Tag Archives: film

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late June 2021)

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)

Arts News

This is an interesting one. African American actor (a personal fave) Michael B. Jordan has trademarked J’ouvert for use as the name of his new announced rum. It has raised issues of cultural appropriation, which is fair (if complicated), but the part that made this interesting to me and relevant to this site was the trademark issue (a google search of j’ouvert also turns up this other trademark claim …?). I read (e.g. in this Trinidad Express article) that ‘the trademark filing …claimed “J’Ouvert” has “no meaning in any language”.’ Not true. Not for any Carnival loving Caribbean person. Literally Day Open, it is historically the start of our mas and for us in Antigua is the start of Carnival Monday, Emancipation Day. I want to make clear that though Trinidad-American rapper Nicki Minaj was the one to raise this on social media, J’ouvert also does not belong to Trinidad – I speak this as the daughter of a patois speaking J’ouvert loving mother from the French Creole island-country Dominica whose earliest memories include being hugged against my mother and sister jamming during J’ouvert in Antigua whose Carnival, Calypso, J’ouvert, Mas, Music, and Pageantry is Carnival to me. This is a Caribbean t’ing not a Trini t’ing. To me. It has meaning to us, collectively. Per the Dothraki, it is known. This move though raises questions of legal ownership, trademark of so many cultural attributes – one of the things not documented in my recent CREATIVE SPACE (CREATIVE SPACE #13 Eat n Lime), for instance, from a conversation with the owner of the oldest family owned business, a rum distributor, on the island about the reason we can’t export Cavalier – our island rum – being a (failure to) trademark issue. There’ve been discussions around steelpan, as it’s become more and more international, and other things over the years. A product is one thing though but what of something that is part of the collective culture, like j’ouvert, who owns that? can anyone? I think we would agree that whoever it is, it probably shouldn’t be an African American actor? BUT What if a percentage of profits was put in to a fund for the preservation and development of Caribbean culture and art – since we know that is lacking in the region? Is that a discussion to be had? Re use of a word we claim but have no legal standing to so do, I’d be interested in an opinion from a Caribbean luminary on this. Just in general. I mean, Antigua is the name of my island. It means old in Spanish. It’s also been used as a fashion brand which, as far as I know, we don’t profit from. Where is the line? So that’s why I’m sharing this. To fuel that conversation around ownership of the things we consider our own. (Source – Caribbean Entertainment Magazine which is making a comeback after a three year hiatus – Read more)

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Canadian artist of Antiguan descent Motion (Wendy Brathwaite) has announced the release of her feature film (she co-wrote it with director Charles Officer) Akillah’s Escape, which earlier premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. (Source – Email)

Remember you can check Antiguan and Barbudan Plays/Screenplays and Playwrights and Screenwriters (the Antigua-Barbuda connection) for more film writing credits.

Events

A reminder that July 12th 2021 is Caribbean Literature Day. Will share details of activities as they become available and as time allows. But keep an eye out. (Source – email)

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Wadadli Pen team member, local author and publisher Barbara Arrindell presented on the regional publishing industry at a World Intellectual Property Organization webinar. She crowdsourced responses from writers who talked about difficulties balancing the creative with the business of writing, the challenges with distribution, the strong emphasis on self-publishing and the greater ease of self-publishing in lieu of grappling with the gatekeepers in international publishing, the barriers to regional creative industries in terms of capitalization and taxation, “real money has to be put in in terms of grants, awards, …and angel (investors)” one of her respondents said, heralding initiatives like the Burt Award, the need for government investment, support, and promotion of local books, and Ministry of Education buy-in, were highlighted, as was the printing and publishing infrastructure, literature councils to gather and tell our stories was recommended. Could go on and on the full has never been told. The Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property has shared a link where the entire webinar can be viewed with the passcode Passcode: J.Smu26a (Source – ABIPO facebook page)

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Post note: Olive Senior couldn’t make it. Ivory and I read our stories in full and fielded a number of thought provoking questions. Fruitful discussion. Good lime.

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The Commonwealth Short Story prize winner will be announced on June 30th 2021. Virtual attendees will hear readings from winning regional stories during the event being held in partnership with the London Library. Regional winner for the Caribbean is Roland Watson-Grant of Jamaica. Kei Miller, also of Jamaica, is one of several announced guest readers. Registration information here. One snag – it’s announced for 1 p.m. India Standard Time which is foreday morning in our Atlantic Standard Time time zone. (Source – CW email)

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Antiguan and Barbudan artist Heather Doram has a live coming up on Untapped Potential with Dr. Simone Mathieu. June 19th, 5 p.m. Watch on facebook at @Pushpast10 and live on TDNtv.net See also http://www.pushpast10.com (Source – instagram)

Opportunities

Upcoming Bocas workshops include my own Writing for Children rescheduled to October 2021. Full line up here.

(Source – Bocas)

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Webinar Opportunity! Are you an inspiring author or simply interested in publishing a book? If so, this webinar will be of much use to you! The World Intellectual Property Organization in collaboration with the Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office will be hosting a webinar for authors and publishers.
Join our regional and international experts on June 21, 2021, at 10 am – 12 pm, as they walk us through the ins– and- outs of publishing a book! This session will cover the foundational strategies that govern:

• State of the industry in the Caribbean region (Speaker Ms. Barbara Arrindell, Writer and Manager, Best of Books)
• ISBN identifier (Speaker Ms. Ms. Stella Griffiths, Executive Director of the International ISBN Agency)

• The landscape and opportunities for publishing. Why do you need a publisher? (Speaker Mr. José Borghino, Secretary General of IPA)
• The author –publisher relation (Speaker Mr. Luke Alcott, International Author’s Forum)

Join the Zoom at: https://wipo-int.zoom.us/j/65607210845

(Source – National Public Library via Facebook)

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A recent addition to our Opportunities Too page is the Bocas Lit Fest Children’s Book Prize. Chapter books by Caribbean writers for readers 7 – 12, roughly 6000 words, are eligible. Details here and here:

(Source – social media and direct mail)

Remember to check for more pending opportunities here.

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Third Horizon Film Festival has posted its schedule which runs from June 24th – July 1st 2021, and includes virtual screenings, preceded by three evenings, June 21st – 23rd 2021, of free keynote and masterclass conversations. RSVP here for discussions on the Caribbean cinematic aesthetic, film financing, and distribution.

Book News

I met Audrey Edwards at the Anguilla Lit Fest in 2015. She moved to France after the 2016 US election and actually the day before the inauguration of he who shall never be named on this site in 2017. Here she discusses her book American Runaway: Black and Free in Paris in the …Years. Her father is from St. Croix and he is described as coming from “a line of proud West Indian men who tolerated no bad behavior from Blacks or whites…”

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Joy James, whom you may remember as the owner of the Art at the Ridge gallery and a patron of Wadadli Pen, has announced the release of 101 Black Inventors and Their Inventions, a crowdfunded self-publication. The book is targeted at late primary and early secondary school ages. The author, Joy, recently started writing non-fiction children’s books to help educate and inform curious, young minds. She and her husband, whose family originates from Antigua & Barbuda, raised their own children on our twin island nation. “This book was an idea long before I started writing it,” Joy said in an exclusive to Wadadli Pen. “When my children were younger, I wanted a book about Black role models to help inspire them and expand their minds. I knew this information was out there somewhere, but I couldn’t find anything in an organised format or in the form of a children’s book. I hope that everyone young and old will enjoy reading about the many Black inventors in our world and their wonderful contributions that help to improve our lives. I hope that they will be heartened by this. Our world has certainly benefitted from these amazing inventions!”

From Gerald Lawson’s home video game console that led to the Xbox and PlayStation to Annie Malone’s haircare products which led her to become a millionaire, the book narrates how “these real-life superheroes” overcame adversity, including discrimination, in achieving their goals.

The book is now available online. Joy has a book on the same theme, this one for ages five and younger, scheduled for an October 2021 release. Congrats, Joy. (Source – Joy James via facebook and direct mail)

Programmes and Projects

Look up. There’s a new R & D page hereon the Wadadli Pen blog. The R is for resources and the D is for Databases. All gathered in one place.

