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. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information)
Before the end of November, news of another passing and another blow to the local calypso fraternity. In a year that took former kings Edimelo and Swallow (one of the Big Three), Calypso Joe, who claimed the crown in 1971, has died (per a report from ABS TV). We have nothing further to report but remind you that you can read about Calypso Joe here on the blog. With songs that are part of the fabric of Antiguan and Barbudan life in the 20th century, songs that are part of the story of Antigua and Barbuda, he truly was a classic. And thanks to TEDx Antigua a few years ago, we got to hear his story.
(Source – Facebook)
Remember to D.A.R.E.
(Source – Daily Observer newspaper)
Antigua and Barbuda’s Culture Minister Daryl Matthew has had Education added to his portfolio in light of the arrest of the Education Minister Michael Browne on unspecified (for legal reasons) charges and Browne’s removal from Cabinet (unclear at this time how this affects his elected office as representative for All Saints West). Matthew is reported to be the Minister of Education, Sports, and Creative Industries. The confusion that creates for me is is this a rebrand of the Ministry of Sports, Culture, National Festivals and the Arts, of how we think about art and culture, or an erasure of same. If you’ve read my thoughts on Culture developmentally on this blog, you already know I don’t think the PTB have been nearly proactive, intersectional, nor intentional enough (nor have they prioritized the kind of continuous engagement with and engagement of the artistic community I would like to see as a member of and advocate for that community) and I wonder how/if this will shift that. Beyond that, trippling Education with Sports, and the Arts (assuming its embedded in the catch-all ‘creative industries’ term) makes sense as all have a built-in youth development agenda. Perhaps I’ll be able to discuss these and other issues with the new Creative Industries minister for my CREATIVE SPACE series at some point. (Source – local news and social media generally)
Antiguan and Barbuda commercial producer-director, visual artist, and owner of Palette Designs Ad agency Lawson Lewis “is among 30 professionals from within the region who are participating in a virtual script writing and film production programme sponsored by the Caribbean Export Development Agency. The intense sessions cover areas such as story development, screen writing, film scheduling, film budgeting and pitching.” (Source – Daily Observer newspaper November 20th 2020 pages 8-9)
Story and Book Recs
Dominican writer Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea is an undisputed classic of West Indian literature. Here’s my review of the book. But this post is about the recent Royal Society of Literature event ‘What’s So Great About… Jean Rhys with Linda Grant, Shivanee Ramlochan, Lauren Elkin and Shahidha Bari’. You can find my review of another Rhys favourite discussed in this conversation, After Leaving Mr McKenzie, here. You can view the whole RLS conversation here. Framing it at the beginning, the Caribbean person on the panel Trinidad and Tobago’s Shivanee Ramlochan, said, “In a year in which we are having this phenomenal event, it’s heartbreaking to know that Rhys’ childhood home in Dominica was demolished in May to make way for commercial properties. What I find instructive about that is that on the one hand it is for someone like me an unbearable tragedy but in looking at the responses of Dominicans many of which were suffused with grief, there are others that quetion the legitimacy of Rhys to that climate, to their environment, to the idea of why a white Dominican woman who spent scant time in Dominica should be venerated in a certain way. So the response to Rhys is not just one thing; it’s comprised of so many interweaving and complex parts about what makes Caribbean identity and what makes a Caribbean writer.” I’m listening to this after reading an article of Louisa Mae Alcott (of Little Women fame’s) house. I’ve toured that house in Concord, Massachusetts (and took with me a rich appreciation for the opportunity to do so, and a mug with Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy, and a kite) and appreciate what it means to hold certain spaces, not just because of the individuals but because of the stories they have told about those spaces. Also, since this is substantially what matters in the Caribbean, there is missed literary tourism value – I think of the times I’ve been contacted with inquiries about Jamaica Kincaid’s childhood home here in Antigua (which spoiler alert has not been preserved nor exploited for whatever value it holds to literary wanderers) and about the time I took a literary bus tour (a BIM book fair event) in Barbados that included spaces chronicled in literature and the homes of some who either made or facilitated the making of literature about Barbados. It was fascinating. And too often we are shortsighted – especially when it comes to the arts. (Source – via email from The Royal Society of Literature)
Trinidad and Tobago writer Barbara Jenkins’ ‘A Good Friday’ was plucked from the pages of Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean for reading by former Reading Rainbow host (and Roots start) Levar Burton on his Levar Burton Reads podcast which began in the early days of COVID quarantine in America. We’ve just added it to the latest Reading Room and Gallery but wanted to big her up here as well. His Trini accent not bad. (Source – via email from John Robert Lee of St. Lucia)
Publications and Postings
I have uploaded the video, in fulfillment of my grant requirement for the Catapult Caribbean Creative Arts online, to my YouTube channel AntiguanWriter. Please view, like, comment, share, subscribe.
(Source – Me!)
