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Tis the Season for Giving — Kristine Simelda

Dear Readers, Tis the season for giving. May I suggest a lovely book that is a treasure trove of literary work from poets and writers from Dominica? Montage Domnik: New Stories and Poems from Dominica is a colorful collection that serves as a platform to expose and preserve new work from twenty-four of Dominica’s most […]

Tis the Season for Giving — Kristine Simelda

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Can’t Wait Wednesday (Reading Natasha Lightfoot)

This book blog meme (CWW or Can’t Wait Wednesday) popped up in my feed via Curious Corners of a Writer’s Cluttered Mind just now and after, what, it’s Wednesday?, this writer’s brain thought, sure, I’ll play. After all, the book I’ve been most thinking of this week is right up this blog’s alley. Wadadli Pen, if you’re new here, is the online platform of a project, now a non-profit, meant to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

That book – Troubling Freedom: Antigua and the Aftermath of British Emancipation by Natasha Lightfoot

I’m almost ashamed that I haven’t read this yet – almost, because I am one person and only have so much time in a world of too many books I’d love to read but this has been one of those books (I always thought I’d get to it sooner than this) since I attended the launch at the Public Library years ago now.

#history #nonfiction #Caribbean #Black

Blurb –  In 1834 Antigua became the only British colony in the Caribbean to move directly from slavery to full emancipation. Immediate freedom, however, did not live up to its promise, as it did not guarantee any level of stability or autonomy, and the implementation of new forms of coercion and control made it, in many ways, indistinguishable from slavery. In Troubling Freedom, Natasha Lightfoot tells the story of how Antigua’s newly freed black working people struggled to realize freedom in their everyday lives, prior to and in the decades following emancipation. She presents freedpeople’s efforts to form an efficient workforce, acquire property, secure housing, worship, and build independent communities in response to elite prescriptions for acceptable behavior and oppression. Despite its continued efforts, Antigua’s black population failed to convince whites that its members were worthy of full economic and political inclusion. By highlighting the diverse ways freedpeople defined and created freedom through quotidian acts of survival and occasional uprisings, Lightfoot complicates conceptions of freedom and the general narrative that landlessness was the primary constraint for newly emancipated slaves in the Caribbean.

I don’t read a ton a ton of non-fiction but when I read Natasha, who is an associate professor at Columbia University, it always does to me what good fiction does which is transport me wholly in to the world of the story, with rich characters, strong narratives throughines, pacing on point, with a real and grounded sense of the stakes, and the reason why Troubling Freedom is on my mind is because I had the opportunity recently to read a chapter from her book in progress (after telling her that I missed her James McCune Smith Annual Lecture at the University of Glasgow). Such a privilege! The talk she gave was based on the same topic. I can’t share either but when I tell you I was riveted – as in this could be a Hollywood film, and please can I write it, riveted. And now I can’t wait for this book; I want to believe that the previous article of hers that I read about Eliza Moore, an enslaved woman who bid for her freedom based on the Emancipation Act in the territory of her birth though not the territory in which she was resident, is part of this book – I can see a throughline, and I can’t wait.

Reading these shorter pieces has me as eager to dive in to Troubling Freedom as I was at its launch – I just need to get my hands on a copy and get through at least four of the books that I’m currently reading (one is an edit job, one I’ve been asked to blurb, one I’m trying to finish for a book club discussion, and one was the most advanced of my previous reads in progress). It’s a lot but that book is on my mind and hopefully will soon be in my hands. Check it out if you haven’t already.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Caribbean Readers Choice Lit Awards

The content in this post would usually be in a Caribbean Lit Plus post (the site’s twice monthly round up of regional arts news) but it merits its own. This is the Caribbean Readers Choice book awards courtesy of the Rebel Women Lit book club – an opportunity for Caribbean readers and readers of Caribbean books to, say, I’mma let you finish (insert prestigious literary awards here) but these are the books that the bookworms are actually stanning. The category breakdown is pretty interesting – I would add only Best children’s book, Best individual poem, and Best cover (of any genre) but there’s always tomorrow. As for today, eligible books would have been published between November 2019 and November 2020 (if I’m remembering correctly), if you’re wondering where your favourites are – books are reader nominated and (after being whittled to a short list) reader voted. So vote. In order announced on Rebel Women Lit’s live podcast, from which these images were screen captured, here is the shortlist of nominees.

First up was critics (this is not a voting category; just acknowledging)

(Now the categories you CAN vote in)

Big Congratulations to all the nominees. There are several books from my TBR listed, plus one I’ve actually reviewed, and voting is going to be hard because I know and/or love a lot of these writers and their writings, and the ones I don’t know, I look forward to discovering.

But this is Wadadli Pen. You know what I’m here for. The Antiguan and Barbudan nominees are:

Rilzy Adams (for best novel) with Birthday Shot. Rilzy is Rilys Adams, local lawyer and former Wadadli Pen finalist (2005, 2006), in addition to being a prolific self-published novelist.

Joanne C. Hillhouse (listed incorrectly as Hill above) in the short non-fiction category with ‘F is For…’ from the Caribbean Literary Heritage forgotten Caribbean books series. I am Joanne, writer and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator. This short listed article began as a research project for my Jhohadli blog which I later redrafted and contributed to the CLH series. I also find myself in an esteemed company of critics and all I have to say is I’m not worthy.

Several Wadadli Pen 2020 shortlisted writers (whoop whoop!) – Andre J P Warner (A Bright Future for Tomorrow), Zaniah Pigott (A Mermaid), Aria-Rose Browne (Fabled Truth), Cheyanne Darroux (Tom, the Ninja Crab, listed as Ninja Crab), William Henderson (The Beast of Barbados) – made the short list for best short fiction; and how dope would it be if one of them won. Vote!

Barbara Arrindell is one of two nominees (the other being Jamaican writer Pietra Brown) from the online platform started just last month by Antiguan and Barbudan gender activists in the short fiction category. Barbara, a local writer and Wadadli Pen team member, is nominated for Belonging to Barbuda.

We in the 268 don’t get a lot a lot of attention usually as far as canon fanfare is concerned but we made out okay this time. Thanks to Rebel Lit Woman for this initiative. This book lover is looking forward to voting; hope you are too. If voting isn’t open when you check, just check back.

Voting closes December 31st 2020.

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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Musical Youth Reflection after Release of the Second Edition

The thing they don’t tell you about your book coming out is how busy you’ll be, too busy sometimes to take it in – and depending on what else is going on in your life not necessarily anything close to the high the moment demands. It’s not ingratitude that has you thinking, when another person says “congrats”, “what for?” – you’re just too tired, maybe even too stressed to remember that there’s even something to celebrate. And there is, there is. This book, your first or your 15th, is the culmination of so many hours of dreaming and working, is the fulfillment of so much possibility and improbability, it’s ingratitude not to be grateful for it. And that feeling can add to the stress as well. But hang in there, a time will come, maybe on a random Wednesday afternoon about a week or so late too late when the feeling will hit you. Feel it. You did that.

And with that, I’m here to say that I’m about a week late on posting here about the release of the 2nd edition of Musical Youth.