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A local, UNESCO-funded “culture mapping project … will see information gathered to assess the sector’s economic impact in Antigua and Barbuda. The aim is to highlight the contribution creative industries make to national development, identify ways to increase participation in them, and lobby for more funding, among other things.” Details here. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Prize Winners

The National Cultural Foundation, Barbados, offers hearty congratulations to writer Linda M. Deane who won the $10,000 top prize at the 23rd Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Competition on Sunday, February 14.
Her collection of poems, An Ocean Away; My Mother Smiling: Tales of Migration and Memory, was selected the best over 60 other entries. Linda is a British-Barbadian writer, editor, publisher and graphic designer. She is also a NIFCA Governor-General Awardee, having won the award in 2017. She is also co-editor of the on-line journal ArtsEtc. (Source – JR Lee email)

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Antigua-Barbuda-born Dionisia Diaz, 20, has won Digicel’s Regional BIP Mascot 3D Design Challenge and US$10,000. The Challenge was to create a 3D mascot for the BIP messaging app. Entries came from 10 countries and Diaz won with a robot-themed design.

(Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

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 AmazonWordPress, 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 March 2020

The timing of this post is funny (not haha) as the world slowly shuts down to halt the spread of an international pandemic. No hysterics here. Just a reminder to be safe – follow the guidelines – and don’t panic.

Check a trusted source and tune in to official fact-based updates via local news outlets. Recommended though that this news intake be in manageable bites (to reduce fear and panic), and that we all embrace ways to stay lifted. To wit, this being an arts site, we hope you’ll appreciate this montage of Italians coping with song.

Now, on to arts news from Antigua and Barbuda, and the wider Caribbean.

Awards

The Wadadli Pen 2020 Challenge has a short list! Thanks to judges Floree Williams Whyte (judging chief/Wadadli Pen partner), Glen Toussaint (bookseller, writer), and Danielle Boodoo Fortune (Bocas winning poet, and artist). Entries still in the running are: Oh, Beach that I once loved; The John Bull Effect; The Beast of Barbados; Two Worlds Collide; A Bright Future for Tomorrow; My Favourite Dish; A New World; A Mermaid; Lead Me Lord; The Fabled Truth; and Tom, the Ninja Crab. See who the writers were, here.

Zadie Smith, a UK writer, of Jamaican descent on her mother’s side, was shortlisted for the Folio Prize. Already well known and celebrated for books like White Teeth, Zadie is one of eight singled out, this time for her book Grand Union. The winner is due to be announced this March. More here.

Here in Antigua and Barbuda the Directorate of Gender Affairs Awarded 25 Women of Wadadli, a first time initiative held, appropriately, on International Women’s Day, March 8th 2020. “DoGA Executive Director, Farmala Jacobs, said that this year’s celebration of International Women’s Day is especially significant and that the Woman of Wadadli Awards aimed to recognize the unsung heroes among us.” Among the 25, there were broadly eight artists (Colleen Simpson – Culinary Arts, Heather Doram – Culture, Noreen Phillips – Fashion, Zahra Airall – Fine Arts, Marion Byron – Music and Entertainment, Mako Williams – recognized for Tech is also an artist, and Wadadli Pen core team member Barbara Arrindell – recognized as a changemaker, but also a writer). The Literature prize went to Wadadli Pen’s own Joanne C. Hillhouse.

WoW

Read more.

Exclusive Interview: M. J. Fievre

Featured on Hillhouse’s Jhohadli blog, this interview with Haitian-American writer M. J. Fievre traverses the territory of depression and her own experience with it and the creative expression that emerged. Her book Happy, Okay? uses various literary forms to speak to her mental health journey (in progress) and another book touched on, Badass Black Girl, is meant to be a guide to young girls in their own process of emerging. Check out the full interview here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Books

New from Peepal Tree Press, from PEN English Translation winners Puerto Rico-based Loretta Collins-Klobah and Maria Grau Perejoan, a bilingual anthology of thirty-three contemporary Caribbean women poets The Sea Needs No Ornament/ El mar no necesita ornamento. It is the first bilingual anthology of contemporary poetry by women writers of the English- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean and its Diasporas to be curated in more than two decades. The anthology presents a selection of work by poets from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and from various Anglophone Caribbean islands and the Diaspora. Each poem is presented first in the original, followed by the translation. The majority of poets have not yet been widely translated nor included in a bilingual anthology of this scope.

Klobah is a past Bocas winner.

This one actually came out in late 2019 but we missed it, so

The ArtsEtc Winning Words Anthology is very much in the spirit of what we try to do here at Wadadli Pen. It is a developmental programme that helps to nurture and showcase new writing in Barbados – from fresh and established voices. The only difference really is the resources behind it (e.g. the National Cultural Foundation). Kudos to the NCF for all it does to push literary arts in BIM.

We also want to acknowledge that past Wadadli Pen finalist Rilzy Adams dropped three new self-published ebooks late in 2019 – 12 Dates of Christmas (Love on the Rock Book 1); You, Me + Baby (Love on the Rock Book 2); and Brand New: A Love on the Rock Novelette.

Jacob Ross has released the second book in his Michael ‘Digger’ Digson crime noir series. Black Rain Falling (published with Sphere) picks up after The Bone Readers (Peepal Tree), which introduced the Caribbean forensic detective to the literary world, with a couple of new mysteries to solve.

Monique Roffey – already prolific and profound as the author of books like Archipelago and White Woman on the Green Bicycle (both published with Penguin) – has a new one  (with Peepal Tree) The Mermaid of Black Conch, in which a fisherman on a fictional Caribbean island meets a cursed woman of the sea. The UK-based Trinidad writer previously won the Bocas Prize for literature and has been shortlisted for several other major international awards. Early reviews for this one are good too: “The setting is slow and lush, full of colour and texture, which makes it beautifully three dimensional, with a feeling of movement that lifts and carries you through. There is beauty in the grimness too.” (Jess Sturnam-Coombs)

Also out this March, An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading (CSL Kreisel Lecture Series via the University of Alberta Press) by Dionne Brand. Most online bios found through google describe her as a Canadian poet but she is Trinidad and Tobago born and raised. And this book is informed by her Caribbean colonial upbringing. In it, the “internationally acclaimed poet and novelist Dionne Brand reflects on her early reading of colonial literature and how it makes Black beings inanimate. She explores her encounters with colonial, imperialist, and racist tropes; the ways that practices of reading and writing are shaped by those narrative structures; and the challenges of writing a narrative of Black life that attends to its own expression and its own consciousness.” (book summary)

Film

Guyanese actress, Shuri from Black Panther, Letitia Wright has reportedly signed on to star in the bizarre story of a pair of Barbados-born, UK-based twins. In a nutshell, “They became known as The Silent Twins as they refused to communicate with anyone but each other, and ended up in Broadmoor Hospital after they turned to crime. Jennifer and June spent 11 years in Broadmoor where they were studied by doctors and psychologists, but the pair would still only communicate with each other and became catatonic when separated.” Interesting. Check it out.

Meanwhile, an Antiguan-Barbudan boy is Peter Pan in a new adaptation by the director of the critically-acclaimed, Oscar nominated Beast of the Southern Wild.

Yashua Mack, a local boy, made his big screen debut in February 2020 at the Sundance Film Festival playing the iconic literary character who has been re-imagined many times over but, perhaps not with quite so much melanin. The film was also partially filled in Antigua, primarily at local landmark Hell’s Gate – an offshore island which is a border between the calm of the Caribbean Sea and the wilds of the Atlantic Ocean. A red carpet premiere was planned for Antigua-Barbuda in March 2020 (can’t confirm if this has been cancelled in light of COVID-19 government ban of public gatherings of a certain size – with this and all events call first).

Reading Comps

Reading competitions seem to be catching on; there are two national ones in Antigua, one with a regional component. Here’s some news related to both.

A Grace Christian Academy student won the Rotary Antigua Reading Comp, for the third time. This is the second year in a row that it has featured a book by a Wadadli Pen associated writer – last year, The Wonderful World of Yohan by Floree Williams Whyte, Wadadli Pen’s chief judge and this year, The Boy from Willow Bend, the first book by Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse.

Reading Comp
(read the full article above from the Daily Observer newspaper 08-03-20 and this related blog post )

Meanwhile, Antigua and Barbuda placed third in the OECS edition of the Courts reading competition.

