Tag Archives: Barbudan

Just Some Links I wanted to Share

“D. Gisele Isaac is an Antiguan and Barbudan writer.” From an article on my blog entitled ‘D. Gisele Isaac – Daughter of the Antiguan & Barbudan Soil’

“Musical Youth is the first book that I have read by Joanne C. Hillhouse, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!” From author Danielle McClean’s review of Musical Youth

“(My boss) said she can definitely see the improvement in my writing.” From a recent review by a past participant in the Jhohadli Writing Project

Thanks for reading.

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


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Archived Articles

This is a space where I’ll be placing articles about Antiguan and Barbudan literature that are not current but still worthy of inclusion in a virtual library of Antiguan and Barbudan literature. This is a work in progress.


Writer Althea Prince up to Big Things – Daily Observer (Antigua) – October 12th 2012
Excerpt: “In the Black is a collection of fiction and poetry by a mix of well known African Canadian writers, and yours truly. The credits read like a literary who’s who and includes the two writers to whom the collection is dedicated – George Elliot Clark, winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Award for Poetry and other prestigious prizes, and celebrated playwright Djanet Sears, who counts among her too numerous to mention awards, a Martin Luther King Jr Achievement Award, the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Canadian Screenwriting Award.”

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). 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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MAILBOX – National Pavilion of Antigua and Barbuda at the Venice Biennale

Life is funny and art too…because little as Frank Walter’s art is known at home, I’ve come across several instances of him being posthumously feted abroad. The most recent occasion is an email to my inbox from Paolo Meneghetti, an Italian critic of contemporary aesthetics and a curator of contemporary art exhibitions. I learned through this correspondence that Walter’s work was shown at the Venice Biennale between May and November 2017.

Meneghetti wrote about this, reporting that Walter’s art made up the entire Antigua and Barbuda portion of the exhibition.

Wadadli Pen is all about sharing our arts, so if visual arts is your thing, be sure to check out Meneghetti’s review of Walter’s art as presented at the Bienniale – written in his original Italian, but just use the translate button to read.












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Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed Vll

This picks up where the previous Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed pages left off (there was one, two, three, four, five , six – use the search feature to the right to dig them up if the links don’t work).  As with those earlier pages, it features reviews about A & B writings that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible/professional reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. It’s all shared in an effort to underscore Antigua and Barbuda’s presence in the Caribbean literary canon.

“…what’s most intriguing is Dot Kid’s magnificently imaginative editorial photographs that capture the surreal and otherworldly in beautifully compelling ways.” – AfroPunk on the art of Antigua-Barbuda’s Dot Kid.


FWbook_cover_V10-1-766x1024‘What he left behind suggests that he is among the great visionaries of the late-20th and early 21st centuries. The sampling at the Armory is enough to immerse us in Walter’s world. His colors are beautiful, glowing, opaque primaries, pastel yellows, reds, blues, cream, and thalo greens. His touch is careful — he knows what he’s trying to depict; surfaces are scumbled, rough, and awkward, like his mind is moving faster than the brush — his hand trying to keep up, get it all down. He also paints foggy or iridescent washes with tissue-like attention to changes of brush direction. It’s impossible when looking at his work not to sometimes think of modern artists like Cocteau, Picasso, and Kandinsky, as well as contemporary artists like Chris Ofili, Peter Doig, Chris Martin, Nicole Eisenman, even Mary Heilmann. A startlingly abstract image of geometrically divided stars within faceted, colored circles instantly suggests the visionary greatness of my all-time favorite American 20th-century painter, Marsden Hartley. Indeed, Walter gives the work a title that Hartley would have understood: “Psycho Geometries.” We see jet-black faces that recall Kerry James Marshall. There are strange Whistler-like nocturnal scenes of seasides and waves. A mystical series titled “Meditative Patterns” pictures dot-patterns of crowns, hearts, birds, spiderwebs, and petroglyphs.’  – Vulture.com in a piece entitled Antiguan Master Frank Walter is a Revelation at ADAA


“In her debut collection of poetry, Marilyn Sargeant, a contemplative and introspective writer, as well as light-hearted and playful in her verses, presents her readers with both narrative and lyrical poetry that is innocent and explorative, as well as dark and brooding—touching upon topics which have stood the test of time in their truth and importance for contemporary audiences.” – Anna Grace, B.A.H. Eng. Lit., M.Ed.


