Tag Archives: Bocas Lit Fest

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late April 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).

Accolades

Lisa Allen-Agostini, a Trinbagonian writer based in Trinidad and published by Myriad Press in the UK, is on the just-announced short list for the coveted Women’s Prize for Fiction for her book The Bread the Devil Knead.

***

Funso Aiyejina and Merle Hodge are winners of the 2022 Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters. Born in Nigeria and resident in Trinidad and Tobago since 1989, Funso Aiyejina is a celebrated poet, short story writer, playwright, and scholar — a former Dean of Humanities and Education, and current professor emeritus at UWI, St. Augustine. Aiyejina won the 2000 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book in the Africa region for his short fiction collection The Legend of the Rockhills and Other Stories. As a scholar, he is especially well known for his work on Earl Lovelace, including a biography and film. He is a founding member and former deputy festival director of the Bocas Lit Fest. Hodge, meanwhile, is lauded as one of the first Black Caribbean women to publish a major work of fiction — her classic 1970 novel Crick Crack, Monkey. She is a beloved fiction writer, literary critic, social and cultural activist, and retired lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities and Education at UWI, St Augustine. The Bocas Henry Swanzy Award recognises their crucial parallel work as teachers and mentors of younger authors, and their dedication to nurturing a generation of writers grounded in Caribbean literary tradition and language, exploring the region’s social complexities. The 2022 Bocas Henry Swanzy Award will be formally presented to Funso Aiyejina and Merle Hodge in a virtual event on 30 April, part of the 2022 NGC Bocas Lit Fest. (Source – JR Lee email)

***

Commonwealth Writers has announced the longlist of its annual short story prize, 26 in all.

As far as the Caribbean is concerned there are a number of former long and short listed writers – Jamaican Diana McCaulay (‘Bridge over the Yallahs River’), Bahamian Alexia Tolas (‘No Man’s Land’), Barbados-resident Jamaican Sharma Taylor (‘Have Mercy’). The other Caribbean writers on the list are Cecil Browne (‘A Hat for Lemer’) listed as being of both the United Kingdom and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and J. S. Gomes (‘Omolara’) listed as being of both the UK and Trinidad and Tobago. Congrats to them and all writers on the list. Regional winners will be announced on May 23rd and the overall winner on June 21st 2022. (Source – Commonwealth Writers on Instagram)

Misc.

A couple of British Royals (Edward and Sophie – son and daughter in law of Queen Elizabeth II, respectively) did a fly-through of some Caribbean countries, including Antigua and Barbuda. Sharing for two reasons – 1, because we celebrate our artists, always, here at Wadadli Pen, and a number of our artists formed part of the cultural showcase organized for the royal visit. According to this Daily Observer article, a Government House event included youth collective Honey Bee Theatre, fashion designer Shem Henry, Princess Margaret School steelband, writer Brenda Lee Browne (author of London Rocks and other books) and TV and film producer Mitzi Allen of HaMa Productions (The Sweetest Mango and other films and programmes) ; 2, as a sign of the times, the visit was controversial. Two writers captured some of the controversy. Poet Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau wondered – in a poem (‘The Royals are coming’) critical of the visit shared on Observer Radio and in the Daily Observer newspaper – wondered “what’s it all about/what is the point of this so called royal visit…/what does it mean to you or me?” Meanwhile, playwright and novelist Dorbrene O’Marde, in his capacity as head of the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission wrote a letter which has been picked up by the international media. It is copied below.

(Source – various including Daily Observer, Facebook, and …it’s just what’s in the air)

***

The report of the first round (which ran in 2020) of the CATAPULT Caribbean arts grant has been posted. Read about the partners, beneficiaries, lessons learned, and artists boosted.

