Tag Archives: commonwealth writers

2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Regional Winners — Repeating Islands

Our warmest congratulations to Diana McCaulay (Jamaica) and Cecil Browne (United Kingdom/St. Vincent and the Grenadines) who were selected as winners of the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for their respective regions. The 2022 overall winner will be announced in an online ceremony at 1:00pm, Tuesday, June 21, and at a special event as part of […]

2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Regional Winners — Repeating Islands

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See also Carib Lit Plus on Wadadli Pen for this and other news, and shout out to Repeating Islands which has been bringing the Caribbean arts news for much longer.

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 May 2022)

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

Publications

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

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

Events

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

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

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

(Source – House of Nehesi Publishers email)

ARTS News

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

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

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

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

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

Accolades

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late April 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).

Accolades

Lisa Allen-Agostini, a Trinbagonian writer based in Trinidad and published by Myriad Press in the UK, is on the just-announced short list for the coveted Women’s Prize for Fiction for her book The Bread the Devil Knead.

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Funso Aiyejina and Merle Hodge are winners of the 2022 Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters. Born in Nigeria and resident in Trinidad and Tobago since 1989, Funso Aiyejina is a celebrated poet, short story writer, playwright, and scholar — a former Dean of Humanities and Education, and current professor emeritus at UWI, St. Augustine. Aiyejina won the 2000 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book in the Africa region for his short fiction collection The Legend of the Rockhills and Other Stories. As a scholar, he is especially well known for his work on Earl Lovelace, including a biography and film. He is a founding member and former deputy festival director of the Bocas Lit Fest. Hodge, meanwhile, is lauded as one of the first Black Caribbean women to publish a major work of fiction — her classic 1970 novel Crick Crack, Monkey. She is a beloved fiction writer, literary critic, social and cultural activist, and retired lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities and Education at UWI, St Augustine. The Bocas Henry Swanzy Award recognises their crucial parallel work as teachers and mentors of younger authors, and their dedication to nurturing a generation of writers grounded in Caribbean literary tradition and language, exploring the region’s social complexities. The 2022 Bocas Henry Swanzy Award will be formally presented to Funso Aiyejina and Merle Hodge in a virtual event on 30 April, part of the 2022 NGC Bocas Lit Fest. (Source – JR Lee email)

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Commonwealth Writers has announced the longlist of its annual short story prize, 26 in all.

As far as the Caribbean is concerned there are a number of former long and short listed writers – Jamaican Diana McCaulay (‘Bridge over the Yallahs River’), Bahamian Alexia Tolas (‘No Man’s Land’), Barbados-resident Jamaican Sharma Taylor (‘Have Mercy’). The other Caribbean writers on the list are Cecil Browne (‘A Hat for Lemer’) listed as being of both the United Kingdom and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and J. S. Gomes (‘Omolara’) listed as being of both the UK and Trinidad and Tobago. Congrats to them and all writers on the list. Regional winners will be announced on May 23rd and the overall winner on June 21st 2022. (Source – Commonwealth Writers on Instagram)

Misc.

A couple of British Royals (Edward and Sophie – son and daughter in law of Queen Elizabeth II, respectively) did a fly-through of some Caribbean countries, including Antigua and Barbuda. Sharing for two reasons – 1, because we celebrate our artists, always, here at Wadadli Pen, and a number of our artists formed part of the cultural showcase organized for the royal visit. According to this Daily Observer article, a Government House event included youth collective Honey Bee Theatre, fashion designer Shem Henry, Princess Margaret School steelband, writer Brenda Lee Browne (author of London Rocks and other books) and TV and film producer Mitzi Allen of HaMa Productions (The Sweetest Mango and other films and programmes) ; 2, as a sign of the times, the visit was controversial. Two writers captured some of the controversy. Poet Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau wondered – in a poem (‘The Royals are coming’) critical of the visit shared on Observer Radio and in the Daily Observer newspaper – wondered “what’s it all about/what is the point of this so called royal visit…/what does it mean to you or me?” Meanwhile, playwright and novelist Dorbrene O’Marde, in his capacity as head of the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission wrote a letter which has been picked up by the international media. It is copied below.

(Source – various including Daily Observer, Facebook, and …it’s just what’s in the air)

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The report of the first round (which ran in 2020) of the CATAPULT Caribbean arts grant has been posted. Read about the partners, beneficiaries, lessons learned, and artists boosted.

“Residencies are literary gold in the timeline of any Caribbean writer. It’s just as true that to access these transformative, alchemical spaces of peer support, financially conducive/sponsored settings, and time to work, the Caribbean writer has always found it overwhelmingly necessary to leave her home.” – recipient of the CATAPULT stay at home residency Shivanee Ramlochan of Trinidad and Tobago, quoted in the report, which you can read here. (Source – Kingston CREATIVE on facebook)

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A reminder that April 29th is the deadline to nominate a writer for the Royal Society of Literature International Writers. To be eligible, recommended writers must not be resident in nor citizens of the UK; and must have published two substantial works of outstanding literary merit (English or English-language translations of works first published in another language). Complete the recommendation form here. (Source – RSL email)

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Summer Edward, founder of the Caribbean children’s lit zine Anansesem, has joined the staff of Kirkus Reviews as the magazine’s newest young readers’ editor. This was actually announced last October. Edward edits picture book and middle-grade book reviews for Kirkus. (Source – email)

Events

After a two-year hiatus, one of Antigua and Barbuda’s biggest events, Sailing Week, returns in 2022. And with it the Reggae in the Park concert on May 3rd.

The reported headliner is former soca monarch for Antigua and Barbuda Tian Winter. But reportedly there will be a venue change – Reggae in the Park will not be at Shirley Heights Lookout; new venue to be announced. (Source – Facebook)

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As previously reported, the Bocas Lit Fest, based in Trinidad and Tobago, takes place April 28th to May 1st 2022. I’m back to share with you the festival guide and programme.

ETA:

Tune in on any of the following platforms:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bocaslitfest
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/bocaslitfest
Website: https://www.bocaslitfest.com

All Festival events are free and open to the online public. Tickets or registration are NOT required, and you don’t need a YouTube or Facebook account to view events on these platforms.

Event recordings will be available on YouTube and Facebook pages for a limited time post-Festival.

And don’t forget that you can order any of the books on the programme from the Festival’s booksellers, Paper Based Bookshop and Metropolitan Book Suppliers!

(Source – Bocas email)

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CariCon 2022 has published its schedule. It includes sessions on copyright and literary contracts, pitching, self-publishing, marketing, social media marketing, book to screen literary adaptations, and getting your books in to libraries. There will be a workshop led by Donna Aza Weir-Soley (Caribbean erotic poetry) and a session titled ‘The Making of a Storyteller’ with Amina Blackwood-Meeks. The various speakers are listed here. The Caribbean Literary Conference is a commercial event and exhibitors are being invited to register. The event is out of the US and it’s not clear to me if it’s online or on site or both, but it’s during Caribbean American Heritage Month, and will be held June 3rd – 5th 2022. (Source – CariCon Facebook)

RIP

To Jamaican poet Ralph Thompson.

