literary star – her words have both heft and poetry – but in Lucy, a girl (not unlike characters in shows like Girls) is a young woman trying to figure her life out in New York City (after relocating there from a small island).  If another Kincaid favourite, Annie John is about growing up, Lucy is about finding yourself and coming out of your girlhood into your young-woman-hood. I read it for the first time over a few days during a summer in the city, and not only did the poetic flow of her prose seduce me, because of that time, reading it in the park, on the train, in an apartment in Harlem, I will always identify it with summer in the city…and clearly it travels well.

Back-up rec:  “This is a very simple story which starts off with several conventional plot twists but ends on a poignant, and somewhat surprising, note.” – reader review Amazon

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2. Dancing Nude in the Moonlight by Joanne C. Hillhouse – Young Dominican single mother Selena Cruz is trying to make a new life for herself in Antigua, dealing with prejudice, poverty, and her interfering sister. When she meets handsome cricket coach Michael Lindo, her world is turned upside down. The course of true love is never smooth, and Michael and Selena’s story is no exception as they try to bridge the gap between their two cultures and their personal expectations of love. Romantic and delightful, this novella by Joanne C. Hillhouse looks at immigration and cross-cultural relationships in a warm and very human way. This anniversary edition includes a part two filled with selected poems, stories, and fan fiction.

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Why I picked it: One word: romance. It was, also, the Best of Books’ summer read pick of 2008, six years before this 10th anniversary edition was published.

Back-up rec: “Engaging account of the complications of Caribbean life and a cross-cultural, inter-racial romance.” – Fiona Raye Clarke, critic, writing in Broken Pencil: the magazine of zine culture and independent arts

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3. Considering Venus by D. Gisele Isaac  – Lesley, an African-American, is straight, recently widowed with three children, and looking for a friend, while Cass is Antiguan, gay and looking for love. They meet again 25 years after high school. What happens when girlfriends becomes more than friends?

ConsideringWhy I picked it: Released back in 1998 it was ahead of its time in its exploration of love between two women – one of whom happens to be Caribbean. What’s boundary pushing is not so much the idea and reality of lesbian love but the now topical fluid love – that sexuality is not fixed, but more about person to person connection. That this book is also about grown woman love not young love is also still sadly boundary pushing.

Back-up rec: “Isaac has written a lovely book, with just the right fusion of prose and poetry make it a joy to read.” – at Sistahs on the Shelf blog where it’s tagged “mature lesbians” and “romance” and given a 4-star review

***

4. Time to Talk by Curtly Ambrose with Richard Sydenham – Sir Curtly Ambrose is one of the most famous cricket players of all time. He is also notorious for his silence. Now, for the first time, he tells his story. From his colourful upbringing in Antigua, through to the turbulent politics of both nation and dressing room, the book takes the reader behind the scenes to give a fascinating insight into the career of an iconic sportsman, and his take on the extreme highs and debilitating lows of international cricket.

Time to TalkWhy I picked it: I’ve only just started reading it but I’m liking it, as sport biographies go. I think actual cricket fans will too. I was walking with the book in my hand the other day when a man asked me about it, said he didn’t realize such a book existed AND asked me where he could get it. And that right there tells me it needs to be on this list.

Back-up rec: “a series of insightful opinions” – ESPN cric info

***

5. Through the Window by Floree Williams – Anya is a 23 year old, complex and often complicated, woman who has to navigate through a maze of friendships, love, a dysfunctional family and finding love for herself.

Window

Why I picked it: Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses is still my favourite Floree Williams book but this one, all about young love and the drama it brings, is made for easy beach reading.

Back-up rec: “I found this to be a very thoughtfully written book, a very enjoyable read.” – Amazon reader review

***

6. Ladies of the Night and Other Stories by Althea Prince – Women’s loves and lives are the focus of these stories, filled with dramatic twists and turns: some humorous, others shocking and disturbing, all leaving a haunting melody behind. The Toronto stories capture the issues women face as they walk the ground of intimate and family relationships in that city. The Antiguan setting of some of the stories are reflective of Prince’s insight into relationships, captured in her novel and essays. The characters reveal their different ways of managing a range of struggle, pain, rage, love and pure unadulterated joy. The humour of some stories complement the plaintive sadness and emotionality of the strings some other stories pluck.

