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).
Rest in Peace and Power to media commentator and Rastafari elder King Frank-I who died on December 6th 2021.
The Antiguan and Barbudan ambassador (to Ethiopia), whose government name was Franklyn Francis, was “a respected voice in sports broadcasting” (Caribbean Loop). Frank-I, part of the intellectual class as a graduate of the University of the West Indies and University of Glasgow (at a time when that level of tertiary education was not common in Antigua and Barbuda) was also renowned throughout local and regional media for his commentary on society, culture, current affairs, and history. He was a staunch advocate for the decriminalization of marijuana and for the constitutional rights of Rastafari generally (Caribdirect). (Source – Facebook)
Blog Love (drawing your attention to new blogs we’re following or blog posts we’ve read to share the love as we hope others will share our content)
Started following Women Writers Worldwide – as with most of these reading the world posts we’ve come across, for Antigua and Barbuda, they are reading Jamaica Kincaid (which makes sense as she is the best known and most acclaimed Antiguan and Barbudan writer, though we hope they’ll use our database to discover other voices from the #268)
Give the Tim Tim Bwa Fik playlist a listen – it has conversations in two parts with Caribbean romance writers like the British Virgin Islands’ Eugenia O’Neal, Trinidad and Tobago N. G. Peltier (a recent addition to the Wadadli Pen Reading Room and Gallery -see Site Updates below), and Barbados’ Callie Browning. Scroll and hit the playlist.
Pictured are children’s picture books by Antiguan and Barbudan authors who also happen to be Wadadli Pen team members, featuring Dance on the Moon, the latest from Floree Whyte (her previous book The Wonderful World of Yohan is also pictured). Congrats to Whyte (whom I will be interviewing shortly for CREATIVE SPACE) on this new release. Pictured as well is my The Jungle Outside and Barbara Arrindell’s Turtle Beach, both from Harper Collins’ Big Cat series. Whyte’s books are independently published by her own Moondancer Books. (Source – Best of Books)
For other new Antiguan and Barbudan books – like Kortright Davis’ We Belong to Big Church, Joan Underwood’s companion workbook for her Manager’s First Aid Kit: Bringing the Lessons to Life, and Floree Williams Whyte’s Dance on the Moon – see Site Updates. And there’s this new journal, Coffee and Violets, from Sally Davis:
(Source – author on Facebook)
Expired opportunities removed, forthcoming opportunities added to Opportunities Too.
Interview links have been added to Reading Room and Gallery 42.
A video has been added to the Wadadli Pen 2021 Challenge video gallery.
December 15th 2021 – Decides Antigua and Barbuda (a project of interarts, Women Against Rape, and UWI), has announced an opportunity to explore what gender equality, sexual identities, and inclusivity means to you. To win EC$1500, create something – a song, video, dramatic presentation, graphic design or other visual art – and submit by December 15th 2021. See Women Against Rape in Antigua and Barbuda for more information (or call 268-721-5553). (Source – WAR email)
Remember to see Opportunities Too on Wadadli Pen so you don’t miss anything.
There’s some overlap as Floree’s new book (above) and my media award (below) could fit in to this category – it’s all evolving. So, not quite sure where to put this video, so here seems as good a place as any. It is my reading, for the ABS TV Book Club, from my latest book (this series of readings also included, though I don’t have the video or a link, as yet, another Wadadli Pen team member Barbara Arrindell and Desryn Collins, both of whom also have books in the Harper Collins Caribbean line of Big Cat books which also came out in 2021).
Former Wadadli Pen finalist and later (2017) intern Michaela Harris was in the local paper this week for the work of an NGO she apparently started in 2018 and, specifically during the 16 days of activism against domestic violence, its focus on young women. The non-profit is called Her Shine Theory and Michaela is quoted as saying, “Her Shine Theory is driven by a recognised need to support, guide and empower young women to define what authentically being their best self means, rather than succumbing to pressure and societal expectations of women at any given time; while acknowledging and respecting differences amongst women. Her Shine Theory advocates for fierce self-love, self-care and self-respect in its development of young women in our society and creates a sisterhood of support in this endeavour.” HST has reportedly been very active online and will be partnering (at this writing) with the Directorate of Gender Affairs on a candlelight vigil to draw attention to the issue of domestic violence. The HST has 15 ambassadors locally and regionally. (Source – Daily Obsever newspaper)
Twenty-three art teachers from public and private schools in Antigua and Barbuda have completed a three-month art teaching certification course, sponsored by the Halo Foundation and Jumby Bay Fund in conjunction with the Royal Drawing School in the UK, the Ministry of Education, and the G art gallery. Local artist counterpart, Anson Henry, assisted with the programme – which was developed after a needs assessment. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)
Commonwealth Writers has reported 6, 730 submissions for its annual short story prize. This is the most submissions to date. “Stand out countries included Antigua and Barbuda, Namibia, Mauritius and the Seychelles who saw a 400% increase in their number of entries compared to last year.” This is a sharp incline from just a few years ago when submissions from Antigua and Barbuda were such a cause for concern that concern was raised (with me) as recently as 2018 by CW and efforts were made through Wadadli Pen to encourage writer submissions from Antigua and Barbuda. CW reports, “The variety of themes within your stories also reached new levels. The most common themes were family drama, love and coming of age tales. Over 1,922 of you submitted stories on other diverse themes ranging from femicide, to mental health, racism, religion and the pandemic.” Judging is underway and longlisted writers will be announced in April 2022. (Source – CW email)
The Langston Hughes Festival honoured Jamaica Kincaid in November 2021 (I – Joanne C Hillhouse – was one of the writers invited to pay tribute) and now we have video –
Bocas’ Bios and Bookmarks welcomes Myriam Chancy –
(Source – Facebook)
Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival online reading group –
(Source – Facebook)
A quick round up of some recent book signing events at Wadadli Pen patron The Best of Books bookstore.