(cover art by Antiguan and Barbudan artist Glenroy Aaron)

Let me tell you about this book. It’s about creative teens doing creative ish like me and my pals did in our teens, all the while learning and growing. You know already (maybe) that I wrote it in a fortnight and took a shot at submitting this very rough thing (unedited and beta read only by my teenage niece which made sense to me at the time since she was the target audience) to the CODE Burt Award inaugural competition for teen/young adult literature with a little gentle prodding from my sister and the guy at the first book binding place I tried. Yes, I had to get it printed, bound and Fed Ex’d to Trinidad – talk about investing in yourself.  I was checking my email about 3 a m or so one morning months later when I received the news that I had made the short list and immediately called Alstyne (the person who always made sure I stopped to celebrate but who has since passed over but) who was still very much alive then and joined me in screaming and can you believing over the phone. I travelled to Trinidad and came home to no fan fair (which a friend of mine still gripes about) though, honestly it didn’t occur to me then to expect anything. It seemed to me that I had won more than I had dared hope when I submitted the manuscript. Did part of me wish I had won? Of course but the winning book AdZiko  Gegele’s All Over Again is delightful and I am happy to be in company with it and Colleen Smith-Dennis’ Inner City Girl as the first in a series of award winning Caribbean books targeted at contemporary teen readers in the region, with appeal for lovers of good literature everywhere. This book has taken me places (and through CODE, Burt, and Bocas – the entities funding and/or administering the prize – I’ve had opportunities to judge, organize and run a workshop, mentor, and more) and these characters are among my favourites that I’ve written – so much so that I’m working on a sequel (I have been pretty much since the beginning but this past week have legit done some work on it).

Writing hasn’t made me rich in a way that the world recognizes (the opposite probably) but I love being able to write and tell stories that reach people in some way, and I love that one of those books has seamlessly rolled in to a second edition. Yes, I have had second editions of my books before (notably The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight) but usually it’s more bumpy (involving a book underperforming and/or going out of print, the legalities of reclaiming rights, the challenges of finding a new publisher); the publisher reaching out to say that the book has performed well enough for them to justify investing more in it, is a different corner turned in the winding road I’ve taken as a writer, journeying. The closest comparison is, again, The Boy from Willow Bend which has had longevity as my first book.

It is a week or so after Caribbean Reads, an independent press with roots in St. Kitts, announced that they have released a second edition of Musical Youth, and I am grateful (whatever else is going on in my life now, and there is a lot that’s not perfect, but I am grateful, this #gyalfromOttosAntigua is grateful).  Shout out to the friend who made me stop to toast the moment. As for my journey with Caribbean Reads (one of four publishers with which I have books currently contracted – the others being Hansib -The Boy from Willow Bend, Insomniac – Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Little Bell Caribbean – With Grace), when faced in 2014 for the first time really with the opportunity to choose from among several regional publishers interested in publishing the Burt winning titles, I was uncertain which way to go – which was positioned to do the most for the book, which would be most invested in working with me like I wasn’t an afterthought (which can happen with big publishers), which would be fairest; so many uncertainties in my mind as I narrowed my options to the three or so I was giving serious condition.  I honestly don’t remember  what tipped it in Caribbean Reads’ favour (and, no, it wasn’t just that of all the options it was, as an imprint with Eastern Caribbean roots, closer to home) but I haven’t regretted it yet – and, in fact, I was able to sell them on  a re-issue of another book I had reclaimed from a publisher I felt wasn’t doing anything for it (those uncertainties I spoke about) and re-issue that book as Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure which now has a Spanish language edition with an activity book pending.

I believe in Musical Youth and I am delighted that readers both at home and abroad continue to discover and embrace it, and I hope for much much more (and bigger and bigger sales – let’s keep it real) as the book moves in to its second life. Thank you to everyone who has been there in whatever way you have been there. I am grateful.

Here is Caribbean Reads announcement re the re-issue (excerpt):

“Musical Youth is the first of two Burt Award winners published by CaribbeanReads, the second being The Protectors’ Pledge by Danielle Y. C. McClean. The success of these titles speaks to the fact that we need Caribbean books and, more generally, #weneeddiversebooks.”

And here is a gallery of Musical Youth moments so far – captions in order pictured (Musical Youth on the bookstagram, Musical Youth part of a middle school chef competition in NYC, gifting Musical Youth to my alma mater after serving as narrator at the annual carol service, my niece and beta reader taking a book selfie, me taking a book selfie on holding the book for the first time, me with co-panelists at the Brooklyn Book Fair after presenting Musical Youth, me with co-presenters and education officials during a schools tour in St. Croix where I was presenting Musical Youth during the USVI Lit Fest, me presenting copies of Musical Youth to the Public Library during the launch at the Best of Books, me accepting the Burt award from the late founder Canadian philanthropist William Burt, and me presenting Musical Youth to students in St. Maarten as part of a schools’ tour during the St. Martin lit fest):

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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PRESS RELEASE The Antigua and Barbuda Readers’ Choice Book of the Year Is…

Issued April 3rd 2019

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize congratulates Vivian Luke, whose book, F.A.K.E., netted the most votes in its #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda Book of the Year initiative.

On being informed of the news, Luke said in a statement, “Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for my book…  Writing is a gift but the ability to conceive of and complete a well-structured story that is well received is a dream for any author.  So, I must congratulate the rest of the authors who were part of this process as well.”

The winning author has picked the Foundation Mixed School, alma mater of her mother and aunt, to receive a donation of books – valued at EC$900 – in her name. The donation is made possible by three Wadadli Pen patrons all of whom volunteered to make contributions anonymously – a fourth patron donated a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus.

Luke is a senior executive consultant and mother of two in the US. She is connected to Antigua and Barbuda through a line that goes back to her maternal great-great grandfather, with both sets of grandparents being born and raised in Antigua. She describes herself as “a proud Antiguan – 1st generation removed.”

Voters described F.A.K.E. as “a must read (that) reinforces the importance of creating true friendships,” “a page turner that shows us that friendship is valuable and we don’t need to live fake lives when we’re surrounded by real friends” and, simply, “a great read”. The people have spoken.


F.A.K.E. picked up the majority by one vote in a photo finish with Shawn N. Maile’s How to Work Six Jobs on an Island: an Island Boy’s Dream – described, among other things, as “a great example of time management and maximizing resources.” The book with the third most votes is Rilzy Adams’ The Gift – a romance described by one voter as “heartwarming and heartwrenching at the same time”.

The top three authors will be presented with certificates of their achievement during a brief ceremony at the Best of Books Monday 8th April 2019 at 10:00 a.m., at which time children from the Foundation Mixed will have the opportunity to select books for their school library.

This initiative is consistent – especially in a year when the usual writing challenge is absent – with Wadadli Pen’s mission since 2004 to nurture and showcase Antigua and Barbuda’s literary culture, a culture which, as illustrated by Luke’s win and Maile’s especially strong showing begins here but is not limited to our shores.

Luke’s message to the students can be read in full here. In it she spoke of her love of writing being fostered by a love of reading which she modelled from her parents, and urges, the children to “Read, Read, Read so that your intellectual curiosity may be heightened.”

