Tag Archives: Jean Rhys

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid January 2021 – & Happy New Year!)

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)

Misc.

The BarbudanGo grant for a project on Barbuda has gone to ACT – no, not that ACT. Congrats to the ACT Drama Theatre. –

(Source – facebook)

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Just before Christmas, Brooklyn based online Caribbean arts non-profit tropicalfete.com launched the Caribbean Cultural Puzzle. St. Lucian born founder and tropicalfete.com president Alton Aimable said, “The purchase of the puzzle helps us with our mission of developing the community in arts and social services with the focus on educating the community on Caribbean culture. The projects we engage in are to use culture as a tool for social transformation,” he shared. (Source – email from tropicalfete.com)

RIP

I would like to be able to do one of these without having to do a death announcement but it is not this day… this day we mourn Zuri Holder who died tragically on January 4th 2020 of injuries sustained during a vehicular accident. Zuri was family. I met him as a very young child when I started volunteering with the Cushion Club and watched him grow over the years. His dad Cedric has kept that Club going to this day, a literary and literal uncle to many children over 20 or so years, though Zuri graduated the Club some years ago and was a young adult. I can’t imagine his pain. The Wadadli Pen family will remember Zuri as a repeat finalist – second in the 12 and younger category in 2011 and winner of that category and third overall in 2013. Zuri had also been a dancer and drummer with the Antigua Dance Academy. Wadadli Pen deals with youth mostly so we haven’t really had as a platform to deal with the loss of one of our own before – forgive any missteps; my heart is heavy. (Source- the circle of us who knew him)

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Foremost Belizean author Zee Edgell died in December. I met her once and interviewed her as well (at the 2010 Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival) and found her not only to be calm but calming, her energy influencing yours in the most sublime way. No airs, no off putting ness despite being, well, Zee Edgell. “Edgell, lauded as Belize’s foremost fiction writer, was perhaps best known for her 1982 debut novel, Beka Lamb, read and studied by generations of students in the Caribbean and beyond. She received an honorary doctorate from the UWI Cave Hill, and was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.” (Bocas) Read more about Zee Edgell and view a reading of her work at the African American Literary Book Club. (Source – initially Bocas Lit Fest on Instagram followed by additional research and relfection)

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fAntiguan and New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey has died. He was a regular at the literary festival here in Antigua as seen above, during its short run, and even lived here for a time while working on one of his books which is partially set in Antigua. His death was a double blow coming within hours of Zuri’s passing. He was one of my literary angels and I mourn him. Read more about EJD here. (Source – initially twitter condolence post by another writer and then confirmation after much searching via Essence)

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This is one I should have mentioned before as it happened back in 2020 and I wanted to mention it because I believe people that put out themselves to give back should be recognized. Eugene Humphreys, self-described Minister of Helps, was not, to the best of my knowledge, part of the arts community but he was part of the culture – as someone who was a known community activist who was known for service through charitable acts and especially fundraising for people and projects that needed it. He died in December 2020 of cancer. His legacy is that of a selfless person doing for others and we need more of that in the world. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Film

Have you been watching Academy award winning, Caribbean-British director Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series? I’ve started and after watching Mangrove, I’m definitely invested in seeing the other films in this anthology series. I’ve already reported that Antiguan and Barbudan cinematographer Shabier Kirchner is DP on the series. There are other Caribbean people involved behind and in front of the camera including Black Panther’s little sister Shuri (Letitia Wright, whose roots are in Guyana). With the explosion of Black Lives Matter (again) in 2020, this series of films couldn’t be more timely. Mangrove (dealing with the trial of the Mangrove 9) in my opinion should be as much in the awards conversation as The Trial of the Chicago 7; in a year when everything is streaming anyway, I don’t know if it qualifies for an Oscar, but it should in my opinion since a theatrical run (an Oscar requirement) is not in the cards for many (almost any) films due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The story is fact-based and a reminder that anti-Blackness and the issues around that (including xenophobia) is not uniquely American – it is, in fact, global; and in this specific instance, we have a film that illustrates the discrimination experienced by migrants from the Caribbean (i.e. the British West Indies) and other people of colour parts of the British empire and the protests and activism it bred. (Source – various – it’s in the ether – but this post was prompted specifically by this article at The Root, which landed in my email inbox)

