Tag Archives: Geoffrey Philp

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late November 2022)

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 – credit and link back if you use).

Accolades

Selvyn Walter, Antiguan and Barbudan politician-writer-art-collector-and-pan-booster, who died in 2020, received a Sunshine Award posthumously for his support of the performing arts. It was presented November 26th during Moods of Pan, a premier local pan festival, which was live this year for the first time since the pandemic. Daily Observer reported that the award was partly in recognition of his founding role in Halcyon Steel Orchestra and was meant to have been presented at the multi-panorama winning band’s 50th anniversary, in 2021, but was delayed due to the pandemic. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)

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Caribbean Reads author Danielle Y C Mclean’s The Whisperer’s Warning has been named winner of this year’s Bocas Children’s Book Prize. The book, illustrated by Rachel Moss, is a sequel to her Burt award winning The Protector’s Pledge.

The Trinidad born US based author’s book is “a juvenile fantasy novel which draws on TT folklore…packed with exciting and dramatic plot twists, taking readers into the shadowy world of characters such as Papa Bois, La Diablesses, jumbies, and douens, harmonising reality, myth, and imagination” (TT Newsday). The prize is in its second year. The winner takes home US$1000. (Source – Caribbean Reads on instagram)

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Musgrave medals have been handed out to 10 Jamaicans including writers Diana McCaulay and Geoffrey Philp.

(source of images – the one in the middle is from Twitter and the flanking ones are from Annie Paul’s Facebook)

Gold medallists are, per the Jamaica Observer, McCaulay (author, Daylight Come etc.), Lenford Salmon (actor, Third World Cop etc.), and Joy Spence (chemist).
Silver medallists are Philp (author, Garvey’s Ghost etc.), Kevin Jackson (animator), Eric Garraway (entomologist).
Bronze medallists are Safiya Sinclair (author, Cannibal), Patrick Brown (playwright), and Susan Koenig (biologist).
David Salmon received the youth medal award for advocacy and leadership.

Launched in 1889, the Musgrave medals are named forAnthony Musgrave, a former governor of Jamaica and founder of the Institute of Jamaica. (Source – social media – twitter and facebook)

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The Lionfish Derby has emerged as a creative solution to the problem of the invasive marine species in Antigua’s waters. In addition to the catch, there is also a competition for student artists. In the 14 – 18 category, 14-year-old Xezlaina Looby won, and in the nine to 13 age category Summer Goodwin won.

The winners attend the Christ the King High School. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)

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The winner of Antigua’s got Talent, a creative arts showcase and fundraiser, which raised EC$15,000+ for PAAWS animal shelter, is Stephen Gore who performed Tian Winter’s “In de Dance”. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco/Antigua)

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Euzhan Palcy (director of Sugar Cane Alley and Dry White Season) collected the Governor’s Award from Viola Davis on behalf of the Motion Picture Association of America, an award previously announced in our early to mid September 2022 Carib Lit Plus bulletin. Two students from schools in Martinique – one from a school named for her – were present at the awards ceremony, to bear witness to this native daughter’s moment of glory. While doing so with gratitude, she also called out Hollywood for its diversity issues (being told “Black is not bankable, female is not bankable, Black and female are not bankable”- still ongoing. “I was tired of being the first of too many firsts but denied the chance to make the movies I (felt) compelled to make,” Palcy said. The award she said encourages her “to raise my voice again, to offer you movies of all genres that I always wanted to make in my own way.”

(Source – YouTube)

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A number of awards were given out in November by the Antigua and Barbuda Gospel Music and Media Awards, its 8th iteration of this awards programme. The Daily Observer by Newsco picked up three of those awards – media of the year, regional media of the year, and a legacy award for longevity.

All winners can be viewed here and you can read about the awards programme here. While I didn’t see it on the main list, there is also reporting of the ABGMMA presenting an award to social media influencer J’Truth in the name of late (since his death in 2002) journalist, Leonard Tim Hector – a local pioneer in investigative journalism and unbridled criticism, with his newspaper Outlet and its “Fan the Flame” column penned by him often shaking the table and receiving the backlash that can come with that (see the Antigua and Barbuda media history post on this site). That Hector’s family did not give permission for the use of his name in this way became obvious when they condemned the award of the Leonard Tim Hector Impact Award for Social Activism to JTruth. The Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Committee which already awards a prize in Hector’s name with the endorsement of the family co-signed this condemnation. The public has been weighing in on the suitability of the award recipient (Ameen Dias who has become popular for his controversial vlogs), especially given the association with Hector’s name, but what I’m curious about, simply because as a literary and arts space we are always trying to empower ourselves (and the various creators who come here) with knowledge, is IP issues around the use of Hector’s name (any lawyers in the comments?). (Source – Daily Observer newspaper & Facebook)

Movies

As you’ll see below, two Caribbean films, The Fab 4 and Deep Blue, the latter by Antiguan and Barbudan filmmakers, are having their regional debut at Montserrat’s Alliougana Festival of the Word. And then there is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The international blockbuster’s M’Baku, Winston Duke of Tobago, graces the cover of the latest edition of Esquire magazine.

He said on Facebook, “It has always been a dream of mine to grace the cover of especially esquire magazine! Growing up, being an esquire man was the epitome of style and masculine refinement. Dramatic, yet assured … being able to see myself on this is literally a dream come true! I dedicate this to my mom, Cora Pantin, whose love, guidance & prayers sowed the seeds. Though she isn’t here to see her son grow to this today.” You can read the Esquire article here. Excerpt:

‘As an island kid, he missed warm weather. Rochester was cold, and Americans were colder. “I come from a culture where people are warm-blooded, warm culture. When they talk, sometimes they talk real close to you. Americans feel entitled to space.”’

Also learned, reading the article of the death of his mother at 66, quite suddenly, quite recently. RIP Mama Coco. (Source – Winston Duke on Facebook)

Books & Other Reading Material

From Hansib, another 2022 release: Joe Solomon and the Spirit of Port Mourant. Port Mourant is a sugar plantation from the Berbice district of Guyana, and Solomon, who, at 92, is the oldest living West Indian Test cricketer, is one of three Windies 1960s players (the others being Rohan Kanhai and Basil Butcher) it produced. He played for Windies 27 times between the late 50s and early 60s. The book is written by academic Clem Seecharan with assistance from Ian McDonald (author of The Hummingbird Tree). (Source – Facebook)

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The Bookseller reports, “Picador signs first prose collection by Linton Kwesi Johnson”. The collection, Time Come: Selected Prose will be published in April 2023. “The publication brings together his book and record reviews published in newspapers and magazines, lectures, obituaries and speeches, spanning five decades.” Johnson is a Jamaica-born, Britain-based dub poet and activist. (Source – JRLee email)

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Dominica born and raised, in Vieille Case, Kisma Panthier-Jn Pierre, resident in Antigua and Barbuda where she is now building the MJP Academy, along All Saints Road, has announced the publication of My 10 Year Blue Print Journal: |A Journal that helps 10-16 year olds to create their future.

This journal is a part of the My 10-Year Blue Print Motivation Journey offered by Kisma which includes guidance and coaching in the form of videos, text, and live sessions. Your child or teen is not alone on this journey and for the next 100 days after starting this program, Kisma will be with them every step of the way. November 18th 2022 is listed on Amazon as the publication date and, per her linkedin, Jn Pierre is offering a special rate for the book, with coaching , through to November 28th 2022. This is not her first publishing experience. In 2021, she was part of an anthology Unleash Your Undeniable Impact: A Compilation of Messages to inspire You to maximize Your Impact on the World presented by Les Brown and Dr. Cheryl Wood. (Source – Kisma Panthier-Jn Pierre on linkedin)

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Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters Issue 22 is out. It is a special Bermuda bienniel dispatch including the likes of Yesha Townsend and Nancy Anne Miller of Bermuda. There is also a new edition of Sky Words, the Moko podcast. (Source – Moko magazine email)

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The Speak Out! series on the Commonwealth Writers Adda platform. This is four issues strong with different editors from around the Commonwealth including Antigua and Barbuda’s Brenda Lee Browne. The stories and poems selected for the collection were submitted in response to “a call for submissions related to Freedom of Expression and its wider subthemes of gender, LGBTQIA+, race/ethnicity, and politics among others.” I have posted reviews to issues 1 and 2 of Adda (and full disclosure submitted to and was rejected by the selectors for Speak Out!). (Source – me)

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Three recent Papillote titles are Still Standing: The Ti Kais of Dominica by Adom Philgene Heron with photographs by Marica Honychurch, Black Man Listen by Kathy Casimir Maclean, and A Scream in the Shadows by Mac Donald Dixon. Papillote Press is a small, independent publishing house specialising in books about Dominica and the wider Caribbean. From observation, Dixon’s book especially has been getting a fair amount of critical attention including from Bookends in the Jamaica Observer where the three-time novelist was described as “arguably one of the Caribbean’s most versatile writers” and A Scream in the Shadows as “a timely novel that will strike a chord with readers.” (Source – N/A)

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Antiguan and Barbudan artist Zavian Archibald has illustrated another of Harper Collins’ Big Cat children’s books. She previously illustrated Turtle Beach written by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Barbara Arrindell and now Jumbled by British writer Jasmine Richards. It’s the story of Baccoo, a character from Guyanese folklore, which may have originated from Yoruba culture, infiltrating a classroom in the UK

(Source – various)

Events

Caribbean artists Diana McCaulay of Jamaica and Kendel Hippolyte of St. Lucia are (at this writing) scheduled to participate in Art and Climate Justice: Reimagining the Future, a critical conversation bringing together artists and activists from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific to discuss the power and importance of art to the global conversation on climate change. It’s on November 29th 2022. Register here. & we’ve seen climate activists targetting art but art was also used to illuminate the issues.

e.g. this mural by Indian artist Shilo Shiv featuring climate campaigners from the Amazon, Uganda, and Pakistan. – “the stories we tell and the cultures we create is ultimately what shifts public opinion.”

e.g. this mural by Painot, a young illustrator from Peru; it spotlights people from different professions resisting the fossil fuel industry.

(Source – Commonwealth Foundation email)

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The Alliougana Festival of the Word kicked off in Montserrat on November 17th 2022. Here are some scenes from their opening parade.

Activities between November 17 and 19 listed below:

Two Antiguan and Barbudan films are being screened on movie night, Yemoja’s Anansi, a short by Christal Clashing as mentioned above and HAMA’s Deep Blue.

(Source – AFW on Facebook)

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Two music events have crossed my timeline. One is Burna Boy announced for December 17th at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium, Antigua (on the heels of mixed reports out of Dominica about the costs associated with booking such a high profile international artiste) and the other is part of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra play out series, with guest violinist Braimah Kanneh-Mason.

Braimah is part of the renowned Kanneh-Mason clan out of the UK – the patriarch of which has Antiguan roots. (Source – Facebook)

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The Moray House Trust’s 2022 programme will close with two events to commemorate Guyanese writers Martin Carter and Edgar Mittelholzer. Every December they feature the work of Martin Carter who died on 13th December 1997. This year the plan is to focus on Carter’s Poems of Affinity. This year, the finale of the Chapter & Verse series will be dedicated to the work of Edgar Mittelhozer, who was born on 16th December 1909. The call goes out to anyone who has a favourite poem from Poems of Affinity or a favourite passage (or poem) by Mittelholzer and would like to read, should email Morayhousetrust@gmail.com by Friday 18th November. They will record the readings by Zoom from 21st – 25th November. (Source – the Nature Island Literary Festival on Facebook)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late October 2022)

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 – credit and link back if you use).

Art and Culture

Check the database of Antiguan and Barbudan Writings if you haven’t already and one of the sub-lists, Non-Fiction Antiguan and Barbudan Books, both just updated with a missed credit of a Natasha Lightfoot publication. Speaking of Professor Lightfoot was one of the voices called to weigh in recently after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Here she is on NPR.

“The Commonwealth, as a collective of former colonized nations, represents a kind of strength-in-numbers approach. To postcolonial statecraft, it fosters collective trade agreements. It, you know, encourages collective climate solutions. But it should be said that these member countries, as a conglomerate of mostly developing nations, need these collective solutions provided by the Commonwealth in part because of the centuries of extractive colonialism.”

(Source – Natasha Lightfoot on Twitter)

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Jhohadli’s art and culture column CREATIVE SPACE which runs this and every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer newspaper on October 19th 2022 features three Antiguan and Barbudan lyricists, composers, singers, players Laikan, Joy Lapps, and Asher Ottos’s latest releases.

Read about it. (Source – me)

Events

The Bocas UK Tour continues to November 3rd 2022. The October 29th 2022 events will be available for viewing online for free. To access go to the British Library ticketing and use the discount code  BOCASDIGI100. Programme highlights for Saturday include Ways in the World featuring Barbara Jenkins, Ira Mathur, and Grace Nichols; The Trouble with History featuring Cecil Browne, Ingrid Persaud, and Amanda Smyth; An Island is a World featuring Celeste Mohammed, Jacob Ross, and Celia Sorhaindo; Don’t call it Magic featuring Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, Karen Lord, and Pauline Melville; Mothers, Fathers, Daughters, Sons featuring Sophie Jai, Anthony Joseph, and Shivanee Ramlochan; and Beyond every Boundary featuring Canisia Lubrin, Tessa McWatt, and Nadifa Mohammed. There is a grand finale includes the performance of songs from Playboy of the West Indies: a Musical, adapted from Mustapha Matura’s original play, as long as presentations by Grace Nichols, Fred D’Aguiar, Shivanee Ramlochan, John Agard, Randolph Matthews, and Melanie Abrahams. (Source – Literary Arts Barbados/Ayesha Gibson-Gill email)

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Motion Picture Association Antigua & Barbuda.

