Tag Archives: favourite books

Books That Caught Our Eye — Mailbox Monday

At Mailbox Monday we encourage participants to not only share the books they received, but to check out the books others have received. Each week will share a few Books That Caught Our Eye from that weeks’ Mailbox Monday. We encourage you to share the books that caught your eye in the comments. VELVET: Fault […]

Books That Caught Our Eye — Mailbox Monday

I’m breaking the rules here by not talking about books received but seeing this Mailbox Monday/Books That Caught Our Eye post reminded me of a conversation today with participants in the Jhohadli Writing Project workshop for writers longlisted in the 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge. Today was a writing session (such interesting, quirky, fun, poignant writing emerging from their pens) but we also just chatted for a while and when I gave them leave to ask me anything, in addition to questions about inspiration and choices vis-a-vis writing and the things I’ve written (Musical Youth specifically), one asked me about books and/or writers who make my faves list (specifically Caribbean writers). I thought I’d mention some of what I said. I never pick absolute faves but the first names to come to mind were…

Edwidge Dandicat. I name checked Breath Eyes Memory, but especially Create Dangerously and The Farming of Bones, discussing some of the brutal history (between Dominicans and Haitians) that informed the latter, and in the case of the former how writing can be that thing we use to process life, including the trauma of it all.

Jamaica Kincaid. Speaking most extensively of A Small Place and her disruptive presence in the narrative of who we are and who we want to be seen as, her uncompromising insistence on saying just what she has to say. We discussed her being persona non grata for a time in Antigua-Barbuda because of that book and reading from this self-same book when years later she was invited to read in Antigua-Barbuda. We discussed her being an inspiration to me for a number of reasons.

Jean Rhys. Whom I mentioned specifically wrote back to Empire by reclaiming the narrative of the woman in the attic in Jane Eyre by crafting her own classic novel Wide Sargasso Sea which gave that woman a history rooted in Caribbean otherness.

I also mentioned Buxton Spice by Oonya Kempadoo which, though it’s been a while since I read it, I recalled as being bold in the way it explored the ways that innocence is stripped away – as relates to sex and politics and the way the world turns – compared to many an other coming of age tale.

I mentioned, I think, Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners and his insistence on a creole narrative in a world that wanted to iron out our natural tongue and how discovering his unending winding rhythmic lines was music to my ears. Maybe I mentioned that in a podcast interview I did earlier in the day and it’s blending with the conversation with the young women (there were three of them), I’m not sure. On no sleep and going from thing to thing, things merge. But Selvon is worth mentioning here as well, so that’s okay.

Musical Youth came up in that podcast conversation, too. That won’t run, I’m told, until February next year but I will say that in both cases my choices in addressing the issue of colourism came up – the choice to celebrate Black as beautiful and empowered, and the choices to make this character dark-skinned and that character “butter-skinned” …which was interesting because it really made me think about those choices, about how in original drafting I let the characters reveal themselves as they were, and on revision and review, I wanted to add depth and nuance, I didn’t want to do the obvious, I wanted to show the complexities within the dynamics of shade, texture, gender, class, and the individual, and (this was more internal) hopefully not falling in to the same traps I was trying to expose; it was good to feel challenged.

And both the podcast and workshop were good for that reason.

The workshop we did in a lush valley at the Botanical Gardens, thank G the weather cooperated.

Speaking of, I hope the weather in the Caribbean in the US (New Orleans) similarly cooperates and blows past with no trouble. Stay safe out there.

Now, you. What are you reading?


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Vote for your Favourite Antiguan and Barbudan Book of the Year

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UPDATE! (December 20th 2017) Best of Books bookstore has decided to sweeten the pot (as if being the readers’ choice for best Antiguan and Barbudan book weren’t sweet enough). We welcome the extra honey.  So, as posted to their facebook page: “BEST OF BOOKS will provide the winning author with a collection of books to be presented by the author to a school of their choice. In addition all authors receiving over twenty votes will receive a small pile of reference books to be presented by them, in their name, to the secondary school of their choice. Share this with all your fans and encourage them to vote.” Awesome right? Thanks, Best of Books! So the winning author is amplified and a school or two benefits (the only thing that could make this better is if another entity would follow suit and maybe step up with a cash prize for the winning author *not that I’m dropping hints or anything*). And all you have to do to make it happen is get those votes in by the end of the year January 15th 2017. Remember, a minimum of 10 votes in the contest overall for a winner to be declared. Scroll down to see the eligible books (and authors and author associates remember you can vote; authors just not for your own book and author associates, declare your bias, and all voters give a reason why the book you are voting for should win).

I read about the Trinidad and Tobago People’s Choice Book of the Year Award and had the ‘smart’ idea to do something similar here on the blog.

Why the question mark over smart? Because clearly this is something that takes a fair amount of planning not something undertaken on a whim (head over to the Bocas page to see how together they are).