 

Developmental News

The Honorable Harold Simmons Folk Academy of The Monsignor Patrick Anthony Folk Research Centre has announced a FRC Saint Lucia Studies Conference for 2020 focused on “Creoleness/Créolité : Saint Lucian culture and cultural/creative industries in national development today.” The announced date is June 24-26 at the Finance Administrative Centre in Pointe Seraphine. The Conference seeks to provide an opportunity for researchers in the areas of Saint Lucian life and culture to present their findings in a Saint Lucian setting. For more information, email frc@candw.lc or the folkresearchcentrelibrary@gmail.com

Online literary journal (out of Jamaica) Pree has announced a Pree Writing Studio initiative funded by the Prince Klaus Next Generation Grant. “With tutors of the calibre of Marlon James, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Kei Miller, Garnette Cadogan, Ishion Hutchinson, Ingrid Persaud and Safiya Sinclair those lucky enough to attend PREE’s inaugural writing studio are in for a treat. In addition there will be a publishing studio by Little, Brown/Hatchette/Dialogue Books publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove.” There may be some subsidy for writers unable to meet the total cost and this seems to be only the first of a planned series. Read more.

International Publishing Announcements

UK-based Jamaican writer Leone Ross’ latest book is the talk of the publishing world after inking a deal with Faber for the 2021 release of This One Sky Day. ‘Set on a fictional Caribbean archipelago called Popisho, This One Sky Day is described by Faber as “a sensual meditation on the nature of love and addiction” as well as “a dazzling, funny and incisive disquisition on post-colonial politics”. It also called it “a major work of fiction in conversation with Gabriel García Márquez, Toni Morrison, Arundhati Roy and Junot Díaz via the Harlem Renaissance and Anaïs Nin”.’ Read more.

My-Fishy-Stepmom

Barbados’ Shakirah Bourne has landed a publishing deal with Scholastic for her Burt Award winning title, already released as My Fishy Stepmom by Jamaica’s Blouse and Skirt Books, to be released in to the US market as Josephine vs. the Sea Spirit. Per Publisher’s Weekly, “This middle grade novel features cricket-playing Jo, who discovers that her father’s new girlfriend is a powerful and vengeful sea creature and has to convince everyone of the woman’s true identity before she loses her dad forever. Publication is slated for spring 2021.” We don’t know the details of the deal but this is a big deal and we join the Caribbean literary community in congratulating her. If we’re counting right, this is the third Burt title to land a separate US publishing deal – maybe she should team up for a ‘how they did it’ seminar with Diana McCaulay, author of Gone to Drift which landed at Harper Collins, and Lisa Allen-Agostini, author of Home Home which is forthcoming this year from Delacorte Press, a division of Penguin Random House,  after both being initially published by Dominica/UK’s Papillote Press.

Pan

Kim Johnson of Trinidad is seeking to republish his Illustrated History of Pan.

Meanwhile, in Antigua and Barbuda we say good bye to the long serving member of the longest running pan in the world the multi-award winning Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra, Eustace ‘Manning’ Henry.

Anansesem Announces a New Chapter 

The founding editor Summer Edward is stepping down but the online platform for Caribbean children’s literature will carry on – which is what you love to see; succession, continuity. Summer also took the opportunity to announce the pending publication of her own book. Read her full statement.

CREATIVE SPACE on a New Platform

The Antigua and Barbuda art and culture series by JCH is now running every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer newspaper and on the Jhohadli blog online with extras.

The latest edition – second on this new platform – is Black History Month and Women’s History Month themed and headlined Centering Us, Year Round. Above is that second published article – be sure to look out for fresh articles in the series every other Wednesday

Book Club

ABS TV has for several weeks been running Book Club, a Tuesday morning segment on Antigua Today. So far segments have included the likes of D. Gisele Isaac (Considering Venus) and Gayle Gonsalves (Painting Pictures and Other Stories). Not sure if it airs at a particular time in the daily national TV morning show but Tuesday’s the day. Kudos to ABS TV for this initiative.

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, 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.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business, Wadadli Pen 2020, Wadadli Pen News, Workshop

Carib Plus Lit (Mid February 2020)

brooklyn book fest 2020

Caribbean Reads – sponsor of the 2020 Wadadli Pen Challenge Schools Prize – at the Brooklyn Book Fair in 2019. The sub-regional independent publisher will be giving EC$600 worth of books to the winning school in this year’s Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge, some from its own booklist. Which may include pictured books like Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure by yours truly.

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On the subject of Wadadli Pen, I wanted to share that I am thrilled that this project has survived since 2004 – it’s always touch and go. Also, though it mostly manifests as a competition, it’s not about winning prizes. It’s about encouraging creativity and all of the reflection, imagination, and expression that comes with that.

In one of the targeted direct mailers I sent out, I noted that participation “can be purely fun and about self-discovery; it can also open a portal to expressing and coping with challenging feelings and experiences. Encouraging youth creativity also promotes mental growth, potentially improving academic performance and emotional maturity. Encouraging youth creativity gives young people an opportunity to try new things, new ways of seeing, new ways of thinking, and new ways of problem solving. The ‘Imagine a Future’ special prize in this year’s Wadadli Pen Challenge, for instance, will create an opportunity to explore the potentials of action or inaction on climate change – the existential challenge of our day – do we survive and how. This may emerge as a dystopian shadowland or a bright sci fi future. Who knows? As small islands, we are on the front lines of climate change; it’s an opportunity for young people to think through what will be the first major battle of their life time, for bad or good. If you are a youth in Barbuda, you have been in the headlines at least since 2017 and hurricane Irma, the trauma of which you may not have fully explored even as you grapple with historical and political realities beyond your understanding, where is your voice in this, what’s your story? ‘The Wa’omani Prize’ is an opportunity to remember that there are no small stories, that every experience matters – from fishing with your dad to being in the path of a storm to end all storms. The Wadadli Pen Challenge is not fixed on a theme – tell any story you want, about anything you want, however you want – but it is Caribbean, simply because we must centre our own imagination in our own stories. Storytelling is an opportunity to explore us. At the same time, it is an opportunity to experience our reality from a different perspective – where did the frigates go when they flew away …from the perspective of a frigate. For people working with young people it’s an opportunity to ask what if… allowing the imagination to zig from reality to fantasy and back again. The 3-strip comic panel is a challenge for those better at expressing themselves using visuals than words because visuals too can tell a full story filled with drama, humor, warmth, etc. Writers and artists can even collaborate for full expression of an idea. The thing to remember is that there  is no wrong or right, only the urge to write, to draw, to create, and the freedom to be on the page.” Time will tell if this and the other media (thanks to Observer Media Group, Antiguanice.com, 268 Antigua, ABS TV, Crusader Radio, and others for helping us get the word out) and social media, and direct pushes we made to encourage young people in Antigua and Barbuda to submit by February 16th 2020 moved the needle at all.

For full guidelines and submission form, visit https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/wadadli-pen-2020 Shout out to our patrons Juneth Webson, Frank B. Armstrong, Lawrence Jardine, Brenda Lee Browne, D. Gisele Isaac, Caribbean Reads Publishing, Hermitage Bay Antigua, Adventure Antigua, Cindy’s Book Store, Floree Williams Whyte, Paradise Vision Centre, Jane Seagull, and others.

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You’ll notice that the art category is back for Wadadli Pen but framed this time as a comic strip challenge. Here’s hoping we’ll see lots of entries from the winners of this other art prize, the Halo Christmas card competition, which has been one of the more enduring art initiatives – albeit under different headings, Halo in recent years – in Antigua and Barbuda. Shout out to my alma mater Christ the King High School from which winner Tiffany Dunnah hails. Here’s the report via 268.

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We join the Caribbean and the rest of the literary world in bidding well done and farewell to the late Barbadian scribe Kamau Brathwaite who died on February 4th 2020 (at age 89). He’s been covered a time or two here on the blog but the various tributes should provide a sense of the scope of his work and influence. Also, the Bocas Lit Fest reported “Just days before he died, Brathwaite agreed to accept the 2020 Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters, presented annually by Trinidad and Tobago’s Bocas Lit Fest. The award pays tribute to Brathwaite’s landmark work as a critic — the author of many seminal essays on Caribbean literature and culture — literary activist, and editor, and was also intended to honour him in the year of what would have been his ninetieth birthday.” The award will now be presented to a member of Brathwaite’s family on March 5th 2020 at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill in Barbados during the annual KamauBrathwaite Lecture.

Peepal Tree publisher Jeremy Poynting said in his tribute (among the various tributes linked above): “Maybe there’s a room somewhere where Kamau, Derek and Wilson are talking together. Now wouldn’t that be some conversation to hear?” He is, of course, referencing Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott and acclaimed Guyanese writer Wilson Harris, the statement an indicator of the company in which Brathwaite sits.