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The University of Iowa’s International Writers Program will celebrate International Creole Day, on October 28th at 6:00 p.m. CDT, with a special reading: Rasanbleman Literè Kreyòl / World Creole Literature Gathering. Creole writers from countries around the world—including Jamaica (Dr. Donna Aza Weir-Soley) and Haiti (Jeanie Bogart, Patrick Sylvain, Jean Dany Joachim, Wilson Maceno, Jean-Andre Constant, Lokandya Fenelon) —will give readings in Kreyòl, live via Facebook. The event will be cohosted by Haitian journalist, novelist, and scholar Beaudelaine Pierre, whose debut novel Testaman was awarded the 2002 Prix Woman Kreyòl Jounal Bon Nouvèl, and IWP Director Christopher Merrill. (Source – IWP email)

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The Beniba Centre for Slavery Studies at University of Glasgow has announced that Antiguan-American historian Professor Natasha J. Lightfoot will deliver the 7th Annual James McCune Smith Lecture, set for 7pm on 17 November. Register to watch online. (Source – Natasha Lightfoot on Twitter)

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Late October to early November is Independence season in Antigua and Barbuda, the home country of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize. We became independent on November 1st 1981 making this our 41st anniversary of Independence. Full programme below.

(Source – Ministry of Creative Industries and Innovation on facebook)

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These are some scenes from the inaugural Louise ‘Miss Lou’ Bennett-Coverley Festival was held on Saturday (October 15) in Gordon Town, St. Andrew. Named for the late Jamaican poet and activist who popularized folk storytelling and use of the local vernacular in said storytelling, the festival formed part of Jamaica’s 60th anniversary of Independence. The festival was organized by Jamaican writer Opal Palmer Adisa who in 2021 edited a book entitled 100+ Voices for Miss Lou: Poetry, Tributes, Interviews, Essays (pictured in the collage above; one of Ms. Lou’s books is pictured below).

Opal is quoted by the Jamaica Information Service as saying, “At a time, under colonial rule, when Jamaican language, Jamaican culture, and ‘Jamaicanism’ wasn’t respected, Miss Lou stood steadfast, and that is why we are here. I am here… because I want to make sure every Jamaican child understands the work that Miss Lou has done and that we continue to salute her and study her work, not in a one dimensional way, but in the nuance and multiple ways that Miss Lou wrote. She was a tremendous writer.”

If you’re Caribbean, not just Jamaican, you’ve likely heard if not read Ms. Lou. Do you have a favourite? (Source – various, online)

Accolades

ABS TV’s director of news, Garfield Burford, originally of Jamaica but resident in Antigua and Barbuda, is in the US participating in the State Department funded International Visitor Leadership Programme, specifically the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists. Burford was nominated by the Caribbean Broadcasting Union, as was Barbados-based Stetson Babb.

Deputy Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy Bridgetown, Simone Kendall poses with Garfield Burford following a meeting in Barbados

The US Embassy Bridgetown said in a press release, “Over the course of the two-week program, participants from several countries will review the history and importance of press freedom in the United States; examine the structure, practices, and future of broadcast journalism in the United States; illustrate how new technologies shape the way news is gathered, reported, distributed, and consumed; and explore the crucial role of responsibility and accuracy in reporting in a democracy.” I reached out to find out how any of you reading this might qualify for opportunities like this and was advised that participantsf for this programme are nominated by an Embassy representative (working closely with NGOs, GOs, and various civil society partners; to proactively seek out opportunities, see the Embassy Education and Exchanges link. (Source – ABS TV on instagram and email from the US Embassy in Barbados)

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Jamaican novelist Nicole Dennis-Benn has reportedly inked a deal for her next book. Per Publisher’s Weekly, “Nicole Dennis-Benn sold her new untitled novel to Random House’s Marie Pantojan at auction. Julie Barer at the Book Group represented Dennis-Benn in the North American rights agreement. The novel follows a young Jamaican girl named Faye who grows up with her family in a small coffee-farming village and returns home after a unhappy time as a model to find a community she no longer recognizes. Dennis-Benn is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Here Comes the Sun and Patsy, both published by W.W. Norton’s Liveright imprint. The former, her 2016 debut, was named a New York Times Notable Book and was a finalist for a 2017 Young Lions Fiction Award. Patsy, published in 2019, won a Lambda Literary Award.” (Source – Nicole Dennis-Benn on twitter)

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US-based Jamaican writer Geoffrey Philp will collect the Silver Musgrave medal in November 2022. Per Jamaicans.com, “Awarded annually in recognition of excellence in art, science, and literature, the Musgrave Medal is named in memory of Sir Anthony Musgrave, the founder of the Institute and the former Governor of Jamaica.” Philp’s award is for literature. The author of 12 books, he has another, Archipelagos, forthcoming, and is working ona Marcus Garvey themed graphic novel. (Source – Geoffrey Philp on Twitter)

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Jamaica has bestowed previously announced national honours on various recipients (143 of them) including a number of people in the arts. The list includes, among others, original Dreamgirls cast member Sheryl Lee Ralph, a veteran actress currently featured in an Emmy award winning role in Abbott Elementary on TV; dancehall artiste Agent Sasco; and jazz pianist Monty Alexander.

(Source – Daily Observer newspaper/Antigua)

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Jamaican poet Kwame Dawes is the 2022 winner of Narrative magazine’s fourteenth annual poetry contest with The Forgettable Life and Other Poems. Their Fall Story Contest remains open to October 28th 2022. Meanwhile, this is only the recent accolade (after his Emmy, Forward, and Windham Campbell Prize) for the Ghanaian born poet who has spent much of his life in Jamaica and, I believe, is now resident in the US, where he teaches at the MFA level. (Source – Narrative email)

Wadadli Pen Stats

The YouTube channel – traffic is up but subscription could be a lot better. Top content for 2022 so far is 1, AB TODAY BEST of BOOKS International Literacy Day FEATURE, 2, GMAB June 2nd 2021, and, 3, World Book and Copyright Day Chat with Barbadian Author Cherie Jones.

This blog – Site visits are down (no down credited in part to us not having a Challenge this year and to there being fewer new posts overall) and here too subscription/follows could be a lot more. Top content this year has been 1, “Nobody go run me” (a classic by calypsonian Short Shirt from our lyrics page), 2, Antiguan and Barbudan Cultural Icon – Paul King Obstinate Richards (proving that there’s interest in our calypso content), 3, and About WADADLI PEN.

A reminder to engage with and share our content. (Source – in-house)

Books & Other Reading Material

UK writer Ann Morgan has published a new edition, 10 years on from the first, of her book A Year of Reading the World. This new Vintage edition is paperback with a new foreword. Reading the world started out as a project Morgan blogged about during the London Olympics, and here we are. To get primed, you can read about Ann’s project in this previous Wadadli Pen post, and about the first Reading the World book and the Caribbean presence in it here. And remember, like Ann said on Twitter, “Indie bookshops, like indie publishers, are heroes of the book world.” (Source – Ann Morgan on Twitter)

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The winning stories in the 2022 BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean and Caribbean-American Writers have been posted. Ther former is Bahamian writer Alexia Tolas’ “The Fix” and the latter is Haitian-American Yveka Pierre’s “Nadege goes Home”.

Alexia’s “The Fix” was described by judges as “a poetic story which deftly matches form to function with the verse format of the ‘spells’ driving the action forward. This psychological examination of an insecure lover embodies the scale of a fable while delivering an intimacy through the voice of the narrator. The Fix revels in its aurality and orality and delivers a full sensual experience that haunts the reader long after the final sentence.”

Pierre’s “Nadege goes Home”, meanwhile, has been praised for its “use of metaphor [which] invokes the poetry of Haitian Kreyol. The language of the story moves with a rhythm most strongly discernible in its dialogue. Metaphor, language and rhythm combine in this story about siblings to touch deep feelings and create a texture rich with the sense of lived experience.”

Hear more about these stories and other Caribbean literature on the BCLF Cocoa Pod[cast].

Per the BCLF website, “The BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest is an annual writing competition geared towards unearthing and encouraging the distinctive voice and story of the Caribbean-descended writer and expanding the creative writing landscape of Caribbean literature. It aims to provide a conduit through which writers of Caribbean descent find encouragement and empowerment to weave and share their stories. Both of the contest’s prizes are directed to the two distinct voices and perspectives which comprise the Caribbean identity – writers who were born and live in the Caribbean and those who reside in the diaspora.” (Source – BCLF email)

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The latest collection of shortlisted stories from the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story prize is now available to read on Adda. One set is published here and another set is published here. As a reminder Adda has also published the Speak Out! series and I have now published in Blogger on Books my thoughts on Issue 1 of Speak Out! (Source – Commonwealth Foundation email)

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The annual Antigua and Barbuda Conference took place on October 13th and 14th 2022. I was a presenter. You can view my presentation and read the entire presentation on the Appearances page on my Jhohadli blog and/or the New Daughters of Africa Blogger on Books page. (Source – me)

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Viré: The English Version, a novella by Maëlla K., producer of the Karukerament podcast, hit the marketplace in September 2022.

This is her first novella. (Source – promotional author email)

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, Oh Gad!Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Reading Room and Gallery 43

Things I read or view or listen to that you might like too. Things will be added – up to about 20 or so – before this installment in the Reading Room and Gallery series is archived. For previous and future installments in this series, use the search feature to the right. Possible warning for adult language and themes.

VIDEO ESSAYS

“When he left, Marley was despondent, feeling betrayed by the country he had given his life to…”

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“It’s harder than you think it is…” – Lindsey Ellis

POETRY

“Hurricanes that stagger like a betrayed lover barreling through the islands until its rage is spent on the sands of our beaches/littered with masks and plastic bottles” – ‘Archipelagos‘ by Geoffrey Philp

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“I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.” – from Langston Hughes’ ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers

FICTION

“When Kali fights Raktavera it seems impossible because every drop of his blood generates new demons. She figures out how to defeat him. She lifts him above the earth, slays him, and drinks his blood. Consuming Raktavera’s blood, Kali goes into a destructive trance. She can’t control herself. She kills.” – from ‘Journey to Ashes‘ by Joy Mahabir

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“In the beginning Leona thought the river was a horrible way to meet men. She thought Nell and I should meet them through normal channels, at church or a coffee shop, and not immediately after they’d tried to end their lives. Over the years, though, she’d accepted that my sister and I weren’t attracted to churchgoing, coffee-shop sorts, that we liked men who’d reached the ends of their ropes, guys who’d been gut-punched by life enough times to know they would be gut-punched several more.” – from ‘The Narrows by Janet Jodzio

REVIEWS

“…all in all I loved this book (both books), and find it consistent with the author’s oeuvre, which I’ve found to have strong, athletic and adventurous females, some element of fantasy, some mystery to be solved or problem to trouble shoot, within a Caribbean setting that just is. It’s very accessible for young readers and I can see it becoming a favourite of a young girl who is in to art, science, and sports, or perhaps just likes a bit of fantasy.” – from Blogger on Book (2021) – Quick Takes III. The Blogger on Books series used to run on this blog and has since moved to Jhohadli. This post is quick takes of the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books Volume 12 Number 1 Summer 2019, and two Big Cat books How to be a Calypsonian and The Lost Sketchbook (the review of the latter excerpted here)

NON FICTION

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‘Writing forty to fifty short stories annually provided Louis with just enough money to live comfortably as long as he kept tight control over his budget. Maintaining his morale was also a reason for the high productivity: “My system was to have so many stories out that when one came back its failure was cushioned by the chances that were left,” he wrote to author and editor Ken Fowler, “and by the time they returned I had others out.”’ – from Louis L’Amour and the Legend of the West: Beau L’Amour remembers the Life and Work of His Famous Father in Crime Reads

VISUAL ART

Something I made…

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Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters in 2021 featured the photographic art of Nadia Huggins, a Trinidad-Tobago born, St. Vincent and the Grenadines raised artist and director. The series of images is part of her documentation of the La Soufriere eruption. See more images and read more about her work here.

READING

This was a promotional reading posted to her publisher’s YouTube by Turtle Beach author Barbara A. Arrindell. This book is part of the Caribbean line of Big Cat books and Arrindell is a Wadadli Pen team member.

CREATIVES ON CREATING

It’s crazy to me that this film didn’t get more awards love. Why? See my review of both the movie and the book from which it was adapted.

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“I could work on a song for an hour or two and then I want to jump off to the next one…working on one song I can get bored and fall out of love with it…he has no problem just sitting with one song.” – Anderson.Paak on working with Bruno Mars

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“We Often Have Dope Crew Jackets On My Joints. I Often See Them On Ebay For Big Money.” – ‘Remembering the Iconic Visuals and Creative Process of Spike Lee’s School Daze‘ by Spike Lee

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“Creative writing in an of itself is a form of journalism…if you’re speaking to an issue, you’re speaking to something that has a spine, you’re just altering the delivery method in which someone gets the information.” – Roy Wood Jr. in conversation with Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due

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“We need to know what a particular form does for storytelling so we can make an informed decision about if we want to use it, when we want to use it, or if we want to dismiss it altogether.” – Tiphanie Yanique on Breaking the Rules of Form in LitHub

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“The entry point for me with this particular story though it’s an aquatic adventure set under the sea, the entry point for me was friendhsip.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse at Write the Vision’s Aspiring Authors and Writers Virtual Literary Event, speaking on ‘The Art of Writing Children’s Books?’, speaking at this point on writing Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure

CONVERSATIONS

“The problem with canons is how they squeeze people out, it’s not how they include people.”