Thompson first published in 1987 ‘Florida’ in London Magazine. He subsequently published more than 20 poems in British, US, and Caribbean journals, including The Caribbean Writer and Mississippi Review. His work is represented in The Heinemann Book of Caribbean Poetry (1992), A World of Poetry for CXC (1994), several Observer Arts Magazine anthologies, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse (2005), and Writers Who Paint / Painters Who Write (2007). He has published two collections of poetry (The Denting of a Wave and Moving On) and a verse novel (View from Mount Diablo). Thompson was also a businessman and educator. Born in 1928, he died in January 2022. (Source – JR Lee email)

Publications

Speak OUT! is a collection, on the Commonwealth Writers ADDA platform, curated by guest editors Brenda Lee-Browne (of the UK and Antigua-Barbuda), Beatrice Lamwaka, Rifat Munim and Peter Sipeli, from a call for submissions related to Freedom of Expression and its wider subthemes of gender, LGBTQIA+, race/ethnicity, and politics among others. The collection will comprise four issues, each featuring an introduction and six or seven works of fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction, selected and edited by all four editors. This first selectionwas made from the 1130 entries received. Read Issue 1 NOW curated and introduced by Peter Sipeli. It includes Lloyd D’Aguilar of Jamaica (‘Things must change’), Nnadi Samuel and Priscilla Keshiro  of Nigeria (‘Chaos Theory & Non-Binary Worship’ & ‘Dubem’), Andy Winter of Singapore (‘Archipelago’), Meera Ganapathi of India (‘Birds at the Border’), Christina Coates of South Africa (‘Fish nor Fowl’), and Lisa J Latouche of Dominica (‘Atiya Firewood’).

image by Indian artist Rohini Mani/illustration for ‘Dubem’.

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Thought I would share the tri-annual Antigua and Barbuda Culture department magazine (the January – March 2021 and 2022 editions) here.

cover image: King Swallow (RIP).

Thoughts re 2021 issue: it’s a largely well-produced, glossy, magazine-style cultural digest. There are some minor formatting issues that could (and should) be fixed with tighter proofing but in general a good production covering arts history, arts education, arts business, and artists themselves. It’s the kind of publication that’s been needed for some time, with obvious room for improvement. Especially enjoyed Alvin Livingstone’s insights to teaching visual arts, the interviews with Abi McCoy and Zahra Airall, and beautiful art work by Kendra Davis. As for the somewhat loaded question in the artist Q and A’s “is it the government’s responsibility to ensure that the industry thrives’, I like that though McCoy and Airall had an opposite sides approach – McCoy more artist led with the government playing a supporting role and Airall with the government taking more of a leadership role, both answers rather than being in contradiction with each other land on the point that the arts is not just for “exposure” and should not be treated as such and that the artist needs to continue creating and the government needs to be doing a lot more a lot, more consistently (see my CREATIVE SPACE column #7 of 2022, on pan) to ensure it continues to thrive. Read the entire issue.

The 2022 issue – the other issue in my possession – continues the focus on art history (specifically the first part of a history of pan) and arts issues and art profiles and Q and A’s, getting to know others in my community, are always interesting: e.g. learning more about dancer Susan Shaw, writer Kimolisa Mings, and cover artist Gormie.

As steeped as I am in our culture, there is always discovery and I appreciate that. I would appreciate if the things the artists call for (captured in the interviews especially) are taken to heart. Example playwright Jamian Benta (one of those discoveries-for-me I mentioned), calling for a professional space for the staging of local theatrical productions in this issue. Read the whole issue.

(Source – Department of Culture – Antigua and Barbuda)

Visual Art

Jamaican writer and artist Jacqueline Bishop has been stirring conversation in the art world with her History at the Dinner Table series of ceramic plates. As seen, the art juxtaposes dark images from the enslavement of Africans during Colonialism with colourful flowers against china plates, the epitome of fine dining. Referencing the precious plates once displayed in cabinets largely untouched in Caribbean homes and commenting on a still unreconciled past, the plates, displayed in magogany cabinets, have been acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge University). The US based artist’s statement reads: “My work focuses on making visible the invisible, in making tangible the ephemeral, in speaking aloud the unspoken, and in voicing voicelessness.” It’s fair to say that this series of plates continues that work. (Source – Jacqueline Bishop social media)

This series is also mentioned in my CREATIVE SPACE column #8 of 2022.

Opportunities

The window of opportunity to nominate a writer to become a Royal Society of Literature International Writer is closing. The submission deadline is April 29th 2022. This is the second year of the RSL International Writers and one of the inaugural RSL International Writers last year was our own Jamaica Kincaid. I have tried to take the time to make nominations this year and last and invite you to do the same. By entering your recommendations, you can possibly win 1 of 5 Digital Events Passes, giving you a year’s access to all RSL events online. Submit nominations online. Your nominees must not be resident in nor citizens of the UK and must have published two substantial works of outstanding literary merit translated or originally published in English. (Source -RSL email)

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Did you know Antigua and Barbuda has a robotics club for children?

Well, now you know and the Splash junior Robotics Club seems from the images on its facebook page to be just what it sounds like: a programme designed to guide children through designing, building, and programming robots.

Here’s the programme pre-registration form. (Source – Facebook)

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Wadadli Pen’s own Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Jhohadli Writing Project 2022 Workshop Schedule.

(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. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late November 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).

Obit.

The region, and Montserrat where he was born and the US Virgin islands where he lived and worked (as a professor) for many years, especially, mourns the passing of playwright David Edgecombe. He died suddenly Friday 19th November 2021 at age 69.

Edgecombe was also a Caribbean Reads writer beginning with the publication of his Antigua-inspired (referencing a particular folklore of the ghost known as the) Lady of Parham, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Guyana Literary Prize Caribbean Award for Best Drama. (Source – Facebook)

Books

Tobias S. Buckell’s Shoggoths in Traffic and Other Stories came out this November. The Grenadian is a winner of the World Fantasy Award. Another award winning Caribbean fantasy writer Nalo Hopkinson said, “Buckell’s speculative fiction is a revelation: honest and wry, characters and situations fresh and unexpected.” The collection consists of 27 stories and includes inhabitants of a small town who won’t vaccinate against a zombie plague, a lone sentry keeping motorists from stumbling into something ancient and evil, a man who puts stranded ghosts to rest, an ex-soldier traveling the seas who trades his new life of hardship for a return to swords and blood, and many more tales of speculative fiction. (Source – Tobias S. Buckell on Twitter)

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Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne announced the release of her My Coral Buddies and Me Cricket Calamity children’s book and related mural. You can read more about this initiative meant to educate and inspire young people here. Book synopsis: “The coral buddies are playing a game of cricket when a massive six takes the corals in search of the ball to a section of the reef they have never been before. This leads to a messy discovery and the coral buddies have to enlist some help from friends.” The e-comic book can be freely read online. It is a publication of the BlueGreen Initiative Inc. with support from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy. There is also an activity book written by BGI co-founder Sen. Crystal Drakes who is also co-credited with Clish Gittens for the story idea. (Source – Shakirah Bournes’ instagram)

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Alison Donnell, of University of East Anglia, whom you might remember from previous postings on this blog, spearheaded both the Caribbean Literary Heritage Project and the online series on forgotten Caribbean writers and publications, released a book on Creolized Sexualities in October 2021. She also asked me to let you know about this discount.