In his influence on and shaping of Caribbean poetry, West Indian Literature, Nation Language (a term he coined as a descriptor of Caribbean ‘dialect’), Africa-infused experimental linguistics in his creative expressions,the work of the UWI, the writers he’s mentored or influenced, the many he’s educated, Brathwaite is remembered as a literary lion and his legacy will surely endure.

For more on Brathwaite, read this editorial in Barbados Today

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Also via a Bocas mailing, the second year of the Johnson and Amoy Achong long list has been posted. It is, per usual, dominated by Trinidad, Jamaica, and Guyana (after being won last year by a Jamaica born, Barbados based writer). The developmental prize for emerging writers (this year focused on non-fiction) will go to either Amanda Choo Quan (T&T), Melissa Doughty (T&T), Ruel Johnson (Guyana), Otancia Noel (T&T), Kim Robinson-Walcott (Jamaica), and Amílcar Sanatan (T&T). Congrats to them.

Speaking of Bocas, check out some of the activity forthcoming at Writers Centre, described as an arts friendly, collaborative, enterprising space.

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New Books –

British Virgin Islands author Eugenia O’Neal’s latest book is March 2020 release Obeah, Race and Racism: Caribbean Witchcraft in the English Imagine (via University Press of the West Indies) which sounds very interesting (wonder if I can get a review copy). Here’s a partial synopsis from its Amazon page:

“In Obeah, Race and Racism, Eugenia O’Neal vividly discusses the tradition of African magic and witchcraft, traces its voyage across the Atlantic and its subsequent evolution on the plantations of the New World, and provides a detailed map of how English writers, poets and dramatists interpreted it for English audiences. …O’Neal examines what British writers knew or thought they knew about Obeah and discusses how their perceptions of black people were shaped by their perceptions of Obeah. …The English reading public became generally convinced that Obeah was evil and that blacks were, at worst, devil worshippers or, at best, extremely stupid and credulous. And because books and stories on Obeah continued to promulgate either of the two prevailing perspectives, and sometimes both together until at least the 1950s, theories of black inferiority continue to hold sway in Great Britain today.” Interesting, right?

Also coming soon is Trini-Bajan Ingrid Persaud’s Love after Love which landed with Faber and Faber after a bidding war because she’s dope like that. It’s due in April but this interview she did with Audible about her BBC and Commonwealth award winning short story The Sweet Sop and her writing journey to date is up now.

Excerpt: “Plot. You know how many times I wake up all two in the morning wondering if I will ever find a plausible plot? Or sometimes I have a plot, and I dream of all the black holes readers are going to find. One day I hope to create a story with a plot so exquisitely crafted that the reader is barely aware of being led through it.”

Finally, in new books, this one is already out I believe, Dominica’s Celia Sorhaindo writes I believe the first post-Irma book of its kind, Guabancex: “On 18 September 2017, a category 5 hurricane, the worst in recorded history, hit the Caribbean island of Dominica. Hurricane Maria destroyed lives and land. Nothing would be the same again. Guabancex explores the complex mix of experiences and emotions, both during and after the event. The collection is named in recognition of the ancient indigenous peoples of the Caribbean. One of these groups, the Taino, called the supreme female spiritual entity associated with all natural destructive forces, Guabancex.”

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Here in Antigua and Barbuda, we can also report that the Cultural Development Division has announced plans for a National Music Awards. It is not, as touted the country’s inaugural music awards (we’ve had the National Vibes Star Project Awards, which was a private/community-driven Grammy-style venture which actually had an even broader range of categories) but it is good to see an initiative to boost one aspect of the arts in Antigua and Barbuda. Lit arts still out here waving its hands but we’re not going to begrudge another category of artists getting a deserved boost. The NMA, per a release, is meant “to highlight and motivate practitioners in the field of music, in Antigua and Barbuda.” The person behind the initiative seems to be new deputy director of Culture, also a very talented, award winning musician and composer, Khan Cordice. As we’ve always said here on the blog (see reference to Barbara Mason) artistic disciplines benefit from having advocates who are passionate about the particular disciplines being in a position backed by the resources of state (limited though they may be) to move the needle. The announced awards categories, each with its various sub-categories, are Vocal, Instrumental, Steelpan, Recording Artiste, DJ, and Special awards. See breakdown.The announced NMA date is April 16th 2020.

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Culture has also unveiled the team behind Antigua and Barbuda’s staging of CARIFESTA. via Antiguanice.com “Leading the charge as Chairman of the Board of Directors will be the Honourable Daryll Matthew, and Senator Shenella Govia as Deputy Chairman. The other members of the board will include Dr. Hazra Medica as Executive Secretary to the Board, the Director of CARIFESTA, and representatives from the following entities, namely the Ministry of Tourism; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Finance; National Festivals Office; Ministry of Health, Cultural Development Division; Environment Division; Immigration Department; Security Forces, and the Legal Department.” The announcement coincided with the launch of the new CARIFESTA logo selected from a competition in which Gamal Goodwin emerged victorious. You know what I’ve written about literary Antigua-Barbuda being written out of past CARIFESTAs but I think all of us in the arts community (including writers) still look forward to what may come.

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Another local government agency announcing an awards programme is Gender Affairs. Women of Wadadli is a people’s choice awards recognizing the contribution of “extraordinary work” by “ordinary women” in Antigua and Barbuda. 

(they’re out of order but I’m tired).

Here’s the link.

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Via the Daily Observer, we’ve learned of a film production webinar series, in progress, thanks to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States’ Business Development Unit. Facilitators so far, according to the report, have included St. Lucia’s Davina Lee and Antigua and Barbuda’s Howard and Mitzi Allen of HaMA Films. The series is reportedly aimed at “sensitizing filmmakers in the region to modern (and best) practices in film production.” FYI, Mitzi Allen is also one of the advisors, along with Shakirah Bourne of Barbados, Juliette McCawley of  Trinidad, and Kareem Mortimer of The Bahamas on the Commonwealth Writers Caribbean Voices project targeting filmmakers (writers, directors, producers) from the region. Apply by February 24th to participate in the May workshop and be in the running for funding for your film project. Details here just in case I don’t get time to add it to the Opportunities Too page in time.

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We’ve covered Dadli Hack before though it deals with tech, not arts, because it seemed a creative enterprise in the way it challenged participants to use technology to troubleshoot and innovate around the issues of our day. This year’s winner is also no stranger to the blog – Team Antigua Island Girls. Remember them? The first all Black all female team to row across the Atlantic. Per the Observer, Dadli Hack 3.0 is part of the United Nations Office of Project Services Global Innovation Challenge. Team Island Girls have won, from among a field of 10 from various Caribbean islands, US$5,000 towards the development of their project to improve eco-tourism via their youth ocean rowing project. The Hackathon includes a week of training and then the ideas pitch. It was held at Antigua and Barbuda’s Science and Innovation Park.

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U.S. based Haitian author Edwidge Dandicat is one of three finalists for the Story Prize for book length short story collections published in 2019 from among 94 submissions. The other two finalists are Zadie Smith and Kali Fajardo-Anstine. If she wins for her book Everything Inside, Dandicat will win US$20,000 and if she doesn’t, she’ll win ‘just’ US$5,000. The winner will be announced on February 26th 2020 at the New School (co-sponsor of the prize) in NYC.

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Have you read Jamaican Marlon James’ A Brief of Seven Killings. Much of the world has and as such Entertainment Weekly, as reported by Jamaicans.com, has dubbed it one of the best books of the last decade. The multi-award, including Booker Prize, winning was an obvious choice for this list and it’s cool to see the Caribbean represented.

Another writer who would make any one’s best of list is Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie who, per AllAfrica, was named ThisDay’s Woman of the Decade. I know she’s not Caribbean but she’s still amazing so we won’t hold that against her.

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Also from the Observer…

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The NAACP Image Awards nominees have been announced and while attention has been on the film and TV categories and Bajan daughter Rihanna being tapped for the President’s award (go, Bad Gyal Ri-Ri!), I have been particularly interested in the book nominations. I am delighted to reveal that New Daughters of Africa which includes some 200 writers, yours truly repping Antigua and Barbuda among them, is a fiction nominee. The anthology is edited by UK-based Margaret Busby (pictured left below with two of the book’s contributors ahead of a panel at the Sharjah International Book Fair in November 2019) who has African and Caribbean roots.