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Two of My Faves

Cleaning out some files just now, I came across a release I neglected to share when it was still news (read it here: OESnews18-PresAward_6-2-2018). It concerns two Caribbean literary giants – Earl Lovelace of Trinidad and Tobago, and America-based Edwidge Dandicat of Haiti – being awarded by the St. Martin’s Book Fair. From the release: “The Presidents Award is presented to individuals and institutions whose work is noted
for its excellence and for combining literary, cultural, and liberation components in the service of progress, of their people or nation, and of humanity,” said Lasana M. Sekou, projects director at House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). I saw the accompanying photo and wanted to share it along with a note on each of these writers, two of my faves and writers you should know if you don’t already.

nerissa golden pic of danticat_lovelace_BF18_6-2-18.jpg

Their books (the ones I’ve read)

Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994) – This was an Oprah’s Book Club pick (1998) right around the time a book club I was then a part of introduced me to it. Oprah being the literary king and queen maker at the time, it launched her in to the stratosphere not only as a major modern Caribbean voice but as a major author. It was uncomfortable and moving, dealing as it does with home, the mother-daughter dynamic, and purity tests for girls;  definitely a must-read.

The Farming of Bones (1998) – I credit the book club I was a part of at the time for introducing me to this one and unearthing, for me, a part of Caribbean history I knew  nothing about –  the massacre at the border between the two countries of Haitians by Dominicans at the behest of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1937. It rocked me in so many ways, thinking about how Haiti has inspired (as the singular example of Black people freeing themselves from bondage) and suffered (paying for their claiming of their ownership of themselves and their country) to this day; thinking of how so many Dominicans have, since the 1980s and continuing, made Antigua their home by that point, of earlier migration, decades before my birth of eastern Caribbean people to the Dominican Republic and other parts of Latin America, of Caribbean people moving for all sorts of reasons, economic and otherwise, of Black people, darker Black people especially, too often being treated as a stain upon the world, undesirables, of how to reconcile all of this ugliness, especially when from slavery to economic recolonization, we won’t even face it. What I liked about this book was the way it insisted we face it. The tensions between Haiti and the DR persist to this day (and Dandicat has become quite a vocal advocate for the humanity of Haitian people in these battles), Haiti is still treated like the world’s problem and not a self-determining nation that showed us the way, the colourist attitudes and their underpinnings in our enslavement is an issue we’ve barely scratched the surface of, but one of the things I like about fiction is how it mixes these big racial, social, historical, and geo political issues in to an engaging, and all too human, story that we can’t shake, long after we’ve forgotten the details. This is a masterpiece and easily one of my favourite books, period.

Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work (2010) – a collection of essays that while they spoke to the challenges of writing about Haiti, spoke to me as a writer trying to write truthfully, the bravery that that requires, and the fear that I may not be up to the task. I love this book for the insights it gives to Dandicat’s journeying but also for the ways it challenges me on my own.

Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (2010) – this gripping children’s book of a child trapped in the days after the major Haiti quake of that same year. I believe it was a fundraiser as the country struggled (struggles still) to find its footing; it was also a favourite of the Cushion Club Reading Club for Kids with which I volunteer (… or have).

Dandicat’s short fiction – of her loose short fiction, my favourite of the ones I’ve read is Ghosts which was published in the New Yorker.

Still on my to read list – Behind the Mountains (2002), The Dew Breaker (2004) , Anacaona: Golden Flower (2005),  Brother, I’m Dying (2007), Claire of the Sea Light (2013) – I’ve actually read excerpts of this one but not the whole book though the excerpts I’ve read make me want to read it in full, and Untwine (2015). Actually I could probably add all the books by her that I haven’t read yet to this list but I’m sticking with the ones already on my TBR.

I’ve read less of Lovelace (less even than I realized) and yet he looms just as large in my literary imagination – in part because he is always part of everyone’s conversation as a pure Caribbean artist who has influenced the way we tell our stories to the world, and is many people’s favourites. The one I remember reading, again with my book club back in the late 90s/early aughts, I believe, is The Wine of Astonishment (1982) – with that iconic cover and its use of Trinidad traditional stick fighting culture (an extension of Africa in the lives of these displaced Africans). The details are fuzzy but the Bolo character is one of the things/people/entities that imprinted on me from this book (and from many Caribbean books I’ve read); I love a great character. I’m now realizing as I write this that I may have only thought I read The Dragon Can’t Dance; it is one of those Caribbean classics you grow up with until it feels like you’ve read it because you know it so well…only, maybe not (this was me and Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea for the longest while). I can’t say for sure which probably means I need to re/read it. So I’m going to put The Dragon Can’t Dance back on the TBR alongside the ones already there – Is Just a Movie and Salt.

Their impact

Lovelace is “celebrated for his descriptive, dramatic fiction about West Indian culture. Using Trinidadian speech patterns and standard English, he probes the paradoxes often inherent in social change as well as the clash between rural and urban cultures.” (Britannica)

“Earl Lovelace is well known for his groundbreaking novels about carnival and
religion in Trinidad and Tobago, The Dragon Can’t Dance and The Wine of
Astonishment. His more recent award-winning novels, Salt and Is Just a Movie have
advanced his regional and international standing as a noted Caribbean author.” (from the press release re the St . Martin Book Fair 2018)

I remember we did an informal poll on the now (unfortunately) defunct Caribbean Literary Salon re favourite Caribbean writer and Lovelace won easily.

His awards include a 1980 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 1986 National Endowment for the Humanities grant, the 1997 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best book (Salt), being shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 1998, a 2002 Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of the West Indies, the 2011 Grand Prize for Caribbean Literature (Is Just a Movie), and the 2012 OCM Bocas Prize, fiction category and overall winner (Is Just a Movie) among others.

“Edwidge Danticat, (born January 19, 1969, Port-au-Prince, Haiti), Haitian American author whose works focus on the lives of women and their relationships. She also addresse(s) issues of power, injustice, and poverty.” (Britannica)

“Edwidge Danticat (Haiti/USA), a much in-demand writer around the world, is the
author of Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection; Krik? Krak!; The
Farming of Bones; and Claire of the Sea Light. She is the editor of The Butterfly’s Way:
Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States. A MacArthur fellow, Danticat
has written six books for children and young adults. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, is a
USA National Book Critics Circle Award winner.” (from the press release re the St . Martin Book Fair 2018)

When this blog posted on Caribbean Favourites in 2010, four Dandicat books were listed with fans of the book crediting The Farming of Bones for “unflinchingly and vividly rendering (a brutal chapter in Haitian-Dominican Republic history)”, Breath, Eyes, Memory’s “simply beautiful writing”, Krik? Krak? as a book that “weaves love, heartbreak, pride, pain, and raw human emotion” in to its storytelling (this fan also described Dandicat as “truly gifted in her story telling”), and The Dew Breaker as an example of “truly amazing writing” and “a powerful exploration of the effect of political violence on individuals and communities”.

