Tag Archives: Jamaica Kincaid

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late November 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here).

Obit.

The region, and Montserrat where he was born and the US Virgin islands where he lived and worked (as a professor) for many years, especially, mourns the passing of playwright David Edgecombe. He died suddenly Friday 19th November 2021 at age 69.

Edgecombe was also a Caribbean Reads writer beginning with the publication of his Antigua-inspired (referencing a particular folklore of the ghost known as the) Lady of Parham, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Guyana Literary Prize Caribbean Award for Best Drama. (Source – Facebook)

Books

Tobias S. Buckell’s Shoggoths in Traffic and Other Stories came out this November. The Grenadian is a winner of the World Fantasy Award. Another award winning Caribbean fantasy writer Nalo Hopkinson said, “Buckell’s speculative fiction is a revelation: honest and wry, characters and situations fresh and unexpected.” The collection consists of 27 stories and includes inhabitants of a small town who won’t vaccinate against a zombie plague, a lone sentry keeping motorists from stumbling into something ancient and evil, a man who puts stranded ghosts to rest, an ex-soldier traveling the seas who trades his new life of hardship for a return to swords and blood, and many more tales of speculative fiction. (Source – Tobias S. Buckell on Twitter)

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Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne announced the release of her My Coral Buddies and Me Cricket Calamity children’s book and related mural. You can read more about this initiative meant to educate and inspire young people here. Book synopsis: “The coral buddies are playing a game of cricket when a massive six takes the corals in search of the ball to a section of the reef they have never been before. This leads to a messy discovery and the coral buddies have to enlist some help from friends.” The e-comic book can be freely read online. It is a publication of the BlueGreen Initiative Inc. with support from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy. There is also an activity book written by BGI co-founder Sen. Crystal Drakes who is also co-credited with Clish Gittens for the story idea. (Source – Shakirah Bournes’ instagram)

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Alison Donnell, of University of East Anglia, whom you might remember from previous postings on this blog, spearheaded both the Caribbean Literary Heritage Project and the online series on forgotten Caribbean writers and publications, released a book on Creolized Sexualities in October 2021. She also asked me to let you know about this discount.

(Source – N/A)

News

The Antigua and Barbuda Cultural Industries Mapping Project has ended with 430 respondents.

Initial response shows significant impact on the creative sector by the pandemic.

More details to follow in December. Here’s a link to the project’s facebook page (Source).

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November 18th 2021 was Jamaica Kincaid appreciation day as CCNY (in New York) honoured her at the Langston Hughes Festival. Jamaica Kincaid is one of the most celebrated writers from the Caribbean, and in particular from Ovals, Antigua.

In her response to the moment, following tributes by writers, Lauren Alleyne and Joanne C. Hillhouse, writers of Trinidad and Antigua, respectively, “I’m not jealous of much but I’ve been very jealous of writers who have a People to write for, I’ve always felt I was an orphan, you know, because I was going to say things that the people I am from, do not want to hear.” Kincaid’s books, many of which are critically acclaimed and award winning, include Annie John, A Small Place, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, My Brother, Mr. Potter, and See Now Then. (Source – me)

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Commonwealth Writers is reporting 6,730 entries with 140 of those translated from 28 different languages. Family drama was said to be the most common theme with stories covering a variety of topics including mental health, homelessness, racism, and the pandemic. Winners will be announced April 22nd 2021. (Source – CW on Twitter)

Workshops and Other Opportunities

The Catapult programme provided grants to Caribbean artists in 2020 and this wrap up takes a look back.

I was one of the grant awardees and you can view my participation here. (Source – Kingston Creative on YouTube)

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It occurs to me that I haven’t really downloaded my experience of facilitating, in October, a Bocas workshop for the first (and hopefully not the last time). It was good (pending receipt of participation reviews which I always try to use to improve what I deliver). What I was invited to deliver was a workshop on writing for children (I think there was some confusion about this where some thought it was a workshop for children; it wasn’t). I used my own experience of writing children’s books (The Jungle Outside, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure) to engage in practical workshop activity and instruction.

(Cover slide)
(Opening slide)

I also draw on my experience editing children’s picture books – I’ve edited more of these books this past year than perhaps any other book (as one client suggests, some of it is probably inspired by the lockdown and people having a greater awareness of what their children are learning). Whatever the reason, I’ve enjoyed these books and look forward to seeing them in the marketplace. My most recent picture book client is based in Australia and he’s currently doing revisions after receiving my edits and provided this performance review:

“I really appreciate your work. You have an amazing editorial eye. You made some connections I completely missed, and your questions/observations were spot on…You do excellent work and I am happy to sing your praises.”

I also did a session on How to Write Children’s Books for US based Aspiring Authors and Writers Virtual Literary Event (see Appearances) that was less a workshop and more a talk which did cover some of the same ground as the Bocas workshop but more personal, fluid, and with a different focus and intention. You can watch that one here.

If you would like me to revisit the workshop on writing children’s books (locally or virtually), let me know at antiguanwriter@gmail.com so that I can keep you informed of this or other future workshops offered through my Jhohadli Writing Project. I’m rebuilding my mailing list and hoping to roll out new programmes in the not too distant future.

I also encourage you to visit the Opportunities Too page here on the Wadadli Pen blog where you’ll find several other Bocas developmental activities including an emerging writer fellowship and at least one more workshop for the year, among other opportunities with pending deadline – including Harper Collins’ writing contest for children. Follow the link.

An additional workshop I participated in in October 2021 was the Antigua and Barbuda Conference. And I have posted that paper, entitled ‘About a Girl: a Close Read of Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’, its stylistic devices and & aesthetic intersection with literature in the Antiguan oral (specifically, calypso) tradition‘, is now posted on my Jhohadli blog. (Source – me)

Readings + Events

UK based Trinidad writer Vahni Capildeo launches her latest, Like a Tree, Walking, on December 1st. The Carcanet publication is the 2021 Poetry Book Society Winter Choice. There will be a reading and discussion, and the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions. To be a part of the audience, register here. (Source – JRLee email)

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On December 4th 6 p.m. EST the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival will broadcast its 2021 short fiction awards on its facebook and youtube channels. The virtual event will be hosted by Pleasantview author Celeste Mohammed and there will be a feature presentation by Elizabeth Nunez – both of Trinidad and Tobago. There will be readings by the winners and the finalists. (Source – BCLF email)

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I also haven’t downloaded publicly at least my presentation at the Antigua and Barbuda Conference, also in October (busy month). I have, however, uploaded my paper – About a Girl: a Close Read of Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’, its stylistic devices and & aesthetic intersection with literature in the Antiguan oral (specifically, calypso) tradition – has now been uploaded to my Jhohadli blog, if you’re interested in reading it. I will be revisiting Jamaica, the person, not the country, when I speak at the Langston Hughes Festival, at which Jamaica Kincaid is being honoured and I have been invited to speak. It’ on November 18th and, as a reminder, you can get tickets here. (Source – me)

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Antigua and Barbuda took to Dubai in November – a tourism promo trip but worth mentioning for the participation of local artists. No writers that I’m aware of but a number of other performance artists including soca queen Claudette Peters, pannist and culture director Khan Cordice, and various dancers.

(Source – Facebook)

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I just found out that there’s a book meme called #nonfictionNovember and, despite it being a national (UK in this case) event, I decided to count the Caribbean in. The 2021 theme is real life super heroes. Apart from an obvious opportunity to share my She’s Royal series, I’ll comb through the Blogger on Books book review series for Caribbean non-fiction books for children that remind us not all heroes wear capes (because I like a challenge and am prepared to get creative).

How to be a Calypsonian by Desryn Collins – because calypsonians in the Caribbean have been folk heroes who challenge the system in song.

The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Nuñez – which is not non-fiction but is historical fiction set in the time of the Cuban revolution and a Burt award winning teen/young adult novel.

Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay – which is also not non-fiction but is a future dystopian speculative horror inspired by the very real issue of climate change #climatechangeisreal and is another Burt award winning teen/young adult novel which (like McCaulay’s other Burt winning fiction Gone to Drift) sees a young protagonist fighting great odds and interweaves the environmental consequences of human action and inaction which, as evidenced by her recent winning of the Norman Washington Manley Award for Excellence for protection and preservation of the environment – see her acceptance video in accolades (below), is her life’s work.

Ruby’s Dream: the Story of a Boy’s Life by Ronan Matthew – not specifically for children (though it could be read by teens), not framed as non-fiction but it is the story of a boy’s coming of age amidst many challenges in Antigua and of the young man he becomes making his way in America, and it is rather directly inspired by the life of the author.

To Shoot Hard Labour by Smith and Smith – the 100 year life of Antiguan workingman Papa Sammy and of this community to such a revelatory degree that it should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand us and I include it here because I was myself a school student when I was introduced to it by a history teacher and because rough though it is erasure of that history is not an option.

Brown Pelicans by Mario Picayo – part of this indie publisher’s Caribbean Natural History Series which talks about extinct and living species with vivid visuals to hold young readers. I know, I read this one with one of my boys as I recount in the review.

Memes of this type are an opportunity to boost books and an invitation to read; so have a read. (Source – Facebook)

Accolades

Earlier this year Jamaican-Ghanian-American author Kwame Dawes won the biennial PEN/Nora Magid Award for his editorship of the Prairie Schooner. “Dawes has served as Glenna Luschei Editor of the Nebraska literary journal since his arrival at the university in 2011. He and the Prairie Schooner editorial staff have been working quietly over the past 10 years to revolutionize the 90-year-old journal — integrating technology into its processes, giving voice to a more diverse array of poets and authors, and establishing the journal as an international presence…The biennial PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing recognizes an editor whose high literary standards and tastes have contributed to the excellence of the publication they edit. Judges described Dawes as a “bold and visionary editor” who has “proved the ongoing validity of the literary journal and taken it to new places.”” (Nebraska Today) (Source – PEN email)

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Last Carib Lit Plus we announced the shortlist for the first Bocas children’s book lit prize and now we have a winner: When Life gives You Mangoes by Jamaican-British writer Kereen Getten.

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Shakirah Bourne’s Josephine Against the Sea has been named among the best middle grade books of 2021 by School Library Journal (in the US).

Shakirah is a writer based in Barbados. (Source – Author’s Instagram)

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Julia Alvarez of the Dominican Republic is the sole Caribbean nominee for the 2022 Astrid Lindgren Prize. There are a total of 282 nominees from 71 countries. They are authors, illustrators, narrators, and reading promoters who have been nominated by various international nominating bodies. The prize is named for famed Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren who died in 2002 at age 94, leaving behind an enduring legacy of writing and publishing children’s books, including iconic characters like Pippi Longstocking. The prize (valued at the Swedish equivalent of US$550,00) is administred by the Swedish Culture Council and decided by a jury of 12. There are no Caribbean authors or literary programmes listed among the previous winners, but previous Caribbean nominees include (me, Joanne C. Hillhouse) for the 2018 prize, and also from Antigua and Barbuda Joy Lawrence for the 2019 prize and the 2020 prize, Julia Alvarez and Biblioteca y Juvenil Republica Dominica from the Dominican Republic in 2021. St. Kitts-Nevis Carol Ottley-Mitchell is also a past nominee. (Source – N/A)

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Daughters of Africa (1992) and New Daughters of Africa (2019) editor Margaret Busby was announced in our Carib Lit Plus series this summer as recipient of the London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award but it didn’t end there. Britain’s youngest and first Black female publisher also received an honorary degree for her achievements as an acclaimed publisher, broadcaster, playwright, and critic, from the University of London – one of Royal Holloway’s founding colleges. “I am really excited to have received an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature from Royal Holloway. It’s particularly special to me as I myself graduated from Bedford College,” Busby is quoted as saying. “I am pleased that my work has inspired students and the wider university and I hope that it continues to do so.”

