Tag Archives: Bocas

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late June 2021)

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)

Arts News

This is an interesting one. African American actor (a personal fave) Michael B. Jordan has trademarked J’ouvert for use as the name of his new announced rum. It has raised issues of cultural appropriation, which is fair (if complicated), but the part that made this interesting to me and relevant to this site was the trademark issue (a google search of j’ouvert also turns up this other trademark claim …?). I read (e.g. in this Trinidad Express article) that ‘the trademark filing …claimed “J’Ouvert” has “no meaning in any language”.’ Not true. Not for any Carnival loving Caribbean person. Literally Day Open, it is historically the start of our mas and for us in Antigua is the start of Carnival Monday, Emancipation Day. I want to make clear that though Trinidad-American rapper Nicki Minaj was the one to raise this on social media, J’ouvert also does not belong to Trinidad – I speak this as the daughter of a patois speaking J’ouvert loving mother from the French Creole island-country Dominica whose earliest memories include being hugged against my mother and sister jamming during J’ouvert in Antigua whose Carnival, Calypso, J’ouvert, Mas, Music, and Pageantry is Carnival to me. This is a Caribbean t’ing not a Trini t’ing. To me. It has meaning to us, collectively. Per the Dothraki, it is known. This move though raises questions of legal ownership, trademark of so many cultural attributes – one of the things not documented in my recent CREATIVE SPACE (CREATIVE SPACE #13 Eat n Lime), for instance, from a conversation with the owner of the oldest family owned business, a rum distributor, on the island about the reason we can’t export Cavalier – our island rum – being a (failure to) trademark issue. There’ve been discussions around steelpan, as it’s become more and more international, and other things over the years. A product is one thing though but what of something that is part of the collective culture, like j’ouvert, who owns that? can anyone? I think we would agree that whoever it is, it probably shouldn’t be an African American actor? BUT What if a percentage of profits was put in to a fund for the preservation and development of Caribbean culture and art – since we know that is lacking in the region? Is that a discussion to be had? Re use of a word we claim but have no legal standing to so do, I’d be interested in an opinion from a Caribbean luminary on this. Just in general. I mean, Antigua is the name of my island. It means old in Spanish. It’s also been used as a fashion brand which, as far as I know, we don’t profit from. Where is the line? So that’s why I’m sharing this. To fuel that conversation around ownership of the things we consider our own. (Source – Caribbean Entertainment Magazine which is making a comeback after a three year hiatus – Read more)

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Canadian artist of Antiguan descent Motion (Wendy Brathwaite) has announced the release of her feature film (she co-wrote it with director Charles Officer) Akillah’s Escape, which earlier premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. (Source – Email)

Remember you can check Antiguan and Barbudan Plays/Screenplays and Playwrights and Screenwriters (the Antigua-Barbuda connection) for more film writing credits.

Events

A reminder that July 12th 2021 is Caribbean Literature Day. Will share details of activities as they become available and as time allows. But keep an eye out. (Source – email)

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Wadadli Pen team member, local author and publisher Barbara Arrindell presented on the regional publishing industry at a World Intellectual Property Organization webinar. She crowdsourced responses from writers who talked about difficulties balancing the creative with the business of writing, the challenges with distribution, the strong emphasis on self-publishing and the greater ease of self-publishing in lieu of grappling with the gatekeepers in international publishing, the barriers to regional creative industries in terms of capitalization and taxation, “real money has to be put in in terms of grants, awards, …and angel (investors)” one of her respondents said, heralding initiatives like the Burt Award, the need for government investment, support, and promotion of local books, and Ministry of Education buy-in, were highlighted, as was the printing and publishing infrastructure, literature councils to gather and tell our stories was recommended. Could go on and on the full has never been told. The Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property has shared a link where the entire webinar can be viewed with the passcode Passcode: J.Smu26a (Source – ABIPO facebook page)

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Post note: Olive Senior couldn’t make it. Ivory and I read our stories in full and fielded a number of thought provoking questions. Fruitful discussion. Good lime.

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The Commonwealth Short Story prize winner will be announced on June 30th 2021. Virtual attendees will hear readings from winning regional stories during the event being held in partnership with the London Library. Regional winner for the Caribbean is Roland Watson-Grant of Jamaica. Kei Miller, also of Jamaica, is one of several announced guest readers. Registration information here. One snag – it’s announced for 1 p.m. India Standard Time which is foreday morning in our Atlantic Standard Time time zone. (Source – CW email)

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Antiguan and Barbudan artist Heather Doram has a live coming up on Untapped Potential with Dr. Simone Mathieu. June 19th, 5 p.m. Watch on facebook at @Pushpast10 and live on TDNtv.net See also http://www.pushpast10.com (Source – instagram)

Opportunities

Upcoming Bocas workshops include my own Writing for Children rescheduled to October 2021. Full line up here.

(Source – Bocas)

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Webinar Opportunity! Are you an inspiring author or simply interested in publishing a book? If so, this webinar will be of much use to you! The World Intellectual Property Organization in collaboration with the Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office will be hosting a webinar for authors and publishers.
Join our regional and international experts on June 21, 2021, at 10 am – 12 pm, as they walk us through the ins– and- outs of publishing a book! This session will cover the foundational strategies that govern:

• State of the industry in the Caribbean region (Speaker Ms. Barbara Arrindell, Writer and Manager, Best of Books)
• ISBN identifier (Speaker Ms. Ms. Stella Griffiths, Executive Director of the International ISBN Agency)

• The landscape and opportunities for publishing. Why do you need a publisher? (Speaker Mr. José Borghino, Secretary General of IPA)
• The author –publisher relation (Speaker Mr. Luke Alcott, International Author’s Forum)

Join the Zoom at: https://wipo-int.zoom.us/j/65607210845

(Source – National Public Library via Facebook)

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A recent addition to our Opportunities Too page is the Bocas Lit Fest Children’s Book Prize. Chapter books by Caribbean writers for readers 7 – 12, roughly 6000 words, are eligible. Details here and here:

(Source – social media and direct mail)

Remember to check for more pending opportunities here.

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Third Horizon Film Festival has posted its schedule which runs from June 24th – July 1st 2021, and includes virtual screenings, preceded by three evenings, June 21st – 23rd 2021, of free keynote and masterclass conversations. RSVP here for discussions on the Caribbean cinematic aesthetic, film financing, and distribution.

Book News

I met Audrey Edwards at the Anguilla Lit Fest in 2015. She moved to France after the 2016 US election and actually the day before the inauguration of he who shall never be named on this site in 2017. Here she discusses her book American Runaway: Black and Free in Paris in the …Years. Her father is from St. Croix and he is described as coming from “a line of proud West Indian men who tolerated no bad behavior from Blacks or whites…”

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Joy James, whom you may remember as the owner of the Art at the Ridge gallery and a patron of Wadadli Pen, has announced the release of 101 Black Inventors and Their Inventions, a crowdfunded self-publication. The book is targeted at late primary and early secondary school ages. The author, Joy, recently started writing non-fiction children’s books to help educate and inform curious, young minds. She and her husband, whose family originates from Antigua & Barbuda, raised their own children on our twin island nation. “This book was an idea long before I started writing it,” Joy said in an exclusive to Wadadli Pen. “When my children were younger, I wanted a book about 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. 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!”

From Gerald Lawson’s home video game console that led to the Xbox and PlayStation to Annie Malone’s haircare products which led her to become a millionaire, the book narrates how “these real-life superheroes” overcame adversity, including discrimination, in achieving their goals.

The book is now available online. Joy has a book on the same theme, this one for ages five and younger, scheduled for an October 2021 release. Congrats, Joy. (Source – Joy James via facebook and direct mail)

Programmes and Projects

Look up. There’s a new R & D page hereon the Wadadli Pen blog. The R is for resources and the D is for Databases. All gathered in one place.

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A local, UNESCO-funded “culture mapping project … will see information gathered to assess the sector’s economic impact in Antigua and Barbuda. The aim is to highlight the contribution creative industries make to national development, identify ways to increase participation in them, and lobby for more funding, among other things.” Details here. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Prize Winners

The National Cultural Foundation, Barbados, offers hearty congratulations to writer Linda M. Deane who won the $10,000 top prize at the 23rd Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Competition on Sunday, February 14.
Her collection of poems, An Ocean Away; My Mother Smiling: Tales of Migration and Memory, was selected the best over 60 other entries. Linda is a British-Barbadian writer, editor, publisher and graphic designer. She is also a NIFCA Governor-General Awardee, having won the award in 2017. She is also co-editor of the on-line journal ArtsEtc. (Source – JR Lee email)

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Antigua-Barbuda-born Dionisia Diaz, 20, has won Digicel’s Regional BIP Mascot 3D Design Challenge and US$10,000. The Challenge was to create a 3D mascot for the BIP messaging app. Entries came from 10 countries and Diaz won with a robot-themed design.

(Source – the 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. 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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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business, Wadadli Pen News

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late May 2021)

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)

Wadadli Pen News

Our annual awards were held on May 30th 2021. Read all about it here or catch clips on our YouTube channel.

It’s a family affair: Meet Wadadli Pen’s first father-daughter winners.

Events

New Writing

Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters has dropped a new issue with writing from John Robert Lee of St. Lucia, Lisa Allen-Agostini of Trinidad and Tobago, Lawrence Scott, also of TnT, and art from Nadia Huggings, among others. Read the full issue here.

Congratulations Due

Winners of the Antigua and Barbuda Halycon Steel Orchestra 50th anniversary facebook competition: soloist Emmanuel Joseph of Trinidad and Tobago and 5-piece Pantastick Music out of St. Lucia. View also this retrospective, also on facebook, on Petra-The Spectator’s page. It explores the birth and growth of the band, second only to the oldest continuous steelpan orchestra (Hell’s Gate) in panorama titles, and one of the prides of the Grays Green community.

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To the regional winners of the 2021 Commonwealth Writers short story prize. The Caribbean winner is the amazing Roland Watson-Grant of Jamaica (author of the novel Sketcher) for his short story ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Del’. Namibian Rémy Ngamije is the Africa winner; Sri Lankan Kanya D’Almeida is the Asia winner; UK writer Carol Farrelly is the Canada-Europe winner; and Australian Katerina Gibson is the winner from the Pacific.

One of the judges, fellow Jamaican Diana McCaulay (whose latest book is Daylight Come) said of Roland’s submission: “A wiseass, pitch-perfect teenager tells the story of a pear tree near to the rail tracks of a bauxite train in a rural Jamaican district – no one will eat from this particular tree – but why? ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Dell’ teems with lightly but perfectly sketched and familiar characters – a hellfire preacher, a scammer, community elders and shadowy politicians. Promises are broken, warnings are ignored, and the now power of social media supersedes the then magic of obeah. Rich, funny and deeply rooted in the Jamaican countryside, this story reverberates with the drumbeats of the ancestors and delivers an incisive commentary on what gets protected, by whom and why.”

Commonwealth Writers reports that they received a record 6, 423 entries from 50 Commonwealth countries this year, making judging very challenging. The overall winner will be announced on June 30th 2021, online for the second year in a row. This is the 10th year of the Commonwealth short story prize. And if you – like me – are from a small island, and wondering if you’ll ever crack this nut, here’s a bit of trivia: this is Namibia first time making the short list and they ran all the way to the head of the class as regional winner. (Source – Commonwealth Writers email and website)

Opportunities

Writing for Children with Joanne C. Hillhouse • Bocas Lit Fest

Capturing the attention and imagination of young readers can be challenging; join prize winning author Joanne Hillhouse for a workshop in writing for children.

