Happy New Year and let’s pray it is indeed a happy one. Here at Wadadli Pen, we’re gearing up for the 2020 season of the Wadadli Pen Challenge (keep checking back, ask to be added to the Wadadli Pen mailing list, or follow or subscribe for updates). Meanwhile, here’s the first Carib Plus Lit News of 2020.
In Antigua and Barbuda, late physician, music producer, and HIV/AIDS activist Sir Dr. Prince Ramsey’s street in Paradise View has been renamed in his name.
(Photo of the Day at the Daily Observer on December 30th 2019 shows Sir Dr. Prince Ramsey’s family at the sign of the street name for him. Photo taken by Dotsie Isaac)
Antigua and Barbuda’s DJ Quest spun and scratched his way to second place in the Caribbean 3Style Championships in Panama City, Panama, a journey he described as “an emotional roller coaster” and the “most memorable performances of my career to date.” He said in the linked article, “2020 is the year of vision and mine is clear.”
Still in Antigua and Barbuda, the first edition of ApaNa magazine includes an article on my work with both the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize and Cushion Club Reading Club for Children.
You can read the full issue here. According to Deborah Hackshaw, the magazine’s founder in its launch release “ApaNa provides an independent platform for communication and collaboration on sustainability and social responsibility challenges, developments and strategies for the Caribbean. We leverage storytelling with articles on sustainability, business and marketing trends, social causes and community investment. ApaNa shares the work that companies and partners are doing together. We also offer executive perspectives to motivate and inspire organisations, people and communities in the region to take action.”
We typically do an individual top 10 new posts of the year here on the blog. Time didn’t allow for it at the end of 2019 but I thought I’d do a quick-ish mention here so that you can check them out if you missed them:
- Antigua Con Not Dampened By Saturday Showers
- Celebrating Dr. Prince Ramsey; RIP, Sir
- Farewell Grand Dame (Saying Goodbye to Mary Quinn)
- On Bill Burt, the Burt Award (for Caribbean Literature), and the 18 Teen/Young Adult Caribbean Fiction Titles It Produced
- Antiguan and Barbudan Authors at St. Martin Book Fair
- The Votes are in and… (announcing the outcome of the Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year Initiative)
- Book of the Year Presentation (Photo Gallery)
- PRESS RELEASE The Antigua and Barbuda Readers’ Choice Book of the Year Is…
- #Girlscan – A Tribute to Team Antigua Island Girls
- Antiguan and Barbudan Writers Talking CARIFESTA Inclusion (or Lack Thereof)
Those are the new topics that attracted the most interest in 2019. Among the older posts that were still attracting heavy viewership in 2019, the top five were:
- The home page
- #ReadAntiguaBarbuda #VoteAntiguaBarbuda (listing the books in the running for the Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year Initiative)
- Antiguan and Barbudan Writings (our main literary data base)
- About Wadadli Pen
- Opportunities Too
The Barbados Independent Film Festival is this January. Here’s the schedule.
From my author blog, the last of the 2019 run of the CREATIVE SPACE series focused on the return of the Vagina Monologues to the Antigua stage for the first time since 2012 (a run that started in 2008). Zahra Airall, one of the original directors of the Antigua run of the Eve Ensler play and its homegrown counterpart When a Woman Moans, with her third production of the year after The Long Walk and Derek Walcott’s Ti-Jean and His Brothers (with her Honey Bee Theatre) plus multi-award winning participation in the Caribbean Secondary Schools theatre competition, used the staging as an opportunity to re-launch her Sugar Apple Theatre.
Richard Georges of the BVI and Ann-Margaret Lim of Jamaica collaborated on a Caribbean Writers edition of Anomaly. Writers featured in the international literary journal include some names which should be familiar to you if you’re a regular reader of this blog: Summer Edward, Shivanee Ramlochan, Juleus Ghunta, Celia Sorhaindo, Ayanna Gillian Lloyd, among others.
