Tag Archives: Celeste Mohammed

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid June 2022)

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

Opportunities

Reminding readers (especially writers and other artists seeking journals, competitions, grants, or fellowships, and students seeing scholarship opportunities) to regularly check Opportunities Too. (Source – me)

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Creative Writing sessions with me, Barbara Andrea Arrindell, begin this evening, Tuesday (June 7th 2022) via Zoom. WhatsApp 7257396 for details. (Source – N/A)

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My next writing session (Jhohadli Writing Project) is July 1st 2022.

(Source – me)

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The next big regional writing comp for short stories is the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival with only weeks left to polish and submit your entry. We’ve told you about it before but, as a reminder, the prize is US$1750 to a previously unpublished work of short fiction of 3000 words or fewer. The prize is named for Trinidad-American writer Elizabeth Nunez. The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival is a Brooklyn-based organisation devoted to blazing a trail for Caribbean literature within the American diaspora. The BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest is geared towards unearthing and encouraging the distinctive voice and story of the Caribbean-descended writer and expanding the creative writing landscape of Caribbean literature. Go here for more information. This year’s judges are editor and publisher Tanya Batson-Savage of Jamaica and Ayesha Gibson of Barbados. (Source – email)

Accolades

Elaine Jacobs, born in Antigua, though living most of her life in the US Virgin Islands was named in December 2021 as the winner of the Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize for new or emerging writers from The Caribbean Writer. She won for the story ‘Going without Shoes’.

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Antiguan writer Brenda Lee Browne’s Just Write page won a six word ‘Gratitude’ themed story competition and Hazra Medica has been announced as the winner for her story, “Time and cocoa butter lightens scars”. Alison Sly Adams has also been awarded a prize for “Not terminal was a new beginning.”

Hazra has won the 5.0 gift bag with gifts from Just Write – Brenda Lee Browne (collage, black and white print, Just Write Antigua journal and mug), Ten Pages Bookstore (Books of Wings by Tawhida Tanya Evanson), Kimolisa Mings (She wanted a Love Poem), Mangohead Productions (plaque), and Galtigua (a tote bag); and Alison won an original Paper Relief art piece gifted by artist Imogen Margrie and Just Write Antigua Journal (BLB). The prize was announced on June 4th 2022, Brenda Lee’s birthday, planned as it was as part of her celebration, open to writers 18 and older in Antigua and Barbuda. (Source – Facebook)

New Publications

There’s a new CREATIVE SPACE arts and culture column every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer newspaper, extended edition online at Jhohadli. If you’ve missed the 2022 season of CREATIVE SPACE, you’ve missed conversations with authors, cultural activists, producers, fashion designer; as well as, musical revues, discussions around gender, and reporting on Caribbean arts activity. Catch up on CREATIVE SPACE 2022 here.

(Source – me)

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The publication of Voices: Monologues and Plays for Caribbean Actors (edited by Yvonne Weekes), print publication 2021 and e-publication 2022 , and Disaster Matters: Disasters Matter (co-edited by Yvonne Weekes and Wendy McMahon), published 2022, both by St. Martin’s House of Nehesi Publishers saw Weekes making book stops at the St. Martin’s Book Fair, Montserrat where Weekes lived after re-locating from the UK before finally settling in Barbados where she still lives, and Antigua and Barbuda where she conducted a series of workshops and had a launch and book signing. She also held a writers clinic via zoom with Barbados’ National Cultural Foundation. Voices has been added to the listing of plays and the main books data base here on Wadadli Pen as it includes two plays by local leading playwright and director Zahra Airall. As seen below, contributors hail from Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Martin, and Antigua-Barbuda.

(Source – Facebook)

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Trinidad-American author Elizabeth Nunez has a new book, Now Lila Knows, out with Akashic Press. Lila Bonnard has left her island home in the Caribbean to join the faculty as a visiting professor at Mayfield College in a small Vermont town. On her way from the airport to Mayfield, Lila witnesses the fatal shooting of a Black man by the police. It turns out that the victim was a professor at Mayfield, and was giving CPR to a white woman who was on the verge of an opioid overdose. The two Black faculty and a Black administrator in the otherwise all-white college expect Lila to be a witness in the case against the police. Unfortunately, Lila fears that in the current hostile political climate against immigrants of color she may jeopardize her position at the college by speaking out, and her fiancé advises her to remain neutral. Now Lila Knows is a gripping story that explores our obligation to act when confronted with the unfair treatment of fellow human beings. A page-turner with universal resonance, this novel will leave readers rethinking the meaning of love and empathy. (Source – N/A)

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The first book in Trinidad and Tobago writer Alake Pilgrim’s middle grade fantasy series Zo and The Forest of Secrets has landed as of June 2022. Pilgrim has previously twice won the regional Commonwealth short story prize, and been published in The Haunted Tropics and New Daughters of Africa and journals like Small Axe. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, thanks to the Booker Prize Foundation Scholarship. In Zo and The Forest of Secrets, diverse children with special gifts, work together to battle hybrid creatures and dangerous adults who try to use them and their powers. The series features unique characters, creatures, legends and landscapes from the Caribbean, re-imagined in an exciting and at times, futuristic way. These are images from her UK tour – stock signings at Waterstones. (Source – ed_pr on twitter)

