Tag Archives: John Robert Lee

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late January 2022)

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


Eduardo Pyle, leader of the Antigua and Barbuda soca monarch band and longstanding member of the calypso monarch band in over two decades of involvement in culture and the arts, has died. “For Eduardo, what mattered most was the delivery of the most impeccable quality of the music during our annual summer festival,” said chairman of the festivals commission Maurice Merchant. (Source – Newsco’s Daily Observer)


The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival’s menu of programmes includes a reading group, Unruly Islands: Uprising and Revolts, in collaboration with the the Center For Fiction. See their website for information on this and other programmes. (Source – BCLF email)


Antiguan and Barbudan writer and bookseller, and Wadadli Pen team member, Barbara Arrindell is one of the resource people for an upcoming seminar entitled ‘The Journey of a Book’. Click here to register. (Source – email)


I mentioned, in the late November 2021 Carib Lit Plus that the BCLF short story awards event was upcoming. Now here’s the video.

“Well, the thing is publishers respond to readers, to the market, and, so this is really a job for all of us. For the writers and the readers. And it’s a job for the readers to bring that attention because if the publishers see that there are readers for our work…it begins with us.” – Elizabeth Nunez, sharing this excerpt from the video, from the author for whom the BCLF short story prizes are named, to remind us all to #buyCaribbean #readCaribbean (Source – N/A)


We’ve mentioned Sea Turtles before but St. Kitts-Nevis writer Carol Mitchell has two other Big Cat books – Kay and Aiden’s The Tram Bell and The Stolen Trumpet. A graphic novel series based on the adventures of a pair of twins.

Illustrations are by London artist Alan Brown. Mitchell, in addition to being an author, is a publisher (Caribbean Reads Publishing). (Source – N/A)


Catching up on some late 2021 releases. Like this one from Antigua and Barbuda.

Written by former aerodome superintendant Growing with VCBIA: VC Bird International 1965-2008 is the story of Antigua and Barbuda’s former international airport “beginning with the first airplane of the historic Lindberg of Pan Am fame, which landed pretty close to what would become our present airport, this avid aviator carries us on a journey …Starting with the Americans who sought to establish air and sea bases throughout the region for World War II activities which were then converted to civil airport use controlled by local government….Throughout the book the theme of building and growing is emphasized.” (from a review by Makeda Mikael in the November 26th 2021 edition of the Daily Observer). This one was added to the Antigua and Barbuda Writings and Antigua and Barbuda Non-Fiction databases late last year. (Source – Newsco’s Daily Observer)


Belonging: Fate and Changing Realities is Herman Ouseley’s (Lord Ouseley’s) compelling account of his extraordinary life experiences. This vivid memoir describes how he coped with all challenges and, along the way, learnt how to develop methods to convince and persuade powerful people to use their influence to help eliminate the adverse effects of institutional discrimination, prejudice and bigotry. Over nearly six decades dedicated to public service, he became a ‘somebody’ at times, as he challenged the ‘great and the good’ in pursuit of equality and cohesion. He reflects upon contemporary Britain, knowing that there is still a struggle to achieve responsible and accountable leadership. The release date is listed as September 2021. Published by Hansib. (Source – Hansib email)


Get Up!: A Collection of Inspiring and Encouraging Commands is the latest book from relatively new Antiguan and Barbudan author Stancel C. Roberts who last year released An Island Girl’s Inspiration from Above. Both are motivational books. Roberts is a staff auditor with the government, and also, per her linkedin, a motivational speaker and lecturer at the Antigua State College. (Source – N/A)

Shout Outs

To Peepal Tree (producer) and Malika Booker (host) of New Caribbean Voices podcast. It’s been keeping me company this night in January with conversations with writers like Anton Nimblett and the several poets (Tanya Shirley, Ishion Hutchinson, Vladimir Lucien featured) featured in the rare poetry collection unearthing the experiences of British West Indians fighting in the first World War. I have written in CREATIVE SPACE about some of our experiences in World Wars 1 and 2 and think not nealry enough is known or understood about our role in these major battles (Hollywood white washes the Black and Brown people from their historical war films). But we were there.

Published in 2018, this book was a collaborative project, co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, BBC Contains Strong Language, and the British Council.


To two Antigua-Barbuda sites of interest which are in the running for the top Caribbean attraction as voted by readers of USA Today (you can vote too, by the way). Normally we don’t do tourism-centric posts around here but the two named sites (Nelson’s Dockyard and Wallings Nature Reserve) have historical and/or cultural value and have been covered either on this blog or on my own Jhohadli blog. Specifically, CREATIVE SPACE #4 of 2019 – What’s happening at Wallings?, and Nelson’s Dockyard: On Becoming a World Heritage Site and CREATIVE SPACE #18 of 2021 – Clarence House and the Complicated Landscape of Our Colonial Past.

“Image 33: Nelson’s Dockyard 2” P. 55, The Art of Mali Olatunji: Painterly Photography from Antigua and Barbuda by Mali Olatunji and Paget Henry.