Dandicat was named by Harper’s Bazaar as ‘1 of 20 people in their twenties who will make a difference’, featured in The New York Times as one of ’30 under 30′ people to watch, and called one of the ’15 Gutsiest Women of the Year’ by Jane magazine. She received fiction awards from Essence and Seventeen magazines. She won a Pushcart for Between the Pool and the Gardenias’, Granta magazine’s Best Young American Novelist prize (1996), the American Book Award for The Farming of Bones (1999), the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for The Dew Breaker (2005), and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for Create Dangerously (2011), among others. She is a repeat National Book Award nominee (Krik? Krak?, Brother, I’m Dying) and the recipient of honorary degrees from Smith College (2012), Yale (2013), and the University of the West Indies (2017) – possibly more. She is a MacArthur Fellows Program Genius Grant recipient (2009).

“Both authors are also courageous advocates for the advancement of Caribbean
sovereignty and human rights” (from the press release re the St . Martin Book Fair 2018)

Our crossings

I’ve met each of these authors at least once – Lovelace at the International Congress of Caribbean Writers (2013) and Dandicat at the Miami Book Fair (2018). It can be fun to meet your heroes…it can be uneventful; one was one of these and one was the other but both remain as mental keepsakes for a writer (me!) very much inspired by them both.

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, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. You’re also invited to follow me on my author blog http://jhohadli.wordpress.com 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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New Book Alert!

My main and social media knows me well; it’s been flooding me with news of multi-award winning Jamaican author Marlon James new book (I mean, that’s the marketing dream team any writer wish they had amirite? because they are outchea!). The book is Black Leopard, Red Wolf (from Riverhead Books) and it’s the first of a three book epic fantasy fueled by African mythology. In other words, fan of fantasy or not (which I am), it’s the book we’ve been waiting for. As I said on Marlon’s facebook, I like that he takes big swings and with some like Bill Maher recently trashing comic books and comic book readers, that he doesn’t give a tosh (is that an expression…well, it is now) about your genre snobbery. I haven’t read Jim Crow’s Devil but I have read the historical slavery narrative The Book of Night Women and the historical crime drama A Brief History of Seven Killings. And in addition to points blogged in my reviews, as he adds Black Leopard, Red Wolf to his bibliography, it’s easy to see that he’s someone who responds to the challenge of big ideas and deliberately or not (because I wouldn’t presume to speak his intention) creates literature (say it with a high brow accent) with popular appeal. And I’m here for it because I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again a good story is a good story and he tells them well.

With Black Leopard, Red Wolf, he steps, from everything I’ve been reading (haven’t read the book yet though), in to George R. R. Martin territory (doing what Game of Thrones did with its euro-rooted historical fantasy and mythology for African-diasporic storytelling – a la Black Panther). And I’m here for that. Don’t put Black literature, Caribbean literature, nor for that matter Marlon James literature in a box.

Here are some links:

“In these pages, James conjures the literary equivalent of a Marvel Comics universe — filled with dizzying, magpie references to old movies and recent TV, ancient myths and classic comic books, and fused into something new and startling by his gifts for language and sheer inventiveness.” – New York Times

‘Kris Kleindienst, Co-owner of Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Missouri, selected the new novel Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, whose novel A Brief History of Seven Killings won the 2015 Man Book Prize. Kleindienst told Forbes, “Marlon James possesses almost frightening levels of talent. The arc of his career has barely begun, but he has already shot past the best of what other writers could ever hope for. His work is wholly original, while paying homage to all the important literary ancestors. Black Leopard, Red Wolf holds the promise of being an archetypal epic for the 21st century.’ – Forbes

I have some other links bookmarked but I haven’t had time to read them as yet (this only got posted today because people are inboxing me links as well)- bottom line from Lit Hub to Time this book is getting all the buzz. I peep in my timeline that it is in Antigua (at the Best of Books)

red wolf.jpg

From the Best of Books’ social media.

– and I’m not above hard hinting them that I have a Blogger on Books series wherein I talk books I’ve read (think they’ll share a review copy? yeah, I tried it!), but until then I’ll let the anticipation build (because the way my book buying budget is set up…)

In all seriousness though, did I say new book alert!

Also new, this one already has its own post (a couple of them) but I’m mentioning it here as the publisher (UK/Caribbean independent Papillotte) now has it posted on their site, Saint Lucian Writers and Writing (edited by John Robert Lee) – an author index of prose, poetry, and drama. So look out for that one as well.9780995726314-300x462

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

Remember to vote for your favourite book by an Antiguan and Barbuda, 2017-2018.

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A & B Arts Round up – January 3rd 2019 —>

July 6th 2019 – 6 p.m. – The Royal Society of Literature – New Daughters of Africa – part of the Africa Writes Festival @ the Knowledge Centre, the British Library, London – this is obviously not being held in Antigua (and though I’m unlikely to be there, I wanted to let my Caribbean and especially my Antiguan people know about this, one of the events being held to promote the New Daughters of Africa). “Twenty-five years after Margaret Busby’s Daughters of Africa anthology, a new companion volume brings together the work of over 200 writers from across the globe – Antigua to Zimbabwe, Angola to the USA – to celebrate a unifying heritage, illustrate an uplifting sense of sisterhood and showcase the remarkable range of creativity from the African diaspora.” Details here.

April 30th 2019 – A feature of Antigua Sailing Week is Reggae in the Park at the Nelson’s Dockyard, an official UNESCO heritage site. Go here for details.

March 31st 2019 – Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year voting deadline. If there’s a book, released between 2017 and 2018, by an Antiguan and Barbudan that you read and liked. Vote. If you haven’t read any of the books on the list; there’s still time. Here’s where you go to see the books and vote.

#readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

January 29th 2019 (give or take) – Team Antigua Island Girls due to return home – follow their page for the latest (and to read up on them if you haven’t been following their 3,000 mile row across the Atlantic) as this kind of thing is hard to pin down – also check out our tribute here on Wadadli Pen #Girlscan

January 14th – 18th 2019 – Schools Drama Festival & January 17th 2019 – Honey Bee Theatre’s The Long Walk ETA: Encore showing set for February 9th 2019 – Dean William Lake Centre.49682638_10156651453962931_7641356855263887360_n

January 8th 2019 (5 p.m. – 7 p.m.) – Art Show and Wine Tasting featuring Tracy Salmon.48356852_371261727012898_7963534236311355392_n

49115870_762893680740981_3748126278847299584_nJanuary 4th (6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and 5th 2019 (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) – The Black Exhibit presents ART: A Research Study Redefining Gender Norms Through Photography by Jesseca Ormond at the Reginald Samuel Art Gallery located at the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy (Old BBC building in Lightfoot). Admission is free. For more information you can email theblackexhibit@gmail.com, call (268) 734-7359, or visit the facebook event page for details. Another showing to be organized – watch this space (or check with The Black Exhibit’s facebook page or email them for more)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

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

#ReadAntiguaBarbuda #VoteAntiguaBarbuda

UPDATED- (April 6th 2019): VOTING CLOSED ON MARCH 31ST 2019 AND THE WINNER HAS SINCE BEEN ANNOUNCED. THANKS FOR PARTICIPATING. YOU CAN CONTINUE TO PARTICIPATE BY SHARING THE POST SO THAT MORE PEOPLE CAN DISCOVER THE BOOKS OF ANTIGUANS AND BARBUDANS, BUYING THE BOOKS OF LOCAL AUTHORS (FOR READING AND/OR GIFTING), AND POSTING ONLINE REVIEWS OF THE BOOKS YOU READ. NO, I’M NOT SHOUTING AT YOU; I’M JUST SO EXCITED!!!

