Tag Archives: commonwealth

Carib Plus Lit News (Early November 2019)

Happy Independence, Antigua and Barbuda.

Original Posting November 1st 2019>and on November 2nd ETA SX Salon & Womanspeak.

The WomenSpeak Project in Trinidad and Tobago teams with the Institute for Gender and Development for ‘Write to Speak’

The WomenSpeak Project in partnership with The Institute for Gender and Development Studies invite you to register for the “Write to Speak” spoken word workshop for women. In this workshop participants will be exposed to the tools for developing their style through poetry: exploring verbal fluency, finding and projecting their unique voice, transforming memory into an intentional story, characterization, and the basics to writing a poem. Participants will have the opportunity to work individually and in groups to explore advocacy and prepare their very own spoken word piece with facilitator Alyea Pierce, a spoken word poet and Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow. Write to Speak will be held on November 16th 2019 at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the UWI, St. Augustine. Contact womenspeakproject@gmail.com for more information.

SX Salon Number 31 is Now Available Online

With this issue, SX Salon transitions editors, with Rachel L. Mordecai taking on the role of SX Salon editor and Ronald Cummings taking on the role of book review editor. Vanessa K. Valdés and Kelly Baker Josephs will both still be part of the larger Small Axe Project, but are leaving SX Salon in Rachel’s and Ron’s hands. A special discussion section of Issue 31 (focused on online publishing) is guest-edited by outgoing editor Kelly Baker Josephs and outgoing book review editor Vanessa K. Valdés. The pieces collected in this section include reflective essays by Peter James Hudson of The Public Archive, by Vanessa K. Valdés, and by Jyothi Natarajan of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop website, as well as interchanges between Social Text Online editors Anna McCarthy, Tavia Nyong’o, and Marie Buck, and between Kelly Baker Josephs and the Caribbean Review of Books editor Nicholas Laughlin. The essays offer brief, compelling histories of the contributors’ respective platforms as they speak to Josephs and Valdés’s prompts, but the discussion also raises distinct questions of representation in digital space. Also in this issue, reviews of  Crossing the Line: Early Creole Novels and Anglophone Caribbean Culture in the Age of Emancipation by Candace Ward, Caribbean Critique: Antillean Critical Theory from Toussaint to Glissant by Nick Nesbitt, Slave Old Man: A Novel by Patrick Chamoiseau, Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypso Icon by Anthony Joseph, and Stolen Time: Black Fad Performance and the Calypso Craze by Shane Vogel. The Poetry and Prose section contains a story by Cynthia James as well as two multi-modal, digital-literature offerings: Urayoán Noel’s “Bagku” and “Cinquain sin quien,” and Joey De Jesus’s “Black Flag.” As SX Salon continues in its role as an innovative and important platform vis-a-vis Caribbean literature and literary criticism, Rosamond S. King will continue in her role as creative editor. To contact, SX Salon, email rlm@smallaxe.net

About the Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize

This has been in Opportunities Too for some time, but in case you missed it (I’m posting this on the last day for submissions, which also happens to be Antigua and Barbuda’s Independence Day, November 1st). From the official release: The 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize is accepting entries from 1 September to 1 November 2019. The competition is administered by Commonwealth Writers and is free to enter. The prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words). The five regional winners receive £2,500 each and the overall winner receives a total of £5,000. In addition to English, submissions are accepted in Bengali, Chinese, French, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil, and Turkish. Stories that have been translated into English from any language are also accepted. The prize is open to citizens of all Commonwealth countries and judged by an international panel, representing each of the five regions of the Commonwealth. The judges for the 2020 prize are: Nii Ayikwei Parkes (Chair), Mohale Mashigo (Africa), William Phuan (Asia), Heather O’Neill (Canada and Europe), Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw (Caribbean), and Nic Low (Pacific). The five regional winning stories are published online by the literary magazine Granta. Past winners of the prize have gone on to win other literary competitions and secure book deals. The overall winner is announced at a ceremony which is held in a different region of the Commonwealth each year. All the regional winners are invited to attend this special event which provides opportunities to network with other writers and engage the media. Janet Steel, Programme Manager of Commonwealth Writers, said: ‘The prize is at the heart of all the work we do at Commonwealth Writers. It’s a chance for new voices to shine from around the Commonwealth and be recognised on a global platform.’ Constantia Soteriou, Cypriot writer and overall winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, said: ‘I feel honoured and happy to win this amazing prize; it feels like a reward for all the hard work I have been doing over the last eight years, writing about the perspectives of women on the political and historical events of Cyprus. ‘This prize is a recognition for giving voice to those who did not have the chance to be heard before; those who were left behind.’ Those interested in applying can find out more about eligibility, rules, and the submission process [here].

