Tag Archives: Books

WWW Wednesday (September 8th, 2021) — Kristin Kraves Books (My Responses)

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words! All you have to do is answers the following three questions: What are you currently reading?What did you recently finish reading?What do you think you’ll read next? Currently Reading I am about 80 pages into She Who Became the Sun and it is…

WWW Wednesday (September 8th, 2021) — Kristin Kraves Books

It’s WWW Wednesday (a meme established by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words). It’s also International Literacy Day (a day established by UNESCO in 1966). On my social media, I’ve been asking people to share tips for parents and guardians struggling with reluctant readers or literacy issue (public and pay options, mostly what’s worked for you). Feel free to contribute in the comments. Also share your own answers to these questions (mine – blogger/author/Wadadli Pen coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse’s) below:

What are you currently reading?

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – almost done through a combination of audio and print book reading

What did you recently finish reading?

Ruby’s Dream: The Story of a Boy’s Life by Ronan Matthew – this is a recent addition to the database of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing – click the title to read my review over on the Book Chat/Blogger on Books series on Jhohadli

What do you think you’ll read next?

The thing is I’m always reading more than one book at once, so I’m already reading my next book…ssss. Which include Fireburn by Apple Gidley, a US Virgin Islands based ex-pat writer
Dangerous Freedom by Lawrence Scott, a UK based Trinidadian writer
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey, a UK based Trinidadian writer

Now you.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, 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 Amazon, 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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Reading Journal (and Sunday Post) 05-09-21 — jhohadli

My last reading update was August 23rd and at that time I was up to page 120 of the just over 200 pages of Ruby’s Dream by Ronan Matthew. I did a Reading Journal (and Sunday Post) just a day earlier in which I mentioned other books in progress (The Mermaid of Black Conch, New […]

Reading Journal (and Sunday Post) 05-09-21 — jhohadli

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Books That Caught Our Eye — Mailbox Monday

At Mailbox Monday we encourage participants to not only share the books they received, but to check out the books others have received. Each week will share a few Books That Caught Our Eye from that weeks’ Mailbox Monday. We encourage you to share the books that caught your eye in the comments. VELVET: Fault […]

Books That Caught Our Eye — Mailbox Monday

I’m breaking the rules here by not talking about books received but seeing this Mailbox Monday/Books That Caught Our Eye post reminded me of a conversation today with participants in the Jhohadli Writing Project workshop for writers longlisted in the 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge. Today was a writing session (such interesting, quirky, fun, poignant writing emerging from their pens) but we also just chatted for a while and when I gave them leave to ask me anything, in addition to questions about inspiration and choices vis-a-vis writing and the things I’ve written (Musical Youth specifically), one asked me about books and/or writers who make my faves list (specifically Caribbean writers). I thought I’d mention some of what I said. I never pick absolute faves but the first names to come to mind were…

Edwidge Dandicat. I name checked Breath Eyes Memory, but especially Create Dangerously and The Farming of Bones, discussing some of the brutal history (between Dominicans and Haitians) that informed the latter, and in the case of the former how writing can be that thing we use to process life, including the trauma of it all.

Jamaica Kincaid. Speaking most extensively of A Small Place and her disruptive presence in the narrative of who we are and who we want to be seen as, her uncompromising insistence on saying just what she has to say. We discussed her being persona non grata for a time in Antigua-Barbuda because of that book and reading from this self-same book when years later she was invited to read in Antigua-Barbuda. We discussed her being an inspiration to me for a number of reasons.

Jean Rhys. Whom I mentioned specifically wrote back to Empire by reclaiming the narrative of the woman in the attic in Jane Eyre by crafting her own classic novel Wide Sargasso Sea which gave that woman a history rooted in Caribbean otherness.

I also mentioned Buxton Spice by Oonya Kempadoo which, though it’s been a while since I read it, I recalled as being bold in the way it explored the ways that innocence is stripped away – as relates to sex and politics and the way the world turns – compared to many an other coming of age tale.

I mentioned, I think, Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners and his insistence on a creole narrative in a world that wanted to iron out our natural tongue and how discovering his unending winding rhythmic lines was music to my ears. Maybe I mentioned that in a podcast interview I did earlier in the day and it’s blending with the conversation with the young women (there were three of them), I’m not sure. On no sleep and going from thing to thing, things merge. But Selvon is worth mentioning here as well, so that’s okay.