Past awards for Busby include “Honorary Fellowship of Queen Mary, University of London, the Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters, the Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature, honorary degrees from the Open University and the SOAS, and the inaugural Africa Writes Lifetime Achievement Award from the Royal African Society. Margaret was recently recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list for her services to publishing.”

Busby is Ghana-born and Britian-raised but with Caribbean roots through her parents to Trinidad, Barbados, and Dominica.

(Source – N/A)

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Earlier this year Media for Climate Change Education, out of the OECS’ “Reducing risk to human and natural assets resulting from climate change (RRACC)” project, working since 2011 to assist in the education of climate change and the development of sustainable participation and practices, issued a call for media to produce content related to ocean pollution/clean oceans. The advertised prize was $5500, $4500, $3500 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively, with public education being the larger project goal. Dale Elliot of St. Lucia, known there for his Untold Stories social transformation video series, produced ‘Clear Waters’ – a documentary focussed on marine pollution in the eastern Caribbean and the blue economy model of future development.

He was announced on November 16th 2021 as the first place winner 🥇.

Grenada communications specialist Sorana Mitchell’s background is in media and PR, and she currently works independently as an online news reporter and presenter, primarily through her video platform series Sorana Mitchell Worlds: Stories Heard and Shared. She has produced content entitled ‘The Litter Problem – Grenada‘, ‘Mainting the ‘Pure’ in Pure Grenada’, ‘Biorock Creation, Fisherfolk Practices and Concerns’, ‘Grenada’s Sewerage and Run Off in to the Sea’, ‘The Role of Mangroves in Keeping our Oceans Clean’ – I’m not sure at this writing which of these won her the prize, or perhaps the series as a whole, but Sorana is the second placed journalist 🥈.

Congrats to both Sorana and Dale.

Sorana said in a social media post (pre-winners’ announcement but relevant here): “The media and our consciousness are now rife with continuous talk about climate change and making adjustments to stave off the impending destruction. Only a few months ago I answered the call for journalists in the OECS region to focus on Clean Oceans. Even though at this time we do not emit as much harmful gases as the bigger countries, we still have our part to play in taking care of our environment. My research unearthed that littering is a huge problem in Grenada and other neighboring states. While we call for changes at #COP26 let us do our part to stop littering which eventually ends up in our oceans and adversely affects our marine ecosystem. #cleanoceans #bigoceanstates”

This reinforces that the goal of the Challenge was to produce action at the personal, community, national, and sub-regional level.

I (Joanne C. Hillhouse, freelance writer-editor and more in Antigua and Barbuda) am the 3rd placed journalist 🥉. I had two eligible pieces, part of a series of two articles focused on marine culture in my independent CREATIVE SPACE series. CULTURE 1 OF 2: FEAR OF SWIMMING, WITH CHRISTAL CLASHING O’REILLY ran in the September 15th 2021 edition of the Daily Observer with the extended edition running on my Jhohadli blog and the video component running on my AntiguanWriter YouTube channel.

CREATIVE SPACE #20 OF 2021 – MARINE CULTURE 2 OF 2: FINITE RESOURCES, OCEAN LAW, AND COMMUNITY ACTION, WITH TRICIA LOVELL ran in the September 22nd 2021 edition of the Daily Observer with the extended edition running on my Jhohadli blog and the video component on my AntiguanWriter YouTube channel.

I enjoy writing features and find the human interest approach can be quite effective, plus CREATIVE SPACE is an art and culture column, which is why I took a narrative approach – talking to two women involved in marine culture, for work and play, and using their lived experience to explore why oceans matter and how and why we need to change our relationship to them. I took the time to re-share and link our various content to encourage you to check them out and maybe change your actions because we all have a role to play, even if, as I suggest in my series, it begins with developing a healthier and more informed relationship with the sea. (Source – Facebook)

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Novelist and environmental activist Diana McCaulay of Jamaica receives the Norman Manley Award for Excellence.

(Source – Diana McCaulay 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, 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 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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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid November 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here).

Happy Independence, Antigua-Barbuda

November 1st 1981 was Independence Day in Antigua and Barbuda which makes this our 40th birthday. The 2021 Independence season was launched on 22nd October, scaled down, as was last year due to the ongoing pandemic – and our vaccinate rate still not at the levels required – but still including a number of arts activities: e.g. festival of choirs, pan competition, and student art mural unveiling at Antigua Recreation Grounds.

This art adorns the southwall of the ARG. It is not a single mural but a series of images – more a montage on the theme of national iconography – completed over a two week period by students and art teachers from the Sir Novelle Richards Academy, All Saints Secondary School, Glanvilles Secondary School, Trinity Academy and St. Mary’s Secondary School. The initiative was sponsored by State Insurance and Paint Plus and spearheaded by the Ministry of Education.

Independence season ends November 1st with the ceremonial parade which is typically followed by the food fair but, while, local local food cravings are high at this time, we will have to go searching for our fix as gatherings of the size of the food fair are still off the menu. ETA: The National Awards were announced during the ceremonial parade and, in the arts, Halcyon Steel Orchestra is one of the recipients. They receive the institutional honour – the most precious order of princely heritage (gold) for contribution to culture through the development and advance of steelband and steel pan music.

(Source – Facebook)

Independence related: check out my special Independence themed CREATIVE SPACE (written for the Daily Observer newspaper Independence issue) and the related playlist which is on my AntiguanWriter YouTube channel. Another list in the issue is by veteran media broadcaster Dave Lester Payne.

Opportunities

The last Bocas workshop for the 2021 season takes place this November 27th, plus there are two noteworthy fellowships for emerging writers, one from Bocas and one from UWI among other opportunities with upcoming deadlines in our Opportunities Too database. Don’t forget to check in with the page from time to time, so you don’t miss anything. Here’s the link.

Wadadli Pen News

Wadadli Pen is legally incorporated as a non-profit, something I’ve wanted for some time and activated when I pulled our team together a few years ago (2016) to work with me toward laying a foundation for this project I started way back in 2004. It is no longer a project. It is a non-profit. I need to let it settle and then, with my partners, figure out what happens next. But this is a major goal achieved. Thanks to Henry and Burnette, and especially E. Ann Henry for the pro bono legal assistance and to Juneth Webson for her financial contribution to the registration process. (Source – in house)

Accolades

Derron Sandy is the 2021 winner of the First Citizens National Poetry Slam in Trinidad and Tobago – it was his fifth go at the prize. His winning presenation was an ode to food vendors during lockdown restrictions entitled ‘The Real Warlords’. Past two-time back-to-back champion Alexandra Stewart placed second with Michael Logie coming in third (they won TT$20,000 and $10,000, respectively). Derron’s prize is TT$50,000. More in TnT Newsday. (Source – N/A)

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The shortlist for the first Bocas Lit Fest Children’s Book Prize has been announced and it includes a member of the Wadadli Pen family, past patron and judge, (and, as the owner of Caribbean Reads publishing, publisher of two of my books), featured here on the blog several times over the years, US-based Nevisian writer Carol Mitchell. Mitchell’s summer 2021 release Chaos in Castries, book 5 in her Caribbean Adventure Series, is one of three short listed books.

It features characters familiar to readers of the long running series in a new-to-them Caribbean setting where they meet new people and have new adventures with historical resonance. “When Mark’s mother sends him and Chee Chee to St. Lucia to experience the cultural festival of Jounen Kwéyòl, Mark is thrown into another action-packed, time-travel adventure with one of the festival dancers. Mark and his new friend Danielle get caught in the middle of a cultural struggle between the British and the Afro-Caribbean people at a time when participating in creole festivals could land you in big trouble. Many of the events in Chaos in Castries take place in the Derek Walcott square, a public square located in Castries, St. Lucia. It was established in the 1760s and was named Columbus Square in 1892. In 1993, it was renamed to honour Nobel Laureate Sir Derek Walcott who received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature.” (book summary) The book is illustrated by Mitchell’s longtime collaborator Ann-Catherine Loo.

The other shortlisted books includes one of the hottest trending books since its 2020 release, and especially so since receiving the boost of being named to Oprah Magazine’s best Caribbean books for your 2021 reading list and winning the Rebel Women Lit’s Reader’s Choice award for best middle grade/tween novel earlier this year, When Life gives you Mangoes by Jamaican-British writer Kereen Getten. “Inspired by the author’s childhood experiences, When Life Give You Mangos is a celebration of island life as well as a rich, lyrical mystery.” (book summary)

The other shortlisted book A Different Me A Better You, like Chaos in Castries (Caribbean Reads), is publishedby an indie press based in the Caribbean region, Blue Banyan of Jamaica. Mangoes is published by Delacorte Press, a division of America’s Random House and Pushkin Press in the UK. Janet Morrison, a Jamaican and veteran media worker, is a BBC award winning playwright, who collected her most recent prize, the Jean D’Costa Prize at Jamaica’s Lignum Vitae Awards, for Better You. Its five short stories “is a celebration of difference where five young heroes share their dreams of dancing, adventure and being seen for who they really are, and we are all a little better to know them.” (book summary)

The winner of the US$1000 prize will be announced on November 28th 2021. (Source – Facebook)

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Writing Gender into the Caribbean by Patricia Mohammad (Hansib Books) is the 2021 winner of the Barbara T. Christian Awards from the Caribbean Studies Association. It is described as “vital scholarship”. (Source – Paper-Based Books bookshop in TnT on Twitter)

(New or New-ish) Books

Little John Crow by Ziggy Marley, Orly Marley, and Gordon Rowe (illustrator) dropped this November. In it, Little John Crow, a young vulture growing up in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, is abandoned by his animal friends and must come to terms with what it means to be part of a community when you are a vulture.

(Source – Akashic Books on Twitter)

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Crucian Fusion by Apple Gidley is a collection of fact and fiction that speaks to the rich history as well as present day St Croix. Provoked by thoughts, good and bad, the essays tell of nearly nine years on island. The short stories are based on historical events and the Census of 1846. (Source – author email)

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I missed this one back in June, Caribbean American Heritage Month, but I’m posting right in time for you to add to your Christmas list. It’s Yahoo! Sports, yes Yahoo! Sports’, listing of must-read Caribbean books. On the list, Barbadian author Callie Browning’s The Girl with the Hazel Eyes, Jamaican author Maisy Card’s These Ghosts are Family, Alexia Arthurs’ How to Love a Jamaican, Trinidadian Caroline Mackenzie’s One Year of Ugly, Elizabeth Acevedo, an American of Dominican (Sp.) descent’s Clap When You Land, Trinbagonian Tracey Baptiste’s The Jumbies, Maika and Maritza Moulite, born in the US to Haitian immigrants’ Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, Bermudian Florenz Webbe Maxwell’s Burt Award winning Girlcott, Virgin Islander Cadwell Turnbull’s The Lesson, and TrinBajan Londoner Ingrid Persaud’s Love after Love. (Source – N/A)

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Guyanese born, UK based Pauline Melville released The Master of Chaos and Other Fables in summer 2021. (Source – JR Lee email)

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My Time at the Door by Dean Fenton has been aded to the Antiguan and Barbudan Writing and Antiguan and Barbudan Poetry databases. This is his second book and was released in summer 2021. (Source – social media)