For intermediate and advanced writers! Details here. (Source – Bocas)

Click for other Opportunities. ETA: This workshop has been postponed as a result of a surge in COVID cases in Trinidad and Tobago where Bocas is based. An announcement will be made at some point re the rescheduling.

New Books

As a fan of Kei’s last essay collection and his writing generally, I’m looking forward to reading this one, Jamaican writer Kei Miller’s Things I have Withheld, which Rebel Women Lit describes as a great artistic achievement and a work of beauty which challenges us to say the unsayable. Connect here to attend Kei’s upcoming launch event. (Source – initially, the author’s facebook page)

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Michael Joseph, pharmacist and former president of the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross and governing board member of the international Red Cross body, has a chapter in a the World Dream book project.

The editors are Taichi Ichikawa and Ibun Hirahara who conceived the idea of gathering dreams from across the globe after attending the One Young World global summit for young leaders. The book is published, in Japanese, by Iroha Publising. (Source – Michael Joseph’s facebook page)

Celebrating Books

The May 23rd issue of Lit Hub’s This Week in Literary History newsletter had a really cool story about John Steinbeck, his dog, and his iconic novella Of Mice and Men. But I’m really sharing because of its shout out to Antigua-born writer Jamaica Kincaid whose birthday week it reminds us is this week. Here’s the quote:

“One of the things that young people need to know when they go into writing is that they ought to stop writing these stupid books that please people. They should write as if they might fail at it. To succeed at something mediocre is worse than to fail at something great.”

It being Jamaica Kincaid birthday week, I’ll list my faves, top to bottom, from her bibliography in the order of my love for them (this list will obviously be limited to what I’ve read and will clearly disagree with how others might order them – hence, my list):

Lucy
Annie John
See Now Then
A Small Place
My Brother
Mr. Potter
The Autobiography of My Mother

*I linked some of the places I’ve shared my thoughts about Jamaica Kincaid and/or her named books – anything unlinked was read before I started sharing my book thoughts online.

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The National Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda has for a while now been celebrating books via its Author of the Month series. The most recent guest of the series has been Turtle Beach author and bookstore manager Barbara Arrindell who spoke about her own books, the role of libraries, and why Antiguans and Barbudans should be building their library of local books.

Previous guests in recent months have included self-help and business guru Janice Sutherland who was in October 2020 the first online/virtual Author of the Month when the series returned after the COVID lockdown began; Floree Williams Whyte, author of three books beginning with Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses, who made a return trip to the platform; the first author of the month for 2021 Joanne C. Hillhouse, author of seven books and more; Shawn Maile whose book How to work Six Jobs on an Island the library describes as “a most interesting read”; another non-fiction author (of three books and counting) T. Lerisa Simon; and Jo-Ann Carr, author of Broken to be Blessed: My Life Story. For these and more library content, including their Career and Entrepreneurship: Tips and Tricks series, visit their facebook and youtube platforms.

The National Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda has a very storied history. The building above (by Mali A. Olatunji), on lower High Street, was destroyed during the 1974 earthquake and eventually torn down in the 1990s while the library continued to operate from upstairs a store front on Market Street, in the main commercial district of St. John’s City. The cramped space meant that the country was without full library services for at least two generations as the new library building project didn’t reach completion until 2014. The new library, pictured below, is at Hailes Promenade, near the East Bus Station, just outside of St. John’s City.

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The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival celebrates Trinidad and Tobago writer Lisa Allen-Agostini’s The Bread the Devil Knead.

Lisa will also be participating in an event at Books and Rhymes on May 21st 2021. Virtually, of course. Here’s where you register.

(Source – Lisa Allen-Agostini’s facebook)

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ireadify.com, a new platform for diverse, including Caribbean, audio and ebooks has announced its top April 2021 reads. We can’t promise we’ll be sharing these every time (or any other time, really) but we’re sharing it this time in order to celebrate these books:

Black Girl Magic Sprinkles is by a mother and daughter duo, Chaunetta and Trinity Anderson, who founded the publishing company Black Girl Magic Books out of their home base in Maryland. The illustrator is Nana Melkadze.

Munna and the Maharaja, by Fawzia Gilani Williams with illustrator Deepa Balsavar, is a product of India’s Tulika press.

Abigail’s Glorious Hair (see image below from ireadify’s twitter), a book by veteran Jamaican children’s book author and blogger Diane Browne, with illustrator Rachel H. Moss. Publisher is Jamaica’s Blue Banyan Books.

(Source – ireadify.com email)

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late April 2021)

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)

New(ish) Books

Not new(ish) books but a new discussion coming out of Bocas (and linked in this post) on the 100 Caribbean Books that Made us. (Source – Bocas)

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Trinbagonian writer and illustrator Danielle Boodoo Fortune has announced the imminent release of Sitting Moon: Colouring Meditations on Motherhood.

(Source – the author/artist’s facebook)

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From UWI Press, a number of biographies including Sheer Bliss: a Creole Journey by Michaela A. Calderaro, about Eliot Bliss, Stuart Hall by Annie Paul, and Una Marson by Lisa Thompson, among others. Go to UWI Press. (Source – N/A)

Check this out/Reports

The Ministry of Education (Antigua and Barbuda) has announced its first annual virtual symposium every Wednesday in May 2021, 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It will be held under the theme ‘Meaningful Research – Enabling, Informing, and Creative Positive Change’. (Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

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The Barbados-based US Embassy hosted Bajan writer Cherie Jones in a zoom for World Book and Copyright Day. Jones is writer of the acclaimed novel How the One-armed Sister Sweeps Her House. U.S. Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean Linda Taglialatela welcomed the participants and Haitian-American creative writer Inga Laurent guided the discussion. The first 25 registrants were eligible to receive How the One-armed Sister Sweeps Her House and the chat was to feature a contest to win additional titles, including Jones’ earlier collection The Burning Bush Women and Other Stories. I don’t know about you but I’m sorry that I missed it. (Source – US Embassy Bridgetown email)

World Book and Copyright Day was pretty busy in Antigua and Barbuda as well. Check it out.

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Intersect Antigua and Barbuda, a gender advocacy group with a storytelling platform, has announced a new Caribbean feminist series, featuring two inspiring Caribbean women in history across their social media platforms once a month. The series launched on International Women’s Day in March 2021 and have since featured Una Marson, Mary Jane Seacole, and Amy Ashwood Garvey. There’s also this upcoming event:

(Source – Intersect newsletter)

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With the hopeful theme of “The Cure,” the 19th annual St. Martin Book Fair is scheduled for June 3 – 5, 2021.

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Volume 35 of The Caribbean Writer will launch this April at the Virgin Islands Literary Festival. ‘The 2020 edition, a tribute to the late literary icon Kamau Brathwaite, will be launched at the upcoming Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair (VI Lit Fest) hosted online from April 30 to May 2, 2021 under the theme, “Diasporic Rhythms II: Interrogating the Past; Imagining a Future”. The volume features poetic and prosaic tributes from award-winning authors and poets as well as not-before published submissions from “The Man Himself.” According to Program Chair Alscess Lewis-Brown, the issue is part of the collective outpourings of gratitude, remembrances and reminiscence lyricized in musings, tributes, celebrations of his life — a continual repast of ubiquitous reminders of his influence.’

The festival line-up includes Edwidge Dandicat, Kwame Dawes, Canisia Lubrin, Vladimir Lucien, Jacqueline Bishop, Rozena Maart, Summer Edward, Yona Deshommes, Chika Unigwe, Shara McCallum, Michela Calderaro, and Mervyn Taylor. Register here. Sign up to present at Book Bacchanal here. (Source – The Caribbean Writer email)

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The Bocas Lit Fest Programme

Read it here.

I know you’re looking forward to this list.

(Source – Bocas Lit Fest email)

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The Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association now has a website. About time. Here you can find back issues of the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books and other scholarly information re Antigua and Barbuda. Start reading here. (Source – email from the editor Professor Paget Henry)

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With lyrics penned by St. Lucian writer Adrian Augier, More than Just Islands is a new song and music video promoting marine conservation. It features the voices of several Organization of Eastern Caribbean States musical superstars including Antigua and Barbuda’s soca diva Claudette ‘CP’ Peters and Ricardo Drue. The initiative was spearheaded by managing director of Right Angle Imaging Barbara Jacobs-Small of St. Lucia, who said, “It advocates the singular importance of the OECS marine space to our lives, livelihoods, way of life and the promise of the Blue Economy for our region.” (Source – Barbara Jacobs-Small’s linkedin)

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Trinidad born US rap superstar Nicki Minaj and US folk rock legend Tracy Chapman had a copyright dispute that ended with the former reportedly agreeing to pay out US$450,000 to the latter. Is this just an opportunity to link the original version of Sorry/Baby, can I hold you tonight?, which was in heavy rotation back in the day?

Maybe.

But also this is relevant to a site like ours which does try to educate on literary and publishing matters. A previous ruling, reportedly, determined that the song which Chapman had refused requests to license to Minaj fell under fair use. The settlement means that the case won’t be returning to trial (and that judgment won’t be tested). But it’s an opportunity for an always timely reminder to respect copyright, make sure you have permission (from the creator and/or license holder) to use any content you did not create and/or that it falls firmly within fair use if you do use without seeking permission. Read the details here. (Source – The Root) See also Resources including links re legalities vis-a-vis creative works here on Wadadli Pen.

Wadadli Pen News

Judging for the Wadadli Pen Challenge is still in progress. Meantime, check out our patrons.

Congrats are due to

Tekiah Minott, 17, Antigua Girls High School, winner of the Carl Adrian Joseph photojournalist award.

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Winners of the Priest Isaac Institute of Holistic Knowledge eighth annual Africa-themed essay competition here in Antigua and Barbuda, Johanna Jacobs, Nyeisha Chiddick, and John Germain. All three won electronic devices – tablets or laptops. (Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

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Halcyon Steel Orchestra, one of Antigua and Barbuda’s winningest pan orchestras, on reaching its 50th anniversary. The Grays Green musical band has 13 titles to its record, and has the distinction of being the only pan orchestra to ever 4-peat in the history of the local panorama. For its anniversary, the group is having a Keeping the Vibes Alive 50th anniversary facebook competition giving pan players domestic and abroad the opportunity to rearrange and present one of its winning panorama tunes. Follow via the #Halcyon50 hashtag. (Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

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Desiree Seebaran, winner of the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize for Poetry. This prize allows an emerging writer to improve her/his skills through mentorship for an entire year. St. Lucian poet (Canada-based) Canisia Lubrin is the winner of the OCM Bocas Prize with her book length narrative poem The Dyzgraphxst (see earlier post re the prize – below – re the other finalists) (Source – writers and book lovers and Bocas watchers on twitter)

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Kevin Jared Hosein, as the already mult-award winning Trini writer lands a major publishing deal. Don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Bookseller.com had to say:

‘Bloomsbury is to publish Devotion by Kevin Jared Hosein, after securing the title at auction for a “major” sum.

The novel, set in 1940s Trinidad and inspired by oral storytelling traditions, follows the intertwining lives of a wealthy couple and the poor families who live in the barracks below their farm, after the mysterious disappearance of the husband leads his wife to hire one of the barracks’ farmhands as a watchman. Described as a novel with “a huge moral canvas”, the book interrogates class and the consequences of powerlessness.

