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 – credit and link back if you use).
Wondering if the JWP is for you? Participants this year have included someone hoping to learn more about the business of writing while considering a self-publishing journey (“I learned quite a bit about the writing process”), someone revising a Caribbean-set novel who wanted the perspective of a Caribbean editor (“strengthened my pages”), someone hoping to overcome the fear and lack of confidence keeping them from writing (“I feel my confidence building”), and a newcomer taking her first writing workshop who said she felt comfortable and participated fully in the environment created. Your goals are your own, but I really try to meet participants where they are. People have participated from the Caribbean and the US; so, as a reminder, it’s virtual, you can participate from anywhere. (Source – me)
Art and Culture
An Antiguan and Barbudan designer, Danielle McCoy, had a hand in the creation of the Nigerian uniform worn during the Winter Olympics earlier this year.
Per this Essence article, the outfits were produced by a brand known as ActivelyBlack. It was one of the top designs according to major tastemakers, alongside well established international brands like Ralph Lauren and Puma. Danielle worked with Jordan Jackson, both of AmenAmen Studio on the look. (Source – N/A)
Barbadian songstress and international superstar Rihanna is now part of the Black Panther universe with her contribution of “Lift me Up” to the blockbuster’s sequel’s soundtrack. It’s haunting melody is a reminder that the second film arrives without its titular lead played by Chadwick Boseman who died of cancer between this and the previous film. RIP to him. Take a listen.
(Source – Twitter)
ETA – In further Black Panther news, via Variety, the sequel to the seminal Marvel cinematic universe film, Wakanda Forever, took in US$180,000,000 domestically (i.e. in the US). It is the second biggest domestic debut of the year after the latest Dr. Strange, another MCU film. I checked Box Office Mojo, and this is already the 9th top grossing film of 2022. Wakanda Forever‘s international take for its opening weekend was $330,000,000. Why do we care about this at Carib Lit Plus? The Caribbean representation, of course, with Guyana born British actress Letitia Wright (Shuri) and Tobago born US actor Winston Duke (M’baku) revived their star-making roles. Also Haiti is trending. Comments from Twitter:
“Two scenes in the #BlackPanther movie are set in #Haiti! Actual footage of Cap-Haïtien made it to the big screen. Haitian Creole and even our local transportation, tap taps, are in the movie. An important character is named after our national hero, Toussaint…Historically, major cinematic films that have portrayed #Haiti have emphasized zombies, poverty, demons, just pure darkness. They’ve silenced our glorious past & our present beauty. #BlackPanther has begun to shift the narrative.”
“Cap-Haitien, Haiti just popped up as a location in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and they are speaking Kreyol!”
“Shoutout to black panther for their representation of Haiti in the movie.”
The shoutouts are plentiful and have even moved off twitter, with karukerament.com blogging about “How Black Panther 2 introduces the Caribbean to the World (afro)”. The post celebrated the uncharacteristic positive representation of the island: “Listen, if you had told me that one day I would watch an MCU movie without the need for subtitles because the dialogues are in Haitian Creole, I would never have believed you. Never. And not only did they aim for the authenticity of the language, but they also linked the history of Ayiti to the history of Wakanda. They tied the history of the first black Republic to the history of the only black nation that was never colonized. They did not create a hierarchy. They just put them together as two equal parts of the Afro world. We are what we are, we don’t need to hide it and no one can take it away from us.”
(Source – Facebook)
A biopic of reggae legend Jamaica’s Bob Marley is in the works. Kingsley Ben-Adir, a British actor with a Trinidadian mother and white British father, has been cast to play him. Ben-Adir was last seen playing Malcolm X (whose mother, Louise Little, was Grenadian by the way) in One Night in Miami. Variety also reports that the screenwriter (Zach Baylin) and director (Reinaldo Marcus Green) behind King Richard, about Richard Williams, the father of tennis greats Venus and Serena, a role that recently won Will Smith his first Oscar, are attached. (Source – Twitter)
Late calypso giant Rupert ‘Swallow’ Philo’s family has donated instruments – a full set of steel pans and drum set – to Nelvie N. Gore Primary School. This is the former primary school of Willikies, Swallow’s home village. One of his dreams was the establishment of a music department at his alma mater and Vernon ‘Dr Solo’ Benjamin advocated for the department to be named in his honour. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper, Antigua)
(Source – me)
Peepal Tree Press has collaborated with the Out of Many Festival to bring Book Club events in October and November. Still to come are The Merchant of Feathers with Tanya Shirley on November 18 and Prophets with Kwame Dawes on December 2. (Source – JRLee email)
I’m seeing reports around social media about the BVI Lit Fest, like this one from Jamaica born Barbados based writer Sharma Taylor, whose debut novel What a Mother’s Love don’t teach You landed this year.
