Tag Archives: commonwealth short story prize

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid October 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 – credit and link back if you use).

Accolades

Cuban born Ada Ferrer’s Cuba: An American History is on the Cundill History Prize 2022 shortlist.

Already a Pulitzer Prize winner for history, Cuba “provides us with a front-row seat as we witness the evolution of the modern nation, with its dramatic record of conquest and colonization, of slavery and freedom, of independence and revolutions made and unmade.” (Source – Literary Hub email)

Events

The annual Antigua and Barbuda Conference takes place October 13th and 14th 2022. This is the full programme. It will be virtual. I don’t have link-up information at this writing (October 11th 2022), sorry. (Source – email from the project assistant)

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Two dozen acclaimed Caribbean writers will be in residence at the British Library on October 29 for a day-long programme of stories, poems and music. There will be other events in Leicester, Norwich, Leeds, and Belfast.

Click this link for more and to book tickets if you are in the UK. (Source – Bocas email)

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The Bridgetown International Arts Festival (in Barbados) is produced and curated by artists. It’s a space to display new and contemporary work in the performing and visual arts. Artists can share new work, build their own audiences, and develop collaborations.

Go to the social media links to register or for more information. (Source – N/A)

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The Dominica Antigua Connection presents its first ever Kweyol in the Park on November 6th 2022, 12 – 10 p.m., on the Department of Environment grounds. It has been advertised as a day of music, cuisine, dance, art, and various cultural presentations. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper/Antigua and Barbuda)

Opportunities

There’s still time to get your submissions in for the annual Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

Prize info here. (Source – N/A)

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Antiguan and Barbudan young scientists Teyanna Nathaniel, Deshini Charles, Leyla Reid, and Ethan Bailey will be among participants from 180 other countries facing off in Geneva, Switzerland in what’s described as a major robotics competition. From the Daily Observer, “Every year, FIRST Global invites nations to compete in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math)-themed game that is focussed on addressing various challenges facing the planet, including the 14 Grand Challenges of Engineering, in an effort to foster understanding and cooperation among students 14 – 18.” This year’s theme is Carbon Capture. The event runs from October 13 – 16. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper/Antigua and Barbuda)

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The October session of the Jhohadli Writing Project workshop has been rescheduled to October 21st 2022 which means more time to register. This and other opportunities in Opportunities Too.

(Source – Me)

Books

The Stranger Who Was Myself by Barbara Jenkins “is the kind of story best read in solitude to propel the beauty of its prose and of its wisdom from off its pages to land straight into your heart. One is sure to emerge a better mother (for the women who read it), a more astute observer and a kinder human when the last page of this novel is turned. The places, people, architecture, community, societies and culture were so wonderfully recalled and accurately outlined in stunning detail, it’s easy to believe that Barbara’s entire life and memory were preparing her for the act of writing this memoir, proving that the best storytellers, in fact, are born and not bred. This is a must for lovers of memoir or those who are seeking a first foray into the genre.” It is published by Peepal Tree Press. (Source – Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival on Facebook)

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US based Antiguan and Barbudan writer and artist Iyaba Ibo Mandingo has released a second edition of his last book Fu Yuh Tongue Heavy Laka 56. ““It has been four years since its original release. My baby sister Nicole lost her battle to cancer three days after the book signing. I tried, in her memory, to push on, but eventually the weight of the ‘whys’ took a toll on my enthusiasm, and a project I believed in with my everything slowed to a halt”. (Mandingo in an instagram posting) Despite the lag, the book is now getting a new berth. Mandingo described it as “more than a collection of poetry of thirty years of poetry. The first third is a look back at the work from the first poem in an Iowa jail, to my ‘Mykus’ reflecting on the fifty-five days with homeland security after my 9-11 poem. The rest of the book is my discovery of the joy of writing in my native tongue.”

Fu Yuh Tongue Heavy Laka 56 has been added to the Poetry page and the main data base of Antiguan and Barbudan writers. The previous edition was issued in 2018. (Source – Author DM)

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Trinidad and Tobago writer and editor Andre Bagoo has two new collections out since summer this year: The Dreaming, which is a collection of stories, and Narcissus, a poetry collection. From publisher of The Dreaming, Peepal Tree Press: “At one level, Andre Bagoo’s stories have the very real virtue of taking the everyday lives of his gay Trinidadian characters utterly for granted in their searches for sex, adventure, pleasure, self-realisation and all the enrichments of loving contact. There’s a neat balance between a highly enjoyable sharpness of perception and a relaxed and engaging personal voice, and room for humour in several of these stories. …The narrator of several of these stories is a writer who wants to focus on the personal satisfactions and inner dramas of these lives as the truth about gay experience. But at the back of his mind are the stories of the brutal murders of gay men reported with coy innuendo in the press. …Bagoo’s stories offer a witty and acutely drawn portrait of contemporary Trinidad in all its intersections of race, class and gender politics.” Narcissus, meanwhile, is described as “In this powerful collection, Bagoo examines the varied dynamics of the body and mind with the narcissism of the soul, while fully embracing the work of art as a critical reflection on the human condition.” The Broken Sleep publication is his sixth collection. (Source – Andre Bagoo on Twitter)

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English literary critic, novelist, and biographer Miranda Seymour earlier this year published I used to Live Here Once: The Haunted Life of Jean Rhys about the famed Dominican writer (author of Wide Sargasso Sea). It is published by W. W. Norton & Company.