Ladies

Why I picked it: These women’s stories may make you sad, though if you keep digging you’ll see they are fighters, survivors not victims for the most part. Because of the (heavy) subject matter I considered holding this one back but that (matter of fact with a side serving of humor) tone tipped the scale.

Back-up rec: “Enjoyed the prose and dialogue. The story itself though made me sad.” – reader review on goodreads

***

7. Gilly Gobinet’s Cool Caribbean series – Books in the series includes the Cookery Book, the Cocktail book, the 20 Place in Antigua book, the book of hot spices-luscious fruit-and-herb all illustrated  in full colour by the artist, using her classic watercolour technique as well a her humorous cartoons. Each is less than 50 pages – making for a quick read that you’ll come back to again and again as you explore the flavours of the Caribbean.

top20Why I picked it: These are actually handy to carry around and beautifully illustrated (in fact one of the books won the Gourmand award for best illustrations) – there’s one for your cocktails, one for your meals, one for your fruit and spices, one for all the places (well 20 of them anyway) you’ll want to see while in Antigua.

Back-up rec: “… classic watercolours interspersed with humorous cartoons… small but functional” – Search Antigua

***

8. Unburnable by Marie Elena John – Lillian Baptiste fled Dominica when she was fourteen after discovering she was the daughter of Iris, the half-crazy woman whose life was told of in chanté mas songs sung during Carnival—songs about a village on a mountaintop littered with secrets, masquerades that supposedly fly and wreak havoc, and a man who suddenly and mysteriously dropped dead. After twenty years away, Lillian returns to her native island to face the demons of her past—and with the help of Teddy, a man who has loved her for many years, she may yet find a way to heal. Set in both contemporary Washington, D.C., and post-World War II Dominica, Unburnable weaves together West Indian history, African culture, and American sensibilities. Richly textured and lushly rendered, Unburnable showcases a welcome and assured new voice.

unburnable

Why I picked it: I’m of two minds about this one. It’s a really good read and there’s no way I could leave it off any list of essential Antiguan and Barbudan reading (though it is set largely in Dominica) – but that’s not what this list is – so the other mind is reminding me that it’s a thick book that deals with weighty issues – there are traumatic scenes and shifting timelines – a lot to keep track of, a lot to absorb – but a good, page turner of a read; so it will stay.

Back-up rec: “Strong writing and interesting supporting characters should keep readers occupied through the end” – Publisher’s Weekly

***

9. To Shoot Hard Labour: the Life and Times of Samuel Smith, an Antiguan Workingman, 1877 – 1982 by Keithlyn and Fernando Smith – Sections cover THE FAMILY: Planting Sucker Follow the Root;  ESTATE LIFE: Planter Kill King and Rule Country; VILLAGE LIFE: It Wasn t Just the Doctoring We Have To Do for Ourself; THE POWERFUL: Massa Was King and King Do No Wrong; LIFE S UPS AND DOWNS : God Was With Me All the Way; HARD TIMES: Nega Even Though Them Right, Them Wrong; FIELD AND FACTORY: It Was Work Like a Bull
ShootWhy I picked it: Well, if we’re going to wade in to heavier territory no reason not to include this (oral/folk) history which really ought to be required reading if you want to understand the nature of the Antiguan and Barbudan. It set the template for folk histories locally, reversing the trend of all histories being written by people elsewhere in a way that held us as objects (acted upon) not subjects in our lives. Coming in its wake have been the writings of by Joy Lawrence and Monica Matthew, notably. And let me just say that though the terrain is pre and post emanciption, a dark time for black/island people…when is it not, right?… but you won’t regret giving up some of your sunshine to this. You’ll feel like you’re talking to Papa Sammy Smith, a man who lived long and told us a lot about ourselves.