Community

Trinidad and Tobago born Canadian poet M. Nourbese Philip is protesting the Italian translation of her book Zong! An online petition has been set up calling for the destruction of the work and a public apology. The author explains her grievance on her website, and brings receipts. Apparently, the book’s publisher Wesleyan University Press sold translation rights to Benway Series Press without the author’s knowledge for $150. “WUP did not inform me that the rights had been sold nor did they put me in touch with the translator Renata Morresi or Benway Series Press,” the author writes, also calling out the Canada Council which funded the translation. “…and yet no one thought it necessary to consult with me, the Black and African-descended author of the said work, which engages with the transatlantic slave trade and which, as plainly stated on the cover—as told to the author by Setaey Adamu Boateng—involved Ancestral voices.” Beyond this, Philip takes issue with the actual translation which reportedly changes the organizational structure of her poems, and argues that this is in breach of the international translator’s code. She said her concerns have been ignored by all parties; though with one seemingly positive outcome (so far): “In response to these events WUP has changed its policies concerning informing authors of sale of licenses and has set a minimum fee of $500 for print runs under 1,000 books.” Review all and support the author’s cause if so moved by signing the petition or sharing. (Source – JR Lee email)

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I just googled Blackout Cultural Park and Fitzroy Brann and couldn’t find anything to speak of, not even in the waybackmachine and that didn’t sit right with me. So, google, this one’s for you. Brann is primarily renowned for his work in sports development and when he died in 2019, that’s what was highlighted. But I remember some of the first regular poetry sesssions I participated in as a local writer when I, and others, like Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau, who shared some of her first works there (usually through her sister’s voice as she was still hesitant to use her own), was at Blackout. It was a long trek out of town but we gathered there on a weekend night, many a weekend night, Fridays, I think, to discover and share our stories – it’s there that I started slowly gaining confidence as a writer in a public space. Blackout was Fitzroy Brann. As someone noted in this article by his daughter Mickel, Brann “was a community activist, a sports enthusiast and an ardent lover of culture and the arts.” Blackout Cultural Park and those open mic literary nights (which in addition to poetry, included singing, instrumental solos, and comedy as people felt inspired) in the (I think) late 90s/early aughts deserve a paragraph in the story of the evolution of Antiguan and Barbudan literary arts. Those scenes don’t last forever and I remember we migrated from Blackout to Traffic, a club in town, after a time, and then that fizzled and other things popped off and fizzled (Expressions etc.), and on like that. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

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In the last CREATIVE SPACE, I referenced a death in the Antigua and Barbuda media fraternity, and perhaps for the first time in this space did some very minor mask, social distancing, and vaccine activism. It’s become such a fraught space and Wadadli Pen is not the space for my personal missions. But, I’ve found a loophole, because Wadadli Pen is a place for creative, and especially literary arts, and this article I’m about to link comes by way of lithub.com – a valuable literary arts resource. The article is an excerpt from the 2021 book The Plague Cycle: The Unending War Between Humanity and Infectious Disease by Charles Kenny. I’d like to share this part (because too often I hear people say, I’m good as though we don’t exist in a world with other people, as if our actions don’t affect other people):

It isn’t just the vaccine deniers and their unfortunate children who’d be harmed: some people really can’t be given vaccines and they’d suffer the consequences from circulating infections. When she was two, Ashley Echols had a kidney transplant. As part of the transplant procedure, children are given drugs that suppress their immune response so that the body doesn’t reject the transplanted organ. As a result, she couldn’t complete the standard vaccination regimen. Had Ashley taken the chickenpox vaccine in her weakened state, she might have contracted chickenpox from it. And because of her suppressed immune system, the condition would have been life-threatening. But in June 2017, eleven-year-old Ashley was exposed to a child with chickenpox in Atlanta. So she was rushed to the hospital emergency room to be injected with immunoglobulin. Camille Echols, Ashley’s mother, shared the story on Facebook. She ended her post saying “She has been through so much already. And this was avoidable.”

You can read the whole article here. (Source – LitHub newsletter)

Readings + Events

The Bocas lit fest has a series of virtual conversations with authors known as Bios & Bookmarks. Season Six kicks (or, depending on when you’re reading this, kicked) off with author Barbara Lalla. Tune in November 14th 3 p.m. AST via the Bocas facebook page. I have to say between the book awards, fellowships, workshops, conversations, and, of course, the literary festival, while I would like to see more…resonance… in underserved parts of the Caribbean, Bocas is doing a impactful work developmentally and promotionally re lit arts in the broader Caribbean region.

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The first British Virgin Islands literary festival was held this November, 2nd to 13th. It was a semi-virtual collaboration between the H. Lavity Scoutt Community College and the BVI department of culture. Announced writers included Andre Bagoo (TT), Amanda Choo Quan (TT), Amilcar Sanatan (TT), Anthony Anaxagorou (UK), Cadwell Turnbull (USVI), Canisia Lubrin (SLU), Des Seebaran (TT), Eugenia O’Neal (BVI), Tiphanie Yanique (USVI), Tami Navarro (USVI), Traci O’Dea (US), Raymond Antrobus (UK), and BVI poet laureate Richard Georges (BVI). Activities included a series of workshops, film screening, and panels. (Source – JR Lee email)

***

Patricia Tully will be having a signing of her book Pioneers of the Caribbean, co-authored with Ingrid Lambie. Venue is the Best of Books, St. Mary’s Street, Antigua, on November 20th 2021. This book was one of the Wadadli Pen 2021 Challenge prize.

(Source – Best of Books on Facebook)

***

Jamaica Kincaid is the honoured guest at the City College of New York’s 2021 Langston Hughes Festival on November 18th 2021, and here’s where you can get tickets to view online. The Festival describes the Ovals, Antigua born writer’s work – which includes novels Annie John, Lucy, Autobiography of My Mother, Mr. Potter, and See Now Then – as “original and essential” and I (Ottos, Antigua writer Joanne C. Hillhouse) am one of the people slated to speak on the writer and her work. For my other recent appearances, go here.

Here we are together at the 2015 US Virgin Islands Literary Festival at which she was the keynote speaker and I was a presenter.

Other speakers at the event will be Linda Villarosa, an American author and journalist, and former executive editor of Essence magazine; Laura K. Alleyne, a Trinidad born, award winning poet and author; American musician of Ecuadioran descent Helado Negro; and professor of french and Africana studies Kaima L. Glover. (Source – in house)

***

Guyanese writer Imam Baksh is part of the IWP panel discussion series alongside Salha Obaid of the UAE and Candace Chong Mui Ngam of Hong Kong. The topic, Imagination <> Computation. The time, Friday 5th November 12 – 1 p.m. CST. The stream can be viewed at the Iowa City Public Library, The Library Channel. Read more about Baksh (Children of the Spider) and other IWP writers-in-residence for 2021 here. (Source – Twitter)

***

Dominica-UK’s Papillote Press continues its reading series featuring its authors, the latest installment ‘What do I know’ by Dominica’s Celia Sorhaindo (watch the video in our Reading Room and Gallery). The Bocas longlisted poetry collection Guabancex, where this poem and others in which Sorhaindo processes life after hurricane Maria can be found, has amassed many positive reviews including one by me. For Sorhaindo, it was life changing – both the 2017 storm and the collection. A Papillote release quotes her as saying, “Hurricane Maria was a very traumatic time. We saw the worst side of nature, and the best and worst sides of human nature, and went through incredible mental and physical challenges. Writing the poems for this chapbook was a therapeutic exercise, a way of trying to make sense of, work through and process all that happened.” (Source – publisher 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, 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 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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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.

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

‘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

“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 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

“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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Books about Antiguan and Barbudan Writers and Artists

You can thank Frank Walter for this latest archive. Quite a bit has been written about the Antiguan and Barbudan artist, obscure in life, since he died. Usually reviews end up in the Antigua & Barbuda Works Reviewed series. But what if there’s a book dedicated to discourse about that person’s oeuvre? Well, though there have been books about other Antiguan and Barbudan writers/artists, it was a collection on Walter’s works that finally prompted me to consider taking on another archive. The R & D link shows that there are a number of them and they are a lot of work. So make suggestions but bear with me as I try to keep up with the content. This is a work in progress. JCH, blogger

Subject: The Hart Sisters (Anne and Elizabeth)

This Moira Ferguson edited book is
a collection of the writings of the Hart sisters.

Books:

The Colour Box. Written by Barbara Anne Waite. Palomar Mountain Bookworks. 2021.

About the Books:

The Colour Box – Born in the 1700s on the British island of Antigua in the Caribbean, sisters Anne and Elizabeth Hart struggle against the injustice of slavery and inequality marking their world. Their free mulatto father inherits a working sugar cane plantation and slaves. The island does not know what to make of them. The sisters’ determination to educate the slaves eventually leads them to follow a pattern of teaching school on Sunday, a practice established by a well-known educator of the times, Robert Rakes. Set in St. John’s and then the Dockyard in English Harbour, this story interweaves imagined vignettes with research about Anne and Elizabeth and actual events leading up to the 1834 Emancipation. This vibrant historical retelling reveals a color box of personalities and cultures.

***

Subject: Paget Henry

Paget Henry, pictured here, 2015, at a past conference at the Enlightenment Academy is one of the chief organizers of this annual Antigua Conference.

Books:

Journeys in Caribbean Thought: The Paget Henry Reader. Edited by Jane Anna Gordon, Lewis R Gordon, Aaron Kamugisha, and Neil Roberts. Rowman & Littlefield International. Published in partnership with the Caribbean Philosophical Association. USA. 2016.

About the Books:

For the past 30 years, Paget Henry has been one of the most articulate and creative voices in Caribbean scholarship, making seminal contributions to the study of Caribbean political economy, C.L.R. James studies, critical theory, phenomenology, and Africana philosophy. In the case of Afro-Caribbean philosophy, he inaugurated a new philosophical school of inquiry. Journeys in Caribbean Thought: The Paget Henry Reader outlines the trajectory of Henry’s scholarly career, beginning and ending with his most recent work on the distinctive character of Africana and Caribbean philosophy and political and intellectual leadership in his home of Antigua and Barbuda. In between, the book returns to Henry’s early consideration of the relationship of political economy to cultural flourishing or stagnation and how both should be studied, and to the problem with which Henry began his career, of peripheral development through a focus on Caribbean political economy and democratic socialism. Henry’s canonical work in Anglo-Caribbean thought draws upon a heavily creolized canon.

***

Subject: Jamaica Kincaid (nee Elaine Potter Richardson)

Jamaica Kincaid at the Virgin Islands Literary Festival, 2015.

Books:

Critical Insights: Jamaica Kincaid. ed. Mildred R. Mickle. Salem Press. 2021.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place. 2021.

Course Hero Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s The Autobiography of My Mother. 2021.

Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s Girl (Course Hero Study Guides). 2020.

Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy: a Novel (Course Hero Study Guides). 2020.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John (Course Hero Study Guides). 2020.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John. Gale. 2017.

A Study Guide Student Workbook for Annie John: Quick Student Workbooks. Written by John Pennington. 2017.

In Search of Annie Drew: Jamaica Kincaid’s Mother and Muse. Written by Daryl Cumber Dance. University of Virginia Press. 2016.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’ (Short Stories for Students). Gale. 2016.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘What have I been doing Lately?’. Gale. 2016.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘My Brother’. Gale. 2016.

An Analysis of Jamaica Kincaids A Small Place: Between History and Autobiography, Modernism and Postmodernism. Written by Giorgia Scribellito. 2014.

Making Homes in the West/Indies: Constructions of Subjectivity in the Writings of Michelle Cliff and Jamaica Kincaid (Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory). Written by Antonia McDonald-Smythe. Routledge. 2012.

Jamaica Kincaid: Writing Memory, Writing Back to the Mother. Written by J. Brooks Bouson. SUNY Press. 2012.

BookRags Lesson Plan: Lucy. 2012.