The Caribbean Writer literary journal, a publication of the University of the Virgin Islands, published its annual lit prize winners for Volume 32. The Daily News Prize for an author resident in the U.S. Virgin Islands or the British Virgin Islands has been awarded to Virgin Islands author, poet, essayist Clement White for “Fia’bun An’ Dey Queen Dem—Re-Examination DWI Sits and History in Search of a V.I. Identity.” This prize, awarded to a prose or fiction writer, is a longstanding prize sponsored for over two decades by the Virgin Islands Daily News. The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for best short fiction has been awarded to Trinidadian-Bahamian poet and fiction writer Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming for “Spider and the Butterfly.” This prize is made possible by the founder publisher of the St. Croix Avis, Rena Brodhurst. The Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize for a new or emerging writer has been awarded to Jody Rathgeb for “Uncle Jeep.” This prize is sponsored by Dasil Williams, wife of the late Marvin Williams, deceased editor of The Caribbean Writer. The Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize to a Caribbean author whose work best expresses the spirit of the Caribbean has gone to Jane Bryce for “When it Happened.” This prize is sponsored by former Governor John de Jongh, Jr. on behalf of his wife for her abiding support and interest in the literary life of the Virgin Islands and the region. The David Hough Literary Prize to an author residing in the Caribbean goes to Patricia Nelthropp Fagan for her story “Jewish Island Girl.” This is the final installment of this prize (a prize I, incidentally, won in 2011). The first Vincent Cooper Literary Prize to a Caribbean author for exemplary writing in Caribbean Nation Language has been awarded to Dionne Peart for her short story “‘Merica.” This prize is sponsored by University of the Virgin Islands Professor, Dr. Vincent Cooper, a longstanding member of The Caribbean Writer’s Board of Editors. A new prize has been announced for Volume 34. Read more about that here.
Bocas has announced that Monique Roffey, the Trinidadian Orange prize nominated author of books like White Woman on a Green Bicycle will be holding workshop sessions, Beyond the First Draft: Literary Craft Studios. The given dates are January 18th, April 29th, and May 9th 2020. “This is a series of three unique sessions at The Writers Centre for advanced writers of novels and short stories,” according to the mailed announcement. Roffey, who is also a lecturer and editor for The Literary Consultancy in London, will discuss some of what a writer must think about when revising and polishing a work of fiction, so it’s ready for showing to an agent or for publication. The three 2-hour interactive sessions will include talks, discussion handouts, and ‘q and a’. Meanwhile, another well-known Trinidadian writer and critic Shivanee Ramlochan will be delivering a master class, entitled Poetry as Ferocity: Writing Your Truth with Radical Honesty, on January 12th and 19th 2020, also at the Writers Centre in Trinidad. For registration information, contact Bocas Lit Fest. The next Bocas Lit Fest, meanwhile, takes place May 1st – 3rd 2020.
As the author of Caribbean fairytale With Grace (coincidentally illustrated by Bajan artist Cherise Harris), I was interested to learn of Bajan artist Empress Zingha’s recently published fairytale Melissa Sunflower. According to LoopnewsBarbados.com, ‘Melissa Sunflower is Illustrated by Heshimu Akin-Yemi and is a Caribbean Fairy Tale story based in Fairy Valley in Christ Church. The main character Melissa Sunflower is a fairy with no wings and gets teased by her advisories (sic), “Sweet Cherry” and “Whatcha MuhCallit”. One day, a big challenge arrives throughout the land and Melissa finds the most potent magic of all.’ Asked why she wrote the book she says something that’ll sound familiar to you if you’ve read any of my posts about the need for diversity in publishing, and the need to tell our own stories, per the Wadadli Pen mission, “I created Melissa Sunflower because I wanted to see more representation for not only black girls, but Caribbean children’s books as well. Actually, I found out that black stories by black authors only make up about 2% of overall publishing globally. I figured, if I could just do my part, maybe it would inspire more writers. Also, I dedicated my book to Kamau Brathwaite, who is my favorite author. In his book, “History of the Voice” when I did my Masters and how important Nation Language and cultural identity was to one’s existence. I sent him the story for his birthday and he really loves it. Maybe one day I’ll get to meet him face to face.” If you’ve read With Grace, you’ll also here a thematic commonality when she says about the book’s takeaway, “To always believe in your magic. That all miracles start and end with love and are most potent and powerful when you believe in it and yourself.” Read her full interview here.
Jamaican Poet Laureate Lorna Goodison received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2019 on the basis of her body of work. It was established in 1933 by King George V. Past recipients include W. H. Auden, Derek Walcott, and John Agard, the latter two also of the Caribbean, St. Lucia and Guyana, respectively, among others. Details here.
Interviewing the Caribbean journal, which has been recently acquired by the University of the West Indies Press, is preparing to launch its winter 2019 issue which is focused on Caribbean Children’s literature and the challenges and hopes of children in the region. One of our own, 2018 Wadadli Pen finalist Rosie Pickering’s poem ‘Damarae’ is included along with an interview with the teenage writer; I was invited to contribute an article on children’s and teen/young adult books she’s read recently and would recommend, and that article is also in this issue. Follow the UWI Press so that you can be in line when the issue drops this January. Bookstores et al, order here.
As with all content on Wadadli Pen, 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/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). 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.