Musical Youth came up in that podcast conversation, too. That won’t run, I’m told, until February next year but I will say that in both cases my choices in addressing the issue of colourism came up – the choice to celebrate Black as beautiful and empowered, and the choices to make this character dark-skinned and that character “butter-skinned” …which was interesting because it really made me think about those choices, about how in original drafting I let the characters reveal themselves as they were, and on revision and review, I wanted to add depth and nuance, I didn’t want to do the obvious, I wanted to show the complexities within the dynamics of shade, texture, gender, class, and the individual, and (this was more internal) hopefully not falling in to the same traps I was trying to expose; it was good to feel challenged.

And both the podcast and workshop were good for that reason.

The workshop we did in a lush valley at the Botanical Gardens, thank G the weather cooperated.

Speaking of, I hope the weather in the Caribbean in the US (New Orleans) similarly cooperates and blows past with no trouble. Stay safe out there.

Now, you. What are you reading?

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The ‘Count to 10 with Me’ Book Tag: Just for Fun

This site is a labour of love – mostly I’m driven by the love but sometimes I feel the labour. I’m feeling it today, so I thought I’d play a little. I typically do book memes over on my personal site but I thought this one could be fun and site consistent. So with a nod to Kristen at Kristen Kraves Books, where I found it, and Alyce at the Bumbling Book Blogger, who created it, and featuring only books from Antigua and Barbuda, for that site consistency, let’s count to 10 (Disclaimer: I haven’t read all these books and I may include my own if they fit; I’m basically going with what pops in to my head first – this is just for fun remember – referencing the site’s database of Antiguan and Barbudan Writings).

1st Book in a SeriesThe History of Bethesda and Christian Hill by Joy Lawrence kicks off a series of folk investigations in to the history of communities in Antigua and Barbuda. It’s followed by The Footprints of Parham, and Barbuda and Betty’s Hope, with likely more to come.

2 or more copies of the same book – the easy one here is one of mine (author copies and what not), so I’ll eenie meenie and go with my Caribbean faerie tale With Grace, which was a 2017 official pick for the US Virgin Islands Summer Read Programme (which makes it a good pick actually as I have both the originally hard cover and the paperback with the seal as an official pick for this programme). Fun fact: I had surgery shortly after this book came out and one of my recovery goals was to play mas again and specifically to play the magical character, the mango tree faerie, from this book – we actually thought about doing a whole float at one point creating the whole world of the story, and then thought about doing a stilt version of the mango tree, but downsized our imaginations). It was just me and two of my friends after all. We three were Grace’s Merrymakers, an officially registered Carnival troupe.

Hopefully, seeing all the fun we had playing her (the mango tree faerie) will entice you to introduce her and the picture book she is a character in to your young readers.

3 colours on the cover – I’m going to go with past Wadadli Pen finalist and award winning romance author Rilzy Adams’ Birthday Shot , which was recently a nominee for the Rebel Women Lit’s Caribbean Readers’ Awards and the Romance book industry’s Swoonies, for the deep red lipstick, the sparkly silver eye shadow, and that popping brown melanin glow.

4 or more perspectives Ladies of the Night by Althea Prince. Okay this is a bit of a cheat as it’s a short story collection, different points of view are part of the recipe. But the cake is sweet and textured, so I’ll allow it. Ladies of the Night references a particularly pungent nocturnal flower which works beautifully as a pun, while the stories capture the complex lives of Caribbean women in an enticing book that should be bigger part of the study of womanist Caribbean literature than it is. Prince is one of Antigua and Barbuda’s modern literary pioneers (writing and publishing when the field was a lot thinner and still) and one of our most prolific and profound with just a handful of her books making up the rotating Wadadli Pen site banner at this writing.

A 5 star read – I turned to Goodreads for this one (finding a book with an average 5 star rating was hard, as it should be) and extracted Painter and Poet: The Wonderful World of Ashley Bryan – the multi-award winning veteran children’s book writer and illustrator, and actual World War II veteran, was born in the US to Antiguan parents. Here he is on one of his trips to Antigua, interacting with fans at the Public Library.

6 or more short stories – the obvious choice is So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End: an Anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing, Vol. 1, edited by Althea Prince, because who else could pull together so many classic and contemporary, established and new voices from at home and abroad than a writer with Prince’s cred and connection. The book features about 30 authors, a mix of poetry and fiction.

Left to write holding copies of So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End: some of the contributors Motion, Yvonne James, Dr. Llewellyn Joseph, editor – Althea Prince, Gayle Gonsalves, Clifton Joseph, Amber Williams-King, and publisher -Miguel San Vincente.

