Tag Archives: COVID-19

Public Service Announcement

The Pandemic is not Over Yet.
The Pandemic is not Over Yet.

In fact, the community is more vulnerable than ever – the last few days having proven the most deadly just using the official record.

Masks remain a necessary part of daily life and we continue to get creative while staying safe. Mask art by Edison Liburd.

A release from Mount St. John Medical Centre in the early part of February noted, ‘the hospital is under more pressure from COVID-19 than at any time since the start of the pandemic. “This is worrisome”, said (MSJMC medical director) Dr. (Albert) Duncan. “This is what will put everything – all healthcare – related to COVID-19 or not – at risk if the infection rate does not slow down.”’

The hospital issued the following (still applicable) general reminders:

“Mount St. John’s Medical Centre is reminding the public of the continuing importance of COVID-19 precautions. For persons who believe they may have COVID-19, they are asked to take these steps:

Stay away from other people to avoid spreading the virus – and contact your doctor, especially if you have a high-risk underlying health condition.
Call the COVID Hotline at 46-COVID (462-6843) for guidance. If they determine you need to be tested, they will coordinate with the appropriate public health officials to determine next steps.
Call 911If you are having a medical emergency, such as difficulty breathing. Notify the 911 operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19.

Please keep in mind the important safety measures that have been scientifically-proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including:

Wearing a mask
Practicing social distancing
Avoiding large gatherings
Practicing good hand hygiene”

As a person moving around Antigua and Barbuda, I will say we need to do better in terms of proper mask wearing – See popular entertainment and media personality, Ibis/Steve Freeland, below.

Let’s keep it real, we want to go back to normal life, we want to save life, but we don’t want to take the vaccine and we can’t be bothered to wear the mask properly or at all? Make it make sense. If we care about human survival at all, can we pick a struggle. Wearing the mask properly, let’s start with that as the bare minimum if we have to venture out or if people not of our household venture in to our space.

Space is another we need to do better issue – something that can cancel Carnival in the Caribbean is serious. No Carnival means no parties, no get togethers except where absolutely necessary (e.g. funerals within the number limitations) and, yes, your birthday dinner with just a few friends counts. That’s just what it is right now. The beaches are still ours though, though spread out.

We seem to be doing good on the wash your hands and sanitizing. So, that’s good.

One last thing, stay informed on the vaccines and try to avoid the conspiracy theory rabbit holes. There is reason to be scared and uncertain especially for us (Black, developing world – there’s a history there) but listen to the provable science, verifiable information sources, the reputable media sources, and let’s do what needs to be done for personal and community safety. This is a public health issue – it’s taking people out – it’s not just about us.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is researched and/or written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, DancingNude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and its Spanish language edition). All Rights Reserved. If you share this list, give credit; if you appreciate the service, help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to this and my author site to keep up with future updates. Thanks and Good Luck.

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CARIB Lit Plus (early-ish June 2020)

Recommendations

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

Awards

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

Art of the Moment

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 News 

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

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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CARIB LIT Plus Mid to Late May 2020

CREATIVE SPACE

Have you been keeping up with my CREATIVE SPACE series covering local art and culture? I say local but there’s been some regional spillage. The second issue of May 2020 (the series as of 2020 is running every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer with an extended edition on my blog), however, covered Antiguan and Barbudan Art of the Century.  ‘Heather’s picks: Mark Brown’s Angel in Crisis series – a 2008 visual art show described in international publication The Culture Trip as “a provocative contemplation of the human condition”. She credited “the depth of the pathos”.’ That’s just one  of three picks by Antiguan and Barbudan visual artist Heather Doram. Read about her other picks, and picks from other artists. Tell me about your picks. In case you missed any of the previous installments in the series, they are archived on the Jhohadli website.

Covid Consequences

The country (Antigua and Barbuda), like much of the world, has been reopening – cross your fingers. Some are being real reckless; don’t be like them. COVID-19 is still very much with us; this is economic expediency not an all-clear sign.

Carnival remains cancelled – for the first time in my lifetime.