Alexis Kirschbaum, associate publisher, acquired UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) and audio rights to the novel from Chris Wellbelove at Aitken Alexander Associates. US rights were acquired at auction by Gabriella Doob at Ecco.

Hosein lives in Trinidad and Tobago. He was the winner of the overall Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2018, and of the Caribbean regional prize in 2015.’ Read more. (Source – Facebook)

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The Bocas Lit Fest and the three writers shortlisted for its main prize: poetry winner Canisia Lubrin (The Dyzgraphxst – a Quill & Quire Book of the Year), fiction winner Maisy Card (These Ghosts are Family), and non-fiction winner Andre Bagoo (The Undiscovered Country). Lubrin is from St. Lucia, Card from Jamaica, and Bagoo from Trinidad and Tobago. More here. (Source – Bocas email)

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Jamaican-British writer Leone Ross whose latest Popisho (also known asThis One Sky Day) debuts this month. It is getting a lot of hype (including lots of media coverage – e.g. in Bookseller.com, the Financial Times, and The Guardian). You can join her on any of her current tour stops (e.g. this one – click the image to register).

(Source – Leone Ross’ social media)

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Journalist Daphne Ewing-Chow of Cayman who has been adjudged winner of the PAHO/CDB/CBU Award ‘Celebrating Responsible Coverage of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support During Covid-19’. “Ewing-Chow’s winning article, ‘Mental health professionals voice looming concerns for Cayman teens’, earned her a cash prize of US$500 and a certificate. It was the only entry across all three categories that met the criteria of the four-member judging panel. The report, published on January 26, 2021 on the online news website Loop Cayman, featured the personal experiences of teens in the Cayman Islands who were feeling the psychological impact of Covid-19 lockdown measures. It also provided insight from experts and offered tips for supporting teenagers struggling with mental health challenges.” (Source – Loop’s social media initially)

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Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne who has landed a deal for two more books ahead of the summer 2021 release of her first US release Josephine Against the Sea (the Caribbean edition of which has been previously published with Jamaica’s Blue Banyan). See below (Source – Shakirah Bourne’s social media)

Read my recently posted review of the audio book of Bourne’s previously self-published In Time of Need.

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The writers, including a number of Caribbean writers, shortlisted for this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The full line up is here but, of course, we single out for mention Andre Bagoo of Trinidad and Tobago, who was also recently announced as the winner of this year’s Bocas non-fiction prize, Heather Barker of Barbados, Rashad Hosein of Trinidad and Tobago, Sharma Taylor, originally of Jamaica, resident in Barbados, a multi-award winning short story writer whose book deal we announced in a recent Carib Lit Plus bulletin, and award winning novelist Roland Watson-Grant of Jamaica, who previously made the Commonwealth long list back in 2017. (Source – Twitter)

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Shabier Kirchner, of Antigua and Barbuda, who recently wracked up awards for his work as cinematographer of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series, is attached to another winning project, Sundance short prize winner, Lizard.

Kirchner served as cinematographer on the project which was directed by Akinola Davies Jr. (Source – Facebook)

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Lawson Lewis, local artist and filmmaker, whose ‘Neighbour’, part of an ad campaign for North Coast Hardware, has won a silver award at the American Advertising Federation Awards, through the Caribbean Advertising Federation. “We are the only Leeward Islands Agency to reach this far. Usually, the winners are from bigger islands with well-established agencies, like Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, and Puerto Rico. To be listed among them is a huge accomplishment,” Lewis was quoted as saying in the Daily Observer newspaper. “What the Silver means is that now we will actually move to compete in the Florida segment and if we manage to get a Gold or Silver then we move to nationals to compete against other states in the US.”

The series of ‘Neighbour’ ads created some social conversation around community values.

Lewis’ agency, Tarsier, previously won a Marcom Gold Award in 2019, in the animation category, for the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s Cool is Clean campaign. (Source – Lawson Lewis on Facebook initially)

As with all content (words, images, other) 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. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late March 2021)

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

One of the great losses in Antigua and Barbuda in 2020 was broadcaster Carl Joseph of the Observer Media Group. Antiguans and Barbudans for Constitutional Reform and the staff of Observer/Newsco Ltd are offering a young person in Antigua and Barbuda the opportunity to be a ‘journalist for a day’. The Carl Adrian Joseph Memorial Reporter for a Day Service Project invites students between 13 and 17 to write a newspaper story about an event that happened, or is happening, in their community. Opportunity also open to teen photo journalists.

Read pdf for more details:

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A reminder that March 26th 2021 is the deadline deadline extended to April 2nd 2021 for submission of entries to the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2021. See the following press releases:

Finally! Wadadli Pen Launches
Wadadli Pen – New Prize Pays Tribute


Wadadli Pen Workshop, Additional Patrons Announced as Submission Deadline Approaches

Workshop Wraps, Deadline is Here, New Patrons on Board


Read about this and other pending Opportunities here. (Source – Wadadli Pen)

Events

Be sure to check my appearances page (on Jhohadli) for my upcoming events. Like this World Book Day live on my AntiguanWriter YouTube channel – subscribe and hit notifications to make sure you don’t miss it.

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The Bocas Lit Fest (virtual again this year) has been announced for April 23 – 25th 2021. The programme is here. Some of the events that caught my eye: Crowdsourcing a Canon, Placing the ‘Caribbean’ in Caribbean Writing, “Toussaint was a Mighty Man”, Making History: Lawrence Scott & Lauren Francis-Sharma, Imaginary Homelands: Barbara Lalla and Leone Ross, and Launch of the Caribbean Books that Made Us.

Bocas has come on board as a Wadadli Pen patron in 2021 by the way; how dope is that? (Source – Bocas)

Other (Non-Book) Reading/Art Material

A reminder that Heather Doram merch is available on redbubble and that she now has colouring books available through Amazon. Kids can play with them if they want but these colouring books are for adults. The Heather Doram Colouring Book Collection is our latest addition to the Antiguan and Barbudan Writing data base (and we won’t be putting these colouring books in the children’s section).

***

This is an In Case You Missed It and not limited to reading. Here you’ll find listed all of the Catapult Arts Caribbean Creative Online Grants recipients. There are a number of us but my goal is to go through and discover every one. I invite you to do the same. (Source – from my involvement as a Catapult Arts recipient)

***

New books are still below but I’ll drop the latest edition of the Journal of West Indian Literature here. You’ll need to purchase it, of course, to read its book reviews and various articles. This issue, Vol. 28 No. 2, is an open issue edited by Glyne Griffith with cover art, Keeping it Close, by Mark Jason Weston. (Source – St. Lucian poet John Robert Lee email blast)

For access to some free content be sure to check our Reading Room and Gallery.

Accolades

Here comes the Bocas Long List with some of the books that have been trending for much of the year and maybe some that have fallen below your radar. ETA: Short listed books in bold.

Poetry
The Dyzgraphxst by Canisia Lubrin (St. Lucian)
Guabancex by Celia Sorhaindo (Dominican)
Country of Warm Snow by Mervyn Taylor (Trinidadian)

Fiction
These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card (Jamaican)
Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud (Trinidadian)
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey (Trinidadian)

Non-Fiction
of colour by Katherine Agyemaa Agard (Trinidadian)
The Undiscovered Country by Andre Bagoo (Trinidadian)
Musings, Mazes, Muses, Margins by Gordon Rohlehr (Guyanese)

Read all about them on the Bocas website. (Source – Rebel Women Lit newsletter)

***

Three Trini writers (Ahkim Alexis, Desiree Seebaran, and Jay T. John) have been short listed for the 2021 Johnson & Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize. These “top contenders were accomplished or very promising. History, myth, gender, and identity are the most common areas of engagement. At the level of experiment, robber talk, the mechanics of spoken word, the tradition of nursery rhymes, rasta groundation, and elegiac tradition are evident.” (Bocaslitfest.com) The Johnson & Amoy Achong developmental prize is aimed at advancing the work of an emerging Caribbean voices, this year in the poetry genre (genre changes annually). But the domination of this and most regional prizes by the bigger countries continues. The longlist included 8 Trinis, one Barbadian, and one Guyanese. In this, the final year of the prize, the organizers (the Bocas Lit Fest) note that there were 35 submissions from across seven countries – the others being Jamaica, Grenada, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, and Bahamas. And they seemed unimpressed with the general quality. “Many of the poets failed to sustain their opening imagery, some deployed disconnected symbolism, inappropriate diction, inconsistent code-switching between English and Creole, and in some cases, were obviously too prosaic.” (Bocaslitfest.com) The Johnson and Amoy Achong Writers Caribbean Prize consists of a cash award of US$3,000, participation in a workshop at internationally renowned Arvon, three days networking in the UK, where Arvon is based, mentorship by an established writer, and a chance to be agented by Aitken Alexander Associates Literary Agency. Congrats to all long and, especially, short listed writers who are in line for a boost. (Source – Bocas email)

Believing that there is abundant talent in the region and Wadadli Pen being a project concerned with nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, the limited advance of writers from home and neighbouring small islands through vital programmes like this one (which will hopefully attract funding to continue) is of concern – to date, among local writers, only Brenda Lee Browne has been longlisted for the previous version of this particular prize (Hollick Arvon). None since and it is not clear how many, if any, of us are even submitting (or are perhaps discouraged from submitting). We are happy to report though that Bocas, a 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge patron, has agreed to offer spots in upcoming workshops to a handful of our 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge finalists and access to member services to our winner.

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Kwame Dawes of Jamaica (and Nigeria and America-based), editor of the literary journal Prairie Schooner, ‘is the recipient of the biennial PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing. The award honors an editor whose high literary standards and taste have contributed to the excellence of the publication they edit. Judges Patrick Cottrell, Carmen Giménez Smith, and John Jeremiah Sullivan call Dawes “a bold and visionary editor” who has “proved the ongoing validity of the literary journal and taken it to new places.”’ (Source – PEN America email)

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Two overseas writers of Caribbean origin Dionne Brand and Canisia Lubrin are in the running for the US$165,000 Windham-Campbell Prize. There are eight remaining finalists. “Established in 2013 and administered by Yale University, the prize annually honours a selection of fiction, nonfiction, drama and poetry writers who have been nominated in secret. The prize is given to support their writing.” (CBC) Trinidad born Brand is recognized in the fiction category and St. Lucian Lubrin is recognized for poetry. (Source – Lubrin’s twitter)

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“The Surinamese writer Astrid H. Roemer (Paramaribo, 1947) will receive the 2021 Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren (Dutch Literature Prize) this fall. The Prize includes a sum of € 40,000…The Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren is the most prestigious literary prize in the Dutch language area and distinguishes authors of important literary works originally written in Dutch. The Prize is awarded once every three years to an author whose body of work occupies an important place in Dutch literature. The Prize is funded by the Taalunie. It is organized alternately by Literatuur Vlaanderen and Nederlands Letterenfonds.” (Source – Repeating Islands)

***

Congrats to Olive Senior who has been named Poet Laureate of Jamaica. Watch the full ceremony linked in this Olive Senior appreciation post. (Source – right here)

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Antiguan and Barbudan cinematographer is up for a British Society of Cinematographers award for the first film in the Steve McQueen Small Axe series, Mangrove. The awards will be announced on April 9th 2021. The film is nominated in the TV drama category. As previously reported this series has been wracking up nominations and awards this season.