About the Sharjah International Literary Festival

Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Musical Youth etc. and founder/coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize) is scheduled to be a guest author at the Sharjah International Book Fair.  According to Gulf Today, “The 38th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2019) will be a dream come true for book lovers, with more than 60 international authors and cultural personalities set to participate in the third largest book fair in the world.” This includes American comedian and host Steve Harvey, acclaimed African American author Bernice McFadden (The Book of Harlan, Sugar), and, among others editor of the global anthology New Daughters of Africa UK-based Margaret Busby. Hillhouse will be part of a New Daughters panel and another panel on young adult literature, in addition to a scheduled school visit. We’re sure she’ll report on the experience on her return.

About the Burt Award

This book is the last Burt Award winner, look for it and the other winning titles as Burt Award editions on your book shelves soon. What’s the Burt Award? and is this just a shameless attempt to point you to a post that addresses that very question and highlights all the teen/young adult Caribbean prizes that came out of this contest? Yes… why?

About the V. S. Pritchett Short Story Prize

I’m not sure if anyone from the Caribbean has won or even been shortlisted for this UK Prize before. No names jump out at me. But one surely did when I checked the long list for 2019. Well, two – Diana McCaulay and her story Picking Crabs in Negril.

Diana McCauley at the launch of her first book Dog-Heart with renowned Jamaican poet Mervyn Morris. (Photo courtesy Diana McCauley)

She is one of 11 finalists for the prize, valued at 1000 pounds. Here are the details. Diana may be known to readers of the blog as we’ve interviewed her and reviewed her Burt award winning book Gone to Drift, mentioned most recently in a post we did on the Burt Award. Congratulations to her on her continued achievements -after becoming a Burt award finalist for a second time this year, with a manuscript shortly to be published by Peepal Tree Press.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure – Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe). All rights reserved. 

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Mailbox – Commonwealth Short Story Prize

This email I received as a (failed) entrant indicates that there were 5,081 entries this year; and 21 short listed entries. Regional winners will be announced in May and the overall winner will be named in July.

And FYI: “The Short Story Prize is Commonwealth Writers’ flagship project, attracting entries from almost every single country of the Commonwealth. We appreciate all the entries we receive: not only do we celebrate the winners and shortlisted writers, but a number of entries also feature in our anthologies and on our sister website, adda. We also run a series of creative writing workshops related to the Short Story Prize, and will be sure to contact you if any of these are organized for your area. Please do keep writing and sending us your entries.” Their email address is: writers@commonwealth.int

So the email links to the actual news re winners – and right away I have to shout out Barbados’ Shakirah Bourne and Alexia Tolas of the Bahamas (both of whom I participated in a Commonwealth Writers workshop with last year – though I knew Shakirah before).

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That’s Alexia and Shakirah, also a 2018 finalist for the Burt Award, second and third from left during a hangout at the Commonwealth Writers workshop in Barbados last year. Also pictured are far left Sharma Taylor, a Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlisted writer last year and is short listed this year for the Johnson and Amoy Achong Prize which will provide mentorship for a Caribbean writer; fourth from left workshop co-facilitator with Jacob Ross, Karen Lord; and me (JCH).

They are two of the four from the Caribbean still in the running – Shakirah for ‘A Hurricane & The Price of Fish’ and Alexia for ‘Granma’s Porch’; the other two are Guyana’s Kevin Garbaran for ‘The Ol’ Higue on Market Street’ and Trinidad and Tobago’s Rashad Hosein for and ‘Oats’ by Rashad Hosein.