A 7 on the cover of the spine – it seems fitting to follow the most recent anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan literature which what I believe to be the first (until proven different),  Young Antiguans Write: Prize-winning Selections in Poetry and Prose from School Creative Writing Annual Competition, 1968-1978. If there is an antecedent to Wadadli Pen, it is Young Antiguans Write and the project that birthed it, which I was not even aware of (I don’t believe) when I launched Wadadli Pen, to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda in 2004. The culmination of 10 years of a literary arts development programme, it had ended before I knew myself. I discovered the book at the home of one of the student writers featured in Young Antiguans Write, a founding partner of Wadadli Pen, and author in her own right, D. Gisele Isaac – yes, I’m using the lack of YAW cover to sneak in another book – that like Prince’s work should be receiving more academic attention than it is as a pioneer work vis-a-vis gay themes in Caribbean literature.

Photo by Sonji Davis

8 letters in the title – You know I had to include a Jamaica Kincaid (come on) and I’m going with Mr. Potter which is not one that comes up often in her ouevre in part because it’s the rare outlier in the potential Nobel Laureate’s catalogue that deals with the father instead of the mother.

Book ends on a page ending in 9 – yikes. Ok, I’ll need Amazon’s help for this one (I was hoping to get through this without a Bezos reference – the image of him in space suit and cowboy hat like a caricature of a billionaire is still too raw). And it tells me that Andy E. Williams’ In the Rum Shop and Other Flash Fiction has 39 pages.

10 books in a series – As my mother’s people (from the French Creole island of Dominica) would say, mondieu (sounds like mowj-yay), I don’t believe we have a local author with 10 books in a series. So, I’ll mention one who has a ton of books instead (close enough?). Among her many self-published romance books Kimolisa Mings has four books in her Friends to Lovers series – Book 1: More than Friends, Book 2: Just Friends, Book 3: Yesterday’s Gone, Book 4: Tomorrow’s End – and other series as well, which may well add up to 10 serialized books (There’s Integration and Oration: Integration Book 2, and The Bachaanal Sweet and Bachaanal Tu’n Up are tagged as Eros 1 and 2, respectively), and there may well be more -she’s pretty prolific.

THE END.

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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Wadadli Pen Challenge – Who Won What in 2021?

Listed below are the names of the finalists and the prizes they won, thanks to our patrons, in the 2021 edition of the annual Challenge initiative of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, a programme launched in 2004 to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. Here’s our press release announcing the winners. As for this year’s winning entry, you can also read or listen to Why We Chose It.

The awards were held virtually (for a second year in a row in deference to COVID-19 safety protocols) on May 30th 2021, hosted by Barbara Arrindell, Wadadli Pen partner and manager of longtime awards host The Best of Books bookstore. Congratulations to all.

Schools Prize Winner (for most submissions): St. Anthony’s Secondary School

Prizes – 12 Collins Caribbean School Dictionary; 6 copies of Social Studies Atlas for the Caribbean; 6 copies of Social Studies Atlas for the Caribbean workbook; 3 copies of You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); Barron’s SAT Premium Study Guide 2020 – 2021 (Ten Pages bookstore); EC$250 gift certificate for books (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and two sets of A-level reference guides (from the Best of Books bookstore).

Long Listed Writers:

Linita Simon ‘The Breeze’ (fiction), Rosemond Dinard-Gordon ‘Emerging’ (poetry), Naeem DeSouza ‘The Goat in the Rainforest of Puerto Rico’ (fiction), Anastatia K. Mayers ‘Home’ (poetry), Jai Francis ‘The Legend of the Snowy Egret’ (creative non-fiction), Annachiara Bazzoni ‘Maybe’ (poetry), Noleen Azille ‘Mission: Covered’ (fiction), Latisha Walker-Jacobsalso a finalist in 2011 – ‘Nothing Like Me’ (poetry), Kadisha Valerie ‘The Silence was So Loud’ (fiction), Aria-Rose Brownealso a finalist in 2020 – ‘Spirit of the Flame’ (fiction)

Prizes – All long listed writers will have the opportunity to participate in one (possibly two) workshops sponsored by Garfield Linton, facilitated by Joanne C. Hillhouse as part of her Jhohadli Writing Project. Additionally, Naaem, Anastatia, Jai, Annachiara, Kadisha, and Aria-Rose will receive secondary school reference guides contributed by the Best of Books bookstore, while Linita, Rosemond, Noleen, Latisha will receive copies of Musical Youth (which is the recipient of a Burt award and a starred review from Kirkus which named it one of its top indies) from author and Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and sometime judge Joanne C. Hillhouse. All longlisted and shortlisted writers received (electronically) a certificate from Wadadli Pen as record of their accomplishment.