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SIX STEPS – An African-Barbudan-Caribbean Story – by Claudia Ruth Francis is an African-Barbudan-Caribbean story that’s been added to her listing in Antiguan and Barbudan Fiction Writings and Antiguan and Barbudan Writings. Charity is born in the city of Leicester in England in 1950. She is an orphan. She lives in a number of foster homes. At the age of ten, she receives a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school and hopes that her loneliness will lessen in her new environment. It is during this period that she discovers her ability to commune with her African ancestors. Charity learns that her grandmother five times removed was kidnapped from Africa in 1813. She is able to relive her ordeal and is introduced to the lives of her subsequent grandmothers born on the island of Barbuda in the Caribbean. Eventually Charity meets her mother and, together with her female forebears, she learns the history of Barbuda, the sister island to Antigua, part of the Leeward Islands. But in 2022, is the island at risk from climate change, home grown gold diggers, foreign designs, and re-colonization? Claudia Ruth Francis writes political and historical fact fiction. Her LION SERIES is set in the UK, Caribbean, and Africa. Her interests are many and include global history and the politics shaping African History on the continent and in the diaspora. (Source – Author email)

RIP

To George Lamming. In the words of Barbados prime minister Mia Mottley, “Sadly, it seems now that almost weekly, we are forced to say goodbye to one of our national icons.” Lamming died on June 4th 2022. He leaves a long shadow and has since the publication, in 1953, of In the Castle of My Skin – which was award winning and critically acclaimed. Originally from Barbados, he is of that generation of Caribbean writers, many of whom went to England to realize their dreams as writers in the 1940s and 1950s, and became the foundation of the modern classic Caribbean canon. Lamming worked for the BBC Colonial Service as a broadcaster, published in Barbados literary journal Frank Collymore, and read his poems and stories, and that of other young (at the time) Caribbean voices like Derek Walcott, on BBC’s Caribbean Voices. A Guggenheim fellow, he was a world-travelling professional writer who would go on to publish The Emigrants, Of Age and Innocence, Season of Adventure, The Pleasures of Exile, Water with Berries, Natives of My Person, Coming, Coming Home: Conversations II – Western Education and the Caribbean Intellectual, and Sovereignty of the Imagination: Conversations III – Language and the Politics of Ethnicity. He was writer-in-residence and lecturer at the University of the West Indies, and has been a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Connecticut, Brown University, Cornell University, and Duke University in the US, as well as lecturing in Denmark, Tanzania, and Australia. He has directed the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute at the University of Miami, and judged major Caribbean literary prizes. His awards include the Order of the Caribbean Community, the Langston Hughes Medal, the first Caribbean Hibiscus Award from the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, the lifetime achievement prize from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, having the George Lamming Primary School in St. Michael, Barbados named for him, as well as the George Lamming Pedagogical Centre at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination. Lamming was 94 at the time of his death. (personal note) I heard Lamming speak here in Antigua in 2007 for the Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Week, and was inspired to write ‘Prospero’s Education (on hearing George Lamming)’. I met him in 2008 when I was invited to read at the BIM Symposium ‘Celebrating Caribbean Women Writers’.

One of the first major regional literary panels I was asked to be a part of – after reaching out to them – the BIM forum celebrating Caribbean Women Writers, 2008. The man in the mix is legendary Caribbean writer George Lamming.

Our paths crossed a couple more times, at mixers at the Nature Island Literary Festival in Dominica and again in Barbados at the BIM Lit Fest and Book Fair. Fleeting interactions, yes, but memorable for me – and my awareness of his long shadow – if not for him. What PM Mia said feels so resonant, with the exception that Lamming was not a national icon but a Caribbean literary legend, and that while we say goodbye to the life, the words live on for those who grew up on them and those still to discover them. RIP, Sir. (Source – a friend)

ETA: This was a guest opinion by Alister Thomas in Antigua and Barbuda’s Daily Observer on Lamming’s passing life.

Events

The Commonwealth Short Story prize winner will be announced on June 21st 2022. You can sign up to watch in real time here. (Source – Commonwealth email)

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Love the Dark Days is a new book by Indo-Trinidadian Ira Mathur and UK-based Peepal Tree Press. A launch event is planned for July 13th 2022, 19:30-20:30 at Waterstones Victoria, London. Mathur will be in conversation with Irish Trinidadian author Amanda Smyth and non-fiction author and editor-in-chief of Newsday Trinidad. (Source – JR Lee email)

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The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival’s Support Caribbean Writers tour is on in early June, featuring award winning writer of Pleasantview Celeste Mohammed. Her book has been selected by Caribbean readers as their fave and by the OCM Bocas prize a fave among the literati. She’s having quite the year and she also seems very personable and down to earth. I’d see her in person if I could and if you choose to you’d be right on time as her book is the CARIBATHON group read of 2022.

See tour stops here. (Source – Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival email)

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June 9th 2022 @ 7 p.m. EDT (which I believe is 8 p.m. AST) – Word Thursdays Online featuring Bocas winning (for Sounding Ground) St. Lucian poet Vladimir Lucien. Watch it here via zoom or via Bright Hill Press’ facebook page. (Source – Bright Hill Press on facebook)

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June is #readCaribbean month and also #CaribAthon. I’m participating in both by getting caught up on my reading (Caribbean books and related material only), journalling my progress, and sharing with the hashtags on social media. How will you be participating? (Source – various social media, me)

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There was a second year of Vigo Blake Day, May 29th 2022, in memory of the man who built the first school for Black people, free and enslaved in the then British West Indies. The school opened its doors in 1813. Read about it in CREATIVE SPACE: Mining Nuggets of Historical Gold. In case you missed it, CREATIVE SPACE is my art and culture column which has, since the start of 2022, covered books, fashion (and fashion restrictions), folklore, music and music legend the Monarch King Short Shirt, other notable personalities, commercial production and other visual art, and gender advocacy. (Source – me)

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Antigua’s Carnival schedule was announced as early as March 2022 but it’s changed quite a bit in the time since and, frankly, may change again after this posting; making for a shaky return for the Caribbean’s greatest summer festival after a two-year COVID-19 induced hiatus. This is the official programme as published in the Daily Observer newspaper in March 2022.

