Tag Archives: Caribbean Literature Day

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late May 2022)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here).

Publications

SOS: Season of Storms by Fabian Adekunle Badejo was released in 2021 by House of Nehesi in St. Martin. Endorser Jeannine Hall Gailey described the book as “A frank, passionate description of a life in the Caribbean impacted by hurricanes, power outages, health crises, and pandemic. …also highlights the region’s history of racial injustice and provides insight into St. Martin protests.” (Source – publisher email)

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Alwyn Bully’s book The Cocoa Dancer and Other Stories dropped late last year. The stories are set in several Caribbean islands including his own Dominica. One of the book’s endorser’s, quoted in Dominica News Online, Trinidadian director/playwright, Rawle Gibbons, described it as “one of victory over historical suffering, political apocalypse and person tragedy. There can be no more urgent time for this message than now.” (Source – Caribbean Writers and Poets on instagram)

Events

There’s a visual art exhibition on at Government House, Antigua, until June 13th 2022. It features the work of art teachers and it’s free. (Source – Facebook)

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Babu is one of Antigua and Barbuda’s premiere pannists with his work with Halcyon Steel Orchestra and the National Youth Pan Orchestra among his contributions to culture and nation building. Proceeds from the concert are to offset his medical costs. (Source – Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra’s facebook page)

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July 12th is Caribbean Literature Day, which began in 2020 with this declaration by St. Martin’s House of Nehesi Publishers, which is once again urging regional participation.

(Source – House of Nehesi Publishers email)

ARTS News

Your kids are plugged in to the world wide web anyway, Bocas Storytime on YouTube is somewhere wholesome and fun to direct their attention.

Yes, it’s been mentioned before but it bears repeating. (Source – Bocas email)

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Antiguan and Barbudan reggae artist Causion (Gregory Bailey) has recently undergone surgery for colon cancer. The 11-hour surgery took place in Florida. Reportedly his song ‘Thank you’ was played during the surgery. Causion has a charity by the same name – its aim to support him and other artists fighting cancer or other diseases.

I remember years ago, Causion running a music festival in the Falmouth area at which the price of entry was a canned food item that, I believe, went back directly to the community, so he’s been about cooperation for a long time. For now, he has to cooperate with his doctor’s recovery plan for him which is months of rest. We wish him well. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

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This isn’t exactly new – it was announced back in December 2021 – but its certainly news that Jamaican writer Marlon James has landed a series order from HBO and the UK’s Channel 4 for a six-part crime drama ‘Get Millie Black’, which he will be writing and co-executive-producing. Read about it in Deadline. (Source – N/A)

Accolades

Leone Ross of Jamaica and the United Kingdom has won the 2021 Manchester writing competition. This is the UK’s biggest prize for unpublished fiction. In acknowledgment of the prize, Ross said, “I have such affection and respect for the Manchester Prize – one of few in the UK that celebrates the short story so very generously. Whether subversive, experimental or just thumpingly good old fashioned story-telling, the Fiction Prize reminds us that the short story is a fluid space for amusement, beauty and politics alike. ‘When We Went Gallivanting’ is about the increasing gap between rich and poor, about dancing in the face of injustice, and it imagines a reclamation of joy in the very architecture around us. The story celebrates every-day miracles, not least its lead character, Athena Righteous-Fury, a fat, Black woman, surviving and thriving and inspiring just as she is. My deepest thanks to the judges, for their time and consideration in the name of Carol Ann Duffy, who established the prize. To know that you’re trying and becoming a better writer, for that effort to be acknowledged, is a very special experience.” Read the Manchester fiction writing short list here. (Source – Leone Ross social media)

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In 2021 (late again) blogger Harmony Farrell was announced as Bocas’ Youth Award winner. The first, I believe. Trinidad-Tobago specific, I also believe. Judging by this, she seems to be the only one to date. You can read her blog here. (Source – N/A)

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Virgin Islander Daisy Lafond was 3rd honourable mention in the 2021 Anita McAndrews poetry contest for her poem ‘Only among the Wise’. (Source – Email)