Voting in the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda Readers Choice Antigua and Barbuda initiative wraps on March 31st 2019. The winning author wins boasting rights and hopefully a bit more recognition, a bit more of the spotlight. Plus a contribution in the author’s name will be made by Wadadli Pen to an Antiguan and Barbudan school of the author’s choosing or the author’s alma mater. The prize is EC$600 worth of books (specifically age-appropriate Antiguan-Barbudan and Caribbean books) thanks to contributions of EC$500 and EC$100 from regular Wadadli Pen Challenge patrons who have requested anonymity; and a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus English Words and Phrases contributed by another regular patron Jane Seagull. If anyone reading this wishes to add to this school gift, please contact us at wadadlipen@gmail.com This will be instead of Wadadli Pen Challenge prizes as the Challenge is on hiatus.

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Antigua and Barbuda doesn’t have a national book award – until recently we arguably didn’t have enough books to warrant it. But there are roughly 45 books in contention for this first readers’ choice prize – which is a testament to the growth of writing and publishing activity since Wadadli Pen launched in 2004. While the Challenge, encouraging Antiguans and Barbudans to tell their stories has been our flagship project from the beginning, this initiative is consistent with our stated mission – then to now – to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

As voting prepares to wind down, please share; encourage your fans and fam and entire network to vote. Authors, you can vote too – just not for your book (spread the love). Vote only once. To vote, leave a comment below explaining why you recommend the book of your choice below this post or just leave the name of the book (but preferably say something about the book). 

Between now and the end of March, a vote tally will be added in red to this post – for transparency, and so that you can see how your book of choice is doing.

For more Antiguan and Barbudan books, visit our database 

mottleyA 2nd Anthology of Radical Thoughts & Empowering Perspectives by Marcus Mottley. 2017. In the second volume of Radical Thoughts & Empowering Perspectives, Dr. Marcus Mottley comments on some of the powerful forces and disturbing issues that are unfolding around us worldwide and particularly in his native Antigua and Barbuda. Over fifteen years ago he warned of the ‘Pirate of the Caribbean’ who used Antigua as his base to ravish Antigua and other Caribbean Governments and tempt corruptible politicians. It turns out that Mottley’s insight has been proven true since this Pirate has been caught and ‘quartered’ by the US Justice system for stealing money from gullible investors! A 2nd Anthology of Radical Thoughts & Empowering Perspectives continues to stimulate thinking.
VOTES: 0

BrannThe ABCs of the Black Panther Party by S. Khalilah Brann (w/Chemay Morales-James and illustrator Uela May). Decolonizing Education Publishing. USA. 2017. Decolonizing Education Publishing™ aims to produce literary work that is deliberate in centering black and brown experiences, narratives, history, and cultural contributions. Decolonizing Education Publishing is a collaboration between the founders of Culturally Responsive Education of the African Diaspora (CREAD) – which supports teachers in ensuring positive racial identity development through education – and My Reflections Matters (MRM) – which provides the tools necessary to help combat institutional and internalized racism. The ABCs of the Black Panther Party, the first book from Decolonizing Education Publishing, introduces children 7 to 12 to the Black Panther Party. It supports the expansion of children’s oral and written language while awakening their social consciousness.
VOTES: 7

Roxy 3Be With You: A Valentine’s Romance by Roxy Wilson. 2017. Tameko ‘Meko’ Sampson has worked her butt off to make her detective agency a success. It means, however, that there are times her life is at risk, but she pushes on to ensure her clients are satisfied. Then in walks Seth Hollander, a man she barely noticed when they were in high school a decade ago. Seth has always been enamored by Meko, but she barely noticed him when they were teenagers and when tragedy struck, he had to move away. Now he’s back and this time, he wants Meko to be his…for keeps. As Meko and Seth get to know each other, they have to wrestle with Meko’s ex, as well as the soon-to-be ex-husband of one of her clients. And if that isn’t all, it seems as if Seth is secretly involved with another woman. Can Meko lay aside her distrust, or is Seth really a man who’s not worthy of her love? Will her Valentine’s Day be another lonely one like the ones before?
VOTES: 1

Bothism coverBothism by Tanya Evanson. Ekstasis Editions. Canada. 2017.
Bothism is an experimental Sufi text. It is both sorrow and joy, day and night, content and form, dot and circle, the threshold between worlds. It moves from unity to multiplicity and back again exploring that which can be split and reunited: a cell, a relationship, society, faith, time, words on the page. It posits that if one thing is true, then the opposite must also true, and when asked to choose, the poet’s answer is always both.
VOTES: 0

31964357_10155472100956188_9083169074359304192_n The Cleansing of the Souls by Romenita Barrett. Discovering Diversity Publishing. United Kingdom. 2017. A young boy who is very creative and continually asking questions in the hope that one day he would fulfil his dreaming of flying. Abe knew his Nan always answered his questions but what he did not know that day as they stood waiting at the streets lights was that the answer to his latest question would change the course of his life and impact every soul in the universe. A journey of discovery begins for Abe when he learns that his is no ordinary family and as the magic and mysteries are revealed to him he encounters a blackness he has never known.
VOTES: 0

DelilahDelilah the Donkey and the Missing Tooth by Anne Harewood George (w/illustrator Izzy Bean). Createspace Independent Publishing Platform. 2017. Delilah the Donkey is excited for picture day at Animal Academy but disaster strikes when her tooth falls out. What will she do? Can anybody help her?
VOTES: 0

DreamlandDreamland Barbuda A Study of the History and Development of Communal Land Ownership on the Island by Asha Frank. 2018. In 2017, Barbuda was destroyed by hurricane Irma. This is a historical account of Barbuda’s struggle to maintain a historical and sustainable common land system which has existed from pre-Emancipation to present day.
VOTES: 1

GemmaExplore Antigua and Barbuda by Gemma Handy w/ Irene Danic and illustrator Manuel Morgado. Island Books Ltd. China. 2017. Explore Antigua & Barbuda is a fully illustrated, family-friendly guide with a companion colouring book.
VOTES: 0

518MJHfgMAL__SY346_F.A.K.E.! by Vivian Luke. 2018. F.A.K.E.! traces the lives of four professional African American women who have it all until life altering circumstances crash into their lives and they realize their lives are not perfect — they are FAKE! The quartet of “forty something” super moms are connected by their decades long friendship and their lives in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. To the outside, these women are well connected, busy and beautiful, but secretly each of them knows their lives are inauthentic and shallow – simply put, FAKE! Each of these women discovers her marriage and/or health (and, possibly all they’ve worked so hard for) is on the brink of destruction and must make life-changing decisions. It is their deep rooted, life long friendships that get them through some of the toughest periods in each of their lives.
VOTES: 17

