Tag Archives: Blogger on Books

End of Year Book Tag (Caribbean)

No you didn’t sleep through the tail end of hurricane season, Independence season (if you’re in Antigua and Barbuda), nor, heaven forbid, Christmas season, but book blogger Kristen Kraves Books has announced this tag and as a Caribbean literary space, we never miss the opportunity to talk books…Caribbean books. So I’ll be answering the tag questions but in Caribbean. Read through and play along.

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

I don’t remember exactly when I started it but I would love to finish Trinidad and Tobago writer Monique Roffey’s The Mermaid of Black Conch. It’s picked up tons of awards, is in translation in many places, is critically acclaimed, is a book I’ve even used in the Jhohadli Writing Project workshop as it has some great craft moments, but, yes, I still need to finish it and I really really want to.

I should finish it at least before the new The Little Mermaid comes out (right?) just so I can check any notion when I write about it (because it feels like one of those books I’ll be wanting to discuss in Blogger on Books) that non-white mermaids do not exist, because in any world where mermaids exist at all, we’ve been there.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition to the end of the year?

I’m going to interpret this as books with endings since we don’t have autumn in the tropics and I’m going to be very literal about it since I’ve been reading Antiguan-Barbudan writer Gayle Gonsalves My Stories have No Endings, because it’s right there in the title and because I am in sight of the ending. This is an indie which has picked up several indie awards and which I’ve read in waves and stops; hoping to hit another wave.

Is there a New Release you’re still waiting for?

Based on Kristen Kraves Books response, this one is about books that have been announced but are not yet on the market. But I’m going to take the opportunity to boost a recent release from an Anguillan author, Cassilda Brookes who reached out to me recently to share news of the official launch of children’s book Anansi and The Hurricane, which has been in the market since earlier this year.

I met Cassilda when I went to the Anguilla Literary Jollification in 2015 and, a reminder that you never know how your energy is impacting another’s journey, because she said I helped motivate her and I appreciate her saying that. Maybe I needed to hear that. And we stan an Anansi tale in the Caribbean. So much is generational now that I tested this by asking my youngest kid about Anansi recently and, yep, he knew all about the trickster spider so we’re still passing on knowledge of this West African demi-god by continuing to tell our own Anansi tales. This one seems timely too with its focus on hurricane preparedness.

What three books you want to finish before the end of the year?

I would like to finish books I’ve started before turning to new books, so I’m going to list three in-progress books. Jamaican writer Curdella Forbes’ Songs of Silence, set so far in rural Jamaica, Reclaim Restore Return: Futurist Tales of the Caribbean edited by Barbadian writer Karen Lord and Grenadian and US and British Virgin Islands author Tobias S Buckell, and Fortune, which is shaping up to be a historical epic beginning in the oil fields of Trinidad, by T & T writer Amanda Smyth.

Is there a book that could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

I don’t think I’d be shocked but, keeping it Caribbean, I have finished and am working on my review of New Daughters of Africa. This book is almost 800 pages and there were times I thought I wouldn’t finish it. It was a marathon and right now, in addition to the review, I am working on a paper focussed on Caribbean authors in NDOA for the Antigua and Barbuda Conference, organized annually by the Antigua Studies Association, and focussed this year on “The Current State of the Global Black Struggle”. It’s in a couple of weeks. I may be in over my head.

Challenging as this book was in terms of sheer volume, it is easily a top tier read, and, yes, possibly my favourite of the year.

Have you started making reading plans for 2022?

I don’t make reading plans as such, though I do have an ever-growing TBR and do want to get caught up especially on Caribbean releases of the last few years. As there’s lots of exciting new content and I haven’t been able to keep up.

How about you?

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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Reading Room and Gallery 43

Things I read or view or listen to that you might like too. Things will be added – up to about 20 or so – before this installment in the Reading Room and Gallery series is archived. For previous and future installments in this series, use the search feature to the right. Possible warning for adult language and themes.