This has included (pictured above) 2021 Wadadli Pen patron Patricia Tully for her Pioneers of the Caribbean in November; preceded in October by Montserrat writer Marguerite J. Joseph’s Lady under the Stairs and in December by US based Antiguan writer Bridget Samuel Charles’ No Regrets: The Story of Elline Merle Derene. (Source – possibly Facebook…also Tully signing in-person)
This is from early in 2021 but still makes for essential viewing. Caribbean Women’s Writing: Celebrating 30 Years out of the Kumbla.
(Source – email…I think)
Trinbagonian Desiree C. Bailey is a 2021 National Book Awards for Poetry finalist for her collection What Noise Against the Cane – previously the winner of the 2020 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. ‘What Noise Against the Cane is a lyric quest for belonging and freedom, weaving political resistance, Caribbean folklore, immigration and the realities of Black life in America. Desiree C. Bailey begins by reworking the epic in an oceanic narrative of bondage and liberation in the midst of the Haitian Revolution. The poems move into the contemporary Black diaspora, probing the mythologies of home, belief, nation and womanhood. Series judge Carl Phillips observes that Bailey’s “poems argue for hope and faith equally. . . . These are powerful poems, indeed, and they make a persuasive argument for the transformative powers of steady defiance.”’ (book summary). The book was published in April 2021. Desiree is from Trinidad and Tobago, and Queens, New York. She lives in Providence, RI. (Source – instagram, I think)
Britain-based Guyanese poet Grace Nichols will be awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for her body of work.
‘“Over the past four decades, Grace has been an original, pioneering voice in the British poetry scene,” said (chair of the Poetry Medal Committee Simon) Armitage. “Her poems are alive with characters from the folklore and fables of her Caribbean homeland, and echo with the rhymes and rhythms of her family and ancestors … They are also passionate and sensuous at times, being daring in their choice of subject and openhearted in their outlook.”
“Above all, Grace Nichols has been a beacon for black women poets in this country, staying true to her linguistic coordinates and poetic sensibilities, and offering a means of expression that has offered inspiration and encouragement to many.”
Nichols, who moved to Britain aged 27, will become the 52nd recipient of the award, and the second in her own household – her husband John Agard won it in 2012. She is due to be presented with the medal in 2022.’ (The Guardian)
(Source – Twitter)
Jamaican writer Kei Miller was earlier this year named one of the Society of Authors’ Awards 2021 winners, specifically one of five recipients of the Cholmondeley Awards to distinguished poets. The prize is based out of the UK where Miller, who has recently relocated to the US, lived for many years. “In his acceptance speech, Kei Miller described his Cholmondeley Award as ‘a wonderful reminder that we belong to so many societies and so many countries’.” (Source – One News Page)
This is kind of a full circle moment really. I’ve blogged about the outcome of the OECS Journalist Challenge before – this was the formalities. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)
Robyn Rihanna Fenty – international superstar – is Barbados’ new national hero. This honour was conferred during the country’s formal conversion to a parliamentary republic.
Previously, Barbados like many other former British West Indian territories was an independent nation within the Commonwealth realm with the Queen of England still the titular head of state. Within these constitutional monarchies, the Governor General acts as the Queen’s representative, a largely symbolic role, with the governance of the country vested in the executive branch and the legislature – elected by the people. With this move, Barbados has removed the symbolic relationship with the crown and the former governor general has now been made president. Other parliamentary republics among the English speaking Caribbean countries are Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago. Rihanna, one of a handful of single name recognition pop artists, is a Grammy winning, multi-million (reportedly 250 million) selling global superstar, who has also made inroads in Hollywood and in the worlds of fashion and beauty – notably through her Fenty lines of cosmetics and clothing. She is reportedly a billionaire and the richest woman in music. Her Clara Lionel Foundation, named for her grandparents, contributes millions to health causes, including cancer and COVID-19. She was previously an ambassador of Barbados. As the country’s tenth national hero she joins politicians Errol Barrow, Grantley Adams, Hugh Springer, and Samuel Prescod, slave rebellion leader Bussa, activists Sarah Ann Gill and Dr. Charles O’Neal, trade unionists Frank Walcott and Clement Payne, and international cricketer Garfield Sobers. (Source – Linkedin)
Among the Caribbean authors listed among NPR (US National Public Radio’s) Best Books of 2021 are Barbadian Cherie Jones’ How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House and Haiti’s Myriam J. A. Chancy’s What Storm What Thunder. Those are the ones I caught; if I missed any books by Caribbean authors, let me know. (Source – 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.