Ben Fox, founder at Shepherds.com who invited me to write a book recs post, subject of my choice. I used the opportunity to share some of my favourites from the CODE Burt Award for teen/young adult Caribbean literature. Click The Best Teen/YA Caribbean novels for readers everywhere to see which five I picked and why. (Also see what books I read – and reviewed – in 2021). (Source – Me)


One Caribbean book which made it on to the Women’s Prize 2022 favourite books read, broken down by year of publication, as chosen by their readers, is Monique Roffey’s The Mermaid of Black Conch. (Source – Women’s Prize email)


In addition to being a politician, Antigua and Barbuda’s Selvyn Walter was an art collector, writer (including popular column series like Not a Drum was heard and the book Bank Alley Tales), and founding member of the Grays Green based Halcyon Steel Orchestra which marked its 50th anniversary in 2021., and his creative pursuits are being recognized (posthumously) by the Sunshine Awards Organization. The US-based awards was founded in 1989 by Gilman Figaro Snr. Past awardees from Antigua and Barbuda are, in 1992, King Progress for best political commentary (Heaven Help Us), in 1999, female vocalist of the year Althea ‘Singing Althea’ Williams (Violence), in 2002, calypso monarch King Short Shirt named to the Hall of Fame, in 2003, soca artists Burning Flames (Children Call Een), in 2004, calypsonian Paul ‘King Obstinate’ Richards named to the Hall of Fame, in 2008, Rupert ‘King Swallow’ Philo, now deceased, named to the Hall of Fame in 2008 after winning best party calypso, best engineered recording, and best calypso in 1989 (Fire in the Backseat) and best social commentary in 1997 (CDC), in 2011, pannist Aubrey Lacua Samuel, in 2012, Dr. Prince Ramsey for music production and Rawdon Edwards for contribution to the performing arts, and, in 2015, Antigua State College principal Dr. Alister Francis (posthumously) for education. Other 2021 Sunshine Awardees are Barbados’ Ian Estwick, Nigeria’s Oluyinka Olutuye, Trinidad and Tobago’s Shakuntala Thilsted and Ainsworth Mohammed, St. Thomas’ Verne Hodge, and legendary Guadeloupean band Kassav. (Source – Newsco’s Daily Observer)


A Trinbagonian writer has landed on the UK Observer’s list ‘Introducing our 10 Best Debut Novelists of 2022‘. “The class of 2022 reminds us that the novel is a form without limits or rules,” the publication writes of the list that includes Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s When We were Birds, forthcoming in February from Hamish Hamilton. She and her book are described as “an important new voice in fiction, at once grounded and mythic in its scope and carried by an incantatory prose style…When We Were Birds is both a love story and a ghost story – the tale of a down-on-his-luck gravedigger and a woman descended from corbeau, the black birds that fly east at sunset, taking with them the souls of the dead.” She describes the Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad as a turning point in her writing, an awakening followed by the MA programme at University of East Anglia in the UK where she has lived for the last five years. (Source – Facebook)


The winners of the Caribbean Readers’ Awards 2021 have been announced. This is the second year of the Rebel Women Lit book club’s awards initiative; 500 votes were counted. Trinidad and Tobago’s Celeste Mohammed’s Pleasantview won best novel (adult); Jamaica’s poet laureate Olive Senior’s Pandemic Poems won best poetry collection; Curaçao’s Radna Fabias’ Habitus won best translation; Jamaica’s Kei Miller’s Things I have Withheld won best non-fiction book; and ‘Bomber and the Breadfruit Tree‘ was adjudged best RWL magazine piece. Congrats to all. (Source – RWL Facebook)


From Short Story to Novel Part 2 with Sharma Taylor is the first Bocas workshop of the year on January 29th 2022. Sharma’s first novel, What a Mother’s Love don’t Teach You, drops this year. She has been hugely successful as a short story writer winning the 2020 Wasafiri Queen Mary New Writing Prize, the 2020 Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Award, and the 2019 Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize; being twice shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and being a finalist for the 2020 Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean. Sharma will share her experience, tools and techniques in transferring the craft and technique of short-form fiction to a successful novel, building your career as an emerging writer. This seminar is suitable for writers who participated in Part 1 last year, as well as new participants.  Register here. (Source – Bocas email)


Consider this one an opportunity to pay it forward. April 29th 2022 is the deadline to recommend writers for the Royal Society of Literature’s International Writers Programme, which is supported by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society and the International Authors Forum. The RSL, founded in 1820, is the UK’s charity for the advancement of literature. Nominate writers for the International Writers Programme who are not resident in, nor citizens of, the United Kingdom, have published two outstanding works of literary merit (written or translated in to English). Twelve writers will be selected. Last year’s selectees were Don Mee Choi, Annie Ernaux, David Grossman, Jamaica Kincaid, Yan Lianke, Amin Maalouf, Alain Mabanckou, Javier Marías, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Claudia Rankine, Olga Tokarczuk and Dubravka Ugrešić. Make your nominations here. (Source – RSL email)


