Tag Archives: congratulations

Happy Pub Season to Bernice L. McFadden

Dope African-American sister with Bajan ties whom I actually met when we jointly facilitated a workshop at the BIM Lit Fest in 2016 in Barbados. The Image Award winning author and Professor (in one of my favourite cities, New Orleans) continues to do dope things, and one of them is the release of her latest book Praisesong for the Butterflies. Interesting (and unfamiliar) topic. Let her explain:

Shout out to the African American Literary Club which continues to amp up authors of colour.

We’ve covered Bernice here on the site before in Reading Room and Gallery 20 (Interviews section where she’s talking about her last publication The Book of Harlan).  Wadadli Pen participants received copies of McFadden’s Glorious back in 2016; thanks, to Pamela Arthurton. I’ve only read one of her books so far, though, and that was Sugar, which I also reviewed here on the blog. Look forward to reading more. Congrats, Bernice.

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!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). 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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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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AGHS Two-peats at Schools Drama Festival

Did you get out to the Antigua and Barbuda Secondary Schools Drama Festival last week? No? From all accounts it’s your loss – and mine. Yep, I was a deadbeat as well though I did have the opportunity to preview the winning play during a dress rehearsal. I knew then that on originality alone it had snagged the prize because the play, written and directed by Zahra Airall, was every bit of that. Drawing on African-Caribbean folk characters like Mami Wata, Mama Glo, Djablesse, Douen, Soucouyant, and others and locating them all right here in a hidden dimension in the forests of Antigua, she sets up an interesting premise that becomes even more so when that bubble of reality is penetrated by a human woman and her baby. What happens to the baby when the woman gives birth in the forest? What becomes of the woman? What will these supernatural creatures with desires and distractions of their own decide about the fate of this child?

The characters as drawn have both the indifference of gods to human foibles and at the same time very human concerns – loneliness, jealousy – of their own. The performances in rehearsal were effective and sometimes even more than that. And the judges agreed giving the lion’s share of prizes after a week of performances by various secondary schools to Zahra Airall and the girls of the Antigua Girls High School.

Here’s the prize breakdown (credit: Z Airall on facebook):

2015 Drama Awards
AGHS trophies
Best Sound Effects – Antigua Girls High School
Best Lighting – AGHS
Best Set Design – CHSS
Best Make-up – AGHS
Best Costume – AGHS
Best Upcoming Actor – Sadiki Harris (Barbuda)
Best Upcoming Actress – Macnelia Gomes (Pares Secondary School)
Most Original Play – AGHS
Best Stage Management – PSS
Best Director – Zahra Airall (AGHS)
Most Disciplined School – Clare Hall Secondary School
Most Promising Actor – Shemar Weber ( Barbuda)
Most Promising Actress – Sherissa Prince (Jennings Secondary School)
Best Ensemble Performance – CHSS
Best supporting actor – Stephan Jones (PSS)
Best supporting actress – Erica Williams (JSS)
Best Actor – Junior Webber (CHSS)
Best Actress – Shaveesa Gasper (AGHS)
Outstanding Production – AGHS

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Congratulations to the winners, to AGHS especially for two-peating (you’ll remember that they wow’d in Antigua last year and impressed in regional competition in Trinidad as well), and to the organizers; with efforts like this, we’d be purging our conscience to say theatre in Antigua and Barbuda doesn’t have a pulse. So, I urge only that they keep it going; but of course that requires the support of, to quote Short Shirt “we, the people, ourselves”. As usual, we need to do better and show up in our numbers to support. We can’t let the interest in a positive arts programme falter because of lack of interest on our part. Yes, that goes for me, too.

Read Zahra Airall’s exclusive to Wadadli Pen guest blog on last year’s experience; think we can get her to do it again?

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, Fish Outta Water, 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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Jumbies all around

Went tonight to the Youth Enlightenment Academy here in Antigua to attend the launch of Mali Olatunji’s book and exhibition. The books are now available for sale and the exhibition remains open for a month.  I quote below from the launch booklet.