Books

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This book revisits Jean Rhys’s ground-breaking 1966 novel to explore its cultural and artistic influence in the areas of not only literature and literary criticism, but fashion design, visual art, and the theatre as well. Building on symposia that were held in London and New York in 2016 in honour of the novel’s half-century, this collection demonstrates just how timely Rhys’s insights into colonial history, sexual relations, and aesthetics continue to be. The chapters include an extensive interview with novelist Caryl Phillips, who in 2018 published a novel about Rhys’s life, an account of how Wide Sargasso Sea can be read through the lens of the #MeToo Movement, a clothing line inspired by the novel, and new critical directions. As both a celebration and scholarly evaluation, the collection shows how enduring Rhys’s novel is in its continuing literary influence and social commentary. (book summary) (Source – John Robert Lee/St. Lucian poet and archivist email blast)

Accolades

Rilys Adams, whom you may remember was a nominee for the Rebel Women Lit Caribbean Readers Awards Best Novel prize has another chance to win with the Romance book industry’s reader picked Swoonies. The results come out February 1st 2021. She is a semi-finalist for Best Erotic Romance with Go Deep and Romance Novella/Short Story with Birthday Shot, the same book nominated in the RWL CRA, if you’re thinking of voting. (Source – initially social media post by the writer then check of the actual site)

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The results of Rebel Women Lit Caribbean Readers Awards were announced on January 3rd 2020 and can be read/viewed in full here. The first announcement of the live had me over the moon because it was one of our own – Andre J. P. Warner taking the prize for best fiction for his 2020 winning Wadadli Pen piece, A Bright Future for Tomorrow. Jamaica’s Donna Hemans won the best novel award for Tea by the Sea. Antiguan and Barbudan writer and Wadadli Pen alum Rilys Adams, writing as Rilzy Adams, was shortlisted for this prize for her book Birthday Shot. Dominican-American writer Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap when you Land won the prize for best teen/young adult book. Best middle grade book was JAmerican writer Kereen Getten’s When Life gives you Mangoes. Puerto Rico’s Loretta Collins Klobah with Maria Grau Perejoan won the best translation prize for The Sea Needs No Ornament/El Mar No Necesita Ornamento, a collection they worked on while PR struggled to recover from Maria and which includes many other voices from the Caribbean. The poetry book prize went to New Voices: Selected by Lorna Goodison, Poet Laureate of Jamaica, 2017 – 2020. Best non-fiction book is US based professor Jessica Marie Johnson’s Wicked Flesh: Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World. Olive Senior, veteran Jamaican writer partially based in Canada, for best short non-fiction for Crosswords in Lockdown: #WhatIAmDoingWithMyTime. Best short story collection went to Stick No Bills by Trinidad and Tobago’s Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw. The new content creator prize went to @ambi_reads on instagram; the critical work of Shivanee Ramlochan, Gabrielle Bellot, and Kelly Baker Josephs was recognized, and, and this was a surprise, I was an honoree. (Source – watched the announcement on their youtube channel)

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Antiguan and Barbudan legendary calypso writer Marcus Christopher died in 2015. This year, this tribute to him emerges.

(Source – Linkedin post by the artist)

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The PEN America 2021 awards nominees includes Caribbeanauthor Maisy Card, born in St. Catherine, Jamaica, and raised in Queens, NY in the USA. Her book, These Ghosts are Family is nominated for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel, a prize worth US$10,000. Full slate of nominees listed here.

Nominees for PEN America award for debut novel of outstanding literary merit.

Winners to be announced in February 2021. (Source – PEN America email)

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 II

The stacks were overflowing at the original Reading Room and Gallery; I decided to expand. ETA: At this writing, I’ve expanded all the way up to 10 Reading Rooms; use the search feature to the right to find them.

DISCLAIMER: By definition, you’ll be linking to third party sites from these Links-We-Love pages. Linked sites are not, however, reviewed or controlled by Wadadli Pen (the blog, the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize nor coordinator/blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse); and Wadadli Pen (the blog, the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize and coordinator/blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse) disclaims any responsibility or liability relating to any linked sites and does not assume any responsibility for their contents. In other words, enter at your own risk.

Here you’ll find stories, interviews, reviews, poems; you name it…a totally subjective showcase of (mostly) Caribbean written (sometimes visual and audio visual) pieces that I (Joanne) have either personally appreciated or which have been recommended (and approved) for posting/linking. If you’re looking for the winning Wadadli Pen stories (and I hope you are!), check Wadadli Pen through the years. You can also see the Best of Wadadli Pen special issue at Anansesem which has the added feature of audio dramatizations of some of the stories.

POEMS

Won’t You Celebrate with me (print and audio) by Lucille Clifton; also These Hips (actually Homage to My Hips).

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You never thought by Nic Sebastian.

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I have a theory about Reflection by Renee Ashley (The Robert Watson Literary Prize Poem)

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As I write this I’m reading Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda (in Spanish and English) and amidst the lush language, I found this gem that seems timely (it being pre-Valentine and all at this posting) – Sonnet XVII which reads in part

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de si, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra

Translation:

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

The full poem can be found here.