“Residencies are literary gold in the timeline of any Caribbean writer. It’s just as true that to access these transformative, alchemical spaces of peer support, financially conducive/sponsored settings, and time to work, the Caribbean writer has always found it overwhelmingly necessary to leave her home.” – recipient of the CATAPULT stay at home residency Shivanee Ramlochan of Trinidad and Tobago, quoted in the report, which you can read here. (Source – Kingston CREATIVE on facebook)

***

A reminder that April 29th is the deadline to nominate a writer for the Royal Society of Literature International Writers. To be eligible, recommended writers must not be resident in nor citizens of the UK; and must have published two substantial works of outstanding literary merit (English or English-language translations of works first published in another language). Complete the recommendation form here. (Source – RSL email)

***

Summer Edward, founder of the Caribbean children’s lit zine Anansesem, has joined the staff of Kirkus Reviews as the magazine’s newest young readers’ editor. This was actually announced last October. Edward edits picture book and middle-grade book reviews for Kirkus. (Source – email)

Events

After a two-year hiatus, one of Antigua and Barbuda’s biggest events, Sailing Week, returns in 2022. And with it the Reggae in the Park concert on May 3rd.

The reported headliner is former soca monarch for Antigua and Barbuda Tian Winter. But reportedly there will be a venue change – Reggae in the Park will not be at Shirley Heights Lookout; new venue to be announced. (Source – Facebook)

***

As previously reported, the Bocas Lit Fest, based in Trinidad and Tobago, takes place April 28th to May 1st 2022. I’m back to share with you the festival guide and programme.

ETA:

Tune in on any of the following platforms:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bocaslitfest
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/bocaslitfest
Website: https://www.bocaslitfest.com

All Festival events are free and open to the online public. Tickets or registration are NOT required, and you don’t need a YouTube or Facebook account to view events on these platforms.

Event recordings will be available on YouTube and Facebook pages for a limited time post-Festival.

And don’t forget that you can order any of the books on the programme from the Festival’s booksellers, Paper Based Bookshop and Metropolitan Book Suppliers!

(Source – Bocas email)

***

CariCon 2022 has published its schedule. It includes sessions on copyright and literary contracts, pitching, self-publishing, marketing, social media marketing, book to screen literary adaptations, and getting your books in to libraries. There will be a workshop led by Donna Aza Weir-Soley (Caribbean erotic poetry) and a session titled ‘The Making of a Storyteller’ with Amina Blackwood-Meeks. The various speakers are listed here. The Caribbean Literary Conference is a commercial event and exhibitors are being invited to register. The event is out of the US and it’s not clear to me if it’s online or on site or both, but it’s during Caribbean American Heritage Month, and will be held June 3rd – 5th 2022. (Source – CariCon Facebook)

RIP

To Jamaican poet Ralph Thompson.

Thompson first published in 1987 ‘Florida’ in London Magazine. He subsequently published more than 20 poems in British, US, and Caribbean journals, including The Caribbean Writer and Mississippi Review. His work is represented in The Heinemann Book of Caribbean Poetry (1992), A World of Poetry for CXC (1994), several Observer Arts Magazine anthologies, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse (2005), and Writers Who Paint / Painters Who Write (2007). He has published two collections of poetry (The Denting of a Wave and Moving On) and a verse novel (View from Mount Diablo). Thompson was also a businessman and educator. Born in 1928, he died in January 2022. (Source – JR Lee email)

Publications

Speak OUT! is a collection, on the Commonwealth Writers ADDA platform, curated by guest editors Brenda Lee-Browne (of the UK and Antigua-Barbuda), Beatrice Lamwaka, Rifat Munim and Peter Sipeli, from a call for submissions related to Freedom of Expression and its wider subthemes of gender, LGBTQIA+, race/ethnicity, and politics among others. The collection will comprise four issues, each featuring an introduction and six or seven works of fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction, selected and edited by all four editors. This first selectionwas made from the 1130 entries received. Read Issue 1 NOW curated and introduced by Peter Sipeli. It includes Lloyd D’Aguilar of Jamaica (‘Things must change’), Nnadi Samuel and Priscilla Keshiro  of Nigeria (‘Chaos Theory & Non-Binary Worship’ & ‘Dubem’), Andy Winter of Singapore (‘Archipelago’), Meera Ganapathi of India (‘Birds at the Border’), Christina Coates of South Africa (‘Fish nor Fowl’), and Lisa J Latouche of Dominica (‘Atiya Firewood’).

image by Indian artist Rohini Mani/illustration for ‘Dubem’.

***

Thought I would share the tri-annual Antigua and Barbuda Culture department magazine (the January – March 2021 and 2022 editions) here.

cover image: King Swallow (RIP).