(Source – Papillote Press via instagram)

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Three authors launched their trio of books in Montserrat this summer. Titles above. (Source – N/A)

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Dominican writer Celia Sorhaindo has a new book after her critically acclaimed poetry collection Guabancex. Her Radical Normalization was published by Carcanet Press in September 2022.

(Source – JRLee email)

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I mentioned in the previous Carib Lit Plus that there was a new Penguin edition of New Daughters of Africa as of August 2022. I’ve since finished reading the book (the original Myriad edition published in 2019) and uploaded a review to Bloggers on Books in addition to talking about it in my CREATIVE SPACE column (Headlined: Claiming Our Space by Telling Our Stories)

Also, as seen above, CREATIVE SPACE which is my art and culture column currently platformed in the Daily Observer newspaper, made the front page for a second straight week – here’s the previous front page article. (Source – Me)

Arts and Culture

October is Black History Month in the UK and a project called The World ReImagined has been part of this year’s rollout. Quoting from KnowYourCaribbean on instagram “a community of Artists, Activists, Community Workers, Historians, Educators, Poets and all round kick ass committed believers – come together to change the world and how we view ourselves.” One of the more visible projects is the commissioning and scattering across the English landscape of 103 globes with artistic interpretations (including by some Caribbean-resident artists) of Black people’s legacies of slavery, resistance, resilience, and revolution.

The website includes a map allowing you to locate the marble looking art installations while also adding to the public knowledge of the history of Black people. It is an opportunity for learning. (Source – Know Your Caribbean on instagram)

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It’s October and Trinidad and Tobago writer and editor, and founder of the Caribbean Books Foundation, which platforms books by Caribbean writers, has, for another year running, branded it Caribbean Folklore Month. The calendar includes Jumbie Night, October 9th 2022; plus folklore features, book launches, author interviews, and book reviews. With the growing influence of America’s Halloween in the region, Caribbean Folklore Month is a reminder that we have our own traditions. The month in its premiere year, 2021, featured douens, papa bois, soucouyant, and more. You can get involved by sharing what’s posted by the Caribbean Folklore social pages and others, you can post about your folklore experiences and tag them. You can even read my jumbie story “Papa Jumbie” (published by Akashic Books online) or my zombie story “Zombie Island” (published in Interviewing the Caribbean), share the video of you reading it – I’d enjoy that as long as you credit and tag me. Use the hashtags #CaribbeanFolkloreMonth #JumbieNight (and if you’re reading one of mine #gyalfromOttosaAntigua). You can create a folklore video, artwork, event or celebration around a folklore theme. You can buy, read and recommend books on Folklore and share your reviews – Authors will appreciate this. If you are a Caribbean author or writer, you can add a folklore character or theme to your next novel or story.

Marsha Gomes-McKie’s newest title.

(Source – Marsha Gomes-McKie social media)

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 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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2022 COMMONWEALTH SHORT STORY PRIZE SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED

This has already been mentioned in the latest CARIB Lit Plus but here also is the press release which came to my inbox.

• Caribbean shortlist features two previous winners, Diana McCaulay (2012), Alexia Tolas (2019)
• Sharma Taylor shortlisted for the fourth time
• Chair of the Judges, Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar hails ‘memorable and urgent stories that captured the concerns of their respective communities…. Reflecting a complex and afflicted planet’
• Ambitious and wide-ranging variety of styles, storytelling traditions and themes – from family dramas, to explorations of love and loss, exploitation, betrayal and scandal, and the ‘hurts of history’
• UK-based authors from Trinidad and Tobago and St Vincent and the Grenadines, JS Gomes and Cecil Browne, also feature on the shortlist

Twenty-six outstanding stories have been shortlisted by an international judging panel for the world’s most global literature prize. The writers come from 20 countries across the Commonwealth including, for the first time, Papua New Guinea, eSwatini, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. The 26 shortlisted entries range from forbidden love to coming-of-age stories, tackling subjects from bereavement to climate change, and span genres from speculative and literary fiction to romance and crime.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from any of the Commonwealth’s 54 Member States. It is the most accessible and international of all writing competitions: in addition to English, entries can be submitted in Bengali, Chinese, Creole, French, Greek, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Swahili, Tamil, and Turkish. Such linguistic diversity in a short story prize in part reflects the richness of the Commonwealth, not least its many and varied literary traditions. In 2022, 408 entries were in languages other than English.

The stories on the 2022 shortlist were selected from a total of 6,730 entries from 52 Commonwealth countries.

The shortlisted writers range in age from 23 and 75 and many have been nominated for the prize before. There are four previous regional winners on the shortlist: Diana McCaulay (2012), Alexia Tolas (2019), Sagnik Datta (2018), and Mary Rokonadravu (2015); Sharma Taylor has been shortlisted for the fourth time, and two authors, Sophia Khan and Franklyn Usouwa, for the second time.

