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.
We’ve covered the life and death of King Swallow here on the site but wanted to share this link to an Ode to Sir Rupert King Swallow Philo by Patricia Louisa Tully because it contains details about him not previously noted on this site. Like the fact that he competed for the first time in 1962 and earned the second runner up spot that year. When you’ve been crowned as much as he has, these details of ‘lesser’ moments and triumphs get lost in the wash. But for the young calypso aspirant, there was nothing lesser about it. Tully writes, “that night he was driven home in a car loaded with many gifts.” Read about this and the moments to follow including being the first Calypsonian to play the Radio City Music Hall.
Hope you caught some or all of the Bocas virtual events – I was in and out, but was happy to catch Loretta Collins Klobah and Maria Grau Perejoan launching and discussing The Sea needs No Ornament/El Mar no necesita Ornamento. The discussion of how they approached translation of the works was quite interesting – especially the challenge of capturing the creole – and how they didn’t do a back and forth but a face to face in real time interactive translation process, trading off who led with Spanish to English, English to Spanish making for a very dynamic sort of experience, made more so by bouncing here to there in the wake of hurricane Maria, given that these face to face interactions were in 2017 in Puerto Rico. I would love to read this book, which is already a PEN Award recipient, especially so after hearing virtual readings from the likes of Ann-Margaret Lim of Jamaica and Danielle Boodoo Fortune of Trinidad and Tobago among others. You may have missed the live but you can catch this and other videos on the Bocas fest facebook page and on their youtube.
And now comes the Brooklyn Caribbean Book Festival, also virtual as so much has to be under the shadow of a global pandemic. The dates are September 28th to October 5th. It’s big with nearly 140 independent publishers and literary organizations already occupying the digital marketplace – including some well known to the Caribbean literary community like Akashic Books, Blue Banyan Books, Caribbean Reads Publishing, and many others. Scheduled authors include some that should be familiar to us here in Antigua and Barbuda – like Tina Chang, Donna Hill, Marlon James, who’ve participated in events here.
Self-care Tips and a Book Rec from Anti-Racist Educator
Dena Simmons is a PhD holding US educator with Antiguan roots who has has continued to educate in these pandemic and social fed-uprising times. See her recent you tube video on six ways to be an antiracist educator, or follow her on twitter where she’s been providing #quaranteaching tips and where you can also sign up for her newsletter. In her most recent newsletter she provides self-care tips which I think we might find useful whether we’re teachers or not. These include 10 minutes of mindful breathing, 30 minutes of movement, 7-8 hours of sleep, eating nutritiously, finding a self-care accountability buddy, and setting boundaries (saying no). Her collective care tips include asking people in our life what they need, checking in with others and being okay to be met with silence, offering a listening ear, going on a physical distance walk with a buddy or agree to call your accountability buddy from respective locations, or ordering someone dinner from afar. Her newsletter typically involves a book rec and this time it’s Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom which she described as “quick, informative, and delightful.”
Speaking of book recs, I recently finished Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes, award winning African American author and past Wadadli Pen prize donor (her book Ninth Ward), which I described as “A really good and I would say necessary read for anyone trying to understand what we mean when we say Black Lives Matter; or anyone just in the market for a good story.”
New Film, Co-written by an Antiguan-Canadian, debuts at TIFF
Motion, a Canadian writer with Antiguan roots, co-wrote a feature film Akilla’s Escape which had its digital world premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. Akilla’s Escape, produced Canesugar Filmworks, is co-written and directed by Charles Officer and stars Saul Williams, Saul Williams, Thamela Mpumlwana, Donisha Prendergast, Ronnie Rowe Jr., Olunike Adeliyi, Shomari Downer, Colm Feore, Bruce Ramsay, and Vic Mensa. Synopsis: “During what is supposed to be a simple, routine handoff, 40-year-old drug trader Akilla Brown is suddenly caught in the middle of a violent robbery. Narrowly making it out alive, he captures one of the thieves, a teenaged Jamaican boy named Sheppard. Under the pressure of the criminals who hired him, Akilla must set things right and retrieve the stolen goods over the course of one arduous night. When Akilla discovers that Sheppard’s gang has ties to the Garrison Army, the same crime organization he fell into as a child, he has to confront his own traumatic origins and becomes compelled to help the boy survive — and possibly even make the escape that he never could. Set in parallel timelines in present-day Toronto and 1990s Brooklyn, Akilla’s Escape illustrates how the oppressive cycle of violence manifests in different generations and just how difficult it is to break.” It is “sensitively rendered neo-noir–meets–coming-of-age story”. (Cameron Bailey)
2020 Claims Another Antiguan Icon
Antigua and Barbuda has so far this year lost its share (more than, some would say) of artists and writers and journalists (former University Centre resident tutor Edris Bird, former calypso King, in the case of Edimelo, and Vision Band member Edimelo and Eric Peters, historical writer Keithlyn Smith, who received an official funeral on September 15th after dying on July 31st 2020, pan builder with Hell’s Gate steel orchestra Eustace Manning Henry, founding member of Harmonites George ‘Macko, Nuni’ Weekes, photographer and writer Timothy Payne); and now 2020 has claimed Selvyn Walter within less than a week of the passing of calypso legend Swallow. Walter, brother of former Premier and national hero George Walter, came to prominence as a politician when he won a seat on the opposition PLM ticket in 1971. His career in politics was relatively short-lived. He was also known as a businessman and most significantly as a writer and journalist – notably as Daily Observer columnist (Not a Drum was heard) and published author (Bank Alley Tales), and an art collector and archivist.
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.