(Source – N/A)

News

The Antigua and Barbuda Cultural Industries Mapping Project has ended with 430 respondents.

Initial response shows significant impact on the creative sector by the pandemic.

More details to follow in December. Here’s a link to the project’s facebook page (Source).

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November 18th 2021 was Jamaica Kincaid appreciation day as CCNY (in New York) honoured her at the Langston Hughes Festival. Jamaica Kincaid is one of the most celebrated writers from the Caribbean, and in particular from Ovals, Antigua.

In her response to the moment, following tributes by writers, Lauren Alleyne and Joanne C. Hillhouse, writers of Trinidad and Antigua, respectively, “I’m not jealous of much but I’ve been very jealous of writers who have a People to write for, I’ve always felt I was an orphan, you know, because I was going to say things that the people I am from, do not want to hear.” Kincaid’s books, many of which are critically acclaimed and award winning, include Annie John, A Small Place, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, My Brother, Mr. Potter, and See Now Then. (Source – me)

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Commonwealth Writers is reporting 6,730 entries with 140 of those translated from 28 different languages. Family drama was said to be the most common theme with stories covering a variety of topics including mental health, homelessness, racism, and the pandemic. Winners will be announced April 22nd 2021. (Source – CW on Twitter)

Workshops and Other Opportunities

The Catapult programme provided grants to Caribbean artists in 2020 and this wrap up takes a look back.

I was one of the grant awardees and you can view my participation here. (Source – Kingston Creative on YouTube)

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It occurs to me that I haven’t really downloaded my experience of facilitating, in October, a Bocas workshop for the first (and hopefully not the last time). It was good (pending receipt of participation reviews which I always try to use to improve what I deliver). What I was invited to deliver was a workshop on writing for children (I think there was some confusion about this where some thought it was a workshop for children; it wasn’t). I used my own experience of writing children’s books (The Jungle Outside, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure) to engage in practical workshop activity and instruction.

(Cover slide)
(Opening slide)

I also draw on my experience editing children’s picture books – I’ve edited more of these books this past year than perhaps any other book (as one client suggests, some of it is probably inspired by the lockdown and people having a greater awareness of what their children are learning). Whatever the reason, I’ve enjoyed these books and look forward to seeing them in the marketplace. My most recent picture book client is based in Australia and he’s currently doing revisions after receiving my edits and provided this performance review:

“I really appreciate your work. You have an amazing editorial eye. You made some connections I completely missed, and your questions/observations were spot on…You do excellent work and I am happy to sing your praises.”

I also did a session on How to Write Children’s Books for US based Aspiring Authors and Writers Virtual Literary Event (see Appearances) that was less a workshop and more a talk which did cover some of the same ground as the Bocas workshop but more personal, fluid, and with a different focus and intention. You can watch that one here.

If you would like me to revisit the workshop on writing children’s books (locally or virtually), let me know at antiguanwriter@gmail.com so that I can keep you informed of this or other future workshops offered through my Jhohadli Writing Project. I’m rebuilding my mailing list and hoping to roll out new programmes in the not too distant future.

I also encourage you to visit the Opportunities Too page here on the Wadadli Pen blog where you’ll find several other Bocas developmental activities including an emerging writer fellowship and at least one more workshop for the year, among other opportunities with pending deadline – including Harper Collins’ writing contest for children. Follow the link.

An additional workshop I participated in in October 2021 was the Antigua and Barbuda Conference. And I have posted that paper, entitled ‘About a Girl: a Close Read of Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’, its stylistic devices and & aesthetic intersection with literature in the Antiguan oral (specifically, calypso) tradition‘, is now posted on my Jhohadli blog. (Source – me)

Readings + Events

UK based Trinidad writer Vahni Capildeo launches her latest, Like a Tree, Walking, on December 1st. The Carcanet publication is the 2021 Poetry Book Society Winter Choice. There will be a reading and discussion, and the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions. To be a part of the audience, register here. (Source – JRLee email)

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On December 4th 6 p.m. EST the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival will broadcast its 2021 short fiction awards on its facebook and youtube channels. The virtual event will be hosted by Pleasantview author Celeste Mohammed and there will be a feature presentation by Elizabeth Nunez – both of Trinidad and Tobago. There will be readings by the winners and the finalists. (Source – BCLF email)

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I also haven’t downloaded publicly at least my presentation at the Antigua and Barbuda Conference, also in October (busy month). I have, however, uploaded my paper – About a Girl: a Close Read of Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’, its stylistic devices and & aesthetic intersection with literature in the Antiguan oral (specifically, calypso) tradition – has now been uploaded to my Jhohadli blog, if you’re interested in reading it. I will be revisiting Jamaica, the person, not the country, when I speak at the Langston Hughes Festival, at which Jamaica Kincaid is being honoured and I have been invited to speak. It’ on November 18th and, as a reminder, you can get tickets here. (Source – me)

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Antigua and Barbuda took to Dubai in November – a tourism promo trip but worth mentioning for the participation of local artists. No writers that I’m aware of but a number of other performance artists including soca queen Claudette Peters, pannist and culture director Khan Cordice, and various dancers.

(Source – Facebook)

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I just found out that there’s a book meme called #nonfictionNovember and, despite it being a national (UK in this case) event, I decided to count the Caribbean in. The 2021 theme is real life super heroes. Apart from an obvious opportunity to share my She’s Royal series, I’ll comb through the Blogger on Books book review series for Caribbean non-fiction books for children that remind us not all heroes wear capes (because I like a challenge and am prepared to get creative).

How to be a Calypsonian by Desryn Collins – because calypsonians in the Caribbean have been folk heroes who challenge the system in song.

The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Nuñez – which is not non-fiction but is historical fiction set in the time of the Cuban revolution and a Burt award winning teen/young adult novel.

Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay – which is also not non-fiction but is a future dystopian speculative horror inspired by the very real issue of climate change #climatechangeisreal and is another Burt award winning teen/young adult novel which (like McCaulay’s other Burt winning fiction Gone to Drift) sees a young protagonist fighting great odds and interweaves the environmental consequences of human action and inaction which, as evidenced by her recent winning of the Norman Washington Manley Award for Excellence for protection and preservation of the environment – see her acceptance video in accolades (below), is her life’s work.

Ruby’s Dream: the Story of a Boy’s Life by Ronan Matthew – not specifically for children (though it could be read by teens), not framed as non-fiction but it is the story of a boy’s coming of age amidst many challenges in Antigua and of the young man he becomes making his way in America, and it is rather directly inspired by the life of the author.