Announcements have trickled out since – no Golden Eye calypso tent, no Myst on the road for the big parade, that sort of thing – the biggest of which was arguably no Panorama. But, after pushback, inside of a week that announcement was rescinded and Panorama was reported to be back on. Per Cabinet minutes, once again reported in the Daily Observer, “Every effort will be made to have a Panorama 2022; the effort will include providing some resources to the steelbands that are likely to participate, and ensuring that there is adequate space on the stage to ensure that the bands can play their tunes to the applause of an ARG audience.” ETA (June 10th 2022): I won’t be doing these minute by minute Carnival updates but I felt it important to update that the panorama is back off again – the pan orchestras reportedly have too far of of a financial breach to leap in order to be competition ready, largely due to economic setbacks caused by COVID-19, even with assistance from the government. There may be a pan show, however, instead. While we’re here, government will be changing the Carnival mas parade route – details unknown but it will apparently be moved out of the city to the vicinity of the stadium. But Carnival will remain at ARG in the city…a bit confused with the logistics, especially with plans to demolish the original double decker stand, but…apparently that’s what it is. And this might be the last of the Antigua Carnival posts in this space as me cyaan keep up. (Source – Daily Obsever newspaper)

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

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid 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).

Opportunities

Remember to check the Opportunities Too page for even more opportunities.

Keir Alekseii of Trinidad and Tobago is an associate literary agent with the Azantian Literary Agency and is open for queries. She is seeking YA & Adult SFF and YA contemporary. She is ONLY open to receiving queries from writers who identify as belonging to a marginalized or underrepresented group such as (but not limited to) BIPOC, LGBTQ+, immigrants, ND, folks who speak English as a second language, and DIS people. (Source – Culture246 Literary Arts emails)

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The 2022 Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Short Fiction Story Contest has been announced. There is no theme. A US$1750 cash prize is attached, plus a bespoke trophy from Safa Iman woodworks, a recording on the BCLF Cocoa Pod podcast, books courtesy of Akashic Books, circulation of story in several partner literary magazines and publications, press opportunities, and BCLF merch. The contest has two streams with Katia D. Ulysses and Ifeona Fulani juding the prize for Caribbean-American Writer’s and Tanya Batson-Savage and Ayesha Gibson judging the prize for Writers in the Caribbean. Submit by July 1st 2022. Details here. & read about other opportunities for writers and other artists here on Wadadli Pen. (Source – BCLF instagram)

Events

These are some images from the third installment of Stamp 268, May 14th 2022. It is “a buy local family-friendly event” – according to a facebook post by the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Culture. I chose these two images as a reminder that food is culture. Each one of the named items (raspberry jam, tamarind stew, guava cheese, and especially ashum, i.e. parched corn crushed to dust) were treats, along with tamarind balls, fudge, sugar cake (made of burnt grated coconut), suckabubby – more popular than imported American treats – for children of my generation (i.e. those of us who came of age in the 70s and 80s). The tray women, found around schools and along sidewalks in St. John’s city, would have one or all of these – plus children raided any trees loaded with guava, tamarind, raspberry etc used to make them. How could we ever go hungry? (Source – Khan Cordice, culture director, on Facebook)

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Professor Alison Donnell delivered the 15th Edward Baugh Lecture on May 9th 2022 at University of the West Indies (Mona). Her focus: The Missing Mid Century West Indian Woman Writer and Another Quarrel with History. Donnell is head of the school for literature, drama, and creative writing at East Anglia. She referenced specifically Jamaica’s Ada Quayle – nee Kathleen Woods (The Mistress), Guyana’s Edwina Melville (his is the Rupununi: A Simple Story Book of the Savannah Lands of the Rupununi District, British Guiana & various short stories), and Grenada-born and Barbados-raised Monica Skeete (Time Out) among the forgotten writers of the period under study. (Source – YouTube)

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The Antigua Sailing Week committee has reported that “the fans came out in their numbers to dance and sing along under the stars in historic dockyard” for the return after a long absence (due to COVID-19 protocols) of Reggae in the Park.

Reported local bookings for the event were Ibis the Livest, Exorcist International Sound System, The Strays, Anu Collective, Kenne Blessin and Arlen Seaton, and the headliner was Romain Virgo out of Jamaica. Yes, we reported in a previous Carib Lit Plus update that local singer Tian Winter, best known for soca but adept at other genres, would headline but that quickly unraveled thereafter. Both sides (ASW and Tian Winter’s camp) have publicly acknowledged communication misfires resulting in Winter seemingly withdrawing from the event. That (in particular concerns about the treatment of local v. imported talent) and the venue (also changed from the previous announcement from Shirley’s Heights Lookout to Nelson’s Dockyard proper) stirred online chatter. But, per the ASW release, all’s well that ends well and ASW itself was set to wrap (at this writing) with the last of the week’s race’s on May 6th 2022. The curtain comes down, May 7th, Dockyard Day. (Source – ASW press release)

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The Media Institute of the Caribbean and the Association of Caribbean Media Workers have teamed up for the Caribbean Media Summit Inaugural Launch. Date: May 5th 2022 in commemoration of World Press Freedom Day 2022. Theme: Journalism Under Digital Siege. If you’re here before the event, register here. If not, and you’re still interested, here’s the MIC webpage and facebook page. (Source – email)

Publications

Tangle is the first poetry collection by Rochelle Ward (Faizah Tabasamu). It was released late in 2021 by House of Nehesi Publishers in St. Martin. Ward’s poetry has previously appeared in Where I See the Sun – Contemporary Poetry in St. Martin. (Source – N/A)

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The latest edition of My CREATIVE SPACE art and culture column, which runs every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer newspaper (extended edition with Extras on my Jhohadli blog), spotlighted visual artist and award winning commercial director Lawson Lewis.