“Dolphin the Arctic seal is a playful, adorable seal who easily gets distracted and “day-dreamy.” Thanks to his wandering mind, he’s about to go on a very big adventure, and young readers will love following along to see what happens.” – The Feathered Quill reviews Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure


“Joanne Hillhouse is a powerful writer, raising questions directly and with great energy.” – Literary Hub’s 10 Female Caribbean Authors You Should Know (and Add to Your American Lit Syllabus)


“Written in Hillhouse’s strong poetic voice, With Grace spins a magic-laden story of the universal battle between good and evil. But it is far from ordinary. An involved tale, With Grace takes the reader on a series of twists and turns as Hillhouse explores the limits of human capacity for tolerance and meanness.” – read the full review by children’s book author and publisher Carol Mitchell


Lost books“Children will likely relate well to this story of getting lost while daydreaming and to the reassurance that kindly adults will look after strays. The book also gives them a chance to learn more about the work of environmentalists and Caribbean sea life.

An appealing book, all the more so for being based on real life.” – Kirkus Reviews on Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure


Re Dorbrene O’Marde’s play This World Spin One Way:


“Dorbrene O’Marde’s best written play, and probably the best play written by an Antiguan….” – Tim Hector

“…really good. Everyone should go. It was a combination of funny and sad. A must see!” – The Daily News (St. Thomas)

“…subtle and well-suited to the universal themes of the ups and downs of love affairs… The two main characters (played by Alvin G. Edwards and Zeinab C. Sekai) created plentiful tension that kept the audience hanging on to their every word, wondering how it would all turn out. They made sparks fly” – The Dominica Online Review

“(This World Spin One Way is) about very intimate human relations, disappointments – finding oneself…..it is about the choices people make in life. I am interested in the discussions after people see the play. It will make everyone reflect on their life.’ – Jean Small of the University of the West Indies School of Drama who directed the St. Thomas version

“(This World Spin One Way) is a wonderful source of entertainment that laudably raises important issues from the Caribbean perspective’. She suggests that ‘O’Marde writes to validate the unique aspects of social behaviour in the Caribbean including not only intimate relationships but also the exercise of authority.’ – Drama critic Barbara Twine Thomas

“(This World Spin One Way explores) complex relationships between men and women that permeate life in our islands. It is thought provoking….you’ll find yourself flashing-back to O’Marde’s drama in days to come.” – David Edgecombe – who produced the first version of this play and directed the second

“There were some very powerful scenes in this play….the audience ate them up. The artists’ creative juices blend in a most delightful, funny and provocative play. It will surely prompt discussions among those who were fortunate enough to see it during its short run here.” – Dorrett Phipps/Night Crawler

“While there was considerable sexual overtone in the play, I found it subtle and well-suited to the universal themes of the ups and downs of love affairs …as well as betrayal, misunderstandings and nostalgia about past relationships.  The two main characters created, These two main characters … (made) sparks fly easily (and) … created plentiful tension that kept the audience hanging on to their every word, wondering how it would all turn out.” – Ti Domnik Tales commenting on the 2014 staging in Dominica where the main characters were played by Alvin G Edwards and
Zenaib C. Sekai

“Good play, well written play, well directed play, well-staged play (for the most part), good performances all around but especially so that of Dr. Alvin Edwards, not because his character was likeable, he often wasn’t, but because he so successfully made him human.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse for Wadadli Pen


Time to Talk “You don’t have to be a cricket fan to enjoy Curtly Ambrose’s Time to Talk.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse (exclusive to Wadadli Pen) 


“O’Marde’s first book after a well-established reputation as a playwright, the fictional book Send out you Hand, was weighted and slow by comparison – exposition heavy, the characters too often coming across as mouthpieces for the writer’s intellectual concerns rather than fully drawn people.