***

 “But who I am is my father’s son…” – Sydney Poitier, Academy Class of 2014, Full Interview

His story about the slap back he insisted on in ‘In the Heat of the Night’ and the story he tells about the role he turned down pre-fame (when things were so bad he had to take out a street loan against his furniture to pay for his daughter to be born in hospital) have in common his awareness of his responsibility to his character, characters, and community, and determination not to make money his only motivator.

***

“Poetry and fiction publishing by Caribbean women has been on-going for decades. Readers should have had more multilingual anthologies available during the last twenty years. We have such a significant number of excellent writers coming from the region and the larger Caribbean world.” – Loretta Collins Klobah in interview (alongside Maria Grau Perejoan) with Plume

***

“How come we are so visible, yet we are invisible.” – Edith Oladele of the African Slavery Memorial Society, discussing how she came to an awareness of her connection to slavery and to Africa.

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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Reading Room and Gallery 42

Things I read or view or listen to that you might like too. Things will be added – up to about 20 or so – before this installment in the Reading Room and Gallery series is archived. For previous and future installments in this series, use the search feature to the right. Possible warning for adult language and themes.

NON-FICTION

“Not enough genre peeps are being published writing in, for lack of a better word, non-Eurocentric dialects/vernacular.” – Dialog, Patois: If It’s Good Enough for Anthony Burgess, It’s Good Enough For You by Tonya Liburd

MISC.

The 2021 Virgin Islands Lit Fest was virtual. Here are all the panels, in case you missed it.

***

“If you’re a regular here, you know I’m a Caribbean author, reader, and blogger, and I stay reading Caribbean, but I could stand to read a lot more and I’d bet you could too (so consider yourself recc’d).” – from my blog, Top Ten Tuesday #ReadCaribbean

REPORTING

“Although not the traditional form of storytelling, video games, like any other game reflect the culture in which it was forged. Video games, however, get a bad rap, because the associations we give to them such as encouraging antisocial and sedentary behaviours and lifestyles. However, video games provide a particularly unique opportunity to incorporate elements of Caribbean culture through their unique method of interactive narrative during gameplay.” – The Creolisation of Video Games. ‘If We are to preserve Culture, We must continue to create It.’ by Christal Clashing

POETRY

Ann-Margaret Lim

***

‘and the takeoff/when the body comes fully in to play/is the throwing off of shackles” – ‘Dear Phibba’ by Ann Margaret Lim

***

It’s work, it’s work, my cousins told me
when I complained about too many yachts in the sea,

how I didn’t feel safe swimming anymore.

It’s work, it’s work, I tell myself when I clock
in my time for the day.” – from ‘Solastalgia‘ by Catherine-Esther Cowie

***

“The day her practised palm cracked my cheekbone,
I crawled into grief.” – from ‘Mother suffered from Memories‘ by Juleus Ghunta

***

I say, Mr. Jno Baptiste
Maybe you’re just not crazy about this world anymore
Maybe you’re just mad, mad, mad about something
But what do I know

-from ‘What do I know’ in Guabancex by Celia Sorhaindo

***

“Run.
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.” – Running Orders by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

FILM + OTHER VISUAL ART

Isolation‘ by Carl Augustus of Antigua and Barbuda is a hybrid water colour and poem about mental health, published to the Intersect Antigua-Barbuda platform.

***

CONVERSATIONS

“We don’t like the word misogyny. We don’t like the word sexism and we don’t like the word misogyny (in the Caribbean)…there’s all this talk about gender based violence…this is misogyny…this is directed at women.” – Jamaican writer Jacqueline Bishop on the Rippling Pages podcast.

***

Two iconic producers discussing how they did it from teenhood to an epic music catalogue.

***

“…we don’t mind but it’s the parents of the other girls who might mind.” – Margaret Busby, first Black UK publisher, editor of Daughters of Africa and New Daughters of Africa, whose parents are Caribbean and who spent her earliest years in Ghana, about the responses her partents received when registering she and her siblings in British boarding schools. In conversation re Desert Island Discs with the BBC, in which she gives iconic song picks mixed in with personal history.

***

“I had started it as a young adult fantasy book, there was a whole fantasy element to this.” – Trinidad and Tobagonian author N. G. Peltier discussing her romance novel Sweethand on the Tim Tim Bwa Fik Caribbean romance podcast. Scroll and click the playlist for conversations with various Caribbean writers of romance.

***

“I’ve loved poetry for many years, reading and listening to it. I’ve always found it a powerful and connecting literary form, but I was relatively new to writing it.” – Celia Sorhaindo interviewed by Kahini

***

“One night, I felt this feeling I’d been having my whole life: wake up, can’t see, can’t breathe.” – Courttia Newland in conversation with Johnny Temple of Akashic about out of body experiences, his new book, and the award winning Small Axe anthology series on which he was co-writer.

***

“My mother being from the Caribbean and my father being from the South, and me having a huge need to fit in and low self-esteem, I lost my identity very quickly, trying to fit in, to go under the radar…the disconnect from getting to know who Michael was…and the ability to chameleon myself…that also started very early…I got addicted to fantasy very quick.” – Michael K. Williams (RIP) in one of his last interviews discussing his craft, his addiction, his background (which is part Caribbean on his mother’s side – she was an immigrant from the Bahamas), his love of cooking and trying new things, and more. Michael K. came to fame first as a back-up dancer and choreographer and later playing iconic roles like Omar in The Wire, and as a strong character actor in films like Bessie and When They See Us.

***

“The Federal Art Project was part of something called Federal One, which had projects not just for the fine arts but also for theater, for writing, for music. There was a design index. It was one aspect of a really diverse and wide-ranging kind of project…the government saw it as an obligation, part of its duty, to provide artists in need with economic support. So they commissioned them to produce public art…The arts, for Roosevelt and the New Dealers, were seen as a fundamental component of a truly democratic society. A democracy could not call itself as such without art, music, theater, poetry, writing, design, photography, film.” – Alison Wilkinson in conversation with Jody Patterson for Vox

***

“In the same ways that women were expected and didn’t slip in high school in reading Shakespeare and be expected to get all sorts of things from Shakespeare and from Walcott and from Brathwaite – men can get enormous things from this book and from reading these women as well and that’s what I’ll say to that. There is a stance that, “oh we have to think about the men’s feelings here, and whatnot,” but we don’t think about that when it comes to women reading male writers, right? Male writers, they have achieved, it seems, a kind of universality that “women have not”… Bullshit. I cry bullshit to that. Women, too, are universal. Right? So if you want good writing, if you want good interviews, if you want all of that, women can provide it as well. So male writers will get the exact same things and male readers will get the exact same things here that they would get from any good book.” – Jacqueline Bishop in conversation with Jamaica Creates

FICTION

‘I just thought we’d be in a better position,’ she said. ‘You know. By this stage in our lives. I thought we’d have made more of ourselves.’ – from ‘Attention‘ by Catherine Chidgey; it was shortlisted for the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story prize.

***

“I arrived with kosher tacos, made from scratch with chicken liver and mole, and by the end of the night, all sixteen of them sat untouched in the pan, the sauce congealing beneath the foil.” – from ‘The Orphan Disease‘ by Jake Wolff in Kenyon Review

***

“The sun hot like it beating your skin with a rubber strap.” – from ‘Cash and Carry‘ by Sharma Taylor, shortlisted for the 2020 Commonwealth short story prize

***

“This is how you discover that you fall into that select category of People For Whom Ganja Is Useless.” – from ‘Hunger‘ by Andre Bagoo. This story was shortlisted for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. It is posted on the Commonwealth Writers Adda platform.

***

Jamaica Kincaid reading her short story ‘Girl’

***

“‘I sit down waiting on the bed, and I hear he start to cry. And I know I in for lash. But he come quiet quiet in the room, lie down and say, “Aditi, I sorry.” I wanted to walk out that house then and there, but I ask him for what. He say everything. He say he sorry for everything. The word so stink and nasty after all he do, but he bawling sorrysorrysorry like he feel it go fix something. Like he feel I go start feeling sorry myself.’” – English at the End of Time by Rashad Hosein, shortlisted for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

***

“Don’t get me wrong: Long Island boys look good. When the Anglican Diocese host Jamboree here, all the girls from Exuma and Eleuthera drool over our boys like they ain’t got none back where they come from. But I ain’t never seen nothing like Demetri before. Brown sugar kiss his gilded skin. The sun blink at the golden glint of his hair. I almost drown in the cerulean waters that rise up to meet me when he look over. He got them eyes that shift with the light. Sometimes they so clear you could see right down to the bottom. Other times they froth with the Lusca’s rage.” – Granma’s Porch by Alexia Tolas

***

“We meet our friends for happy hour, hand a twenty-dollar bill to the bartender, double-take when he quips, Still whiskey and Coke after all these years? We peer at him, recognize the brown boy we wrapped our arms around in a basement in Richmond Hill. While Aaliyah crooned on the radio.” – Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades, 2019 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest Winner

CREATIVES ON CREATING

The Daily Show has been doing a series ‘Beyond the Scenes’ – a how the sausage gets made series on the topical comedy segments on the show.

***

“It looks as if I’ve been very prolific but actually there have been breaks” – Monique Roffey in conversation with Malika Booker for New Caribbean Voices – Books and Writers podcast

***

“I spent a couple of summers as a kid in Barbados, but probably eight or nine summers in Antigua; so I actually spent a lot more time in Antigua with my dad’s family. So it’s a bit ironic that I spent so much time writing about Barbados ’cause I actually know a lot less about it and I’m less connected to my family there. But I think that actually opened up a space for me imaginatively to write about Barbados that wasn’t there for Antigua.” – Naomi Jackson on Writing Home: American Voices from the Caribbean

***

“With all its horrors, the pandemic has led to a host of online workshops, open mics, events like poetry readings and literary festivals, virtual spaces to share, discuss and connect with other writers and writing communities, and a host of other opportunities. All of these have helped to improve my craft and my confidence. I have also been reading poetry voraciously from a diverse range of poets, and other articles that catch my interest, not just literary ones, from quantum physics to the amazing life and anatomy of an octopus. I assume it’s the same for everyone.” – Bocas longlisted poet (Guabancex) Celia Sorhaindo in conversation with US based Jamaican writer Geoffrey Philp on his blog.

***

‘I’d had workshop earlier that day, and my professor, Elissa Schappell, said two pieces of advice that lodged in my brain: Don’t be afraid to take risks in your writing, and Write what only you could say. It was advice I needed to hear at that point in time; I’d been pursing art in an academic setting—the MFA—and the program had, ironically (or perhaps not-so-ironically), left me feeling creatively stifled. Elissa’s words reminded me of the thematic and formal risks I wanted, and absolutely needed, to take in my art. What she said helped me feel the freedom I needed to feel to begin “Brown Girls.”’ – Daphne Palasi Andreades, KR Conversations

***

“Seabirds are a constant in my daily life. Along my daily commute frigates are flying overhead while pelicans rest on the waterside rocks. Just now, in the empty lot next to my apartment a lonely heron wanders about. When I ride the ferry over to the outer islands or over to St. Thomas, brown boobies chase the boat’s work. Sometimes I feel like my outstretched fingers may just graze their bellies.” – British Virgin Islands poet laureate and OCM Bocas prize winner Richard Georges in conversation with acclaimed and award winning Jamaican writer Jacqueline Bishop for her series in the Jamaica Observer Bookends supplement. Read the interview:

***

“She changed the requirement that actresses in the movies being invariably likeable or attractive. She lifted the veil of appropriate behaviour in women to expose what was scary, unexpected, or ugly; in other words, to do what was appropriate for the character” – Meryl Streep on Bette Davis for Turner Classic Movies

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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Reading Room and Gallery 32

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Share by excerpting and linking, so to read the full story or see all the images, or other content, you will need to go to the source. No copyright infringement is intended. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 32nd  one which means there are 31 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one.JCH

WRITERS READING

UofM
Reading (1995) at the University of Miami as part of the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute by Brittany Wivell, Nicola Johnson, Maritza Stanchich, Eugenia O’Neal, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Beatrice Gardiner, Kezia Page, and Omar Garcia. This was my first public reading of my work (ever!) – I come in at about 56:35-ish, but watch the whole thing. (click on the image)

THE INDUSTRY

A “If editing is key to writing, persistence is key to publishing.” – editors’ roundtable w/Jennifer Wortman, Megan Giddings, Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, and Robert James Russell.

***

“Sink into writing. Then when it’s written, come up for air and publish, because if you think about publishing before you finish the book, you’ll be outdated in your thinking by the time the book is complete. Just enjoy writing the story for now.” – C. Hope Clark

***

“This article is all about the trends I have observed in the publishing industry – in terms of manuscript publishers, self-publishing, and literary journals – over the last year or so. The key word in the previous sentence is “I”. This article reflects my personal opinion, and what I have noticed. I write a new/updated version of this article every year.” – Emily Harstone

NON-FICTION

“I think it’s a general misunderstanding, not just his. It’s as if we imagine an old book to be a time machine that brings the writer to us. We buy a book and take it home, and the writer appears before us, asking to be admitted into our company. If we find that the writer’s views are ethnocentric or sexist or racist, we reject the application, and we bar his or her entry into the present.

As the student had put it, I don’t want anyone like that in my house.