New music from local artist Rashid Walker

A little help from the Caribbean Development Bank for people in the creative industries who’ve suffered loss of income due to COVID-19. Specifically to the festivals sub-sector and the Carnival and Festivals sub-sector. The grant is for product development – to produce an online/virtual product, marketing – to promote new Caribbean content, digital – to support the further development of electronic solutions for revenue generation; projects should be community oriented. Details here.

Book Recs

Stay with me here. Margaret Busby OBE is Britain’s youngest and first Black female publisher. She was recently profiled in the 100 Pioneering Women of Sussex Blog series. Excerpt: “Margaret Busby was born in 1944 in Accra, Gold Coast (now Ghana) to Dr George Busby and Mrs Sarah Busby. She went to school in Sussex in Bexhill until the age of 15. She then went to London University to read English, graduating in 1964.” That had me saying, wow. because Margaret is a solid 29 years older than me and I had no idea when we met; her Black don’t crack for real but also she was just so cool – I never once felt out of place around her (which sometimes happens when you walk in to certain spaces). Here we are (her far right, me second from right) in Sharjah in 2019:

The article talks about New Daughters of Africa, the second global anthology in this series (this one 25 years after the original) which she edited. My interactions with her were always respectful and generous – even after all she  has achieved; I have enjoyed being a part of this project. “The 2019 anthology has been nominated for NAACP Awards for Outstanding Literary Work 2020 and a Lifetime Achievement in African Literature by Africa Writes in 2019. Each anthology compiles more than 200 women from Africa and the African diaspora.” So, the rec is New Daughters of Africa. Don’t sleep on it.

 

“Some of the earliest pioneers of crime fiction and mystery thrillers, who included Edgar Mittelholzer and John Morris (pseudonym of John Hearne and Morris Cargill), now find a worthy successor in Grenadian writer Jacob Ross.” – John R Lee’s review of new book Jacob Ross book Black Rain Falling

African American writer Jewell Parker Rhodes is a past Wadadli Pen patron (she donated copies of her book Ninth Ward in 2011) and we are happy to report this positive review of her latest book Black Brother, Black Brother. ‘Born of a white father and a black mother, Donte is extremely darker than his light-skinned brother Trey, and faces substantial discrimination at Middlefield Prep. His schoolmates label him “black brother” and even with Trey’s support he is treated like an outcast. Being one of the few black boys at his new school, Donte is framed and arrested for “throwing a pencil with intent to harm.” His society is constructed by whites for whites so those belonging to this race are considered lawful and civilized. Blackness, on the other hand, is viewed as a stain and is linked to criminality. This causes Donte to be seen as a “thug” who is responsible for any disruption that arises at Middlefield. He is left feeling defeated and confused as he highlights, “the uniform is supposed to make us all the same.” Uniforms at Middlefield Prep. do not guarantee uniformity and compassion, whiteness does, and this is something that Donte lacks on the outside.’ Sounds really interesting. Read the full review at the African American Literary Book Club.

Bocas Lit Fest’s #MyCaribbeanLibrary survey which invited people to share books that made them has yielded the following titles: Giant by Trinidad-born BVI author with Antiguan roots, recent Bocas winner (for another book) Richard Georges, Pynter Bender by Grenada born UK based writer Jacob Ross, US based Jamaican writer Orlando Patterson’s Children of Sisyphus, UK based Jamaican writer Kei Miller’s Augustown, He Drown She in the Sea by Shani Mootoo, a Canada based Trinidadian writer, Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez, Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo, of Trinidad, based in Scotland, Mad Woman by Jamican-American Shara McCallum, Uncle Brother by Jamaican Barbara Lalla, who is professor emerita from Trinidad’s UWI campus, Jamaica’s poet laureate Lorna Goodison’s By Love Possessed, Claire Adam’s Trinidad set Golden Child, The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prada-Nunez of Puerto Rico, UK based Trini Monique Roffey’s House of Ashes, Barbados’ George Lamming’s In the Castle of My Skin, Trinidad’s Michael Anthony’s Green Days by the River, Nobel winning Omerus by St. Lucia’s Derek Walcott, Dominican Jean Rhys’ Voyage in the Dark, Small Island by Andrea Levy, a British writer of Jamaican descent, Trinidadian V. S. Naipaul’s Miguel Street, and Guadeloupean writer Maryse Conde’s Segu.