Read the extended edition with Extras of CREATIVE SPACE: CRAFTING WINNING COMMERCIAL ART and catch up on previous installments of the series while you’re there. (Source – Me)

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Research Librarian at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda Myra Piper receives a copy of The Colour Box from Dan Waite,  written by his mother Barbara Waite. The book is  fictional  with historical facts, surrounding the lives of Anne and Elizabeth Hart in Antigua. It has been added to the Antiguan and Barbudan Writings and Antiguan and Barbudan Fiction databases. (Source – Facebook)

New Music

Antigua and Barbuda’s Asher Otto released a new EP (Before It’s Too Late) earlier this year. It has six tracks. Preview here.

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New music is forthcoming from Canadian pannist of Antiguan-Barbudan descent Joy Lapps.

‘Sharifa The Great’ is the first single from Joy’s forthcoming Album: Girl In The Yard set to drop on July 8th, 2022. Joy, a tenor steel pan player, composed all the songs on the album which is funded in part by the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts and The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings. “Sharifa is my big sister’s middle name and she’s slender and she’s small but she’s like a force to be reckoned with,” said Joy, explaining the inspiration for the pre-release track. (Source – YouTube)

Misc.

Bocas’ storytime children’s channel (referenced below) also features How to be a Calypsonian by Antigua-based writer Desryn Collins. This reading by children of Trinidad and Tobago. (Source – YouTube)

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New podcast – Know Your Caribbean. This first episode focussed on Gangsta Stories or stories of rebellion, including the 1736 revolt planned by King Court/Prince Klaas. (Source – KYC on Instagram)

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Bocas Lit Fest has been running April 28th to May 1st (if you missed it, you can go to the Bocas channel on YouTube to catch up). But this update is about the Bocas Storytime children’s channel launched during the same period. It includes content for and by children including this video of a guided art session with illustrator of my book The Jungle Outside Danielle Boodoo Fortune of Trinidad and Tobago, home of Bocas.

Remember to like the video and subscribe to the channel. ETA: Antiguan and Barbudan writer Barbara A. Arrindell was one of among several writers from across the reason selected to present excerpts from written works – published or unpublished. She presented an excerpt from an unpublished work entitled ‘Scholarship Child’.

(Source – Bocas Lit Fest)

RIP

The Virgin Islands has mourned the passing of Eugene ‘Doc’ Peterson, described as a cultural icon. A veterinarian by trade, he also was reported to be, among other things, a vocalist and musician, author, and radio talk show host. (Source – writer Apple Gidley’s email and blog)

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Katie McConnachie, a Los Angeles native who moved to Antigua in 1985, after a career that involved painting special effects for Hanna Barbera Productions in Hollywood (her dad John Stephenson was the original voice actor of the Mr. Slate character on Flinstones got her an initial interview in 1978 and she would go on to work on popular shows like Scooby-doo and The Smurfs). She was known for wildlife, and especially marine, art – including prints and paintings, book illustrations (Shadow on the Moon and other books), and the Wyland marine mural on the island of Grenada. She was a member of the Ocean Artists Society. Through her Seahorse Studios, she provided for years graphic design services for businesses and the yachting community of which she was a part. She died of cancer in April. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Accolades

I debated where to put this – opportunities, accolades, or maybe misc. – but went with accolades to celebrate the 300 recipients of the 2022 Catapult Caribbean Arts Grant. The awardees are currently being rolled out by the Catapult Arts page on instagram. I’ve written about my participation – as a grantee – in the mixer where recipients got to learn more about each other and, as importantly, each others’ arts. Andrea Dempster, co-founder of Kingston Creative, one of the administrators of the grant, explained, in this article, “The CATAPULT Covid-19 Relief Arts Grant, is now in its second year and since late 2020 it has delivered over half a million US dollars ($81 million JMD) to 1,535 artists from the Caribbean, in the form of cash grants or capacity-building support. …This year, by offering relief grants to 300 creatives of $500 USD each, CATAPULT helped a community of artists from 23 Caribbean islands to further their practice by completing stalled arts projects or purchasing equipment.” She noted the particular vulnerablity of Caribbean artists. “We operate in a region where many countries have neither a dedicated national Arts Fund nor the resources to provide adequate support for the arts community, especially in the event of a pandemic. Some of these Covid-19 relief grants were necessary to just cover living expenses, food and rent for talented artists who were in dire straits due to the impact of two years of lockdown and loss of income.” But it wasn’t just a hand out, it was a lift up for artists who often feel devalued and unseen. “Some artists expressed that the grant not only helped them financially, but also served as a symbol of validation for their artistic practice.” ETA: May 13th 2022 is #CATAPULTday, so be sure to search for it across your social media. (Source – Me)

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No, this isn’t a sports site (though it’s hardly the first time we’ve shared sports news – sports can be artful) but in this case, I’m sharing because I looked at this picture and thought, LEGENDS. You don’t have to be a cricket buff, to know the man on the left, Sir Vivian Richards, who was named one of the top 5 cricketers of the 20th century. He was the second Antiguan called up to the West Indies Cricket Team and would go on to be a fierce batsman and, as leader, the only captain never to have lost a test series. He was for a long time Antigua and Barbuda’s only living national hero and the national stadium is named for him. To the right, is another man who needs no introduction, the first Antiguan to be called up to the WINDIES team and a deadly fast bowler, Sir Andy Roberts. Want to know more about these men, read books like Hilary McD. Beckles’ A Spirit of Dominance: Cricket and Nationalism in the West Indies and watch documentaries like director Stevan Riley’s Fire in Babylon about the 70s and 80s period when WINDIES dominated international game. Since those days, there’ve been dashed hopes and frustrations both in terms of the team’s performance and in terms of the ascendance (or the unfair non-ascendance) of Antiguans and Barbudans to the team. The man in the middle, Rahkeem Cornwall, is an example, in the eyes of Antiguans and Barbudans of frustrated opportunity as he fought to jump through and over hoops and hurdles to earn a spot – his weight (or what ESPNcricinfo.com describes as his “uncommon” bulk) was the official reason (per the same ESPN profile, he needed a dietician and extra attention before he could be considered for the senior WINDIES side). But he has performed since being called up to the team in 2019 (being named Domestic Cricketer of the Year by Cricket West Indies that same month) and, per the local T-20 tournament from which this photo is taken, continues his winning ways. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

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Cuban born academic Ada Ferrer has been awarded a 2022 Pulitzer Prize in history for Cuba: An American History. Her third book, it is previously the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History.