Short Listed Writers:

12 and Younger – Winner:

Gazelle Zauditu Menen Goodwin , 12, ‘Beautiful Disaster‘ (poetry)

Prizes – Gazelle’s name becomes the first one added to the Zuri Holder Achievement Award plaque and she also receives an EC$75 gift certificate for books (from patron, Cedric Holder, Zuri’s father, in the name of the Cushion Club) – RIP, Zuri; EC$250 (from NIA Comms/Marcella Andre); A copy of each of the following Big Cat books – Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay and Stacey Byer, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune + You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); Hardy Boys #6: The Shore Road Mystery, Nancy Drew #4: The Mystery at the Lilac Inn, and Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham (contributed by Ten Pages bookstore); kindle and kindle carrier, EC$250 gift certificate, pen set, journal, dictionary, and back pack (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and Antigua My Antigua by Barbara Arrindell and Edison Liburd and A Short Guide to Antigua by Brian Dyde (contributed by Barbara Arrindell, who also volunteered to facilitate a number of workshops in the run-up to the Wadadli Pen submission deadline)

12 and Younger – Honourable Mention:

Eunike Caesar , 9, ‘The Blackboard‘ (fiction)

Prizes – A copy of each of the following Big Cat books – Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay and Stacey Byer, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune + You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); EC$108 gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); kindle and kindle carrier, EC$200 gift certificate, pen set, journal, dictionary, and back pack (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and Antigua My Antigua by Barbara Arrindell and Edison Liburd and A Short Guide to Antigua by Brian Dyde (contributed by Barbara Arrindell)

Sub-theme ‘2020’ – Winner:

Jason Gilead, ‘The Great Old Woodslave‘ (fiction)

Prizes – A spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); EC$250 ( from NIA Comms/Marcella Andre); a kindle and kindle carrier, EC$150 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and a copy of Pioneers of the Caribbean written by Ingrid V Lambie and Patricia L Tully (contributed by Patricia Tully)

Sub-theme ‘2020’ – Honourable Mention:

Sheniqua Maria Greaves , 19, ‘The Juxtaposed Reprieve‘ (fiction)

Prizes – A spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay (contributed by publisher Peepal Tree Press); EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); Kindle and kindle carrier, EC$100 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua)

Main Prize – Winner:

Kevin Liddie , ‘Mildred, You No Easy‘ (fiction)

Prizes – Name added to the Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge Plaque (sponsored by the Best of Books bookstore)

The plaque, which hangs in the Best of Books bookstore, got an upgrade in 2016 and is now known as the Alstyne Allen Memorial Plaque.

EC$500 cheque (contributed by Frank B. Armstrong); US$200/EC$520 gift certificate for books (contributed by Olive Senior); The Friends of the Bocas Lit Fest (FBLF) status allowing access to event archives, Book Bulletin, discounts on Bocas merchandise, books, workshops and paid events offered by the BLF, and be a part of FBLF exclusive events + A spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); Notes on Ernesto Che Guevara´s ideas on pedagogy by Lidia Turner Martí + The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (contributed by Sekou Luke); Four (4) copies each of Big Cat books: Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune to gift to a primary school of his choice (Harper Collins UK)

Main Prize – Second Placed:

Ashley-Whitney Joshua , 19, F, ‘Hiraeth‘ (fiction)

Prizes – EC$300 cash (contributed by Rilys Adams – an author, who was a Wadadli Pen finalist in 2005 and 2006); a spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); By Love Possessed: Stories by Lorna Goodison + Time to Talk by Curtly Ambrose with Richard Sydenham (contributed by Sekou Luke); Kindle and kindle carrier, EC$150 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua)

Main Prize – Third Placed:

Aunjelique Liddie , 13, F, ‘The Beach‘ (poetry)

Prizes – EC$250 cash (contributed by Daryl George – a finalist in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016); A copy of each of the following Big Cat books – Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune + You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan + The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (contributed by Sekou Luke); Kindle and kindle carrier, EC$100 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); Antigua My Antigua (contributed by Barbara Arrindell)

Main Prize – Honourable Mention:

Jason Gilead

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas – also a 2011 Wadadli Pen finalist, subsequent volunteer and partner, and, as of 2021, judge); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Sheniqua Maria Greaves

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Razonique Looby , 15, F, ‘Vixen‘ (fiction)

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Andre Warner , 23, M, ‘The Brave One‘ (fiction)

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Additional gifts

Wadadli Pen also gifted:

One (1) copy each of Big Cat books: Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune (Harper Collins UK) to the Cushion Club of Antigua and Barbuda

Four (4) copies each of Big Cat books: Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune (Harper Collins UK) to the Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda

Thanks and congrats all around.