A Character in Transition: The Theme of Reinventing One’s Self in Jamaica Kincaid’s Work Lucy. Written by Nadine Ropke. GRIN Publishing. 2011.

BookRags Summary and Study Guide: Lucy. 2011.

BookRags Summary and Study Guide: A Small Place. 2011.

Jamaica Kincaid: a Bibliography of Dissertations and Theses. Written by Elizabeth J. Hester. 2010.

The Mother Theme in Jamaica Kincaid’s Fiction. Written by Loretta Haas. GRIN Verlag. 2010.

Diasporization and Family Relations: the Construction of Female Identity in Nella Larson’s Quicksand and Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy. Written by Renata Thiago Pontes and Maria Aparecida Salgueiro. LAP Lambert Academic Publishing. 2010.

Caribbean Genesis: Jamaica Kincaid and the Writing of New Worlds. Written by Jana Evans Braziel. SUNY Press. 2009.

Jamaica Kincaid: a Literary Companion. Written by Mary Ellen Snodgrass. McFarland. 2008.

No Motherland, No Fatherland, No Tongue – Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘A Small Place’ and the Quest for Antiguan Identity. Written by Ayla Kiran. GRIN Verlag. 2007.

Understanding Jamaica Kincaid (Understanding Contemporary American Literature). Written by Justin D. Edwards. University of South Carolina Press. 2007.

Mother and Motherland in Jamaica Kincaid. Written by Sabrina Brancato. Peter Lang Publishing. 2005.

Whiteness and Trauma: The Mother-Daughter Knot in the Fiction of Jean Rhys, Jamaica Kincaid and Toni Morrison. Written by Victoria Burraways. Palgrave Macmillan. 2004.

Jamaica Kincaid (Writers and Their Work). Written by Susheila Nasta. Liverpool University Press. 2004.

Jamaica Kincaid’s Prismatic Subjects: Making Sense of Being in the World. Written by Giovanni Covi. Mango Publishing. 2003.

Jamaica Kincaid: a Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers). Written by Lisa Paravasini-Gebert. Greenwood. 1999.

Understanding Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents (The Greenwood Press ‘Literature in Context’ Series). Written by Deborah Mistron. Greenwood. 1999.

Rewriting history: Alternative versions of the Caribbean past in Michelle Cliff, Rosario Ferr, Jamaica Kincaid, and Daniel Maximin (Austrian studies in English). Written by Barbara Edlmair. Purdue University Press. 1999.

Jamaica Kincaid (Bloom’s Modern Critical Reviews). Chelsea House Pub. 1997.

Jamaica Kincaid: Where the Land meets the Body. Written by Moira Ferguson. University of Virginia Press. 1993.

Colonialism and Gender Relations from Mary Wollstonecraft and Jamaica Kincaid: East Caribbean Connections. Written by Moira Ferguson. Columbia University Press. 1993.

About the Books:

Critical Insights: Jamaica Kincaid – This volume explores the key works of the award-winning Caribbean-American author, Jamaica Kincaid. Originally from St. Johns, Antigua, Kincaid emigrated to America to study, and has published a variety of Caribbean-centered fiction and non-fiction. She explores a number of themes in her work, including colonialism, gender, sexuality, mother-daughter relationships, and racism. Kincaid’s works include See Now Then (2013), Mr. Potter (2002), The Autobiography of My Mother (1996), and Lucy (1990). The authors in this volume discuss the complexities of some of Jamaica Kincaid’s prolific production of prose. As of 2020, Kincaid has published five novels, a collection of short stories, six nonfiction books, two children’s books, and several pieces of short fiction and nonfiction. Arguably her most famous works are Annie John: A Novel (1985) and Lucy: A Novel (1990), fiction that melds elements of autobiography; a reluctant nostalgia for her family and for the familiarity of Antigua; a critique of colonial rule by Great Britain that entrenched patriarchy into Antiguan culture; and a desire to escape the limitations imposed by British rule. These novels have elicited much scholarly discussion, and some of the essays in this book will showcase their impact on African American letters. As well, the essays in this book will also treat some of Kincaid’s nonfiction, compare her fiction and nonfiction with other authors’ works, and make available some of her interviews. The volume starts out with an introductory essay by Editor Mildred R. Mickle, followed by an essay discussion of Kincaid’s success as a writer in the 1980s written by Robert C. Evans. Finally, a biographical essay also by Mickle introduces readers to Kincaid’s early life and work. This is followed by four Critical Context essays: Jamaica Kincaid in the Constellation of Womanist Literature, by Tahirah Joyce Walker Kincaid Speaks: A Series of Interviews and Responses to Audience Questions, by Robert C. Evans The Aesthetics of Postcoloniality, Spirituality, and Diaspora: History, Geography, Memory, and Restoration in The Heart of Redness, Mama Day, Praisesong for the Widow, Beloved and “The Disturbances of the Garden,” by Tomeiko Ashford Carter Critical Essays on Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John and Lucy, 1985-2017, by Kelley Jeans Next comes the Critical Readings section of this book, which contains the following essays: The “Popular” Reception of Jamaica Kincaid’s Writings: 1996-2012, Robert C. Evans Jamaica Kincaid’s Reception in The New York Times: 1990-2013, by Robert C. Evans Comparing Jamaica Kincaid with Other Caribbean Writers, by Martin Kich Jamaica Kincaid’s Talk Stories: Their Own Traits and Their Relevance to Her Fiction, by Robert C. Evans An Outsider-Within Cross-Examines White Liberalism in Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy, by Kirstin Ruth Bratt Who We Are in What They Say: An Exploration of Identity in Memoir Using Jamaica Kincaid’s My Brother, by Abandon GawinWaya Shuman An Expansion of Womanist Literature in Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy and The Autobiography of My Mother, by Tahirah Joyce Walker Re-Examination of Children’s Literature: Do We Keep Histoire De Babar, or Replace It with Party: A Mystery, by Megan Pitz Kincaid’s Resistance to Labels, by Kirstin Ruth Bratt In the final section, Resources, easy-to-follow lists are provided to help guide the reader through important dates and moments in the author’s life. A selection of further reading is then provided. Each essay in Critical Insights: Jamaica Kincaid includes a list of Works Cited and detailed endnotes. Also included in this volume is a Bibliography, biographies of the Editor and Contributors, and alphabetical Index as well as Chronology of Jamaica Kincaid’s Life and Works by Jamaica Kincaid.

Course Hero Study Guide for The Autobiography of My Mother includes:
An infographic depicting the plot and main characters
A chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis
Key quotes
An overview, context, plot summary, characters, symbols, themes, and bio of Jamaica Kincaid

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place includes:
An infographic depicting the plot and main characters
A chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis
Key quotes
An overview, context, plot summary, characters, symbols, themes, and bio of Jamaica Kincaid

Course Hero Study Guide for Girl includes:
An infographic depicting the plot and main characters
A chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis
Key quotes
An overview, context, plot summary, characters, symbols, themes, and bio of Jamaica Kincaid

Course Hero Study Guide for Lucy: A Novel includes:
An infographic depicting the plot and main characters
A chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis
Key quotes
An overview, context, plot summary, characters, symbols, themes, and bio of Jamaica Kincaid

Course Hero Study Guide for Annie John includes:
An infographic depicting the plot and main characters
A chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis
Key quotes
An overview, context, plot summary, characters, symbols, themes, and bio of Jamaica Kincaid

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, excerpted from Gale’s acclaimed Novels for Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more.

A Study Guide for Annie John – The Quick Student Workbooks are designed to get students thinking critically about the text they read and providing a guided study format to facilitate in improved learning and retention.

In Search of Annie Drew offers an alternate reading of Kincaid’s work that expands our understanding of the object of such passionate love and such ferocious hatred, an ordinary woman who became an unforgettable literary figure through her talented daughter’s renderings.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’, excerpted from Gale’s acclaimed Short Stories for Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘What Have I Been Doing Lately’, excerpted from Gale’s acclaimed Short Stories for Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘My Brother’, excerpted from Gale’s acclaimed Short Stories for Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more.

An Analysis of Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place – This book critically analyses Jamaica Kincaid’s book A Small Place. It considers the biography of the author, the history of Antigua and literature by Caribbean women. It also analyses the themes of the book and it situates them in the context of Caribbean and postcolonial literature. It also analyses the Language used by Kincaid and its meaning. It is really an analysis of Kincaid’s book and of its importance for postcolonial, Caribbean and women’s studies literature. The main themes of the book are Caribbean women, history, colonialism, and postcolonialism.

Making Homes – This study focuses on the ways in which two of the most prominent Caribbean women writers residing in the United States, Michelle Cliff and Jamaica Kincaid, have made themselves at home within Caribbean poetics, even as their migration to the United States affords them participation and acceptance within its literary space.

Writing Memory – Drawing heavily on Kincaid’s many remarks on the autobiographical sources of her writings, J. Brooks Bouson investigates the ongoing construction of Kincaid’s autobiographical and political identities. She focuses attention on what many critics find so enigmatic and what lies at the heart of Kincaid’s fiction and nonfiction work: the “mother mystery.” Bouson demonstrates, through careful readings, how Kincaid uses her writing to transform her feelings of shame into pride as she wins the praise of an admiring critical establishment and an ever-growing reading public.

BookRags Lesson Plan: Lucy – The Lucy lesson plan contains a variety of teaching materials that cater to all learning styles. Inside you’ll find 30 Daily Lessons, 20 Fun Activities, 180 Multiple Choice Questions, 60 Short Essay Questions, 20 Essay Questions, Quizzes/Homework Assignments, Tests, and more.

A Character in Transition – Seminar paper from the year 2004 in the subject American Studies – Literature, grade: 2,0, Humboldt-University of Berlin (Amerikanistisches Institut), course: HS: Postcolonial Theory, Literature and Gender.

BookRags Summary and Study Guide: Lucy – This study guide includes the following sections: Plot Summary, Chapter Summaries & Analysis, Characters, Objects/Places, Themes, Style, Quotes, and Topics for Discussion.

BookRags Summary and Study Guide: A Small Place – This study guide includes the following sections: Plot Summary, Chapter Summaries & Analysis, Characters, Objects/Places, Themes, Style, Quotes, and Topics for Discussion.

Jamaica Kincaid: a Bibliography of Dissertation and Theses – Jamaica Kincaid has been described as a writer and a gardener, and her writing reflects both of these passions. In this volume Elizabeth J. Hester provides a comprehensive listing of doctoral dissertations, and master’s and bachelor’s theses that deal primarily with the life and work of Jamaica Kincaid. The volume also includes studies that indirectly contain references to the writer. Arranged chronologically, the text lists over 155 papers (1990-2009)from students representing over 100 colleges and universities from around the world. Author and University indexes are included. Jamaica Kincaid is an America-based novelist from Ovals, Antigua. Her publications include Annie John, At the Bottom of the River, The Autobiography of My Mother, Lucy, My Brother, and A Small Place.

The Mother Theme – Seminar paper from the year 2009 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies – Literature, grade: 2, University of Education Ludwigsburg.

Diasporization – The main aim of this book is to investigate and analyze how diasporic movements and family relations exert influence on the construction of women’s identities in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand and Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy. The author’s hypothesis is that in the selected works we will find two journeys, which have both similar and distinct aspects, and begin with the main characters’ desire to escape oppression. Given these facts, the protagonists go through a period of many discoveries about themselves and the societies with which they have to deal, which unfolds into two products: the building of Lucy’s autonomous hybrid identities in her loneliness in Kincaid’s work, and the building of Helga’s hybrid identities overshadowed by religion, patriarchy, and family relations in Larsen’s work.