The Poetry Channel on You Tube has extended an invitation to poets worldwide to contribute to the channel run by Indran Amirthanayagam (email him at indranmx@gmail.com). He hosts contemporary poets reading their work and wishes to present an archive of essential poems and without any language limitation. So you might hear poems in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Tamil, Uzbek, Haitian Creole and Arabic. The channel also features an occasional series called Speaking With Poets, which already includes programs with Mervyn Taylor and Martin Espada. If you would like to be featured, send poetry videos (one poem per video) – you can record yourself and send or the host can set up a zoom meeting. Indran Amirthanayagam also edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly with Associate Editor Sara Cahill Marron, and welcomes poetry submissions. (Source – JRLee email)


“I was nervous at first to do the exercises and to read my first draft out loud, but it was fun in the end.” – US based participant in the Jhohadli Writing Project, my (Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, and author Joanne C. Hillhouse) workshops currently being offered online. This workshop series being offered once a month throughout 2022 is ideal for writers with works in progress. The identified participant said the January 2022 session helped, “Strengthened my pages.” Register on a month by month basis or for several months at a time. See Opportunities Too for Jhohadli Writing Project and Other Opportunities. (Source – Me)


Bocas, Trinidad and Tobago’s literary festival and related programmes, many of which have reach across the Caribbean, is under new management. Nicholas Laughlin replaces Marina Salandy-Brown as festival and programme director, while she steps in to the role of president of the board of directors. Laughlin, a poet, editor of the arts and travel magazine Caribbean Beat and co-director of the arts collective Alice Yard has been working alongside Salandy-Brown from the start, crafting the festival programme every year and leading the programming of the new virtual festivals since 2020.   Additionally, after a rigorous, multi-stage recruitment process, Jean-Claude Cournand is the new Chief Executive Officer. Cournand has been responsible for areas of Bocas Lit Fest youth programming since 2013 and through a partnership between Bocas and the 2Cents Movement, which he co-founded and managed, strategically helped to introduce the nation’s youth to spoken word and performance poetry. The huge popularity of the First Citizens National Poetry Slam is the culmination of their joint efforts. Read more here. (Source – JRLee email)


Issue 13 of Cacique magazine features Antiguan-Barbudan (by way of Dominica) designer Miranda Askie. Cacique is the inflight magazine of InterCaribbean Airways. The issue which also includes an interview with Barbados’ Cherise Harris (known around these parts as illustrator of my children’s book With Grace) and book recommendations by Caribbean Reads publisher and author Carol Mitchell. It can be read in full online. And remember, you can also read my Miranda Askie feature in this 2021 edition of CREATIVE SPACE. (Source – linkedin)


St. Lucian Poet John Robert Lee has posted an article on ways to revitalize and upgrade his country’s institutions and programmes to Jako Productions’ blog. Some interesting – and perhaps familiar – points. A Creative Arts Centre where cultural products are sold and which can also serve as an event space and restaurant, gallery, cafe, and artists meeting space. National gallery (Long overdue!) with retail space. Enhancement of library spaces and services. Supported and well maintained heritage spaces which can serve as cultural hubs. Strengthening of the government printery to produce cultural material. A vibrant performing arts space with creative arts training and certification opportunities. Needed as well, in addition to in-school instruction, is more public education (through traditional and social media channels) in the arts. There are, he points out, many practitioners who could be drawn on to serve as educators in their respective disciplines; it, and these other suggestions, just require a bit more initiative on the part of the powers that be. “The CDF needs to become more pro-active, more creative in their thinking, more truly supportive of the arts, and that across generations.” (Source – Jako Productions 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Reading Room and Gallery 38

Things I read 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.

Read the winning entries Wadadli Pen Challenge entries, a mix of poetry and short fiction, with some visual art, through the years.




– Joanne C. Hillhouse Catapult Caribbean Creatives Online #catapultartsgrant #AskMeAnything Q & A with readers


Antiguan and Barbudan writers discuss To Shoot Hard Labour by Keithlyn and Fernando Smith as part of a month long reading series featuring the book. The series was produced by Beverly George for Observer Radio’s Voice of the People.


Excerpts, in no particular order, from Caribbean Time Bomb author Robert Coram’s A Reporter at Large: Ancient Rights in The New Yorker, 1989:

“Joseph, like most of the divers, is fond of having a drink now and then, and he is fond of rum, but he will not touch Cavalier rum, because it is made on Antigua.”

“And although the Barbudans had long ago learned to live together, so that there was little need for a judicial system, they were now technically bound by the laws of Antigua.”

“But the Antiguans, who saw Barbuda as a poor and backward island, did not want to finance medical facilities, schools, clergy, and courts on Barbuda.”

“The island is also ridiculed because the people are different; their quirky individuality standing out even in the Caribbean.”