(Source – Twitter)

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Winners at the Island Innovation Awards ceremony were announced and among them several individuals and projects from the Caribbean. Some we think will be of interest to our readership. Such as winner of the Future Island Leader Award, Life in Leggings founder Ronelle King of Barbados – “In 2016, i founded a movement…a cyber feminist campaign…a space for Caribbean women to speak about their experiences of sexual violence and raise awareness about the pervasive rape culture in the region…the hashtag then evolved in to a grassroots organization…I invite you to learn more about our work by visiting our website.” Such as master ceramist at Wine to Water, creator (15-years ago) of the ceramic water filter, which filters out water bourne diseases while saving money and positively impacting the environment, Redhames Carela of the Dominican Republic, winner of the Island Innovator Award. Scaling Smart, Solar, Energy Access Microgrids in Haiti won Sustainable Energy Initiative of the Year, Cayman’s Gina Ebanks-Petrie director of the department of environment there won the Women #SDG Leadership Award, Island Green Living of St. John in the US Virgin Islands was named Sustainable Company of the Year, Reach Within: Getting to the Root of Childhood Trauma of Grenada won the COVID-19 Response Award, and the Barbados-based CARICOM Development Fund won the Green Finance and Investment Award. Barbudan GO in Antigua’s sister island was a finalist for the Resilient Island Award. You can watch the full awards announcement below.

(Source – Island Innovation email)

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The UK-based Society of Author Awards has announced the shortlists for its various prizes and there are a couple of Caribbean writers in the mix. Jamaican Roland Watson-Grant is short listed for the Tom-Gallon Trust award given for a single published short story, ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Dell‘, which you’ll remember was regional winner of the 2021 Commonwealth short story prize. Trinidad and Tobago’s Celeste Mohammed continues to have a breakout year – after winning both the Rebel Women Lit’s readers’ award and the Bocas prize – with her short listing for the McKitterick Prize given to a first time novelist over 40. Her novel Pleasantview is published by Jacaranda, itself a prize winner back in 2020 for small press of the year at the British Book Awards. (Source – Commonwealth Writers twitter post)

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Celeste Mohammed, lawyer turned writer of Trinidad and Tobago, has collected the coveted Bocas Prize, essentially the Caribbean book of the year prize for her novel Pleasantview.

She had previously been shortlisted as the fiction winner alongside non-fiction winner Kei Miller (Things I have Withheld) and Jason Allen-Paisant (Thinking with Trees), both of Jamaica. Her win was announced Saturday 30th April 2022 during the Bocas Literary Festival, every second of which can be viewed online. This past February, I reported in CREATIVE SPACE that she had been voted as the readers choice winner in the Rebel Women Lit awards – that’s right, this means that her debut book is both a popular win and a criticial win/awards darling, which is the writer’s (any writer’s) dream. (Source – Twitter)

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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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid February 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).

News

The Environmental Awareness Group in Antigua and Barbuda has re-shaped its floating classroom series in to tools for the classroom, specifically a publicly available video series (beginning with the one below focussed on the Antiguan Racer Snake) and companion workbook/booklet. The ‘Into the Wild’ series is sponsored by the Sandals Foundation, produced by Chaso Media Services, with theme song by G’Eve and DJ Quest. It is worth viewing, even if you’re not in the classroom.

(Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Events

Carib Lit Plus covered the Antigua and Barbuda participation in the 2020 Dubai Expo in November 2021. Still no update that I have seen re lit arts (as with CARIFESTA or other opportunities to show the full spectrum of arts representation – and I don’t like that) but some arts and artists I love (like Miranda Askie) have gotten their shine and I like it for them. This latest post showing an artist capturing the Heather Doram designed national dress popped in my timeline and I had to share.

Expo 2020 is a World Expo being hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, October 2021 – March 2022, pushed back by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Expo’s theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. (Source – Maria Blackman PR on Facebook)

Transitions

Ashley Bryan, third from left, with, left to right, Edward Albee, Nora Ephron, and Salman Rushdie – co-honourees at a New York Public Library event

Learned tonight (February 6th 2022) of the passing of a great one, children’s book writer and illustrator Ashley Bryan, 98. I was fortunate to meet and interview Mr. Bryan who at the time visited his ancestral home, Antigua, on the regular. The New York native’s parents were from here and he had had quite the storied life, including being on the frontlines of D-Day during World War 2, an experience he captured in one of his more recent books Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from WWII to Peace. His award winning children’s books (Beautiful Blackbird etc) have been favourites of mine that I have used in readings and workshops here in Antigua and Barbuda – and his Dancing Granny is even performed by the youth drama group in my book Musical Youth. I believe (or hope) that the US knows what a treasure they had in him and am happy that I was personally able to discover his work. You can find him here on the blog in Meeting Ashley Bryan, Carib Lit Plus (February 2020), the Count to 10 with me book tag, Bestselling Black Caribbean Children’s Picture Books, and, of course, Antigua and Barbuda Children’s Literature. There are personal and intangible things from my conversation with Ashley Bryan that have stuck with me and I will remember him, and one of the ways that you can is by go and finding and reading his books, beginning with the ones found in our Antiguan and Barbudan Writing database.