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I am nobody’s nigger – bup! bup!

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Liking the humour in Maelynn Seymour-Major’s Retired Woman War.

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Still haven’t read The Help, nonetheless Carol Boyce Taylor’s Borscht made me think of it. Those who have read it can tell me if I’m totally off the mark.

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As a fan of Gil Scott Heron’s The Revolution will not be Televised, I had to share this piece, Complainer, about the late poet-activist by Fred D’Aguiar.

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Tell me One Fine Day I will walk with my Head held High by Bisi ADeleye-Fayemi (also found here) doesn’t leave you feeling empowered.

SHORT STORIES

Twins by Tiphanie Yanique from Ma Comere.

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One of my favourite shorts from one of my favourite writers: Jamaica Kincaid’s Girl.

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Regular readers might remember me writing about Will Allison’s What You Have Left. Here’s an excerpt (kinda) from Zoetrope’s All Story.

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Quirky, interesting tale from the New Yorker; A Man Like Him by Yiyun Li.

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This origin story from the Shonga People in Zimbabwe, published in Anansesem, was quite engaging. Favourite line: “After this they knew that when they listened to the beat of their hearts, they would not feel trapped or lost.”

NON FICTION

i’m still on a learning curve with this publishing business. But I can report that much of what this writer says is true, from my experience; and that I read it with an eye toward checking off what I’d done and what I still needed to do. Turns out I’ve done most of it and hope to see it pay off. For anyone thinking of publishing – either independentally or with a publishing house – this is useful information re marketing: http://www.shewrites.com/profiles/blogs/five-marketing-tips-to-drive-excitement-and-buzz

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Anyone who knows me (well) knows how much I love and relate to the music of Lauryn Hill and even to her particular brand of ‘crazy’. It’s why I feel the need to share this: http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/lauryn-hills-tumblr-letter-on-the-music-business/ which says among other things “I Love making art, I Love making music, these are as natural and necessary for me almost as breathing or talking.  To be denied the right to pursue it according to my ability, as well as be properly acknowledged and compensated for it, in an attempt to control, is manipulation directed at my most basic rights! ”

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A blog about Bocas and others in the series  by author Karen Lord.

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“…knowledge of one’s own history and culture has intrinsic value.” Read more in this Carolyn Cooper response to a critic who calls into question the relevance of a course in reggae poetry at the University of the West Indies. Personally, I’d like to see a course in calypso poetry too.

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“I thought that publishing a book meant I was a writer, but I was wrong. Convincing yourself each day to keep going, this means that you are a writer.” Read more of Last Lecture: Am I a Writer? by Cathy Day.

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This blog entry by Tameka Jarvis shares her review of Rita Marley’s No Woman No Cry, a book I’ve reviewed here in Blogger on Books and which remains one of my favourite autobiographies.

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Love this blog entry by Brenda Lee Browne… as I prepare for the launch of my new book, I can relate to the hesitance to dip your toe in the water. This is a scary, scary path we choose when we pour our heart, soul, energy, years of life into this thing that we then have to let go and await the world’s judgment.

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This is actually a blog entry by Silver Sparrow author Tayari Jones. Silver Sparrow is on my to read list, NaNo which challenges you to write a certain amount of words in a month, is decidedly not on my to do list, her blog sums up why. Mostly, I like what she suggests about writing being a process not a destination. While challenges like the one mentioned can help a writer develop the discipline needed to finish a book, to take up pen and declare I want to write a book rather than I want to be a writer misses the mark; the latter requires investment in the discipline of actually developing craft and perspective. Read, live, grow, write (and edit, and redraft, and redraft, and redraft…), then (maybe) publish.

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Perspective on the publishing industry … if Shakespeare was publishing today, would he be rejected too?

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The Bronte sisters aren’t Caribbean, unless you count the literary link between Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea or the fact that many of us children of the Caribbean grew up reading both books; either way, I thought this article on the Brontes might intrigue you as it did me.

INTERVIEWS

I’m sharing this interview with Cara Blue Adams, fiction and non fiction of the Southern Review literary journal in the U.S., for two reasons – and, no, one is not her delightfully quirky name. One, I think her insights on the process submissions go through provide some insight and perspective for writers. Two, I found interesting the discussion about fewer women being published (and perhaps) writing…because with Wadadli Pen it’s actually the opposite. A grad student actually asked me about this once i.e. the level of participation among girls versus boys in Wadadli Pen, and it broke down that in 2004 only 12% of the participants were boys, 18 percent in 2005, 29 percent in 2006, 0 percent in 2010, 16 percent in 2011, 23 percent in 2012. The arts in Antigua, I think, are not seen as manly things, and many of the literary folk I come across (not just in Antigua but in the wider Caribbean) tend to be female, but, interestingly, many of the region’s literary legends are male. Interesting.