Intersect Antigua-Barbuda has launched its online platform with a huge upload of stories, poems, and art consistent with its particular brand of gender artivism.
You can read and listen to the to the stories (which includes Carnival Hangover by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator and Belonging to Barbuda by Wadadli Pen team member Barbara Arrindell) on the site. Kudos to the Antiguan and Barbudan activists that spearheaded this regionally-focused global initiative, and who, thanks to an international grant, have been able to take it to the next level. (Source – initially, social media, primarily instagram)
To Ingrid Persaud and Monique Roffey, two Caribbean writers, both originally of Trinidad and Tobago, who have been shortlisted for 2020 Costa Book Awards – Persaud for best first novel for Love After Love and Roffey for best novel for The Mermaid of Black Conch: a Love Story. (Source – initially Ingrid’s page on instagram which led to research on the Costa page)
Happy 50th to Hansib Publications: the Caribbean focused, UK press was founded in 1970. Per its latest catalogue, “Hansib’s legacy as a campaigning
publisher has few equals in Europe, let alone Britain, as victims of bigoted bureaucracy, police brutality, nazi savagery and even internecine violence found a platform and a template for resistance in the weekly newspapers later founded under the Hansib umbrella: Caribbean Times, Asian Times and African Times.” It continues, “The flame which was fanned by these
assorted ventures abides in the content of the tomes which Hansib continues to publish. Professional wordsmiths with international
reputations jostle with first-time authors within a catalogue that stands as a monument to Caribbean ingenuity and West Indian obstinacy and speaks truth to power that Caribbean nations provided the first examples of
modern multi-cultural societies. …Hansib Publications is proud of its
reputation in providing an outlet for the many voices that remain unheard. It continues to encourage the personal narratives that are testimonies of struggle, survival and success that cannot get beyond the portals of mainstream publishers.” Among the narratives published by Hansib are Antiguan and Barbudan titles like London Rocks by Brenda Lee Browne, Antigua and Barbuda: a Little Bit of Paradise Seventh Edition (which I had the opportunity to work on as an editor), The Art of Mali Olatunji: Painterly Photography from Antigua and Barbuda by Mali Olatunji and Paget Henry, King Short Shirt: Nobody Go Run Me: The Life and Times of Maclean Emanuel (a book longlisted for the Bocas Prize) by Dorbrene O’Marde, Shouldering Antigua and Barbuda: The Life of V. C. Bird by Paget Henry, and my first book The Boy from Willow Bend (2nd and 3rd edition). There are also intriguing titles like Before Windrush: West Indians in Britain by Asher and Martin Hoyles, Daughter of the Great River by Khalil Rahman Ali, Lest We Forget: The Experiences of World War II Westindian Ex-Service Personnel by Robert N. Murray, and West Indian History and Literature by Frank Birbalsingh Here’s their current catalogue:
Hansib is listed in the Publisher’s section of our Opportunities page. (Source – email from Hansib)
The Caribbean Writer literary journal out of the US Virgin Islands has announced its 2020 prize recipients. They are Carmelo Rivera (The Daily News Prize for ‘About My Identity Journey’), Eugenia O’Neal (Canute A. Brodhurst – best short fiction – Prize for ‘Harold Varlack’s Return’) w/honourable mention to Sara Lynn Burnett (‘Occasional Moonlight’) and Rafael Gamero (Gringo Pobre), Natalie G.S. Corthésy (The Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize for ‘The Helper Experiment’) w/Chike Bukka Roots Pilgrim (Ananci) and Althea Romeo Mark (The Returned, Los Cocolos) also shortlisted, Rajiv Ramkhalawan (The Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize for ‘An Unkept Heart’) w/Latoya S. Smith (‘Diaspora Darling’) and C. Andie Davis (‘Spinner’) shortlisted), and Rohan Facey (The Vincent Cooper Literary Prize for ‘Fi We Language’). (Source – initially one of the prize recipients on social media; then the substantial list from TCW via email)
Jamaican Curdella Forbes, based in the US, won this year’s Hurston Wright fiction prize for A Tall History of Sugar . See the full Legacy awards breakdown here. (Source – Hurston Wright email)
Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra, the oldest surviving (uninterrupted) steel orchestra in the world, has gotten its roses. This Independence (November 2020) they were bestowed the award of National Institutional in The Most Precious Order of Princely Heritage (Gold). “We are truly thankful that our commitment and contributions to the the Steelpan artform and Antiguan Culture for 75 years has not gone unnoticed. We have toiled tirelessly over the years to keep the artform alive and pass it on to future generations,” the band posted to its facebook page. “Many have made sacrifices to help make this band what it is today and this award is proof that those sacrifices have not gone in vain.” Hell’s Gate is the first group and/or band in Antigua and Barbuda to receive a national award.
(Source – the source of the image and quote is the band’s facebook page, but I first heard about their award during the announcements on radio here in Antigua and Barbuda) ETA: Observer article announcing the award
As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.