To Shoot Hard Labour by Smith and Smith – the 100 year life of Antiguan workingman Papa Sammy and of this community to such a revelatory degree that it should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand us and I include it here because I was myself a school student when I was introduced to it by a history teacher and because rough though it is erasure of that history is not an option.

Brown Pelicans by Mario Picayo – part of this indie publisher’s Caribbean Natural History Series which talks about extinct and living species with vivid visuals to hold young readers. I know, I read this one with one of my boys as I recount in the review.

Memes of this type are an opportunity to boost books and an invitation to read; so have a read. (Source – Facebook)

Accolades

Earlier this year Jamaican-Ghanian-American author Kwame Dawes won the biennial PEN/Nora Magid Award for his editorship of the Prairie Schooner. “Dawes has served as Glenna Luschei Editor of the Nebraska literary journal since his arrival at the university in 2011. He and the Prairie Schooner editorial staff have been working quietly over the past 10 years to revolutionize the 90-year-old journal — integrating technology into its processes, giving voice to a more diverse array of poets and authors, and establishing the journal as an international presence…The biennial PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing recognizes an editor whose high literary standards and tastes have contributed to the excellence of the publication they edit. Judges described Dawes as a “bold and visionary editor” who has “proved the ongoing validity of the literary journal and taken it to new places.”” (Nebraska Today) (Source – PEN email)

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Last Carib Lit Plus we announced the shortlist for the first Bocas children’s book lit prize and now we have a winner: When Life gives You Mangoes by Jamaican-British writer Kereen Getten.

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Shakirah Bourne’s Josephine Against the Sea has been named among the best middle grade books of 2021 by School Library Journal (in the US).

Shakirah is a writer based in Barbados. (Source – Author’s Instagram)

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Julia Alvarez of the Dominican Republic is the sole Caribbean nominee for the 2022 Astrid Lindgren Prize. There are a total of 282 nominees from 71 countries. They are authors, illustrators, narrators, and reading promoters who have been nominated by various international nominating bodies. The prize is named for famed Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren who died in 2002 at age 94, leaving behind an enduring legacy of writing and publishing children’s books, including iconic characters like Pippi Longstocking. The prize (valued at the Swedish equivalent of US$550,00) is administred by the Swedish Culture Council and decided by a jury of 12. There are no Caribbean authors or literary programmes listed among the previous winners, but previous Caribbean nominees include (me, Joanne C. Hillhouse) for the 2018 prize, and also from Antigua and Barbuda Joy Lawrence for the 2019 prize and the 2020 prize, Julia Alvarez and Biblioteca y Juvenil Republica Dominica from the Dominican Republic in 2021. St. Kitts-Nevis Carol Ottley-Mitchell is also a past nominee. (Source – N/A)

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Daughters of Africa (1992) and New Daughters of Africa (2019) editor Margaret Busby was announced in our Carib Lit Plus series this summer as recipient of the London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award but it didn’t end there. Britain’s youngest and first Black female publisher also received an honorary degree for her achievements as an acclaimed publisher, broadcaster, playwright, and critic, from the University of London – one of Royal Holloway’s founding colleges. “I am really excited to have received an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature from Royal Holloway. It’s particularly special to me as I myself graduated from Bedford College,” Busby is quoted as saying. “I am pleased that my work has inspired students and the wider university and I hope that it continues to do so.”

Past awards for Busby include “Honorary Fellowship of Queen Mary, University of London, the Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters, the Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature, honorary degrees from the Open University and the SOAS, and the inaugural Africa Writes Lifetime Achievement Award from the Royal African Society. Margaret was recently recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list for her services to publishing.”

Busby is Ghana-born and Britian-raised but with Caribbean roots through her parents to Trinidad, Barbados, and Dominica.

(Source – N/A)

***

Earlier this year Media for Climate Change Education, out of the OECS’ “Reducing risk to human and natural assets resulting from climate change (RRACC)” project, working since 2011 to assist in the education of climate change and the development of sustainable participation and practices, issued a call for media to produce content related to ocean pollution/clean oceans. The advertised prize was $5500, $4500, $3500 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively, with public education being the larger project goal. Dale Elliot of St. Lucia, known there for his Untold Stories social transformation video series, produced ‘Clear Waters’ – a documentary focussed on marine pollution in the eastern Caribbean and the blue economy model of future development.

He was announced on November 16th 2021 as the first place winner 🥇.

Grenada communications specialist Sorana Mitchell’s background is in media and PR, and she currently works independently as an online news reporter and presenter, primarily through her video platform series Sorana Mitchell Worlds: Stories Heard and Shared. She has produced content entitled ‘The Litter Problem – Grenada‘, ‘Mainting the ‘Pure’ in Pure Grenada’, ‘Biorock Creation, Fisherfolk Practices and Concerns’, ‘Grenada’s Sewerage and Run Off in to the Sea’, ‘The Role of Mangroves in Keeping our Oceans Clean’ – I’m not sure at this writing which of these won her the prize, or perhaps the series as a whole, but Sorana is the second placed journalist 🥈.

Congrats to both Sorana and Dale.

Sorana said in a social media post (pre-winners’ announcement but relevant here): “The media and our consciousness are now rife with continuous talk about climate change and making adjustments to stave off the impending destruction. Only a few months ago I answered the call for journalists in the OECS region to focus on Clean Oceans. Even though at this time we do not emit as much harmful gases as the bigger countries, we still have our part to play in taking care of our environment. My research unearthed that littering is a huge problem in Grenada and other neighboring states. While we call for changes at #COP26 let us do our part to stop littering which eventually ends up in our oceans and adversely affects our marine ecosystem. #cleanoceans #bigoceanstates”

This reinforces that the goal of the Challenge was to produce action at the personal, community, national, and sub-regional level.

I (Joanne C. Hillhouse, freelance writer-editor and more in Antigua and Barbuda) am the 3rd placed journalist 🥉. I had two eligible pieces, part of a series of two articles focused on marine culture in my independent CREATIVE SPACE series. CULTURE 1 OF 2: FEAR OF SWIMMING, WITH CHRISTAL CLASHING O’REILLY ran in the September 15th 2021 edition of the Daily Observer with the extended edition running on my Jhohadli blog and the video component running on my AntiguanWriter YouTube channel.

CREATIVE SPACE #20 OF 2021 – MARINE CULTURE 2 OF 2: FINITE RESOURCES, OCEAN LAW, AND COMMUNITY ACTION, WITH TRICIA LOVELL ran in the September 22nd 2021 edition of the Daily Observer with the extended edition running on my Jhohadli blog and the video component on my AntiguanWriter YouTube channel.