Their Eyes were watching God is not only one of my favourite books, Zora Neale Hurston, its author, is one of my literary heroes. For more on her, I recommend Valerie Boyd’s Wrapped in Rainbows. This is not an interview but a discussion with Alice Walker, Sonia Sanchez, and Ruby Dee on Hurston’s writing and legacy. It’s lengthy but worth checking out.

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Jamaica Kincaid, uncensored…but then isn’t she always. And then there’s this one, I’m struck by how pretty she looks in this interview and by these words “I understood the book much better when I was writing it” (I understand this feeling so much as I try to answer questions now like ‘what inspired you to write this book i.e. Oh Gad!’ when that impulse is now a vague memory).

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Surprise, surprise American Scholar Henry Louis Gates is a bibliophile. But do you know which Antiguan author is on his list of essential reading? And which Caribbean writer he’d readily take to the beach again? Check it out.

VISUAL ART

Author of the Caribbean Adventure Series Carol Ottley-Mitchell’s visual tale featuring the resourceful monkey Chee Chee. Perfect for classroom storytime.

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Interview with and analysis of the artistry of up and coming talent Danielle Boodoo Fortune at the ARC.

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Jamaica Kincaid reading at Columbia “the beauty, economy and precision of Kincaid’s prose transports even the most curmudgeonly and aloof reader into the abject state of gushy fandom.” – Saidiya Hartman, professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia university

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Something about this… Doggie in the Picture by Danielle Boodoo Fortune.

…AND HERE’S SOME OF MY STUFF

Excerpt from Oh Gad! (my new book released in 2012)

Friday Night Fish Fry (fiction) @ Sea Breeze – http://www.liberiaseabreeze.com/joanne_c_hillhouse.html

After Glow (fiction) @ Tongues of the Ocean – http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2009/11/after-glow

How to Make Cassava Bread and Other Musings on Culture (non fiction) @ Antigua Stories – http://antiguastories.wordpress.com/food-2/food

At Calabash (non fiction) @ Caribbean Literary Salon – https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/at-calabash

Defining Moments (non fiction) @ Geoffrey Philp’s blog – http://geoffreyphilp.blogspot.com/2010/12/defining-momentsjoanne-c-hillhouse.html

Off the Map (non fiction) @ Signifying Guyana –

http://signifyinguyana.typepad.com/signifyin_guyana/2010/12/guest-post-writing-off-the-map-by-joanne-c-hillhouse.html  and again at Blurb is a Verb

What Calypso Taught Me About Writing (non fiction) @ Caribbean Literary Salon – http://caribbeanliterarysalon.ning.com/profiles/blogs/what-calypso-taught-me-about

At Sea (fiction) @ Munyori – http://www.munyori.com/joannehillhouse.html

Pushing Water Up Hill (non fiction) @ Caribbean Literary Salon – http://caribbeanliterarysalon.ning.com/profiles/blogs/pushing-water-up-hill-one

Wadadli Pen – Nurturing Another Generation of Antiguan and Barbudan Writers (non fiction) @ Summer Edward’s blog – http://summeredward.blogspot.com/2010/08/guest-post-by-joanne-c-hillhouse.html

Cold Paradise (fiction) @ Women Writers – http://www.womenwriters.net/aug08/fiction_poetry/Hillhouse_ColdParadise.htm

Somebody! (fiction) @ St. Somewhere – http://visitstsomewhere.blogspot.com

Reflections on Jamaca (non fiction) @ Caribbean Literary Salon – https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/reflections-on-jamaica

Portent (fiction) @ Women Writers – http://www.womenwriters.net/aug08/fiction_poetry/Hillhouse_Portent.htm

Philly Ramblings 8 (poetry) @ Ma Comère – http://dloc.com/AA00000079/00004/36j

Ghosts Laments (poetry) @ Small Axe – http://smallaxe.net/wordpress3/prose/2011/06/30/poem-by-joanne-hillhouse

Benediction before the Essence (poetry) @ Women Writers – http://www.womenwriters.net/aug08/fiction_poetry/hillhouse_poetry.html

Prospero’s Education, The Arrival, Da’s Calypso (3 poems) @ Calabash – http://www.nyu.edu/calabash/vol4no2

Interview @ Caribbean Literary Salon – http://caribbeanliterarysalon.ning.com/profiles/blogs/interview-with-joanne-c

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon 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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