Chair of the Judges, Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar hailed a list of ‘memorable and urgent stories that captured the concerns of their respective communities’ and noted that ‘these writers achieved all this while they displayed an astute sense of the many forms of the story and its many long traditions on a continuum, from oral to scribal, from performance to contemplation [….] the result is a shortlist of stories that is aware of history, while never sacrificing story. These stories are as diverse as the world that they are drawn from and care about: they reflect a complex and afflicted planet; they answer the call of today’s multiple societal tensions by acts of reading that transform how the reader views that world.’

Dr Anne T. Gallagher AO, Director-General of the Commonwealth Foundation, the intergovernmental organisation which administers the prize, commended all those who entered the competition, offering a ‘special congratulations to those who have made the shortlist in what was a highly competitive year.’ Dr Gallagher added: ‘the growing popularity of the prize speaks to the vital role that storytelling plays for people and communities right across the Commonwealth. In these fragile and uncertain times, the Short Story Prize transmits a strong and timely message about the power of cultural expression to help us make sense of ourselves and the world around us.’

The 2022 shortlist in full:

AFRICA
‘and the earth drank deep’ by Ntsika Kota (eSwatini)
‘Lifestyle Guide for The Discerning Witch’ by Franklyn Usouwa (Nigeria)
‘Something Happened Here’ by Dera Duru (Nigeria)
‘How to Operate the New Eco-Protect Five-in-One Climate Control Apparatus’ by Charlie Muhumuza (Uganda)
‘Thandiwe’ by Mubanga Kalimamukwento (Zambia)

ASIA
‘A fast-growing refugee problem’ by Sagnik Datta (India)
‘Accidents are Prohibited’ by Gitanjali Joshua (India)
‘Fault Lines’ by Pritika Rao (India)
‘The Kite’ by Sophia Khan (Pakistan)
‘The Last Diver on Earth’ by Sofia Mariah Ma (Singapore)

CANADA AND EUROPE
‘The Stone Bench’ by David McIlwraith (Canada)
‘Losing Count’ by Alexandra Manglis (Cyprus)
‘A Landscape Memoir’ by Jonathan Pizarro (Gibraltar)
‘A Hat for Lemer’ by Cecil Browne (United Kingdom/St Vincent and the Grenadines) ‘Hot Chutney Mango Sauce’ by Farah Ahamed (United Kingdom/Kenya)
‘Omolara’ by J.S. Gomes (United Kingdom/Trinidad and Tobago)
‘The Scars and the Stars’ by PR Woods (United Kingdom)
‘What Men Live By’ by Shagufta Sharmeen Tania, translated from Bangla by the author (United Kingdom/Bangladesh)

CARIBBEAN
‘No Man’s Land’ by Alexia Tolas (The Bahamas)


‘Bridge over the Yallahs River’ by Diana McCaulay (Jamaica)


‘Have Mercy’ by Sharma Taylor (Jamaica)

PACIFIC
‘Slake’ by Sarah Walker (Australia)
‘The No Sex Thing’ by Eleanor Kirk (Australia)
‘The Nightwatch’ by Mary Rokonadravu (Fiji)
‘Speaking in tongues’ by Shelley Burne-Field (New Zealand)
‘Wonem Samting Kamap Long Mama?’ (‘What Happened to Ma?’) by Baka Bina, translated from Tok Pisin to English by author (Papua New Guinea)

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is administered by the Commonwealth Foundation.

The 2022 judging panel is chaired by Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar. His fellow judges, drawn from the five regions of the Commonwealth, are Rwandan publisher Louise Umutoni-Bower (Africa), Indian short story writer and novelist Jahnavi Barua (Asia), Cypriot writer and academic Stephanos Stephanides (Canada and Europe), Trinidadian novelist and former winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize Kevin Jared Hosein (Caribbean), and Australian Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic Jeanine Leane (Pacific).

Global impact on authors’ careers

Winning or being shortlisted for the Prize opens a wealth of opportunities to the selected writers, propelling them further in their writing careers. Last year, Sri Lankan author Kanya D’Almeida won the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her story ‘I cleaned the-’. She has subsequently signed with Felicity Bryan Associates Literary Agency and been invited to give talks at literary events, join judging panels, and lead writing workshops.

Shortlisted writers receive invitations to participate in literary events and festivals: 2019 shortlisted writer Rashad Hosein was a featured writer at the 2019 Bocas Lit Fest; 2021 regional winner Roland Watson-Grant was invited to speak at the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival. Publication opportunities also arise: 2021 shortlisted writer Heather Barker was invited to submit work to Doek!, the Namibian literary magazine, and shortlisted stories from Dinesh Devarajan, Aravind Jayan and Riddhi Dastidar will be featured in an upcoming anthology of work by India’s finest young writers under 40 to be published by Aleph Books later this year. Riddhi has also been selected for the South Asia Speaks Fellowship for new writers.