“Had the absolute pleasure of recently participating in the 2nd annual BVI Lit Fest in beautiful Tortola www.bvilitfest.com The Governor, Premier, Dr. Richard Georges and his team at the H Lavity Stoutt Community College were amazing hosts! Book lovers, please put this event in your calendar as a ‘must attend’ event for next year! I met some awesome writers there!”
Sharma is pictured to the left of the image taken from her facebook page.
The BVI Literary Festival ran from November 3 – 6 2022 in Tortola after being founded (virtually) in 2021 as part of the Department of Culture’s Culture and Tourism Month activities and operates in collaboration with the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. This year’s line-up included well known Caribbean writers like Trinidad and Tobago’s Andre Bagoo, USVI based editor of The Caribbean Writer literary journal Alscess Lewis-Brown, the USVI’s Tiphanie Yanique, Grenada’s and the Virgin Islands (British and US’) Tobias Buckell, Jamaica’s Kei Miller, and BVI poet laureate himself Richard Georges. (Source – Sharma Taylor’s Facebook)
Montserrat’s Alliouagana Festival of the Word returns with book launches, movie screenings, and activities for the children.
The featured films are The Fab 4 & The Silent Retreat, written by Jamaican-Canadian Diane De La Haye and directed by UK born Sint Maarten based filmmaker Peter Sagnia
Deep Blue, written and directed by Antigua and Barbuda’s Howard Allen
Festival dates are November 17 – 19. (Source – Nerissa Golden on Linkedin)
Spilling Ink’s Poetry in the Park returns with an art and open mic event on November 26th. Featured artist is Laikan whom I wrote about in a recent CREATIVE SPACE and whom you can listen to on my Spotify list. Venue is the 90s Restaurant and Lounge on High Street in St. John’s, Antigua, 6:30 – 10:00 p.m. If you want to really dig in to the archives, check out my CREATIVE SPACE on Spilling Ink. (Source – Laikan on Instagram)
November 13 – 20 is the Miami Book Fair. This is the 2022 schedule. As usual, there will be a strong Caribbean presence, primarily through the Read Caribbean programme. Highlights include a pre-event, on November 12, “Original Roots: The Sound & Story of Jamaican Tradition” featuring Jamaican poet laureate Olive Senior, “Our Beautiful and Corrupted Islands”: Pamela Mordecai, Mc. Donald Dixon & Celeste Mohammed on November 19, “Out of Many, One People”: Olive Senior, Dionne Irving & Jonathan Escoffery on November 19, and Zain Khalid, Leila Mottley & Elizabeth Nunez: A Conversation on November 20. The Miami Book Fair dates back to 1984 and is today considered one of the most comprehensively programmed book fairs in the US. This year includes participation by authors both in-person and virtual (e.g. Trinbagonian author of Bocas winning Pleasantview Celeste Mohamed has announced that she will be part of Miami Book Fair online activities the named Read Caribbean panel discussion, an interview with fellow Trini writer Tracey Baptiste, and a podcast interview with Marva Hinton). (Source – Celeste Mohamed on Instagram)
Antiguan and Barbudan artist Heather Doram has a show coming up.
(Source – Facebook)
Caribbean book and lifestyle influencer Book of Cinz is reporting a successful staging of her first reading retreat in the nature isle, Dominica. Round two will be held in October 2023 and interested readers of Caribbean lit can already sign up here. Meanwhile, her next virtual book club meet-up to discuss Irish Trinidadian author Amanda Smyth’s novel Fortune will be on November 29th 6-8 p.m. (Source – Book of Cinz newsletter)
I-ROY by Eric Doumerc, with various contributors, is a book about the prolific and talented Jamaican deejay, Roy Samuel Reid, 1942-1999. He enjoyed a hugely successful recording career in the 1970s but died of heart failure relatively young after two decades of declining health and output. Belated recognition has come following the selection of his song ‘Sidewalk Killer’ to feature in the 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and this timely re-appraisal reviews his life’s work and achievements in sound and lyrics. (Source – JRLee email)
UK based Trinidad and Tobago writer Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s When We were Birds dropped this year. It is described as “a mythic love story” and has been widely acclaimed. In addition to the print and ebook editions, there is also an audio version using the voices of Trinidad actors/readers, sourced with assistance from the UTT’s theatre programme, Wendell Manwarren and Sydney Darius. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said the writer. (Source – N/A)
US based Jamaican children’s book writer Renaee Smith has announced a couple of new titles, bringing her total book count to 10 – seven of them children’s books. The new titles are Dorianne the Baker, written with Nella Perrier and Freddie learns the Value of Money. This book is an introductory book for children ages 5-12 that teaches them the value of money. It introduces the basic financial concepts of saving and budgeting, from earning money from chores to spending money earned in stores.