***

Bermudian writer Florenz Maxwell had her book, the Burt Award winning Girlcott singled out as a “must-read” by Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine.

‘The coming-of-age novel is set during the 1959 Theatre Boycott and seen through the eyes of Desma Johnson as she approaches her 16th birthday.

Ms Maxwell based her book partly on her own experiences.

She was a member of the Progressive Group that organised the boycott in order to break down segregation on the island.

Stephanie Castillo, writing in O Magazine, included Girlcott among “some of the best classic and contemporary books about the Caribbean”.’ (RoyalGazette.com)

The book was a 2016 finalist for the Burt Award, and a boost from Oprah has helped many a book soar, making this a valuable notice for both the first time author and Jamaica-based independent Blue Banyan Books. (Source – N/A)

***

Monique Roffey is on a roll. On the heels of her Costa best novel win, we have learned that she is shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize for her book The Mermaid of Black Conch, described as “a tale of love against the odds, a feminist revision of an old Taino myth, an adventure story set in a small coastal Caribbean village.” (Source – the author’s social media)

New Books

Dangerous Freedom is the latest from UK based, award winning Trinidad writer Lawrence Scott. It explores the life of Dido Belle. The book is published with Papillote Press which debuted it with a reading by the author himself.

‘Scott’s first novel since Light Falling on Bamboo in 2013, Dangerous Freedom was published in March 2021. It weaves fact with fiction to reveal “the great deception” exercised by the powerful on a mixed-race child, Dido Belle, born in the late 18th century and brought up in the London home of England’s Lord Chief Justice.’ (Papillote press release)

The video above is part of a series featuring authors with the Dominica/UK publisher on its youtube channel; so while there, check out readings by the likes of Lisa Allen-Agostini (Home Home), Diana McCaulay (Gone to Drift), and others. I’ve read and reviewed Allen-Agostini and McCaulay’s books and am currently reading The Art of White Flowers by Viviana Prado-Núñez, also from Papillote. I don’t mind saying I’d like to read Lawrence’s novel as well – I’ve been meaning to read him since meeting him at a literary festival some years ago (we got along well, I think and I liked the reading that he did then, it’s just been a case of too many books, too little time since). Also Belle interests me. We all know the painting plus I saw the film starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the title character, Belle. Plus I would have learned about the Somerset case referenced in the film in history class in secondary school – remembered enough anyway to remember that I learned about it and that it was a pivotal precedent in the anti-slavery narrative. Scott’s video talks about trying to “redress the image and historical sense we have of Dido Elizabeth Belle” and I’m interested. I mean, I’m interested in a lot of the books I post here, so this isn’t new but nothing wrong with declaring it one time.

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ireadify.com isn’t so much about new books as new platform for perusing books. Specifically, the platform develops and promotes digital books (ebooks and audio books) accessible to children birth-14 years old, representing African Stories, Black, Indigenous and People of Color. I have confirmed with the publisher that my books with Caribbean Reads Publishing are on this platform.

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Desryn Collins, Antigua and Barbuda’s language arts coordinator with the Ministry of Education, is latest author to be featured in the Collins Big Cat series of Caribbean #ownvoices releases and the latest to be added to our bibliography of Antiguan and Barbudan books and Children’s Literature in particular here on the site. Her book How to become a Calypsonian (with illustrator Ricky Sanchez Ayata) drops in March.

The story “told through the words of Mighty Glen Glen, a calypso singer (introduces) the world of calypsos and (teaches) what it takes to become a calypsonian.” Collins, originally from Guyana, has worked in Antigua and Barbuda for close to two decades, as senior lecturer at the Antigua State College between 2005 and 2017 and as Education Officer for Language Arts since 2017. (Source – N/A)

As with all content (words, images, other) 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. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late December 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, 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)

Last Farewell

To Rupert ‘Littleman’ Pelle, prize winning calypso writer from Antigua and Barbuda. Trevaughn ‘Lyricks Man’ Weston wrote on facebook on the occasion of his passing in late December “RUPERT “LITTLE MAN” PELLE has won the Junior Calypso Monarch Competition for EIGHT CONSECUTIVE YEARS. His 8 songs were well written and were well executed by three Calypsonians. Lady Challenger, Princess Thalia and Lyricks Man, respectively.


(Little Man Pelle, centre, with Lady Challenger, left, in her crown)

JUNIOR CALYPSO MONARCH WINNERS:
2000 – LADY CHALLENGER – PARENTING
2001 – LADY CHALLENGER – PROSTITUTION??
2002 – LADY CHALLENGER – WADADLI CHILDREN
2003 – PRINCESS THALIA. – JUMP & WAVE
2004 – PRINCESS THALIA – AUNTY ESTHER SAY
2005 – LYRICKSMAN. – TRAIN US UP
2006 – LYRICKSMAN. – T.N.KIRNON SAY
2007 – LYRICKSMAN. – THANK YOU ICONS

I’m glad to finally have at least partial credits as Pelle was one of the artists whose credits I had requested of the artist some time ago, for the songwriters data base and song lyrics data base. I know there’s more as he was a prolific and respected contributor to the art form. But it’s a start and I’ll be adding this info to the database as soon as able. I’m sorry that this is the season for it; sorry that we have lost another cultural mover and shaker, and icon in his own right. And 2020 has already taken so many of those.

Lyricks Man concluded, in his post, “Thank you LittleMan. You were ONE of the persons who help moulded me into the exceptional Artist that I am today. You have encouraged me and has always looked out for me. I Will Miss You! Thank You RUPERT LITTLEMAN PELLE!!!
REST IN PERPETUAL PEACE” (Source- facebook)

New Content

Myriad Editions shared an interview with the Lorna Goodison (the most recent poet laureate of Jamaica) that we decided to gift readers of the blog for Christmas. Enjoy. (Source – email from Myriad)

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Remember to check the Reading Room and Gallery as that’s where new (or new to me) content will be posted for the most part. But I did want to share that the last (of 2020) CREATIVE SPACE (my column on Antiguan and Barbudan/Caribbean art and culture) has been published (in the Daily Observer newspaper and online) and for the first time a video version has been posted. I’m really happy with this series overall and can hardly believe that it’s 22 installments in with Daily Observer and continues to grow – two developments being it’s been monetized (Observer pays for the first print rights in Antigua and Barbuda and the editor assures me that they’ve had great feedback and I know the images have made the front page twice) and it’s now with this installment leapt from print and online written to online video – the latter two versions I’m still working to monetize. But in the meantime, I’ve been enjoying creating it and I have a long lead list of subjects still untapped. As for the first video, I worked hard on it and I’m hoping you’ll check it out, like, comment, subscribe, share. Here it is.

(Source – me)

Accolades

Congrats to former Wadadli Pen arts challenge winner, Shem Alexander, who is a 2020 graduating senior from MSU Texas Juanita and Ralph Harvey School of Visual Arts. He won the main Wadadli Pen arts prize in 2010 and was honourable mention in the 10 year anniversary arts challenge in 2014. His new work can be seen in this video of the finals exhibition posted by his art professor. We, at Wadadli Pen, look forward to his continued arts evolution. (Source – Shem’s facebook page)

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Eleven-year old Josse Franco and eight-year old Josh Hansraj topped their age categories in Dragonzilla’s Short Story Writing Challenge in Trinidad and Tobago. Their prizes: laptops – courtesy the NGC Children’s Bocas Lit Fest. In addition, People’s Choice Awards, determined by the number of social media likes and shares towards each video, were presented to Nivaan Ramjattan in the 5-8 age category, and to Tahlia Ramsamooj in the 9-12 group. For details, go here. (Source – Bocas email)

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The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize has gone to Sharma Taylor, of Jamaica but long resident in Barbados. Sharma won for ‘How You Make Jamaican Coconut Oil’ in the fiction category alongside Sharanya Deepak of India for life writing and Yasmine Seale of Turkey for poetry.

This image of Sharma is from a hike during a Commonwealth Writers workshop we both participated in in Barbados in 2018.

“Framed as a recipe, this story’s beguilingly playful opening sets the scene for a compassionate, nuanced portrait of family life. ‘With enormous vigour and zest and skill it introduces you to a voice, to a setting, to a family, and it does it absolutely beautifully’ said fiction judge and Penguin editor Simon Prosser. ‘This story just totally leapt at me and gripped me from the first moment.’”

The prize gives 1000 pounds to the winners and publishes the winning works in the 35-year old Wasafiri magazine, the premiere publication for writers of colour in the United Kingdom. It is open to writers all over who have not published a book in their chosen genre. Here’s the announcement.

If you’re a blog regular, you may recognize Sharma’s name as she’s been on quite the winning streak. She was a finalist for the Elizabeth Nunez Award in the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival’s Caribbean Fiction Writers Competition 2020, shortlisted for the 2018 and 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, in addition to being longlisted for the prize in 2019, and won the 2019 Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize and 2020 Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Award for an unpublished collection of short fiction. Re-acquaint yourself with her by reading, if you haven’t already, the interview with her posted on my Jhohadli blog early in 2020. (Source – originally John Robert Lee email blast followed by independent research)

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Antiguan and Barbudan Burt Award winning book Musical Youth received international recognition in December when it (actually the second edition released in 2019) was named to Kirkus Reviews’ list of best indie books. ETA: it’s also been named to Kirkus’ list of best indie romances. Musical Youth is published by indie press Caribbean Reads Publishing out of St. Kitts-Nevis. Musical Youth had received a coveted starred review from Kirkus earlier this year with a review posted online in September and in their print publcation in November. (Source – me via my publisher)

Remember to Vote

As noted in the previous December 2020 Carib Lit Plus, voting is open to the end of December, following the completion of the reader nominated cycle, for the Caribbean Readers’ Awards in which the People! get to choose the best Caribbean books of the year. There are Antiguan and Barbudan nominees in several categories (including Wadadli Pen alum Rilzy Adams among several canon heavyweights for novel of the year) – so look out for those. But vote sincerely for the books, stories, and writers who inspired and entertained you. Here’s where you go. (Source – social media, various)

New Books


Joan H Underwood, Antigua and Barbuda’s former Ambassador to Venezuela and an internationally certified master trainer and professional coach, has put her pandemic downtime to good use, rolling out her first book, described as a must-have guide for managers and would-be managers. Managers’ First Aid Kit: A Practical Guide to Remedy the Three Most Common Managerial Challenges will likely also resonate with entrepreneurs and others – as between media and in-store appearances there has already been considerable interest in the December title. “Regarding her motivation to write the book, Ambassador Underwood says that, during her career as an HR Professional and Executive Coach, she encountered numerous high performers who struggled with the transition from individual contributor to manager. The difficulties encountered are not unique to Caribbean managers. In fact, published data reveal that as many as 60% of new managers either fail outright or underperform during their first two years. Managers’ First Aid Kit is a practical guide to remedy the three most common challenges faced by new managers – namely, managing self, managing others, and managing systems and processes.” Underwood has herself transitioned from laboratory technician to a hospital administrator to general manager to talent and leadership development specialist. “She is a former chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Employers’ Federation (ABEF) and has been a lecturer/facilitator with the Cave Hill School of Business/UWI for two decades. Further, her contributions to the business sector in Antigua and Barbuda and to the wider Caribbean resulted in her being recognized with the 2001 Caribbean Employers Federation Employers Champion Award and the ABEF’s 2011 Award for Sterling Contribution toward the Growth and Development of the Business Community in Antigua and Barbuda.” (Source – author press release)

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One tangible thing former Jamaican poet laureate Lorna Goodison left as she exited the role in 2020 was a collection entitled New Voices: Selected by Lorna Goodison, Poet Laureate of Jamaica, 2017-2020.