The 2022 shortlisted stories will be published online, in the innovative online magazine of the Commonwealth Foundation, adda (addastories.org), which features new writing from around the globe. The judges will go on to choose a winner for each of the five regions. These regional winners will be announced on Monday 23 May, before being published online by the literary magazine Granta. The overall winner will be announced in June.

2022 Timeline

Shortlist announcement – Monday 25 April
Regional winners announcement – Monday 23 May
Overall winner announcement and award ceremony – Tuesday 21 June
Join the conversation @cwwriters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and keep up to date with the prize via commonwealthwriters.org

About the Commonwealth Short Story Prize
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is administered by the Commonwealth Foundation. The prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2000-5000 words). Regional winners receive £2,500 GBP and the overall winner receives £5,000 GBP. Short stories translated into English from other languages are also eligible.

About the Commonwealth Foundation
The Commonwealth Foundation is an intergovernmental organisation established by Member States of the Commonwealth. The Foundation works to support civil society engagement in shaping the policies and decisions that affect people’s lives. Its cultural programming is founded on the belief that well-told stories can help people make sense of events and take action to bring about change. The Foundation works with local and international partners to identify and deliver a wide range of cultural projects and platforms, including adda, an online magazine of new writing.
commonwealthfoundation.com | commonwealthwriters.org | addastories.org

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 (Mid to Late June 2021)

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

Arts News

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

***

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

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

Events

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

Opportunities

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

(Source – Bocas)

***

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

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

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

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

(Source – National Public Library via Facebook)

***

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

(Source – social media and direct mail)

Remember to check for more pending opportunities here.

***

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

Book News

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

***

Joy James, whom you may remember as the owner of the Art at the Ridge gallery and a patron of Wadadli Pen, has announced the release of 101 Black Inventors and Their Inventions, a crowdfunded self-publication. The book is targeted at late primary and early secondary school ages. The author, Joy, recently started writing non-fiction children’s books to help educate and inform curious, young minds. She and her husband, whose family originates from Antigua & Barbuda, raised their own children on our twin island nation. “This book was an idea long before I started writing it,” Joy said in an exclusive to Wadadli Pen. “When my children were younger, I wanted a book about Black role models to help inspire them and expand their minds. I knew this information was out there somewhere, but I couldn’t find anything in an organised format or in the form of a children’s book. I hope that everyone young and old will enjoy reading about the many Black inventors in our world and their wonderful contributions that help to improve our lives. I hope that they will be heartened by this. Our world has certainly benefitted from these amazing inventions!”

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

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

Programmes and Projects

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

***

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

Prize Winners

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

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

(Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

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

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Carib Lit Plus Early to Mid October 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.

Farewell

We’ve reported before on the passing of writer and art collector (also politician but that’s not what we’re here for) Sir Selvyn Walter. Sir Selvyn received an official funeral on October 12th 2020. Per the Daily Observer, “he was the founder of the Halcyon Steel Orchestra, along with Sam and Penod Kirby and Melvin Simon in 1972.” He authored the Daily Observer series Not a Drum was Heard and the book Bank Alley Tales – both capturing the life and times and forgotten culture and people of Antigua and Barbuda. Reportedly, the refurbished art gallery at Government House will be renamed for him. Observer writes, “We have lost one of our finest thinkers and historians – a curator of that which made us who we are.”

Congrats are in Order

For winners of the Catapult Caribbean Arts Grant Stay Home Artist Residency; including familiar (to the Wadadli Pen blog) names like Trinidad and Tobago’s Lisa Allen-Agostini and Shivanee Ramlochan, and the Bahamas’ Sonia Farmer. The residency enables 24 cultural practitioners from the English, Spanish, French, and Dutch Caribbean to be supported to the tune of US$3,000 each while continuing work from home over a two month period.

The Stay at Home Artist Residency is only one of the initiatives supporting Caribbean Creatives during 2020 under the Catapult: Caribbean Artists Grants. It is managed and funded through Kingston Creative, Barbados’ Fresh Milk, and American Friends of Jamaica. Through six initiatives they are supporting the work of Caribbean artists in a year that has sent the entire world in to a tailspin thanks to COVID-19. “These funding opportunities will increase the visibility of over 1,000 Caribbean-based artists, creatives and cultural practitioners to global audiences, provide much needed financial support, and develop the creative skills of our artists.” (Fresh Milk) In addition to the Stay Home Artist Residency (above), there is the Caribbean Artist Showcase, Caribbean Creative Online, Digital Creative Training, Consultancy Vouchers, and Lockdown Virtual Salon – the recipients of which are
“The CATAPULT Lockdown Virtual Salon programme aims to mitigate isolation, especially heightened during the current pandemic, by creating virtual platforms for cultural practitioners to engage in discourse about and explore their evolving practices. These one-hour artist talks from their homes or studios will be live-streamed via the Fresh Milk YouTube channel at 1PM and 4PM AST, every Tuesday and Friday between September 29th & November 20th, 2020.” (Fresh Milk)