Ashley Bryan at the Antigua and Barbuda Public Library.

This NPR obit. summarizes Ashley Bryan’s life but I just wanted to make sure, because the mainstream outlets won’t necessarily say this, that we know he was one of ours in addition to being one of the greats of children’s literature, creating specifically beautifully Black images and stories, in a space where we still need to say #weneeddiversebooks because there are not nearly enough. (Source – Twitter)

Discussions

Are you all caught up on the Tim Tim Bwa Fik romance writing podcast series interviewing Caribbean authors? It has so far interviewed in two parts BVI’s Eugenia O’Neal, Trinidad and Tobago’s N G Peltier, Barbados’ Callie Browning, and from Antigua and Barbuda me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) and Rilys/Rilzy Adams. Here is the site link. And remember to check the Wadadli Pen Reading Room and Gallery for more conversations. (Source – Twitter)

Books

100 + Voices for Miss Lou: Poets, Tributes, Interviews, Essays, edited by Opal Palmer Adisa and published by the UWI Press. Ms. Lou refers to Louise Bennett, 1919-2006, a beloved Jamaican writer who in verse and engaging storytelling popularized the embrace of the local vernacular in literature. She is described as the Mother of Jamaican Culture. Palmer Adisa has also recently published the authorized biography of former Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller Portia Dreams. The book is illustrated by Jamaica’s Wayne Powell. Simpson-Miller was the country’s first and to date only female Prime Minister. “She wanted to share her life with children because she wanted to inspire them …this book is about her childhood…and how she became who she became,” Palmer Adisa told the hosts of Sunrise on Jamaica’s CVM TV.

(Source – google search)

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Karian Christian and Sonalli Andrews collaborated on a colouring and activity book, Children of the Soil, a jumbo sized book with 100 pages of content, to fill a gap she saw in culturally relevant content for children. Her January 2022 release has been added to the growing list of children’s literature from Antigua and Barbuda.

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Writing Gender into the Caribbean: Selected Essays 1988 to 2020 by Patricia Mohammed. Patricia Mohammed is Emerita Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of the West Indies, and the new book is a compilation of critical published and unpublished essays on and inspiring feminism and social thinking in the Caribbean. It centres both intersectionality and Caribbean-American feminist/gender/queer analyses with extensive research, literary creativity, and sensual intelligence; and exposes the complexities of feminism, developmental thought, gender awareness, sexual physiologies and Caribbean perspectives of gender experiencing drastic transformations throughout her extensive research and literary writings. The book is the recipient of the Barbara T. Christian Literary Award and Mohammed the recipient of the Caribbean Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award, both in 2021. The Barbara T. Christian Literary Award is given to the best book published within the most recent three-year period which explicitly and innovatively examines topics of race, gender, sexuality, class and intersectionality. The CSA Lifetime Achievement Award recognises outstanding achievements by a living scholar in academic leadership relating to the multi-disciplinary field of Caribbean Studies. ‘Leadership’ refers primarily to foundational or superior contributions in research and scholarship, but also considers teaching and mentoring, organisational or centre development, as well as contributions to the Caribbean Studies Association. By instituting a Lifetime Achievement Award, the CSA intends to recognise and honour the role and lifetime work of scholars who have contributed significantly and consistently to its field of study, and who have by virtue of their professional persona and intellect helped to expand not only the field’s boundaries, but also achieved greater public acknowledgement of and understanding for Caribbean Studies as a field of intellectual engagement and for the Caribbean region as a space of valuable and significant contributions to humanity. (Source – Hansib email)

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Foreign Body: What if it happens to You? by British-Trinidadian writer Laurene is a 2021 Hansib release. Summary (excerpted): A tale so bizarre which occurs infrequently as a medical anomaly, Marcia’s cryptic pregnancy produces a son for her apparently infertile husband, Marcus. Results from DNA tests only cause further confusion that reverberates within the medical establishment as well as in the family. The question is asked: “Who is the mother of this baby?” The events and family history also have ramifications for the doctor dealing with the exceptional situation, who becomes personally involved as the story builds to its climax. (Source – Hansib email)

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Antiguan and Barbudan award winning (and 2020-2021 Caribbean Readers Awards finalist for Birthday Shot) author Rilzy Adams has penned 23 books of fiction – maybe more by the time you read this. Her popular series of self-published romances added six titles in 2021 by my count – Deeper, Love Scammed, Surrender, Treble, Before We Fall, and Just For Tonight. She reports that she has signed with Nubian Audio for audiobook versions of Go Deep, Deeper, ATE, Surrender, and Treble. Adams is a two time Wadadli Pen finalist. (Source – Twitter)

Accolades

An award has been named in the memory of Barbadian-Canadian writer Austin Clarke. The inaugural winners are

Fiction

Winner: “Perfect Little Angels” by Vincent Anioke

Runners Up: “The Upper Bright World” by Zilla Jones and “Playing Possum” by Ian Gillespie

Poetry

Winner: “Same Ocean” by David Ly

Runner Up: “Shelter” by Erin Soros

Read about them here. (Source – N/A)

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Jewell Parker Rhodes is not Caribbean but she is a past Wadadli Pen patron and we stan. She has recently picked up an Audiofile Earphones Award for her story ‘Paradise on Fire’. Listen here. (Source – N/A)

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Guyanese writer Imam Baksh was a University of Iowa International Writers Programmes writer-in-residence late in 2021. Before that, Baksh was a two-time Burt Award finalist. (Source – N/A)

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Beyonce Ambrose of Antigua and Barbuda was named by Vogue as one of ‘10 Breakout Models of Spring 2022‘. Ambrose is the daughter of cricketing icon Curtly Ambrose.