Back-up rec: “What a rich read, nicely written with well assisted footnotes.” – Amazon reader review

***

10. The Road to Wadi Halfa by Claudia Elizabeth Ruth Francis – In 1998 London born Roosevelt Mohammed Lion is chairman of a property empire in the UK. While overseeing a hotel project in his father’s native island in the Caribbean, he is kidnapped by Islamic extremists. He learns that Brayton- Harper, a former Cabinet minister in the British Government is using his ordeal to further his own ends in Africa. Roosevelt struggles to survive life in a training camp and to understand the philosophy of his colleagues in the Sudan. He must be seen to cooperate or risk the life of his precious wife Venus, and his devoted twin brother, Washington, both left in London, to mourn his loss. Washington’s marriage is on the brink of collapse, but it is Roosevelt who meets the Sudanese beauty, Allaya, on the road to Wadi Halfa. Will he learn to trust her or is she plotting her own agenda? Will Al Qaada succeed in their mission to avenge western missile attacks by bombing foreigners in Khartoum? Will Roosevelt be in a position to prevent such an atrocity? Lennox Lion sets out to find his father, but will he rot in jail? The Road to Wadi Halfa is the sequel to Tides That Bind and continues the lives of the Lion brothers and their families.

Wadi Halfa

Why I picked it: Another summer staple is the action-spy-thriller, i.e. international intrigue; am I right? You can have a go at the whole Lion series if you wish but this one makes for a good standalone read for the kind of reader who enjoys a cross-continental (spy-ish) drama wrapped in political intrigue.

Back-up rec: “The story draws you into the world of the ‘Lion’ family and examines class, culture and gender while creating romance, suspense and mystery.” – reader review on Amazon

***

But what about the children, you say…?

Age 3+ (younger if adults make it for bedtime reading)

Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan – Long ago, Blackbird was voted the most beautiful bird in the forest. The other birds, who were colored red, yellow, blue, and green, were so envious that they begged Blackbird to paint their feathers with a touch of black so they could be beautiful too. Although Black-bird warns them that true beauty comes from within, the other birds persist and soon each is given a ring of black around their neck or a dot of black on their wings — markings that detail birds to this very day. Coretta Scott King Award-winner Ashley Bryan’s adaptation of a tale from the Ila-speaking people of Zambia resonates both with rhythm and the tale’s universal meanings — appreciating one’s heritage and discovering the beauty within. His cut-paper artwork is a joy.

Blackbird

Why I picked it: Good for readalong with little kids and if you can’t read along because you’re deep in your own summer read, there are lots of pretty pictures to keep them distracted…I mean stimulated. The Sun is so Quiet and the Dancing Granny (for slightly older kids) are also great Ashley picks.

Back-up rec: “Bryan’s lilting and magical language is infectious.” – Publisher’s Weekly

***

7-ish+

How the East Pond got its Flowers by Althea Trotman – A young girl Tulah, born with a caul, is thought to be destined for great things and learns important lessons from Mother Sillah.

Pond

Why I picked it: A read for the mid-to-upper primary schooler in your life – a young female protagonist, historical without being dated.

Back-up rec: “literature that represent(s) the range of cultural experiences and histories that make up the national and international communities that touch all of us.” – from Frontiers of Language and Teaching (recommending How the East Pond got its Flowers as an example of this type of literature)

***

Age 11-ish+

The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories by Barbara Arrindell – a glimpse of Antiguan history through three engaging stories set in three distinct periods of time. See the Kalinago through the eyes of Antigua’s first Governor’s wife. Meet a priest who was almost defrocked after allowing two former enslaved Africans to get married in an Anglican church. Meet the boy who would become a legendary doctor in St. Kitts.

Bat

Why I picked it: History made accessible. Adults will enjoy it too  as they do her colouring and activity book Antigua My Antigua, which also will keep your child engaged and informed. My book, The Boy from Willow Bend is a good fit for this age range as well but I don’t have it listed as a summer pick given that some of them are already reading it in school – for those who aren’t though, have at it. For this age group you might also want to check out S E James’ adventure books especially Tragedy on Emerald Island and Forest Fever – I had a time finding links to them online but I believe there are still physical copies in local bookstores.

Back-up rec: “I love it! Wish the stories were a bit longer though” – reader on Smashwords

***

Age 13+

Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse – Zahara is a loner. She’s brilliant on the guitar but in everyday life she doesn’t really fit in. Then she meets Shaka, himself a musical genius and the first boy who really gets her. They discover that they share a special bond, their passion for music, and Zahara finds herself a part, not just of Shaka’s life, but also that of his boys, the Lion Crew. When they all get roles in a summer musical, Zahara, Shaka, and the rest of the Lion Crew use the opportunity to work on a secret project. But the Crew gets much more than they bargained for when they uncover a dark secret linking Shaka and Zahara’s families and they’re forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about class, colour, and relationships on the Caribbean island of Antigua. Musical Youth placed second in the 2014 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.