“Barbudan slaves (enslaved Barbudans – my edit) even used Codrington boats to send their livestock and the fresh meat from their poaching to Antigua, and in 1829 the Codringtons’ island manager wrote of Barbudan slaves (enslaved Barbudans – my edit) wrote of Barbudan slaves, ‘They acknowledge no master, and believe the island belongs to themselves.’”

“Until 1961, when regular air traffic from Antigua began, it could take a week to reach Barbuda, even from Antigua.” – read the full article here: New Yorker 06 Feb 1989 


‘It was in form four, he says, that his work began to acquire an especially grim, menacing glint, layered with violence, tones of the macabre, and an arsenal of baleful sexual suggestion. His father, who dutifully printed off copies of the stories at work, gave him a sage kernel of advice that Hosein has never forgotten: “Even if you writing smut, keep writing. Just be careful of who you showing it to.”’ – Shivanee Ramlochan on Kevin Jared Hosein in Caribbean Beat


– Yvonne Weekes reading from her volcano themed memoir


“Georgetown is where some 90% of the population live today. We shouldn’t really be here. But in the 1700s, Dutch colonisers, bringing technology from their own low-lying country, decided to drain the swampy coast and install a ‘polder’ system of canals, sluice gates (known locally as kokers) and dams to cultivate sugar and other crops on the fertile land. Historian Dr Walter Rodney estimated that, in doing so, enslaved Africans were required to move 100 million tonnes of soil by hand. Ever since then, the sea has been trying to reclaim the land that was taken from it.” – Life on Stilts: Staying Afloat in Guyana by Carinya Sharples


“We are unwitting victims of a larger global issue beyond our control.” – from After the Aftermath: Hurricane Dorian by Bahamian writer Alexia Tolas


‘In “Winged and Acid Dark,” Hass tells us directly what happens to the woman in Potsdamer Platz in May 1945, but he does this direct telling circuitously. The poet approaches the idea, then “suggests” the rape. Note the second stanza: “the major with the swollen knee, / wanted intelligent conversation afterward. / Having no choice, she provided that, too.” The poem suggests the before by describing the “afterward” and by describing what the woman has to do “too.” Later in the poem, Hass describes the prying open of her mouth and the spitting in it, and lets these moments stand for much more. The lightning strike of this poem, the one we would expect at least, would be a graphic description of the rape, and yet, Hass soothes us on that front while delivering alternatively terrifying truths. The thing we prepare ourselves for, because we’ve heard that old war story repeated so many times, is only alluded to. Instead, Hass focuses on something else we are surprised by and therefore have to hear.’ – Tell It Slant: How To Write a Wise Poem by Camille T. Dungy


“I wanted not simply to record but to interrogate what was happening and my response to it, to use poetry the way it can function at its utilitarian best: offering ways of seeing, of examining, of challenging complacency, and of contextualising the current situation within broader life considerations. …I am surprised at what I am doing because I normally spend a huge amount of time thinking about, writing, and then editing everything that I write before sending it into the world, so this speed of composing, followed by a click of Send and then almost immediate response is something new for me. I am less concerned with literary values or aesthetics than I am with memorializing the historic moment that I am living through. I want to capture the zeitgeist, literally, ‘the spirit of the time’.” – Cross Words in Lockdown by Olive Senior

“I would sit and talk to them, get to the essence of who they were…because it would help me to figure out how to write for them.” -Babyface


“On his knees, hands behind his head, he asked for a cigarette. I gestured that he be given one. Our eyes met, we held each other’s gaze. What was he thinking? He must have been the same age as me. The same dark skin and stature. In another time, another place, we might have been neighbours, colleagues, friends. But here, now, he is one of them. ” – from The Debt by Nicholas Kyriacou


“In later years when he lying in bed all by he self…” – Levar Burton reads ‘A Good Friday’ by Barbara Jenkins. You can read this and other stories in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean


“Sunny stayed up the entire night, mopping the floors of her living room and bedroom as the heavy winds forced water through the shutters and windows. It was silly, in hindsight. The water was coming anyway, and fast. But she had to pass the time. Once every half hour or so, she would run to the hallway, frightened by the loud crashing noises from outside, anticipating that one of the shutters would give way and the kitchen window would burst wide open. They never did that night.” – Four Women at Night by Schuyler Esprit


“A mother has just lost her son
A mother has just lost her son
A mother has just lost her son.” – reading by Curmiah Lisette, from her poem ‘The Bandits’, part of the CaribCation Caribbean Author Series


“Speaking to you from St. Lucia…we have a strong literary tradition, anchored by our Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott.” – John R. Lee reading and discussing his lit and more in the CaribCation Caribbean Author Series


“Somewhere or other there must surely be
The face not seen, the voice not heard,
The heart that not yet—never yet—ah me!
Made answer to my word.” – from Somewhere or Other by Christina Rossetti


“But grief,
it wrings out your soul-case” – Grief by Yvonne Weekes in Barbados’ Arts Etc.