Lina Cruz of the Dominican Republic and América Gonzalez of Venezuela are also on the list. (Source – Facebook)

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Diana McCaulay of Jamaica is the inaugural winner of the Watson, Little Prize for an extract from her in-progress novel Roots of Stone. The Prize is a celebration of the agency’s 50th anniversary and is dedicated to writers over 50 years of age. She was plucked from 430 entries from 20 countries. Watson, Little is a literary agency established in 1971. (Source – N/A)

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The Calabash International Literary Festival will not be held in 2022, given the current uncertainties in the world. But it is still very much alive. Signs of life, its 2021 receipt of the Madame C J Walker Prize from the Hurston Wright Legacy Awards. The award is for supporting Black literature which Calabash has definitely done since it was founded by Justine Henzell, Kwame Dawes, and Colin Channer in 2001.

Me at Calabash in 2007. I was part of a small group of Antiguans and Barbudans who had applied for and received Commonwealth funding to attend. I got over my nerves enough to sign up for the open mic section (at which I read a section from the book in my hand, The Boy from Willow Bend) – Marlon James (yes, that Marlon James) was the one signing up writers for the open mic. Between the location, atmosphere, line up, books, food, and vibes, it is perhaps my favourite literary event that I’ve attended in the region and I dream of returning – hopefully as an invited author on the line-up. A writer can dream.

Calabash will be back in 2023. (Source – Twitter)

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This one is not in the arts lanes and it’s also late since the award was presented late last year but it’s in the realm of youth development, so not off brand for us here at Wadadli Youth Pen Prize – even if it is football related. Something that jumped out at me was what the winning community hero, coach Arnold ‘Keagan’ James said about putting back in to others what had been put in to him.

(Source – ABS TV)

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News of Celeste Mohammed winning best novel in this year’s Caribbean Readers Awards, and other outcomes, were already shared with you in the last Carib Lit Plus. But I’ve since written about it in my CREATIVE SPACE column and I thought I’d share that too. Here you go.

(Source – me)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. 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 Room and Gallery 34

Here I share things I like that I think you might like too. But not just anything. Things related to the arts – from the art itself to closer examination of the art to the making of the art…like that. There have been 33 installments in this series before – use the search window to the right to find them; and there’ll be more additions to this installment before it too is closed – so come back.

MISC.

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Keanu Reeves: Reading From Paul Gauguin’s ‘Noa Noa’

REPORT

“I didn’t know much about publishing, so I reached out to several local writers who had been published but didn’t get much response. It was only when Rosalind Carrington replied that I was able to gain some traction. She would introduce me to Sharon Miller and these two women were the only ones who gave me the time of day. So many people just didn’t even respond! So I am grateful, everyday, that they did,” she details. In the course of editing her novel with the mentorship she received, she would come to realise that though she had the basic novel idea down in words, it was her craft of writing that needed something more. She explains further, “People think that in writing — well we all learn to write, so a writer simply puts words to paper, crafts a story and then goes out there, gets published and wins an award right?” she says with a laugh. “There probably should be another word for what we do — but it’s not as simple as ‘writing’ implies. It’s a different craft altogether; a very solitary profession that requires hours and hours of work and a certain disposition. As a writer you not just have to be able to tolerate solitary confinement but also somehow enjoy it.” – re Celeste Mohammed. Read more.

FICTION

‘“Micah, you know you white too, right?”
“I tell you to stop that shit. I not white.”
Keisha snorted.
Micah’s face got a little redder despite his tan “You know is the expats I talking about Keisha – the foreign kinda white, the rich peoplekinda white. Acting like if the place belong to them.”’ – Ayanna Gillian Lloyd

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“When time come for food to share, she take out she KFC and start to eat.” – from The Cook by Lisa Allen-Agostini in New Daughters of Africa, presented as the Bocas Lit Fest

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“Climbing the tree was easy, the sequence of steps and grips was like recalling a once-forgotten language. As I maneuvered along the branch to my old window, surprised it could still bear my weight, the backyard lights next door came on. I stopped moving, the pillowcase of pills swinging to a silence. The justice let out two of his goldendoodles to pee. Every summer when I was a boy, the justice and his wife had paid me twenty dollars a week to walk their dogs. Then he gave me the clerking position. Everything in my life had been handed to me.” – The First Bed by Matthew Socia

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‘It feels cold at first but that is the wind on the waves. Take a deep breath and fall to me.’ – from Part 4 of Paul Andruss’ The House by the Sea

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“The next letter, an H, took a few weeks to appear, made by juxtaposing the calf of our fire chief with the pinkie finger of the oldest woman in town. Some accused them of copycatting, writing on their skin in marker for the attention it would bring, but those who saw in person knew the sheen of the marks in the light—the matte finish of a coffee bean—and all soon admitted it was authentic.” – The Marks by Chris Haven

Antiguan and Barbudan fiction and poetry here and here.

POETRY

“Some days the body is a clenched fist. At other times it is a door knob leading out.” – Enzo Serin, Haiti, reading from forthcoming book ‘When my body was a clenched fist’, poem ‘Born to Triggers’

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INTERVIEWS

“I have always loved the image-making power of poetry.” – Grace Nichols. Read her full interview with Jacqueline Bishop: Nichols 1, Nichols 2, Nichols 3, Nichols 4

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‘I get a lot of questions from people that are How did this person do this thing? And I’m like, “Well, in chapter blah, blah blah, they said they were going to do this thing that way.” One thing I’ve noticed is that people tend to not read accurately. People read fast these days, so they don’t catch all the details, and I tend to write in a lot of detail.’ – N. K. Jemison

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‘We can’t know how long the book, or any of us, will live but … “something remains”’

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‘John Robert Lee: Papillote Press, “the small and invaluable Papillote Press,” has made a significant mark in small press publishing regionally and internationally with the important authors you have published and the awards that some of the books have garnered. As a result, are you overwhelmed by manuscript submissions, budgetary and other constraints? Have you set yourself a tight selection policy and publishing schedule?