I think we’d all be better readers if we realized that it isn’t the writer who’s the time traveler. It’s the reader. When we pick up an old novel, we’re not bringing the novelist into our world and deciding whether he or she is enlightened enough to belong here; we’re journeying into the novelist’s world and taking a look around.” – Brian Morton

FICTION

‘She had told Mr. Peebles things. Not indecent, but personal things. About herself. Her life. How could she not? There they were in her house, in her den, elbow-to-elbow at her family table. To her left: the upright piano at which she’d taken lessons until her teacher quit, citing “personal issues.” (I think I was the person he had issues with, she’d told Mr. Peebles. Said he: Not every pair’s a match.) To her right, a photo gallery of Pam and her brother as babies, as toddlers, as brace-faced pre-teens, photos in front of which Mr. Peebles paced while Pam retrieved his weekly payment from her father.’ – Peanuts aren’t Nuts by Courtney Zoffness

***

“The devil liked being a woman, because in a woman’s body, it could feel the truth. The things the body did when no one was watching, the way it could swallow things, drown parts whole, hide and house people. In a woman’s body, it could feel the weight of her kindness; the restraint it takes to know exactly how easy it is to raze a man’s life but still choose not to—and yes, there was something delicious about being that close to being good. But its patience was running thin.” – Night Wind by Eloghosa Osunde

***

“It must have been a gunshot. I’d know the sound of a .45 anywhere. And it came from upstairs. But I wasn’t going to let my curiosity get the better of me, like my captain in Afghanistan used to warn me.” – from “Our Dirty Little Secrets” by Geoffrey Philp

***

‘Girls do not climb coconut trees,’ he said, tossing the belt over his shoulder. ‘It spoils the nuts.’ – Matalasi by Jenny Bennett-Tuionetoa

VISUAL ART

“More than 20,000 submissions came in representing all genres of travel photography, from street scenes to wildlife. AFAR’s highly respected panel of photography judges selected the winners, whose work we’re proud to present here.” More here.

POETRY

“Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!” – If we must die by Claude McKay

***

“and every deployment
is a Talking Heads song
and every morning
is an invitation to dance
in a pill bottle
and you’re not interested
in keeping busy
and you don’t want
more group texts
and you don’t want
your daughter learning
to shoot a rifle
with the other kids
who aim at a silhouette
of someone’s son
tied to a haystack” – Asking for a Friend by Abby E. Murray

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“After having a baby and becoming a mom, I was super-raw at that point in my life. It was the first time that I would work in the studio during the day. I was about to breast feed and I would put her down for a nap and then come back. It was very kind of daytime-y sober. I felt really present making that record, because normally we’d open a bottle of wine and shit-talk and record at one in the morning. It just wasn’t that anymore.” – Pink discussing her various albums

***

“In a sense, the poem is again about gratitude. There is no regret or there is no even wishing it had not happened. It’s just a realization that we lost ten years of making frittatas together. As a mother and a daughter who loved each other and who love each other, that’s a lot.” – Alice Walker

INTERVIEWS

“I think I always write with the Caribbean in mind.  My voice comes from Grenada and, in my head, that’s my first audience.  In reality, I have to face the fact that my books are often not available in Grenada.  I write for everyone who cares to read, wherever in the world they may be.” – Merle Collins

***

“There was this place in Antigua, The Point, that’s always attracted me. It’s a really fascinating neighborhood. Not only was it a slave burial ground in the 1700s, it was one of the first places in Antigua where slaves started a revolt that led to a big uprising. It’s one of the only tenement yard systems left in Antigua. On top of that — being one of the poorest areas in the island — it shares walls with St. John’s, the capital and a duty-free port for cruise ships.” – Shabier Kirchner, Antiguan and Barbudan filmmaker discussing his short film Dadli. For this and more Antiguan and Barbudan artist interviews, go here.

***

“So many of us writers keep returning to our history of slavery. Why do we keep doing this? It’s because there’s still something to understand and retrieve from that past. Storytelling is a medicine and we are not yet healed.” – Marcia Douglas with Loretta Collins Klobah

***

“‘Not only do black women authors have to find other routes to market their books to mainstream audiences, often times they are even left out of conversations of classic novels within genres like fantasy, horror, science fiction, romance and even cooking. Why do you think black women authors are not recognized in all literary genres?’

‘I think it’s just we get overlooked at times, and it becomes this thing. Like science fiction — apparently black women do not like comics or sci-fi. We know that is not true. But it’s another stereotype that is placed on black women, and we can tell because we have been ignored from these spaces. It’s as if there can’t be any black elves in a story or something that is reflective of our existence.

I’m really proud that we have authors that push against these stereotypes, and can really show what it means to be a black woman in these spaces. I read an incredible science fiction book by Rivers Solomon called An Unkindness of Ghosts. Now, you would think by looking on television or reading books that black women don’t belong in [outer] space, and that’s not true. It’s just a reflection of the limited imaginations people can have, and what we see as futuristic.

All of these genres, like mystery and romance, have incredible writers like Beverly Jenkins. There are so many writers that we just don’t acknowledge in these spaces. But they exist.’ – Glory Idim being interviewed about her book Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves

***

“By the early 70s, we’d moved away from the politics of black power, purely, to a more class based politics.” – Linton Kwesi Johnson

***

“I was inspired to write Caribbean characters into the work I was doing by the fact that I grew up in the islands, and my biological father was Grenadian. I had a wide variety of friends and family who had Caribbean roots growing up. SciFi didn’t have a lot representation of that. As someone who was light-skinned but bi-racial, I was used to being in a culture with a wide variety of skin tones, but wasn’t seeing that in my SciFi much. I didn’t, much to my shock, realize this until I was much older. I had a scales-falling-from-the-eyes moment when I read Islands in the Net by Bruce Sterling. He was a white American cyberpunk (a subgenre of SF) writer who set a book in Grenada. When I encountered it, I was so stunned because it exposed a whole gap in mind’s eye: why shouldn’t there be SciFi with Caribbean settings and heroes? And I saw all the stuff that I felt Bruce should have added! After that, I started drawing pictures of starships docked in St. Thomas. I later read Octavia Butler, and that confirmed to me that SciFi could be different than a lot of what I was reading.” – Tobias Buckell

***

“I write for an ideal reader — an actual person who is now dead, but who still sits on my shoulder asking certain questions about authenticity and truth. This ideal reader was a renowned, respected and important author and critic, and he became my friend. I write for him because he represents for me the best in literature, in thinking, in humanity and because I always want to write something that he would like to read.” – Tessa McWatt

***

“How you wear the environment is the key to auditioning” – Mahershala Ali

***

‘Atticus is the quintessential emblem of the “good white Southerner,” of “moral white America.” What I hope that my book will do—by providing the historical context for understanding what Lee was battling with and what she was trying to do with the character of Atticus—is help us be more well-informed about the political struggles that shaped not only her, but also the South and the nation more broadly. Whatever you may think of To Kill a Mockingbird as a piece of fiction, I think that understanding Atticus and critically engaging with how we’ve long been taught certain romanticized notions of racial morality are important for all of us.’ – Joseph Crespino

***

Q. What if you were in a room with aspiring writers? What advice would give to them?

Francie Latour: Read read read read. The best way to become a better writer is to read, and to study the architecture of every good piece of writing you come across.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

Remember to #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

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Reading Room and Gallery 31

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Share by excerpting and linking, so to read the full story or see all the images, or other content, you will need to go to the source. No copyright infringement is intended. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 31st  one which means there are 30 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one.JCH

POETRY

“The woman is perfected.
Her dead
Body wears the smile of accomplishment…” – Edge by Sylvia Plath

***

‘“Unwritten: Caribbean Poems After the First World War” is an attempt to address this gap in the narrative.’ Those poets commissioned by this project, writing and researching new work, come from both the Caribbean, and the Caribbean diaspora. Performing are: Jay Bernard, Jay T John, Ishion Hutchinson, Kat Francois, Tanya Shirley, Vladimir Lucien, Charnell Lucien, Malika Booker and Karen McCarthy Woolf.’ – Unwritten

NEWS FEATURES & OPINION

“The fact that no importance is placed on storytelling makes me very frustrated not only because it puts so little value or emphasis on children’s creativity, but also because storytelling is more than simply an art – it is a crucial skill for life and commerce.” – Ditch the Grammar and Teach Children Storytelling Instead by Tim Lott

***

“Simon was a four-time Oscar nominee and a staggering 17-time Tony nominee; he won three times and received a special Tony in 1975, along with virtually every other honor a playwright can win, including the Pulitzer Prize for 1991’s Lost in Yonkers. Because he was so prolific, churning out more than 60 plays, screenplays, teleplays, and even contributions to musicals over the course of half a century, it’s hard to home in on his most important works, or even his most important decade. But here are four Simon works we think every theater lover should know.” – Vox on late American playwright Neil Simon

CREATING

“When I was 24 years old, I chanced upon this style of comedy. I was doing a very small cable TV show, it was a public access show in England called F2F and I was playing an early form of the character that became Ali G. In that version he was  called Joseline Cheadle Human. He was an upper-class wanna be rapper, skateboarder, lover of hip-hop. In this show, I would go out and shoot little segments and then I would sort of pop them into this live show. I shot a little thing with this character and then I saw a bunch of real-life Ali G’s. The director with me at the time, a guy called Mike Toppin, a brilliant ex-editor of evening comedies who happened to be working on this public access show. I said, those guys are like me and he said, go and speak with them. That moment changed my career. I interacted with them, I started trying to get on my skateboard and they are going, ‘you’re wack, man. That is ridiculous.’ They were mocking me, and after two minutes I came out of character and I said, ‘guys, I’m pretending. It’s not me.’ They were shocked, and I realized oh my God, I’ve found something. Suddenly a tourist bus turned up. I jumped on the tourist bus with a camera. I grabbed the microphone. I started rapping into the microphone. We got off the bus, I went into a pub and started breakdancing on the floor. They called the cops. I then went into the lobby of some big business firm and I said my dad ran the business, and security threw me out, and I was completely invigorated.

I took the stuff and would cut it into the live show, and by the third segment everything was cut. It went black. Somebody had pulled these pieces that we’d shot. I was pulled in front of the station chiefs afterward and they said, never do that again or I’d get sued. I knew at that point that I had found something. It was by chance, by luck. I chanced upon a new style of comedy, which was putting comedy characters into the real world. A week later there was a pro-hunting rally in England, which every member of the upper class was there, save the royal family, and I decided to go undercover as a foreign character. I’m driving down there and in the back seat. There’s a hat from Astrakhan in Southern Russia. I put it on my head and I come out of the car and I am basically an early form of Borat.

Hello, my name is…[he assumes the Borat accent]. I would start asking people, ‘excuse me. When we went hunting in Moldova, we like to hunt the Jew. Would you hunt the Jew here?’ And they’d start answering…[assumes upper crust British accent] ‘Well, actually…yes, so long as he was given a fair start. Yes, I would.’ And I suddenly realized here was a method that allowed people to really reveal their true feelings on camera. I came back home and I said to my flatmate, I think there’s a new style of comedy here that I’ve accidentally chanced upon, an undercover character comedy. I just started working on that and when the cable access show got shut down, I started developing a show for Borat, which was going to be undercover in a house with students with hidden cameras for three months, kind of an early form of Big Brother. It was not commissioned, but that is how all this happened.” – Sacha Baron Cohen

****

“To know a character, I have to understand what they want and what they’ve lost.” –  Bret Anthony Johnston

***

‘The short story is well placed for putting twists on simple things. Unlike the novel – in which the author is primarily concerned with world-building – the short story is typically centred on a moment or event and charged with a more playful energy. An author of three novels – The Beast of Kukuyo (2018), The Repenters (2016) and Littletown Secrets (2013) – Hosein felt ‘Passage’ was better suited for the short form, for its warmth, tension and confusion. “‘Passage’ works because of its set-up and quick deflection of expectations,” says Hosein. “There also had to be continuously rising tension that’s a lot more difficult to maintain in a novel, especially a novel that entails such few players.”’- Kevin Jared Hosein on The Culture Trip

THE BUSINESS

“1.Give anything you’ve just finished some time and space before you submit.

2.Try to be as objective as possible when you finally do return to that piece.

3.Be ready and willing to revise.

4.Know thyself. Be brutally honest.

5.In the end, go with your gut. If you think it’s ready, send it.” – Matt Mullins in Atticus Review newsletter

INTERVIEWS

“A sense of the inner wildness, the “untameness” that is always beneath the surface of people and places, is what drives many of the poems. In the process of writing and editing Doe Songs, I tried to access that inner wildness and to learn to see it in everything, to acknowledge that the domestic and the wild, the gentle and the feral are bound together so closely in all living things and places.” – Danielle Boodoo Fortune 

***

***

“What is the first thing you wrote?

When I was in sixth form, I studied literature for my “A” levels with Dennis Scott. We had finished with the syllabus fairly early, so Dennis invited his friends, Rex Nettleford, Mervyn Morris, Lorna Goodison, and Christopher Gonzalez, to name a few, to talk to us about music, art, and poetry. I believe it was after a lecture by Lorna Goodison that he gave us an assignment to visit any gallery and write an essay about what we saw.

I had arrived at the gallery late and begged one of the cleaning ladies to let me in. I told her it would only be a few minutes. She smiled with me and said, “Only ten minutes.”

When I walked into the gallery, a security guard was walking past a statue, “Eve” by Edna Manley. As he walked by the statue, he slapped the statue on the buttocks and said, “Big batty gal.” Talk about a visceral reaction to art.