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“Trinida­di­an born po­et and au­thor, Ian Williams has won Cana­da’s rich­est lit­er­ary award for fic­tion, for his nov­el Re­pro­duc­tion. Williams was named as the 2019 Sco­tia­bank Giller Prize…beat­ing out five oth­er au­thors for the prize. The first time nov­el­ist, who is an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of po­et­ry in the Cre­ative Writ­ing pro­gramme at the Uni­ver­si­ty of British Co­lum­bia, said he was shocked to earn the prize. ‘It’s a to­tal sur­prise, I mean there’s no prepar­ing for it. Even in your wildest fan­ta­sy like you imag­ine it and there’s noth­ing like it. Maybe it’s what pro ath­letes feel like or when ten­nis play­ers win Wim­ble­don or the US Open. Like we don’t write books for this mo­ment and then it hap­pens and you’re to­tal­ly off guard as a hu­man,’ he told the Cana­di­an Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion. He said the win made him re­flect on his past, in­clud­ing his time be­ing raised in Trinidad and To­ba­go be­fore his fam­i­ly mi­grat­ed to Cana­da.” Read more.

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Another award winner, this one with Antiguan roots is lauded children’s book writer and illustrator Ashley Bryan who picked up another Coretta Scott King award for Infinite Hope: a Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace. Released last October, it is described as “a deeply moving picture book memoir about serving in the segregated army during World War II, and how love and the pursuit of art sustained him.” The story offers a reminder that though some have dubbed the WWII generation the greatest generation, it really depends on who’s telling the story. And here Bryan finally tells his own: “In May of 1942, at the age of eighteen, Ashley Bryan was drafted to fight in World War II. For the next three years, he would face the horrors of war as a black soldier in a segregated army. He endured the terrible lies white officers told about the black soldiers to isolate them from anyone who showed kindness–including each other. He received worse treatment than even Nazi POWs. He was assigned the grimmest, most horrific tasks, like burying fallen soldiers…but was told to remove the black soldiers first because the media didn’t want them in their newsreels. And he waited and wanted so desperately to go home, watching every white soldier get safe passage back to the United States before black soldiers were even a thought.” Read more about the book and the other nominees, at AALBC.

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Another Caribbean writer, another accolade. ‘Toronto writer M. NourbeSe Philip has been announced as the 2020 recipient of the PEN/Nabokov Award for International Literature. The $50,000 U.S. ($66,445 Cdn) award honours a writer whose body of work shows “enduring originality and consummate craftsmanship.”‘ Philip is from Tobago. Read about her at CBC.

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There’s more; I’m always gathering stuff to share. But I have to stop for now. So, til next time.

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 which has a Spanish language edition). 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.

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Carib Plus Lit News (late November 2019)

Since I decided to start this news round-up, it’s all I can do to keep up. Sorry for the things I missed. Here’s some news (some not so new anymore).

Death

Antigua and Barbuda mourns the passing of Vaughn Walter Mbe, a cultural actor and longtime Culture Director and former Carnival chair, who passed unexpectedly. Walter, son of the country’s second premier and national hero Sir George Walter, who himself ran for elected office in 1999, was assigned to lead prep for Antigua and Barbuda’s hosting of CARIFESTA 2021, and reportedly collapsed on the job. The self-styled ‘de Vagabond’ (Vagga for short) is, also, remembered in the larger public consciousness as a broadly comedic personality known for catchphrases like “you haffu come man, you haffu come”. He has acted in a number of plays and other stage (e.g. calypso) presentations, plus local films. Walter who was also a certified marriage officer and event (weddings) planner, was set to retire from public service after his stint with CARIFESTA. I couldn’t find a listing of Walter’s performance credits but I will share one from memory. When, in 2007, the Rick James Theatre Ensemble undertook to tell the story of Antigua and Barbuda, Our Country, Walter took on the role of the man referred to as the Father of the Nation. Incidentally, this man Sir V. C. Bird Sr. was also his father’s greatest political rival (and vice versa) during the pitched battles of the late 1960s to late 1970s  – arguably the most contentious time in modern Antiguan-Barbudan politics. The accuracy and authenticity he brought to the moment of delivering one of Bird’s rallying speeches was one of the highlights of the play.

Appointment

On the heels of an adversarial Carnival season, in which the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization (ECCO) was at loggerheads with local event promoters over artist royalties, the copyright management organization has designated an Antigua-Barbuda director in the person of Vaughan Skerritt. Skerritt works in the industry as copy writer and producer,  and was a member of Antigua and Barbuda’s premier hip hop group back in the day – Da Rock 1761.

Awardees

The Antigua and Barbuda Independence honours list included two members of the arts community, musical arranger Jagger Martin and songwriter Rupert ‘Littleman’ Pelle, as well as educators Dr. Edris Bird, first and former resident tutor of the UWI Open Campus, and Glendina Jacobs, among others. Congratulations to them all.

Marlon James, Jamaican and former Booker prize winner, was a finalist for the National Book Awards in the US where he lives, thanks to his latest epic novel Black Leopard Red Wolf.

Congrats due as well to Dionne Brand, winner of the 2019 Toronto Book Award (and $10,000 CDN) for Theory. The awards are now in their 45th year and are intended to honour books of literary merit that are evocative of Toronto. Brand is originally from Trinidad and Tobago.

Jamaican writer Olive Senior, also Canada-based, won the Matt Cohen at the annual Writers’ Trust Awards in Toronto, celebrating her body of work.


She is pictured here in Antigua (with local author/Wadadli Pen founder-coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse -i.e. me) after attending the Alliougana book fest in Montserrat. We go back to 1995 when, as I have related more than once, I did my first writing workshop at the University of Miami, the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute, which Olive facilitated. It was during that workshop that I began work on my first book The Boy from Willow Bend. Senior was by then already a Commonwealth award winning writer for her book 1989’s Arrival of the Snake-Woman and Other Stories.

Finally, shout out to the Antigua and Barbuda delegation to the Caribbean Secondary Schools’ Drama Festival. They cleaned up, returning home with awards for production, original script (historical drama, The Long Walk by Zahra Airall), directing (Airall), set design, sound, lighting, actress (Khadelia Williams), and best overall contingent. Her production The Forgotten previously won the main prize at the CSSDF in 2015. Without missing a beat Airall is planning at this writing a staging of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues which she originally brought to Antigua and Barbuda as part of Women of Antigua in 2008.

Repping Books

Antigua and Barbuda’s Best of Books bookstore, a Wadadli Pen patron and partner, won representative of the year from UK publisher Collins alongside Jamaica and Belize.

 

Young Composers

Antiguan and Barbudan Brianna Georges, 16, was a finalist for the Commonwealth International Composition Award. Georges is a former member of the prize winning Antigua Girls High School pan orchestra. The Antigua State College student reportedly wants to be both a forensic scientist and professional musician. Khadijah Simon is also a finalist, also from Wadadli. She is still a student at AGHS, where she serves as the choir’s pianist and as a musician at the Spring Gardens Moravian Church. Another Antiguan and Barbudan Erienne Peters, also had a highly recommended entry. The Composition Award’s stated purpose is to promote composition around the world and give young composers the skills they’ll need to further their careers. This is its first year.