Musical Youth

Why I picked it: My teen pick is one of mine – there are not a lot of teen-specific books in the Antiguan and Barbudan bibliography – or Caribbean for that matter – one reason why the Burt Award giving it a push by encouraging and rewarding books in this genre is a good thing. Musical Youth was first runner up for the Burt Award in its first year 2014. It’ll appeal to all teens and young adults but especially those with a love affair with music and love.

Back-up rec: “The story is modern; the teens are technology savvy.” – Amazon reader review

***

What? No Poetry?

I don’t know…does poetry make for good beach/summer reading? (Don’t all come for me at once…pace yourselves)

If so, of the ones I’ve read, my top (5) picks would probably be Motion in Poetry by Motion, I am that I am by Tameka Jarvis-George, then Tameka’s Thoughts from the Pharcyde and Motion’s 40 Dayz, then She Wanted a Love Poem by Kimolisa Mings – probably in that order, too.

motion-40-dayz-cover poem

I can’t speak to their availability but I will say that I had difficulty even sourcing pictures for some of them. But, true confessions, it’s late, I’m tired, I’ve been at this way too long, and I’m posting.

You’ve read the list and my reasons…you’re up.

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, Fish Outta Water, 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, my books and writing, and/or my writing-and-editing services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

 

 

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Unearthing the ROOTS of the Antiguan and Barbudan System of Education

By Barbara Arrindell

“At an important historical gathering in 1813, Elizabeth Hart Thwaites and her husband met with teachers and five hundred children from neighbouring plantations on the estate belonging to the Lyon family and instituted a plan to teach the children to read.

Halfway between English Harbour, where the Thwaiteses lived, and the Lyons’ estate, slave volunteers built a schoolroom within six weeks to house this project. Elizabeth Hart Thwaites named it Bethesda and daily taught some two to three hundred children and adults there.” (Page 15, The Hart Sisters, Edited by Moira Ferguson, Published by University of Nebraska Press).

hart sisters
Long before the Antigua Grammar School was established. Long before attempts by the Roman Catholics to start their own system of education. There was Bethesda: a place of mercy.

Sketchy records suggest that one of Antigua’s early schoolrooms, certainly the first schoolroom built for the purpose of educating the masses, “the black population”, both free-blacks and slaves, was located in the area that we now refer to as Bethesda.

Constructed by volunteers, most of whom were enslaved Africans, the wooden schoolroom is said to have sat on a hillside near the old town of Bridgetown where the winds rolling off the waves of Willoughby Bay could keep the students cool and comfortable. The location appears to have been chosen as a half way point between Lyons’ Estate and English Harbour where the two Hart Sisters, the school mistresses, lived.

This schoolroom and its spin-offs afforded an unusually large portion of the slave population in Antigua the opportunity to receive some level of education. Some Historians believe that it might have been as a result of this more widespread education that full emancipation was granted in Antigua in 1834 compared to the partial emancipation that slaves in almost all other territories received.

Who were the Hart Sisters?

Ann Hart Gilbert and Elizabeth Hart Thwaites were referred to at that time as free “coloured” women. Their father, was among a handful of black plantation owners, and was himself an enslaver. He owned and operated Popeshead Estate not far from St. John’s.

Black massa Barry Conyers Hart was a poet who wrote for a newspaper in Antigua in the late 1700’s. He was considered to have been different: a humane slave master. This is in contrast to the typical black slave owners who were labelled as exceptionally cruel, perhaps as a way of stamping authority over ‘property’ whose faces so resembled theirs and their children’s.

Mr. Hart’s willingness to stand apart was apparently inherited by his eldest daughter Ann. She created quite a stir in all quarters of Antiguan society when she agreed to accept the proposal of Antiguan born John Gilbert. John Gilbert was white; she was not. Such a union was considered “illegal” or at least immoral. His family, though religious, opposed the marriage to the point of instructing every clergyman and all ship-captains not to perform the ceremony. In 1798, John and Ann left the island and returned as Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert. They found that the door to John’s place of business had been symbolically repainted, one half was painted white and the other was yellow.