I wrote the essay and then, published my first poem, “Eve (For E.M.)” in the Daily Gleaner.” – Geoffrey Philp interviewed for the Caribbean Literary Heritage website

***

“You know I think the jokes that work for white guys and their white guy comedian friends don’t work, always, for women of color. …” – Amber Tamblyn

***

What advice would you give to new writers starting out? Where to start? Kill adverbs. Use nouns and verbs. Adjectives are less useful than you think. Think about what you’re trying to say and then do that, plainly. Be kind to yourself – writing is hard. Read lots of stuff, everything, but try including some good ones, you know, that have critical acclaim. It does count for something. Grammar. Jesus Christ – fixing that is not an editor’s job, or it shouldn’t be. Go looking for your inspiration – be active. There is no bolt from the blue that will deliver you literary perfection – it takes work. READ. Most of the time the story will not just seek you out – you have to go find it. READ. Oh, and if you’re a poet, I beg you not to read poetry in that sing-song voice that so many put on at worthy events. Sorry, I know I’m supposed to be talking about shorts. READ. ” – Leone Ross

***

“For writers, dreams are where it’s at.” – Angela Barry

***

Who made reading important to you? When I was little, my older sisters read to me from time to time. I also have one memory of my father reading to me. He was not a very fluent reader and I remember him struggling with the words, but he tried very hard and put a lot of heart into it. I was about five or so and was very moved by it all; that reading experience fueled something and has remained with me on many levels.” – interview with Marcia Douglas

***

***

“If you’re prepared to be tough with yourself. That’s hard to instill in people – that you can have a lot of confidence and still be really tough. And also know it’s not factory work, it’s not office work, it’s not going to come out the same every day. And because this is the only place we write from, this self that we are, some days it’s a bit fucked up.” – Jeanette Winterson with Marlon James

***

‘And when someone asked me that [authority question], I said, “You mean… talent and imagination?”’ – Marlon James with Jeanette Winterson

FICTION

“The obit didn’t say how he died. Just that he left a wife, one son, a brother, and a mother behind.” – From Where We Rush Forth by Rachel Ann Brickner

***

“In the autumn of Maria’s eighteenth year, the year that her beloved father—amateur coin collector, retired autoworker, lapsed Catholic—died silently of liver cancer three weeks after his diagnosis, and the autumn her favorite dog killed her favorite cat on the brown, crisped grass of their front lawn, and the cold came so early that the apples on the trees froze and fell like stones dropped from heaven, and the fifth local Dominican teenager in as many months disappeared while walking home from her minimum-wage, dead-end job, leaving behind a kid sister and an unfinished journal and a bedroom in her mother’s house she’d never made enough to leave…” – Mary When You Follow Her By Carmen Maria Machado, Illustrations by Sergio García Sánchez

***

“‘Well me wasn’t there, but people say it, so I believe it,’ the man said, chuckling through a smile of missing teeth.” – An Elephant in Kingston by Marcus Bird

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, Oh Gad!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). 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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Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

Reading Room and Gallery 21

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artists by rippling the water together. For earlier iterations of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 21st one which means there are 20 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one.

INTERVIEWS

Judd Batchelor: What advice would you give to young writers
Dorbrene O’Marde: Two things. Firstly, I want them to write, keep writing it will get better as you write more – read the full interview

***

“I just looking to give back, I looking to show that you can be some body, especially in the arts.” – Sheena Rose

***

“I didn’t set out to write a faerie story, just write myself out of the headspace I’d landed in because of this unexpected negative encounter. As I wrote, I was drawn in by the challenge of doing something I hadn’t done, I enjoy experimentation, and something about taking this negative and working through it in a genre where typically good and bad are clear, and they all lived happily ever after, appealed. Also appealing was this idea of how passion for something can help it flourish, and how good can attract good, do good and good will follow you; and then the faerie was there awakened by, responding to the goodness that this girl was sending her way. It was an interesting development, and I enjoyed exploring it – and that this became a faerie story is the thing I’m most excited about. I like when something I’m writing surprises me.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse

***

“The heart wants what it wants. But I chose to, and aspire to, becoming as good a writer as possible in the circumstances, given the relatively short space of time I’ve got left.” – Andre Bagoo

***

“What I am coming to realize is that long before my preoccupations and obsessions become fully known to me, they are at play in my work.”  – Jacqueline Bishop in conversation with Loretta Collins Klobah

***

“I am a writer first and foremost, but I did a lot of side jobs and odd jobs while I was writing my novel,” Islam says. “I freelanced. I wrote copy for Uniqlo. I modeled for an Al Jazeera campaign. But as I was finishing my book, it struck me. I was like, ‘What am I going to do next? I can’t sit in an office all day. I just can’t.'” She found her answer in her final revisions of Bright Lines. For starters, the patriarch of the story is an apothecary. And as she delved deeper into his persona during the decade she spent at work on the novel, Islam fell hard for fragrance. Besides, she adds, “Brooklyn is such a place to launch a brand. I was really inspired by other beauty brands that had started here. I wanted to have a part in that movement.” And, finally, Islam points to a scene at the end of the novel in which a trio of girls throws wildflower seed bombs into different areas of Brooklyn. The women want the crops to “grow up and into something.” – from Elle.com interview with Tanwi Nandini Islam

***

“Lightfoot:  Chapter Five was difficult to write, but it was also incredibly revealing. It shows that even within such a homogeneous population of working peoples there was an added set of constraints on black women. Specifically, constraints around what women’s roles were supposed to be and the dangers of masculinized black women. And, of course, there was never the sense that black women in post-emancipation Antigua should have the right to stay home and be dainty ladies. Whatever stock ideas about femininity that might have been applied in the middle of the nineteenth century to white women certainly didn’t apply to black women, ever.” – Dr. Natasha Lightfoot, a historian of Antiguan and Barbudan descent, interviewed by the African American Intellectual History Society on her book Troubling Freedom: Antigua and the Aftermath of British Emancipation

***

“The assumption was very real. And then it was actually named, ‘does Solange know who is buying her records?’ So it became a totally different conversation than what I was first approached to be a part of and then it became a conversation yet again about ownership. And here I was feeling so free, feeling so independent, feeling like I had ownership finally over my art, my voice, but I was being challenged on that yet again by being told that this audience had ownership over me. And that was kind of the turning point and the transition for me writing the album that is now A Seat at the Table.” – Solange Knowles talking to Helga on Q2 Music

***

INTERVIEWER
Do you have a reader in your mind when you write?
BALDWIN
No, you can’t have that.
-from James Baldwin, the Art of Fiction No. 78 in the Paris Review

***

“Writing a novel is like pulling a saw out of your vagina. Writing a memoir is like pulling a saw out of your vagina while others are looking on.” – 5 Questions for… Emily Raboteau

***

“It is a myth of my own invention. I am taken with the idea of creating new myths that speak to our current world in the same way that old mythology spoke to the world in its creators’ time.” – Lesley Nneka Arimah on Imagining a Universe of Handcrafted Babies  in her story Who Will Greet You at Home published in the New Yorker

***

“My mother also tells me that for Celeste different children and their various broods would be assigned various colours in her quilt-making schemata which is all quite interesting to me, one set of children being red, one being yellow etc. What I think is lost to us is the stories that my great grandmother was telling in her funky multi-coloured quilts about her family, because no one knows who was assigned which colour. I also mourn the fact that when my great grandmother died my cousin Mary told me that she was wrapped in two of her biggest and best quilts and taken to the morgue in Port Antonio Bay and no doubt those quilts were simply discarded. This is why I so appreciate your interest in this subject and you doing this interview Veerle because we might all be discarding and getting rid of quite valuable things.” – Jacqueline Bishop

***

“Is it lazy to look at the Caribbean as a unified whole rather than individual states?

I think it’s lazy to look at a country as a unified whole. But there are resonances and reasons why I think of myself as writing Caribbean literature more profoundly than Jamaican literature. The Caribbean isn’t a whole but there are aspects of unity and Jamaica isn’t a whole either, which is what this book is trying to say.” – Kei Miller

FICTION

‘But Theo never remembered that the pedal of the trashcan was broken. He would step on it without looking and drop the banana peel or the wet tuna-juicy baggie directly on top of the still-closed lid, and then walk away, leaving the garbage there for Heather to clean up, a habit that had finally caused her, just last night, to spit at him, in a voice that came straight from her spleen, “Pay attention, for Christ’s sake! Why don’t you ever, ever pay attention!”’ – Amy Hassinger’s Sympathetic Creatures

***

“I don’t know what gods watch me, or how it came to be that my fate brought me to an island in the Caribbean sea. It was miraculous, not least because, in the novel I am currently writing, there is a shipwreck in that same sea. I would not know how to write it if I had not found myself in a Jamaican fishing boat one wet and windy day in June, contemplating the whims of the sea and the alligators up the river. But it is equally miraculous to find myself in a humble neighbourhood in my own country, face to face with women who quietly go about their lives, walking between worlds, singing up salvation by connecting us with our own roots.” – ‘On All Our Different Islands’ by Tina’s Makereti, Pacific regional winner for the 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

***

“It’s sick and it’s soulless but it’s one of the things I love about my job; here you can force the world to be something it’s not.” – audio reading of The November Story by Rebecca Makkai

***

“The blue plumes of the peacock’s tail were shot through with filaments of silver and, twenty years on, the ink hadn’t faded. It sat on her long slim body like a birthmark.” – from Peacock by Sharon Millar

***

“Now, listen to this next bit carefully: in the morning THE WHOLE KIPPS FAMILY have breakfast together and a conversation TOGETHER and then get into a car TOGETHER (are you taking notes?) — I know, I know — not easy to get your head around. I never met a family who wanted to spend so much time with each other.” – from Zadie Smith, On Beauty

***

“No, Pa, it really could happen that way!” – A Conversation with My Father by Grace Paley as read by Ali Smith

***

“I do not lie,” Crispín replied. “Adannaya is not only the most beautiful mulata of this hacienda and the best bomba dancer; she can also change brown sugar into white. Yes she can! And if I only had some brown sugar, I would prove it to you.” – from Adannaya’s Sugar, a fairytale by Carmen Milagros Torres

***

“We were surprised to find ourselves thinking again, it had been so long.” – from We by Mary Grimm

***

“Tantie Lucy had drunk from the cup of happy living and the shop was her world.” – Lance Dowrich’s In and Out the Dusty Window

***

“It was a joyous occasion in a young woman’s life when her mother blessed life into her child. The two girls flushed and smiled with pleasure when another woman commended their handiwork (such tight, lovely stitches) and wished them well. Ogechi wished them death by drowning, though not out loud. The congratulating woman turned to her, eager to spread her admiration, but once she had looked Ogechi over, seen the threadbare dress, the empty lap, and the entirety of her unremarkable package, she just gave an embarrassed smile and studied her fingers. Ogechi stared at her for the rest of the ride, hoping to make her uncomfortable.” – Who will greet you at home by Lesley Nneka Arima

***

“Some days I am alone, and I wonder whether I exist.” – Circus by Anushka Jasraj

***

“The three of us, smelly and itchy, clinging to each other, waiting for the gasoline and vinegar in our hair to start the killing. We had lice. Our heads were wrapped in bright turbans made from my mother’s old hippie skirts. She was reading my left palm to see if I was going to pass my math test. With one hand, my sister was holding my nose, and with the other she was drawing skulls and bones on my brother’s arm with a red pen. With his left hand he was holding her foot, and with his right, the table. We were always prepared in case somebody tried to separate us by force.” – from A Bunch of Savages by Sofi Stambo

***

“But what angered Zeke even more than the ancestors’ silence was the knowledge that he was helping Sonia to seduce a man who, sometime in the foreseeable future, would beat her for burning his dinner or create any other excuse he could think of to abandon her, as he done to all his other baby mothers after he had gotten what he wanted.” – Myal Man by Geoffrey Philp

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“I think, there’s a couple of songs.  I’m, I’m really proud of  “How far I’ll go.” I literally locked myself up in my childhood bedroom at my parents’ house, to write those lyrics. I wanted to get to my angstiest possible place. So I went Method on that. And really, because it’s a challenging song. It’s not ‘I hate it here, I want to be out there.’  It’s not, ‘there must be more than this provincial life.’  She loves her island, she loves her parents, she loves her people.  And there’s still this voice inside.  And I think finding that notion of listening to that little voice inside you, and, and that being who you are. Once I wrote that lyric… It then had huge story repercussions. The screenwriters took that ball and ran with it.” – Lin Manuel Miranda on writing songs for the animated film Moana

***

“…it comes down to cause and effect, but and therefore.” – Janice Hardy on plotting

***

‘So much as it is possible in a manuscript, every scene should be followed by another scene that dramatizes either a “Therefore” or a “But,” not an “And Then.” So if, in one scene, a girl has intimate eye contact with a beautiful male vampire, the next scene should either dramatize the consequences of that eye contact, which will likely raise the stakes or escalate the emotion—THEREFORE she kisses him; or introduce a complication/obstacle—BUT she remembers she hates vampires, so she drives a stake through his heart. If they continue to stare into each other’s eyes, or maybe they just get some tea, that’s an AND THEN—nothing new is happening, because it’s at the same level of emotion as the previous action, and so while movement is occurring in the plot, it isn’t necessarily dramatic action. And action is ultimately what keeps readers reading:  change, challenge, consequence, growth, for a character in whom they’re invested.’ – Trey Parker and Matt Stone

***

“Now this: mistakes are everything. Write, abandon, start again. But understand you will do this on your own, over and over.” –  Ellene Glenn Moore

***

“At one point, I got the idea to ‘set a clock’ in the Antarctica thread. Instead of making her time there quasi-borderless, I would limit her stay at the station to four or five days. This simple question about literal time led me to a host of new questions and discoveries: Instead of a scientist, she was now a civilian, which would account for why she, as a kind of interloper, would have limited access. From there, I wondered: what would a civilian want with an Antarctic research station? What is she in Antarctica to do? What will happen if she fails? Eventually I located the timeline that unfolds in the past, and explores the nature of the estrangement and how a secret shared between the narrator and her sister-in-law brought about an irrevocable fracturing. In this version, the past informed the way the narrator experienced the present; it helped the present to matter.” – from Inventing Time by Laura van den Berg

***

“3.Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.” –Kurt Vonnegut’s rules of writing

***

“different works have different ambitions and, therefore, require different approaches” – Zehra Nabi

***

“I abandoned short stories and wrote a novel.  Maybe short stories weren’t my thing.  In a book, I had more elbow room.” – The Big Rush, or What I Learned from Sending a Story Out Too Soon by Julie Wu

***

“You have to do the work; you have to do your research. There are no short cuts.” – Justina Ireland in discussion on Writing the Other

POETRY

“Here’s to the fools who dream
Crazy as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that break
Here’s to the mess we make” (from La-La Land. Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)

***

“That is how life is.