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Book Publishing Q & A

I responded, last year, to some questions submitted via email by someone doing research for an MA programme. This questioner found me when I had the time (or made the time). That may not always be the case. I thought sharing my responses here might be useful to others who may have similar questions going forward (for days when I don’t have the time). Questions were specific to my books with independent press Caribbean Reads Publishing (which, I believe, was the chosen case study).

*Did you have to re-draft your books before they got published? What were some of the editor’s comments on your work? Did you find these critiques helpful?

Both books went through an editing process (not redrafting but fine tuning). Editing was outsourced to someone knowledgeable in critiquing teen/young adult books, and then a second round of editing, I believe, in house. I don’t remember the specific comments- the only thing that comes to mind is in the case of Musical Youth the addition of a chapter fleshing out one of the characters more, and some language notes, some cultural and some re suitability of content for the target audience. Probably some plot and character points that needed clarifying as well. Some I found helpful, some I did not.

*Can you describe the process of negotiating your contact? Do Caribbean own the rights to the books you have published with them?

I sought my agent’s advice re the contract – something I try to do always. The process was amiable considering the circumstances. The writer owns the rights but certain rights are licensed to the publisher – any rights not specified remain with the author. Standard contract.

*To what extent are you involved in the creative design and illustrations of your books?

The publisher has final say but in each case I’ve had input to varying degrees – with Caribbean Reads especially, it’s been quite collaborative with author feedback sought on character design at various stages.

Lost! character

Does Caribbean Reads provide an illustrator and cover the cost for you?

With traditional publishing, the publisher invests the money in publishing the book, including commissioning (selecting, hiring, and paying) the illustrator (in the case of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure) and cover design (in the case of Musical Youth). They do ask for and consider my recommendations re the artist – which is not the case with every publisher.

*Were there any pro’s or con’s to publishing with Caribbean Reads specifically?

See the video – it doesn’t speak to the nitty gritty of publishing with anyone but it does make a distinction between working with big and small publishers. Caribbean Reads as an independent Caribbean press is on the small side.

*How did Caribbean Reads market your work to boost sales? Which was the most effective method?

A number of ways from sending books out for review to advertising to social media to giveaways to festival bookings to media releases etc. I think a combination of approaches rather than a single thing, and consistency, yields the most success.

*Once your book was published, did Caribbean reads organise book tours or readings to promote the book?

Not a book tour, no, but as noted they did facilitate certain bookings like the Brooklyn Book Fair and, in tandem with my efforts, the Miami Book Fair.

*What advice do you have for writers who want to be successfully published?

See this video

You can check the resources page on the Wadadli Pen blog (i.e. this blog right here) which I maintain – some of my other blogged content re the publishing process is there among the resources by other people that I share (you will need to dig through it to see what is mine as most of it is links to third party sites).

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 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Oh Gad! and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen, my books, and my freelance writing-editing-coaching-workshop services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Book Drive

This one comes to my attention via the Daily Observer newspaper. It’s an opportunity to share gently-used used books and/or maybe buy a book and contribute. It’s got an interesting twist.

The Clare Hall Secondary School is inviting Antiguans and Barbudans to contribute to the DARE to DEAR – Drop Everything And Read – 2020 book drive.

Step 1

Send a video recording about your favourite book (or a book you like)… or a book you read…or …maybe, wrote?

Step 2

Donate a copy or multiple copies of that book to our school library.

Step 3

To follow through on Step or make inquiries about Steps 1 or 2 or any part of Dare to DEAR, call 462-3487 or email admin@chss.edu.ag

Step 4

Complete Steps 1-3 by December 2020 in time for Christmas and make someone very happy.

Images and vids in this post are not related to the 2020 DARE to DEAR but used to enhance this posting. They include, top down, a video from an out-store event hosted in 2020 (just a week or so ago) by the Best of Books at which I talked about my book Musical Youth; an image of me with a teacher, Ms. Shadrach, from a 2015 visit to Clare Hall Secondary School during which I gifted the school Musical Youth and other CODE Burt Award winning teen/young adult novels; images of books, exterior and inscription, I gifted, via a teacher at the school, for last year’s CHSS Christmas book drive. I want any young person who cracks these books to be as inspired as I was when writing.

Be the inspiration in someone’s life if you have the funds to add an extra book to your book drive, or a book lying around that you enjoyed and want someone else to enjoy. Give.

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, its Spanish language edition Perdida! , and Oh Gad! ). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me 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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Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices (on Netflix)

Netflix released a trailer for “Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices,” set to premiere Sept. 1. Hosted by author Marley Dias, the live-action series features Black artists reading children’s books from Black authors that center around themes of identity, justice and action. Among the celebrities involved are Tiffany HaddishLupita Nyong’o and Common. Nyong’o will be reading her own story “Sulwe,” while Haddish will read “I Love My Hair” by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, and Common will read “Let’s Talk About Race” by Julius Lester.”