Caribbean Genesis – By exploring the breadth of Jamaica Kincaid’s writings, this book reveals her work’s transmutations of genre, specifically those of autobiography, biography, and history in relation to the forces of creation and destruction in the Caribbean. Jana Evans Braziel examines Kincaid’s preoccupation with genealogy, genesis, and genocide in the Caribbean; her adaptations of biblical texts for her literary oeuvre; and her authorial deployments of the diabolic as frames for both rethinking the boundaries of genre and altering notions of subjectivity, objectivity, self, and other.

Jamaica Kincaid (Writers and Their Work) – A volume in the Writers and Their Work series, which draws upon recent thinking in English studies to introduce writers and their contexts. Each volume includes biographical material, an examination of recent criticism, a bibliography and a reappraisal of a major work by the writer.

Jamaica Kincaid’s Prismatic Subjects – Nonfiction. Literary Criticism. Women’s Studies. African American Studies. Jamaica Kincaid’s polyphonic narratives, at once locational, relational and intercultural, speak lyrically to the widest constituency. They also might be said to provide the cognitive tools through which the reader makes sense of being in the contemporary world. Covi’s book proposes a fresh reading of Kincaid’s lyrical and political storytelling as a central contribution to materially-grounded feminist and postcolonial theories over the past twenty years. Covi foregrounds the relevance of Kincaid’s articulation of such a discourse and shows just how it is capable of accounting for contemporary socio-cultural complexity and of pointing the way towards a politics of collective justice.

Jamaica Kincaid: a Literary Companion – This book offers an introduction and guided overview of her characters, plots, humor, symbols, and classic themes. Designed for students, fans, librarians, and teachers, the 84 A-to-Z entries combine commentary from interviewers, feminist historians, and book critics with numerous citations from primary and secondary sources and comparative literature. The companion features a chronology of Kincaid’s life, West Indies heritage and works, and includes a character name chart.

No Motherland – Seminar paper from the year 2005 in the subject American Studies – Literature, grade: 2,0, University of Hamburg (Insitut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik), course: “I Could Tell You Stories” American Autobiography 1960 to the Present.

Understanding Jamaica Kincaid introduces readers to the prizewinning author best known for the novels Annie John, Lucy, and The Autobiography of My Mother. Justin D. Edwards surveys Jamaica Kincaid’s life, career, and major works of fiction and nonfiction to identify and discuss her recurring interests in familial relations, Caribbean culture, and the aftermath of colonialism and exploitation. In addition to examining the haunting prose, rich detail, and personal insight that have brought Kincaid widespread praise, Edwards also identifies and analyzes the novelist’s primary thematic concerns―the flow of power and the injustices faced by people undergoing social, economic, and political change.

Mother and Motherland in Jamaica Kincaid This book introduces students to the work of the Caribbean writer Jamaica Kincaid. The author offers a close analysis of six of Kincaid’s works, reading the central theme of the love-hate relationship between mother and daughter as a metaphor for the dialectic of power and powerlessness governing nature and history. Placed in the specific context of the Caribbean in colonial times, the mother-daughter plot reads as an allegory of the conflict between the motherland and the colony. The association is played out at two levels, with the nurturing figure of childhood embodying the African-rooted Caribbean world, and the scornful mother of adolescence evoking the subjugating colonial power. Two conflicting worlds, the African and the European, meet in the duplicitous figure of the mother.

Whiteness and Trauma – This original and incisive study of the fiction of Jean Rhys, Jamaica Kincaid, and Toni Morrison uses cutting edge cultural and literary theory to examine the ‘knotted’ mother-daughter relations that form the thematic basis of the texts examined. Using both close reading and contextualization, the analyses are focused through issues of race and contemporary theorizing of whiteness and trauma. Remarkably eloquent, scholarly and thought-provoking, this book contributes strongly to the broad fields of literary criticism, feminist theory and whiteness studies.

Jamaica Kincaid: a Critical Companion – With the publication of her novel Annie John in 1985, Jamaica Kincaid entered the ranks of the best novelists of her generation. Her three autobiographical novels, Annie John, Lucy, and Autobiography of My Mother, and collection of short stories, At the Bottom of the River, touch on the universal theme of coming-of-age and the female adolescent’s need to sever her ties to her mother. This angst is couched in the social landscape of post-colonial Antigua, a small Caribbean island whose legacy of racism affects Kincaid’s protagonists. Her fiction rewrites the history of the Caribbean from a West Indies perspective and this milieu colors the experiences of her characters. Following a biographical chapter, Paravisini-Gebert traces the development of Kincaid’s craft as a writer. Each of the novels and the collection of short stories is discussed in a separate chapter that includes sections on plot, character, theme, and an alternate critical approach from which to read the novel, such as feminist. A complete primary and secondary bibliography and lists of selected reviews of Kincaid’s work complete the study.rly and thought-provoking, this book contributes strongly to the broad fields of literary criticism, feminist theory and whiteness studies.

Understanding Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John – Since its publication in 1985, Annie John has become one of the most widely taught novels in American high schools. Part of its appeal lies in its unique setting, the island of Antigua. This interdisciplinary collection of 30 primary documents and commentary will enrich the reader’s understanding of the historical, social, and cultural contexts of the novel. Among the topics examined are slavery in the Caribbean, the various religions in the Caribbean islands, the controversy over Christopher Columbus, family life in Antigua, and emigrations from the West Indies to the United States. Sources include newspaper and magazine articles, editorials, first-person narratives and memoirs of life in the Caribbean, letters, and position papers. Most of the documents are not readily available in any other printed form. A literary analysis of Annie John examines the novel in light of its historical, social, and cultural contexts and as a coming-of-age novel. Each chapter concludes with study questions and topics for research papers and class discussion based on the documents in the chapter, and lists of further reading for examining the themes and issues raised by the novel. This casebook is valuable to students and teachers to help them understand the setting of the novel, its themes, and its young heroine.

Jamaica Kincaid (Bloom’s…) – Essays discuss the themes and techniques used by Jamaica Kincaid in her major works.

Jamaica Kincaid: Where the Land Meets the Body – Moira Ferguson examines all of Kincaid’s writing up to 1992, focusing especially on their entwinement of personal and political identity. In doing so, she draws a parallel between the dynamics of the mother-daughter relationship in Kincaid’s fiction and the more political relationship of the colonizer and the colonized. Ferguson calls this effect the “doubled mother”- a conception of motherhood as both colonial and biological.

Colonialism and Gender Relations – Ferguson juxtaposes English and Dominican writers of the 18th, 19th, and 20th century, From Wollstonecraft’s linking of colonialism and women’s oppression, to contemporary women’s views of the British colonial project.

***

Subject: Short Shirt (nee Mclean Emanuel)

Books:

Short Shirt doing a little impromptu performance during the 2014 launch of Dorbene O’Marde’s Nobody Go Run Me (File Photo courtesy Colin Cumberbatch)

King Short Shirt: Nobody Go Run Me: The Life and Times of Sir Mclean Emanuel. Written by Dorbrene O’Marde. Hansib. 2014.

About the Books:

This important biography of Antigua’s greatest calypsonian is also an in-depth study of the culture and socio-political history of Antigua and Barbuda, as well as the wider Caribbean. The traditional ‘Caribbean song’ and its creators are treated with dignity and deep appreciation. The result is an essential and long overdue addition to the study of calypso.

***

Subject: Frank Walter

Books:

Frank Walter: a Retrospective. Edited by Susanne Pfeffer, Consulting Editor Barbara Paca. Walther Konig/Cornerhouse Publications. 2020.

‘Carnival and Frank Walter’s Universe’ in Find Yourself: Carnival and Resistance. Edited by Barbara Paca. 2019.

Frank Walter: the Last Universal Man. Edited by Barbara Paca. Radius Books. 2017.

Frank Walter. Edited by Barbara Paca. Ingleby Gallery. 2013.

Screen captures of some of Frank Walter’s art.

About the Books:

An exhibition, Frank Walter: A Retrospective was the first to present the oeuvre of the native Antiguan and Barbudan Frank Walter in a museum. The exhibition was curated by Susanne Pfeffer, Anna Sailer, and consulting curator Barbara Paca. The works by John Akomfrah, Khalik Allah, Kader Attia, Marcel Broodthaers, Birgit Hein, Isaac Julien, Julia Phillips, Howardena Pindel, Rosemarie Trockel, and Kathleen, Lady Walter revolve around colonialism in the Caribbean in the past and present as well as the intellectual contexts of colonial and post-colonial thought.

from Find Yourself – Coinciding with Antigua and Barbuda’s National Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, Find Yourself is an exploration of Carnival as an act of resistance. Paying homage to the earliest uprisings in Antigua and Barbuda, art merges with intangible cultural heritage to create contemporary statements on social justice, or the lack thereof. Frank Walter’s painted and sculpted masks, and his photographic documentation of Antiguans, both in daily life and attending Carnival celebrations is presented for the first time to an international audience.

Frank Walter: the Last Universal Man – Coinciding with Antigua and Barbuda’s inaugural National Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2017, The Last Universal Man is the first comprehensive monograph of this important Caribbean artist. Carefully crafted book made in Verona. Distinguished contributors to the book include Rodney Williams, governor general of Antigua and Barbuda; international affairs professor Nina Khrushcheva; Patricia Scotland, secretary-general of the Commonwealth; Antiguan born businessman and philanthropist Mark Moody-Stuart; neurosurgeon Caitlin Hoffman who analyzed his archive and medical condition; Marcus Nakbar Crump who interviewed Walter as a community activist; relation; and former minister of tourism and economic development Selvyn Walter; and Kenneth M. Milton who undertook the arduous task of conserving Walter’s artwork and archive.

Frank Walter – To celebrate Frank Walter’s first solo presentation at Miami Art Basel by Edinburgh’s Ingleby Gallery in 2013, this publication provides an introduction to Frank Walter’s life and work. The slender booklet includes numerous color reproductions of Walter’s paintings and an essay by Barbara Paca, art historian, and friend of Frank Walter who has worked closely with the Walter family and a team of experts since 2003 to protect the integrity of the artist and help to preserve his legacy.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late May 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here)

Wadadli Pen News

Our annual awards were held on May 30th 2021. Read all about it here or catch clips on our YouTube channel.

It’s a family affair: Meet Wadadli Pen’s first father-daughter winners.

Events

New Writing

Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters has dropped a new issue with writing from John Robert Lee of St. Lucia, Lisa Allen-Agostini of Trinidad and Tobago, Lawrence Scott, also of TnT, and art from Nadia Huggings, among others. Read the full issue here.

Congratulations Due

Winners of the Antigua and Barbuda Halycon Steel Orchestra 50th anniversary facebook competition: soloist Emmanuel Joseph of Trinidad and Tobago and 5-piece Pantastick Music out of St. Lucia. View also this retrospective, also on facebook, on Petra-The Spectator’s page. It explores the birth and growth of the band, second only to the oldest continuous steelpan orchestra (Hell’s Gate) in panorama titles, and one of the prides of the Grays Green community.

***

To the regional winners of the 2021 Commonwealth Writers short story prize. The Caribbean winner is the amazing Roland Watson-Grant of Jamaica (author of the novel Sketcher) for his short story ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Del’. Namibian Rémy Ngamije is the Africa winner; Sri Lankan Kanya D’Almeida is the Asia winner; UK writer Carol Farrelly is the Canada-Europe winner; and Australian Katerina Gibson is the winner from the Pacific.