When you are placed in hot oil

be patient

keep going

you will be ready soon.” – Browning Meat by M. A. Brown in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters

***

“My father
would not have imagined

seeing me here,
hearing of me fleeing a war.” – Althea Romeo-Mark’s A Kind of Refugee

***

“Maybe it is best
not to know.
Maybe it is
Inevitable.” – I am Unsure by Ashley Harris

***

“That’s one thing nobody tells you. Sometimes it’s okay to give up.” – Boys Don’t Cry

“give yourself a chance Andre
be open
love someone
do not fret, fete” – A Prayer to Andre

“When the nurse takes
blood you won’t have to be afraid
of her knowing you are afraid.
And then maybe you could tackle your
your fear of white cars next.” – Incurable Fears
from Poems by Andre Bagoo in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters

***

“as I walk

people

stare and pass by

on the far side” – Madness Disguises Sanity by Opal Palmer Adisa

***

“The mirrors of their eyes only blind me.” – from Ivy Alvarez’s What Ingrid Bergman Wanted

***

“He is a writer a sensitive man
a thundering terrible intelligence” – from Pamela Mordecai’s Great Writers and Toads

***

“The new therapist specializes in trauma counseling. You have only ever spoken on the phone. Her house has a side gate that leads to a back entrance she uses for patients. You walk down a path bordered on both sides with deer grass and rosemary to the gate, which turns out to be locked.

At the front door the bell is a small round disc that you press firmly. When the door finally opens, the woman standing there yells, at the top of her lungs, Get away from my house. What are you doing in my yard?” – Claudia Rankine reading excerpts from her book Citizen 

***

“Another glittering day without you; take my hand
and bring me to wherever we were: the empty house
in Petit Valley or the city of Lapeyrouse
where headstones multiply like sails on a Sunday,
where a widower tacks under a pink parasol,
where people think that pain or pan is good for the soul.” – excerpt from Derek Walcott’s Lapeyrouse Umbrella published in Morning, Paramin

***

“I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to” – from God says Yes to Me by Kaylin Haught

VISUAL ART

Cloudrise from Denver Jackson on Vimeo which I discovered through the Wardens Walk blog  which I discovered through the Pages Unbound blog

***

team-painting-by-rachel-bento-commissioned-by-gov-gen

Painting by Antiguan artist Rachel Bento, on commission from the Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, of Team Wadadli, which took the Talisker Whisky Challenge (2015-2016) rowing approximately 3000 nautical miles across the Atlantic – from the Canary Islands to Antigua – in 52 days. They set two world records – oldest team and oldest rower – in the process. Bento’s commission commemorates their historic achievement. See more of Bento’s work here.

MISC.

Speculative fans, I thought you might find this bibliography interesting. It’s a Bibliography of Caribbean Science Fiction and Fantasy.

***

‘I have not yet had a student turn me down.  Some of the ARCs came back after a few days with a negative review, but most of the time the readers would seek me out before school in the morning to tell me they had finished the book and thought it was, “GREAT!”  The readers who brought back the “GREAT” ARCs often brought a friend with them who wanted to be the second person in the building to read the book.  And before my eyes, dormant readers woke up!’ – teacher, librarian Mary Jo Staal on the Power of the Arc in stoking her students’ interest in reading

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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

Caribbean Writers Online

Links to artiste/writer pages (websites and/or blogs) from the Caribbean region – artistes listed here are either Caribbean born or Caribbean descended (in the latter case, they are listed under their country of lineage). I’ve opted to list per country of birth or origin, though the writer may have grown up elsewhere or claim multiple countries. If I am unsure of their country-designation I will list as N/A until corrected. Countries are listed alphabetically.

Please note, this page is a work in progress – links will be added over time – if you have a link you would like added, email wadadlipen@gmail.com for consideration – if linked or if sharing this post, please link back.

This page does not link Antiguan and Barbudan writers, click link immediately below the picture for us.

Antiguan_writers_group_with_Caryl_Phillips_2[1]

From left, Antiguan and Barbudan writers S E James, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Brenda Lee Browne, AJ, Marie Elena John w/Kittitian author Caryl Phillips at the Calabash literary festival in Jamaica (2007).

 Antiguan and Barbudan Writers on the Web

& now Caribbean Writers Online:

group photo

This image is from a fiction editing workshop in Guyana and participants included some of the writers listed on this page – Joanne C. Hillhouse, first left back is listed among the Antiguan and Barbudan Writers on the Web; and below Shivaneee Ramlochan (Trinidad and Tobago), second from left, front; Richard Georges (BVI), second from left, back; Nailah Imoja (Barbados), third from left, front; Ruel Johnson (Guyana), third from right, back; Felene Cayetano (Belize), front, right. (2016)

Barbados

Shakirah Bourne

1d

Shakirah Bourne, left, during a Commonwealth Writers workshop, 2018, in Barbados, with Joanne C. Hillhouse, and not quite out of frame Sharma Taylor.

Callie Browning

Babara Ann Chase

Nailah Imoja

Karen Lord

1l

Karen Lord, right, during the Commonwealth Writers workshop, in Barbados in 2018, in which she served as co-faciliator. She is pictured in a 1-on-1 with Bahamian writer Alexia Tolas.

Sandra Sealey

Edison T. Williams

Belize

Felene Cayetano

Ivory Kelly

Bermuda

Yesha Townsend

the British Virgin Islands

Richard Georges

guyana

Richard Georges, centre, in conversation with other Caribbean Writers during an editing workshop in Guyana. Also pictured are Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse, Bermudan writer Kim Dismont-Robinson, and from Commonwealth Writers Rukhsana Yasmin.

Eugenia O’Neal

Dominica

Celia Sorhaindo

the Dominican Republic

Junot Diaz

Grenada

Tobias Buckell

Oonya Kempadoo 

Guyana

Imam Baksh

Maggie Harris

Ruel Johnson

ruel

Ruel Johnson, second from left, in Guyana with Joanne C. Hillhouse, left, Jane King Hippolyte, Kim Dismont-Robinson, and in the back row, from left, Richard Georges, Tanya Batson-Savage, and Nailah Imoja; 2016.

Kaie Kellough

Yolanda T. Marshall

Jamaica

Raymond Antrobus

Tanya Batson-Savage

Jacqueline Bishop

Amina Blackwood-Meeks

Diane Browne

Hazel Campbell

Colin Channer

Exif JPEG

Joanne C. Hillhouse with Colin Channer, 2007, at the Calabash International Literary Festival.

Carolyn Cooper

Group_with_Esther_P_and_George_L

Caribbean writers from left: Jamaica’s Carolyn Cooper, Trinidad’s Danielle Boodoo-Fortune, Bermuda’s Angela Barry, Barbados’ Dana Gilkes, Barbados’ Esther Phillips, Trinidad’s Ramabai Espinet, Caribbean literary giant George Lamming, Antigua’s Joanne C. Hillhouse, Trinidad’s Patricia Mohammad, Barbados’ Margaret Gill, and Curdella Forbes of Jamaica. 2008 at the BIM seminar Celebrating Caribbean Women Writers.

Kwame Dawes

Jonathan Escoffery

Yashika Graham

Diana McCaulay & Diana McCaulay on YouTube

Alecia McKenzie

Kei Miller

Opal Palmer Adisa

with-jamaica-and-opal

At the VI Lit Fest, Opal Palmer Adisa front, with, Jamaica Kincaid and Joanne C. Hillhouse, 2015.

Annie Paul

Geoffrey Philp

with Geoffrey Philp

Geoffrey Philp with Joanne C. Hillhouse at the 2018 Miami Book Fair.

Leone Ross

Caribbean Writers Congress with Marin Bethel and Leone Ross 2013

Leone Ross, right, at the Association of Caribbean Writers in Guadeloupe with Joanne C. Hillhouse and Bahamas’ Marion Bethel, centre.

Olive Senior

(she gets two pictures)

caribbean-fiction-writers-summer-institute 1995

This one is from 1995 in Miami at the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute. Pictured are participants in the fiction workshop led by Olive Senior, seated centre, including, standing centre, Joanne C. Hillhouse, and to her right, Ifeona Fulani, Donna Aza Weir-Soley, and Dalma Llanos, to her left Joanne Hippolyte, Sarah Pemberton Strong, and others.

olive-and-joanne

Olive Senior with Joanne C. Hillhouse, 2019.

Safiya Sinclair

Renaee Smith

Helen Williams

Montserrat 

Yvonne Weekes

N/A

Kelly Baker Josephs

Puerto Rico

Lisa Paravisini-Gebert

Viviana Prado-Nuñez

Ivette Romero-Cesareo

St. Kitts & Nevis

Carol Mitchell

Carol Mitchell 4 by Joanne C Hillhouse

Carol Mitchell is pictured here as a guest presenter at Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Jhohadli Summer Youth Project writing camp in Antigua, 2013.

Caryl Phillips

St. Lucia

John Robert Lee

lee, lamming, esther phillips - bdos, july 26 2008 BIM Symposium

John Robert Lee, left, with George Lamming and Esther Phillips at a BIM literary event in 2008.

Derek Walcott

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Philip Nanton

Suriname

Rihana Jamaludin

Karin Lachmising

Trinidad and Tobago

Lisa Allen-Agostini

Lauren K. Alleyne

Desiree C. Bailey

Vashti Bowlah

Danielle Boodoo Fortune (see also this link to her various past blogs)

Barbados

Danielle Boodoo-Fortune is second from right, next to Curdella Forbes, right, and Joanne C. Hillhouse, centre, pictured with Caribbean writers Ramabai Espinet and Angela Barry, left and second from left at the BIM event in 2008.

Summer Edward

Marsha Gomes-McKie

Joanne Gail Johnson

Nicholas Laughlin

Sharon Millar

Paula Obe

N. G. Peltier

Ingrid Persaud

M. Nourbese Philip

Shivanee Ramlochan

Leshanta Roop

Lawrence Scott

Liane Spicer

U. S. V. I.

Tiphanie Yanique

VI Lit Fest panel

2015 at a panel at the VI lit fest, Tiphanie Yanique, with mic, and Sharon Millar, left, and right Gillian Royes and Joanne C. Hillhouse.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

Reading Room and Gallery XVIII

This page is for sharing links to things of interest around the internet. It’ll be sporadically updated; so, come back from time to time. For the previous reading rooms (I, II, III, Iv, v, vI , vII, vIII, Ix, x, xI, xII, xIII, xIv, xv, xvI, xvII), click the links or use the search feature to the right, to the right.

ON PUBLISHING

“#3 Not following guidelines.
Double check all guidelines before submitting to a magazine. Is there a word count requirement? Should your name be removed from the piece? Should your document be in Word, pdf, or rich text format? If it’s an email submission, do they want the document attached, or pasted into the body of the email? Do they accept simultaneous submissions? Don’t risk getting your piece being tossed out because you didn’t follow the rules.” – (here at Wadadli Pen I know this one well) – read the rest of the list of mistakes writers make when submitting.

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“My advice for young writers is to keep reading widely and for pleasure. And don’t get discouraged! So much of it is just mule-like persistence. That’s what I feel I learned this time around. There were many times when Swamplandia! failed and I had to pick it up and try and write it again. There were stories in my collection that were just duds, they’ve been voted off the island, and it was only because I had this material commitment to getting them out the door that I was willing to keep working at them. I really do think that’s the best advice—to keep at it.” – Karen Russell

***

“An interesting insight into the process came when the pair considered how they had arrived at rather different descriptions for the location of the windmill-giants – Jull Costa has them ‘on that same plain’, whereas Bush situates them ‘in the nearby field’. It transpired that, rather than seeking a literal translation of the Spanish ‘en aquel campo’, each had pictured what they read the original to mean and then found a way to render the image in English.” – Ann Morgan on dueling translations of Don Quixote

***

“Not only do I not see movies as I write, I can’t visualise, well, anything. At all. I don’t even dream in pictures. I have absolutely no concept of what it would be like to see things that no one else can see.” – Jo Eberhardt

***

“It happens too often that beginning fiction writers fail to give their characters jobs or occupations. Weak stories by beginning writers often feature adults who are wealthy without any discernible means of income or who perform the indiscernibly ambiguous task of “work.” Characters are described as working each day, but the reader is never told what they do or how their daily jobs affect them or their interactions with others. Characters do not earn money; they simply have it. There are no bills, no expenses, and, of course, no financial struggles.” – Amina Gautier

***

“So here you have a man at the beach, but he can’t enjoy it; he has to sit, because of his paranoia, with his back to the water, sitting in a chair; he wears a Hawaiian shirt but there’s a bullet proof vest under it; he likes a red wine spritzer but it tastes like Skittles which is very loaded…Trayvon Martin had a pack of Skittles.” – Rowan Ricardo Phillips, born in New York to Antiguan parents, reflecting on his poem News from the Muse of Not Guilty after a reading of the poem, from his collection Heaven, on CBC Radio.