The collection includes poems by the following emerging writers: Christopher Allen, Jovanté Anderson, Rojae Brown, Khadijah Chin, Kaleb D’Aguilar, Lauren Delapenha, Rohan Facey, Remone Foster, Delano Frankson, Britney Gabbidon, Kacy Garvey, Trevann Hamilton, Jason Henry, Gail Hoad, Rozan Levy, Demoy Lindo, Romardo Lyons, Rhea Manley, Delroy McGregor, Nardia Reid, Shannon Smith, Lisa Gaye Taylor, Teddense Thomas, Kiseon Thompson, Peta-Gaye Williams, and Sadé Young. This was actually published early in 2020 but I only recently became aware of it – so it’s new to me and now you too. (Source – originally John Robert Lee email blast followed by independent research)

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Stick No Bills, which is one of two books on the Caribbean Readers’ Award 2020 Short Story (Collection) Shortlist, by Elizabeth Walcott Hackshaw was released by Peepal Tree Press in October. Hackshaw is a University of the West Indies french literature and creative writing professor. “Stick No Bills confirms Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw’s lethal talent for inventing characters – like the journalist who has been pursuing a famous writer at a literary conference in Haiti, or the would-be writer who is finding a workshop less than rewarding – who have only a partial awareness of their ability to deceive themselves, or see the painful humour of their situations.” – Peepal Tree (Source – originally John Robert Lee email blast followed by independent research)

This blog is maintained by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, and author Joanne C. Hillhouse. Content is curated, researched, and written by Hillhouse, unless otherwise indicated. Do not share or re-post without credit, do not re-publish without permission and credit. Thank you.

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CARIB Lit Plus (Early – Mid July 2020)

A Note from the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Team

Recently, an eagle-eyed reader of this blog brought an incident of plagiarism related to a 2016 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge entry to our attention. While it is four years too late to retrieve the prizes this entry would have received, we have removed it from public view and corrected the record, we will be informing the recipient, and will be more diligent in future to ensure that plagiarized entries are not rewarded. The development of young people, the encouragement of original creativity, and the integrity of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize are important to us. We wish to thank Mary (the reader’s name) for bringing the offence to our attention and we apologize to the author of the original piece which was plagiarized. It is not in keeping with our mission and our standards to steal from another writer. We will do our best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Awards

Britain based, Jamaican born dub poetry pioneer Linton Kwesi Johnson is the 2020 recipient of the PEN Pinter Award. The award is meant to defend freedom of expression and celebrate literature. Read details of his win at The Guardian.

Book News

FINAL-Obeah-Race-and-Racism-Invitation-page-001-232x300 British Virgin Islands writer Eugenia O’Neal’s latest book investigates Obeah, Race and Racism: Caribbean Witchcraft in the English Imagination. Her book is being published by UWI Press. A virtual launch is set for April July 17th 2020 11 a.m. Register here. Her previous books include the pirate adventure Dido’s Prize, reviewed on this blog. She’s also been previously interviewed here on the blog about Publishing.

crCaribbean Reads Publishing has announced that it is actively seeking #ownvoices manuscripts for middle grade readers, roughly 8 to 13 years, with a Caribbean setting.  There’s no published cut off date but don’t sleep on it. Go here for submission details.

The Bookseller reported that Hamish Hamilton has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, Doubleday the US rights, and Bond Street Books the Canadian rights to Ayanna Gillian Lloyd’s The Gatekeepers. A ghost story and a love story set in modern Trinidad, Lloyd’s homeland,  it has been described (per Hamish Hamilton) as “mythic and timeless” and at the same time “sharply contemporary”. The book is set to debut in 2022 with a second novel Dark Eye Place to follow in 2024. Now, that’s how you do it!

Reading Recs

Bocas Curated Reading

Bocas has been very active this COVID-19 season with a lot of online content including an arts survival kit that includes readings of works by Bocas prize winning poet Richard Georges, former Commonwealth Short Story prize winner Ingrid Persaud, Andre Bagoo, Anu Lakhan, a tribute to Kamau Brathwaite, and more. Find it online here.

You can also find up to 40 renowned Caribbean and other writers reading Brathwaite’s work on YouTube at the Kamau Brathwaite Remix Engine.

Home Home

The US edition of Home Home (Delacorte Press) by Trinidadian writer Lisa Allen-Agostini dropped somewhat quietly during quarantine but it’s been getting some big reviews. The Burt Award winning title, initially issued with Papillote Press, was written up in Publishers’ Weekly, which said: “Allen-Agostini (The Chalice Project) uses clear, concise prose to break down the daunting reality of depression and anxiety. Strong interpersonal dynamics balance hard themes, including homophobia, suicidal ideation, troubled parent relationships, and the minimization of depression, resulting in a quietly optimistic story.”

You can also catch Allen-Agostini in conversation with Diana McCaulay, Shakirah Bourne, and me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) in Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights right here on the Wadadli Pen blog.

Lit Events 

Antigua and Barbuda Conference Cancellation

The annual joint conference of the University of the West Indies (Antigua and Barbuda Open Campus) and the Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association, usually held in August, has been cancelled. The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books which typically launches at the conference will be out in the Fall.

Caribbean Literature Day 

July 12, 2020 has been proposed by St. Martin’s House of Nehesi Publishers as Caribbean Literature Day. The call was made a the closing of the 2020 St. Martin Book Fair, its 18th.  Writers, aspiring writers, literary festivals, book clubs, journals, creative writing programs, and all creative artists, institutions, and media of the Caribbean region; all Caribbean peoples; and all lovers of Caribbean writings, authors, and books, from everywhere in the world have been asked to participate. How? Per a press release, “by reading the works of your favorite Caribbean authors; buying Caribbean books, published in the Caribbean and beyond, and by Caribbean authors; and presenting Caribbean books as gifts. Celebrate the day with books, recitals, and with discussions about books, of poetry, fiction, drama, art, music, and all the other genres by Caribbean writers.” Here’s the full press release: OES News 20_Statement_Caribbean Literature Day

ETA (09/07/20) The Institute of Gender and Development Studies Regional Coordinating Office (IGDS-RCO), out of the University of the West Indies’ Jamaica campus, has announced that it will be teaming up with House of Nehesi Publishers to celebrate Caribbean Literature Day. It will host two Zoom webinars under the theme: The Gendered Word on July 12, from 12 noon to 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Poets, writers and teachers of literature in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean are invited to read their work and the works of other Caribbean writers or comment on Caribbean literature. Those who wish to participate may email their interest at: igdsrco@gmail.com.

Also, contact Lasana M. Sekou Projects Director Nehesi@sintmaarten.net

To Shoot Hard Labour

The seminal Antiguan and Barbudan retelling of the history of Antigua and Barbuda from the lived point of view of Samuel ‘Papa Sammy’ Smith is being celebrated all month long on Observer Radio 91.1 FM. The virtual summer reading project will air specifically Fridays (July 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st) on the popular Voice of the People programme which typically runs from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., later, I believe, on Fridays. It is being co-produced by Beverly Georges of the Friends of Antigua Public Library based in New York. Special guest presenters will include Dr. Natasha Lightfoot, Agnes Meeker, Paddy ‘the Griot’ Simon, children from The Cushion Club Reading Club for Children in Antigua and Barbuda, me (Joanne C. Hillhouse), and the co-author of To Shoot Hard Labour Keithlyn Smith. A number of activity tie-ins for young readers are planned. See flyer:  diorama

TSHL-Project2

Don’t forget to check Opportunities Too for more opportunities with pending deadlines.

TCW Webinar and Launch

The Caribbean Writer has announced that Volume 34 after COVID related delay launches its digital edition on July 7th 2020 and the print edition “on or about July 16th 2020”. The editor, Alscess Lewis-Brown (who has Antiguan and Barbudan roots by the way, though resident in the US Virgin Islands) has also announced a July 19th 2020 webinar. The six hour event, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., will be held under the theme ‘Interrogating the Past, Re-imagining the Future’. There will be presentations and an opportunity for contributors past and present to share for five minutes one of their published pieces. This is The Caribbean Writer’s facebook page; here’s the sign up link.

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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CARIB LIT Plus Mid to Late May 2020

CREATIVE SPACE

Have you been keeping up with my CREATIVE SPACE series covering local art and culture? I say local but there’s been some regional spillage. The second issue of May 2020 (the series as of 2020 is running every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer with an extended edition on my blog), however, covered Antiguan and Barbudan Art of the Century.  ‘Heather’s picks: Mark Brown’s Angel in Crisis series – a 2008 visual art show described in international publication The Culture Trip as “a provocative contemplation of the human condition”. She credited “the depth of the pathos”.’ That’s just one  of three picks by Antiguan and Barbudan visual artist Heather Doram. Read about her other picks, and picks from other artists. Tell me about your picks. In case you missed any of the previous installments in the series, they are archived on the Jhohadli website.

Covid Consequences

The country (Antigua and Barbuda), like much of the world, has been reopening – cross your fingers. Some are being real reckless; don’t be like them. COVID-19 is still very much with us; this is economic expediency not an all-clear sign.

Carnival remains cancelled – for the first time in my lifetime.

New music from local artist Rashid Walker

A little help from the Caribbean Development Bank for people in the creative industries who’ve suffered loss of income due to COVID-19. Specifically to the festivals sub-sector and the Carnival and Festivals sub-sector. The grant is for product development – to produce an online/virtual product, marketing – to promote new Caribbean content, digital – to support the further development of electronic solutions for revenue generation; projects should be community oriented. Details here.

Book Recs

Stay with me here. Margaret Busby OBE is Britain’s youngest and first Black female publisher. She was recently profiled in the 100 Pioneering Women of Sussex Blog series. Excerpt: “Margaret Busby was born in 1944 in Accra, Gold Coast (now Ghana) to Dr George Busby and Mrs Sarah Busby. She went to school in Sussex in Bexhill until the age of 15. She then went to London University to read English, graduating in 1964.” That had me saying, wow. because Margaret is a solid 29 years older than me and I had no idea when we met; her Black don’t crack for real but also she was just so cool – I never once felt out of place around her (which sometimes happens when you walk in to certain spaces). Here we are (her far right, me second from right) in Sharjah in 2019:

The article talks about New Daughters of Africa, the second global anthology in this series (this one 25 years after the original) which she edited. My interactions with her were always respectful and generous – even after all she  has achieved; I have enjoyed being a part of this project. “The 2019 anthology has been nominated for NAACP Awards for Outstanding Literary Work 2020 and a Lifetime Achievement in African Literature by Africa Writes in 2019. Each anthology compiles more than 200 women from Africa and the African diaspora.” So, the rec is New Daughters of Africa. Don’t sleep on it.