WalterFrank Walter: the Last Universal Man by Frank Walter (w/Barbara Paca). Radius Books. 2017. Coinciding with Antigua and Barbuda’s inaugural National Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2017, The Last Universal Man is the first comprehensive monograph of Frank Walter; a writer, composer, sculptor, and painter. Barbara Paca, an art historian who also serves as Cultural Envoy to Antigua and Barbuda, interviewed Walter over a seven-year period prior to his death, and provides insight and perspective into both the artist as a man and his prodigious body of work.
VOTES: 0

friend indeedA Friend Indeed by Kimolisa Mings. 2017. A Friend Indeed – A ocean away from the only life she knows, Jade Johansen can’t seem to find her place in her husband’s home city of Aarhus, Denmark that is until she befriends a man from her husband’s past. As the friendship blossoms so does her guilt for not telling her husband about the other man in her life. A man whose intentions are far from noble and may lead to the end of Jade’s marriage. Will Jade’s husband forgive her for not telling him about the other man? And when he finds out that she’s pregnant, will he take Jade’s word that the baby is his?
VOTES: 0

RoxyFriends to Forever: A BWWM Friends to Lovers Romance by Roxy Wilson. 2018. Sadie Lawrence is a professional wedding planner who excels at making a couple’s big day perfect. Now, her best friend Hunter is getting married, and Sadie’s feelings are more than a little conflicted. She wants him to be happy … but the truth is, she wants him. Period. No matter how hard she tries not to. Hunter Galloway is battling constant temptation. The more time he spends with Sadie, the more he hungers for her touch. And the fact that his fiancée can’t be bothered to help plan her own wedding makes him wonder why they’re getting married at all. After the two succumb to their feelings and spend a passionate night together, everything starts to go wrong. Hunter feels trapped into going through with the wedding … and Sadie learns that Hunter has given her more than memories.
VOTES: 1

IyaFu You Tongue Heavy Lakka 56 by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo. USA. 2018. Fu You Tongue Heavy Lakka 56 is a look back at the body of work by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo. It includes his early work, the works written after his 9/11 arrest and detainment by homeland security and the latest work following his return to Afrika. “Fu You Tongue Heavy Lakka 56” is Antiguan patois. It is a favorite saying of Iyaba Ibo Mandingo’s Great Grandmother, “Rozzy” Guy. It means you have a lot to say. As the grandchild of former enslaved Africans she remembers the elders talking about the heavy plows they used during slavery and the days of shooting hard labor (sharecropping) that followed. The size of each plow was designated by a number stamped on the handle. 56 was the number of the heaviest of them all. It was a perfect way to honor his Eguns (ancestors) and the perfect title for a collection of poetry.
VOTES: 0

giftThe Gift (Falling Like A Johnson Book 1) by Rilzy Adams. Amazon Digital Services. 2017.The Gift – When Maya’s best friend, Charlotte, asks her to be her surrogate, she reluctantly agrees. Although pregnancy and motherhood were things Maya didn’t plan to deal with for years, she was willing to sacrifice nine months of her time for her best friend’s happiness. Her world is turned inside out when Charlotte is murdered just as Maya gets confirmation of the IVF’s success. Now, Maya must raise the child she never intended to keep and preserve peace with Charlotte’s widower, Jaxon. Soon Maya finds that pregnancy and impending motherhood are the least of her worries. She must fight against the tenderness she’s begun to feel for her best friend’s husband and she must atone for the sin she desperately tries to keep hidden. Maya Jenkins killed her best friend.
VOTES: 8

40236449_1024641034371150_8222943835718680576_nGillie’s World by Gillian McDonald Howie. 2018. Stories based on childhood memories, plucked from diaries throughout the years.
VOTES: 0

38825245_245734709598496_214725537048821760_nGod’s Sovereignty Over Our Lives by Aloma Mason-Stanislaus. The individual must come to the place where they acknowledge their wickedness and desire to turn their lives around. Without that realization, prayer and fasting is done in vain. When we start listening and obeying, we will experience the abundance of life that God has in store for us.
VOTES: 0

RoxyGreer’s Alphas: A Paranormal Menage by Roxy Wilson. 2017.  Greer’s Alphas: The unthinkable takes place when she’s leaving a long, grueling shift at the hospital—just after she has lost a young patient…Dr. Greer McAdams is attacked by a beast, a wolf. And now an evil force is hot on her trail, seeking to destroy her. Falling for Dr. Bryce ‘McDirty’ Trevino seems inevitable, but the enigmatic billionaire, Conan Stormwater, has set his sights on her. Two men, two different personalities, what can this newly formed werewolf do?
VOTES: 0

untitledHidden Secrets of St. Croix by Clarice C. Clarke. 2017. Hidden Secrets of St. Croix juxtaposes images of St. Croix’s history and natural life with the author’s commentary.
VOTES: 0

HolHol de Line and Other Stories by Mary Geo Quinn. Caribbean Education Publishers. Trinidad and Tobago. 2017. Hol de Line and Other Stories details the non-fictitious accounts of events from as far back as the 1940s.
VOTES: 0

maileHow to Work Six Jobs on an Island an Island Boy’s Dream by Shawn N. Maile. 2017. An inside look at how an island boy went from having 0 jobs to 6. If you live on an island and you’re only working one job… you my friend are missing out. With 24 hours in a day and a short distance to commute between locations, an island is the ideal place to engage in multiple vocations. Find out how you could do more with your day or how others got it done.
VOTES: 16

kimI Do…NOT by Kimolisa Mings. 2017. I Do…NOT: Attorney at Law, Alexa Marsh, has everything going for her. A successful career. A great social life. And the perfect man. But all that glitters is not gold, or in her case, platinum. After returning the ring, bringing the short lived engagement to an end, Alexa embarks on the single life. But this, too, is short lived. Instead of meeting one Mr. Right-Now, she meets two. Alexa tells herself that she’s just dating, but the more she spends time with the men, the more they seem to be Mr. Rights. But which Mr. Right should she choose? The self-made millionaire with the heart of gold? Tall, dark and handsome who caters to Alexa’s needs? If she doesn’t choose, the choice may be taken away and the results may change her life forever.
VOTES: 0

ShoeIf the Shoe Fits by Kimolisa Mings. 2017. If the Shoe Fits – It’s The Perfect Frame Job, The Only Problem Is She Is The one Being Framed.  Waking up in the midst of a gruesome crime scene, Cindy Ellington can’t remember the night before. She narrowly escapes it and is now on the run. Stumbling onto the city’s biggest murder case, Detective Sam Masterson discovers two bodies. But one is very much alive and now is the chief suspect in the death of a city official. But is she the killer? The more Sam investigates, the more he doubts that Cindy commited the heinous crime, even though all the evidence points to her, chiefly the murder weapon, a red stiletto. With the law on her trail, Cindy seeks the truth only to discover that it is closer to home than she thinks.
VOTES: 0

42641653_10155580427792633_8062224016313679872_nInto the Black Widow’s Web by K. N. Mings. 2018. Into the Black Widow’s Web – Audra Kellman is found dead in a place that is said to be where demons cross over to the human world. Now Three People Want To Find The Killer. The head of an underground narcotic distribution ring. The CEO of an influential group of companies. And a reluctant private investigator who is more interested in finding out the true identity of the person who hired him than finding out who killed the innocent woman execution style. As D’Angelo Marshall, a private investigator who walks on the razor edge of the law, investigates the case he finds himself caught up in a web of secrets. And the case takes him in a new direction that would change his life forever.
VOTES: 0