I enjoy writing features and find the human interest approach can be quite effective, plus CREATIVE SPACE is an art and culture column, which is why I took a narrative approach – talking to two women involved in marine culture, for work and play, and using their lived experience to explore why oceans matter and how and why we need to change our relationship to them. I took the time to re-share and link our various content to encourage you to check them out and maybe change your actions because we all have a role to play, even if, as I suggest in my series, it begins with developing a healthier and more informed relationship with the sea. (Source – Facebook)

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Novelist and environmental activist Diana McCaulay of Jamaica receives the Norman Manley Award for Excellence.

(Source – Diana McCaulay on Facebook)

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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Roland Watson-Grant: Caribbean Winner, 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize — Repeating Islands

Jamaican author Roland Watson-Grant is the Caribbean Winner of the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, with “The Disappearance of Mumma Dell”—his winning story of a matriarch’s funeral gone awry, a missing body, a forbidden pear tree and a community under threat is told through the eyes of a teenager. The 2021 overall winner will be announced […]

Roland Watson-Grant: Caribbean Winner, 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize — Repeating Islands

‘I entered Commonwealth Short Story Prize because I write in the spaces where cultures have conversations. I eavesdrop on what one culture –based on geography or time– has to share with another. I couldn’t ignore a platform that is dedicated to the very same thing.’ (Grant)

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is now open for submissions. See this and other deadlines in Opportunities Too.

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid September 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)

Opportunities

This is an opportunity to support Haiti relief – Films For Haiti is a September 17th -18th 2021 event – donate. share. watch. Make a donation, access the films, watch the films.

(Source – Karukerament email)

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Opportunities Too has the full schedule of Bocas workshops for 2021; so this is just your reminder that I (Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse) am scheduled (re-scheduled) to facilitate a workshop on writing children’s literature in October 2021. (Source – Bocas on Facebook)

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As you’ll see if you check our Opportunities Too page, it’s Commonwealth Writers Short Stories submission time and they’ve shared some tips.

(Source – CW Twitter)

Events

You can register for the 2021 Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival events, set for September 10th – 12. (Source – BCLF email)

Accolades

Bocas’ children writing (as in children doing the writing) contest winners have been announced.

David is 8 and Josh is 9. (Source – Bocas email)

***

Trinidad and Tobago born, Canada resident M. Nourbese Philip has been named one of two recipients of Canada’s Molson Prize which comes with a $50,000 purse. She is the author of the award winning Harriet’s Daughter and other works like the genre-bending Zong! “NourbeSe Philip is a Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellow (Bellagio), and in 2020 she was the recipient of PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.” This is no small victory for a writer who in an interview on the Canada Council website said the biggest thing she has had to overcome is “Canadian racism in its myriad forms.” That same site asked her for advice for up and coming writers to which she responded: “Learn how to trust their gut instincts about their own work—sometimes the critics are wrong; be willing to risk—failure or success; and have someone in your life who loves what you do and will critique your work honestly.” (Source – John Robert Lee email)

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Jamaica’s Musgrave awards are given to people who demonstrate excellence in their respective fields. The 2021 literature recipients are Ishion Hutchinson (gold), Shara McCallum (silver), and Veronica Blake-Carnegie (bronze). They will be awarded in October. Read all about it in the Jamaica Gleaner. (Source – John Robert Lee email)

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The winning stories in this year’s Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival short story competition have been posted. They are ‘Daughter 4′ by Patrice Grell Yursik, winner of the Caribbean-American writers’ prize, and ‘The Wailers’ by Akhim Alexis, winner of the award for writers in the Caribbean. Both are of Trinidad and Tobago. Congrats to them both. (Source – BCLF Facebook)

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Environmentalist Brian Cooper was the Antigua and Barbuda selection for the Global Portrait Project, a mission to paint a person per country involved in conservation work. The artist explains about the project and why Dr. Cooper, originally from the UK and later Trinidad before moving to Antigua in the 1980s, was chosen for this project.

(Source – Antigua and Barbuda’s Daily Observer newspaper)

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Antigua and Barbuda’s Dorbrene O’Marde was one of three recipients of the President’s Award at the St. Martin Book Fair this past June. The other recipients were Deborah Drisana Jack and Fabian Adekunle Badejo, both of St. Martin.

“The Presidents Award is presented to individuals and institutions whose work is noted for its excellence and for combining literary, cultural, and liberation components in the service of progress, of their people or nation, and of humanity,” said Lasana M. Sekou from House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). O’Marde has written many plays and calypsos, and a couple of books. He has been a leading cultural worker in the Caribbean region for decades. (Source – Nehesi House press release via email)

New Books Reading Material

Allies: Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up, And Trying Again, co-edited by Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne and Dana Alison Levy just dropped. It includes essays by 17 writers in the teen/YA space on needing an ally, being an ally, and/or showing up for friends and families.

Image is from Shakirah’s instagram, @shakirahwrites
Also congrats to her on her recent nuptials.

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This collection on rejection includes the voices of Caribbean writers like Olive Senior and Colin Grant. Another Caribbean writer Caryl Philips described it as “an important anthology that spans generations, circles the globe, and embraces all forms of imaginative writing. Uplifting and inspiring.” (Source – N/A)

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I do hope that more and more of you are reading my CREATIVE SPACE series spotlighting local art and culture. I’m really enjoying doing it, I’m happy that it’s growing, and that it allows me to keep my hand in journalism which is my background. For the first installment of September 2021, I visited Clarence House within the National Parks. I was interested in the restoration work and the history. Did you know by the way that Nelson’s Dockyard within the National Parks, right below Clarence House, marked its 5th anniversary as a World Heritage site in 2021. I’m glad I got to do something in that space in this year – as I explored in the article the history of the relationship between us, the descendants of enslaved Africans and that space is complicated. Here’s a link to that article and other recent installments of CREATIVE SPACE.

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Cuban-American writer Achy Obejas released a new book this September. It is Boomerang/Bumeran, a bilingual poetry collection exploring themes of identity, sexuality, and belonging. (Source – author email)

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Cover reveal. This one won’t be out until August 2022 with Peepal Tree Press. Synopsis: Gay men search for sex, adventure, pleasure, self-realisation and love in Woodbrook, Trinidad.

(Source – Nature Island Literary Festival’s Facebook)

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I ‘discovered’ and wrote about the new Department of Culture – Antigua and Barbuda publication in the Carib Lit Plus Mid to Late February 2021 edition. I lost track after that but I just came upon issue 3 and want to commend them for keeping it going, and (having been involved in my share of local publications that have come and gone) express hope that they do keep it going.

Content includes a tribute to late former director Vaughn Walter – “a man who personified culture”, DIY Craft with DOC head of craft Sylvanie Abbott, a music focused article on copyright, features on music artists Andrew Dorsett and Zamoni, the behind the scenes of a local documentary – Own It, an interview with Pan-o-Grama founder Nevin Roach; then they have some listicles – one on the Top 150 Antigua and Barbuda Soca Songs by DJ Illest, who, judging by the list prefers midtempo tracks.

I went further back to find Issue 2.