 

“Some of the earliest pioneers of crime fiction and mystery thrillers, who included Edgar Mittelholzer and John Morris (pseudonym of John Hearne and Morris Cargill), now find a worthy successor in Grenadian writer Jacob Ross.” – John R Lee’s review of new book Jacob Ross book Black Rain Falling

African American writer Jewell Parker Rhodes is a past Wadadli Pen patron (she donated copies of her book Ninth Ward in 2011) and we are happy to report this positive review of her latest book Black Brother, Black Brother. ‘Born of a white father and a black mother, Donte is extremely darker than his light-skinned brother Trey, and faces substantial discrimination at Middlefield Prep. His schoolmates label him “black brother” and even with Trey’s support he is treated like an outcast. Being one of the few black boys at his new school, Donte is framed and arrested for “throwing a pencil with intent to harm.” His society is constructed by whites for whites so those belonging to this race are considered lawful and civilized. Blackness, on the other hand, is viewed as a stain and is linked to criminality. This causes Donte to be seen as a “thug” who is responsible for any disruption that arises at Middlefield. He is left feeling defeated and confused as he highlights, “the uniform is supposed to make us all the same.” Uniforms at Middlefield Prep. do not guarantee uniformity and compassion, whiteness does, and this is something that Donte lacks on the outside.’ Sounds really interesting. Read the full review at the African American Literary Book Club.

Bocas Lit Fest’s #MyCaribbeanLibrary survey which invited people to share books that made them has yielded the following titles: Giant by Trinidad-born BVI author with Antiguan roots, recent Bocas winner (for another book) Richard Georges, Pynter Bender by Grenada born UK based writer Jacob Ross, US based Jamaican writer Orlando Patterson’s Children of Sisyphus, UK based Jamaican writer Kei Miller’s Augustown, He Drown She in the Sea by Shani Mootoo, a Canada based Trinidadian writer, Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez, Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo, of Trinidad, based in Scotland, Mad Woman by Jamican-American Shara McCallum, Uncle Brother by Jamaican Barbara Lalla, who is professor emerita from Trinidad’s UWI campus, Jamaica’s poet laureate Lorna Goodison’s By Love Possessed, Claire Adam’s Trinidad set Golden Child, The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prada-Nunez of Puerto Rico, UK based Trini Monique Roffey’s House of Ashes, Barbados’ George Lamming’s In the Castle of My Skin, Trinidad’s Michael Anthony’s Green Days by the River, Nobel winning Omerus by St. Lucia’s Derek Walcott, Dominican Jean Rhys’ Voyage in the Dark, Small Island by Andrea Levy, a British writer of Jamaican descent, Trinidadian V. S. Naipaul’s Miguel Street, and Guadeloupean writer Maryse Conde’s Segu.

The New York Public Library’s picks in April for Immigrant Heritage Week included Caribbean titles, including US based Trinidadian Elizabeth Nunez’s memoir Not for Everyday Use and Esmeralda Santiago’s When I was Puerto Rican.

Awards

The five regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize will be announced on June 2nd 2020 and the overall winner during a special ceremony on June 30th 2020. Click here for information on catching it live. In the running for the Caribbean prize are Jamaica’s Brian S. Heap (Mafootoo), Trinidad and Tobago’s Brandon McIvor (Finger, Spinster, Serial Killer), and Sharma Taylor (Cash and Carry), of Jamaica but resident in Barbados, whom I interviewed on my Jhohadli blog.

Jamaican writer Marlon James won the Ray Bradbury prize from the L. A. Times for his book Black Leopard, Red Wolf. The prize is for science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction generally.

Congratulations to all Wadadli Youth Pen Prize recipients. Here’s this year’s photogallery.

Opportunities

The Bocas Lit Fest, as part of its 10th anniversary, has rolled out a number of resources for readers and writers – e.g. a publishing consultancy and book network.

Remember to check the Opportunities Too page here on the blog for opportunities for writers and artists with pending deadlines.

Obit.

Fans of the road march winning (Dress Back) Antiguan and Barbudan Vision band are mourning another loss. Founding member and vocalist (2 x Calypso monarch Edimelo) died quite suddenly recently and now so has another founding member, keyboardist Eric Peters. It was announced on May 20th 2020 that he had been found dead at his Browne’s Avenue home. A post mortem was scheduled to determine the cause of death.

Poet Cecil Gray died in March and was subsequently tributed by Peepal Tree Press with which he had a special relationship.

Guyanese playwright and director Michael Gilkes and cartoonist Samuel Rudolph Seymour – more casualties of COVID-19 from the Caribbean arts community – were remembered in the hometown press.

 

Compiled by Antiguan and Barbudan writer and Wadadli Pen coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse from various sources. 

 

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Carib Lit Plus – Early to Mid May 2020

Awards

Membership has its privileges. We have to give pride of place to the Wadadli Pen Challenge Awards, the announcement of which went live (literally) on Saturday 9th May 2020  – the stories and breakdown of winners have been posted. Congrats to the main prize winners Andre J. P. Warner (A Bright Future for Tomorrow) and Cheyanne Darroux (Tom, the Ninja Crab). The full list of patrons can be found here.

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Richard Georges of the British Virgin Islands is the 2020 winner of the OCM (One Caribbean Media) Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for his poetry collection Epiphaneia. This is his third collection after Make us all Islands, which was shortlisted for the UK’s Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and Giant, which was long listed for the OCM Bocas Prize and highly commended by the Forward Prizes. He is a founding editor of the online regional literary journal Moko. The BVI writer is born in Trinidad and, fun fact, has Antiguan roots (so much so I’ve actually debated putting him in the local book bibliography as I have, for instance, Guyanese writer with Antiguan roots, Ian McDonald, but I didn’t want to appropriate). His grandfather is from the BVI but went to school here and married a local girl before migrating (Scotland, BVI, Guyana, Trinidad). The OCM Bocas Prize, which has a US$10,000 main prize, is one of if not the major prize for literature from the English speaking Caribbean. Previous winners are St. Lucia-born Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott (2011, White Egrets), venerated Trinidad born literary elder Earl Lovelace (2012, Just a Movie), another multi-award winner, another Trini, first female Monique Roffey (2013, Archipelago), Trini Robert Antoni (2014, As Flies to Whatless Boys), St. Lucian Vladimir Lucein for his first publication (2015, Sounding Ground), Jamaican Commonwealth award winning literary icon Olive Senior (2016, The Pain Tree), Jamaican Kei Miller, also critically acclaimed and award winning (2017, Augustown), Trinidadian writers Jennifer Rahim (2018, Curfew Chronicles) and Kevin Adonis Browne (2019, High Mas).

The win was formally announced by chief judge Earl Lovelace during a live broadcast on May 2nd, which also included a presentation by Amanda Choo Quan, 2020 winner of the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize (a developmental prize for emerging writers – this year going to a writer of non-fiction).

See this schedule to catch other streamed Bocas events.

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The Commonwealth Short Story Prize field has been narrowed from 5000+ to these few:

Sharma Taylor of Jamaica and resident in Barbados is one of three Caribbean writers (along with Jamaica’s Brian Heap, Brandon McIvor of Trinidad and Tobago) short listed for the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story prize. I caught up with her for an interview about her writing journey (with tips for other writers) which can be read in full on my blog. Here she discusses her short listed story: “On the Commonwealth Writers’ website when they announced last year’s shortlist, I saw a photo of one of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlisted writers and was fascinated with his prominent nose. I then wondered what my face would look like if I had his nose and how I would deal with it in the most awkward time of life when appearances matter: the teenage years.”

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Roger Robinson’s vision of Trinidad as a “portable paradise” of “white sands, green hills and fresh fish”, has won the British-Trinidadian poet the Royal Society of Literature’s £10,000 Ondaatje prize, which goes to a work that best evokes “the spirit of a place”. – read more (via Repeating Islands via The Guardian)

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Finally, here are this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners.

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Jhohadli News – for new updates to my (Joanne C. Hillhouse) author blog, of possibly wider interest. Including…

The latest entry in my CREATIVE SPACE series In Conversation with the (Acting) Director of Culture

Announcement via my Poetry publications page of inclusion of three of my poems (Grandmother and Child, Weather Patterns, and Waste Not) in UK magazine Skin Deep’s Is This The End? issue

Sharing the video essay below spotlighting four Antiguan and Barbudan authors on my Media page.

Sharing the video and a Discover Montserrat book recommendations list that includes my children’s picture book Lost! to my Lost! Endorsements and Recommendations page.

Passing

The Caribbean theatre community is still mourning the passing of Trinidad and Tobago iconic playwright, producer, and more Tony Hall who died in April at 72, only 3 days after retiring according to this TnT media report and reflection:

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Also while they have no Caribbbean ties that I know of, I have to mention the passing of two Black musical giants – a founding father of Rock n Roll Little Richard who was in his 80s when he died on May 9 and one of the men who shaped modern RnB, hip hop, and culture generally as founder of Uptown Records and head of labels like Motown Andre Harrell who was just 59 when he died on May 8.

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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Carib Plus Lit News (the First of 2020)

Happy New Year and let’s pray it is indeed a happy one. Here at Wadadli Pen, we’re gearing up for the 2020 season of the Wadadli Pen Challenge (keep checking back, ask to be added to the Wadadli Pen mailing list, or follow or subscribe for updates).  Meanwhile, here’s the first Carib Plus Lit News of  2020.

In Antigua and Barbuda, late physician, music producer, and HIV/AIDS activist Sir Dr. Prince Ramsey’s street in Paradise View has been renamed in his name.

(Photo of the Day at the Daily Observer on December 30th 2019 shows Sir Dr. Prince Ramsey’s family at the sign of the street name for him. Photo taken by Dotsie Isaac)

Dr. Ramsey died in 2019. You can find out more about him on this site in our obit here and our post on most influential Antiguans and Barbudans.

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Antigua and Barbuda’s DJ Quest spun and scratched his way to second place in the Caribbean 3Style Championships in Panama City, Panama, a journey he described as “an emotional roller coaster” and the “most memorable performances of my career to date.” He said in the linked article, “2020 is the year of vision and mine is clear.”

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Still in Antigua and Barbuda, the first edition of ApaNa magazine includes an article on my work with both the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize and Cushion Club Reading Club for Children.

You can read the full issue here. According to Deborah Hackshaw, the magazine’s founder in its launch release  “ApaNa provides an independent platform for communication and collaboration on sustainability and social responsibility challenges, developments and strategies for the Caribbean.  We leverage storytelling with articles on sustainability, business and marketing trends, social causes and community investment.  ApaNa shares the work that companies and partners are doing together.  We also offer executive perspectives to motivate and inspire organisations, people and communities in the region to take action.”

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We typically do an individual top 10 new posts of the year here on the blog. Time didn’t allow for it at the end of 2019 but I thought I’d do a quick-ish mention here so that you can check them out if you missed them:

  1. Antigua Con Not Dampened By Saturday Showers
  2. Celebrating Dr. Prince Ramsey; RIP, Sir
  3. Farewell Grand Dame (Saying Goodbye to Mary Quinn)
  4. On Bill Burt, the Burt Award (for Caribbean Literature), and the 18 Teen/Young Adult Caribbean Fiction Titles It Produced
  5. Antiguan and Barbudan Authors at St. Martin Book Fair
  6. The Votes are in and… (announcing the outcome of the Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year Initiative)
  7. Book of the Year Presentation (Photo Gallery)
  8. PRESS RELEASE The Antigua and Barbuda Readers’ Choice Book of the Year Is…
  9. #Girlscan – A Tribute to Team Antigua Island Girls
  10. Antiguan and Barbudan Writers Talking CARIFESTA Inclusion (or Lack Thereof)

Those are the new topics that attracted the most interest in 2019. Among the older posts that were still attracting heavy viewership in 2019, the top five were:

  1. The home page
  2. #ReadAntiguaBarbuda #VoteAntiguaBarbuda (listing the books in the running for the Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year Initiative)
  3. Antiguan and Barbudan Writings (our main literary data base)
  4. About Wadadli Pen
  5. Opportunities Too

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The Barbados Independent Film Festival is this January. Here’s the schedule.