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Carib Lit Plus (early to mid August 2020)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back.

Cancellations and Closures

The online children’s literary journal Anansesem has ceased publishing. It explained via open letter: “We’ve been forced to reconsider our professional and personal priorities. Under normal circumstances, it’s challenging running a small literary magazine when we receive such little funding and are unable to pay contributors and team members. In these drastically changing times, when jobs are on the line and the financial future is uncertain, it’s become clear that running a magazine using volunteer staff, as we’ve done since our inception, is no longer feasible.” The website remains online and the online bookstore remains open. Read the full open letter here.

The Antigua and Barbuda Conference would have taken place in early August right after Carnival, but, like Carnival, is has been cancelled. The organizers, in an email announcing the cancellation, said: “Our plan was to look at the impact of the migration and the brain drain on Antigua and Barbuda. We will try to keep this topic on the agenda for next year, but it may have to share this focus with the impact of the corona virus on Antigua and Barbuda. The 2020 issue of The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books will be coming out in the fall. It will carry forward the examination of Barbuda begun at last year’s conference, as well as featuring concerns of its own. We will do our best to get it online, so that all of us can have access to it. We will certainly miss the intellectual stimulation and synergies of our gatherings. Stay well, stay safe, and, with this pandemic behind us, hopefully see you next year.”

Reading Recs

Bocas’ Books that made us campaign has produced a top 10 that includes the classics you’d expect (Miguel Street, The Dragon can’t Dance, The Lonely Londoners, The Year in San Fernando, Annie John, Summer Lightening etc.) and some newer entries including no less than two entries apiece by two Caribbean modern Classics (Edwidge Dandicat – Breath, Eyes, Memory and The Farming of Bones; and Marlon James – Book of Night Women and Brief History of Seven Killings). Read the full report here. Remember my list?

Speaking of Bocas, its Bios and Bookmarks series continues: unnamed

Intersect, an advocacy project out of Antigua and Barbuda, that’s focused per its instagram page, on “connecting Queeribbean & Caribbean feminists through storytelling, art, and gender justice” has, after a quiet period, become quite vibrant in the COVID-19 quarantine era. Having put out a call for people to share their Caribbean and Queribbean feminist stories, as well as stories on colourism. They’ve so far posted audio excerpts of stories by writers from Turks and Caicos, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica, and, continuing, from other places. They’ve, also, been sharing book recs, art and original interviews (including one with me) on their instagram page.

Accolades

Bahamian Alexia Tolas was first long listed then short listed (Niamh Campbell of Dublin was ultimately announced as the winner) for the 2020 Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award for ‘Granma’s Porch’. She is the only Caribbean writer on the list. She was the Commonwealth Regional prize winner in 2019. See the full listand learn more about the authors.

The long list for the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean has been announced. It’s a long one.

As seen in the images (click for full view), the long list includes writers from Antigua and Barbuda (Joanne C. Hillhouse, ‘Vincent’), Barbados (LaFleur Cockburn, ‘Blight Tone’; Akim Goddard, ‘At De Busstop’), Dominica (Yakima Cuffy, ‘De Souvenir Shop’; Delroy N. Williams, ‘Deported’), Guyana (Tristana Roberts, ‘Backtrack Home’; Sonia Yarde, ‘Cursed’), Jamaica (Kim Robinson-Walcott, ‘Ridin Bareback’; Amanda Rodrigues, ‘Breast Milk’; Sharma Taylor, ‘The Story of Stony’ – Taylor is from Jamaica but resident in Barbados), Puerto Rico (Nahomy Laza Gonzalez, ‘The Greats’; Adriana De Persia Colon, ‘Bathroom Visits’), Trinidad and Tobago (Akhim Alexis, ‘Gone America’; Theresa Awai, ‘The Lagahoo in the Blue Sweat Pants’; Suzanne Bhagan, ‘The Village Seamstress’; Joanne Farrag, ‘All Skin Teeth’; Rashad Hosein, ‘Fry Chicken’; Sogolon Jaya, ‘The Autobiography of my Father…because my mother didn’t want me’; Alexander Johnson, ‘Pulling Bull’; Ryan Seemungal, ‘Quiet Revelry’; Hadassah K. Williams, ‘Vizay’). Twenty one writers overall by my count.