***

This year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature has been named: she is American poet and Yale professor Louise Glück. Here’s a sample of her poetry: Per this BBC article, she is amazingly only the 16th woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature since it was first awarded in 1901. Another woman who was trending as the Nobel announcement drew near was Antigua and Barbuda’s Jamaica Kincaid who was reportedly in top contention. Trinidad-American blogger Keishel Williams wrote after the announcement, in a piece headlined Waiting for Jamaica Kincaid’s Nobel Prize, “Unlike in previous years, I was particularly nervous about this year’s prize. The last time WE won a Noble Prize in Literature was almost twenty years ago and WE have only won this prestigious prize twice in its history – Derek Walcott in 1992 and V.S. Naipaul in 2001. Suffice to say, when Antiguan-born novelist, essayist, and short story writer Jamaica Kincaid was tipped as a top contender for the prize this year, I was over the moon.” The article ended, “WE will another Noble Prize in Literature and I will be there waiting, patiently, when it is awarded to Jamaica Kincaid.” Literature gods willing.

***

Jamaican writer Diana McCaulay, recently interviewed for a series on publishing here on Wadadli Pen, later adapted for an article in Publishler’s Weekly, has been announced as part of the judging panel for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story prize. An environmental activist and award winning novelist whose books include Dog Heart, Gone to Drift, Huracan, White Liver Gal, and Daylight Soon Come is also a past winner of the prize. The Commonwealth Short Story prize has one judge from each Commonwealth territory. McCaulay is this cycle’s Caribbean judge alongside A. Igoni Barrett (Africa), Khademul Islam (Asia), Keith Jarrett (Canada and Europe), Tina Makereti/(Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Rangatahi) (Pacific), and chair South African writer Zoë Wicomb. For information on submitting to the Commonwealth Short Stories Prize and other opportunities, see Opportunities Too here on the blog for details.

***

Diana again for the release this month of her Peepal Tree book Daylight Come, a Burt award winning title.

Congrats to her.

***

Monique Roffey, award winning Trinidadian author, has had her latest book, The Mermaid of Black Conch, shortlisted for Goldsmith’s Prize recognizing the best in experimental fiction. The prize is worth 10,000 pounds. Re Roffey’s book, ‘Judge Sarah Ladipo Manyika said: “This is one of those rare gems of a novel that can be read and enjoyed on many levels—it’s a whimsical love story, a history of the Caribbean and its indigenous peoples, an ode to Mother Earth, and an allegory for our times.”’ (quoted here). The winner will be announced on November 11th 2020.

Book Recs

St. Lucian poet John Robert Lee recommends the latest from Ghanian-Jamaican writer Kwame Dawes and UK based Peepal Tree, Natural Mysticism. He describes it as a “page-turner” which isn’t something you often hear of books of this type. I personally remember really liking a previous reggae-themed book of Dawes Bob Marley Lyrical Genius for his breakdown and contextualizing of the universally familiar lyrics.

Lee said of Natural Mysticism, “Others no doubt have written of this seminal, water-shed period of Caribbean life and experience, from the mid- sixties to the mid-eighties (in my reckoning), but for the first time I was studying a closely- observed record of the lives and times and music and ideas that had so moved me and all the companions and lovers and artists among whom I lived in those heady days. Marley and the Wailers, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Jimmy Cliff, Culture, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse … But not only was Kwame Dawes writing a fascinating social and cultural history…but he was making a very bold assertion: that reggae and its spiritual heart of Rastafari, provided an aesthetic that could shape the arts and literature of the new Caribbean already taking shape around us.”

***

For Coloured Girls. No, not the Tyler Perry movie; the play (“for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf “) by Ntozake Shange, who died in 2018, leaving an indelible mark, in the captured stories of various women’s inner lives. Seven women, including talent and director Wendy ‘Motion’ Brathwaite, who is Antigua-descended, staged a virtual reading of some of the play/book’s classic monologues in an event called For Colored Girls: A RemiX. The reading – consistent with the choreopoem’s use of word, sound, movement, and drama – can be viewed on the Band Gallery channel.

Watching it is reminding me how much I thought Anika Noni Rose was overlooked in Oscars conversation because whatever you thought of the linear framing of the narrative or of Perry’s direction, there were several standout performances, and for me Rose’s, and Loretta Devine’s, were among them. Watch the video, and revisit the book while you’re at it.

***

Shivanee Ramlochan over at Caribbean Beat, a literary star in her own right, recs three books already on my TBR which should be on yours (either that or your AR – already read): Epiphaneia by Richard Georges (“Here are poems that reward several concentrated readings to mine their full, harrowing flavour”); Black Rain Falling by Jacob Ross, second in his fictional crime series that began with The Bone Readers (“Move over, Agatha Christie — Jacob Ross is in charge”), and Ingrid Persaud’s Love After Love. And Shivanee’s reviews are an art form in themselves. Read this about Love After Love: “Ingrid Persaud steers the world of her novel with a merciless kind of sensitivity, turning the very notion of a tiny existence on its clichéd head, rattling every cupboard in this narrative home for loose change, deep confessions, and dalliances sweeter than Demerara sugar.” So feel free to check out her Forward Prize nominated Everyone Knows I am Haunting which incidentally debuted in October (Happy Anniversary Month, Shivanee) back in 2017.