The New York Public Library’s picks in April for Immigrant Heritage Week included Caribbean titles, including US based Trinidadian Elizabeth Nunez’s memoir Not for Everyday Use and Esmeralda Santiago’s When I was Puerto Rican.

Awards

The five regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize will be announced on June 2nd 2020 and the overall winner during a special ceremony on June 30th 2020. Click here for information on catching it live. In the running for the Caribbean prize are Jamaica’s Brian S. Heap (Mafootoo), Trinidad and Tobago’s Brandon McIvor (Finger, Spinster, Serial Killer), and Sharma Taylor (Cash and Carry), of Jamaica but resident in Barbados, whom I interviewed on my Jhohadli blog.

Jamaican writer Marlon James won the Ray Bradbury prize from the L. A. Times for his book Black Leopard, Red Wolf. The prize is for science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction generally.

Congratulations to all Wadadli Youth Pen Prize recipients. Here’s this year’s photogallery.

Opportunities

The Bocas Lit Fest, as part of its 10th anniversary, has rolled out a number of resources for readers and writers – e.g. a publishing consultancy and book network.

Remember to check the Opportunities Too page here on the blog for opportunities for writers and artists with pending deadlines.

Obit.

Fans of the road march winning (Dress Back) Antiguan and Barbudan Vision band are mourning another loss. Founding member and vocalist (2 x Calypso monarch Edimelo) died quite suddenly recently and now so has another founding member, keyboardist Eric Peters. It was announced on May 20th 2020 that he had been found dead at his Browne’s Avenue home. A post mortem was scheduled to determine the cause of death.

Poet Cecil Gray died in March and was subsequently tributed by Peepal Tree Press with which he had a special relationship.

Guyanese playwright and director Michael Gilkes and cartoonist Samuel Rudolph Seymour – more casualties of COVID-19 from the Caribbean arts community – were remembered in the hometown press.

 

Compiled by Antiguan and Barbudan writer and Wadadli Pen coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse from various sources. 

 

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Carib Lit Plus April 2020

N.B. I usually try to upload all content in a single post but that’s not possible this time. There’s other stuff I need to add to this but, in light of some time specific items, I’m posting the incomplete version. I will have to add remaining items a bit at a time. So come back for updates throughout the month of April. Who knows, that may be the new posting protocol for this series. After all what is this COVID-19 period of life about if not making adjustments. – JCH, Wadadli  Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger

PSA – COVID-19 Response update (Antigua and Barbuda)

Antiguanice.com, a long time Wadadli Pen patron, has a regularly updated data base of COVID-19 advisories for Antigua and Barbuda. It includes curfew guidelines and information re the emergency food assistance programme. It’s important during this time to remember to err on the side of caution; too many people are still out here being too reckless. This is serious and the sooner we comply, the sooner we can beat this thing and smell the sweet perfume of freedom. So #stayhome, social distance (including standing six feet apart, not letting people in to your home and on the flip side not going in to people’s homes), wash the reusable bags you take to the shop, disinfect/sanitize everything, including labels/packaging on delivered or bought items, counter tops and yourself regularly, etc. And to quote the Antiguanice April 4th 2020 newsletter, “to summarise:

You CANNOT go the beach (as it says above it will be there waiting for you when this is all over)
You CANNOT go for your usual daily walk
You CANNOT take your dog for a walk
You CANNOT meander around the roads where you live”

The world is in a strange, disorienting place. Let’s keep our eye on the ball. Stay home. Keep busy. Create. Connect. Do what you can to keep your spirits up. This too shall pass.