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Romance novelist Kimolisa Mings emerged winner of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Love and Wanderlust short story competition – a first time initiative that will see the winning piece, ‘Rule No. 3’, integrated in to the national tourism campaign. Mings is a self-published novelist of romance ebooks in the double digits plus print books that include a poetry collection (see Antiguan and Barbudan Writing). Her win comes with a $1000 cheque. Full disclosure (JCH): I was brought on board by the ABTA as a consulting judge for Love and Wanderlust, and they have also offered to sponsor participation of two of the finalists in my upcoming workshop, which per my Jhohadli Writing Project schedule takes place on June 3rd 2022. Thanks to ABTA and Congratulations to Kimolisa and the other finalists. (Source – Antiguanice.com)

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Jamaican publisher Tanya Batson-Savage Cine Qua Non Lab, a screenwriter’s lab in Mexico that gives independent filmmakers from around the world the opportunity to work intensively on their feature-length narrative scripts. Batson-Savage will be working on ‘Escape to Last Man Peak’. In her announcement on social media, she said, “Writing is the most important part of my creative life, but increasingly, it’s the thing I do the least. I’m therefore beyond thrilled that my project Escape to Last Man Peak has been selected to be part of @cinequanonlab Storylines lab 2022! Looking forward to the meeting the 17 other filmmakers from Brazil, Canada, Finland, Guatemala, India, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden and the United States. Most of all, I’m looking forward to the writing.” (Source – Tanya Batson-Savage’s social media)

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The Commonwealth Writers short list has been announced and the top writer from the Caribbean is Jamaica’s Diana McCaulay, who previously won the regional prize in 2012 for ‘The Dolphin Catcher’. Her short-listed story this time around is ‘Bridge over the Yallahs River’. Commonwealth Writers’ 2022 short list also includes Ntsiki Kota of Eswatini, winner for the Africa region; Sofia Mariah Ma of Singapore for Asia; Cecil Browne of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom for Canada and Europe; and Mary Rokonadravu of Fiji for the Pacific. More here. (Source – Twitter)

Opportunities

Bocas lit fest has in its June workshop line-up a three-part series on Writing for Children. Tracey Baptiste will explore writing fantasy, Carol Mitchell character and development, and Jeunanne Alkins design and illustration.

Here’s where you register. (Source – Bocas email)

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This is a gentle reminder related to the call for applications and nominations of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes 2022. Every year, the prizes are organized around a specific theme. This year’s focus is on: ‘Transforming literacy learning spaces’. The nomination process is taking place via an online platform. An applicant can request the access to the online application form through this link. All applications will go through a nomination process by the National Commissions for UNESCO or an NGO maintaining official relations with UNESCO. The deadline for the candidates to submit an application to the nominating entities is set on 6 June 2022. The deadline for nominations is Sunday 20 June 2022. Any enquiries with regard to the application and nomination process should be addressed to the Secretariat of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes, located within the Section of Youth, Literacy and Skills Development of the UNESCO Education Sector (phone: +33 1 45 68 08 59; e-mail: literacyprizes@unesco.org).

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The Caribbean Development Bank and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) and its partners are teaming up through The Caribbean Animation Business Network to produce the Caribbean animation business model. It’s a way of collating resources and attract global opportunities. They put out a call for people (not sure if it’s specifically creatives and/or animators) to help them research, develop, and test the model. Here’s where you register. Looks like it requires Company information, Professional Skills and Training, and Sector Experience. (Source – Cultural and Creative Industries Innovation Fund email)

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This is a reminder (since it was mentioned in the last bulletin) that we should all be scribbling away in preparation to submit to the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival short story contest. The BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writer’s Prize seeks to unearth hidden storytellers in the United States and Canada and is open to unpublished writers of Caribbean heritage. The BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean, on the other hand, is open exclusively to Caribbean writers of all levels who reside and work in the Caribbean. The 2022 BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest will award $1750US in cash for each of the two prizes for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (3000 words max). Submissions close on July 1st, 2022, 11:59 pm EST. Katia D. Ulysse and Ifeona Fulani will judge the BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writer’s Prize . Tanya Savage-Batson and Ayesha Gibson-Gill will judge the BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean. This and more is on the Opportunities Too page; check it out. (Source – BCLF email)

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The Catapult Caribbean arts grant programme for 2022 has wrapped but I thought I’d share the video of the virtual mixer held by the organizers to discuss the programme and meet the artists and learn how the grant initiative has impacted us.