Thoughts re 2021 issue: it’s a largely well-produced, glossy, magazine-style cultural digest. There are some minor formatting issues that could (and should) be fixed with tighter proofing but in general a good production covering arts history, arts education, arts business, and artists themselves. It’s the kind of publication that’s been needed for some time, with obvious room for improvement. Especially enjoyed Alvin Livingstone’s insights to teaching visual arts, the interviews with Abi McCoy and Zahra Airall, and beautiful art work by Kendra Davis. As for the somewhat loaded question in the artist Q and A’s “is it the government’s responsibility to ensure that the industry thrives’, I like that though McCoy and Airall had an opposite sides approach – McCoy more artist led with the government playing a supporting role and Airall with the government taking more of a leadership role, both answers rather than being in contradiction with each other land on the point that the arts is not just for “exposure” and should not be treated as such and that the artist needs to continue creating and the government needs to be doing a lot more a lot, more consistently (see my CREATIVE SPACE column #7 of 2022, on pan) to ensure it continues to thrive. Read the entire issue.

The 2022 issue – the other issue in my possession – continues the focus on art history (specifically the first part of a history of pan) and arts issues and art profiles and Q and A’s, getting to know others in my community, are always interesting: e.g. learning more about dancer Susan Shaw, writer Kimolisa Mings, and cover artist Gormie.

As steeped as I am in our culture, there is always discovery and I appreciate that. I would appreciate if the things the artists call for (captured in the interviews especially) are taken to heart. Example playwright Jamian Benta (one of those discoveries-for-me I mentioned), calling for a professional space for the staging of local theatrical productions in this issue. Read the whole issue.

(Source – Department of Culture – Antigua and Barbuda)

Visual Art

Jamaican writer and artist Jacqueline Bishop has been stirring conversation in the art world with her History at the Dinner Table series of ceramic plates. As seen, the art juxtaposes dark images from the enslavement of Africans during Colonialism with colourful flowers against china plates, the epitome of fine dining. Referencing the precious plates once displayed in cabinets largely untouched in Caribbean homes and commenting on a still unreconciled past, the plates, displayed in magogany cabinets, have been acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge University). The US based artist’s statement reads: “My work focuses on making visible the invisible, in making tangible the ephemeral, in speaking aloud the unspoken, and in voicing voicelessness.” It’s fair to say that this series of plates continues that work. (Source – Jacqueline Bishop social media)

This series is also mentioned in my CREATIVE SPACE column #8 of 2022.

Opportunities

The window of opportunity to nominate a writer to become a Royal Society of Literature International Writer is closing. The submission deadline is April 29th 2022. This is the second year of the RSL International Writers and one of the inaugural RSL International Writers last year was our own Jamaica Kincaid. I have tried to take the time to make nominations this year and last and invite you to do the same. By entering your recommendations, you can possibly win 1 of 5 Digital Events Passes, giving you a year’s access to all RSL events online. Submit nominations online. Your nominees must not be resident in nor citizens of the UK and must have published two substantial works of outstanding literary merit translated or originally published in English. (Source -RSL email)

***

Did you know Antigua and Barbuda has a robotics club for children?

Well, now you know and the Splash junior Robotics Club seems from the images on its facebook page to be just what it sounds like: a programme designed to guide children through designing, building, and programming robots.

Here’s the programme pre-registration form. (Source – Facebook)

***

Wadadli Pen’s own Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Jhohadli Writing Project 2022 Workshop Schedule.

(Source – Me)

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. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid April 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).

Publications News

Joy James, founder and former owner of Art At The Ridge, a former Wadadli Pen patron, will soon be publishing her third children’s non-fiction book, Another 101 Black Inventors and their Inventions. This is the third in a series of books after 101 Black Inventors and their Inventions and Brilliant Black Inventors. Joy, who has returned to the UK after her time as a gallery owner in Antigua and Barbuda, says that the idea for her books started when her children were younger and she was looking for books with Black role models to help inspire them and expand their minds. “I knew this information was out there somewhere, but I couldn’t find anything in an organised format or in the form of a children’s book.” Her first book targetted upper primary and lower secondary, and her second book ages 5 and younger. This new one will target 9 to 12 year olds.

“I hope that everyone young and old will enjoy reading about the many Black inventors in our world and their wonderful contributions that help to improve our lives. I hope that they will be heartened by this. Our world has certainly benefitted from these amazing inventions!” Joy is currently running a creative campaign for her book on Kickstarter where early copies are offered as rewards. 