Wadadli Pen Challenge 2020 – Update

The judging team (consisting of Floree Williams Whyte, Glen Toussaint, and Danielle Boodoo-Fortune) have decided on the winners. I have been prepping the winning story posts and working out prize distribution, preparatory to following up with the partners (Barbara Arrindell, Devra Thomas, Margaret Irish, and Floree) and patrons. Things have changed drastically since the 2020 Challenge launched in January. We don’t know which patrons will be able to honour their commitments, we haven’t worked out how recipients will receive their prizes and when, though I anticipate we will, in the short term, proceed with the announcements – virtually. We just need to work out the details. I am excited to report that the judges were pleased with this year’s submissions and unanimous about the choices made. That said, there are surprises this year, as the breakdown is different than any past Challenge, and the winning pieces are startlingly relevant. We love to see it. And we’ll keep you posted.

Bocas launches Bios and Bookmarks: an Online Series with Caribbean Authors

The programme which premiered on @bocaslitfest’s Instagram Live (which has quickly become the COVID-19 era virtual concert hall) features readings with familiar and new Caribbean authors across the region and diaspora. As  noted in their email, it’s an opportunity “to get to know the faces behind the words and what’s on their bookshelves. It’s also an opportunity to share comfort, laughter and insights to help get us through these uncertain times.” We, of course, asked a follow up about bookings (as, no doubt, this will be of interest to authors local and beyond), and Nicholas Laughlin, Bocas’ programme director explained, “in this first phase we’ll be focusing on writers with new/recently published books, alongside writers longlisted for this year’s OCM Bocas Prize. Many authors with new books are finding it challenging to promote their titles at the moment, with launches and readings cancelled, bookshops closed etc. We’re trying to lend some support over the coming months by organising these online events, until circumstances allow festivals and launches to resume.” Read about it here.

Books that Made us #MyCaribbeanLibrary

Another great initiative out of Bocas, which, as we have reported elsewhere in this edition of the Carib Lit Plus series (a coalescing of all of the Caribbean lit news coming to my inbox, social media, ear, and elsewhere) has been postponed, is the 100 Caribbean Books that made us series. I actually remember a similar thread over at the unfortunately dead Caribbean Literary Salon (I remember Earl Lovelace coming out on top in that conversation). Who or rather which book or books will rise to the top this time – though it’s less a competition, more an opportunity to share. And share you must if you want to see books that have moved you included. Don’t lament the absence of Antiguan and Barbudan books, for instance, if you don’t weigh in with your selections. I know I plan to discuss my faves on my youtube channel – though as with the Reflecting on Seminal Works sub-head below, I’ll need to think on it. So think on it and weigh in, here’s the link.

Caribbean Reads Book Shelf

Caribbean Reads Publishing (publishers of my own Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and its Spanish language edition Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and of my Burt Award winning teen/young adult novel Musical Youth) is one of several publishers/authors who have gotten (more) active online. I say more active as virtual launches, blog tours, not to mention booktube, authortube, and all the rest of it is not new; but it’s getting some miles on it in this lockdown period as people practice social distancing, and under stay at home orders, find ways to beat boredom. The arts, once again, to the rescue. Check out this chapter from the Caribbean Reads online reading series, and when you’re done that one, look for more, and when you’re done purchase the books add them to your home library, gift them to others, pass them on, and support the authors in our community.

Interviewing the Caribbean

Interviewing the Caribbean is a literary journal founded five years ago by Jamaican writer Opal Palmer Adisa. The journal is now published by the University of the West Indies Press and has for its current issue a co-editor in Jamaican writer Juleus Ghunta. The theme of the current is Caribbean Childhood: Trauma and Triumphs Pt. 2 (Pt. 1 included the 2018 poem Damarae and an interview with Wadadli Pen finalist Rosie Pickering). This issue has as its cover image the cover (used courtesy of publisher Little Bell Caribbean) of the children’s picture book With Grace by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator and author Joanne C. Hillhouse, who is also interviewed in the issue. Interviewing the CaribbeanThe artist is Cherise Harris of Barbados. The issue is dedicated to another Barbadian, one of the leaders of Caribbean letters Kamau Brathwaite who died in 2019. The issue consists of, among other things, art by Jamaica’s Elpideo Robinson (Nature’s Shelter); essays by Anansesem Caribbean children’s lit journal founder and former editor Trinidad’s own Summer Edward (The Nature of Belonging: Making a Home for Children’s Literature in the Caribbean’s Literary Landscape) and Caribbean Reads publisher Carol Ottley-Mitchell (Reflecting the Realities of Caribbean Children); interviews with Jamaican scribes Olive Senior, Kei Miller, and Tanya Batson-Savage (also a publisher); creative works and interviews by Jamaica’s Pamela Mordecai, Tanya Shirley, and A-dZiko Simba Gegele, Barbados’ Linda M. Deane, Trinidad’s Marsha Gomes-McKie, Yvonne Weekes, and Antigua and Barbuda (and Wadadli Pen’s) Barbara Arrindell who shares a story entitled ‘Scholarship Child’.  Interviewing the Caribbean will  be accepting submissions for its Winter 2020 issue between June and September 2020. A tribute issue for Kamau Brathwaite is also in progress; submissions currently being accepted.