(Source – CATAPULT: A Caribbean Arts Grant on YouTube)

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The Bocas Lit fest workshops continues with a June 4th 2022 session led by Debbie Jacob.

Jacob is an award-winning journalist, author, librarian, and prison reform activist, whose career spans over three decades and books such as Wishing for Wings and Making Waves: How the West Indies Shaped the United States. (Source – Bocas email)

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There is a new initiative (Creative Caribbean) designed to boost creative industry or what’s being called the orange economy via UNESCO. Per project documents, it “seeks to develop a robust creative ecosystem in the region, to enable more globally competitive creative businesses; support increased training and capacity building; and strengthen the enabling environment in relation to policy, planning, incentives and legislation.” Up to 15 Caribbean countries are eligible; check the links and documents shared below re your eligibility. The application process (reading the information provided – copied below) seems steep if not prohibitive, plus it’s a lot of documentation. But as I am trying to do, I encourage Caribbean artists to read through and try to see if you can find rungs to clear the hurdles if you could use the money – and couldn’t we all. Submit application by June 16th 2022. (Source – Antiguan and Barbudan writer Kimolisa Mings on Facebook)

Remember to see Opportunities and Opportunities Too which are always being updated.

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 Literature Day

July 12th 2021 has, as of last year, been dubbed Caribbean Literature Day. Shout out to St. Martin’s House of Nehesi Publishers for coining it in 2020.

Days like this are an opportunity to draw your attention to the literature that gets crowded out by more mainstream titles – and, unfortunately, even in the Caribbean, books from up North still define mainstream. But between #readCaribbean and #Caribathon during Caribbean American Heritage Month (i.e. June, which was also Pride Month and Black Music Month; World Environment Day, June 5th, was also in there making for the most intersection of observances all around) and now Caribbean Literature Day, we’re pushing back, baby.

I thought I would focus here on Wadadli Pen on the often overlooked solo pieces published in journals and anthologies – the readership is small which is unfortunate because some of them are quite good. If I had my way, I would popularize them with dramatized readings for radio. I’ve actually suggested that to local radio but been ignored. Maybe it’s a question of money; the rights of the pieces would have to be secured, voice actors would have to be paid etc. But it would be dope, the appetite for story is not the problem but access either due to money, availability, or even someone not realizing that they might be interested because, I hate to tell you, but if you like movies or mêlée, you like story.

One of the things I’ve tried to do here on the Wadadli Pen blog is share pieces I find in the Reading Room and Gallery series which is 41 deep at this point, a curated salon that you can chill in and come back to at your discretion – how cool would it be if we had the resources to turn it in to a real virtual salon for an immersive reading/listening experience. The arts need money, I tell you.

The other way I try to amplify these literary bites is by sharing every published or performed poem or short story or intertextual piece I can find in one of our many data bases – with the only proviso being it be a real credit (i.e. published in a journal, performed at an official lit event, that sort of thing). For many writers these are the foot in the door that, if the foot is not squeezed out and the door slammed, can lead to a writing career. It was for me.

Let me tell you about BIM.

BIM: Arts for the 21st Century edited by Barbados Poet Laureate Esther Phillips is perhaps the oldest surviving literary journal in the region that is still publishing and relevant today – and even BIM has an uneven publishing life.

Image, dated 2014, borrowed from the facebook page of the Nature Island Literary Festival.