Events

Perhaps not unexpectedly, regional arts and culture showcase CARIFESTA 2021, scheduled for Antigua and Barbuda, has been pushed back to (August 11-21) 2022. This is according to a report in the Daily Observer newspaper of Friday 9th October 2020.

***

You can revisit the 2020 virtual Bocas Lit Fest now on their YouTube channel. With over 80 writers, performers, events over three days, there’s a lot to see.

***

The Caribbean Writer has announced an after-dinner reading affair, part of its Reader Response Discussion Series, for October 15th 2020, 7 to 9 p.m. The will be discussing four pieces from the recently published Volume 34, themed ‘Dignity, Power, and Place in the Caribbean Space’. Here are the details:

ZOOM LOGIN INFORMATION

https://zoom.us/j/96011298073?pwd=SHJJQzlacUVzZ09HV1VPRE5tUE0wUT09

Meeting ID: 960 1129 8073

Passcode: 521956

NOTE: If you would like a digital copy of volume 34, order here.

Pay it Forward

I remember Antiguan-Barbudan reggae singer Causion paying it forward for years in the 2000s with his concerts on an open field in his home community of St. Paul’s, cost of entry a canned nonperishable to be dropped in to a barrel for later delivery to those who need it. Now it’s the community’s turn to help him. Observer newspaper reporters that the singer is battling stage 3 colon cancer. Details of his fundraising mission for himself and others in the Daily Observer. Also here’s a direct link to the thankyoumission.com

All things considered, this one seems appropriate

Causion, born Gregory Bailey, performing Put Your Trust in Jah roughly 10 years ago.

New and Forthcoming Books

This is an August 2020 released but I’m not sure I mentioned it – Trinidad and Tobago writer Andre Bagoo’s poetry collection The Undiscovered Country. ‘The Undiscovered Country discovers many things, but one thing for sure: Andre Bagoo is a fearless, brilliant mind. He can take us from the formal critical perspective to new futurist “visual essay”, to verse essay, to sweeping historical account that is unafraid to go as far in time as Columbus and as urgently-of-our moment as Brexit—all of it with precision and attentiveness to detail that is as brilliant as it is startling.’ (Peepal Tree Press)

***

Scholastic UK has acquired and will be publishing this October the previously self-published Windrush book by Kandace Chimbiri. The Story of the Windrush celebrates the Windrush pioneers who first arrived in London in June 1948. With a mix of historical fact and voices from that generation, the children’s book not only tells the story but underscores its importance in the formation of modern Britain. Chimbiri is a descendent of the generations of Black Caribbean people who travelled that route to make a life for themselves in the UK. She was born in London, England in 1968 to parents from Barbados. The Story of the Windrush was initially published through her Golden Destiny Ltd. independent publishing house, founded in 2009. This info comes via a release put out by Scholastic and reaching us via Barbados’ National Cultural Foundation. In that release, Chimbiri is quoted as saying, “I noticed a lack of diversity in books for children especially in the non-fiction genre. I began by self-publishing my work and am really excited now about working with a publisher who is going to make stories like these available to a much wider audience. I feel that Scholastic understands what I want to achieve. They can see the importance of books like The Story of the Windrush and why they are needed in the world right now.”

***

Collins (UK) is preparing a rollout of a number of Caribbean titles for its Big Cat series of children’s books. They include non fiction titles Sea Turtles and How to become a Calysonian, and fictional works Turtle Beach, The Jungle Outside, Wygenia and the Wonder of the World Leaf, Finny and the Fairy Fish, and The Lost Sketch Book. Authors and illustrators include Jamaica’s Diana McCaulay, Guyana’s Imam Baksh, St. Kitts-Nevis Carol Mitchell, and others including several from Antigua and Barbuda. Get the run down here on the Wadadli Pen site – and see which Wadadli Pen team members are involved with this series.

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

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CARIB Lit Plus (early-ish June 2020)

Recommendations

Have you been listening to #40NightsoftheVoice at the Kamau Brathwaite Remix Engine on YouTube? Well, you should be as writers from across the Caribbean read the works of the late Barbadian poet. Brathwaite was held in great and popular esteem as one of the foundations of the Caribbean literary canon and a transformative figure with respect to the embrace of Caribbean creole as a means of artistic expression and experimentation within the language. Many see him as a mentor whether directly or through his written works, who encouraged and inspired new voices. The writers reading his work in the, at this writing, ongoing video series include Jamaicans Kwame Dawes and Opal Palmer Adisa, St. Lucia’s Vladimir Lucien and John Robert Lee, the BVI’s Richard Georges, Barbados-based Yvonne Weekes, an entire who’s who of the Caribbean canon (Pamela Mordecai to Merle Collins to Olive Senior), including Canadian of Antiguan descent Tanya Evanson. Go here for the readings.