***

“You start from building this world with their rules, and then you just follow logic in order to come up with the rest of the details. So once you have this simple fact that you’re treating couples in a certain way and single people in another way—and there’s a bit of a concept that this is almost like a prison drama or something, at least in the first half of the film—then you pick up on those things and you borrow things from other kinds of situations … We tried to get into the heads of people that would be in charge and what they would come up with.” – Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos on the making of his film The Lobster

***

Writing other…Mary Robinette Kowal provides some insight to culturally sensitive approaches to doing so.

***

“The second thing is reminding myself: You don’t have to write anything that you’re not deeply interested in. Every time I remember this, it’s a relief and a surprise.” – Rita Mae Reese on curing the affliction of not-writing.

****

“I use traditional women’s techniques, such as sewing, beading and applique. I incorporate found objects in my work; they are clues towards understanding my story and that of women in general.” – Heather Doram

***

“So much of what the filmmakers did in creating and then editing their work is what we writers strive for when polishing a manuscript: pinpoint the heart of the story and stay true to it, cut what can be lost, and always direct conflict and pacing.” – Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton w/ Elena Greene discuss The Lord of the Rings’ adaptation from book to film and what writers can learn from the choices the filmmakers made. It’s a five part series that begins, here.

***

A long form interview on the arts is a rare thing, especially in a Caribbean print publication, so kudos to Jamaica’s Observer for this series of poetry month features, this one spotlighting American Tim Tomlinson, co-founder of the New York Writers’ Workshop, in conversation with Jamaican-American poet and artist Jacqueline Bishop. Tomlinson’s book Yolanda, an Oral History in Verse, is focused on the Phillipines but his connection to the Caribbean – his time spent visiting and diving in various islands and countries but most especially the Bahamas is explored as well. Essentially, this interview is about both his journeying as a person and how that has informed his writing, how he creates, generally, and specifically in the case of Yolanda. W/thanks to Jacqueline Bishop for sharing, here have a slow as you sipping your iced tea kind of read:

Tim Tomlinson 1Tim Tomlinson 2Tim Tomlinson 3

***

“That was one of those magic moments. That came out pretty much whole cloth. Every now and then you ride the tiger. Most days the tiger rides me, but every now and then I ride the tiger. That’s my favorite chapter in the book. The opening chapter of The Given Day is another example. It’s my favorite chapter in The Given Day. It was written in two nights. It was rewritten extensively for prose, but it just came out.” – Dennis Lehane

***

“When I closed my eyes, I could smell flue-cured tobacco. I could feel the hot sun beating down on me. I could hear the southern accent of a teacher whose voice reminded me of poetry.” – Shannon Hitchcock on the inspiration for her book Ruby Lee & Me

VISUAL ART

Online gallery of Netherlands artist Marijke Buurlage.

***

***

“Nature is completely indifferent to the human endeavours whether they are good, evil, otherwise, whatever.” – Lori Landey and Beth Harris discussing Joseph Mallard William Turner’s Slave Ship

NON FICTION

“How many times over the years
I have explained
This.
Celie and her “prettier” sister Nettie
are practically identical.
They might be twins.
But Life has forced on Celie
all the hardships
Nettie mostly avoids…” – Is Celie actually Ugly? By Alice Walker

***

“Why, I asked my brother, did you like the film so much? So many messages. Look at the title. Everyone has problems underneath. Just because you are smart doesn’t mean u can work everything out yourself.” – Sejal Shah writing on Ordinary People

***

“You must read to develop a deeper understanding of literary elements, such as character arc, subtext, voice, and narrative distance.” – Chuck Sambuchino in his article The Pros and Cons of getting a Creative Writing MFA at Writer’s Digest

***

Kei Miller’s essay in this BBC piece resonates with me – it’s truthful and thoughtful and bold as so much of his writing is even when speaking of his tentativeness writing the issue of race -how our whiteness and blackness mediate our interactions. That said, I feel that same prickle of disagreement I feel stir in me whenever a black person, black writer (especially if they’re from colonized or formerly colonized places like I am) say, I didn’t know I was black until… because it’s not my truth (my blackness didn’t limit my sense of possibility but the reality is that, like class and other things, our blackness or shades of blackness was and remains a way of separating ourselves from ourselves) even in the predominantly black places I have lived (including Kei’s Jamaica). The Caribbean is not insulated from these issues, though they are not as starkly or sharply or consistently experienced in whiter places like the US and UK. Beyond my own experiences (some touched on in my February 2016 Essence article Mirror Mirror and issues of colourism/shade-ism explored in my book Musical Youth), this fairly recent memory comes to mind: being in a roomful of children of different shades of black, in a public child-friendly space, right here on our predominantly black island, only to have another adult, call out to one of the children, “black boy, black boy” with a tone and cadence that suggested “bad boy, bad boy” and to have him look up, in full acceptance of this (internalizing it). My aside aside, give the audio clip a listen; it’s a really engaging and touching reflection from one of the Caribbean’s best.

INTERVIEWS

“A writer always benefits from being a kind of outsider. That is why I try not to belong to anything too much. [Alienation] makes you an insider-outsider . . . sharpens [your] sense of observation. You look at things with detached eyes. Even some words. Pondering these English words with your Creole eyes. . . . There always is a sort of dialogue going on [within] most artists anyway. They just soak things in that they ultimately try to reproduce some other way. I think having this dual lens has been very helpful.” – Edwidge Dandicat

***

“Grounded in the realities of our history and geography, but unbounded in their imaginative possibilities” – Philip Sander describing the work of Nalo Hopkinson jumped out at me as the very thing I’ve been trying to define when I speak of a Caribbean aesthetic as a criterion for (but not a limitation of) Wadadli Pen submissions.

***

“Shorter doesn’t mean faster or easier! Short story writing is a very different art from that of the novel, from pacing to character development. So for a novelist, it can actually take longer and be more of a stretch to try her hand at writing a short story. A rewarding challenge, certainly, but definitely a challenge.” – Lauren Willig

***

“I remember myself as a young child, my mother had books inside here, and one of them dealt with the Haitian Revolution. I was ever so proud of Toussaint L’Ouverture. I was just proud. I mean, there he was, sitting in the same book with Napoleon and all of these other great men. So, for me, the Haitian Revolution was very significant. I don’t know how it is in popular memory, because right now everybody’s sorry for the Haitians—and “sorry for” in the sense of, “We’re better off” or “They can wear our old clothes.” So I don’t know about it in the popular memory. But certainly historically, Haiti served to frighten late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century governments. Frightening them, and as a matter of fact, had them even more repressive towards their black enslaved workers because their fear of Haiti was so strong. So, I don’t know that it has popular resonances, but certainly for nineteenth-century politics, it did.” – Erna Brodber interview at SX Salon, a Small Axe Literary Platform

***

“What’s interesting to me is that of the women who have read this, every single one thinks that it is absolutely sexy and totally horny. Then I was like, ‘oh, so this is erotica’. And I was reminded again that erotica does not need to be explicit. And, of course, what is erotic and what we find sexy and will respond to viscerally in that way is entirely subjective.” – Leone Ross

***

“The fiction writer in me likes gaps in stories because I can jump into that gap and try to suggest something.” – Marlon James’ Vogue interview

***

“There’s a place for everything…” – says Barbados’ Shakirah Bourne in this NIFCA interview:

***

“To move past the ugly parts of history, you have to acknowledge them, on all sides, and this is what I think historical fiction can do so well: show how we got from there to here, but told through characters who see themselves not as history but as completely modern.” – Andrea Mullaney, author of The Ghost Marriage, 2012 Commonwealth Short Story winner for Canada and Europe

***

“The area where I spent my childhood years was surrounded my trees, and always seemed just on the edge of wilderness. That area has changed so much, but there is still that space in my imagination that’s the same…” – Danielle Boodoo Fortune, Woman of Colour interview

***

“What I’m trying to bring out is the power of words themselves, the power and musicality of words.” – Clifton Joseph

***

“Reading was such a sanctuary when I was a teenager, I wanted to see if I could tell a Jamaican story, a Caribbean story, that would interest even an urban teenager.” – Diana McCaulay re her new book Gone to Drift

FICTION

“In April of 1945, after facing only minimal resistance, Rhett was part of the Allied force that liberated a concentration camp named for the beech forests that surrounded it. The day was damp and overcast, with a heavy ground mist that sometimes hid the heaped bodies and sometimes revealed them. Living skeletons stood at the fences and outside the crematoriums, staring at the Americans. Some were horribly burned by white phosphorous.” – Cookie Jar by Stephen King

***

“In death, we live far more richly than we do in life. Our lives are pale shadows in which we are preoccupied with the business of living. It is in death that we take on nuance and colour. We seep through the floorboards of houses, spread out and nestle there. We whistle through windows, ruffle curtains and inhabit the minds and memories of others. We take on a resonance that only memory provides. We become deities. We become ancestors.” – from Ayanna Gillian Lloyd’s Walking in Lapeyrouse

***

“There was no rebuttal. She ended the call. From the decanter on side board, she poured herself a drink. The rum quelled the chill in her stomach — a chill reminiscent of rain-fly wings brushing against her skin. Where did they find him? They were hunting him for so long. Did he put up a fight? Errol had a point: There was really no need for her to kill him herself. But she wanted to.” – H. K. Williams’ Celeste in Moko

***

“They’ve taken you, in the rolling melody of their steps and song, to the river Aripo inside the forest, and when they sit and beckon you to come join them, their feet, you notice, are not as they’re supposed to be. It’s a peculiar thing to miss, really, backwards feet. You sense that your own feet have been treading air when they come into contact once again with the marshy forest floor. You look back into the bush where you think you came from, and you want to go home.”- Wenmimareba Klobah Collins

***

Edwidge Dandicat reads and discusses Jamaica Kincaid’s Girl and her own Wingless. And here’s Girl, so you can read along.

***

“My wife is happiest on Sunday afternoon, when I leave the house. We have been married five years – too soon for us to take pleasure in each other’s absence.” – from Radio Story by Anushka Jasraj – Commonwealth Short Story winner for Asia

***

“After years of working like a dog, clawing his way to fame and fortune—forfeiting family in the process—Desiree and the people of the island had broken down his mighty reserve and rewarded him with passion, friendship and the happiest times he’d ever experienced. He loved living in a place where everyone was aware of who he was, but not impressed or intimidated by what he had done. He admired the lack of social divides, that the Chief Minister played dominoes with ‘The People’, and that his best friend and “liming partner” was her cousin, and his Captain.” – Trudy Nixon’s Anguilla Boat Race, part of Akashic’s Mondays are Murder series

***

Mary Akers said about ‘Viewing Medusa’ after it had been posted at The Good Men Project: “For all you writers out there, this story’s publication is a testament to persistence. It won the Mary Mackey Short Story Prize, it was the story I submitted for my successful Bread Loaf waiter application, but for ten years, I tried unsuccessfully to get it published. I submitted it to 101 journals, 100 of whom rejected it before Matthew Salesses believed in it and brought it out into the world.” Here’s an excerpt from the story:  “I found myself unable to look away as she slurped her soup, dipping the pieces of dasheen in the broth and sucking them dry after each dip. When the soursop was served, she peeled away the bumpy green skin and slurped the fruit into her mouth, rolling it around until the smooth brown seeds were free, spitting them onto her plate. Soursop juice ran down her wrists and dripped off her elbows to the floor. I thought of Miss Connie, later, on her hands and knees, wiping up the stickiness while shaking her head at the lack of manners displayed by scientists.” – the voice/point of view and descriptions work well together to create a clear picture of the part of Dominica in which the story (which feels less fiction and more here’s how it happened) is set – the beauty and ruggedness in the landscape and the character of the people as compared with the visiting (presumably white) scientists, to create as well a certain mood of foreboding, and to suck the reader in…even if it spits that reader out the other end with questions, or rather one lingering question: so wait, she nar go do nutten? – Read the whole of Viewing Medusa here.

***

“The fuel tank was empty. He’d collapsed from sunstroke and dehydration. He’d been raving incoherently. When he finally recovered he’d lost all memory of where he’d left his men. A Lysander was sent out to look for them but nothing was ever found. The unforgiving maw of the Sahara had simply swallowed them up.” – Bully Beef and Biscuits by Guy Carter – this was the 2015 winner of the Mogford Prize for Food & Drink Writing

POETRY

“In Trinidad, everyone knows

the Pitch Lake but few have been

few have seen the dark and strange

surface, the vast dirt a mind of its own:

asphalt lake as constant as change.” – from La Brea. Read that and other poems by Andre Bagoo in Moko.