There are short listed writers from across the Commonwealth and you can read the full list here. Of the list internationally acclaimed author and 2019 prize judge Caryl Philips (whose roots are in St. Kitts-Nevis) said, “The vitality and importance of the short story form is abundantly clear in this impressive shortlist of stories from around the world. These authors have dared to imagine into the lives of an amazingly wide range of characters and their stories explore situations that are both regional and universal. Almost as impressive as the number of entrants and the quality of the shortlist, is the amount of work that the panel of judges have invested in this process. They have read carefully, debated with great sensitivity, and been mindful of cultural traditions as they have collectively reached their decision. Compared to many literary prizes, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize is still young. However, with each passing year the prize gains importance within the literary world. It offers a unique opportunity to read and think across borders, and to connect imaginations from around the globe. It has been a great honour to be a part of the judging of the 2019 prize.”

The announcement gives some teasers; I’ll just share the blurbs of the Caribbean ones:

“The unlikely romance between a no-nonsense market vendor and a retired swindler has dire consequences on the price of fish during hurricane season.” – A Hurricane & The Price of Fish

“Folktales and Jumbie stories take a dark turn after young Devika decides to investigate the rumours of an Ol’ Higue living in her village.” – The Ol’ Higue on Market Street

“Fearing for his life, Forceripe Frederick obeys the blind obeah man after breaking his window. His request: read to him. This is a story about an old man who keeps oats in his pocket and a troubled teen who learns why.” – Oats

“Abandoned by her father on her grandmother’s porch, Helena fumbles along the delicate border between adolescence and adulthood, guided by the past traumas of her friends and family and her troubled first love.” – Granma’s Porch

Congrats to all the winners; Caribbean, come through.

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, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). 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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Mailbox – Commonwealth Short Story Prize

I have opened two rejections in my mailbox in the past hour. That acknowledgment (after several books and more than 10 years as a published writer) is made in the spirit of commiseration with anyone feeling discouraged today as they navigate this writing life.

The first rejection “yada yada yada” ended with “Your work came very close! Please try us next year.” And I will. I joke that it’s because writers are masochists but I think it’s because a commitment to the writing life means picking yourself up, skinned knees and all, and walking on until your legs give out … or maybe until you find something that pulls you as much as the writing life does.

And so, turning to that other entry from the rejection file, to the 1476 5182 short story writers at all different stages and levels of this writing life from all over the Commonwealth who didn’t make the cut for this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize, I want to take a moment to say (to all of us, because rejections are a part of the writing life but they still suck) be encouraged, keep writing, keep striving to be better writers, stay on that road. And put some iodine on those knees.

Now shake off the dispiritedness and any badmindness you may be feeling (let’s be real), and join me in saying to the writers of the 24 shortlisted stories, big up yuh chest!

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You’ve earned it.

Big up especially to the Caribbean writers making the cut Jamaicans Marcus Bird (An Elephant in the Kingdom) and Sharma Taylor (Son Son’s Birthday), perennial finalist of this and other Prizes (and published author) Trinidad and Tobago writer Kevin Hosein (Passage), and Breanne McIvor, also of T & T (The Boss). Caribbean to the World!

The regional winners – i.e. winners from the Caribbean, Canada and Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific – will be announced in late June, and the overall winner in late July.

Here now is the shortlist.

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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Mailbox – Who’s Judging You?

Did you submit to the Commonwealth Short Story Competition? I hope you did, I posted a reminder in Opportunites Too. Are you anxiously awaiting the results? Exhale, nothing to be done now but wait…and keep writing. Are you curious about who’s judging this year’s entries? That I can help with as the judges’ bios landed in my inbox this week.

“The 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize judging panel is chaired by Sarah Hall. The international judging panel comprises a judge from each of the five regions – Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific.”