Film Arts Awards (Local)

Did you know that Antigua and Barbuda had two film festivals this Independence season? Well, it did. I’m sorry to have missed both (the Motion Picture Association of Antigua and Barbuda’s International Film Festival back after a hiatus, the last one was held in 2012, and the first time Wadadli Short Film Festival led by off-island folks with Antiguan-Barbudan roots) – as not only a film lover but as someone who served as associate producer on Antigua and Barbuda’s first feature length film (The Sweetest Mango) and production manager on its second (No Seed), both written by D. Gisele Isaac, and as a writer and arts advocate. Especially though as someone who likes to see the arts thrive and the work of our artists and art producers celebrated. So congrats to the women in film recognized by the MPAA’s festival – Heather Doram, artist and former Culture Director, who cameod in The Sweetest Mango, starred in No Seed, and who has featured in a number of local productions on stage (Sweet Lady, When a Woman Moans), on TV (Paradise View, Keeping it Real), and on film (Maisie and Em film shorts) among other activities since the early 2000s; Julie Hewlett who has appeared in a number of UK TV series (e.g. East Enders and Turks and Caicos per her IMDB) and who was among the main supporting cast of The Sweetest Mango and is forthcoming in HAMA’s Deep Blue, in addition to teaching and facilitating workshops; and Mitzi Allen, a TV and radio producer, also independent producer of Antigua and Barbuda’s main feature films and TV shows (movies The Sweetest Mango, No Seed, Diablesse, The Skin, TV series Paradise View, and any number of commercial productions, and informational or edutainment programmes e.g. Pet Playhouse, Let’s Talk) as co-founder and co-director of HAMA. Also recognized, Sandie de Freitas who is Canada-based (not sure there’s a direct Antigua-Barbuda connection, the article cited was light on information, but she is festival director and founder for Commffest community film festival in Toronto). The Wadadli Short Film Festival is Antigua-Barbuda based but counts the wider Eastern Caribbean/Caribbean community as its constituency, and UK-based personnel as its principals, and its inaugural awards reflected that with best film going to London-based director Jordan Pitt’s Coffee, best OECS film going to French filmmaker Alain Bidard’s The Flight , and best music video going to Hard Knaxx’s Life in Paradise. See the full list of finalists and short list from 130 submissions. Speaking of Antiguans and Barbudans in film, the Peter Pan inspired Wendy, by critically-acclaimed Beast of the Southern Wilds’ director Benh Zeitlin includes local locations and children (notably Yashwa Mack).

 

Antiguan and Barbudan author  included in the line-up for the Sharjah International Book Fair

More here. And here.

New Books

Not all the new books – just the ones that came across my attention to this writing – including The A to Z of Caribbean Art which is due in early December (no Antiguan-Barbudan artists that I could see); Una Marson by Lisa Tomlinson (fifth in the University of the West Indies press Caribbean Biography series, spotlighting the Jamaican poet, dramatist, broadcaster, and advocate and curator of Caribbean literary arts – Media Release_Una Marson); the latest historical novel by ex-pat writer Apple Gibley’s US Virgin Islands historical novels (Transfer, which just came in the mail along with her earlier work Fireburn, courtesy of the author for review – hopefully I can finish reading them quickly enough to donate them to the Wadadli Pen challenge prize package); a memoir and/or biography by  Antigua and Barbuda’s former PM Sir Lester Bird (The Comeback Kid); US-based Jamaican writer and Howard University professor Curdella Forbes (A Tall History of Sugar); several social studies text and workbooks by local educator Anthea S. Thomas who wrote them initially to fill a material gap in her classroom and landed a publishing deal; and a new anthology, Winning Words, out of Barbados spotlighting winning pieces from the National Independence Festival Creative Arts writing competition.

Finally, on December 1st 2019, Haitian American writer M. J. Fievre drops her latest book – ‘Happy, Okay?’. The Florida-based writer’s book is sub-titled “Poems about Anxiety, Depression, Hope, Survival”. A recent press release described it as “an exhilarating exploration of depression, anxiety, grief, and loss”. It is, according to the release, meant for people living with mental illness and those closest to them. Edwidge Dandicat, another famed Haitian-American writer endorsed the book: “‘Happy, Okay?’ is a beautifully written meditation filled with poignant and lyrical meditations of the joys, pains, and complications of life and the daily struggle to survive, create, and love.” Here’s the press release in full: Fievre_Press Kit

Speaking of books

Sandals knows what’s up. Books makes good gifts. I do hope some Caribbean and Antiguan and Barbudan books are in the mix.

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.

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Mailbox – Vanishing Sail Wins Again

Vanishing SailI met Alexis Andrews at his home at Indian Creek, Antigua some years ago (maybe around the late 90s/early 2000s-ish) to interview him about his photography. I’ve written about said photography a couple of times for local and regional publications. Andrews is Greek and has been in Antigua since he sailed here in 1986. His first book, a book of photographs, can be seen as a love letter to Antigua in Images (that’s the title by the way) in the way that it captures life in Antigua and Barbuda. Check the Antiguan and Barbudan Writings page for the full listing of his books (and, of course, all books by Antiguans and Barbudans). His photography and involvement in the yachting culture (including his day job photographing luxury yachts) intersected in what would become his film Vanishing Sail, a documentary about the culture of boat building in Carriacou. That film continues to make the film festival circuit picking up some awards along the way. We’ve captured the ones (awards, that is) we’re aware of on the Antiguans and Barbudans Awarded page. The latest, that I’m aware of is the Donald Gosling Award at the Maritime Media Awards, news of which came in this November 2017 letter (sorry for the delay; if blogging was my job I’d be more on time with these things but I get them out as fast as I can). Here’s the letter:

Dear Friends,

Last night at the Institute of Directors, iconic landmark of London’s Georgian heritage, there was a black tie dinner held in honor of the nominees for the 2017 Maritime Media Awards. This is an annual celebration acknowledging exceptional contributions to the understanding of maritime matters in the United Kingdom and beyond.

Vanishing Sail is the winner the Donald Gosling Award for Best Television or Film!

“An absolutely superb film, with all aspects of it perfectly balanced against each other – very like Exodus herself, as rewarding a maritime documentary as you could hope for.” Rob White Chair, The Maritime Foundation.

We sincerely hope this official honour & recognition will inspire support for our film to be distributed and more importantly, help us develop more boatbuilding projects for the communities of Carriacou!

Next screenings: Dartmouth, Plymouth, Falmouth – tickets: http://www.vanishingsail.com/#screenings

With Thanks & Respect,
Alexis & Justin
The Justin in the signature refers to Alexis’ producing partner Justin Sihera. Congrats to them both.

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As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure; also a freelance writer, editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator). All Rights Reserved. If you like the content here follow or recommend the blog, also, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. Thank you.

 

 

 

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A Positive Step for the Regional Film Industry

Four Screenwriters received Production Awards at the end of a Regional Screenwriters Retreat in Antigua and Barbuda over the week-end.The Production Award winners are Clement Richards from Dominica with his short film entitled “The Gangsta”, Guadeloupian Michelle Robin Clerc with “Florentin”, St. Lucian Davina Lee with “The Knot” and Chris Burton from Martinique who received an Honorable Mention for his film entitled “Can’t You Do Anything Good (Dear Mom)”.

The OECS and the French Overseas Territories in the Caribbean (FCORs) will provide financial and logistical support to the four Awardees to produce their films, which are expected to be of a high production quality. The completed films will subsequently be screened at regional and international film festivals including the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival (TTFF), and the Guadeloupe International Film Festival (FEMI) among others, as well as distributed to content buyers and consumers regionally and internationally.  This is the most significant production and marketing support package awarded for film production within the OECS to date. It is also the first time that our French neighbors were so intimately integrated within a regional training programme, which is a good omen for the future.

The four screen writers were part of a group of thirteen writers from Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint. Lucia and Grenada, as well as Guadeloupe and Martinique. These persons participated in an intense eight month training programme in story and script development for short films, with a focus on social and lifestyle issues in the region.  At the concluding session in Antigua the Script Assessors gave high commendation for all screenplays submitted, and were very impressed with the varying styles and film genres which were employed. They also praised the pitches made by each participant in support of their script, especially since the latter was a new experience for each presenter. In addition all participants in the Regional Screenwriters Retreat were praised for their insightful and well-crafted stories by the assessors and workshop organizers, and were declared to be all winners.
– See more at: http://www.oecs.org/media-center/press-releases/1056-four-writers-awarded-for-outstanding-work-at-regional-script-writers-retreat-in-antigua-and-barbuda#sthash.ZBBVc2LQ.dpuf

Post note: If any one knows who the participants were, especially the Antiguan and Barbudan participants, please give them a shout out in the comments section. And congrats to the filmmakers from Dominica, St. Lucia, Martinique, and Guadeloupe on being tapped for development of their scripts. This is how we need to do it (technical, developmental, financial, practical support of the arts). – JCH

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LOCAL FILM MAKERS INVITED TO THE INAUGURAL JAMAICA FILM FESTIVAL

Press release – Monday, February 23, 2015 – St. John’s, Antigua: Antiguan and Barbudan film makers are invited to send entries to the inaugural Jamaica Film Festival slated for July 7 to 11 in Kingston.

Film Commissioner and Manager of Creative Industries at Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Carole Beckford stated that the festival will allow existing and potential film makers, script writers, directors and producers to meet and network with key stakeholders in the film industry, locally, regionally and internationally.