IC call kamau

Caribbean PEN Winner

Tobagonian M. Nourbese Philip has won the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. The US$50,000 award is conferred on a living author whose body of work represents the highest level of achievement, and is of enduring originality and consummate craftsmanship. The African-Canadian author published her first book in 1980. Read about Philip and other 2020 PEN winners.

Reflecting on Seminal Works of the Last 20 years

I’ve been trying to prompt this discussion on my facebook page – what singular Antiguan-Barbudan/Caribbean work of the last 20 years has most touched or transformed you personally while also moving the culture either through its creative innovation, topicality, or just plain brilliance. I’m talking the work that you would put in a national collection or a time capsule as something that should not be lost to memory and time. I was prompted to raise this question by an article entitled The African-American Art Shaping the 21st Century in the New York Times that posed this question to top African American artists. Billy Porter chose his own TV show Pose, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney chose a dance piece Grace by Ronald K. Brown – a 2000 production by the Alvin Ailey dance company, choreographer Kyle Abraham chose D’Angelo’s Black Messiah, Oscar winning Moonlight director Barry Jenkins chose Solange’s 2016 album Seat at the Table, The Daily Show correspondent Jaboukie Young-White, meanwhile, chose Jenkins’ Moonlight, author and academic Jesmyn Ward chose Outkast’s last big album so far Speakerboxxx/The Love Below released in 2003, writer Ta-nehesi Coates chose Kendrick Lamar’s good kid/m.A.A.d City (do you notice a pattern with writers choosing music? I find that very relatable).  I wanted us to reflect on it but from a local and regional (Caribbean) mindset – because that’s what we do here. Heads up, I posed this question to the subject of my next CREATIVE SPACE column, so check there soon for (spoiler alert) her answer. If you’re reading this, what’s yours? Answer in the comments.

Congrats to the 2020 Bocas Lit Prize Finalists

It’s quickly become the Caribbean prize to aspire to because of its prominence (associated with Trinidad and Tobago’s Bocas Literary Festival), sizable purse (US$10,000 main prize) in  a region with limited prizes of any type, and the pedigree of writers who’ve claimed the prize thus far (first poetry and main winner was Nobel Laureate the late Derek Walcott of St. Lucia and last year’s poetry prize winner – and current Wadadli Pen judge – TnT’s Danielle Boodoo Fortune). This year, the ones who’ve been tapped are poetry prize winner Richard Georges of the BVI for his third collection Epiphaneia; in fiction Haitian-American writer Edwidge Dandicat for her short fiction collection Everything Inside; and in non-fiction Tessa McWatt, originally from Guyana, resident in the UK, for her meditation on race, identity, family, and migration, Shame on Me. The winner will be announced on May 2nd 2020 online as the Bocas Lit Fest has been postponed due to COVID-19.

PENDING DEADLINE (AT ORIGINAL WRITING OF THIS POST) – International Writers programme Fall Residency and Other Opportunities

The annual programme typically runs from August to November in the US; the application deadline is April 7th 2020. It’s open to writers between 21 and 65 who have a publishing record. More details and other opportunities can be found on the Wadadli Pen blog’s Opportunities Too page. The blog’s main Opportunities page is also being constantly updated.

As with all content yadda yadda yadda…just credit the source, okay?

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