There are no records to show how the Hart Sisters obtained their education, but, at that time and continuing into the early part of the 20th century, it was not uncommon for estate owners to employ a teacher to privately educate their children. Although their work touched the lives of people throughout Antigua, the sisters spent a great deal of their time in the English Harbour area, working under the banner of both the Methodists and Anglican churches. Both ladies, having prepared much of the slave population for emancipation and having agitated for it in many ways, died in 1833, a year before the educated slaves of Antigua became free educated men and women.

Post note: John Gilbert was the son or nephew of Nathaniel Gilbert, one of the founders of Methodism in Antigua and Barbuda.

As with every thing else printed here, do not reproduce in whole without permission nor re-post in part without linking and crediting.

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A & B Writings in Journals, Showcases, and Contests (A – G)

This page has grown fairly quickly, so I’m breaking it up in to two pages. For H – N, go here, for O – T, go here, for U – Z, go here. and for books, go here. This is exclusively for creative pieces by Antiguans and Barbudans accepted to established literary journals, festivals (and other notable literary platforms), and contests (not pieces posted only to personal blogs) as I discover (and in some cases, re-discover) them. Primarily, the focus is on pieces accessible online (i.e. linkable) because those are easiest to find; but it is not limited to these. It is intended as a record of our publications and presentation of creative works beyond sole authored books. Naturally, I’ll miss some things. You can recommend (in fact, I welcome your recommendations), but, as with all areas of the site, additions/subtractions are at the discretion of the admin. 

AARON, GLENROY‘Summer One’ and ‘Coconut Man’ (visual art – painting) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014

ADAMS, RILYSFictional Reality (fiction, 2011 award winning Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem (Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

AFLAK, ALLAN – (visual art – photography – also published in Alexis Andrews’ book Images in 2007) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

AIRALL, ZAHRA – Island Expressions in St. Kitts – 2016

AIRALL, ZAHRAThe Looking Glass (fiction) – in Theorizing Homophobias in the Caribbean – Complexities of Place, Desire and Belonging – 2012

Excerpt: “They’d met at a conference in Mexico, she was from Dominica, and Laurie was instantly drawn to that thick French accent when Marie spoke.”

ANDREWS, ALEXIS – (visual art – photography) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

ANTONIA, MAKEIDA/WADADLI WRITERInner Child (poetry) – in intersectantigua.com – 2020

ARMSTRONG, VEGA – Legend of the Sea Lords (fiction, 2012 award winning Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem – 2012 + Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014

Excerpt: “Suddenly Freya dove under the water, the others quickly followed her. When they caught up with her they too saw the mysterious creature.”

ARRINDELL, BARBARABelonging to Barbuda (fiction) – Caribbean Feminist Stories, intersectantigua.com – 2020

ARRINDELL,  BARBARA – Scholarship Child (fiction, from her book The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories) – Interviewing the Caribbean (Caribbean Childhood: Traumas and Triumphs Part 2) edited by Opal Palmer Adisa – 2020

ARRINDELL, BARBARAA LIFE, a spirit…a name  (fiction, subsequently published in 2017 anthology The Black Notes edited by Althea Prince) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014

ARRINDELL, BARBARA – How Snake Stories became Anansi Stories (fiction, fable) – Womanspeak: A Journal of Writing and Art by Caribbean Women, Volume 7 Womanspeak 7– 2013

ARTHUR, ADEPraying for her Nadleehi (fiction) – in intersectantigua.com – 2020

AUGUSTUS, CARLIsolation (visual art and poetry) – in intersectantigua.com – 2020

AUGUSTUS, CARLLive Free (visual art) – in intersectantigua.com – 2020

AUGUSTUS, CARLTake Flight (visual art and text) – in intersectantigua.com – 2020

BARNES, SYLVANUS – Harp of Gold (poetry, from his book Barney’s Wit and Wisdom) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

BARTON, SHARON – ‘Evolution’ (visual art – designer gown, worn by Antigua Carnival Queen first runner-up Kimmorna Otto, which, in 2005, won best evening gown; it attempts to capture the colour and flow of reggae and calypso) and ‘Wild Orchid’ (visual art – designer gown worn in 2006 by Antigua Carnival Queen runner-up Charmaine Morgan) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

BATSON, NADIA – Expose (song lyrics, the Trinidad and Tobago singer/songwriter penned the tune for Antigua-Barbuda soca band El A Kru) – Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