“JAMPRO has contacts with Toronto, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas and Cuba, and we continue to maintain those contacts to get the word out. However, we are very keen to showcase films from film makers in Antigua and Barbuda and the wider Caribbean. We are also inviting persons involved in marketing and distribution for films and television productions….we are targeting our Caribbean partners and some universities. We want to invite persons who host major film festivals across the world, so we are providing the market space for people to network,” Miss Beckford said.

Films can either be a feature (50 minutes or more) or a short (less than 50 minutes). Films must not have been publicly shown before July 2013.

“The festival begins on July 7, with an international show; Wednesday and Thursday mornings there will be workshops, then screenings in the afternoon. Friday is music day, where we will look at all the videos that were submitted with a barrage of music being played throughout Kingston. We have engaged our play producers to have special showings also, and Saturday night is the Grand Gala and awards,” the Film Commissioner outlined.

She pointed out that although the festival will be based at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, there will be a multiplicity of locations that will be utilised, including Kingston’s three main sports bars – Cuddyz, Tracks & Records and Triple Century – where screenings will take place.

Interested film makers can contact the organizers at jamaicafilmfestival@jamprocorp.com or apply online at http://www.filmjamaica.com. Final deadline for all entries is May 15, 2015.

InternationalCallForFilms2015

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Only One Day Left to Apply…sorry

Should have posted this earlier so rather than adding it to the schedule on the Opportunities page where you may not see it, I decided to give it its own post. It came to my inbox from the Coalition of Service Industries. Here it is:

OECS/COMPETITIVE BUSINESS UNIT (OECS/CBU) solicits expressions of interest in the following Business Training Activity:

Activity

The OECS in collaboration APCAG (Association for the Development of Independent Cinema in Guadeloupe), ten (10) day Screen Writers Workshop in Guadeloupe from January 19-30, 2015.

Background

The OECS/French Overseas Territories (FCORs) Regional Screen Writers Workshop will be held in Guadeloupe from January 19 to 30, 2015, and will be hosted by the Association for the Development of Independent Cinema in Guadeloupe (APCAG). This is part of a collaborative effort between the APCAG and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in an effort to increase the competitiveness of the audio-visual and film sectors in the OECS and Guadeloupe. This initiative is a direct result of the OECS Business Mission to the FCORs in May 2014 and is expected to form part of future collaboration between the OECS and Guadeloupe in the creative Industries sector.

This exercise will be carried out in several phases; starting with the training programme in January 2015, to be followed by a support phase to deserving top performers from the workshop over the period February – June 2015, a refresher course/presentation of best scripts from top performers in an OECS Member States in June 2015, and a promotional phase in December 2015.

Phase One & Two of the exercise will be the theoretical or training component of the programme and will involve the following:

January 19-30, 2015

Film analysis

Basics of screen writing

Accompaniment of screenwriting

Status of the writer in the chain of film production

Knowledge of the economics of cinema

EXPRESSION OF INTEREST

COURSE OUTLINE & PRESENTERS

Analysis film, screenwriter status in the chain of film production, knowledge of the film economy

Presenter: Lucius Barre (New York)

Public Relations consultant, promoting the international distribution of films of different cultures. He specializes in strategic planning from the beginning of production, creation of campaign materials, and the Protocol on the markets and festivals. Barre was the first international publicist for Pedro Almodovar, Shinji Aoyama, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Atom Egoyan, Zacharias Kunuk, Jean-Claude Lauzon, Guy Maddin, Johnnie To, and Tom Tykwer; and worked with established filmmakers such as Lee Chang-dong, Alain Resnais, Carlos Saura, Volker Schlöndorff and Hiroshi Teshigahara. He served for eight years as press secretary in English at Cannes, and has worked in communication and protocol for projects with the European Commission and festivals in Abu Dhabi, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Ghent, New York and San Francisco. He is part of the staff since 1997 Rotterdam Film Festival and the Locarno Festival since 2011.

Presenter: Tony Coco-Viloin (Guadeloupe), Film Commissioner

Presenter: Nina Vilus (Guadeloupe), Producer Art & Visions for Film and TV

Basics of screenwriting, Support for writing

Presenter: Amba Chevannes (Jamaica)

Originally from Jamaica, Amba is a screenwriter and script doctor and a part-time teacher at Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts and the University of the West Indies. Amba Chevannes is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and the Tisch School of the Arts in New York. She has a Master’s degree in Playwriting. She teaches Screenwriting at the Edna Manley College and the Institute for Media Training. She has written screenplays and acted in several plays. Some of them have arrived on the small screen. Two of her plays have received rave reviews in 2007 and 2008, she is also a partner and producer to produce MADKOW. She will be on the technical aspects of writing a script and its development plan.

Critical analysis of scenario

Film Commission of Guadeloupe

February – June

Practice portion for each of the candidates on his/her return through monitoring

by the facilitators

a) Scripting

b) Followed by the work of a script doctor who will help in giving guidance

and script solutions

Phase Three: Return

June – in an OECS Member State. This will involve the selection of the top five scripts for presentation

a) Presentation of scenarios to industry professionals from the Caribbean

b) Choosing of the Best Screenplay by a professional jury

c) Feedback

Phase Four: Promotion

July to December 2015

a) Presentation of scenarios to television professionals and producers

b) Send scenarios to festivals dedicated to the theme/topic

Date and Location

Fort Royal in Deshaies, Guadeloupe from January 19-30, 2015.

OPPORTUNITY

Increase and share your knowledge and experience with regional and international industry leaders.

Networking and making business contacts with key industry stakeholders across the OECS region.

Who should attend?

Fifteen candidates, ten from the OECS and five from Guadeloupe/Martinique will be selected to attend this very important training exercise. To be selected candidates should possess the following:

Have completed at least one film (short film or documentary) and have a taste for writing or have written a book or have a particular interest in the cinema

Be nationals of OECS member states or from Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy

Speak and write English

Persons interested in participating in the above activity please fill in the attached form (EOI Template Regional Screen Writers Workshop ) and return to sesprit@oecs.org or eduinfocenter@oecs.org.

Deadline for receipt of applications is December 12, 2014. Please note that the OECS and APCAG will meet the cost of travel to Guadeloupe as well as accommodation for the ten participants selected to attend. All other information and participation requirements will be provided after final selections.

ADDENDUM

In addition, all persons wishing to be considered for selection should provide the following:

Either

  • The synopsis of a story which will be used by the participant to develop his/her script during the workshop. The story should have a Caribbean flavour and should be a least five minutes in length for the making of a short narrative film
    Or
  • A Script in development containing story plots and the development of the key characters in the story for the making of a short narrative filmPersons interested in participating in the above activity please fill in the attached form and return to sesprit@oecs.org or edu@oecs.org.


Deadline for receipt of applications is extended to December 19, 2014. Please note that the OECS and APCAG will meet the cost of travel to Guadeloupe as well as accommodation for the ten participants selected to attend. All other information and participation requirements will be provided after final selections.

 

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Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed lll

This picks up where the  Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed l and ll leave off. As with those pages, it features reviews about A & B writings that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. But as I was recently asked in an interview if there are any writers of note from Antigua beyond Jamaica Kincaid, I feel it important to reinforce that while Kincaid’s well earned stature is indisputable, Antigua and Barbuda does have an emerging literary culture. Dig through the section on Antiguan and Barbudan Writings and its sub-genres for more on that, and scroll through this and the other reviews sections to read what has been written about our writers. Do we have a literary culture. Hell, yes. With very little to encourage and sustain it, it lives.

Read reviews of several Antiguan and Barbudan books – Jamaica Kincaid’s See Now Then, Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Oh Gad!, Dorbrene O’Marde’s Send Out You Hand, Leslie R. James’ Ebony Grace and Black Consciousness, and Vere Cornwall Bird: When Power Failed to Corrupt – in the 2014 edition of the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books.