In Nobody, O’Marde invests more successfully in the characterization and humanization of his subjects, making them (Short Shirt, Short Shirt’s writers, and, in fact, calypso, more relatable, complex, and interesting) while at the same time tying them all, Short Shirt and calypso especially, in to the larger cultural and societal shift.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse on Dorbrene O’Marde’s Nobody Go Run Me in the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books


untitledn“I found the last story, the most domestic of the stories, dealing with a mother’s death and its impact on her family, to be, strangely enough, the most interesting of the three. This story, Chasing Horses, love that title, is also included in the new anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan writing, So the Nailhead Bend So the Story End, edited by Althea Prince.  I did wonder, what it might have sounded like from a single perspective like the story of the Governor’s wife kidnapped by the Kalinago and then exiled by her husband or the progressive Bishop trying to build a church community in a socially and racially divided island, instead of shifting from point of view to point of view. I enjoyed and empathized with the other children’s voices, yes. But, as the reader I was particularly interested in how Irene, the oldest daughter whose life was most transformed by her mother’s death, was processing the changes in her life. I felt that sticking with her perspective could have sharpened the thematic focus with respect to what it was like for girls then when it came to the intersection of family obligation and personal ambition.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse on Barbara Arrindell’s The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories, originally published in the Daily Observer, archived to Wadadli Pen


“This book is also interesting, as noted, for the insight it offers to the immigrant experience.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse’s review of Althea Romeo-Mark’s If the Dust Would Settle, originally published in the Daily Observer, archived to Wadadli Pen





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The Short Story: an Opportunity to Experiment and Dare

‘Just as Steadroy finish mek up he bed under de Big Head, smadee call he name. He freeze … “Papa?” … … … he shiver, looking up de nose-hole of the stone statue, before turning pan he side and resettling heself. De plastic flower an’ dem wha dem lay last Labour Day rustle when he shif’, but after dat, dead silence.

Smadee call he name again.

He tun back pan he back; stare hard pan Papa stone lip an’ dem, looking for even a quiver … … … he choops to heself. Only picknee believe in jumbie. Dead na speak an’ Papa dead long time.’

Excerpt Papa Jumbie by Joanne C. Hillhouse, published in Akashic Books’ Duppy Thursday series


This is an online series and I submitted to it really just for so. As with when I submitted The Cat has Claws to Akashic’s Mondays are Murder (noir) series, I approached it as a writing exercise – a prompt if you will. It was an opportunity to experiment with genres I had never tackled before, noir, and a jumbie/ghost story. While this wasn’t my first attempt at a ghost story, it provided other challenges – one, writing the anti-ghost ghost story (i.e. a ghost story that maybe sort of wasn’t); two, writing the entire story in the Antiguan vernacular(narrative and dialogue both – not that I’m the first to do this but as I typically use English for the narration even when the dialogue is some variation of our Caribbean creole/s, a first for me, I think); third, submit it to a non-Caribbean market. My beta reader (the writer I asked to give me some feedback on it before I revised and submitted) said that while she liked it she wondered if it would be understood and accepted by an editor not steeped in the culture. Only one way to find out. Either it would be rejected, or accepted with edits proposed to make it more crossover, or accepted as is. It was accepted as is, pretty much; they said there would be minor edits but I don’t notice any discernable difference from what I submitted. And the reader response has been positive.

Of course, Akashic, a Brooklyn based independent press, is well familiar with Caribbean authors as it’s published a fair amount of them before, including several of us from various countries in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean.  So you could argue it had an ear already tuned to our various Caribbean accents. Still. I’m going to count this experiment as a win. Of course, I counted it as a win before it was accepted anywhere; as with each key tap I continue to claim the validity of my voice as an Antiguan writer. Can you hear us without us having to iron out our tongue? Maybe you can, maybe you can’t; but should it inform how we write (and if you say, yes, if you want to publish, well, how much). I believe in being true to the piece I’m writing (to my characters especially but also place) so it doesn’t consciously inform how I write. But, in playing with this piece in particular, I did want to consciously erase that divide between the colourful character voice and the more neutral narrator voice, and twist up my tongue little more, as in my poem Tongue Twista. Mission accomplished.

Another reason it was a win before it was accepted is because there is a certain victory in submitting because #facts writers receive more rejections than acceptances; so you submit knowing you face the crushing blow of rejection. “Crushing blow” is not hyperbole by the way; it’s like swinging a demolition ball and waiting for it to swing back in your direction. When rejection hits, it hurts. Hurts bad. Doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing this. But if you want to be a writer publishing, you don’t let that stop you. You meet the challenge and you work to get better.

But what’s the point of submitting short stories to what may or may not be a paying market? Pay is vital (to living) and it does largely inform, especially these days, where I’ll submit, but it’s not why I write nor the only reason I submit. As I said when I posted and as I continuously add to the Opportunities and Opportunities Too, do your due diligence, decide for yourself why you’re submitting and if the market (for whatever reason) is worth it …to you. Only you can decide that, but this article (Don’t Fall Prey to Publishing Scams: 7 New Writer Mistakes to Avoid), underscores that for those who want to write, it’s good practice to try your hand at shorter pieces…and submitting: “Getting your work vetted by contest judges and journal editors gives you the credibility you need to get a legitimate traditional contract or a successful self-publishing career. Don’t spend years writing a novel and then expect it to make a big splash. Start small and build your portfolio and reputation. That’s the way other ‘overnight sensations’ actually did it.”

I write short stories because I enjoy it. Even though I’ve published several books. And especially when the work on longer pieces is dragging. Because it means I’m still writing. I submit because I want to – for reasons as varied as getting paid, cracking new markets, and challenging myself. I research and for my own reasons submit. My research is part of what allows me to continue sharing market information on Wadadli Pen, but it’s primarily researched for my own purposes. I am happy to share the market information and other resources because doing so takes nothing away from me and adds to the growth of our literary community.

And so I suppose the moral of this story is continue to challenge yourself, experiment, and submit – because then even if you receive a rejection, there’s a win already in the daring.

p.s. Here are some links to Antiguan and Barbudan writers who have dared:
A & B Writing in Journals and Contests (A – M)
A & B Writing in Journals and Contests (N – Z)

p.p.s. make use of the links in this post – click and read; I didn’t put them there just for style.

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, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen, 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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Antiguan and Barbudan Arts – A Wish List

Today, I appeared on Crusader Radio (Antigua and Barbuda’s) Listen to Women. One of the last questions put to me by host Joan Underwood was suggestions for development of the arts in Antigua and Barbuda. I spoke about putting a foundation in place to assist artists with accessing the opportunities and funding I know is out there; development of the professional infrastructure needed to support the arts (agents, lawyers, managers, arts development officers, publishers etc.); and research and documentation of our (his)stories – example, the stories of our national heroes in picture book form, for the kids. Inevitably, once I left the studio, I thought of all the things I hadn’t said- like the time I and a group of local writers applied for Commonwealth funding to attend the Calabash literary festival and the time I reached out to our local government via various avenues for a similar mission to the Havana’s International Book Fair, receiving no response.

Thankfully I had this handy post to remind me of my publicly expressed thoughts on this topic before. I’m re-posting some of what I wrote below. Also sharing this letter by Barbara Arrindell on resigning the post of coordinator of the independence literary arts competition in which she recommends to the Minister that someone be given year round responsibility for the literary arts under the umbrella of culture to do for lit arts what a similar approach, including bringing on board the technical expertise of practitioners of the art, did for pan (I would add, and have, that I favour a writer-in-residence programme attached to either Culture or the Public Library). I can only assume that Barbara’s open letter, delivered at the last lit arts comp she helmed, was ignored since the comp subsequently went on a hiatus that hasn’t technically been broken notwithstanding last Independence’s lets’ throw some money at it competition – not if our goal is development of the art form.

Thoughts, with the understanding that these are only my thoughts, and EVERYBODY’S got an opinion, here we go (feel free to share your own):

“Among the things I would like to see happen are …

  • Something similar to the Opportunities data base on this page and some protocols for assisting members of the creative community access opportunities available especially through agencies with which the country has a partner relationship – the OAS, the UN, the OECS, etc.
  • Training opportunities for artistes
  • Commissioning of the skills in the wider artistic community to take programmes to the schools and communities on a consistent basis – put our artistes to work, there are skills here that are underutilized
  • Assistance with sourcing funding for cultural products/productions – note I’m not saying dip into the Treasury but using their network to help artistes realize the production of more culturally relevant products and programming
  • Support for artistes travelling to represent themselves and the country, and assisting them with networking with the Antiguan and Barbudan community in New York, London, or wherever they’re going
  • Artiste showcases not just centrally but in communities throughout the island – and maybe taking some of those showcases on the road beyond our island – I’m reminded of when a group of us, Antiguan and Barbudan writers, applied for and received international funding to put in a showing at one of the top regional literary festivals, for us, a learning opportunity and an opportunity for Antigua and Barbuda to have a presence in spaces where we are too often absent
  • A national gallery, an artist in residence and writer in residence programme through which ongoing initiatives to boost the arts in the community can be developed
  • Someone asked me today after reviewing the Independence programme what about the lit arts comp – I’ve got no answers to that …or for that matter, a book fair (remember the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival? What happened to that?) … anyway since that question came up today, I’ll just rest that here (EDITING TO ADD April 19th 2017 that a new development is the Wadadli Stories Book Fair, not a state project no, but a community volunteer project, because that’s how the arts community makes things, like the Wadadli Pen project, whose Challenge awards will be presented at the Fair, happen)
  • Promotion of the arts using all of the platforms at their disposal – from an enewsletter to their mailing list at home and abroad to TV and web programmes, utilizing everything from ABS to youtube to social media to share and support the work of the local arts community and create connections that could result in all kinds of other opportunities opening up such as targeted tours such as the one organized by Fringe St. Lucia featuring Lucian artistes in the UK earlier this year
  • A Cultural Policy – placed low on this list but really should be a priority on our national agenda and not just in the interest of the arts but in terms of visioning our future as a country
  • As founder and coordinator of Wadadli Pen, support for programmes like mine and others wouldn’t go amiss – short of grant funding which we have yet to access, the programme exists solely on volunteer effort and has gone a-begging each year in order to reward the efforts of and encourage our future writers and artists

…and those are just off the top of my head.”

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



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A & B Arts Round Up November 4th 2016 —>

Most of the awardees of Wadalipen with Joanne Hillhouse

Wadadli Pen awards ceremony 2012.

January – February 2017 – Just a reminder that it’s not too early to start thinking about your Wadadli Youth Pen Prize submissions for the 2017 Challenge season. Teachers, youth workers, parents, start encouraging the young people in your lives to start creating; young people, start creating.

January 20th – 22nd 2017 has been announced as the dates of the 4th Just Write Writers Retreat at Mount Tabor, John Hughes, Antigua. Like the page for more updates.

November 24th and 25th 2016 – ‘Creative Kids Discovering And Exploring Color.’ Venue for Secondary Schools is the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda and venue for lower and upper Primary Schools is at the Public Library.

November 24th 2016 – annual Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Lecture – featuring former attorney general Justin Simon: 2016-leonard-tim-hector-memorial-lecture

November 19th 2016 (6 p.m. – 9 p.m.) – ‘SKETCH’ skilled and unskilled night. ‘Come watch ah we draw’ – Museum of Antigua and Barbuda

November 17th-30th 2016 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) – FIBERY Exhibition by Vernon Grigg held at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda.

November 6th 2016 – 7 p.m. (opening and cocktail); November 7th to 12th – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (viewing) – Art is My Religion – Heritage Quay (Thames Street, across from ACB building)

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