One of the judges, fellow Jamaican Diana McCaulay (whose latest book is Daylight Come) said of Roland’s submission: “A wiseass, pitch-perfect teenager tells the story of a pear tree near to the rail tracks of a bauxite train in a rural Jamaican district – no one will eat from this particular tree – but why? ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Dell’ teems with lightly but perfectly sketched and familiar characters – a hellfire preacher, a scammer, community elders and shadowy politicians. Promises are broken, warnings are ignored, and the now power of social media supersedes the then magic of obeah. Rich, funny and deeply rooted in the Jamaican countryside, this story reverberates with the drumbeats of the ancestors and delivers an incisive commentary on what gets protected, by whom and why.”

Commonwealth Writers reports that they received a record 6, 423 entries from 50 Commonwealth countries this year, making judging very challenging. The overall winner will be announced on June 30th 2021, online for the second year in a row. This is the 10th year of the Commonwealth short story prize. And if you – like me – are from a small island, and wondering if you’ll ever crack this nut, here’s a bit of trivia: this is Namibia first time making the short list and they ran all the way to the head of the class as regional winner. (Source – Commonwealth Writers email and website)

Opportunities

Writing for Children with Joanne C. Hillhouse • Bocas Lit Fest

Capturing the attention and imagination of young readers can be challenging; join prize winning author Joanne Hillhouse for a workshop in writing for children.

For intermediate and advanced writers! Details here. (Source – Bocas)

Click for other Opportunities. ETA: This workshop has been postponed as a result of a surge in COVID cases in Trinidad and Tobago where Bocas is based. An announcement will be made at some point re the rescheduling.

New Books

As a fan of Kei’s last essay collection and his writing generally, I’m looking forward to reading this one, Jamaican writer Kei Miller’s Things I have Withheld, which Rebel Women Lit describes as a great artistic achievement and a work of beauty which challenges us to say the unsayable. Connect here to attend Kei’s upcoming launch event. (Source – initially, the author’s facebook page)

***

Michael Joseph, pharmacist and former president of the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross and governing board member of the international Red Cross body, has a chapter in a the World Dream book project.

The editors are Taichi Ichikawa and Ibun Hirahara who conceived the idea of gathering dreams from across the globe after attending the One Young World global summit for young leaders. The book is published, in Japanese, by Iroha Publising. (Source – Michael Joseph’s facebook page)

Celebrating Books

The May 23rd issue of Lit Hub’s This Week in Literary History newsletter had a really cool story about John Steinbeck, his dog, and his iconic novella Of Mice and Men. But I’m really sharing because of its shout out to Antigua-born writer Jamaica Kincaid whose birthday week it reminds us is this week. Here’s the quote:

“One of the things that young people need to know when they go into writing is that they ought to stop writing these stupid books that please people. They should write as if they might fail at it. To succeed at something mediocre is worse than to fail at something great.”

It being Jamaica Kincaid birthday week, I’ll list my faves, top to bottom, from her bibliography in the order of my love for them (this list will obviously be limited to what I’ve read and will clearly disagree with how others might order them – hence, my list):

Lucy
Annie John
See Now Then
A Small Place
My Brother
Mr. Potter
The Autobiography of My Mother

*I linked some of the places I’ve shared my thoughts about Jamaica Kincaid and/or her named books – anything unlinked was read before I started sharing my book thoughts online.

***

The National Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda has for a while now been celebrating books via its Author of the Month series. The most recent guest of the series has been Turtle Beach author and bookstore manager Barbara Arrindell who spoke about her own books, the role of libraries, and why Antiguans and Barbudans should be building their library of local books.

Previous guests in recent months have included self-help and business guru Janice Sutherland who was in October 2020 the first online/virtual Author of the Month when the series returned after the COVID lockdown began; Floree Williams Whyte, author of three books beginning with Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses, who made a return trip to the platform; the first author of the month for 2021 Joanne C. Hillhouse, author of seven books and more; Shawn Maile whose book How to work Six Jobs on an Island the library describes as “a most interesting read”; another non-fiction author (of three books and counting) T. Lerisa Simon; and Jo-Ann Carr, author of Broken to be Blessed: My Life Story. For these and more library content, including their Career and Entrepreneurship: Tips and Tricks series, visit their facebook and youtube platforms.

The National Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda has a very storied history. The building above (by Mali A. Olatunji), on lower High Street, was destroyed during the 1974 earthquake and eventually torn down in the 1990s while the library continued to operate from upstairs a store front on Market Street, in the main commercial district of St. John’s City. The cramped space meant that the country was without full library services for at least two generations as the new library building project didn’t reach completion until 2014. The new library, pictured below, is at Hailes Promenade, near the East Bus Station, just outside of St. John’s City.

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The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival celebrates Trinidad and Tobago writer Lisa Allen-Agostini’s The Bread the Devil Knead.

Lisa will also be participating in an event at Books and Rhymes on May 21st 2021. Virtually, of course. Here’s where you register.

(Source – Lisa Allen-Agostini’s facebook)

***

ireadify.com, a new platform for diverse, including Caribbean, audio and ebooks has announced its top April 2021 reads. We can’t promise we’ll be sharing these every time (or any other time, really) but we’re sharing it this time in order to celebrate these books:

Black Girl Magic Sprinkles is by a mother and daughter duo, Chaunetta and Trinity Anderson, who founded the publishing company Black Girl Magic Books out of their home base in Maryland. The illustrator is Nana Melkadze.

Munna and the Maharaja, by Fawzia Gilani Williams with illustrator Deepa Balsavar, is a product of India’s Tulika press.

Abigail’s Glorious Hair (see image below from ireadify’s twitter), a book by veteran Jamaican children’s book author and blogger Diane Browne, with illustrator Rachel H. Moss. Publisher is Jamaica’s Blue Banyan Books.

(Source – ireadify.com 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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid February 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information)

Publishing News

Pree, an online literary journal out of Jamaica, has announced its first print edition. Bookmarked launches with a webinar in collaboration with the Shuttleworth Foundation. The forum features Diana McCaulay (Judge, The Commonwealth Short Story Prize); Kwame Dawes (editor-in-chief at Prairie Schooner magazine) and Luke Neima (deputy editor of Granta) moderated by Isis Semaj-Hall (Associate Editor, PREE), looking at submission and rejection and tips for acceptance. The forum will take place February 24th at 12 noon. Details to come – for which I would suggest following Pree online. (Source – facebook post by Pree co-founder Annie Paul)

***

I have been running a #BlackHistoryMonth #bookaday initiative across my social media for the month of February 2021. On Day 13, I wrote about the audio book of Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne’s self-published In Time of Need, scheduled for release on February 14th 2021.

Here’s what I wrote: ‘I’ve listened to only three stories from the audiobook and enjoyed them so much, I plan to listen to the whole thing though I’ve already read the book. Back then, I wrote of the book, “It’s genuinely funny and then clocks you in the middle of the laughter with some hard truths – rooted in our Caribbeanness but also in our humanity.” The audio book, what I’ve heard of it, and especially so Four Angry Men, reminds me of listening to Paul Keens Douglas stories of Slim and Tanty Merle at the Oval on the radio as a child. The Caribbean, and Four Angry Men in particular, is well suited to the audio book format given an oral storytelling tradition that makes it less a reading and more a radio play of ole talk and a weaving (and at the same time specific and grounded) narrative. The Caribbean and the collection’s natural, sometimes absurd, humour comes through, but this is not all easy laughs, there is a certain poignancy within the broad laughter of the rum shop. The production is atmospheric, without crowding out the story, and the voices, distinctive Bajan voices, are well cast and directed by …Barbadian literary media arts company Story Shyft. White Sand, the story of a naive girl stepping in to the lion’s den, has a light and hopeful tone and an undertone of dread. And I absolutely loved The Five-Day Death of Mr. Mayers as much as I did on the page – the story is still funny and thanks to the characterization and imagery, the layering of voices and addition of a score, almost cinematic. In Time of Need is Story Shyft’s first audio book production and if these three stories are anything to go by they’re one for one. For my full review of the print edition of In Time of Need visit Blogger on Books. Look out for Josephine Against the Sea (sis is about to blow up).’ (Source – Story Shyft reached out to ask me to listen to sections of the audio book and provided the audio files)

***

Congrats to Wadadli Pen team member Margaret Irish, who has published her first book, a children’s alphabet book A is for Arawak. “The inspiration behind it started with a question, …why do we begin to learn by using objects from cultures outside of the Caribbean? Why can’t we learn by utilizing objects, the history and parts of our lives that we are quite used to? So I decided that I wanted to create a book that would help young people in the Caribbean, in particular Antigua nd Barbuda to  be proud of their identity… I wanted to start with the alphabet,” Irish said in a 2021 ABS TV interview. Irish, originally from Jamaica, works as a 3rd to 5th form English teacher at St. Anthony’s Secondary School. She holds an Msc in material cultures and history of the book from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She is the winner of two Wadadli Pen prizes – the 2014 Lead by Example Teachers Prize for The Skipping Rope and the 2015 flash fiction prize for Justice. She subsequently became a volunteer with and core Wadadli Pen team member.  (Source – stumbled upon author interview on ABS TV via YouTube)

***

St. Lucia-based independent press, Bumpkin Books, started by Jamaica-born Rachel Thwaites-Williams has published its first non-self-published book. A subset/affiliate of her Baby Charlotte enterprise featuring flower crowns, Bumpkin’s first books were Rachel’s own Charlotte and the Two Puffs and What do the Stars do When It’s Time to Go To Bed. In December, Bumpkin Books launched its first book by another author, Antiguan and Barbudan Ladesa Williams. As with Rachel, Ladesa’s book is influenced – and in some ways, co-written – by her child. Zane visits Costa Rica, based on a father-son trip to Costa Rica, is illustrated by Rahana Dariah. Per pandemic realities, the book was launched by Zoom. You can view the video here. We have added Zane visits Costa Rica has been added to our Antiguan and Barbudan Writing, and Antigua and Barbuda’s Children Literature data bases.

This book is one of more than 50 eligible for the Antigua and Barbuda Readers Choice Book of the Year award. (Source – another local author reached out to let me know about this one and then I watched the virtual video launch)

***

Antigua & Barbuda- and UK-based Art At The Ridge founder Joy James’s first book, 101 Black Black Inventors and Their Inventions, is about to be published.

James is inviting patrons to support the project via Kickstarter and receive a copy of book at the end. The book is intended as an educational children’s book about Black inventors and their inventions; it’s intended for upper primary/lower secondary students. Funds will only be collected if the Kickstarter reaches the project’s financial goal. James’ pitch explains, “My book proposal received a lot of early interest from a number of UK publishers before I chose to use professional publishing services in order to retain control over my work. I am also keen to learn about the publishing process. The funds I am trying to raise will cover the cost of these services as well as illustrations. This is my first book – I already have a few more projects and ideas in the pipeline and am very excited about this adventure!” (Source – Joy James reached out to share information on this initiative)

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Jamaica Kincaid speaking at the VI Lit Fest in 2015.

Late last year, it was announced that Picador had won a four way auction for 10 Jamaica Kincaid titles. Jamaica Kincaid is originally from Antigua-Barbuda, a country she has written about in books like Annie John, A Small Place, My Brother, and Mr. Potter, and tangentially in Lucy.

“The 10 titles to be released by Picador are the novels Annie John, The Autobiography of My Mother, Lucy, Mr Potter and her most recent novel, See Now Then; the non-fiction works Talk Stories and My Brother; the books on gardening, My Garden Book and Among Flowers; and the short-story collection At the Bottom of the River.

“The first selection of titles will be published by Picador in summer 2022, and the second selection will be published in summer 2023. Publication will be supported by a significant marketing and publicity campaign featuring the author.