BEAZER, CHATRISSEThe Legend of Banana Boy (fiction, 2011 award winning Wadadli Pen short story) – Anansesem (Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

BENJAMIN, AKEILE – The Adventures of Mr. Coconut (fiction, 2012 award winning Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem – 2012

BENTA, VERDANCI – Boysie’s Fixed Account (fiction, 2005 award winning Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem – 2012

BROWN, MARK – ‘Jumbie’ and ‘Queen of the Band’ (visual art – painting) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

BROWNE, BRENDA LEE – Granny Cecelia’s Travelling Handbag – Womanspeak: A Journal of Art and Writing by Caribbean Women Volume 8 Womanspeak 8– 2016

BROWNE, BRENDA LEEexcerpt from London Rocks (fiction, published as a novel in 2017) in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters – 2015

Excerpt: “Dante’s mother asks if he is getting married as he smells as sweet as a bride and he had been getting ready since about 5pm – well since midday when he went to the barbers for a trim and a shape.”

BROWNE, BRENDA LEEFor my Father & Untitled (poetry) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014

BROWNE, BRENDA LEE – Betty Sope – Womanspeak: A Journal of Writing and Art by Caribbean Women, Volume 7 – 2013

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – Wee Willie Winkie (fiction, winner of the 2016 Marguerite Cobb-McKay Prize) – The Caribbean Writer Volume 29 – 2015

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – Stabs in the Dark (fiction) – Akashic’s Mondays are Murder series – 2014

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – Strange Fruit (fiction) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – No Frills, No Lace (fiction) – Poui: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing – 2014

Excerpt: “The director’s walk was ceremonious not in haste, perhaps from years of practice. He carried one hand lying in the other at the back of his buttocks and he went along with his head bowed.”

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – Coo Yah (fiction) – Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters (online Virgin Islands journal) – 2014

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMICocks, Hens, Dogs and Swine (fiction) – in St. Somewhere (online literary journal) – 2013

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMIThe Bird who saved his Food (fiction) – Anansesem (online Caribbean Children’s Literary Journal) – 2013

Excerpt: “Once upon a time an albatross got caught in a fisherman’s net that was spread out at sea.”

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – Mango Belly and Mango Belly Part 2 (fiction) –  Anansesem (online Caribbean Children’s Literary Journal) – 2011

Excerpt: “He ate each and every kidney, tantalizing his classmates with every suck, pick, slurp and lick. Their mouths watered and their eyes followed the golden juices that gushed down his hands.”

BUTLER, LORINDA T.Antigua Me Come From (poetry) – The Caribbean Writer, Volume 8 – 1994.

CADOGAN, DAVID – ‘Rasta Pan’ (visual art – painting) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

CHARLES, KENNELLA – Awaken to the Night – (fiction, 2005 award winning Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem (Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

CHRISTOPHER, MARCUSLyrical Sampler (calypso lyrics) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014

DIXON, S A – (visual art – illustration for Market Day by Latisha Walker-Jacobs, award winning art and story in Wadadli Pen 2011 Challenge) + Cocos Nucifera (fiction, 2011 award winning Wadadli Pen short story) – Anansesem (Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

DORAM, HEATHER‘Hope is on the Horizon’ (from The Pandemic series) 18 x 30 acrylic and mixed media on canvas, cover art w/ACalabash Poetry Portfolio-5 Curated by John Robert Lee – 2021

DORAM, HEATHERIsolation 1 – in intersectantigua.com – 2020

DORAM, HEATHER ‘Fusion’ (visual art – 20 x 36 inch mixed media on canvas, cover art w/The Other Daughter by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – Adda (Commonwealth Writers online literary platform) – 2017

DORAM, HEATHER‘Moonlight on Butterflies’, ‘Serenity’, and ‘Rightful Place’  (visual art – painting) –  Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014

DORAM, HEATHERcarnivalmag‘Spirit of Carnival’ (visual art – mixed media painting on felt, cover art capturing the colour, glitter, and masking of the Carnival season, and illustrating the mythical connection with the inner self that happens during Carnival) and ‘Mama Looka Mas!’ (visual art – painting); and ‘Genesis’ (used a metaphor for Carnival and life, worn in 1994 by Lesley-ann Brown) and ‘CARICOM Woman’ (exploring the concept of “us coming together as a people, as a region” worn in 1992 by Diana Horsford) and ‘Spirit of Africa’ (worn by 1993 Antigua Carnival Queen Charmaine Bailey) and ‘Lady in Red’ (worn by 1988 Antigua Carnival Queen Irma-Marie Senhouse) – (visual art – costumes with builder and husband Connie Doram). Additional costumes for Vitus mas troupe (a highlander costume, 1997’s ‘Cocks Crow’, 2000’s ‘Folktales’ including characters like Anancy in his spider’s web, and 2003’s ‘Peace and Love’ (the stiltwalker section High High High)) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