BIM was started in 1942, edited first by E. L. Cozier, then by Frank Collymore, who shepherded many of the pioneers of the Caribbean literary canon in to the published world until he gave up the role in 1974. Per the about page of the BIM website, publication became irregular after that, and in 1996 went in to a long hiatus that didn’t end until the relaunch in 2007.

This is around the time that I became aware of BIM and I was a hungry young writer who wanted in. When I learned of the BIM event celebrating Caribbean women writers, I wrote to Phillips introducing myself and my at the time two published books – The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and she didn’t ignore me, as happens. In fact, before I knew what had happened (forgive me if I’m sketchy on the details, it’s been a while), I was on a panel with the likes of Ramabai Espinet, the Indo-Trinidadian Canada-based author of The Swinging Bridge; Curdella Forbes, the US based Jamaican author whose latest book A Tall History of Sugar won the Hurston Wright Fiction prize; Trinidadian poet and artist, Bocas prize winner for Doe Songs, Danielle Boodoo Fortune; Bermudan writer Angela Barry, author of Goree: Point of Departure; and Barbadian poet Dana Gilkes.

This isn’t a books post but see in bold several books you could be checking out (of your library or book store, online or brick and mortar) this Caribbean Literature Day.

Anyway, the imposter syndrome was real but I was also excited to be at this event where reconnections were forged, new friendships made, I soaked up knowledge, and moved the needle a little as a #gyalfromOttosAntigua inching in to the Caribbean literary canon, or trying to.

Publishing in BIM became a goal and, no matter the stage of your career, there is nothing so humbling as submitting to and being rejected time and again by journal editors. They are often brisk and to the point, if they take the time to give you specific feedback. And getting specific feedback – hurt though it might – is actually a good thing; it means that they see you, they just don’t want you quite yet. So you get back to work.

The piece that ended up landing me on the pages of BIM was initially workshopped over at the Caribbean Literary Salon (RIP to that valuable space). It’s a story about a big head boy, teased for that big head and other things, published as What’s in a Name in BIM: Arts for the 21st Century Volume 7 in 2015. See the time gap? Getting in was a hallelujah moment.

I have a bad habit that – with the possible exception of The Caribbean Writer – once I’ve published in a coveted publication I move on to climb the next mountain. New goals. So publishing in BIM again wasn’t something I really-really went after again. Maybe I didn’t want to kill my high at being published by giving them the chance to reject me again. Which is not to say that I never submitted again because I did for the current publication (and I do think the year we’ve had has something to do with me going for it) and one of my submitted pieces was accepted.

I’m always a little jazzed when a poem is accepted because I don’t consider myself a poet though I have published so many poems in journals at this point that that’s a lie. Maybe something to do with one of my more scalding rejections, from a revered Caribbean editor and mentor being “your poetry is not up to the standard of your fiction”. Rejections don’t stop me even when they scald, I keep working, keep submitting, and it’s …nice…when something gets through. I tell that story still not because it’s baggage but because I hope it will inspire some other writer, whether rejected by Wadadli Pen or your dream publication; don’t give up. Maybe your writing could be better, you’ve always got to entertain that possibility, or maybe it’s just not it’s time. Either way, keep writing and keep trying.

And read, read a lot.

I’m still reading the current issue of BIM: Arts for the 21st Century and you should to. You should also check out the journaled writings by Antiguans and Barbudans I’ve compiled here on the blog, so many that they are divided alphabetically A to M, N to Z.

Happy Caribbean Literature Day.

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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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid July 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here)

Remembering

Bunny Wailer (1947-2021) died earlier this year and though I am late in marking this seismic moment in music, I couldn’t let the transitioning of the last of the iconic Wailers, which included legends Bob Marley (1945-1981) and Peter Tosh (1944-1987), go by just so. (Source – JR Lee email)

News

Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters out of the Virgin Islands have teamed up with Syllble Inc out of the US (its founder is out of Haiti) to stimulate the writing and boosting of Caribbean speculative fiction. “The story bible founders will design an overview of the fictional universe. As short stories get written the story bible is expected to grow. The best short stories will be short listed for Moko’s consideration.” Read more in this press release. (Source – Syllble email)

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Plans advance for an African Slavery Museum in Antigua and Barbuda.