Here’s a link to their social media.

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From my author blog, the last of the 2019 run of the CREATIVE SPACE series focused on the return of the Vagina Monologues to the Antigua stage for the first time since 2012 (a run that started in 2008). Zahra Airall, one of the original directors of the Antigua run of the Eve Ensler play and its homegrown counterpart When a Woman Moans, with her third production of the year after The Long Walk and Derek Walcott’s Ti-Jean and His Brothers (with her Honey Bee Theatre) plus multi-award winning participation in the Caribbean Secondary Schools theatre competition, used the staging as an opportunity to re-launch her Sugar Apple Theatre.

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Richard Georges of the BVI and Ann-Margaret Lim of Jamaica collaborated on a Caribbean Writers edition of Anomaly. Writers featured in the international literary journal include some names which should be familiar to you if you’re a regular reader of this blog: Summer Edward, Shivanee Ramlochan, Juleus Ghunta, Celia Sorhaindo, Ayanna Gillian Lloyd, among others.

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The Caribbean Writer literary journal, a publication of the University of the Virgin Islands, published its annual lit prize winners for Volume 32. The Daily News Prize for an author resident in the U.S. Virgin Islands or the British Virgin Islands has been awarded to Virgin Islands author, poet, essayist Clement White for “Fia’bun An’ Dey Queen Dem—Re-Examination DWI Sits and History in Search of a V.I. Identity.”  This prize, awarded to a prose or fiction writer, is a longstanding prize sponsored for over two decades by the Virgin Islands Daily News. The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for best short fiction has been awarded to Trinidadian-Bahamian poet and fiction writer Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming for “Spider and the Butterfly.” This prize is made possible by the founder publisher of the St. Croix Avis, Rena Brodhurst. The Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize for a new or emerging writer has been awarded to Jody Rathgeb for “Uncle Jeep.” This prize is sponsored by Dasil Williams, wife of the late Marvin Williams, deceased editor of The Caribbean Writer. The Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize to a Caribbean author whose work best expresses the spirit of the Caribbean has gone to Jane Bryce for “When it Happened.” This prize is sponsored by former Governor John de Jongh, Jr. on behalf of his wife for her abiding support and interest in the literary life of the Virgin Islands and the region. The David Hough Literary Prize to an author residing in the Caribbean goes to Patricia Nelthropp Fagan for her story “Jewish Island Girl.” This is the final installment of this prize (a prize I, incidentally, won in 2011). The first Vincent Cooper Literary Prize to a Caribbean author for exemplary writing in Caribbean Nation Language has been awarded to Dionne Peart for her short story “‘Merica.” This prize is sponsored by University of the Virgin Islands Professor, Dr. Vincent Cooper, a longstanding member of The Caribbean Writer’s Board of Editors. A new prize has been announced for Volume 34. Read more about that here.

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Bocas has announced  that Monique Roffey, the Trinidadian Orange prize nominated author of books like White Woman on a Green Bicycle will be holding workshop sessions, Beyond the First Draft: Literary Craft Studios. The given dates are January 18th, April 29th, and May 9th 2020. “This is a series of three unique sessions at The Writers Centre for advanced writers of novels and short stories,” according to the mailed announcement. Roffey, who is also a lecturer and editor for The Literary Consultancy in London, will discuss some of what a writer must think about when revising and polishing a work of fiction, so it’s ready for showing to an agent or for publication. The three 2-hour interactive sessions will include talks, discussion handouts, and ‘q and a’. Meanwhile, another well-known Trinidadian writer and critic Shivanee Ramlochan will be delivering a master class, entitled Poetry as Ferocity: Writing Your Truth with Radical Honesty, on January 12th and 19th 2020, also at the Writers Centre in Trinidad. For registration information, contact Bocas Lit Fest. The next Bocas Lit Fest, meanwhile, takes place May 1st – 3rd 2020.

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As the author of Caribbean fairytale With Grace (coincidentally illustrated by Bajan artist Cherise Harris), I was interested to learn of Bajan artist Empress Zingha’s recently published fairytale Melissa Sunflower. According to LoopnewsBarbados.com, ‘Melissa Sunflower is Illustrated by Heshimu Akin-Yemi and is a Caribbean Fairy Tale story based in Fairy Valley in Christ Church. The main character Melissa Sunflower is a fairy with no wings and gets teased by her advisories (sic), “Sweet Cherry” and “Whatcha MuhCallit”. One day, a big challenge arrives throughout the land and Melissa finds the most potent magic of all.’ Asked why she wrote the book she says something that’ll sound familiar to you if you’ve read any of my posts about the need for diversity in publishing, and the need to tell our own stories, per the Wadadli Pen mission, “I created Melissa Sunflower because I wanted to see more representation for not only black girls, but Caribbean children’s books as well. Actually, I found out that black stories by black authors only make up about 2% of overall publishing globally. I figured, if I could just do my part, maybe it would inspire more writers. Also, I dedicated my book to Kamau Brathwaite, who is my favorite author. In his book, “History of the Voice” when I did my Masters and how important Nation Language and cultural identity was to one’s existence. I sent him the story for his birthday and he really loves it. Maybe one day I’ll get to meet him face to face.” If you’ve read With Grace, you’ll also here a thematic commonality when she says about the book’s takeaway, “To always believe in your magic. That all miracles start and end with love and are most potent and powerful when you believe in it and yourself.” Read her full interview here.

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Jamaican Poet Laureate Lorna Goodison received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2019 on the basis of her body of work. It was established in 1933 by King George V. Past recipients include W. H. Auden, Derek Walcott, and John Agard, the latter two also of the Caribbean, St. Lucia and Guyana, respectively, among others. Details here.

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 Interviewing the Caribbean journal, which has been recently acquired by the University of the West Indies Press, is preparing to launch its winter 2019 issue which is focused on Caribbean Children’s literature and the challenges and hopes of children in the region. One of our own, 2018 Wadadli Pen finalist Rosie Pickering’s poem ‘Damarae’ is included along with an interview with the teenage writer; I was invited to contribute an article on children’s and teen/young adult books she’s read recently and would recommend, and that article is also in this issue. Follow the UWI Press so that you can be in line when the issue drops this January. Bookstores et al, order here.

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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On Bill Burt, the Burt Award (for Caribbean Literature), and the 18 teen/young adult Caribbean fiction titles it produced

Burt-Award-winners-book-covers

Home Homethe beast of kukuyoThe Art of White RosesThe-Dark-of-the-SeaMy-Fishy-StepmomA-Dark-Iris

The-Unmarked-Girl-Jeanelle-Frontin

You may not know the name Bill Burt. After all, he was a Canadian commodities broker. But you may know some of the titles above (all Code Burt award titles from the Caribbean). That seal on all but the newest of the pictured titles (This year’s titles are not yet published but the original edition of the winning 2019 title The Unmarked Girl is pictured) is the Oprah’s Book Club seal of teen/young adult Caribbean literature, that little edge, that extra endorsement to help them stand out and perhaps be picked up. It is an endorsement. It indicates that these titles have been tapped by writers, editors, and other literary professionals from the Caribbean and elsewhere who served as judges (refreshed every year), as being among the best new writing from the region in the teen/young adult genre.  It is Bill Burt putting a ring on it.

Accepting Burt Award trophy

That’s Bill Burt, left, above presenting me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) with the first runner up trophy for the inaugural Caribbean Code Burt award, for my then unpublished manuscript Musical Youth, at the 2014 Bocas literary festival in Trinidad.

A trophy. The most substantial single cheque of my creative writing career to that point. An opportunity to be published and to select the publishing house I would be working with from among several options in the Caribbean. A guaranteed order of the books. That was my prize. It was an amazing boost at the time.

Musical Youth and all of the pictured books benefited from someone, who, with the funds he made through this stock market investments, helped amplify stories from typically marginalized communities of which the Caribbean was only one.

Winners ...and #MusicalYouths in their own right ... members of the AGHS winning cast from the secondary schools drama festival collecting copies of Musical Youth.
(above and below, me presenting copies of Musical Youth at local schools)Musical Youth copies 2014 3

The Burt Award, named for Bill Burt and administered by CODE, a Canadian non-profit, stimulated the production of teen/young adult fiction specific to communities whose voices are not often heard in the vast publishing world. He presented the first Burt Award (for teen/young adult African literature), in Tanzania in 2009. The programme subsequently expanded to Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Canada (specifically among First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people), and the Caribbean.

The initial guaranteed order of the winning books was/is distributed to teens and young adults through individuals and institutions that work with youth. If you appreciate that funding is a major hindrance for working artists and for independent publishers, you will appreciate how significant this prize is; if you can appreciate that this was about producing books teens and young adults in the region would WANT to read, you would see how impactful this prize was or could be.

I entered that first year (October 2013 submission deadline), after they had adjusted initial proposed guidelines to accept unpublished manuscripts. I had to print, bind, and FedEx the manuscript from Antigua to Trinidad. I believe the guidelines were adjusted the following year to allow for online submissions but submissions had to be professionally bound in 2013. It wasn’t cheap but it was one of those invest in yourself moments and it was worth it because, thanks in great part to this programme, the book that manuscript birthed, Musical Youth, placed with Caribbean Reads publishing, out of St. Kitts, has become one of my best performing books. I can’t imagine Musical Youth even existing in a Burt-less world, especially given that two weeks out from the deadline I started writing something to submit (which is not the advised way to approach competitions of this nature but is the way this book came to be). Future Burt finalist Shakirah Bourne (of Barbados) who wrote her title (My Fishy Stepmom) in less than a month, blogged recently about how this bit of foolhardiness on my part inspired her (after some disappointments that made her consider not submitting at all):

“Five months later, on October 7th 2017, Antiguan author, Joanne Hillhouse shared the invitation to submit to the 2018 CODE Burt Award on Facebook. Initially I dismissed it. The deadline was October 31st, 24 days later. But Joanne is an amazing blogger and so I checked out her post ‘The BURT Blog – Memories to Keep and a Trophy’ and was amazed to read that she wrote her award-winning book Musical Youth in less than two weeks!”

When I heard this year ahead of the announcement of the last Burt finalists at the Bocas lit fest which administered the prize regionally, that this would be the last year, I wrote back to them “Congrats to the shortlisted writers. Sorry to hear it’s coming to an end. Sorry as well to learn (as I just did in this email) of the passing of Bill Burt. He did a great thing.”

That’s why I’m writing this because Bill Burt did a great thing and we need more people within and without the region to replicate this kind of philanthropy – in fact, one of my dreams for Wadadli Pen is that someday it has the resources to support a writer now and again in the region or maybe even the sub-region, maybe just Antigua and Barbuda, for completion of a project – just give them a financial break for a bit so that they can focus on creating. It’s the kind of help I need and as with Wadadli Pen itself, started because of a void in my experience of anything to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, I want to be in a position someday to support other artists in the ways that I don’t feel supported today.