***

“No one sees my tears
wafting through the branch clusters
weeping airy patterns into the jungle silence.” – from Mangrove Armour by April Roach in Moko

***

“We read menacing messages in the scowls
of passers-by. Some circle around,
mark the territory with treads of footprints,
count down days to our departure.” – Camp by Althea Romeo-Mark in Moko

***

“…crushed lemongrass
overcooked tourist flesh sizzling in the noonday sun
barnacled, rusted boats off Devonshire Dock
my neighbour’s garbage ripped open by feral cats
overpriced perfume – from Trimingham’s, I think
‘mountain fresh’ detergent scent of laundry drying on the line
frying fish and sun-ripened fish guts
Baygon and stale beer
overripe cherries
Limacol and sweat..” – from Kim Dismont Robinson’s Scents of Bermuda: Or, All De Smells That Accosted My Nose One Day When Ahs Ridin My Bike From My Momma’s House on Norf Shore To My House in Smif’s Parish

***

‘In the roaring of the wolves the doctor said “Do you feel tenderness”
She was touching me’ – Niina Pollari, sharing and discussing her poem Do You Feel Tenderness

***

“There’ve always been Sunday mornings like this,
when God became young again
and looking back you see
that childhood was a Sunday morning.” – Kendel Hippolyte (Sunday) – be sure to also check out the Dunstan St. Omer Red Madonna that accompanies the poem.

BLOG

“I think I had a very different vision of myself when I was young, and definitely thought I’d have a family and be a loving parent by now. Instead I’ve birthed books” – Zetta Elliott

***

“Neglected authors fascinate me. While the particulars for their disregard may vary over time and from culture to culture, one thing remains constant: their perseverance despite official recognition. Such is the case of Eliot Bliss, a ‘white, Creole, and lesbian’ Jamaican novelist and poet whose collected poems have been resurrected by Michela A. Calderaro in Spring Evenings in Sterling Street.” Geoffrey Philp

***

“Getting to the place in yourself that is beyond influence is the radical edge.” – Brooke Warner

***

“…exploring a new space is a thing of wonder and an entirely individual experience…” – Sonia Farmer, blogging her Fresh Milk residency in Barbados

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Reading Room and Gallery XVI

This page is for sharing links to things of interest around the internet. It’ll be sporadically updated; so, come back from time to time. For the previous reading rooms (I, II, III, Iv, v, vI , vII, vIII, Ix, x, xI, xII, xIII, xIv, xv), click the links or use the search feature to the right, to the right.

VISUALS

“What are you going to do with this kind of thing?” – initial response to Dorothea Lange’s street photography during America’s Great Depression (sidenote: for more art on the Great Depression you can’t go wrong with the film The Grapes of Wrath and the book it’s based on)

POETRY

“Poems for me often come in a flash—and then there is the intense crafting that begins in getting at the poem that is hidden within that first draft.” – Jacqueline Bishop

***

‘To add to the insult, my father reminded me that “Tonto” means dumb-dumb in Spanish. Perhaps I became a writer the very night I became an Indian dressed as a fake Indian named Dumb-Dumb.’ – Natalie Diaz on Hand-me-down Halloween

BIOGRAPHIES

‘”He wrote back to me saying ‘Michael Anthony, promise me you will never write another poem. But the short story has promise,'” recalls Anthony in remarkably good humour.’ Read more on this Trinidadian author.

BLOGGED

“The ballet that inspired the maswork is about the inevitability of death (the title gives that away, right?). It’s a classic Minshall move to have taken this exemplary work of European ‘high’ culture and translated it via two traditional Carnival characters, the moko jumbie and the Dame Lorraine. And through a minimalist but rigorously considered form, a deceptively simple performance by the masquerader, a touch of self-awareness and self-parody (it’s a burly dude in drag, after all), to have made something that his audience can plainly delight in, while feeling the little emotional quiver of recognition that this is an artist’s elegy for his art.” – Nicholas Laughlin in a social media discussion quoted on Annie Paul’s blog re Peter Minshall’s controversial 2016 King costume The Dying Swan – Ras Najinski in Drag as Anna Pavlova in The Dying Swan

***

“It really does take me back to childhood; hearing (but not listening to) the weather report at the end of the 7pm evening news, sitting at the dining table with my brother eating supper of bread and… (bread and peanut butter or sardines or potted meat or corned beef or fried bologna or cheese or guava jelly or maybe just butter.. but always bread) and drinking ovaltine from my Minnie Mouse mug. The bread would be wood-bread (forever the BEST bread ever to be made!) and the ovaltine would be hot, sweetened with sugar (or condensed milk if there wasn’t any sugar) and creamy with milk. The adults would usually be talking about any and everything – politics, the number of times the “current lock off” that day (power outages were very common then), the happenings at school or work; they never seemed much interested in the weather report except when a hurricane was about to hit, then they weren’t interested in anything but the weather report.” – reminiscences… at SimplyNatural blog.

***

“It appears that the local writer needs to begin to consider publishing her work in regional and international presses. Such an endeavor, though daunting, will begin to establish the readership necessary to establish regional relevance as an author and then hopefully territorial significance in the landscape of our local literature. Poets need to start publishing their poetry in established online and print journals, novelists need to start publishing short stories, and so on. The obvious benefit to the individual is that arduous process of creation and revision sharpens her skills and hones her craft, meaning that when the next great Virgin Islands novel is published it can be a text that stands up to and against the contemporary novels of the region.” – Richard Georges, BVI

***

“Everything you hear me saying on this record is at least the fourth or fifth draft. I would write a verse and then rewrite it and rewrite it. I don’t sit down and write a song, and then slam down the phone like, ‘We got another one!’ and pop some champagne. It’s like if someone’s writing a novel: You write a series of drafts.” – Black Thought of the Roots as quoted in this posting about the greatest hip hop band of all time.

***

NON FICTION

‘“Naipaul instructed Theroux in writing. He rejected anything false or showy or mannered; he insisted on clarity and simplicity and hard work. “The truth is messy,” he told Theroux. “It is not pretty. Writing must reflect that. Art must tell the truth.” He decided that a writer’s duty is to be wholly honest to himself, without compromise, and to tell the truth as he sees it, never mind the consequences.’ – Jeremy Taylor writing on V. S. Naipaul

***

“My face is a mama’s face to my daughter. She holds my face and says Mommy, you’re pretty. My husband has only known me with this face. My co-workers have only known me with this face. I have many friends who know me only with this face. It is a good face. Next year will be half a life with this particular face.” – Latoya Jordan

***

“With this heightened sensitivity to the Caribbean space and spirit, the ethos of Plantation, Kamau exists as a kind of sage, but in a society that still has not been able to consistently decide what to do with him, he can be more accurately likened to a figure in Roman law and society, known as the homo sacer, a status that may fall upon oath breakers as well as persons who threatened the hegemony in that society.” – Vladimir Lucien writing on Kamau Braithwaite

***

Okay, so this isn’t riveting prose; but it is riveting research into youth career selection among a select group of students in Antigua and Barbuda, and revealing in what it says about the disconnect between available subjects and career goals and national agenda. Give it a read.

***

‘We run into an old lady.
“Children, tell me, can I drink milk from my cow?”
We look down at the ground, we have our orders—collect data, but don’t interact with the local population.
Finally the driver speaks up. “Grandma, how old are you?”
“Oh, more than eighty. Maybe more than that, my documents got burned during the war.”
“Then drink all you want.”
I understood, not right away, but after a few years, that we all took part in that crime, in that conspiracy.’ – Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich #riveting

WRITERS ON PUBLISHING

“Compelling reasons to carry your book include you (1) being a local author; (2) having strong publicity backing your book; or (3) proving that you will bring in the readers/buyers. If you don’t have any of these three things, you’re a tough sell.” Brooke Warner writing on why your book isn’t being carried in bookstores  

***

“By industry standards, I suppose I am a failed author. Since I started writing for young readers in 2000, only three of my thirty stories have been published traditionally. I turned to self-publishing as my only recourse, and now face the contempt of those who see self-publishing as a mere exercise in vanity.” – Zetta Elliott on Black Authors and Self-Publishing

WRITERS ON WRITING CREATIVES ON CREATING

“My friend James Patterson is a big believer in the importance of a great outline. These days, in fact, the outline may be the main thing he actually writes, while he turns over the actual writing to his stable of co-authors. This is how he manages to turn out three or four novels a year, and still fit in a few holes of golf most days. Still, James Patterson believes in hard work. Seven days a week, in his case—though Mr. Patterson doesn’t call writing work, because he loves it so much. This is a man with an unmistakable passion for what he does.” – Joyce Maynard after taking James Patterson’s masterclass. Two comments: 1, I always wondered how people churned out three to four novels a year. Mystery solved. 2, I won’t sign off on drafting outlines and leaving the actual writing to co-authors but I do like the belief in “hard work” and the “unmistakable passion”.

***

“Once I am done with a draft of a chapter, I am the only person who can read it. Pages are full of half sentences, doodles, arrows pointing here and there. Then, I complete sentences; I fix the grammar, and make the images understandable. Then that chapter is ready for an editor.” – How I Write My Graphic Novels: A Breakdown from Ozge Samanci

***

“To be honest, when I started with the pthalo blue background, I intended to let the wispy bits of the feathers fade into the blue … but then I mixed up a nice buttery colour and I just got carried away cutting away the negative shapes around the wreath shape.
That left me with a blue wreath floating on a light background. So then I got the idea to add a pattern, to help integrate the different elements of the image  … and I started with circles. How about a wreath floating, on a stoney riverbed?” – Donna Grandin as she creates.

***

“The other thing I would say is if you feel safe in the area that you’re working in you’re not working in the right area…go a little bit out of your depth…” – David Bowie

***

“Then one day I realized something. I realized that in the midst of all of the colourful leaves, there was the occasional stem covered in tiny white flowers, like little starbursts. I had seen the stems with the buds before, but for some reason I never noticed the flowers.” – Donna Grandin

***

“If your handsome, muscular, confident hero strides assertively and briskly into the dusty, spare, lamplit room, you’ve got a problem with excessive description—specifically, with the overuse of adjectives and adverbs.”  – Joseph Bates writing in Writer’s Digest the Five Cardinal Sins of Description

***

“A concert pianist practices twenty or thirty hours for every hour she’s on stage. That’s after she’s completed years of lessons and practice to master her craft well enough to be on stage in the first place. A champion athlete trains long and hard to prepare herself for an event that may last seconds. Everyone expects this of them, the athlete and pianist expect it of themselves. No one expects to succeed – or get paid – for their first effort. Except writers. Writing is a craft and a skill that requires constant work, constant practice to maintain. I took the book back down off the shelf.” – KeVin K (Kevin Killiany) blogging at NovelSpaces

INTERVIEWS

“Being laid off, having to live off the bare essentials didn’t detour him, as a matter of fact he didn’t mind at all. It was almost as if he was liberated and being forced into his calling. Attending writing workshops, classes, using his experiences, he has built characters that are so much like him and his experiences and characters that are nothing like him at all. He’s taken his readers from small country towns to international locations that would be any traveler’s dream. Speaking not just as an author but also as a fan I have seen his books grow and evolve; novels that aren’t just about sex or drama but novels that are meant to tell stories. To this day he still goes to writing classes and gets excited about taking notes and learning new things.” – re fAntiguan Eric Jerome Dickey

***

“Let’s take ‘Where Did Our Love Go’ by The Supremes. This is a hypothetical example, but, to me, the most important part of that song is the tenor sax part in the background. So while everyone will sing the lead — ‘Baby, baby where did our love go’ — I’ll start singing … the saxophone part that’s buried in the mix somewhere. I have no idea why [it is] that the small nuances of a song are more attractive to me than the actual song. [But] this definitely explains why I have zero pop sensibility.” – ?uestlove of The Roots on NPR. Listen to the full interview.

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“Soul II Soul was a collective and formerly a sound system. This is how we started. Making music together came about during our days as a sound system. Most traditional sound systems make their own music, which is what led to the genesis of the whole Soul II Soul forming. You can really relate back to songs like “Jazzie’s Groove” and “Fairplay” to get a full understanding of what we were trying to do musically. What I tried to do on the first album was to explain what Soul II Soul was all about. Technically, Soul II Soul is a sound system rather than a band per se, which is why we have a rotating lineup of different singers. This goes back to the origins of the old sound systems as well, because in a sound system, you would also have many different MCs or DJs. All of these things combined to form Soul II Soul.” – Jazzie B., British artiste with Antiguan roots reflects on Soul II Soul’s breakthrough album.

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“It starts while I’m in the final editing phases of a novel—that’s when I begin thinking about what I’d like to work on next. I consider what would be fun and what excites me. Once I have a clear sense of where I want to go, I write a quick first draft, kind of vomit-style. This doesn’t take more than a couple months, and it’s usually a short manuscript, not more than 60,000 words. I let that draft sit for a while, then go through and hack out bits I hate and fancy up the bits I like. Once I’ve done this a few times and feel I’ve hit a wall, I send the manuscript to a couple readers. I incorporate their feedback and make more revisions and then hire a freelance editor. Right now I am working with Diane Glazman for my next novel, Spore Girl. Then I begin shopping the manuscript around. I went with a small press for Destroying Angel, and I hope to sign with an agent and release Spore Girl with a larger publisher.” – Missy Wilkinson on doubt, writing, and which book she’d like to live in.

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“Talent is the tiniest part of a writer’s makeup. What counts is perseverance, good friends (writers and non-writers), a tough skin to ignore what others think about you–which is none of your business anyway–and a little bit of luck, which will help you on those days when you are down and thinking, ‘Why on earth am I doing this to myself?'” – JAmerican writer Geoffrey Philp on his writing journey and tools.

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“…there’s no money in it…” – Linisa George, Antiguan and Barbudan writer, arts and social activist, and former Wadadli Pen judge, on her various arts projects. Listen to the full interview.

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, Fish Outta Water, 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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