Of the chair, the correspondence said, “Sarah Hall received a master of letters in creative writing from Scotland’s St. Andrews University and has published five award-winning novels and a collection of short stories, Beautiful Indifference which won the Portico Prize for Fiction 2012 and the Edge Hill short story prize. In 2013 she was named one of Granta’s ‘Best Young British Novelists’, and she has won the BBC National Short Story Award and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has judged a number of prestigious literary awards and prizes including the Man Booker. She has tutored for the Faber Academy, The Guardian, the Arvon Foundation, and has taught creative writing in a variety of establishments in the UK and abroad.”

You can go here to read about the judges from the other regions, including the Caribbean’s Mark McWatt, a Guyanese national and past Commonwealth and Casa de las Americas prize winner.

Fingers crossed, right? I mean, the only thing that’s up for grabs is “a total prize money of £15,000. The overall winner receives £5,000, one of the highest amounts for an international short story prize open to unpublished writers. Regional winners receive £2,500” – and the distinction of winning the Commonwealth Short Story Competition.

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, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). 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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Congrats to the ANYC…Belatedly

Belated congratulations to the Antigua and Barbuda National Youth Choir on being joint winners of the Commonwealth Choir Competition. The sing-off was held in 2016 and the winners announced in March 2017. Their entry was Unity written by John Hewlett and Dr. George Roberts.

According to this Observer article, the choir will be flown to London in 2018 to record the winning song. Observer NYC

Congrats to them…belatedly. So that you don’t have to depend on me to keep up with the ABNYC, like their page.

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Mailbox – Commonwealth announces Regional Winners of Short Story Prize

commonwealth.pngCommonwealth Writers is delighted to announce the regional winners for this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The five outstanding stories were successful in a year of fierce competition when the Prize received a record 6,000 entries from across the Commonwealth.

Janet Steel, Programme Manager of Commonwealth Writers, said:
“We are extremely proud of the Short Story Prize. Every year, as the number of entries increase, we are both thrilled and honoured that writers take the time to send us their precious and sometimes very personal stories from around the world.

The prize is at the heart of all the work we do at Commonwealth Writers. It’s a chance for new writers to shine from around the Commonwealth and be recognised on a global platform. Some of the writers may have come up through our craft development initiatives, others may have been writing for years but what they all have in common is a passion and a commitment to writing stories that are moving, enlightening and make people sit up and listen.”

The winning writers are: READ MORE

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Four Caribbeans out of 21: the Commonwealth Short Story Long List

‘Twenty-one outstanding stories have been selected by an international judging panel out of almost 6000 entries from 49 Commonwealth countries. This was a record number of submissions, an increase of almost 50% from 2016. Now in its sixth year the Prize is for the best piece of unpublished short fiction in English.

Chair of the judges, novelist Kamila Shamsie, said of this year’s shortlist:

“The extraordinary ability of the short story to plunge you into places, perspectives and emotions and inhabit them fully in the space of only a few pages is on dazzling display in this shortlist. The judges weren’t looking for particular themes or styles, but rather for stories that live and breathe. That they do so with such an impressive range of subject matter and tone has been a particular pleasure of re-reading the shortlisted stories. The geographic spread of the entries is, of course, in good part responsible for this range – all credit to Commonwealth Writers for structuring this prize so that its shortlists never seem parochial. ”

The Prize is judged by an international panel of writers, representing each of the five regions of the Commonwealth. The 2017 judges are Zukiswa Wanner (Africa), Mahesh Rao (Asia), Jacqueline Baker (Canada and Europe), Jacob Ross (Caribbean) and Vilsoni Hereniko (Pacific).’

There are four Caribbean writers on the long list. They are Roland Watson-Grant (Jamaica), Jon Lewis-Katz (U.S. based, Trinidad origins), Caroline Mackenzie (Trinidad), and Ingrid Persaud (Barbados based, of Trinidad).

Congrats to them.

Read about all the finalists and sample their entries, here.

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Mailbox: Commonwealth Dreams come to Fruu-ish-aan at Calabash

by Lance Dowrich – Commonwealth short story prize regional finalist –  teacher and higher education administrator and public speaker who believes in teaching through storytelling and humour to connect with people – currently compiling a collection of short stories for publication and working on an e-book featuring ‘Ethelbert and the Free Cheese’

(Fruu-ish-aan. A play on a word. ‘Fruition’ means the realisation or fulfilment of a plan or project. In the words of the superb host and master of ceremonies, Dr Kwame Dawes, everything at Calabash 2016 came to fruition and everything was alright.