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“In this closely observed and carefully crafted story of the Hammer family in nineteenth-century Cornwall, Sue Appleby explores the life of a Cornish tenant farmer, his wives, and offspring. Drawing upon the rich material of her own family history, she investigates the varying fortunes of her great-grandfather, Philip Hammer of Porthpean, near St Austell, and in so doing brings alive the social history of nineteenth-century Cornwall – including the extraordinary Cornish diaspora which scattered Philip’s sons and daughters as far afield as Australia and South Africa. The tale of one family, it is also the story of Cornwall itself. Appleby tells it with passion and penetrating insight – an important addition to our understanding of Cornwall’s fascinating world-wide heritage.” – Professor Philip Payton, Director, Institute of Cornish Studies, University of Exeter (Cornwall Campus)

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“More recently, I read Marie-Elena John’s novel Unburnable on the plane from New York to Copenhagen. I laughed aloud so often reading this wondrously intelligent book about Dominica and the United States and Africa, about gender, class and race, about love and sexuality, that the bespectacled man sitting next to me put his Wall Street Journal down and leaned over to see what the title was. He asked what it was about. I could have told him how it dealt honestly with issues without ever forgetting to keep character and soul as its centre, but instead I told him a tiny anecdote from the book about black women and thongs. And I much enjoyed his blush.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Marie Elena John’s Unburnable

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“Through a simple structure of short chapters collating two tales – that of Lillian Baptiste’s present, and that of her family’s past in Dominica – John expertly weaves history and fiction into an integral narrative that takes the reader on a fascinating journey where instincts, magic, intuition and, above all, love are the real protagonists.

John’s knowledge and usage of Dominican history are instrumental to the development of a tale in which the proud identity of minority factions in a society hostile to multiculturalism helps create alternative world-visions – that of the Carib native, that of the maroon fugitive slaves – which eventually are crushed by the prevailing force of the ruling order.” – more on Unburnable at Memo from La La Land

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“This collection was doubly appealing because I really hadn’t had much/any exposure to Caribbean literature, and I was excited to try reading something different…Below, I’ve mentioned three of my favorites. Waywardness by Ezekel Alan – This was easily my favorite story of the bunch…Mango Summer by Janice Lynn Mather…This story was very poignant, providing a strikingly sharp contrast between the innocence of childhood and the sometimes horrible harshness of reality. All the Secret Things No One Ever Knows by Sharon Leach … written in such an artful, compelling fashion. It was not easy to read, but I am glad that I read it. I also liked Amelia at Devil’s Bridge and The Monkey Trap. If you really enjoy short story collections, or are interested in checkin’ out writing from a new region/area, I don’t think you’d regret perusing these stories. This was a quick read and some of the writing is quite remarkable.” Review of Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean which includes Amelia at Devil’s Bridge by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C.Hillhouse

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“She may have single handedly increased tourism on the island through the writing of this novel. I mean, I want to go to Dominica!” – Morphological Confetti on Marie Elena John’s Unburnable

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“…this is not a “storybook.” Even though Dorbrene’s feelings are present throughout, in a way that is surprisingly understated – to me – knowing how worked-up about issues he can get, this is not a book about “feelings,” either. It is an exhaustively researched piece of work that pulls from commentary; documented facts; personal conversations and persons’ archives; and social, political and religious review, all placed in a national, regional or international context, as applicable. King_Short_Shirt_-_Full_Size

In fact, you could easily say that this is two books in one, since the end-notes and appendices are, themselves, so interesting and educational.” – D. Gisele Isaac on Dorbrene O’Marde’s Nobody Go Run Me

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Kim the Bookworm in her review of What’s Eating Me called Elaine Spires “a hilarious author”, adding “I read the majority of the book with a great big grin on my face. The way she writes is just so funny and entertaining, I could read her books forever!”

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From an Oh Gad! review at Caribbean Vistas:

“Hillhouse’s authorial voice is lyrical and descriptive.  The interactions of this extended and blended family, along with their respective communities in Antigua and the United States provide a range of interesting perspectives that are expressed in characteristic dialogue of their regions. The universe of this novel is not only populated with intergenerational and multi-cultural characters but also with connections to ancestors and newborns.   Compellingly, the complexity and depth of Oh Gad! is well disguised as easy beach reading with the usual soap opera formula of romance, political intrigue, family feuds, and the like.   In this way, Hillhouse masterfully transports us back and forth from our modernity into the mythic yet real seat of Antiguan culture.  What we find there is fascinating.”

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Ashley Bryan (various)

The Schools Library Journal said of Ashley Bryan’s Sing to the Sun, it “captures the beauty of nature along with human emotion and circumstance, and children are sure to enjoy its rhymic descriptive verse” and the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books said “the words are simple but they dance”.

Ashley Bryan’s illustrations in What a Morning! earned the following praise from Publisher’s Weekly: “Bryan’s illustrations tie into the African-American theme, showing a black Holy family and multiracial wise men and shepherds. Bold brush strokes line each landscape and every garment; the star of Bethlehem, through the religious prism, reveals colors of rainbow hues. ”

On Turtle Knows My Name, he was both author and illustrator. Publisher’s Weekly said of the children’s picture book: “With the funny names, abundant dialogue and animal noises, Bryan’s lively retelling of this English Antillean story is well-suited to reading out loud. The festive paintings are a visual treat, complementing the text with jewel-like colors and fluid lines.” The Schools Library Journal had this to say: “The art is beautifully patterned, like the text, with vibrant images in the full-page, watercolor paintings. The handsome and loving black grandmother and her grandson inhabit a radiant, tropical world and should bring delight to young children and storytellers, who will recognize their proud and loving spirits, and will enjoy chanting the very long names over and over again.”

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Ann Morgan from A Year of Reading the World described Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy as “a fresh, feisty and at times
alarming perspective on the land of the free and on British colonialism.” It was her Antigua and Barbuda pick. Read the full review here.

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Sharing some reviews of my work…

Everyone seems to be digging the art work for Fish Outta Water (“beautiful”)…and I agree; plus, I’m told the story isn’t bad either. Read more here.

Jamaican poet and Professor emeritus (UWI) Mervyn Morris remarked on Oh Gad!‘s “skilfull descriptions” and “nicely managed dialogue”; the blogger at Conquering Book Mountain said the “the dialect is wonderfully written and rolls off the mental tongue”; V. Bridges Moussaron, Associate Professor @ Université de Charles de Gaulle  credited the “complexity of the characters” and the “layers of language”; Claudia Elizabeth Ruth Francis wrote in an Observer review that it was “one of the most important fiction books to come out of Antigua & Barbuda”; Brenda Lee Browne blogged that ” it has a plot so real that (I) fell into the book”; David B Dacosta wrote, “Hillhouse expertly reels the reader deeply within the cultural fabric of Antiguan society.” He had some problems with the book though and so did at least one other reviewer who speaks of the “mesmerizing phrasing” but said the author “becomes too comfortable in the simple telling”. Read these and various reader reviews here.

Alexandra Casselle blogged about The Boy from Willow Bend, ““The musicality of the authentic, Antiguan language resonates like wind dipping in and out of multicolored bottle trees…”; Althea Romeo Mark said it was “brilliant”; while Helen Williams catalogued it among other “Useful stories for discussion” on her blog; Dr. Natasha Lightfoot commented on its “thoughtful rendering of complex issues”; while Debbie Jacob wrote that described the plot as “exciting and moves swiftly”, adding “The characters in Hillhouse’s book feel real and, best of all, they feel Caribbean, but the story could have held up in any culture.” Mickel Brann wrote when it first came out in the Observer that it was “well crafted, lively and absolutely believable.” There’s more. Read them all here.

Read Dancing Nude in the Moonlight reviews here and reviews of other works here.

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In 2012, Ashley Bryan released his version of an iconic Christian story, the birth of Christ, with his Who Built the Stable? A Nativity Poem. The School Library Journal described the prose as “beautifully written”  and Bryan’s art work as “resplendent”.  Booklist said it’s “executed in exuberant folk-style art that shines like stained glass, the pictures have a simplicity that will appeal to children.” Publisher’s Weekly called it “a touching take on the classic nativity story.” As for the art work, they wrote, “strong strokes to evoke Bethlehem, (“A rich and verdant land”) with saturated shades of primary and secondary colors, lively expressions on human and animal faces, and sweeping lines to create the impression of movement. Pleasing to the eye and to the ear.” Kirkus Reviews wrote, “Bryan’s Christmas offering combines a poignant poem about a shepherd boy who builds his own stable with exuberant paintings in a masterful melding of rhythmic text and dazzling art.” Shelf Awareness wrote that it was “moving”. See all the reviews here.

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Caribbean Civilization said of Tameka Jarvis-George’s short film inspired by her poem of the same name Dinner (and which she also co-stars with her husband): “the videography is dreamy and her literary talent is well displayed.”

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, 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.

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What’s on in the Caribbean – TnT 2014 Film Festival

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April 1, 2014 · 6:38 pm