This seems to be the fifth in a Freddie series of books. (Source – Renaee Smith email)
ESPJr. of Trinidad and Tobago have uploaded a number of early readers – such as the Ready Set Hatch! storybook, Spanish language edition, and colouring book; The Most Magnificent, about the sentient (in the story) seven magnificent houses along Trinidad and Tobago’s Queen’s Park Savannah; Alex the Awesome & the Crazy Quest for the Golden Pod, about a secret agent agouti; and the Agriman series of adventures. All written by Jeunanne Atkins, storyteller and co-founder of ESPJr with former teacher Andrea Alkins. (Source – N/A)
Caribbean book influencer ifthisisparadise on instagram has announced a Jamaica Kincaid read-a-long for 2023 – 2024.
Jamaica Kincaid was born Elaine Potter Richardson in Ovals, Antigua so this is exciting news and I had to share. They’ll be reading in publication order beginning with At the Bottom of the River (1983), and continuing, I assume, with Annie John (1985), Annie, Gwen, Lilly, Pam, and Tulip (1986), A Small Place (1988), Lucy (1990), The Autobiography of My Mother (1996), My Brother (1997), Talk Stories (2001), My Garden (Book) (2001), Mr. Potter (2002), Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalayas (2005), See Now Then (2013), Party: A Mystery (2019) – I’ve bolded the ones I’ve read and linked the ones I’ve reviewed. Maybe a chance to read the ones I haven’t? (Source – Karukament newsletter)
Of Rivers and Oceans is Dominican author, Anella Shillingford’s second poetry collection after 2019’s Bonfire. It was launched at the Portsmouth Branch Library in September 2022. A press release from the author described the publication as “a celebration of heritage, history, healing, and home.” (Dominicanewsonline.com) (Source – N/A)
Young participants in the Antigua and Barbuda Film Academy, a development arm of the Motion Picture Association of Antigua and Barbuda have published a book of stories they worked on during the pandemic. The book is called Love Friendship & Betrayal: An Anthology of Lessons Learned and the authors are Joel Lewis, Noah Yeboah, Destiny Simon, Delicia Howell, Shenika Bentick, and Sheneilla Somerset. Abigail Piper is credited as development editor. The publisher is Dr. Noel Howell’s I & I Books. The authors also acknowledged, in their preface, the contribution of Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse whose services to the project included workshop facilitation and copy editing. “Once we started the in-person workshops with Ms Joanne Hillhouse, I was re-energized. … I realized that writing is more than physically putting pen to paper. We were able to use all our senses and feelings to create emotions that our readers can relate to. This workshop opened my eyes to various aspects of writing.” wrote Destiny. Shenika also wrote that the workshops, “helped boost my own self-confidence and helped me in writing this story.” Delicia commented on how the process helped her deal with real life issues. “As I developed the plot and addressed these fears, I realized that some of them were my own fears expressed in different situations. This type of self-reflection was new to me and I was able through these fictious characters to better deal with my own insecurities.” The stories were originally intended to be productions but due to the lockdown plans were changed, with participants working with each other remotely to develop their scripts for publication. Sheneilla said, “The zoom meetings and workshops were very helpful and assisted me with the many corrections and rewrites I had to do. I also learned many new things about writing. I had fun creating characters and putting them in situations that created conflict and drama. Receiving feedback from a professional writer was eexciting and encouraging. The critique sessions with my writing partner also helped me to stay focussed and motivated.” The book’s summary focusses on the in-between status of teenagers who are neither teens nor adults but young people dealing with feelings like fear, pain, and loneliness, using the literary arts as a vehicle. These same teens scripted the 2022 short film, also produced by Dr. Howell, Don’t hit me Pickney. Film and book were released during a red carpet event at the Dean William Lake Cultural Centre on October 31st 2022. (Source – me)
ETA – report of the book launch in the Daily Observer –
Trini writer, British based, Anthony Joseph was named to the short list of the T S Eliot Prize alongside nine other poets. Per The Guardian, “He is shortlisted for Sonnets for Albert, an autobiographical collection that weighs the impact of growing up with a largely absent father.” The winner will be announced on January 16th 2023. (Source – JRLee email)
Jamaican artistes Spice, Koffee, Skillibeng, Popcaan, Shenseea, and Sean Paul are contending for the Best Caribbean Music Award in the UK’s MOBO (Music of Black Origin awards).
Last year’s winner of this award is Shenseea, above right, wearing Antiguan and Barbudan designer Shem Henry, pictured left, whom I wrote about in CREATIVE SPACE.
MOBO is celebrating its 25th anniversary. (Source – Antigua and Barbuda’s Daily Observer newspaper)
The winners of Dominica’s Independence Literary Competition are Arrundell Thomas (Dominica between Sentences), English poetry; Ian Jackson (Orvince Gone), short story; and Jules Pascal (Bondye ka Mété), kweyol poetry.