OneJust One More Time (Falling Like a Johnson Book 3) by Rilzy Adams. 2018. When Orlando Johnson walked out on Katrina Bolton nearly a decade ago, he swore to anyone who would listen that he would never regret it. Now fate has tossed them back together in the form of a little boy who needs their love and protection and Orlando realizes leaving Kat was the worst mistake of his life. Orlando is determined to get her back, but can he convince her to let them try their hand at love just one more time?
VOTES: 0

writeJust Write Antigua Journal by Brenda Lee Browne. 2017. Browne designed the Just Write Antigua Journal as a space to write and be inspired by pictures taken as she walked and drove around Antigua. There is also a second smaller (but not less rich) edition of this visual journal of Antigua and Barbuda.
VOTES: 0

elloyLearning Bible-verses: the Vow, the Wow, the Now by W. Elloy D. de Freitas. 2018. This book is the sharing of Elloy’s testimony from a transaction (vow), to a revelation, to a new comprehension of reality, and for traction and action. Learning Bible-verses is one of several paths to GOD. Learning Bible-verses encourages making the Bible a delight with its associated benefits of holistic happiness, prosperity, success, and shalom.
VOTES: 0

legend4Legend of Integrity and Courage by Nuffield J. Burnette. 2017. Chapter 1 – The Beginning; Chapter 2 – Hurricane David; Chapter 3 – Arrival in Antigua; Chapter 4 – The World at Work; Chapter 5 – IHI Investigation; Chapter 6 – Change of Government; Chapter 7 – Multiple Homicide in Antigua; Chapter 8 – Family Life; Chapter 9 – Senior Command Course 2009; Chapter 10 – Prince of the City Explores; Chapter 11 – Regional Recognition Awards; Chapter 12 – When Logic Defy Intellect; Chapter 13 – Through the Lens; Chapter 14 – Deterrent Verses Punishment.
VOTES: 1

Life as Josephine by Claytine Nisbett. 2017. Life As Josephine takes place in the 1990s, chronicling the formative years of a strong-willed Bronx, New York teenager, Josephine Peters.life as Jose
VOTES: 0

Lovers Rock2London Rocks by Brenda Lee Browne. Hansib. UK. 2017. This is the story of Dante Brookes, a young man growing up in London in the late seventies and early eighties when sound systems ruled the party scene for young, Black British youth of Caribbean heritage. He navigates the loss of friends, police harassment and being a teenage father while forging a career as an MC. Dante stumbles into the acting profession and also becomes a writer. It is through these disparate experiences that he learns that the pen and mic at mightier than the sword.
VOTES: 7

Lost Cover Front 4Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure by Joanne C. Hillhouse [w/illustrator Danielle Boodoo-Fortune]. Caribbean Reads Publishing. St. Kitts-Nevis/USA. 2017. LOST! A Caribbean Sea Adventure – When an Arctic seal named Dolphin finds himself far from home in the warm Caribbean sea, he has to rely on new friends for help. Will he make his way back to his Arctic home? This book, an update of 2013’s Fish Outta Water (illustrated by Zavian Archibald), includes a short story, all new illustrations by Danielle Boodoo Fortune, and a puzzle. Lost! is available in print, ebook, and audio format; there is also a Spanish language edition (¡Perdida! Una Aventura en El Mar Caribe). lost spanish cover 2
VOTES: 3

meant to beMeant to Be: A BWWM Friends to Lovers Romance (Loving A Morrison Book 1) by Roxy Wilson. 2018. Sloane Stevenson has always had a skewed concept of what love is. But now, Sloane, an intelligent attorney with a heart brimming with compassion, finds herself repeating history when she falls in love with Blake Morrison, a Caucasian man, with his smoldering gaze, who makes her dreams take flight. Although Sloane’s heart yearns for him, their relationship is bombarded with verbal attacks, and her past experiences only serve to reinforce her idea that interracial marriages never work. His brother’s bachelor party is the wake-up call he needs to return to town to chase down his lost love. Unbeknownst to Sloane, her best friend works alongside Blake to finally get the pair back together. But the obstacles and societal demands haven’t changed in the past five years. Sloane must overcome her distorted beliefs about love and need to play love safe if she’s to find true love and happiness with Blake. Otherwise, they’re both destined for a life of emptiness. Note for readers: MEANT TO BE was previously published as The Right Kind of Love. This new edition has been revised.
VOTES: 0

51582lJTKoL__SY346_Milo’s First Winter (Milo’s Adventures) by Juneth Webson (w/illustrator Ros Webb). Fig Tree Drive PressAmazon Digital Services. USA. 2018. Milo’s First Winter is a picture book for children between the ages of three and eight years of age. It tells the enchanted tale of Milo, a black and white kitten, that got out of the house while it was snowing. It was Milo’s first time seeing the snow and he was in such awe of the snowflakes that he kept trying to catch them. This chasing after snowflakes took Milo on an unforgettable adventure.
VOTES: 1

Roxy2My Guardian Vampire: a BBW Paranormal Romance by Roxy Wilson. 2017. My Guardian Vampire: On a night that should have been an ordinary one, curvy BBW Lacey Parker is accosted by a knife-wielding mugger, but is soon rescued by a charismatic stranger. Not even 24 hours later, Lacey’s life is once again at risk and her rescuer of the previous night snatches her from the jaws of death. Vampire Aric Thornton knew Lacey from the moment of her birth. His existence revolves around watching her every footstep and protecting her from the enemies she knows nothing about. He loves her with every fiber of his otherworldly being, but the crazy thing is she didn’t even know he existed… until one night in the darkened alley. Lacey can’t stand it; one minute Aric is all over her, can’t get his hands off of her, and the next he is giving her the cold shoulder. It doesn’t help that Damian is also vying for her affections. Can she and Aric defeat the forces that are conspiring against them and still have the love of a lifetime before it’s too late?
VOTES: 1

41Hoh8zjGEL._AC_US218_ (2)The Nakedness of New by Althea Romeo-Mark. CreateSpace Independent Publish Platform North/South Carolina, USA. 2018.The Nakedness of New is divided into six sections: I Caribbean Rooted, II: The Stories of Immigrants, III: Ugly Stories, IV: Lost Love/Liberia (West Africa), V: Sifting Through Life’s Grains, and VI: Going Past Rivers. Althea Romeo-Mark’s verse gives the reader a close-up view of life as an immigrant in the Caribbean and details her experiences in England after fleeing the violence of the Liberian civil war. She takes the reader inside the uneasy tapestry of immigrant cultures that form the Caribbean islands. She goes on to explore the problems encountered by women in a society that is male-dominated, unstable, and unjust; by immigrants displaced from their homes and their ways of life; and by families committed to each other no matter what comes. The Nakedness of New also includes three revealing personal essays and a section focused on her maternal grandmother, a controversial personality who held the family together. Through it all run the themes of resiliency, heart, and dedication to living.
VOTES: 2