D’ORNELLAS, ANNALISA -Toes in the Sand (poetry, national contest selection) – 2009

Excerpt: “I was once a girl
that played on these shores.
I gathered the shells
in  bundles and scores.
I wore them on my neck
and strung some as bangles
I  noticed their twinkling
and delightful angles.”

ECKERT, DEBORAH – ‘Lornette and Oriane’ (visual art – painting) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

EDWARDS, GEORGE W. (AS TOLD TO JOHN H. JOHNSON) – Folklore from Antigua, British West Indies – Journal of American Folklore Vol. 34 No. 131 pp. 40-88 – Jan – March, 1921

Excerpt (from Johnson’s introduction): “The stories, riddles, and proverbs given in this collection were recited by George W. Edwards, a native of Greenbay, Antigua, British West Indies…George Edwards is a man fifty years old. In giving the bulk of this material, he exhibited unusual memory-power. Aside from prompting, suggestions, and riddles Nos. 34, 39, 42, 45, and 47, he alone is responsible for the entire collection. He has lived in New York for the past ten years. His greatest aid in recalling the stories has been his wife, who is about thirty years of age and also a native of Greenbay, Antigua. She is the informant of the five riddles mentioned above.”

EDWARDS, GEORGE W. (AS TOLD TO JOHN H. JOHNSON)The Chosen Suitor from Folklore from Antigua, British West Indies, Journal of American Folklore Vol. 34 No. 131 – as reproduced in Bluebeard (ed. D. L. Ashliman) – 1999 -2014

Excerpt: “Dere’s a woman had one daughter an one son. Dis boy coco-bay, boy, an’ he was an’ ol’ witch too.”

EDWARDS, SHAKEEMADiaspora & That Laugh (poetry)- Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014

EDWARDS, SHAKEEMAThe Curse of the Kumina (fiction, 2011 award winning Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem (Best of Wadadli Pen Special Issue) – 2011

EVANSON, TANYA – Poetry Africa (Durham, South Africa) – 2018

EVANSON, TANYA – performs at the 8th Word N Sound International Youth Poetry Festival in Newtown Johannesburg – 2018

EVANSON, TANYA@ Ubud Writers and Readers Festival – 2016

EVANSON, TANYA – Temple Exercises as feature poet at Vancouver Slam – 2016

EVANSON, TANYA – GRIOTS OF ALL TIME – live spoken word @ The Club, The Banff Centre, Banff AB Canada / 2014 Spoken Word Program

EVANSON, TANYA – Word Aloud Festival (Durhan, Canada) – 2014

EVANSON, TANYAMundo Gumbo – Canadian Festival of Spoken Word – 2013

EVANSON, TANYA – Apocalypsiata (poetry) – Womanspeak: A Journal of Art and Writing by Caribbean Women, Volume 7 – 2013

Excerpt: “Soon there’ll be nothing left to burn/books, beds, bodies on the Barbie”

EVANSON, TANYA – reading/performing at Calgary Spoken Word Festival – 2013.

EVANSON, TANYA – reading/performing (including “An-teee-ga”) at the Calgary Spoken Word Festival – 2012

Excerpt: “Let me tell you bout that place/in Caribbean/clear blue water/sand sat between your toes/in hot sun/and the people/my people/and not my people/Antigua” (An-teee-ga)

EVANSON, TANYA – Zamizdat Scat at Calgary Spoken Word Festival – 2011

EVANSON, TANYADervish Weaponry (poetry, from the 2008 CD Memorists) – on Badilisha Poetry X-Change – 2008

FARARA, JAN – ‘Steel and Sparkle’, ‘Rhythm at Sunset’, ‘Carnival Pride’, and ‘Carnival Stilts’ (visual art – paintings) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

GEORGE, GEMMA – Stray Dog prepares for the Storm – (fiction, 2004 award winnin g Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem (the Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

GEORGE, LINISAThe Rebellion (poetry) – intersectantigua.com – 2020

GEORGE, LINISA – In the Closet (poetry) – BBC Poetry Postcards series – 2014.