Misc.

Shout out to young Antiguan and Barbudan chess combatants who scored victories in their first rated hybrid tournament. I don’t fully know what that means but past Wadadli Pen winner (and my current mentee/intern) Andre Warner – who has previously played internationally, scoring Antigua and Barbuda’s first win at that level – explains in this Daily Observer article.

(Source – Andre Warner)

Opportunities

Antigua and Barbuda: Where Love and Lust Collide is the theme of a campaign being promoted by the Tourism Ministry. It’s a romance campaign writing competition open to citizens – you’ll need to upload your passport bio page as proof of citizenship when submitting. The word limit is 1200 words, prose or poem, and the work should have been previously unpublished. No previous publications. Other details here. (Source – Tourism email)

Accolades

Demari Samuel (left, above) has won the Optimist Club of St. John’s Oratorical contest, back after a two-year break due to COVID-19. The sixteen-year-old St. Joseph’s Academy student was one of six young people who took part in the contest. His competition came from his own school, along with the Clare Hall Secondary and the Antigua Girl’s High School. The fifth former is expected to take part in a Caribbean District contest on April 30th. He will compete with other students for scholarship money which can be used to assist with college financing. Wadadli Pen patron The Best of Books contributed book prizes to the top three. (Source – email)

***

This One Sky Day (also known as Popisho) by Jamaican-British author Leone Ross catapults to another long list, the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize, which is awarded to a book of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry which best evokes the spirit of a place. Ross, in celebrating her latest accolade, reflected, “I am nominated for writing Popisho, a fictional Caribbean-esque archipelago. Popisho: I can see it right now. A home I made in my head. I could go back tomorrow. And I never knew this was a skill I had.” She also celebrated the number of “women and global majority” writers on the list. The short list will be announced on April 20th and the winner on May 4th 2022. (Source – Leone Ross’ Facebook)

Events

Antiguan and Barbudan artist Mark Brown is exhibiting at Kafé de l’Arawak in Guadeloupe, April 6th to 29th 2022. “It’s been a very long time since I had the opportunity to do a solo show and I’m so happy to be able to do my first post-Covid exhibition in Guadeloupe, because I always felt like family there.” (Brown)

The exhibition, Mark’s first solo show in the French West Indies, is in partnership with United Karibbean Artists. (Source – Mark Brown via facebook)

***

Antigua Artisans Travelling Market is a pop-up market, the Easter edition of which lands at St. Anthony’s Secondary School in Langfords. Regular vendor artisans listed here. (Source – Facebook)

***

There are two major Caribbean literary festivals this month. One I already covered, so I’ll start with the one I’ll be posting for the first time (I think).

At this point, it is the biggest, most consistent of the big Caribbean literary festivals – home to several major literary prizes including the coveted Bocas best book by a Caribbean writer, at home and abroad, prize. I’ve already told you that the finalists for this year’s prize are poet Jason Allen-Paisant (Thinking with Trees), novelist Celeste Mohammed (Pleasantview), and essayist Kei Miller (Things I have Withheld). The announcement of the winner will be one of the highlights of Bocas. Here’s the rest of the programme. We can once again participate online. That in mind, I think I’m most looking forward to The Difference a Word Makes with T&T writers Akhim Alexis, Simone Leid, and Hadassah Williams on April 29th; Backchat 2022: Embracing Power, Making Change: Celebrating Caribbean LGBTQI+ Stories with Kei Miller, Shani Mootoo, Rosamond S. King, Rajiv Mohabir, Andre Bagoo, Deneka Thomas, Lisa Allen-Agostini, Shivanee Ramlochan, Angelique Nixon, and Willum Watts, with musical performances by Xoe Sazzle and Moon the Artist, and a presentation by artist Arnaldo James, hosted by Phillipé Alexander on April 29th; A World made of Stories during which Ayanna Lloyd Banwo launches her debut novel When We were Birds on April 30th; the April 30th Winners Row event featuring the Bocas winners and winners of the Bocas Henry Swanzy and emerging writers prizes; and Fierce as an Island on May 1st, featuring Olive Senior, Pamela Mordecai, and Canisia Lubrin. (Source – JR Lee email)