Awards

Brian S. Heap of Jamaica is the Caribbean winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize of 2020. His story ‘Mafootoo’ has “been in the back of my head for almost five years, but this competition finally provided me with the opportunity, motivation and all important deadline to complete the work.” Heap is “the retired Senior Lecturer, Staff Tutor in Drama and Head of the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. He has worked in Drama and Education in Jamaica for over forty years. With Pamela Bowell he co-authored Planning Process Drama: Enriching Teaching and Learning (2001, 2013) and Putting Process Drama into Action (2017) as well as several conference papers and articles for refereed journals. He served as Conference Director and Convener of the Fifth International Drama in Education Research Institute (2006) in Kingston, Jamaica. He was honoured with the Silver Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica in 2002.” Other regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize of 2020 are Innocent Chizaram Ilo (Africa), Kritika Pandey (Asia), Reyah Martin (Canada and Europe), and Andrea McLeod (Australia). More here.

Art of the Moment

You may have noted that there are protests beginning in but not limited to America, sparked by a recent spate, part of a long tradition, of killings (and general oppression) of African-Americans by police. It has opened a wound perhaps some thought had scabbed over. These protests and the conversations the protests have sparked are not limited to America because anti-Blackness (including internalized or intra-community anti-Blackness) is not limited to America. There have been a number of what I’m calling #CaribbeanConversations (as I share them to my facebook page) in postings by the likes of Jamaicans Kei Miller and Trinidadian Shivanee Ramlochan and others reflecting on race in our region. And here in Antigua and Barbuda, these are recent art works that I am aware of in response to the moment.  DotkidChavy has given permission for re-posting of the image below, originally posted to his public facebook gallery, with the caption, “I’m tired. We are tired. Our demand is simple. #BlackLivesMatter”:

Another work of art, a poem, ‘Stepping on the Black Man’s Neck’ by Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau, published in the Daily Observer, is excerpted below:

“As we stretch our necks across the water/to the protests and murder in Minnesota/where is the outrage for all the necks that get stepped on in Antigua? …A British prisoner is housed in contrast conditions/to the black man’s daughters and local sons/who crap in buckets and old slop pails/who grow old and die in this overcrowded jail/A black prisoner walked in to a baton of blows/Cut-up he face and bruck-up he nose/but he can’t get no treatment./Meanwhile, Umberto Schenato got a quiet release/Now up by Fiennes receiving treatment. Please./Somebody had determined that as long as this Italian murderer is alive/he won’t spend another minute up at 1735/THAT, is kneeling on the black man’s neck….Bruce Jungle Greenaway belonged to somebody./He nah drop from hollow tree./He has children and a family./When the air left his lungs and his body could take no more/They dumped him at the altar of the shore/Waiting for the waves to wash away their sins/After they strangled him./And we wait./Every crime in this country is under investigation….Black man mek noise get kick inna he neck. Racism is alive and well in Antigua and Barbuda./So when we looking across the pond at Minnesota/REMEMBER/that plenty black man kneeling on black man neck inna dis country yah.”

Finally, this poem by me (Joanne C. Hillhouse), shared on my public facebook page, on June 3rd 2020, part of that morning’s writing exercise. It’s called ‘Sounds of Blackness’ (mostly because I wrote it during my musical meditation while listening to Sounds of Blackness):

“Not often enough but
Every now and again
The men in blue (and grey and black)
Are caught flat footed in their heavy boots
By the inconvenient realization
That the non-person discarded
Like old garbage
Hab smadee
That maybe they walk around the world in
Soot, caked on like unbelonging
And Maybe their mind is ‘modie’
But erasing them will take
Effort
Ka dem hab smadee
And somebody will say
Long time me na see so and so
Wey he?
He may be of no fixed address
(or other stories you spin)
But he know where to find his people
When he need them
And they make sure to check up on him
Where he roaming
And when dem na see he
Dem will ask smadee
And when dem see you ah abuse he
They will bear witness
With their eye-phones
And they will raise their voices
And other eyes will turn to the scene
And when that happens (if there’s to be any justice)
You will find a community of people
Turning eyes of inquiry in your direction
And your systems may protect you
This time
Or maybe this time you will be brought to account
And if there is justice in the world
(and we can’t often count on it)
You will sit in the realization
Within the walls built for people like him
That it is the man
Without feeling for his people
Who is the non-person”

COVID-19 News 

The country’s opening up and so is the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre which has relaxed its no visitor policy while keeping some restrictions in place. This is an arts site but we share this type of information because we need our community to act responsibly and to be safe. So, per an MSJMC release, all visitors (18 or older only with careful consideration given to anyone 65 and older) must wear a cloth face covering or mask (which, our edit, you should be wearing in public places anyway). Our space here doesn’t allow for a breakdown of visiting hours, which varies by department; so we’ll just say, call to check on the visiting hours – which are very tight and limited – and/or check their social media. Generally speaking, no more than 2 visitors per day, one  at a time bedside. Do not visit if you’re having any COVID-19 symptoms (in fact, our edit, call the hotline and/or your doctor for testing if you think that might be the case). You’ll be required to wash your hands with soap and water and/or apply hand sanitizer when entering and leaving patient rooms. Visitors will be required to stay in the patient’s room for the duration of the visit. Pray and take care; this is not over yet.