The BCLF is also offering a short story prize for Caribbean writers living in the diaspora. That short list is shorter and includes Stephanie Ramlogan, ‘The Case of the Missing Eggs’; Lisa Latouche (of Dominica), ‘Summer’s End’; Max Smith, ‘Morning Prayers’; Deborah Stewart, ‘Wash Belly’; Marisa Blanc, ‘Going, Going, Gone’; Gabrielle Patmore, ‘Unavailable’; Fana Fraser, ‘Saturday Night’; Krystal Ramroop, ‘Sticky Wicket’; and Jennelle Alfred, ‘Ella, Anika and the Cricket Ball’.

Congrats to all and good luck to all.

To Shoot Hard Labour Project Ends (and RIP to Sir Keithlyn Smith)

The month long celebration via the Voice of the People summer reading project of To Shoot Hard Labour chronicling roughly 100 years of the life of Antigua and Barbuda, 19th century to 1980s, through the life of Antiguan and Barbudan working man Papa Sammy Smith ended on the last day of the month July 31st 2020. Later that night,  the death of co-author of the book Keithlyn Smith was announced. The legendary union man (longstanding general secretary of the Antigua Workers Union) had earlier that day communicated, via his daughter,  affirming the acknowledgment of To Shoot Hard Labour by the likes of Dr. Natasha Lightfoot, daughter of the soil, professor at an Ivy league university in the US, and author of her own history book Troubling Freedom, meant to him after initially having his book undermined on its release. This video is of the first week’s discussion of the book which featured Dr. Lightfoot. RIP to Sir Keithlyn who leaves behind a legacy of both championing workers rights and returning to Antiguan and Barbudan people their own story.

The project has announced eight-year-old Rheikecia Manning as the winner of its dioramma competition. She gave her interpretation of the Yeoman’s Old Road estate at Cades Bay complete with sugar mill, Antigua Black pineapple, wattle and daub house, cane, and a woman preparing to wash clothes and place them on the stone heap.

Carnival and Cropover

In the midst of summer 2020,  COVID-19 shutdown blues, hurricane/storm anxieties, and a summer at once damp and dry, Caribbean people (read: Carnival people) have been finding ways to keep the music playing and the fete going. It hasn’t all been easy sailing with the government in Antigua and Barbuda getting tough on gatherings, prompting push back, and reinforcing beach shutdowns on public holidays, which begs the question is it Carnival Monday with no j’ouvert and no beach. As with everything else, while the live Carnival has been cancelled, some aspects have gone on line – on August Monday there was what seems to be an unofficial Opposition organized Emancipation Day Kayso Monarch competition broadcast across ZDK, Observer, and Progressive FM, and won by G-Eve who sang about uniting to fight “this Corona malady”.

Meanwhile on the national station ABS TV, streamed live online, was a Soca Monarch Virtual edition. This was also streamed on Emancipation Day night which means that, yes, calypso and soca were once again battling for fans’ attention – unfortunately. At this typing there was no declared winner for the latter. ETA: Veteran of the arena Blade was declared the winner. So, we’ll just place a picture of Naycha Kid who has in recent years returned to the soca stage, after a long hiatus due to being born again. The gospel artist is no longer singing about Another Man taking your place, but he is still full of vibes.

No it does not skip notice that the calypso viewers were roughly 20% of the party monarch viewers, and also that the numbers overall weren’t great for either – what questions hang on that, do we really care about calypso? is virtual Carnival not doing it for people? What to say but mek out ’til 2021?

A personal highlight was the spotlight on the Watch Night celebrations which usually get lost in the Carnival but with no Carnival this year was featured live on ABS TV on July 31st in to August 1st – Emancipation Day (1834).

Over in Barbados, meanwhile, the show went on with Cropover online, branded Freedom Festival 2020. Activities include a virtual art gallery, online lit magazine, ben ovah dance competition, spoken word showcase, and theatre show.

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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Wadadli Pen 2020: Post-Awards (A Virtual Gallery)

We weren’t able to have actual live awards this year (the awards announcement was done via facebook live and our release was sent out to the media– thanks to the Daily Observer, 268today, Antiguanewsroom, and anyone else who ran it). We do have pictures, though, ‘thanks’ to our drawn out post-awards season of trying to connect winners with their prizes. An unexpected side-benefit of having to do so much communication virtually is the patrons, parents, and participants who’ve stopped to look back and share their thoughts and pictures. We appreciate it and are delighted to share with you…

This picture from long time patron Frank B. Armstrong’s rep, presenting main prize winner (tied) Andre J. P. Warner (author of A Bright Future for Tomorrow) with his $500 cheque from the company, while both modelling good mask etiquette (in light of the global pandemic that forced a change in our usual award protocols as it has in facial wear, personal space, and hygiene all over the country and the world – remember to keep #socialdistancing and #besafe).