Off KeyOff Key by Rilzy Adams. Amazon Digital Services. 2017.Off Key – When Zoë Caldwell’s record label threatens to drop her unless she pretends to date the embattled, disgraced Liam Trafford, she almost gives up on her dreams. But she had come too far to just fail, so she makes a deal with the Devil.When Liam Trafford’s manager suggests he pretended to date a beautiful girl with an angelic voice to save his career he reluctantly agrees. He doesn’t want to rehabilitate his reputation. He wishes he could go back in time to fix the mistake that ruined both his life and that of an innocent girl. Soon they both realize that the past cannot be fixed but the future is wide open and maybe, just maybe, they can save each other.
VOTES: 0

meekrThe Plantations of Antigua, the Sweet Success of Sugar, Volume I by Agnes Meeker (w/Donald Dery). AuthorHouse. USA. 2018.  It covers the 50 plantations in the Parish of St. John’s, Antigua, 28 of which still have a sugar mill standing. The majority of Antigua and Barbuda’s place names stem from plantations or their owners. This book provides a chronology of ownership and brief quotes from other works that pertain to each plantation, listed in order from the late 1600’s to the demise of sugar in 1970s –  300 years of sugar history. It represents over 20 years of research.
VOTES: 0

Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau The Royal Wedding by Dotsie Isaac. Antigua. 2018. The Royal Wedding is a spoken word poem released as a CD single in response to the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
VOTES: 0

shoutThe Shout: For HALCYION STEEL’S CHAMPIONSHIP PANORAMA 1975 by Franklyn Jones. GG LLC. 2017.One player’s tale of Antigua’s Halcyon Steel Orchestra’s rise, and the tremendous Shout of appreciation that welcomed the band as Steelband Champions in 1975.
VOTES: 1

Sunny DreamsSunny Dreams Of Rainbows (The Secret Lives of Babies) by Jacquelin Webson and  Faye France (w/illustrator Ros Webb). Figtree Drive Press. 2018. While out walking with her mother one day, a little girl named Sunny sees a rainbow for the first time. Now, she cannot stop thinking and dreaming about rainbows.
VOTES: 0

sutherland added DecThis Woman Can! The no bullsh*t guide for women who lead by Janice Sutherland. 2018. In This Woman Can, author Janice Sutherland approaches relatable scenarios that both aspiring and existing female leaders face with candor, honesty and simplicity. Providing solutions for women to develop self-belief in their capabilities. Utilizing her personal knowledge as one of the Caribbean’s first female CEOs and drawing on her experiences as an executive leadership coach, she provides practical answers without bullshit acronyms that women can utilize to get the job done. Each chapter provides concise bulleted applications and a list of self- reflection questions to consider that will guide women of all ages along the leadership pathway.
VOTES: 4

grandmaWhen Grandma Comes to Stay (When Family Comes to Stay Book 1) by Jacquelin Webson and  Faye France (w/illustrator Jayamini Attanayake).Figtree Drive Press. 2018. A family with young children is filled with joy and excitement when they find out that their grandmother is coming to stay with them for a while. As they wait anxiously for her arrival, they reminisce about all the wondrous things they get to do with her when she visits.
VOTES: 0

Rilzy 2Will you be Mine? (Falling like a Johnson Book 2) by Rilzy Adams. Amazon Digital Services. 2017. Will You Be Mine? – JT Johnson has been in love with his best friend for as long as he can remember. Hallie, however, seems clueless or deliberately obtuse. When she asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend for her ex-best friend’s wedding, JT hesitantly agrees. Will their escape to the Caribbean be Heaven or Hell in Paradise?
VOTES: 0

will you be my friendWill You Be My Friend? (Making Friends Book 1) by Jacquelin Webson and  Faye France (w/illustrator tullipstudio).Figtree Drive Press. 2018. Left alone by his young owners who are too busy to properly take care of him a young puppy sets out on a search to find a friend. Along the way, he encounters surprises and heartbreak as he tries to make friends with a lot of different animals, but they all turn against him. However, the little dog is tough and never gives up; until finally, he finds friendship in the most unexpected place.
VOTES: 0

Yohan bookThe Wonderful World of Yohan by Floree Williams Whyte (with illustrator Stoogeco). Moondancer Books. Antigua. 2017. Welcome to the Wonderful World of Yohan! Yohan’s world is a creation of his vivid imagination. This series of short stories follow Yohan’s imagination-inspired adventures. From day to day his adventures transform his reality and often lead him into accidental mischief.
VOTES: 1

TOTAL VOTES: 73*

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August Wiin’ Dung and Round Up

August is winding down. Where’d the summer go? Hell, where’d the year go? It’s crazy how time has no real interest in our ins and outs, isn’t it? It just keeps on ticking.
coffee
I’m doing a round up for Wadadli Pen’s first participation in the Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Post meme (a meme I’ve participated in several times from my personal/author blog); specifically a round up of postings on this site over the past month – in case you missed anything.

There was a post on the forthcoming Belize Writers’ Conference. Writers’ conferences are becoming almost as ubiquitous as music festivals and Carnival in the Caribbean. But you won’t hear me complaining (in fact, I wrote about the burst of regional literary festivals last year for Writer’s Digest magazine).

I also shared a link from the Writer’s Path about self-editing. How-to  articles are always interesting to me – as a writer and editor interested in improving my own craft, and as a workshop facilitator and writing coach wishing to add to the toolkit I draw from in helping the writers and non-writers with whom I work.

I shared information on the new consultant hired to work on our cultural policy…and the fact that I have questions. This is local so non-Antiguan-Barbudan readers can probably skip past this one; though if you do have a cultural policy where you are, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on approach and real impact.

I shouted out our National Youth Choir on their success in Commonwealth competition. Always happy to see our young people and young artists becoming soar.

One of my favourite memories of the summer, of every summer, but especially this summer given that I started the year dealing with health issues, and still am in some ways, is Carnival; because come Carnival time you put everything down and let the music get a hold of you. It wasn’t entirely a stress free Carnival for me, as I was involved in putting my own mas on the road, specifically the mango tree faerie from my last picture book, With Grace. 20638129_10155570812792622_8816133180187600831_nBut I had fun and, hassles aside, we put our show on the road; and the pictures allowed me opportunity to reflect – and opportunity to see some of the other Carnival acts (since the downside of playing mas is that you miss the show you’re a part of). Join me in catching up on the colours and creativity of the season .

The arts round up is just a space that I use to share upcoming local arts activities. There were updates, as well, to Opportunities Too (with submission deadlines for writers and artists), Reading Room and Gallery (the 24th edition, where I share artistic things that have caught my interest), and the Antigua and Barbuda Children’s Fiction and Antigua and Barbuda Writing pages.

Blogger posts I engaged with (i.e. commented on) over the month include
Nut Free Nerd’s Goodreads’ Book Tag
Darkowaa’s discussion on Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place
And Caitlin’s Unmediated Life at Broadside

If a link grabs your interest, click, read, leave a comment. It’s never too late, I got a brand new comment on my seven year old Jamaica Kincaid postthis month and it was nice to revisit that piece.  Feedback is love.

As for books, I haven’t finished anything – I still have the last two pages to get over with Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and I’ve only just started getting in to Bernice McFadden’s Glorious. TBC.

Hope your Sunday is happy and caffeinated wherever you are.

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