Plus I was operating on a false premise.

Anticipating that there weren’t a lot of Antiguan and Barbudan books released in 2017 alone, I thought to do a three year spread and that’s where I fell down a rabbit hole and emerged too many hours later well and truly put in my place. Because, as I should have already been aware as the person who researches and updates the online data base of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing, for an 108 square mile island, 170 square mile country combined, we write a helluva lot. Clearly the interest has always been there if not the opportunity and over the last several recent years with the opening up of other paths to publication (the traditional publishing markets PLUS the many independent publishing options), there is inevitably more product. Much more. Twenty fifteen to present, at least 105 (possibly more since some of the self-published books don’t follow the traditional formatting, including listing the copyright and year of publication, and I couldn’t count those that didn’t). A lot more to sort through (some existing exclusively as ebooks, i.e. not available in print formats). And while I list them, the sorting through to determine quality of product, I’ll leave to the reader.

And that’s where this list – limited to 2017 after all – comes in.

YOU, dear reader, are invited to name your favourite 2017 book release by an Antiguan and Barbudan writer before the end of 2017. Okay favourite doesn’t always mean good (in terms of literary merit) but books are about readers, we bake the bread and you eat it, so your review counts for something. Besides, we don’t have a national book award programme here in Antigua and Barbuda, so this is as good as it gets; and really sort of just-for-so. We won’t have a prize for the winning author, unless someone steps up to donate one, but this process does provide an opportunity to shout out a book that maybe more people should be reading. But hear what, you have to tell us why we should be reading it. So go through the list and weigh in in the comments with a reason why you like this book or why you think this is the best book by an Antiguan and Barbudan published in 2017. It’s your opportunity to boost an author whose book you love; as an author myself, I can tell you, they’ll thank you for it.

Oh, speaking “as an author myself”, authors can vote, but not for their book.  If you’ve had a hand in producing any of the contending books (for example, it’s a book that you edited, or helped finance or publish, or for which you wrote an introduction, or for which you provided cover art or illustrations), you can vote but please declare your bias AND give a legit review. Family and friends can vote but must, like all other voters, give some kind of testimony as to why they think the book is great.

You can vote from anywhere, but you can only vote once. It goes without saying that you should have read the book for which you’re voting.

The listing (listed as much as possible by date of publication) does not include anthologies to which an Antiguan and Barbudan may have contributed a single story nor books by non-Antiguans and Barbudans in which the country or nationals are featured. We’re talking here books (including books only available as ebooks and self-published books) where the Antiguans and Barbudans (born, resident, citizen, or with Antiguan and Barbudan ancestry) are the primary or sole author of the stories/text or, in the case of picture books, the imagery and/or the text. If you released a book within those limitations in 2017 that is not listed, the oversight is not intentional; just give a heads up, politely, also in the comments, and it will be added. Genre doesn’t matter.

Remember to share – I’m setting a minimum bar of at least 10 votes in the competition overall for a winner to be declared. And vote by the end of 2017. Don’t make me have wasted time down this rabbit hole for no good reason!

So, which of these was your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan read of 2017? Vote in the comments and give a reason for your vote.

mottleyA 2nd Anthology of Radical Thoughts & Empowering Perspectives by Marcus Mottley. Create Space Independent Publishing Platform.

Rilzy1The Gift (Falling Like A Johnson Book 1) by Rilzy Adams. Amazon Digital Services.

RoxyGreer’s Alphas: a Paranormal Menage by Roxy Wilson. Amazon Digital Services.

Roxy 3Be With You: a Valentine’s Romance by Roxy Wilson. Amazon Digital Services.

Life as Josephine Life as Josephine by Claytine Nisbett. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

kimI do…NOT by Kimolisa Mings. Amazon Digital Services.

Shoe If The Shoe Fits by Kimolisa Mings. Create Space Independent Publishing Platform.

HolHol de Line and Other Stories by Mary Geo Quinn. Caribbean Education Publishers.

Rilzy 2Will you be Mine? (Falling like a Johnson Book 2) by Rilzy Adams. Amazon Digital Services.

Roxy2My Guardian Vampire: a BBW Paranormal Romance by Roxy Wilson. Amazon Digital Services.

friend indeed A Friend Indeed by Kimolisa Mings. Amazon Digital Services.

writeJust Write Antigua Journal by Brenda Lee Browne.

Yohan bookThe Wonderful World of Yohan by Floree Williams Whyte. Moondancer Books.

Lost Cover Front 4Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure by Joanne C. Hillhouse with illustrator Danielle Boodoo Fortune. Caribbean Reads Publishing.

London RocksLondon Rocks by Brenda Lee Browne. Hansib.

Bothism coverBothism by Tanya Evanson. Ekstasis.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Please note that, except otherwise noted, images on this site also need to be cleared if you wish to use them for any purpose. Thanks.


Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Literary Gallery