Polly Pattullo: I am essentially a one-woman band, so I do have some difficulty in making sure that manuscripts don’t pile up. I am well aware how frustrating it is to have to wait for a response, and I would hate to have such a reputation.

Even so, I welcome manuscripts – in a way you can never have too many, because you might miss a gem and I always ask someone else to get a second opinion.

It is very much a labour of love and I think I am a bit choosy, but you have to be true to yourself.’ – read the full interview

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“Carribeans love racket sports. My dad played a lot, so I started out going to his matches and serving as a terrible ballboy. The only thing we watched as a family on television was tennis, Breakfast at Wimbledon was big in my house. I had forgotten about those days, but I am fond of them. I never would’ve written the book without it. Here’s a good example: My dad rarely calls with breaking news, but one day he rang me up and said, ‘Turn on the TV, there’s a tennis poem being read on the air.’ It was Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated encapsulating his time at one of the big tournaments. Dad wanted to make sure I saw my personal Venn Diagram becoming one circle.” – Rowan Ricardo Philips

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“Who are our most important writers today?

I don’t think this is a useful question for a creative writer to consider (at least not for me). What’s more crucial for me to think about is: How can I do my best work yet?” – Thomas Glave

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“Anancy, for example, is the kind of figure who endures in the imagination because he represents many conflicting aspects of the self in one vessel – he is often selfish and greedy, so in that regard offers a cautionary tale of the baser aspects of our nature. And yet, here is this tiny creature who routinely outwits others with far more power and who often is the cause of so much that happens in the stories, good and bad. The twinness in his nature is where his appeal lies for me.” – Bocas winner Shara McCallum interviewed for the Jamaica Observer’s Bookends by Jacqueline BishopShara Book 1Shara Book 2Shara conclusion

NON FICTION

“I write, seeking an art that will last as the shadows lengthen, one that braids the lyric to the political without sounding like a jeremiad from the sidewalk or a piece of propaganda that will live only for a moment. I seek a political, nuanced, understanding, beautiful, blood-incarnadined art that brings all of us, no matter our differences, to life.” – Gabrielle Bellot

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“The story of why my own family came to be in the Caribbean had been blurred over time: it was something to do with the British, something to do with slavery, but that was all that was shared. Decades later the Guyanese-American journalist Gaiutra Bahadhur published the seminal book Coolie Woman, which brought much insight, but there have been few other notable works. Guyana doesn’t feature in the history books or the school curriculum in Britain. Consequently, when I tried to explain to my schoolfriends where my family was from – ‘What Ghana?’, ‘No, Guyana in South America’, ‘What like Ossie Ardiles?’, ‘No, he’s Argentinian’. When the Falklands War began in 1982, there were even more questions to navigate.

This is astonishing when you think that the British had such a role to play in that nation’s birth and how central that colony was to the United Kingdom’s industrial wealth and growth in the nineteenth century. Unlike the Caribbean islands of Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad, it is possible that Guyana’s unique geography (being attached to the South American mainland) has rendered it and its history all but invisible from the collective British consciousness. Perhaps fittingly, it was the inspiration for Conan Doyle’s The Lost World.” – The Forgotten World: How Scotland Erased Guyana from Its Past by Yvonne Singh

CREATIVES ON CREATING

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“I’ve learned to listen to them when they argue with me.” – C. S. Marks

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“I lay my head on the pillow at night purposefully with a scene in my mind so that my subconscious will work out the kinks. I often pop awake with ideas. Or maybe I don’t, but when I sit to write, more ideas still happen to flow.” – C. Hope Clark

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“You have to leave room for the story to grow unexpectedly.” – Cecelia Ahern

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“People say, I write for myself, and it sounds so awful and so narcissistic, but in a sense if you know how to read your own work—that is, with the necessary critical distance—it makes you a better writer and editor. When I teach creative writing, I always speak about how you have to learn how to read your work; I don’t mean enjoy it because you wrote it. I mean, go away from it, and read it as though it is the first time you’ve ever seen it. Critique it that way. Don’t get all involved in your thrilling sentences and all that . . .” – Toni Morrison

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“I am writing this now on a laptop in central Mexico, in a region where my ancestors lived for centuries. My office is a leather equipal table and chair on a covered terrace. On either side of me, a Chihuahua snoozes. Next door a palm tree rattles like a maraca, and down in the town center a church bell gongs the hour.” – re Sandra Cisneros. Read more.

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“I was one of a number of writers invited to Finland in the late 1980s as part of a celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Finnish book. The trip really resonated with me, even though it didn’t occur to me at the time that I might use small details I picked up during my time in Finland in a novel. But of course, given the nature of the celebration itself, it makes sense that I did, and I’ve now generally come to be more aware, whenever I travel, that something I see or feel might make its way, in a transformed form, into my fiction.” – Meg Wolitzer discusses the writing of The Wife

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‘The Southern writer Rosemary Daniell once looked at me as we sat on a panel at an early Atlanta Book Festival and murmured with wonder, “Hmm, a writer with a happy childhood.” Well, of course, it was not all happy. We all have our own bag of rocks, and a writer of color in this country has more than her share. But it was my childhood.’ – Tina McElroy Ansa

DISCUSSING ART

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“She’s still being sexually abused but now she also has three children to watch and a farm to keep, and he’s just brutally beating her constantly.” – the Margos discuss movie vs. book, The Color Purple (Alice Walker)

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Discussions of Antiguan and Barbudan art by the artistes can be found here.

Discussion of Antiguan and Barbudan art by critics can be found here.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator 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. If you enjoyed it, check out http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Please note that, except otherwise noted, images on this site also need to be cleared if you wish to use them for any purpose. Thanks.

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