Scrolling through this one, I find Antiguanisms, a recipe for bread pudding; articles about the role of government in the development of pan by Stafford Joseph, copyright (so, this seems to be a series), coverage of a craft exhibition, ‘Stamp 268’, organized by Culture, a history of Halcyon, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021, and reflections by Gilbert Laudat on dance in Antigua and Barbuda. Featured artists include cover artist Guava (Ron Howell) and pannist Alston M. Davis. This edition’s listicle is by bookstagrammer Lalabear, a teacher named Lakiesha Mack, who shared her top 5 Caribbean books. Since it’s only 5 and this is primarily a lit arts site, I’ll share them: Tea by the Sea by Donna Hemans of Jamaica, The Girl with the Hazel Eyes and The Vanishing Girls by Callie Browning of Barbados, whom she identifies as her favourite author, Where there are Monsters by Breanne McIvor of Trinidad, and How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones of Barbados. (Source – initially lalabear’s post about her listicle which sent me looking for the article and ended with me finding both issues of Fu Arwe Ting)

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Witness in Stone by Barbados poet laureate Esther Phillips actually debuted in April 2021 (sorry to be so late, Esther).

John Robert Lee, creator of the Caribbean lit bibliography featured on this site, with Caribbean writers George Lamming and Esther Phillips at a BIM literary event in 2008.

From the summary on the site of publisher Peepal Tree: “Esther Phillips’ poems are always lucid and musical; they gain a rewarding complexity from being part of the collection’s careful architecture that offers a richly nuanced inner dialogue about the meaning of experience in time. Not least powerful in this conversation are the sequence of poems about Barbadian childhoods, poems of grace, humour and insight. When Barbados chose Esther Phillips as its first poet laureate it knew what it was doing: electing a poet who could speak truth, who could challenge and console her nation – and all of us.”

Esther is also the editor of BIM: Arts for the 21st Century, a new edition of which dropped in June 2021. (Source – publisher site)

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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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late May 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)

Wadadli Pen News

Our annual awards were held on May 30th 2021. Read all about it here or catch clips on our YouTube channel.

It’s a family affair: Meet Wadadli Pen’s first father-daughter winners.

Events

New Writing

Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters has dropped a new issue with writing from John Robert Lee of St. Lucia, Lisa Allen-Agostini of Trinidad and Tobago, Lawrence Scott, also of TnT, and art from Nadia Huggings, among others. Read the full issue here.

Congratulations Due

Winners of the Antigua and Barbuda Halycon Steel Orchestra 50th anniversary facebook competition: soloist Emmanuel Joseph of Trinidad and Tobago and 5-piece Pantastick Music out of St. Lucia. View also this retrospective, also on facebook, on Petra-The Spectator’s page. It explores the birth and growth of the band, second only to the oldest continuous steelpan orchestra (Hell’s Gate) in panorama titles, and one of the prides of the Grays Green community.

***

To the regional winners of the 2021 Commonwealth Writers short story prize. The Caribbean winner is the amazing Roland Watson-Grant of Jamaica (author of the novel Sketcher) for his short story ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Del’. Namibian Rémy Ngamije is the Africa winner; Sri Lankan Kanya D’Almeida is the Asia winner; UK writer Carol Farrelly is the Canada-Europe winner; and Australian Katerina Gibson is the winner from the Pacific.

One of the judges, fellow Jamaican Diana McCaulay (whose latest book is Daylight Come) said of Roland’s submission: “A wiseass, pitch-perfect teenager tells the story of a pear tree near to the rail tracks of a bauxite train in a rural Jamaican district – no one will eat from this particular tree – but why? ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Dell’ teems with lightly but perfectly sketched and familiar characters – a hellfire preacher, a scammer, community elders and shadowy politicians. Promises are broken, warnings are ignored, and the now power of social media supersedes the then magic of obeah. Rich, funny and deeply rooted in the Jamaican countryside, this story reverberates with the drumbeats of the ancestors and delivers an incisive commentary on what gets protected, by whom and why.”

Commonwealth Writers reports that they received a record 6, 423 entries from 50 Commonwealth countries this year, making judging very challenging. The overall winner will be announced on June 30th 2021, online for the second year in a row. This is the 10th year of the Commonwealth short story prize. And if you – like me – are from a small island, and wondering if you’ll ever crack this nut, here’s a bit of trivia: this is Namibia first time making the short list and they ran all the way to the head of the class as regional winner. (Source – Commonwealth Writers email and website)

Opportunities

Writing for Children with Joanne C. Hillhouse • Bocas Lit Fest

Capturing the attention and imagination of young readers can be challenging; join prize winning author Joanne Hillhouse for a workshop in writing for children.

For intermediate and advanced writers! Details here. (Source – Bocas)

Click for other Opportunities. ETA: This workshop has been postponed as a result of a surge in COVID cases in Trinidad and Tobago where Bocas is based. An announcement will be made at some point re the rescheduling.

New Books

As a fan of Kei’s last essay collection and his writing generally, I’m looking forward to reading this one, Jamaican writer Kei Miller’s Things I have Withheld, which Rebel Women Lit describes as a great artistic achievement and a work of beauty which challenges us to say the unsayable. Connect here to attend Kei’s upcoming launch event. (Source – initially, the author’s facebook page)

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Michael Joseph, pharmacist and former president of the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross and governing board member of the international Red Cross body, has a chapter in a the World Dream book project.

The editors are Taichi Ichikawa and Ibun Hirahara who conceived the idea of gathering dreams from across the globe after attending the One Young World global summit for young leaders. The book is published, in Japanese, by Iroha Publising. (Source – Michael Joseph’s facebook page)

Celebrating Books

The May 23rd issue of Lit Hub’s This Week in Literary History newsletter had a really cool story about John Steinbeck, his dog, and his iconic novella Of Mice and Men. But I’m really sharing because of its shout out to Antigua-born writer Jamaica Kincaid whose birthday week it reminds us is this week. Here’s the quote:

“One of the things that young people need to know when they go into writing is that they ought to stop writing these stupid books that please people. They should write as if they might fail at it. To succeed at something mediocre is worse than to fail at something great.”

It being Jamaica Kincaid birthday week, I’ll list my faves, top to bottom, from her bibliography in the order of my love for them (this list will obviously be limited to what I’ve read and will clearly disagree with how others might order them – hence, my list):

Lucy
Annie John
See Now Then
A Small Place
My Brother
Mr. Potter
The Autobiography of My Mother

*I linked some of the places I’ve shared my thoughts about Jamaica Kincaid and/or her named books – anything unlinked was read before I started sharing my book thoughts online.

***

The National Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda has for a while now been celebrating books via its Author of the Month series. The most recent guest of the series has been Turtle Beach author and bookstore manager Barbara Arrindell who spoke about her own books, the role of libraries, and why Antiguans and Barbudans should be building their library of local books.