Untitled

Painterly Photographer
The Artwork of Mali Olatunji
Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy
July – September, 2015

A Note from Artist, Mali Adelaja Olatunji (excerpts)
“This body of photographs, ‘Woodist Jumbie Aesthetics’, is for me an assemblage of abstract speculative conjectures.
“…their strident nature allows for a re-examination of Spirit and the aesthetics of departed souls – Jumbies.
“Each photograph is of two or more images that are inter-layered by inter-penetrating optical images of people, places or object onto silver halide salt (film), in a camera. This process is exceedingly improbable to replicate. Thus each is unequivocally an original.
“(in ‘pure photography’) …exactitude in physical replication: lines, color, form, texture and so on, is your aim. Having mastered this for a long twenty-one years, I deserve the space to make ‘my Art’!
“I made the decision to concentrate less on making photographs that were primarily instantiation of factual accuracy…more on picturing ideas of unreliability as an imaginative activity.”

A Note from Author, Paget Henry, the Art of Mali Olatunji (excerpts)
“In addition to bringing fresh support for the fine arts possibilities of photography, Olatunji brings to this visual practice a new technique and an original vision. This new technique is that of using the lines and textures of wood, tree bark, and leaves to enhance the symbolic capabilities of photography. It is this enhanced symbolic capability that gives his photography its painterly qualities and its power to engage the spiritual, and social themes that run through this exhibition.
“The original vision derives from Olatunji’s attempts to imagine how our world would look if seen through ‘the eyes’ of a Jumbie or a departed soul that has taken up residence in a tree now that it has lost its body. It is on account of this new woodist technique that this original vision that Olatunji’s photography will surely generate a lot of interest and debate.
“His photography is sure to raise questions about the long and tense relationship between painting and photography, as the painterly possibilities of the latter are developed in his work to a heretofore unprecedented degree.”

A Note from the Exhibition Curator, Karen Allen Baxter (excerpts)
“This exhibition, The Painterly Photographer, the Artwork of Mali Olatunji, the first in the Sir Reginald Samuel Gallery, also marks the formal opening of this important arts space. The work of Mali Olatunji is meaningful, engaging, explorative, poignant, sometimes humorous and perfect for this inaugural exhibition!
“These photographs invite the viewer to look again, view with intent, examine closely to realize more or realize something else and to appreciate differently.”

Untitled

So, this book has been many years in the making. I’ve had many discussions with both Mali and Paget about it over the years. I now look forward to reading it. I’m (insert indescribable emotion here) to be included among the images. Ha! me, a model! From all my discussions with the creators of this book over the years, I know it’s more than just pretty pictures, that there’s technical experimentation and exploration of ideas, and of a particular idea very much rooted in our (maybe more once upon a time than actual these days) African Antiguan belief system. I know books like this are important in grounding us in Self; as Mali said at the launch, there is too much of the Antiguan Self slipping away with this dressing up in other selves that we do, losing our Self in the process. As he said, this book is not just for us; it is Us. Thanks, Mali. Thanks, Paget, for pushing Mali (I know he didn’t go easy …but here it is for the record). Finally, congrats to Hansib for, in this weird time in publishing where even Big publishers aren’t taking risks, being outside the box not only in taking on an unconventional project like this but for quickly becoming an MVP when it comes to taking on book projects from this small place. Think about it, Hansib is responsible for the publication of several Antiguan and Barbudan books in recent years, from my own  The Boy from Willow Bend, to the Art of Mali Olatunji, and including Paget’s V. C. Bird book and Dorbrene O’Marde’s Bocas Short Listed Short Shirt book Nobody Go Run Me and Send Out You Hand. Which other publisher Caribbean or not would have taken a chance on those ideas, simply because they felt they were voices that needed hearing, stories that needed telling, and not rushing and skimping on the quality in the process. No relationship is perfect but jack his jacket on all that and look forward to more. Now go get Mali’s book. In fact, get all those books while you’re at it.

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, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, 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 WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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