(Source – Nature Island Literary Festival on Facebook)
Antiguan and Barbudan writer Gayle Gonsalves has received additional awards for her novel My Stories have No Endings: an Independent Press Award distinguished favourite & Next Generation Indie Book Award grand prize, second place, fiction, and winner, multicultural fiction. See more re recently awarded Antiguans and Barbudans. (Source – Gayle Gonsalves on social media)
I thought I had posted the Bocas children’s lit prize long list but maybe that was a fever dream. Here’s the short list.
I write Rhymes: A Novel by Nadine Johnson
Zo and The Forest of Secrets by Alake Pilgrim
The Whisperer’s Warning by Danielle Y C Mclean
The Land Below by Aarti Gosine
(Source – Bocas Lit Fest on Facebook)
Twelve young artists from Barbuda participated in the second annual Barbuda Youth Art Workshop and Competition in October 2022; three took home top prizes. Four on scene judges plus viewers via social media weighed in on favourite art works. Kyrollos Greaux (art: Under the Sea – the Big Coral Race) won in the 10-12 age group, Trinity Whyte (art: Postcard from Barbuda) won in the 13-15 age group, and Makaida Whyte (art: The Sound of Music) won the 16-18 age group. Each winner received EC$500.
(Source – Antigua and Barbuda’s Daily Observer newspaper)
Jamaica-born Brits (pictured) Yvonne Bailey-Smith’s The Day I feel off My Island and Leone Ross’ This One Sky Day were this year shortlisted for the Diverse Book Awards. It is a UK based awards recognizing books featuring characters not typically or widely represented. (Source – Myriad Editions email)
Shabier Kirchner of Antigua and Barbuda has been invited to join the Motion Picture Association of America. While I am not sure if any Antiguans and Barbudans have been a part of the Oscar-voting body in the past, I can say that either way it’s a rare opportunity and Kirchner is one of only 10 cinematographers in the 2022 class.
Kirchner has won awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, and the British Academy Television Craft Awards for his work on the Small Axe anthology. (Source – Bert Kirchner)
Dr. Noel Howell, medical practitioner and filmmaker, who works with the young people of the Antigua and Barbuda Film Academy, while announcing the release of student production Don’t Hit Me Pickney announced that it had received an award as best student production at CommFestt, a film festival in Canada.
See Playwrights and Screenwriters (the Antigua-Barbuda Connection) for this and more productions from Antigua and Barbuda. (Source – Dr. Noel Howell/ABFA/MPAAB)
The Antigua and Barbuda Film Academy presented awards to four people at the October 31st 2022 premiere local screening of CommFestt award winning student film Don’t hit me Pickney and launch of book of student stories Love, Friendship, and Betrayal: An Anthology of Lessons Learned – executive produced and published, respectively – by Antigua-born, US-based pediatrician and filmmaker Dr. Noel Howell. Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse who has worked with the AFA as an editor and workshop facilitator was the night’s first awardee, her plaque for her commitment to the advancement of literacy in Antigua and Barbuda.
Meanwhile, for their contributions to the development of film production in Antigua and Barbuda, producers and former heads of the Motion Picture Associstion of Antigua and Barbuda Howard Allen, Dr. Alvin Edwards, and Bert Kirchner were awarded as well. Kirchner is the country’s film commissioner and is responsible for bringing a number of film and commercial productions to Antigua and Barbuda. Dr. Edwards, an ophthamologist, has been involved in production of high profile arts events like Romantic Rhythms in addition to producing films like Once in an Island and publication of its companion book. Allen is part owner with his wife of HaMa, Antigua and Barbuda’s pioneering filmmakers and still the most prolific producer of features (The Sweetest Mango, No Seed, Diablesse, The Skin, Deep Blue). The event was hosted by the Motion Picture Association of Antigua and Barbuda of which the Film Academy is a part. (Source – me)
November 1st was Antigua and Barbuda’s 41st anniversary of Independence, and at that day’s Ceremonial Parade a number of national awardees were announced as per normal. They included members of the arts community. I don’t have the full list (at this posting and I have never understood why the official list is so hard to find) but per reporting in the Daily Observer newspaper, among them are calypsonian Oliver ‘Destroyer’ Jacobs and pannist Patrick Johnny Gomes. Jacobs, a veteran of the field both on stage and with his pen is now GCH – meaning Grand Cross, the Most Precious Order of Princely Heritage, and Gomes is MH – Most Precious Order of Princely Heritage.
(photo credit Nathaniel Edwards/Facebook)
Jacobs, whose respected position within the Antigua and Barbuda calypso fraternity translated in to classics but not crowns told Observer that this honour is “not for me alone, it’s for all the calypsonians who never won a crown and kept on going.”
(Destroyer back in 2007, I believe, accepting a National Vibes Star Project award)
(Source – Daily Observer 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.