“Her books Lucy, Annie John and At the Bottom of the River were published in Picador’s paperback white-spine series in the 1980s. Kincaid is published by FSG in the US, and the move to Picador brings all of her work in the English language to Macmillan.”

For more, go here. (Source – Don’t remember but probably social media)

As with all content on this site, unless otherwise noted, this is prepared by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, Joanne C. Hillhouse. As we try to do, credit if sharing.

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Reading Room and Gallery 37

Things I read that you might like too. For previous and future installments in this series, use the search feature to the right.

Read the winning entries to the 2020 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge which are a mix of poems and short fiction. Support our patrons.

POETRY

“I was going to write to you last week but delayed
till I could add a bit of news that hadn’t quite resolved—
in a season of nest failures new nests have been made.” – Villanelle of a Passing of Harold Bloom by John Kinsella

COMMENTARY

“When the publishing industry — which is 84 percent white — tells Latinx writers that our stories are too hard to read, our worlds too complicated, our audiences too small, do they not mean this is hard for me to read, this book doesn’t reach me, it is difficult for me to bear witness to what my people have done, I don’t see myself in this story? Despite all its failings, American Dirt still made its debut at No. 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Writers like Cummins will continue to supply these voyeuristic stories for the white imagination. And we will continue telling our stories as is natural for us to tell them.” – Ingrid Rojas Contreras writes about American Dirt 

CREATIVES ON CREATING

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OBIT.

“As much as his scholarly writings chronicled the post-colonisation Caribbean experience, however, it is Brathwaite’s poetry that captured the imagination of both the region and the world.” – Barbadian Poet Kamau Brathwaite Leaves Behind A Legacy of Language (on Global Voices by Janine Mendes-Franco)

FICTION

“She slept fitfully that night, and woke up the next morning with an inexplicable sense of loss. Retirement blues? She got out of bed and made herself a cup of tea. What was it that she had planned to do that morning? Yes, to go to David Sassoon library and borrow Usage and Abusage by Eric Partridge; go to church and meet Father Pereira; buy some groceries on the way back . . .” – Miss Coelho, English Teacher by Kiran Doshi

***

‘She had a habit of making lists in a small notebook. Lists of things she needed to do for the day, lists of the people she’d taken to shelters from the beach, even though she hadn’t gone there since rescuing him. The Coast Guard had become more vigilant and the landings had decreased. One day she read him something from the notebook. His name was the only one on a list she titled “People from the Beach I Have Kissed.”’ – Without Inspection by Edwidge Dandicat

PROFILE

“Elaine Potter Richardson (as she originally was) had been sent to New York from Antigua eight years before she met Shawn. Her stepfather’s failing health and the arrival of three baby brothers had drained the family finances. Elaine, a precociously bright child and a voracious reader, had been taken out of school and sent away to earn some money.” –Jamaica Kincaid: Looking Back in Anger in Caribbean Beat magazine

MISC.

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Bocas Lit Fest has readings for children on instagram as long as lockdown lasts. At this writing, they’re reading Carol Ottley-Mitchell’s Trapped in Dunstan’s Cave. Here’s the link.

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Conversation and reading with Trinidadian writer Vahni Capildeo, who was the University of the West Indies St. Augustine writer in residence for Campus Literary Week (virtually due to COVID-19). A list at the end of video 1 sees Antigua and Barbuda’s Jamaica Kincaid making a curated list of top Caribbean female writers. Listen to hear who else is on the list – some we’ve discussed right here on the site. And, yes, we said video 1, the conversation is broken up in to several video clips – click the link above.

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Caribbean American Perspectives Carry on Friends recommends ‘5 Must Read Fiction Books by Caribbean Women Authors’. See who made the list.

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INTERVIEW

‘How can we support each other right now as readers and writers?

For me, it’s pretty simple. Buy books, read books, and probably number one—talk about books. It’s amazing how often the talk turns to television, even among literary people. I think it’s just habitual. First of all, it’s easier to find people who are watching the same shows. You can pretty much bet that if you say Tiger King right now—and look, I’m enjoying it, too, don’t get me wrong—but I ask of myself to always ask other people, “What are you reading?” And it’s interesting how it seems to lead to deeper discussion ultimately than “What are you watching?” And for all the great TV out there, honestly, I find that if it’s a choice between reading and watching, I read. It just feels like a deeper satisfaction and also a kind of insistence, in my own life anyway, on the importance of this practice. So I think, just keep literary culture alive by insisting upon its centrality. That’s what we can all do.’ – The PEN Pod: Keeping Literary Culture Alive Through Resilience with Jennifer Egan

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“I experiment with new ways of writing. I try to get outside of my own box and I’m not afraid if it fails or doesn’t work.” – Sharma Taylor, exclusive interview with Jhohadli

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Happy Okay“Well, the funny thing about a culture of silence is that once the silence is broken, others find a connection, and begin to recognize there’s a problem, and that many people are suffering. Once that happens, more people start speaking up, and eventually, it becomes easier to speak of the unspeakable.” – Haitian-American writer M. J. Fievre in interview with me at my jhohadli blog about her new book Happy, Okay?

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‘What my family ate, spoke, and did was a mystery to our neighbors and somehow it made us strange and foreign to them. I remember reading books when I was kid and not being able to relate to a single character because I didn’t look like them and my family didn’t do the things they did. I also couldn’t relate to characters in Chinese children’s books because well, I couldn’t read Chinese and stuff like “after I do my homework I help grandpa wash his feet in a water basin” didn’t relate to me.’ – Mina Yan interviewing Eugenia Chu, author of Brandon goes to Beijing and other books in the series of Chinese-American books for children inspired by her own son

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“The novel is set in Trinidad, and it follows the lives of an unconventional family – Betty, a widow, her son Solo and their lodger Mr Chetan. You know why I’m sure sure you’re going to love them? Because I loved them. I let them do all kind of stupidness, but I always treated them with respect and empathy. In spite of all the madness we, like these characters, are all just trying to live our best lives.” – Caribbean author Ingrid Persaud talks about her book Love after Love

This blog is maintained by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, and author Joanne C. Hillhouse. Content is curated, researched, and written by Hillhouse, unless otherwise indicated. Do not share or re-post without credit, do not re-publish without permission and credit. Thank you.

 

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Most Influential Antiguans and Barbudans

This list is not scientific.

But that’s not the point. The point is….there is no point just an opportunity to acknowledge some of the people who’ve helped shape life in Antigua and Barbuda over the last hundred years or so according to … a very small group of people …with internet access … and a facebook presence … who had time today (not today) … and were aware that there was a poll being run by a random person on the internet.

Like I said, it’s not scientific.

But it was fun and educational, and culturally-relevant; all reasons I thought sufficient to bring the top 10 here to the Wadadli pen blog. My primary interest was in seeing how many of our artists made the list but it’s an opportunity for us to reflect (especially as the year winds down, and as we lose more and more) on the people who have shaped life in Antigua and Barbuda.

 So, here we go.

Top 10 Most Influential (in Antigua and Barbuda) of the last 100 years … (according to some people on facebook):

10 – tied – Elvira Bell, Christal Clashing, Samara Emmanuel, Kevinia Francis, and Junella King (i.e. Team Antigua Island Girls – first all Black, all female team to row the Atlantic), Baldwin Spencer (former Prime Minister and former leader of the Antigua-Barbuda Workers’ Union),

 

 

 

 

Jamaica Kincaid (celebrated international author of fictionalized memoirs like Annie John, Lucy, and See Now Then whose newest book is a children’s picture book based on one of her early short stories), Lester Bird (former PM and officially designated National Hero who published his autobiography The Comeback Kid in 2019), Prince Ramsey (Doctor/HIV-AIDS awareness activist, calypso writer and producer who died in 2019) – one social media commenter said of Dr. Ramsey “I think he’s the most inspiring of them all”

9 Short Shirt (most decorated Antiguan calypsonian; the Dorbrene O’Marde penned biography about him Nobody Go Run Me was longlisted for the 2015 Bocas prize)

8 –  Obstinate (undefeated calypso icon)

7 – tied –

Edris Bird (former resident tutor of the UWI Open Campus who in 2019 also became a Dame), Andy Roberts (bowler, first Antiguan and Barbudan to play for the West Indies Cricket team, knighted),

Winston Derrick (deceased host of Observer Radio’s Voice of the People and co-founder of Observer Media Group which transformed the media landscape and broadcast media especially after a legal battle for the right to broadcast that went all the way to the privy council and with its victory opened up the broadcast media door for others to enter)

6Alister Francis (late former principal of the Antigua State College, a groundbreaking tertiary institution of its time for Antigua and Barbuda and the eastern Caribbean)

5George Walter (Antigua and Barbuda’s second premier and former leader of the Antigua-Barbuda Workers Union; officially designated National Hero)

4  Nellie Robinson (late former educator, founder of the TOR Memorial school which is credited with breaking down class/social barriers in Antigua and Barbuda, and officially designated a Dame and our only female National Hero)

3 V. C. Bird (deceased; second president of the Antigua Trades and Labour Union, which is credited with boosting the voice and fortunes of Black and working class people in late colonial era Antigua and Barbuda, first Chief Minister, Premier, and Prime Minister – Father of the Nation, and first officially designated National Hero)

2  Tim Hector (late pan African political activist; media pioneer – founder of the Outlet newspaper and writer of the Fan the Flame column; fighter for press freedom through his investigative reporting, and battles in and out of court including the privy council, arrests, and alleged arson; award winning journalist;  commentator on politics, culture, sports; and political candidate)

1Viv Richards (second Antiguan drafted to the West Indies cricket team, the only Windies captain never to have lost a Test, one of Wisden’s top five cricketers of the 20th century, and officially designated National Hero)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So a handful of artists made the top 10 which is always good to see. But I did wonder who were the top 10 artists in the poll overall, hence this second list. According to the same poll – but in reverse order – and highlighting only the arts side of their life – these are the top 10 artists among the Most Influential in Antigua and Barbuda of the  last 100 years or so…according to the voters in this particular social media poll:

1 –  Obstinate

2 –  Short Shirt

3 – tied – Prince Ramsey, Jamaica Kincaid

4 – tied – Swallow (who with Obsinate and Short Shirt make up the Big Three of Antiguan calypso, known especially for his road march hits), D. Gisele Isaac (writer, cultural critic, author of Considering Venus, The Sweetest Mango, No Seed), Burning Flames (iconic jam band)

5Barbara Arrindell (writer)

6Reginald Samuel (sculptor, national flag designer)

7Ralph Prince (writer)

8 – tied – Oscar Mason (musician, masquerade artist), Yvonne Maginley (musician, composer, Community Players), Dorbrene O’Marde (playwright, cultural critic and activist, calypso writer, novelist), Roland Prince (musician), Joseph ‘Calypso Joe’ Hunte (calypsonian), Marcus Christopher (calypso writer), Alister Thomas (mas designer and builder), Robin Margetson (pan composer, Panache founder – pan school and orchestra)

9 – tied – Stachel Edwards (musician), Rupert Blaize (singer), Wendel Richardson (musician, one of the founding members of Osibisa), John S. Laviscount (musician, founder of the island’s oldest band Laviscount Brass), Isalyn Richards (director of the combined schools choir), Winston Bailey (musician), Althea Prince (writer), Oliver Flax (writer, playwright), The Targets (music group), The National Choir, Shelly Tobitt (calypso writer known for many Antiguan and Barbudan top calypsos of the 70s and early 80s especially through his collaborations with Short Shirt e.g. classic albums Ghetto Vibes and Press On), Ivena (calypsonian, Antigua and Barbuda’s first and to date only female calypso monarch), Bertha Higgins (musician, involved with Antigua Artists Society, Hell’s Gate), Veronica Yearwood (Afro-Caribbean dancer and choreographer, founder of the Antigua Dance Academy), Zahra Airall (writer, award winning dramatist and playwright – Zee’s Youth Theatre, Honey Bee Theatre, Sugar Apple Theatre plus her work with Women of Antigua, poet, arts event producer – notably Expressions Open Mic, photographer), Hilda McDonald (writer)

10 – tied – Novelle Richards (writer), Conrad Roberts (actor)

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Apologies if I’ve offended anyone or breached protocol by leaving off all honorifics; that was a choice I made to leave off all instead of forgetting some as I am likely to do (better to have you mad at me for something I chose to do than for something I didn’t mean to do). All honorifics are, however, of course, acknowledged. Also acknowledged is that the named people have done much more than captured in my mini-bites. Some books are pictured in this post but remember to check our listing of Antiguan and Barbudan literature for books on or by any of the named influential Antiguans and Barbudans – if you’re looking specifically for biographies/autobiographies, scroll through the non-fiction list. Also, if someone’s picture is not included it’s because they’re not in the Wadadli Pen photo archives and time constraints didn’t allow for scouring the internet. Hopefully, that covers it – this is just FYI and for fun and I would encourage you to continue the conversation by sharing your picks for most influential Antiguans and Barbudans of the last 100 years or so (the or so is really 20th century forward to this year – I think those were the parameters).