It is to be constructed at Tomlinson’s Estate and is spearheaded by the African Slavery Memorial Society founded by Edith Oladele to preserve African heritage and memory in Antigua and Barbuda. Details of the planned museum can be read here:

(Source – ASMS email)

Events

The publishers of The Caribbean Writer Vol. 35 have announced an after reading dinner affair reader response discussion series for July 15th 2021, 6 to 8 p.m. They will be discussing the poems in tribute to the late Kamau Brathwaite published in volume 35. RSVP here and order volume 35 here. (Source – TCW email)

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I’ll be reading at the Medellin World Poetry Festival in August. Read about my recent test and watch a preview in my latest reading journal. (Source – Jhohadli)

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July 12th 2021 is Caribbean Literature Day. This started last year (I believe) and I’m not sure what activities are planned (will update as able) but let us know how you’ll be celebrating. (Source – N/A email)

Accolades

It’s become hard to keep up with the awards and award nominations scooped up by Antiguan and Barbudan Shabier Kirchner for his cinematography on Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ – hereafter known as one of the most egregiously snubbed anthology series of the 2021 Emmys season. Kirchner who previously picked up nominations and/or awards for Small Axe from the New York Film Critics Circle (win), the National Society of Film Critics Awards, the Lost Angeles Film Critics Awards, (win), International Online Cinema Awards, International Cinephile Society Awards, Florida Film Critics Circle, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, British Society of Cinematographers, Boston Society of Film Critics, among others, added to his haul with a trophy from the BAFTA TV Craft awards for Photography and Lighting: Fiction. He was also a 2021 Independent Spirit Award nominee for best cinematography for ‘Bull’. Talk about a year and a career on the rise. (Source – various)

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Late on this one but St. Lucia’s Canisia Lubrin (Poetry) and Trinidad and Tobago’s Dionne Brand (fiction), both Canada-based were announced among the eight recipients of the Windham-Campbell Prize, one of the richest international literary prizes with its US$165,000 purse to each writer. The money is strings-free, allowing them to focus on their work without the pressure of financial commitments. (Source – JR Lee email)

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The winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize has been announced. It is Sri Lankan author Kanya D’Almeida. Her story ‘I cleaned the – ‘ can be read here. The regional winner for the Caribbean is Jamaican writer Roland Watson-Grant. You can read his story, ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Dell’, here. (Source – Commonwealth Writers email)

Roland

Opportunities

Also see Opportunities Too for pending deadlines.

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The UNESCO-sponsored cultural/creative industries mapping project is requesting the participation of artists in Antigua and Barbuda in its data collection phase before October 31st 2021.

Cultural advisor with the Creative Industries Minister Dr. Hazra Medica advises us that data gathered during this phase and the resultant reports will serve as “the most important advocacy tool in our lobby arsenal–both inside and outside of Antigua and Barbuda– for our cultural/creative industries.” They have framed it as a help us help you scenario for local artists and cultural practitioners, and while we have been asked to register before, Dr. Medica insists that this time is different. The goal, she indicated, is to move beyond talk. I have talked more with Medica on this and hope to say more about it in a future edition of my CREATIVE SPACE column (subscribe to Jhohadli) to make sure you don’t miss it. Meanwhile, here’s where you can complete the data collection form. (Source – Dr. Medica email)

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The Bocas Lit Fest has adjusted the criteria for its first ever children’s book prize which is open for entries to July 30th 2021. The word count is now 1,500 words (down from 6,000) and the books no longer need to be structured as chapter books to be eligible. The books must still be appropriate for children 7 to 12 years old, and must have been published between January 1st 2020 and July 31st 2021. Self-published books are eligible and the author and/or publisher do not need to be Caribbean based. Details on the Bocas site & below:

(Source – Bocas email)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, The Business