This picture of Andre who tied with 11 year old Cheyanne Darroux (author of Tom, the Ninja Crab) for the main prize – their names will be on the Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge Plaque (pictured) and also won the 18 to 35 and Imagine an Future/Climate Change prize was sent to us by the Best of Books, our usual awards host, plaque sponsor, and longtime patron, which contributed a selection of books to each 2020 finalist. Andre’s book haul also includes local authors‘ Brenda Lee Browne’s London Rocks and Just Write journal and Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Musical Youth (hard cover edition), and US$250 worth of books sponsored by Sean Lyons (a NYC-based recent tourist who contributed US$500 worth of books which was divided between the two main prize winners). Winners’ choice.

This image of 13 to 17 winner D’Chaiya Emmanuel (author of Two Worlds Collide) is also from Best of Books, where she picked up her books contributed by the bookstore, her gifts from Juneth Webson (who contributed gift packages which were shared among several winners and the $500 which went toward Andre’s climate change prize), cash from Lawrence Jardine (who contributed $500 which was divided among the 13 to 17s), $200 from D. Gisele Isaac, a free eye exam from Paradise Vision Center, and an external hard drive from the Cushion Club (which also sent us an image of their gift wrapped prize).

Zaniah Pigott (author of A Mermaid), who was 3rd 7 to 12 and received books from Best of Books, Cindy’s Bookstore (as did all winners 7 to 12), and copies of Musical Youth and With Grace (both paperback) from Joanne C. Hillhouse.

Congrats to them all. You can read their stories and all winning stories through the years, here. Thanks to the ones who dropped us a line. Such as…

Aria-Rose Browne (author of The Fabled Truth, and 3rd placed 13 to 17, who won Musical Youth, cash from Lawrence Jardine, the books from the Best of Books, and the gift from Juneth Webson): “I would like to thank you all so much for both the opportunity and rewards. I am so thankful to have made it as a Short Lister much less third place, especially as this is my first writing competition. I really appreciate, and thank you from the bottom of my heart and I will be sure to keep writing.”

Andre J. P. Warner: “…excellent job for organizing Wadadli pen for another year once again.”

Dyna, mom of Sienna Harney-Barnes (author of A New World, honourable mention 7 to 12, who won books from Cindy’s Bookstore and Best of Books in addition to The Wonderful World of Yohan and Antigua My Antigua, contributed by the authors Floree Williams Whyte and Barbara Arrindell, respectively): “Thank you so much. Sienna was tickled pink to be acknowledged. She truly enjoyed the experience.”

Zaniah: “Hello Joanne, Thank you so much for the experience you and Wadadli Pen have provided. It was such a fun time and I’m very thankful for all the help you have given to allow me to advance so far. I have read some of the other stories and they are all interesting and fun. I will still strive to write better stories and hope to enter with my brother next year.”

Her mother wrote as well: “Thank you so much for these books for my avid reader Zaniah. Zaniah and I are very grateful for this opportunity for her to showcase her story telling.”

You know what I appreciate most about these notes, that hint that each writer feels encouraged to continue writing – that’s the goal. Finally, I encourage you to join these dope people whose feedback I found here and on social media, and leave a comment beneath the winning stories.

“I read both winning entries (A Bright Future for Tomorrow and Tom, the Ninja Crab) and thoroughly enjoyed both but I especially loved the one that was written by the young lady (Tom, the Ninja Crab) because I got to share it with my granddaughter and great niece.”

“Great poem, I hope he continues to keep up the poetry writing even with the demands of medicine. Excellent and evocative.” (this refers to Oh, Beach that I once Loved by Sethson Burton, 3rd place 18 to 35, winner of books from Best of Books and a copy of Musical Youth, 2nd edition paperback)

Those are the major ones; there were some awesomes and wonderfuls thrown in there. Add yours, or constructive criticism, that’s okay too, just don’t be …unconstructive.

Thanks again to all of you who have supported the 2020 Wadadli Pen Challenge Season, to patrons the Cultural Development Division, the Best of Books bookstore, Photogenesis, Cindy’s Bookstore, the Friends of Antigua Public Library-NY, Barbara Arrindell, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Floree Williams Whyte, Lawrence Jardine, D. Gisele Isaac, Paradise Vision Center, Juneth Webson, the Cushion Club, Brenda Lee Browne, Hermitage Bay Antigua, Dr. Hazra Medica, Caribbean Reads Publishing, Sean Lyons, Jane Seagull, and Frank B. Armstrong/Seven Seas.

 

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, its Spanish language edition Perdida! , and Oh Gad! ). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me 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, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2020, Wadadli Pen News