Bill Burt’s life at least from his 40s onwards (I think) is a reminder that there is great value in giving if you can, where you see the gaps, simply because it needs to be done.

I know this is running long but I wanted to run through the books and some developments (re the authors’ professional trajectory) certainly in the Caribbean since winning the Burt award. Starting with 2019 (via bocaslitfest) and working back to the inaugural year, 2014, with the hope that you will consider purchasing (sharing, reviewing, recommending) these specifically Caribbean books, which wouldn’t exist as they do (as exciting new titles from Caribbean publishers for the teen/young adult market) without Bill Burt.

The Burt Award will not be accepting submissions from 2020 on; it will be interesting to see if any philanthropic entity steps in to the gap.

2019 titles:
Winning title – The-Unmarked-Girl-Jeanelle-FrontinThe Unmarked Girl by Jeanelle Frontin (Trinidad and Tobago), published by Mark Made Group Ltd (which is a Caribbean-based company providing arts and entertainment services of which publishing is only one component) – a quick google suggests that Frontin submitted the first of three ebooks in her YaraStar trilogy; self-published, according to Looptt (which suggests to me that Mark Made is not a traditional publisher but either a vanity or hybrid, paid for their services by the author). That book (already awash with five star reviews on Amazon) and the entire series just got a boost.

The Accidental Prize by Tamika Gibson (Trinidad and Tobago) – Tamika, a returning finalist, submitted a manuscript which puts this in the to-be-published category. Gibson, also a 2016 finalist for Dreams Beyond the Shore, published by Jamaica’s Blue Banyan Books, and named one of 2017’s best contemporary teen reads by Kirkus, said, “What’s phenomenal about the Burt Award is that it’s a direct path to getting your books into the hands of readers. Entering the competition has freed me to focus on writing the best novel that I can, without having to worry too much about the business aspects that come after the book is finished.”

Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay (Jamaica), also a manuscript – Diana is also a previous winner for 2015’s Gone to Drift which has since had an American edition published (2016) with Harper Collins after its initial release with Dominica’s Papillote Press. McCaulay was already an award winning and critically acclaimed author and activist when she first triumphed at Burt and hasn’t missed a step with another non-Burt book published in 2017 (her fourth novel) and Daylight Come forthcoming with, I believe, Peepal Tree press (which is UK based but publishes primarily Caribbean fiction and has been a favourite of the main Bocas prize).

2018 titles:
Winning title – The-Dark-of-the-SeaThe Dark of the Sea by Imam Baksh (Guyana) – also a repeat winner this is his second previously unpublished manuscript to find a home with Jamaica’s Blue Banyan Books after 2015 Burt title Children of the Spider which was published in 2016.  He explains in this linked article how the increased visibility positions him to do more to boost literature in his country even as he continues to work on his next novel and embraces opportunities to travel and present his work (most recently featured at the Edinburgh literary festival)

My Fishy Stepmom by Shakirah Bourne (Barbados) – manuscript, the Caribbean edition since published by Blouse and Skirt which is an imprint within Blue Banyan. Bourne is an independent filmmaker and self-published author now with a literary agent (I mention that this is the Caribbean edition of the book for just this reason as she also landed the book with an international agent right around the time it was shortlisted for the prize, as she blogs here). For her, there are loads of emerging opportunities (of which being a featured presenter at the 2019 Edinburgh festival is only one).

A Dark Iris by Elizabeth J. Jones (Bermuda) – manuscript, since published by Blouse and Skirt (Blue Banyan Books). You’ll see Tanya Batson-Savage’s Blouse and Skirt and/or Blue Banyan Books on this list a number of times as it has published more Burt Caribbean titles than any other imprint. Specifically, The Dark of the Sea and Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh, My Fishy Stepmom by Shakirah Bourne, The Beast of Kukuyo by Kevin Jared Hosein, Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell, Dreams Beyond the Shore by Tamika Gibson, Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph, and the very first Burt Caribbean winning title All Over Again by A-dZiko Simba Gegele. This means that this independent Caribbean publisher’s list has grown by almost 10 (maybe more by the time this year’s winning books are published) because of this prize’s investment in the region and in the process new voices from across the region (Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda, and Jamaica just from this list alone) are being either heard or amplified. I have had the opportunity to work with Blue Banyan as an editor of one of the named books and can attest to how seriously Tanya takes the job of shepherding these books in to the marketplace.

2017 titles:
Winning title – The Art of White RosesThe Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Nunez (Puerto Rico) – this previously self-published novel was described by Kirkus as “An emotional coming-of-age story posed against the backdrop of the Cuban revolution.” It is one of three Burt titles issued by Dominica’s Papillote Press. What’s interesting to me is that Papillote, while not publishing Dominican books exclusively, had, certainly in my mind, been branded as a distinctively Dominican press (a press primarily concerned with stories out of Dominica) – with the publication of three Burt books out of Jamaica, Trinidad, and Puerto Rico in a short three year span, it emphatically broadened its brand to include the wider Caribbean.

Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini (Trinidad and Tobago) – this too is a Papillote book. I actually couldn’t find a lot from Lisa re the publication of the book but she did say this about its genesis on her blog: “The manuscript I first wrote a decade ago and rewrote while in hell in an airport in Suriname in 2016 is now being published as Home Home by Papillote Press, after being named third place in the CODE Burt Awards for Caribbean Literature in 2017. We’re hoping to do a launch at the 2018 NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

Yay!!!”

For a manuscript 10 years in the making, I suspect that “Yay!!!” is only the half of it. And that’s the other thing, some of us write new things, some find a home finally for that manuscript gathering dust because of an industry that makes very little room for voices like ours. ETA: Home Home has landed a deal with Delacorte (Penguin) for release of a US edition due in 2020.

The Beast of Kukuyo by Kevin Jared Hosein (Trinidad and Tobago) – Kevin was actually on quite a roll (with several Commonwealth short story wins, Bocas long listing)  when he placed in Burt so perhaps for him this didn’t change much but it certainly added to his coffers and his publishing credits.

2016 titles:
Winner – Dreams Beyond the Shore Dreams-Beyond-the-Shore-front-lr-190x300by Tamika Gibson (Trinidad and Tobago)

Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell (Bermuda) – who, per this article, dreamed of being a writer since her days reading the Bobbsey Twins and then of working in publishing, then a librarian only to find that she couldn’t work as a librarian in Bermuda because of segregation. With this book, the first dream is fully realized and she finally gets to tell the little known tale of segregation in Bermuda – and telling our under-told and unknown stories in a way that can enlighten generation now about the past is not a small thing. This is just one review I came across on booktube which contrasts segregation in the US and in Bermuda via Girlcott, indicating that this is a book primed for social studies discussion.
Beautifully Bookish Bethany, who seems to be American, said “(Girlcott is) super interesting… because I actually had never heard anything about Bermuda during the civil rights era… this is from an indie publisher but I really recommend it.”

The Protectors’ Pledge by Danielle Y C Mclean – published by Caribbean Reads
It’s worth noting here that one of the interesting elements of the Burt titles is that they underscore that the Caribbean story is not one thing; we write in different genres of different times and different futures, we have lore that is primed for exploration and expansion, and imaginations not constrained by the perceived tropes of Caribbean literature. There are many other non teen/young adult books that do this of course but if you’re looking for your teen reader you can find romance, adventure, crime, fantasy, coming of age, history, and so much more; just google them (I haven’t linked every book because I don’t feel like linking to Amazon but I have linked to the reviews I’ve written of the ones I’ve read).

2015 titles:
Winner – children of the spider 001Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh (Guyana) – Anansi as you’ve never seen…ze?

Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay (Jamaica) – a book that draws on the author’s career in environmental advocacy as it weaves a tight rescue tale.

Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph (Trinidad and Tobago) – I haven’t read the published version of this one yet though it is on my book shelf but I did read it when it was a contender for the prize as I was a judge that year. And speaking of telling different stories, this was is not only a Caribbean story but is another story that can be added to the library of books (if such a thing exists) about the fallout from 9/11, existing as it does at the intersection of Caribbean and American life. It’s also about grief as Home Home is about depression, as such tackling the still fairly taboo issue of mental health. These books (the Burt books generally) go there and really should be read not just by Caribbean teens but beyond.

2014 titles:
Winner – all over again - cover FAW 05JUN2013All Over Again by A-dZiko Simba Gegele (Jamaica) who has recently been announced as a Musgrave medal recipient (the equivalent of national awards) for her contribution to the literary arts. She said in the  linked article, “We are still in the very early stages, but there are a lot of fantastic writers right here in Jamaica. Unfortunately, most of them get on a plane and leave in search of greater opportunities for income and exposure. With technology moving the way it is, the good thing is that that is not even necessary any more as we can stay here and enjoy the benefits of these markets. But at a certain level, our work has to be recognised, we need to be taken seriously and it must be recognised that behind every great movie, song, radio or television programme is a good writer.” No lies detected and the Burt award – in fact other Bocas prizes are among the very few opportunities for writer development and reward in the Caribbean. That’s another reason why it’s sad to see it go- especially before another Eastern Caribbean small island writer could come through.

Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse (Antigua and Barbuda) – that’s me (the previous Eastern Caribbean small island writer that came through) and I would be remiss if I didn’t speak a bit on the opportunities I’ve had to work with the Burt Award and/or Code since being short listed for this prize. I organized and facilitated a workshop in 2014 (in addition to assisting with distribution and promotion of all three Burt titles here in Antigua and Barbuda)

my gift1.jpg

presentation of Colleen Smith-Dennis’ Inner City Girl at Clare Hall Secondary school

Gift to Library

copies to the Public Library at the official launch of Musical Youth

; I was recruited as a judge for the 2015 Caribbean Burt prize; and I was hired in 2017 as a mentor for one of the finalists of the Burt Africa prize. Thanks to Caribbean Reads’ hustle, my book Musical Youth (added to the schools reading lists in Antigua and Barbuda in 2018 and to a reading list in Trinidad before that, with its second and hard cover editions published in 2019)

MUSICAL_YOUTH_Cover_FRONT_Final

new edition released 2019

continues to find new readers (I’ve personally presented it at readings in New York, St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Croix, Barbados, and here at home).

with Muntsa Plana Valls and Auntie Janice and the staff at one of three schools visited

after a school presentation in St. Croix

It has earned accolades from the likes of Oonya Kempadoo (author of Buxton Spice) who said, “I first recognized the weight of her work by the response of the teens to her book, Musical Youth , in the Grenada Community Library. It remains one of the most popular books with teens, despite their tendency to shun Caribbean literature when they have a choice because they are required to read it in schools.”

Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis (Jamaica)

Bocas 5

Bocas Photo of finalists panel at the inaugural Code Burt award for Caribbean teen/young adult fiction (photo by Marlon James/original Bocas photographer)

If you’ve never heard of the Code Burt Award, I hope this post helps fill in the blanks and underscores the need for arts philanthropy. Per the Bocas press release announcing the wrapping up of the prize, “This unique literary award programme has inspired Caribbean writers to create fantastic stories; publishers have been supported to build young adult literature into their lists; teachers and librarians have been given fantastic resources; and young readers now have access to more books than ever before.”  I would say that we have always been telling fantastic stories and Burt gave us a platform to get them published while building the publishing infrastructure in the region and targeting the desired audience, ensuring that they, Caribbean teens, have stories they can relate to which also fire their imagination.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, unless otherwise indicated, this is written by author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse. All rights reserved.

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