“My iPhone keeps me company.
Plays music for me, shows pictures
of friends, what they’re thinking.
Lights up the dark when I’m missing you,
brings other poets’ words with a touch.” – from ‘April 2020’ by Julie Mahfood (Jamaican in Canada) in the Jamaica Gleaner’s Meeting Ground: Poems in the Time of COVID-19


‘Like other poets of the Harlem Renaissance, McKay, though a powerful advocate of black liberation, took the dominant “voice” of traditional culture, mastered it and made it accommodate his different ways of seeing, his visions and his anger. The fusion of urban realism with more traditional Romantic tropes in Harlem Shadows still leaves room for clear blasts of rage against “the wretched way / Of poverty, dishonor and disgrace”.’ – re poem of the week Harlem Shadows by Claude McKay (poem and analysis) 


“She forgave grandma, then a single mother of six,
who fed her children with one hand
while choking them with the other.” – from Mother Suffered from Memories by Juleus Ghunta in Anomaly 28

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.

Leave a comment

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

Reading Room and Gallery 34

Here I share things I like that I think you might like too. But not just anything. Things related to the arts – from the art itself to closer examination of the art to the making of the art…like that. There have been 33 installments in this series before – use the search window to the right to find them; and there’ll be more additions to this installment before it too is closed – so come back.



Keanu Reeves: Reading From Paul Gauguin’s ‘Noa Noa’


“I didn’t know much about publishing, so I reached out to several local writers who had been published but didn’t get much response. It was only when Rosalind Carrington replied that I was able to gain some traction. She would introduce me to Sharon Miller and these two women were the only ones who gave me the time of day. So many people just didn’t even respond! So I am grateful, everyday, that they did,” she details. In the course of editing her novel with the mentorship she received, she would come to realise that though she had the basic novel idea down in words, it was her craft of writing that needed something more. She explains further, “People think that in writing — well we all learn to write, so a writer simply puts words to paper, crafts a story and then goes out there, gets published and wins an award right?” she says with a laugh. “There probably should be another word for what we do — but it’s not as simple as ‘writing’ implies. It’s a different craft altogether; a very solitary profession that requires hours and hours of work and a certain disposition. As a writer you not just have to be able to tolerate solitary confinement but also somehow enjoy it.” – re Celeste Mohammed. Read more.


‘“Micah, you know you white too, right?”
“I tell you to stop that shit. I not white.”
Keisha snorted.
Micah’s face got a little redder despite his tan “You know is the expats I talking about Keisha – the foreign kinda white, the rich peoplekinda white. Acting like if the place belong to them.”’ – Ayanna Gillian Lloyd


“When time come for food to share, she take out she KFC and start to eat.” – from The Cook by Lisa Allen-Agostini in New Daughters of Africa, presented as the Bocas Lit Fest


“Climbing the tree was easy, the sequence of steps and grips was like recalling a once-forgotten language. As I maneuvered along the branch to my old window, surprised it could still bear my weight, the backyard lights next door came on. I stopped moving, the pillowcase of pills swinging to a silence. The justice let out two of his goldendoodles to pee. Every summer when I was a boy, the justice and his wife had paid me twenty dollars a week to walk their dogs. Then he gave me the clerking position. Everything in my life had been handed to me.” – The First Bed by Matthew Socia


‘It feels cold at first but that is the wind on the waves. Take a deep breath and fall to me.’ – from Part 4 of Paul Andruss’ The House by the Sea


“The next letter, an H, took a few weeks to appear, made by juxtaposing the calf of our fire chief with the pinkie finger of the oldest woman in town. Some accused them of copycatting, writing on their skin in marker for the attention it would bring, but those who saw in person knew the sheen of the marks in the light—the matte finish of a coffee bean—and all soon admitted it was authentic.” – The Marks by Chris Haven

Antiguan and Barbudan fiction and poetry here and here.


“Some days the body is a clenched fist. At other times it is a door knob leading out.” – Enzo Serin, Haiti, reading from forthcoming book ‘When my body was a clenched fist’, poem ‘Born to Triggers’





“I have always loved the image-making power of poetry.” – Grace Nichols. Read her full interview with Jacqueline Bishop: Nichols 1, Nichols 2, Nichols 3, Nichols 4


‘I get a lot of questions from people that are How did this person do this thing? And I’m like, “Well, in chapter blah, blah blah, they said they were going to do this thing that way.” One thing I’ve noticed is that people tend to not read accurately. People read fast these days, so they don’t catch all the details, and I tend to write in a lot of detail.’ – N. K. Jemison


‘We can’t know how long the book, or any of us, will live but … “something remains”’



‘John Robert Lee: Papillote Press, “the small and invaluable Papillote Press,” has made a significant mark in small press publishing regionally and internationally with the important authors you have published and the awards that some of the books have garnered. As a result, are you overwhelmed by manuscript submissions, budgetary and other constraints? Have you set yourself a tight selection policy and publishing schedule?