Previous guests in recent months have included self-help and business guru Janice Sutherland who was in October 2020 the first online/virtual Author of the Month when the series returned after the COVID lockdown began; Floree Williams Whyte, author of three books beginning with Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses, who made a return trip to the platform; the first author of the month for 2021 Joanne C. Hillhouse, author of seven books and more; Shawn Maile whose book How to work Six Jobs on an Island the library describes as “a most interesting read”; another non-fiction author (of three books and counting) T. Lerisa Simon; and Jo-Ann Carr, author of Broken to be Blessed: My Life Story. For these and more library content, including their Career and Entrepreneurship: Tips and Tricks series, visit their facebook and youtube platforms.

The National Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda has a very storied history. The building above (by Mali A. Olatunji), on lower High Street, was destroyed during the 1974 earthquake and eventually torn down in the 1990s while the library continued to operate from upstairs a store front on Market Street, in the main commercial district of St. John’s City. The cramped space meant that the country was without full library services for at least two generations as the new library building project didn’t reach completion until 2014. The new library, pictured below, is at Hailes Promenade, near the East Bus Station, just outside of St. John’s City.

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The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival celebrates Trinidad and Tobago writer Lisa Allen-Agostini’s The Bread the Devil Knead.

Lisa will also be participating in an event at Books and Rhymes on May 21st 2021. Virtually, of course. Here’s where you register.

(Source – Lisa Allen-Agostini’s facebook)

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ireadify.com, a new platform for diverse, including Caribbean, audio and ebooks has announced its top April 2021 reads. We can’t promise we’ll be sharing these every time (or any other time, really) but we’re sharing it this time in order to celebrate these books:

Black Girl Magic Sprinkles is by a mother and daughter duo, Chaunetta and Trinity Anderson, who founded the publishing company Black Girl Magic Books out of their home base in Maryland. The illustrator is Nana Melkadze.

Munna and the Maharaja, by Fawzia Gilani Williams with illustrator Deepa Balsavar, is a product of India’s Tulika press.

Abigail’s Glorious Hair (see image below from ireadify’s twitter), a book by veteran Jamaican children’s book author and blogger Diane Browne, with illustrator Rachel H. Moss. Publisher is Jamaica’s Blue Banyan Books.

(Source – ireadify.com email)

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

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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.

***

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.

***

“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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The Commonwealth Caribbean pick is…

‘A 27-year-old Bahamian writer has been named the Caribbean winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

Alexia Tolas, whose short story “Granma’s Porch” was selected for the award, said she was in disbelief when she received the notification a few weeks ago that she was the regional winner for the literary prize.

“When I found out it was via email, of course, and it was in the middle of the school day so I started to scream,” said Tolas, who works as a literature teacher at Tambearly International School.

“My co-worker she was like, ‘Are you okay?’

“I am like, ‘I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine. I just bucked my toe.’

“I was like I just bucked my toe on the furniture or something because I was like I can’t tell anybody, so it was amazing. When I got home, I did tell one person. I told my husband.”

“Granma’s Porch” is a Bahamian coming-of-age tale told through the eyes of a young Bahamian girl, according to Tolas.

She said the story explores several themes including emotional and sexual abuse, neglect and identity.

“It’s about a young girl just experiencing her first love but just the intricacies of what that means in a Caribbean context, specifically an island context,” Tolas said.

“It’s a lot more difficult for us, especially coming with experiences from our family, experiences in poverty, experiences in neglect and abuse. So, what do all of those experiences do in us making our decision, in us moving forward in adulthood?”

She added, “The protagonist is a young girl, so everything is coming from her eyes. She’s not the most reliable narrator. She doesn’t really understand how the world works, so every decision she makes, every theory she comes up with, is given to her by the people around her.”’ READ ON.

1  c.jpgAlexia is pictured, left, with sci fi author Karen Lord, right, who co-facilitated a Commonwealth-sponsored workshop we both participated in last year.

Congrats, Alexia. And thanks for the shout out!

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Oh Gad!, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All rights reserved. Subscribe to this site to keep up with future updates.

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Commonwealth-Caribbean Writers

kk(Barbadian/Caribbean science fiction author, Karen Lord, author of Redemption in Indigo and other books and most recently editor of New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean, leads a session during the Commonwealth-Caribbean writers workshop which she co-facilitated with Jacob Ross at Ocean Spray Apartments in Barbados)

I got a ton of pictures from the Commonwealth workshop held  in June 2018 for Caribbean writers in Barbados (Read about it here) and thought I’d share some of them (so keep scrolling). The pictures were taken by workshop co-facilitator Jacob Ross and supplied by Emma D’Costa of the Commonwealth.

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(Senior Programme Officer, Commonwealth Writers, Emma D’Costa, centre, with participating writers Sharma Taylor, left, and Shakirah Bourne, right)

Speaking of Emma, I also got from her the Antigua-Barbuda numbers as relates to submissions to the Commonwealth Short Story competition (Read about the outcome of this year’s competition) and, my people, we need to step it up. I say that knowing that rejections are hard to ricochet from and maybe you don’t want to put yourself through that – you just want to write, that maybe competitions are just not your jam, that maybe you have reservations specific to this competition (or the politics of competitions in general), or maybe you don’t see your writing as being its own journey with a narrative arc that requires it to stretch and grow and reach beyond its immediate space. I hear all ah dat (and even feel you on some of it) but le me bend your ear anyway.

This is an international competition, no entry fee, a lot of prestige, and a sizeable purse; plus as it breaks down the Commonwealth in to Asia, Africa, Canada & Europe, the Pacific, and the Caribbean, someone or someones from the Caribbean will be shortlisted and could win, potentially catapulting their writing/career to another level. In 2012, Jamaican author and environmental activist Diana McCaulay was our region’s winner; Trinidad & Tobago’s Sharon Millar who has since published a short story collection was the 2013 regional and shared overall winner with writers from Trinidad & Tobago also short listed, British-based Guyanese writer Maggie Harris was 2014’s regional winner with Trinidad & Tobago and Bahamas also making the short list, Trinidad & Tobago’s Kevin Jared Hosein whose star continues to rise was 2015’s regional winner with Jamaica and TnT also making the short list, TnT educator Lance Dowrich won the 2016 regional prize with Jamaica also short listed, Barbados-based Trinidad and Tobago writer and lawyer Ingrid Persaud (who hosted writers at the Barbados workshop at her beautiful home) 1nn
(That’s Ingrid Persaud, right, during the lime at her home, with Yesha Townsend of Bermuda, and Emma – clearly we had a grand time)

was the 2017 regional and overall winner with Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago also making the short list. In 2018, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are the region’s selections (four of them) for the Commonwealth Short Story short list.