“When he left, Marley was despondent, feeling betrayed by the country he had given his life to…”


“It’s harder than you think it is…” – Lindsey Ellis


“Hurricanes that stagger like a betrayed lover barreling through the islands until its rage is spent on the sands of our beaches/littered with masks and plastic bottles” – ‘Archipelagos‘ by Geoffrey Philp


“I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.” – from Langston Hughes’ ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers


“When Kali fights Raktavera it seems impossible because every drop of his blood generates new demons. She figures out how to defeat him. She lifts him above the earth, slays him, and drinks his blood. Consuming Raktavera’s blood, Kali goes into a destructive trance. She can’t control herself. She kills.” – from ‘Journey to Ashes‘ by Joy Mahabir


“In the beginning Leona thought the river was a horrible way to meet men. She thought Nell and I should meet them through normal channels, at church or a coffee shop, and not immediately after they’d tried to end their lives. Over the years, though, she’d accepted that my sister and I weren’t attracted to churchgoing, coffee-shop sorts, that we liked men who’d reached the ends of their ropes, guys who’d been gut-punched by life enough times to know they would be gut-punched several more.” – from ‘The Narrows by Janet Jodzio


“…all in all I loved this book (both books), and find it consistent with the author’s oeuvre, which I’ve found to have strong, athletic and adventurous females, some element of fantasy, some mystery to be solved or problem to trouble shoot, within a Caribbean setting that just is. It’s very accessible for young readers and I can see it becoming a favourite of a young girl who is in to art, science, and sports, or perhaps just likes a bit of fantasy.” – from Blogger on Book (2021) – Quick Takes III. The Blogger on Books series used to run on this blog and has since moved to Jhohadli. This post is quick takes of the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books Volume 12 Number 1 Summer 2019, and two Big Cat books How to be a Calypsonian and The Lost Sketchbook (the review of the latter excerpted here)



‘Writing forty to fifty short stories annually provided Louis with just enough money to live comfortably as long as he kept tight control over his budget. Maintaining his morale was also a reason for the high productivity: “My system was to have so many stories out that when one came back its failure was cushioned by the chances that were left,” he wrote to author and editor Ken Fowler, “and by the time they returned I had others out.”’ – from Louis L’Amour and the Legend of the West: Beau L’Amour remembers the Life and Work of His Famous Father in Crime Reads


Something I made…


Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters in 2021 featured the photographic art of Nadia Huggins, a Trinidad-Tobago born, St. Vincent and the Grenadines raised artist and director. The series of images is part of her documentation of the La Soufriere eruption. See more images and read more about her work here.


This was a promotional reading posted to her publisher’s YouTube by Turtle Beach author Barbara A. Arrindell. This book is part of the Caribbean line of Big Cat books and Arrindell is a Wadadli Pen team member.


It’s crazy to me that this film didn’t get more awards love. Why? See my review of both the movie and the book from which it was adapted.


“I could work on a song for an hour or two and then I want to jump off to the next one…working on one song I can get bored and fall out of love with it…he has no problem just sitting with one song.” – Anderson.Paak on working with Bruno Mars


“We Often Have Dope Crew Jackets On My Joints. I Often See Them On Ebay For Big Money.” – ‘Remembering the Iconic Visuals and Creative Process of Spike Lee’s School Daze‘ by Spike Lee


“Creative writing in an of itself is a form of journalism…if you’re speaking to an issue, you’re speaking to something that has a spine, you’re just altering the delivery method in which someone gets the information.” – Roy Wood Jr. in conversation with Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due


“We need to know what a particular form does for storytelling so we can make an informed decision about if we want to use it, when we want to use it, or if we want to dismiss it altogether.” – Tiphanie Yanique on Breaking the Rules of Form in LitHub


“The entry point for me with this particular story though it’s an aquatic adventure set under the sea, the entry point for me was friendhsip.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse at Write the Vision’s Aspiring Authors and Writers Virtual Literary Event, speaking on ‘The Art of Writing Children’s Books?’, speaking at this point on writing Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure


“The problem with canons is how they squeeze people out, it’s not how they include people.”