Polly Pattullo: I am essentially a one-woman band, so I do have some difficulty in making sure that manuscripts don’t pile up. I am well aware how frustrating it is to have to wait for a response, and I would hate to have such a reputation.

Even so, I welcome manuscripts – in a way you can never have too many, because you might miss a gem and I always ask someone else to get a second opinion.

It is very much a labour of love and I think I am a bit choosy, but you have to be true to yourself.’ – read the full interview


“Carribeans love racket sports. My dad played a lot, so I started out going to his matches and serving as a terrible ballboy. The only thing we watched as a family on television was tennis, Breakfast at Wimbledon was big in my house. I had forgotten about those days, but I am fond of them. I never would’ve written the book without it. Here’s a good example: My dad rarely calls with breaking news, but one day he rang me up and said, ‘Turn on the TV, there’s a tennis poem being read on the air.’ It was Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated encapsulating his time at one of the big tournaments. Dad wanted to make sure I saw my personal Venn Diagram becoming one circle.” – Rowan Ricardo Philips


“Who are our most important writers today?

I don’t think this is a useful question for a creative writer to consider (at least not for me). What’s more crucial for me to think about is: How can I do my best work yet?” – Thomas Glave


“Anancy, for example, is the kind of figure who endures in the imagination because he represents many conflicting aspects of the self in one vessel – he is often selfish and greedy, so in that regard offers a cautionary tale of the baser aspects of our nature. And yet, here is this tiny creature who routinely outwits others with far more power and who often is the cause of so much that happens in the stories, good and bad. The twinness in his nature is where his appeal lies for me.” – Bocas winner Shara McCallum interviewed for the Jamaica Observer’s Bookends by Jacqueline BishopShara Book 1Shara Book 2Shara conclusion


“I write, seeking an art that will last as the shadows lengthen, one that braids the lyric to the political without sounding like a jeremiad from the sidewalk or a piece of propaganda that will live only for a moment. I seek a political, nuanced, understanding, beautiful, blood-incarnadined art that brings all of us, no matter our differences, to life.” – Gabrielle Bellot


“The story of why my own family came to be in the Caribbean had been blurred over time: it was something to do with the British, something to do with slavery, but that was all that was shared. Decades later the Guyanese-American journalist Gaiutra Bahadhur published the seminal book Coolie Woman, which brought much insight, but there have been few other notable works. Guyana doesn’t feature in the history books or the school curriculum in Britain. Consequently, when I tried to explain to my schoolfriends where my family was from – ‘What Ghana?’, ‘No, Guyana in South America’, ‘What like Ossie Ardiles?’, ‘No, he’s Argentinian’. When the Falklands War began in 1982, there were even more questions to navigate.

This is astonishing when you think that the British had such a role to play in that nation’s birth and how central that colony was to the United Kingdom’s industrial wealth and growth in the nineteenth century. Unlike the Caribbean islands of Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad, it is possible that Guyana’s unique geography (being attached to the South American mainland) has rendered it and its history all but invisible from the collective British consciousness. Perhaps fittingly, it was the inspiration for Conan Doyle’s The Lost World.” – The Forgotten World: How Scotland Erased Guyana from Its Past by Yvonne Singh



“I’ve learned to listen to them when they argue with me.” – C. S. Marks


“I lay my head on the pillow at night purposefully with a scene in my mind so that my subconscious will work out the kinks. I often pop awake with ideas. Or maybe I don’t, but when I sit to write, more ideas still happen to flow.” – C. Hope Clark


“You have to leave room for the story to grow unexpectedly.” – Cecelia Ahern


“People say, I write for myself, and it sounds so awful and so narcissistic, but in a sense if you know how to read your own work—that is, with the necessary critical distance—it makes you a better writer and editor. When I teach creative writing, I always speak about how you have to learn how to read your work; I don’t mean enjoy it because you wrote it. I mean, go away from it, and read it as though it is the first time you’ve ever seen it. Critique it that way. Don’t get all involved in your thrilling sentences and all that . . .” – Toni Morrison


“I am writing this now on a laptop in central Mexico, in a region where my ancestors lived for centuries. My office is a leather equipal table and chair on a covered terrace. On either side of me, a Chihuahua snoozes. Next door a palm tree rattles like a maraca, and down in the town center a church bell gongs the hour.” – re Sandra Cisneros. Read more.



“I was one of a number of writers invited to Finland in the late 1980s as part of a celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Finnish book. The trip really resonated with me, even though it didn’t occur to me at the time that I might use small details I picked up during my time in Finland in a novel. But of course, given the nature of the celebration itself, it makes sense that I did, and I’ve now generally come to be more aware, whenever I travel, that something I see or feel might make its way, in a transformed form, into my fiction.” – Meg Wolitzer discusses the writing of The Wife


‘The Southern writer Rosemary Daniell once looked at me as we sat on a panel at an early Atlanta Book Festival and murmured with wonder, “Hmm, a writer with a happy childhood.” Well, of course, it was not all happy. We all have our own bag of rocks, and a writer of color in this country has more than her share. But it was my childhood.’ – Tina McElroy Ansa



“She’s still being sexually abused but now she also has three children to watch and a farm to keep, and he’s just brutally beating her constantly.” – the Margos discuss movie vs. book, The Color Purple (Alice Walker)


Discussions of Antiguan and Barbudan art by the artistes can be found here.