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Antigua & Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed X

This picks up where the previous installments of Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed pages left off (use the search feature to the right to dig them up). As with those earlier pages, it features reviews about A & B writings that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible/professional reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. It’s all shared in an effort to underscore, emphasize, and insist on Antigua and Barbuda’s presence in the Caribbean literary canon.

Musical Youth is beautifully written. It is a pride to Caribbean young adult fiction. Though it addresses a strong and very real social issue, the writer skillfully educates you while she takes you back to the innocence of school days in the Caribbean.” – Vanessa Salazar at Poui Publishing and Productions

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“This sweeping and engaging novel addresses a multitude of issues including the social, political, cultural, romantic, religious, economic, and indeed ideological and psychological understandings relating to the villagers of Sea View Farm….Speaking of men and women, Oh Gad! is populated with a brilliant and striking cast of characters.” – ‘Oh Gad! A Pastoral Panorama of Fictional Narratives’ by Mali Olatunji, aesthetician who worked for 21 years as one of three fine arts photographers at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; co-author of The Art of Mali Olatunji: Painterly Photography from Antigua and Barbuda – in the 2014 edition of the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books

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“I give it an A+ for (among other things) capturing in a very interesting way the tentative attraction and growing relationship of boy and girl in the teen years, as well as affirmation of how friends can help one another over some of the uncertainties and humps of those turbulent years.” – children and YA author, Jamaican Hazel Campbell (RIP) re Musical Youth

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

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“It’s well written, characters well drawn, all the things one would expect. I enjoyed it. Most important, I think the YA readers will enjoy it.” – Diane Browne re Musical Youth

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“I have to admit that I was once weary of reading Caribbean fiction because they tend to get dark quickly and I don’t read books to be depressed. I am pleased to say that Joanne’s Musical Youth was refreshing and uplifting.” – Marsha Gomes-McKie

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“If I had to qualify this story … I would say it’s authentically Caribbean.” –  my insaeng, my vie on Musical Youth

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“The story is fast paced and engaging, a writer doing an excellent job with her tools of trade…”- Petamber Persaud in the Guyana Chronicle on Musical Youth

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The relationship between Shaka and Zahra is fused by music, loss, and a search for personal identity. As a writer, Hillhouse brilliantly manages to weave their story of personal growth so effortlessly that the great energy between the two creates sparks.” – Camille L. Cortes Lopez, University of Puerto Rico in The Caribbean Writer Volume 30, 2016 (on Musical Youth)

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“I applaud her for her commitment to her roots, and while Elizabeth Nunez claims that Hillhouse is “a pretty brave soul” (NPR Books), I regard Hillhouse as the visionary who prepares the soil for Antigua and Barbuda’s future literary scene.” – from a 2017 paper presented at the Antigua Conference by Valerie Knowles Combie 

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“Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Musical Youth is an excellent portrayal of two young people’s coming-of-age in their native Antigua and Barbuda. Narrated through the author’s brilliance as an observer of youth and as a prose stylist, the book describes the collective involvement of cultural pride with commitment and leadership to produce a meaningful life for an island community.…This coming-of-age story is grounded and set in the author’s native Antigua and Barbuda, with its idiosyncracies and cultural activities, which are at the novel’s core.…The unforgettable themes, setting, language, and actions make this coming-of-age story a must read.” – Rite of Passage Enhanced through Community Involvement by Valerie Knowles Combie in the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books Volume 10 Number 1 Summer 2017

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Reviews of works by Jamaica Kincaid, Althea Prince, Marie Elena John, and Joanne C. Hillhouse en espanol (attempted translations of excerpts below).

“Never in my life have I met a female protagonist like the one in Autobiography of My Mother…I was fascinated.” (re Jamaica Kincaid)

“This author explores being Black and the political and social considerations that this entails. In fact, she edited a very cool book called In the Black: New African Canadian Literature that I have been using to select my authors…she has a book called Ladies of the Night. I really didn’t love it but I find it an interesting book. The stories revolve around women who are in very different social conditions and situations. Some of the stories are set in Antigua and Barbuda and others are located in Canada. Worth reading.” (re Althea Prince)

“When I approached this book, I came across a well done family saga…I really liked the aspects of miscegenation, mysticism…in general very good.” (re Marie Elena John’s Unburnable)

“It is a very cute little book about a seal that has an adventure at sea and it was very nice to find an author who doesn’t underestimate children in a way of approaching the subjects…it was quite refreshing to find in this book a little bit of that search for identity and find a place in this beautiful and vast world. It also talks about self-discovery and respect for differences. They are important issues.” (re Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Lost a Caribbean Sea Adventure)

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“In reality, however, much like “Girl,” Party has layers. It functions as a subtle message about what it means to witness horror to such a degree that we lose our language for it; it is a quiet story about coming of age, suddenly, as a young black girl because of what the world shows us. It is about the many words our silence can hold, the way our absences can ring as loudly and discordantly as the words we do feel able to say.” Party review at Lit Hub

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“Published in 2017, the short story ‘The Other Daughter’ by Joanne C. Hillhouse fits the literary movement we call Postmodernism. Postmodernist works can be recognised through themes, context, and narrative techniques. In ‘The Other Daughter’, we notice that the author explores the theme of feeling like an outcast, isolated from the world one lives in, which is often explored in postmodernist stories.

In terms of postmodernist narrative techniques, ‘The Other Daughter’ plays around with the distinction between fact and fiction by letting the narrator tell two different versions of the same story, but at the same time letting the reader know that one version is fictional. Playing around with the ordinary rules of storytelling like this is very typical for postmodern works.” – this is not a review, it is, however, a summary, analysis, themes and messages, and perspectives of elements of the story and its structure at studienet.dk (related: Denmark has included the story as a question in its national assessment for secondary school); read the original story at Adda

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Joanne C. Hillhouse (author and Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger) reviews Asha Frank’s Dreamland Barbuda: in her scripted Blogger on Books series

Excerpt: “Dreamland Barbuda is a quick read (very quick, with roughly 2/3s of it being taken up by the bibliography and appendices), and for this time in the history of Antigua and Barbuda, an essential one.”

And in her new vlog series #BookChat #Unscripted

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Antigua & Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed IX

This picks up where the previous installments of Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed pages left off (use the search feature to the right to dig them up). As with those earlier pages, it features reviews about A & B writings that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible/professional reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. It’s all shared in an effort to underscore, emphasize, and insist on Antigua and Barbuda’s presence in the Caribbean literary canon.

mr potter“As in her previous books, Kincaid has exquisite control over her narrator’s deep-seated rage, which drives the story but never overpowers it and is tempered by a clear-eyed sympathy.” – Publisher’s Weekly reviews Jamaica Kincaid’s Mr. Potter

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my garden“Kincaid (who last year edited the anthology My Favorite Plant) shuttles constantly and with ease between the practical, technical difficulties of gardening and the larger meanings it makes available.” – Publisher’s Weekly reviews Jamaica Kincaid’s My Garden

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see now then“In her first novel in a decade, Kincaid (Autobiography of My Mother) brings her singular lyricism and beautifully recursive tendencies to the inner life of Mrs. Sweet, who is facing the end of her marriage, and who, over the course of the book, considers the distinctions between her nows and her thens, particularly when recounting what was while the memories bleed with a pain that still is.” – Publisher’s Weekly reviews Jamaica Kincaid’s See Now Then

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Lucy“This is a slim book but Kincaid has crafted it with a spare elegance that has brilliance in its very simplicity. Lucy’s is a haunting voice, and Kincaid’s originality has never been more evident.” – Publisher’s Weekly reviews Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy

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June 4 2019“This send-up of the Nancy Drew mysteries by Kincaid first appeared as a 1980 New Yorker story about a gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first book’s publication. Here, Kincaid’s piece is recast as a picture book with dramatic artwork by Cortés…Detailed, almost photographically realistic portraits of girls and partygoers by Cortés, shown against marble architectural backdrops that suggest the New York Public Library, engage throughout…A gem.” —Publishers Weekly reviews Jamaica Kincaid’s Party: a Ministry

“From the first pages, we are witnessing the ravages of colorism. It plays on the perception we have of ourselves, it plays on our perception of others and on the perception that others have of us. The subtlety of Joanne Hillhouse has been to address the issue from several points of view by highlighting different aspects depending on the character involved.” – Musical Youth reviewed by My insaeng, ma vie (My insaeng, my life)

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TamekaViewfinder[1]“Featuring an attractive pair of lovebirds, Dinner is a sweetly poetic and vivid 12-minute verse-to-screen clip from an Antiguan writer/director with an appealing, if slightly provocative, voice. It’s a small film with a big heart that explores intimate love, employing a slyly clever approach – cloaked in the guise of meal preparation. While getting dinner ready a radiant young lady (played by Jarvis-George, who also provides a lyrical voice-over) is surprised by the early arrival home of her virile Rastafarian man, and before you can say ‘Come and get it’ a dining of a totally different variety plays out on-screen. Shot in vibrant hues by a surprisingly steady camera, Dinner is romp that ends all too quickly, but it was tastefully delightful while it lasted.” – Tallawah magazine on the Tameka Jarvis-George penned, voiced, and acted, short film, directed by Christopher Hodge and filmed and co-produced by Cinque Productions. Watch the whole film here.

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Dadli“an entrancing sensorial experience, an impressionistic assemblage of assorted shots of people, places, and things…Dadli draws its power from the cumulative effect of its imagery, the camera capturing everyone and everything it sees with a piercing empathy.” – Caribbean Beat on Shabier Kirchner’s short film Dadli

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the circuit“Phillips keeps the pages turning with an easy yet exacting style and keen observations.” – The Atlantic reviews Rowan Ricardo Phillip’s The Circuit

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Dancing Nude in the Moonlight ‘What makes the book a true pleasure is its political edge. Hillhouse arms the characters with larger social conflicts that far outshine the romance. Selena personifies the uphill struggle against sexism, violence, and stereotypes placed on Latin women in predominantly Black Caribbean countries: “that they all looked and dressed like whores, all wanted their men (as if…!) and were good for nothing more than a wild night.” Michael is the target of shadeism and anti-Black racism from members of Selena’s and his own family — all while struggling to keep employed amidst government corruption and few economic options on the island.’ – Broken Pencil reviews Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings

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