GEORGE, LINISA – Brown Girl in the Ring (poetry, theatrical monologue) – performed during the CARA Festival, Antigua – 2009 + published in the World Record (a publication of global artistes invited to perform at the 2012 Poetry Parnassus staged to coincide with the 2012 Olympics) +  Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014 + featured in the Charlotte Caribbean Festival, and, 2015, in the Shakespeare festival in the Bahamas.

GONSALVES, GAYLEMiss Ellie (fiction) – Tongues of the Ocean – 2014

Excerpt: ‘Ellie points to England, a land that is far from the Caribbean Sea, and smiles at her daughter, “This is where it all started.”’

GORDON, CAROL – ‘Ancestral Call’, ‘Dance’, ‘Friend’, and ‘Nubian’ (visual art – painting) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

GORDON, ORIQUE – The Lost Coin (fiction, 2011 award winning Wadadli Pen short story) – Anansesem (Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

GRANT, DEBESHA – Blue Mountain Hike (fiction, 2005 award winning Wadadli Pen short story) – Anansesem (Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

GREGORY, JAMILA – ‘Bird of Paradise’ (visual art – costume design intended as a play on the word ‘Bird’, depicting the flower ‘Bird of Paradise’ and also the bird ‘The Great Bird of Paradise’. It was the first costume to ever to be presented on stilts in the pageant’s history. It was built by Johnson Browne, Jamila Gregory, and the Vitus Mas Troupe. Gregory, the 2006 Carnival Queen, won the costume segment of the Antigua Carnival Queen competition) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

GRESHAM, SARAH-ANNEGeneration Cry (non-fiction) – in intersectantigua.com – 2020

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, Oh Gad!, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Please do not repost artist images without permission and credit. If you enjoyed this post, check out my Jhohadli  page 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.

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An Audience with Elaine Spires

Elaine seated, with copies of Singles Holiday, its sequel Sweet Lady, and first book What's Eating Me? laid out before her and from left, me, Marcella Andre and Barbara Arrindell standing alongside.

Elaine seated, with copies of Singles Holiday, its sequel Sweet Lady, and first book What’s Eating Me? laid out before her and from left, me, Nia Comms founder Marcella Andre and Best of Books manager Barbara Arrindell standing alongside.

“I think as a writer, that’s all you can hope for, that you brought something alive for somebody.” – Elaine Spires during a conversation with other writers and book lovers at an event Saturday 7th June 2014 at the Best of Books on St. Mary’s Street.

I think we got caught up, put bibliophiles in a room and say talk books and it be like that. Elaine is a Brit who began her relationship with Antigua as a tour guide for tourists from the UK and now has a home here. Write what you know…her stories explore that terrain. I look forward to reading the first of the Antigua series, Singles Holiday, but Elaine is already readying book three which she says will be out in November.

The discussion went to some interesting places, beyond plotting, characterization, writing techniques and strategies (particularly interesting to me, strategies for writing humour that feels unforced), reading habits, editing, and publishing, to the challenges of writing the Other without stereotyping and of writing fiction that draws from real life without being too literal. I don’t think Elaine anticipated quite so many questions though I believe she rightly took it as a sign that we were all engaged, and certainly handled them well. Her readings, meanwhile, hinted at the humor to be found in situations where you take people out of their natural habitat and let them wander around and bump into things for a while. It also hinted at the allure of Antigua.

Elaine is a patron of Wadadli Pen, her gift, one of time to the winning writer, time to review works in progress and offer advice and direction, a mentorship which assists in fulfilling the Wadadli Pen mandate of assisting with the development of the literary arts. This year’s winner, Asha Graham, has already benefited from her session with Elaine.

It’s been a busy few weeks in Antigua for Elaine who has spent her time here at work on her forthcoming short story collection and the pilot of a TV series based on characters first seen during stagings here of When a Woman Moans, Maisie and Em. She returns to England where she continues work on the adaptation of Singles Holiday for the stage.

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, Fish Outta Water, and Oh Gad! – also a freelance writer, editor and writing coach and instructor). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

 

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