Discussion of Antiguan and Barbudan art by critics can be found here.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Please note that, except otherwise noted, images on this site also need to be cleared if you wish to use them for any purpose. Thanks.

Leave a comment

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

Angles of Light 2

Earlier this year, I shared audio of my reading on Chapel FM (in Leeds, England) programme Angles of Light. The Juleus Ghunta (author Tata and the Big Bad Bull author) production will broadcast part 2 on March 23rd as part of Chapel FM’s annual arts festival, Writing on Air (WOA). It will feature readings by 26 poets, including John Robert Lee, Nancy Anne Miller, Marion Bethel, Mervyn Morris, MJ Fievre, Chadd Cumberbatch, and Ann–Margaret Lim. The show will be one and a half hours long.

Here’s the day’s programme:

WOA Programme 2019_Anges of Light_Mar 23rd.jpg

Angles of Light 2 is at 9:45 p.m. Here’s where you can listen live.

As someone who tries through Wadadli Pen to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, one way being through this platform, Juleus Ghunta (my list buddy: we both have books – my Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and his Tata and the Big Bad Bull – with Caribbean Reads publishing) deserves credit for bringing Caribbean writers to a platform to which he has access. Respect.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Oh Gad!, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All rights reserved. Subscribe to this site to keep up with future updates.

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

Reading Room and Gallery 30

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Share by excerpting and linking, so to read the full story or see all the images, or other content, you will need to go to the source. No copyright infringement is intended. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 30th one which means there are 29 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one.JCH


“The tiny footprints you made on the home we shared, I could never erase them, and you had me wrapped around your finger while his fingers were wrapped around my neck.” – Catalayah by Wendy Hara


“How many tied cotton bags of crystallized sugar were you and your father’s other bastards given to suckle? So you could, years later, find yourself” – Poems by Jacqueline Bishop


“You need an agent because you’ll be so eager to publish that you’ll pay them” – Tayari Jones


‘More forgiveness and understanding.  I talk quite unexpectedly to Ronald Bickram.  (There’s no such thing as an innocent introduction.)  He was an entrant in the non-fiction category for the Bocas Prize.  He admits his work needed more vigorous editing.  “I went back and found a mistake on every page!”  We have a frank talk about the need for work to be in the best place possible before being released to the world, and for judges and entrants to have conversations similar to ours.  “For writers like me to know what to do—how to make the work better,” he says.  We shake on this, and he tells me he has a relative in Black Rock, St Michael, not far from where my mother grew up in Barbados.  She has a Chinese restaurant with local flare, Wing Kwong.  “Tell Rene you met me!”’ – NGC Bocas Lit Fest 2018—Day by Day by Robert Edison Sandiford


‘Lovers Rock is also about what she goes through in the industry: “I walk into a room and I’ve had my own label for the past five to seven years and the energy is still like, ‘Who do you think you are?'” she says. “I finally was like, ‘No, no, no, you’re not gonna keep disrespecting me.’ The response to the question, ‘Who do I think I am?’ is always, ‘I know who I am, a queen. Who do you think you are?'” – British soul-pop singer Estelle talking to NPR about her new West Indian inspired lovers rock album.


“In the autumn of Maria’s eighteenth year, the year that her beloved father—amateur coin collector, retired autoworker, lapsed Catholic—died silently of liver cancer three weeks after his diagnosis…” – Mary When You Follow Her by Carmen Maria Machado, Illustrations by Sergio García Sánchez


“People assume all kinds of things about you when you’re silent. That you’re stupid. That you’re smart. That you can’t hear. That you can’t communicate. That it’s a religious thing. That it’s an attention-seeking thing. Over the years, Ghillie heard them all. The religious thing was closest to the mark, although truth be told, his motives were far from holy. He made a vow to speak only when he had something worth saying, but he persisted with it because of how crazy it made people. Social workers, teachers, policemen, doorsteppers, they couldn’t bear his silence. Sympathy turned to rage in a surprisingly short space of time, particularly if he didn’t meet their eyes. It gave him a perverse sense of pleasure, saying nothing as they wheedled and cajoled, pleaded and threatened.” – Lynda Clark’s ‘Ghillie’s Mum’


“Laura had passed her entire life in a world of dreams. She dreamed of being beautiful, but was decidedly plain. She dreamed of living in a big house, but lived in a shack. She dreamed of having a large family, but had only her elderly parents.” – an Excerpt from Chechen Writer Zalpa Bersanova’s Novella ‘The Price of Happiness’