 “But who I am is my father’s son…” – Sydney Poitier, Academy Class of 2014, Full Interview

His story about the slap back he insisted on in ‘In the Heat of the Night’ and the story he tells about the role he turned down pre-fame (when things were so bad he had to take out a street loan against his furniture to pay for his daughter to be born in hospital) have in common his awareness of his responsibility to his character, characters, and community, and determination not to make money his only motivator.


“Poetry and fiction publishing by Caribbean women has been on-going for decades. Readers should have had more multilingual anthologies available during the last twenty years. We have such a significant number of excellent writers coming from the region and the larger Caribbean world.” – Loretta Collins Klobah in interview (alongside Maria Grau Perejoan) with Plume


“How come we are so visible, yet we are invisible.” – Edith Oladele of the African Slavery Memorial Society, discussing how she came to an awareness of her connection to slavery and to Africa.

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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“But, as I said, for all that is familiar, this book is not a knock-off. The complex characterization of Donte, who also serves as the narrative voice, the point of view through which we experience the story, is especially complicatedly human. “I don’t want Trey to feel bad but I do want him to feel bad”. Then there is the visual, general descriptiveness, of the storytelling. “My head is pushed down and my body follows, collapsing in to the patrol car”. The loss of innocence. “I never thought there’d be a time where mom and dad couldn’t protect me. Is this growing up?” Another reference point, the Kerry Washington film American Son, in which, much as with Donte, the temperature in the room changes when officers are interacting with the Black mother as opposed to the white father, similarly over the fate of a son – and similarly the mother is all righteous indignation ready to take on the system while the father is just daddy (the book tackles those various levels of privilege). The relationships generally, the established ones (his parents, but especially his brother who accompanies him on his fencing journey) and the emerging ones (Zahra, a teammate and love interest, and his coach, Mr. Jones) are engaging and multi-faceted.” – read the full review in the Blogger on Books series which runs on my Jhohadli blog.

African-American writer Jewell Parker-Rhodes is a past Wadadli Pen donor, a fact that had no bearing on the review.

-Joanne C. Hillhouse, blogger and author, and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late August 2020)

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.


Carnival Hangover, a short story by Joanne C. Hillhouse, was excerpted as part of advocacy group Intersect (intersect.anu) ‘Carnival Bodies’ instagram series. This and other excerpted stories will be published on the Intersect website when it goes live in September/October 2020.


Caribbean authors Curdella Forbes, Lauren Francis-Sharma, Marlon James, Claudia Rankine, and likely others I’m missing (with apologies for any omissions) are included in the line-up of the September 28th to October 5th 2020 Brooklyn Book Festival. It will be as virtual as everything this year of pandemics and protests 2020. Catch all the action here.


Darlene Beazer-Parker’s Summertime Fun, published in 2020, has been added to our lists of Antiguan and Barbudan Writings and Antigua and Barbuda Children’s Literature. Partial summary: “Darlene Beazer-Parker celebrates the island home where she grew up in this children’s book filled with beautiful photographs. The story starts with a bright blazing sun and children running down to swim in the Codrington lagoon to cool off. There, they are free to play all day. Some children learn how to swim while others watch quietly in the shade. Jumping from a wharf or the side of a boat, the children become fast friends. Swimming styles may differ, but they all celebrate being together in such a beautiful place. At the end of the day, the children plant mangrove seedlings to preserve their lagoon for future children. They go home wishing summer will never end. Join the author as she looks back on an idyllic summer in Barbuda where anything seems possible.”

Earlier this summer, Caribbean Reads Publishing announced the publication of The Fight for Belle Vue and The Field of Power by St. Lucian Travis Weekes. Per a Caribbean Reads release, “Family feuds, forbidden romance, political corruption, colonialism, racism, and magic are some of the themes packed into these plays. The plays are set in St. Lucia and reflect the cultural landscape of the Caribbean.” Funding for the project was provided by the UWI St. Augustine Campus Research and Publication Fund Committee. Copies available in Trinidad as of August 2020 and the book is available in kindle and paperback at various outlets across the Caribbean and beyond.


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Over at my personal author blog, the two regularly updated series are Blogger on Books and CREATIVE SPACE. Be sure to check them out. I’m still talking about To Shoot Hard Labour but turning fresh soil.

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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