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(During the 2018 Commonwealth workshop for Caribbean writers there was a public reading and 2017 winner of the Commonwealth Prize Ingrid Persaud was a featured reader – we got to hear an excerpt from her novel in progress)

Though shortlisted in the earlier incarnation of this prize in 2002 and 2008, between 2012 and 2018, we (speaking about Antigua and Barbuda now) haven’t cracked 10 entries in any given year – our lowest years in that time were 2015 and 2017 (three entries each) and our best years were 2016 and 2018 (nine entries each), which points as well to an on-year, off-year pattern (not sure of the reason). I know we’re doing a lot more writing than that (for sure we are doing a lot more writing and especially publishing than we were doing even a few years ago – see the ever-growing bibliography of local books archived on this). Still even with the number of submissions from the region being comparatively low (238 in 2018 of 5128 submissions), the number of submissions from the two winningest Caribbean countries is over 50 percent of total submissions from the region (77 from Trinidad and Tobago, and 55 from Jamaica). Granted TnT and Jamaica are considerably bigger than us, and for that and many reasons (more literary models, a more vibrant arts/writing and publishing culture and tradition among them) the odds are in their favour. But still. As Caribbean Reads publisher Carol Mitchell said recently – referencing another regional prize, the Burt Award (for which my book, Musical Youth, published by Caribbean Reads, was a finalist in 2014, one of the very few small island finalists over the years) – we in the small(er) islands need to submit more.

‘…she is concerned that most of the winners come from the larger Caribbean nations, such as Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Guyana and the competition is missing out on the great talent in the smaller islands.

“I do believe the results reflect perhaps, a lack of access to the resources that may be key to producing a polished manuscript that has a shot at winning,”…’

Fair enough, but submitting can build your muscles (and resourcefulness) as a writer (and your chances of being a winning writer) and you never know what could come of it.

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(Here I am at the public reading during the workshop, reading from my children’s picture book With Grace – which in 2017 was an official pick for the US Virgin Islands Governor’s Summer Read Challenge and of which I sold all three copies that I had on me after the Barbados reading – yay)

By way of example, I have never won the Commonwealth Short Story contest, but because of it I was published in 2014’s critically acclaimed Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean and specifically because of that I was invited to read at literary festivals in Scotland and New York, and am excerpted in a CSEC English A Caribbean revision guide, and have been read/studied at two tertiary institutions that I’m aware of (one in Belize and one in NY)- all off of one story (Amelia at Devil’s Bridge), easily one of my most travelled stories. And, yet, a story that didn’t win. This is in concert with other developments in my literary life (including referencing my Burt win, subsequently organizing and facilitating a CODE/Burt workshop here in Antigua; serving as a Caribbean Burt award judge; and, most recently, a mentor for a Burt/Code writer in Africa). All are part of the whole and none of it would happen without consistently writing and submitting. And of course none of it means that I am either where I want or need to be as a writer. After all, I still haven’t won yet, right?

This year not-winning landed me in Barbados for this Commonwealth workshop with other Caribbean writers, drawing strength and community from each others’ experiences (including or perhaps especially our challenges) on our respective islands and from the experience we shared together in Barbados. I felt disappointed obviously about not making the short list but welcomed the opportunity in the end to participate in this workshop because I remain a student of writing and because opportunities to immerse myself in spaces that encourage and respect and support my growth and journey as a writer are rare. And what I learn, I continue to teach, as I returned home to jump in to series 4 of my own Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series and continue my own writing with new and/or re-affirmed goals. Winning the prize (any prize) would be nice to be sure but there is more to be gained from each experience. I know it’s scary and not winning can be disheartening, but sometimes it really is just how things shake out and not a verdict on the worthiness of our story nor of  us as writers (though the goal is to always work to be better by whatever metric is important to us). Keep going, write, submit. Because in the same way that if you let fear win you’ll never learn to swim, if you stop journeying as a writer because of an obstacle in your path, you’ll miss the adventure.

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(Shout out to Sharma Taylor, pictured here amid the creaking towering bamboo trees at Coco Hill. Sharma is from Jamaica but resident in Barbados. On day one of the workshop, she reminded me that she’d taken the workshop session I co-facilitated with African American writer Bernice McFadden at the BIM Lit Fest in 2016. Small world, renewed connections. Sharma is one of the 2018 24 short listed Commonwealth writers.)

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(Coco Hill Forest really was a side of Barbados I’d never seen before)

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(Seriously)

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(But we were game – that’s from left, Barbados’ Carlie Pipe, St. Lucia’s Katherine Atkinson, Bahamas’ Alexia Tolas, Mahmood ‘Mood’ Patel – Barbados filmmaker and owner of Ocean Spray and  this hill we were just about to hike, and me, Antigua and Barbuda)

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(Through the forest we will go, through the forest we did go)

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(Barbadian artist Carlie Pipe blended poetry and music for her presentation #Dampersand)

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(The reading was dope with every one bringing his/her own flava, some reading from  Commonwealth prize entries, some switching it up with poetry, and some, like Shakirah Bourne, reading from previously published work – like her story from the Commonwealth Writers site Adda , one of two stories by her that I’ve used in my workshops by the way)

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(After the readings it was dancing time – let’s see, that’s Nailah Imoja of De Bajan Bookshop and other things, with her back to the camera, she was the workshop’s point person in Barbados and emcee of the public reading; that’s her daughter next to her. In front of them, facing the camera is Bajan short story writer and filmmaker, whose novel a 2018 Burt finalist is forthcoming, Shakirah Bourne, and in conversation, to the right is Alexia Tolas of the Bahamas and Sharma Taylor of Jamaica-Barbados. Some of us are the other bodies you see in the back there dancing)

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(Nailah!)

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(The other Antiguan, Barbados-based Tammi Browne-Bannister)

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(Some of our best conversations happened right here over breakfast and lunch, and occasionally dinner at Ocean Spray – pictured in the foreground are Emma, left, facing away from camera chatting with teacher and writer Alexia Tolas of the Bahamas; across from them, on his computer is lawyer-cum-writer, you may be familiar with his work re Groundation Grenada, Richie Maitland)

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(Our facilitators really covered a lot of ground in the week we had together. There was much to absorb during the actual sessions. Me, absorbing)

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(and I wasn’t the only one)

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(in session – Bermuda’s Regina Ferguson and lecturer and veteran author Angela Barry – whom I first met in 2008 in Barbados when we were both on a panel dubbed Celebrating Caribbean Women Writers, on either side of St. Lucia’s Katherine Atkinson – a teacher, writer, tv personality, and publisher)

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(That’s Shakirah Bourne to my right, your left, fresh off the Burt Awards ceremony and the buzz around her last and most international to date film A Caribbean Dream, a Shakespeare adaptation)

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(Even session breaks were full of discussion – here’s co-facilitator Jacob Ross, whose latest books The Bone Readers and Tell No-one About This were short listed for major awards, with Shakirah Bourne and Sharma Taylor- this picture taken from Carlie Pipe’s public facebook page)

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(the one-on-one sessions were invaluable; pictured is Alexia Tolas with award winning sci-fi author, workshop co-facilitator Karen Lord)

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(I had a couple of sessions with the man himself Jacob Ross; here he is at his reading. Jacob is an acclaimed writer but I first new him as an editor)

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(Conversations never stopped even when we were kicking back – it was a truly rich experience)

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(… and when I said the sea lullabyed me to sleep every night, I wasn’t exaggerating)

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

 

 

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