It was more than alright, it was great!

Regional Commonwealth Winners at Calabash.

Regional Commonwealth Winners at Calabash.

The Regional Winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize held the spotlight on Sunday afternoon. Calabash 2016 heard excerpts from all our stories – reading that afternoon were Parashar Kulkani from India, Faraaz Mahomed from South Africa, Stefanie Seddon from the UK, Tina Makereti from New Zealand and myself from Trinidad and Tobago.  Marlon James graciously declared Parashar Kulkarni from India as the overall winner of the 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for his story ‘Cow and Company’. Parashar’s story had everyone in stitches and was well received by the large crowd.

 

Read more of what Lance had to say about Calabash here.

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Commonwealth Short Story Short List 2016

I’ve been meaning to post about this but I’ve been backed up. But better late than never. Congratulations to all the writers making the Commonwealth Short Story Short List. If you entered and that’s not you, don’t be discouraged. That’s not platitudes. I’m someone who enjoys experimenting and testing myself with the short story form and who, as a journeying writer, stretches toward every opportunity I can alllmost reach for, who continues to receive more than my fair share of rejections (that’s the cycle, submit, shake it off, submit again, and every now and again go crazy celebrating that w/in), and who’s had to stem the disappointment as far as this prize is concerned. The closest I’ve gotten to the main draw is my selection for the Commonwealth short story prize for the collection entitled Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean. It was encouraging to know I’d gotten that close though – and can I tell you, the reviews of the published story (Amelia at Devil’s Bridge which, incidentally, was also short listed for the Small Axe Fiction prize) have been really positive and it’s even been taught at the University of Belize, so you never know why something didn’t make the final cut, doesn’t mean it has no value, and you never know where something may end up and never will if you don’t put it out there. I continue to work on strengthening my writing skills and looking for the opportunity to sink that black eight ball in the pocket. You better believe the Commonwealth judges ah go tired fu see me face (thanks, Bob). And so I say to you, if your name’s not on this list, shake it off (thanks, Mariah). Those who know me know I’m not relentlessly optimistic (ha!) but I am obstinately persistent. So, to you I say, I know through the blood, sweat, and tears of rejection that it can be discouraging but DO NOT GIVE UP.

Big up to all the finalists and especially the Caribbean finalists in bold below.

Aabirah, Sophia Khan (Pakistan)
A Visitation, Jane Healey (United Kingdom)
Black Milk, Tina Makereti (New Zealand)
Charmed, Jane Downing (Australia)
Children of the Zocalo, Don McLellan (Canada)
Confluence, Nova Gordon-Bell (Jamaica)
Cow and Company, Parashar Kulkarni (India)
Dirty White Strings, Kritika Pandey (India)
Eel, Stefanie Seddon (United Kingdom)
Ethelbert and the Free Cheese,
Lance Dowrich (Trinidad and Tobago)
Exorcism, Lausdeus Chiegboka (Nigeria)
Girdhar’s Mansion, Sumit Ray (India)
Imbecile, Craig S Whyte (United Kingdom)
Instant Karma, Vinayak Varma (India)
Kurram Valley, Munib A Khan (Pakistan)
Niroporadh Ghum (Innocent Sleep),
Sumon Rahman (Bangladesh);
Translator: Arunava Sinha
Saving Obadiah, Enyeribe Ibegwam (Nigeria)
Space Invaders, Stuart Snelson
(United Kingdom)
The Driver, Oyinkan Braithwaite (Nigeria)
The Entomologist’s Dream, Andrew Salomon (South Africa)
The Pigeon, Faraaz Mahomed (South Africa)
This Here Land, Miranda Luby (Australia)
This is How We Burn, Cat Hellisen
(South Africa)
Vestigial, Trent Lewin (Canada)
When I Came Home, Mark Winkler
(South Africa)
Where Mountains Weep, Bonnie Etherington (New Zealand)

This version of the list pulled from the Scoop.

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, 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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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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