The other event, and much sooner, is, of course, the US VI lit fest. You can register for the events here. There doesn’t seem to be an online breakdown of the events but it is a mix of in person and online, featuring The 1619 Project’s Nicole Hannah-Jones, academics Natasha Lightfoot, Hadiya Sewer (in person) – ETA: you can view that here; and (virtually) Ingrid Bough, Clelia O. Rodriguez, Rozeena Maart, Lewis R. Gordon, Marva McClean, and authors and poets Alecia McKenzie, Andre Bagoo, Richard Georges, Cadwell Turnbull, Biko McMillan, Tobias S. Buckell, Tiphanie Yanique, and Joanne C. Hillhouse. Additionally, musician and illustrator Errol ‘Ajani’ Williams and child writer Bae Shantee Sewer. (Source – see Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late March 2022))

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. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid March 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

Events

Bocas Lit Fest has announced that season 7 of its virtual conversation series Bios and Bookmarks returns on March 10th 2022. (Source – Bocas Lit Fest instagram)

***

The VI Lit Fest begins online on Friday April 8 th. The line up includes featured speaker Nikole Hannah Jones, who will present on Saturday, April 9th. She will be in conversation with local and regional scholars at the Fest’s Bush Tea Morning Social in the University of the Virgin Islands’ Great Hall beginning at 7:30 a.m. (her presentation starts at 9). Hannah Jones is the woman behind The 1619 Project. (Source – Alscess Lewis Brown on Facebook)

Books

On the heels of being named to the Women’s Prize long list, the paperback edition of Jamaican-British writer Leone Ross’ One Sky Day drops this March. (Source – author’s instagram)

***

We love seeing our books out and about. This round-up of recent sightings includes books by Floree Williams Whyte (The Wonderful World of Yohan, Dance on the Moon) and Koren Norton being gifted to the Public Library, Barbara Arrindell’s Turtle Beach being read by mental health advocate Chaneil Imhoff at a local school for World Book Day UK (March 3rd 2022), and a share of The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse shared in a Public Library promo and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure in a social media video promo from Paper Based Bookshop in Trinidad and Tobago. Floree, Barbara, and Joanne are members of Team Wadadli Pen in addition to being authors, and Koren is a former patron. All their books are listed in our Antiguan and Barbudan Writings data base. (Source – Twitter, Facebook)

Accolades

Three Antiguan and Barbudan teachers have been awarded as the top producers in the royal drawing school art certification training course completed in December 2021 – winner Mark Brown, art lecturer at the Antigua State College, and runner-up Shanahan Gillon, art teacher at Pares Secondary, and Carol Gordon-Goodwin, art teacher Princess Margaret Secondary School. The three month course was financed by the Halo Foundation with certification by the Ministry of Education at the G Art Studio in Picadilly. The 23 participants will display their pieces at Government House in April. Brown will travel to London with the Halo Foundation to auction his piece at the Wings of Charity gala – with funds going to assist the most vulnerable in society as well as initiatives for youth. Gillon received cash and Gordon a trophy. (Source – Facebook)

***

Two Caribbean writers are among the 16 books longlisted for the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction. This One Sky Day by British-Jamaican author Leone Ross and The Bread the Devil Knead by Trinidad and Tobago’s Lisa Allen-Agostini. Here’s the announcement.

This 16 is whittled down from 175 submissions and there will be an additional whittling for a short list of six to be announced on April 27th 2022. (Source – YouTube)

***

The Monarch King Short Shirt (Sir Mclean Emmanuel), Antigua and Barbuda’s, and one of the Caribbean’s, best calypsonians, was feted as he marked his 80th birthday on February 28th. Events included a church service and a live broadcast on the ABS TV morning show on location at Shorty’s Beach Bar, the land lease for which was finally handed over to him, after many decades of operation and disputes over his right to operate there, by the country’s prime minister. There is also talk, first raised by former calypso king Progress during the church service, and endorsed by the PM, to add Short Shirt to Antigua and Barbuda’s growing list of national heroes. My favourite part of this week of observance is probably that Dr. James Knight’s documentary, released nearly a decade ago, is now online – the first time I’ve seen it since attending the premiere at the Deluxe Cinema. I have an even deeper appreciation for its narrative structure this time around.

This week’s CREATIVE SPACE is also about Short Shirt. You can read it here. (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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized