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)
Richards Georges, an award winning BVI writer with Trinidad and Antiguan roots, has been named the first ever Virgin Islands Poet Laureate. Per the image below, he was actually appointed back in November – I’m just tardy in posting.
As explained at the programme, the Poet Laureate is selected from among the territory’s most accomplished poets and must serve for three years. Nomination and appointment is based on the subject matter of their written work which should speak to the unique experience of the virgin islands and the volume, quantity, and quality of their work as evident by literary awards and other achievements. The laureate programme was established by the Minister of Culture. Richard who has specific duties under the laureate programme but who sets the intention of making time to write every day, said, ” ‘Writing isn’t just the physical act of writing, it’s researching, it’s reading, it’s thinking actively about a particular project.” You can find Richard’s books listed in the Antiguan and Barbudan poetry page. (Source – Social Media – Facebook; with additional links via email from House of Nehesi and John Robert Lee)
Instagrammer shows love for two Antiguan and Barbudan books.
This was in a series breaking down the bookstagrammer’s favourite reads of the year. And since part of what we do here is amp up Antiguan and Barbudan books, I thought I’d share some of what she said:
Re Brand New – “I’m a fan of Rilzy Adams. She also writes about Antigua. “Brand New” is a spin-off from the Love on The Rock universe she created to tell the stories of ordinary Caribbean millennials looking for love in Antigua. I loved it because of the lead man (a teacher with dreadlocks…) but mostly because of the 90s party atmosphere.” She named Brand New named one of her top five #readCaribbean novels of 2020.
Re Dancing Nude in the Moonlight (10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings) – “I’m a fan of Joanne C. Hillhouse. Her writing (highlights) the issues of Caribbean societies. Here she tells the love story between a man from Antigua and an immigrant woman from the (Dominican) Republic. Colorism and xenophobia (complicate) a relationship that at its core seems doomed. I don’t put it higher in my ranking because (it’s) not a feel good romance. And I think the book is more about showing how one person tries to figure out which path to take in that actual romance. It is realistic and anchored in our present. …Although it was written more than 15 years ago.”
(Source – instagram/bookstagram)
Rilzy Adams (pen name of Rilys Adams, Antiguan and Barbudan romance writer and past Wadadli Pen finalist) is in the running for her book Go Deep for the Black Girls Who Write 2020 Award (an awards initiative targeted at Black romance writers and their readers, for Best Black Erotica – vote here). (Source – the author’s social media/facebook)
ETA: Roffey goes on to win the Costa Book of the Year Award for The Mermaid of Black Conch, of which BBC arts correspondent Rebecca Jones said: “At first, the novel might sound a bit odd. Set on a Caribbean island in the 1970s, it is a bittersweet love story between a beautiful young woman cursed to live as a mermaid and a fisherman.” Read all about it at BBC.com (Source – social media/facebook)
Trinis Ingrid Persaud and Monique Roffey were Costa Book Awards winners – first novel and novel, respectively.
(Source – Social Media – Facebook author announcement and other sources)
A portrait of late Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite hangs in Pembroke College in the UK. Jamaica-born Errol Lloyd was commissioned by the College to paint this first portrait of a BME Fellow to go on permanent display. “It is a great honour for us to be able to place Kamau amongst our other distinguished alumni, here in our Hall”, said the Master, Lord Smith. “He was a hugely distinguished, major international literary figure. He put Caribbean literature very firmly on the literary map.” – More at the College website. (Source – Email from St. Lucian poet John Robert Lee)
UK-Jamaican author Leone Ross’ latest This One Sky Day landed on January 15th 2021. It is published by the prestigious Faber & Faber, and, in the US, Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux. And promoting it, the author landed herself on the cover of Bookseller.
In the article, she said, of the gap between her las novel and this third work – 20 years (not counting her 2017 short story collection Come Let Us Sing Anyway) – ‘“It felt, for reasons I don’t quite understand, that everything went to sleep a little bit,” she says. “I think probably because I needed to hustle more, probably because I needed a different agent, we could say all kinds of things… I don’t know what I needed to do. But I do know that at the end of Orange Laughter I was exhausted emotionally. It had taken a lot to write those two novels over a very short period of time.” It felt, she says now, as though nobody was waiting for book number three, not that anyone should have been, she adds hastily. “I didn’t feel entitled, but also I didn’t get very much support. So I kind of thought, ‘Oh, that’s the end of that’.”’ As someone who first heard Ross read in Guadeloupe in 2013, becoming immediately intrigued, and as a fan of stories of hers like The Woman who lived in a Restaurant and The Mullerian Eminence in Peepal Tree collection Closure – both out in 2015, I believe – I have been waiting, and can’t wait to read. (Source – Leone Ross’ social media)
Two Caribbean specific Collins (UK) Big Cat books hit the UK market on January 7th 2021 – The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse (me) and Turtle Beach by Wadadli Pen team member and bookseller Barbara A. Arrindell, illustrated, respectively by Danielle Boodoo Fortune of Trinidad and Tobago and Zavian Archibald of Antigua and Barbuda. Per this post on The Spectator’s facebook page, Barbara’s book, though “a story set in the Caribbean, … goes beyond the Caribbean and highlights environmental issues of interest to everyone. Barbara’s hobby for swimming and love of beaches are strong influences this children’s book.” She noted the influence my mother and nephew had on my story, and, I would add, that it is, too, in its way a pro-environment story of potential appeal to young readers everywhere. Both will be rolled out in other markets in coming months. (Source – Petra Williams, The Spectator)
Trinidad and Tobago author Lisa Allen-Agostini (you may remember her from this interview here on the blog) is preparing to launch her latest book, The Bread The Devil Knead, her third overall and her first for adults, and first book since the award winning Home Home.
Cover art by Brianna McCarthy.
Launch day is in May 2021, ahead of which Lisa did this January 19th 2021 live special with TTT News on facebook. (Source – Lisa Allen-Agostini’s social media – facebook and instagram)
Dominica/UK’s Papillote Press has launched a video series spotlighting its book titles. The series started with readings from teen/young adult titles Home Home by Trinidad and Tobago’s Lisa Allen-Agostini, Gone to Drift by Jamaica’s Diana McCaulay, The Art of White Roses by Puerto Rico’s Viviana Prado-Núñez, and Abraham’s Treasure by Dominica’s Joanne Skerrett; and continued with Riff: the Shake Keane Story, a biography of the poet and jazz musician, by Philip Nanton. Publisher Polly Pattullo, who introduces the readings with a personal note about each title, says, “Even though the pandemic has kept us apart it has also brought the Caribbean literary community together online. These readings in En Papillote are a way of bringing our authors and their important writing to readers everywhere.” The series will continue with other books across other genres and sub-genres in the Papillote catalogue. (Source – Papillote press release)
On January 20th 2021 (yes, that January 20th 2021), I was the virtual guest of the National Public Library, the first of the year for their Local Author of the Month series.
Next up is Shawn Maile, author of How to work Six Jobs on an Island, on February 17th 2021. (Source – Me)
The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize channel, launched late in 2020, continues to add content – lately dramatized readers of past winners. Check them out and remember to like, comment, share, subscribe, and hit the notification bell.
(Source – Me)
Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine picked up news of the Caribbean Reader’s Awards in an article headlined ‘The 7 Best Caribbean Books for Your 2021 Reading List, According to Rebel Women Lit’s Readers’ Awards’. From the article: ‘The Caribbean Readers’ Awards are like the Goodreads’ Choice Awards in that they are completely reader-led. While it may be smaller in scale, the response was even greater than (co-founder Jherane) Patmore expected, with some readers already suggesting candidates for the 2021 awards. “I’m excited for new people to discover different genres and to have this space to celebrate literature that has been pushed aside or ignored,” Patmore tells OprahMag.com.’ Read the full article by Hearst magazines SEO manager Stephanie Castillo. (Source – Social Media in general)
As with all content on this site, unless otherwise noted, this is prepared by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, Joanne C. Hillhouse. As we try to do, credit if sharing.