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, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus – Early to Mid May 2020

Awards

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

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

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

See this schedule to catch other streamed Bocas events.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Passing

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

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

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

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Carib Plus Lit News (Mid-to-late-July 2019)

UK-Kittitian writer Caryl Phillips said re the winning Commonwealth Short story of 2019:

”Death Customs” is a remarkable short story that manages to be both personal – following, as it does, the painful narrative of a woman who has lost her son – and deeply political, in that it charts the division of a land as it topples into civil war. We are encouraged to view the descent into bloodshed and mayhem as a domestic squabble between two brothers who can only be reconciled in death. The voices employed are beautifully resonant, and the story shifts gears, and ranges across time, with eloquence. ‘Death Customs’ is poetically intense and complex in form and subject-matter, yet the story remains admirably lucid and moving, and deservedly wins the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.’

The winner is Constantia Soteriou from Cyprus with Lina Protopapa translating the story from Greek into English. Caribbean short listed writers were Shakirah Bourne of Barbados, Kevin Garbaran of Guyana, Rashad Hosein of Trinidad and Tobago, and Alexia Tolas of the Bahamas – who was also the regional winner. Also on this year’s panel of judges was another Caribbean person Barbadian writer Karen Lord.

For the report from the Commonwealth Writers on the outcome of its annual, international short story competition, go here.

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Longtime Caribbean-media Association boss, Wesley Gibbings, is coming to Antigua and Barbuda. He’ll be launching his latest book – a collection of poems – July 18th 2019, 6:30 p.m., at the Best of Books, on St. Mary’s Street. Wesley cover 1.jpgWesley Gibbings is an award-winning Trinidadian journalist, media trainer and press freedom campaigner who was born in 1958. His previous collections of poems include: On Life (1977); The Poetry of the Ages with Simon and the Prophets, a one-act play (1980); Cold Bricks and Warm Eyes (1988), and Lost in the City (1991). His work on Caribbean media development and journalism has also been published in books, instruction manuals and journals. In 2017, he was presented with the Percy Qoboza International Journalist Award by the US National Association of Black Journalists for work in the area of press freedom.

This has been added to the latest event round up as a local-event.

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“After making the Milo-tea, I tell Mr MacKenzie, whose room is next door to we, don’t forget to lock the gate with the padlock when him come home on lunch break from the factory. Last week, Mama walk through the gate, all the way to Three Miles and then Kingston Harbour. If a postman never see her standing there swinging her arms like a fast bowler she woulda leap in and drown. He take her back home on his bike. Mr McKenzie don’t hear me or care to. Him think him 18-year-old girlfriend, Regina, sleeping with the mechanic downstairs who live beside Mrs James and her boys. His eyes already move from me to the clothes line where Regina in short-shorts, butt-cheeks on display for all to see, is pinning up his once-white merinos she destroy doing the washing.” – Jamaican-Barbadian writer Sharma Taylor’s Son Son’s Birthday was published in Adda (it’s shared in the Reading Room and Gallery but I loved it so much I had to share it here as well). Taylor is also this year’s recipient of the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize

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

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Read and learn

Did I mention this before? Did you check out the winners of the Commonwealth Short story prize? If you love to read, they make for good reading. I haven’t read all of them yet but I really like the two I’ve read – K. Jared Hosein (Trini massive!)’s ‘The King of Settlement 4’ and ‘Light’ by Nigerian writer Lesley Nneka Arima. These were among the regional winners – overall winner yet to be announced, I believe. So far, I’m rooting for Kevin (yes, the Caribbean to the worl’!)… but seriously not just because he’s from the Caribbean but because I really like his story. Wishing all finalists well though and, here’s the thing, if like me you’ve entered this competition or plan to again, read…not to mimic… but to be reminded of the effort it takes…and to prime yourself to keep trying.

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, DancingNude in the Moonlight, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you share this list, give credit; if you appreciate the service, 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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Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2014 Deadline Approaches

There are less than four weeks left to enter the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

Entries close 30 November 2013.

The prize is free to enter, and awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000-5,000 words) in English. Regional winners will receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £5,000. Short stories translated into English from other languages are also eligible.

The 2014 judging panel will be chaired by Ellah Allfrey, Deputy Chair of the Council of the Caine Prize, and previously Deputy Editor of Granta and Senior Editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House. The judges are: Doreen Baingana, Michelle de Kretser, Marlon James, Courttia Newland and Jeet Thayil.

“My hope is that writers from across the Commonwealth will be encouraged to send us stories that bring us news of wherever they are, in the wide variety of voices and accents that make up the English language. It would be wonderful to see submissions from bold stylists and stories that experiment with the form as well as more traditional approaches to the short story. This prize celebrates the power of the short story to spin a tale that concentrates experience and character in such specificity that the local is transformed to significance far beyond its borders. This is the magic of good writing, and this is what I hope we will find.” Ellah Allfrey, Chair, 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Commonwealth Writers is continuing its partnership with Granta Magazine to give the overall and regional winners of the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize the opportunity to have their story edited and published by Granta online.

This year we are pleased to announce a new association with the London-based literary and media agency Blake Friedmann, who will work with selected writers identified through the Prize.

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