“The Great Emu War officially commenced in October 1932 with just three members of the Royal Australian Artillery — Major GPW Meredith, Sergeant S McMurray and Gunner J O’Hallora — heading into the Wheatbelt with two Lewis guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition. Game on.” – The Great Emu War: When Australia’s Wildlife Fought Back by Tom Smith


‘We would make up games to entertain ourselves. There were always so many kids, babies, and toddlers around that you had to kind of invent an activity that would be good for all ages. I excelled at this (probably my need to entertain, or just my inherent geekiness). There was the game “questions in a hat,” where we’d rip up small pieces of paper and write anonymous, naughty questions for each of us to pull out of a hat and answer (I’ve since turned it into a drinking game with my friends). We made up dances to show off in the club. We’d play characters and perform skits for one another. We were all the entertainment we had and it was glorious.’ – Issa Rae


“Cap’n Tim Meaher, he tookee thirty-two of us. Cap’n Burns Meaher he tookee ten couples. Some dey sell up de river. Cap’n Bill Foster he tookee de eight couples and Cap’n Jim Meaher he gittee de rest. We very sorry to be parted from one ’nother. We seventy days cross de water from de Affica soil, and now dey part us from one ’nother. Derefore we cry. Our grief so heavy look lak we cain stand it. I think maybe I die in my sleep when I dream about my mama.” – Zora Neale Hurston ‘Barracoon’ excerpt


“I was reluctant to ask him where he was going, what he was doing these days.  Part of me was always reluctant to ask this of my friends from primary school, absurdly afraid to embarrass them.  At 14, I had been awarded a partial bursary to a private boarding school in the city, which got its prestige from selling itself as an international school, thus attracting children of ministers, ambassadors and the wealthiest in the country.  My single mother was a primary school teacher, with a permanent government job, so in primary school I had been considered fairly well-off.  As a boarder, I was one of the school’s poorest students, often called to the principal’s office because my mother had missed paying her share of my tuition.  The fact that I attended this school, taking French and Drama lessons, around students who spoke English all the time and talked back to their teachers, meant that the trajectory of my life had taken a sharp turn from my primary school friends.  Whenever I saw them, I worked hard to reassure them that I had not changed, that I was still the same person who had gathered with them over the soft sorghum porridge we ate at break time.” – Good Manners by Gothataone Moeng


“I think it’s important for us to be honest; to say, yeah, we’ve overcome but also talk about the ugly side of it. Because I’ve found in my experience sometimes you wonder if it’s you alone going through this. If, you know, why isn’t it coming as easy as this particular person. And you’re not hearing the ugly part of it: the I can’t feed myself part of it, the I don’t know where the school fee is coming part of it, the my God I wonder if I can be like one of those women that, you know, sell their bodies to make a dollar part of it, the ugly part of it, the whole you know what I need some new underwear but I’m going to wear the old tear up ones because school fee need to be paid ugly part of it. I just think it would be better if people shared that because we overcome it and it helps us to feel less alone.” – Zahra Airall in Candid Conversation with Alicia Ward


“I’m also aware that of the 400 or so writers featured on the BBC’s ‘Caribbean Voices’ programme over 15 years, only 71 were women and that’s only 1/5th of the voices featured. It was  bit of a ‘boys club’, as Alison Donnell says in her essay ‘Heard but Not Seen’ [in The Caribbean Short Story Evans, L., McWatt, M. and Smith, E. (eds.) (Peepal Tree Press, Leeds, 2011), 29-43]. Many of the female Caribbean writers of that time have evaporated into thin air. There are over 200 private collections of papers in the West Indiana Collection at UWI in Trinidad. I was the first West Indian woman to add my papers, four years ago, in 2014. I was shocked to find this out.” – Monique Roffey


“I’ve been immersed in 19th century newspapers and memoirs, mostly from Trinidad. They are fascinating and, because of the blatant blind spots and racism, disturbing.” – Rosamund King


“SE (Summer Edward): Seven Stories, the UK’s National Centre for Children’s Books, recently acquired the archives of UK-based award-winning Guyanese children’s authors, John Agard and Grace Nichols. I find it unsettling that institutions in the UK are more concerned about preserving Caribbean children’s literature as cultural heritage than we here in the English-speaking Caribbean are. What do you see as some of the advantages of creating our own repositories to collect archival material related to the Caribbean children’s literature?

JRL (John Robert Lee): The advantages are that we are better placed to understand the roots and sources of our literature, to identify the authentic stories and storytellers, to make connections between the stories, our histories and our community lives, and to see how the older stories can provide a continuity into the present and future, and even generate new stories that have an authentic foundation in the traditional experiences and values of the past. Our own repositories provide national archives of what we recognise as important records of our literature and history.” – Read the full interview in Anansesem


“PS: When did you decide to pursue your art and writing full time?

Danielle: There was one very clear moment in 2011 when I just could not ignore the pull toward a creative life anymore. It felt like drowning very slowly, little by little each day. I had no idea how I would make it work financially, but I had to leap anyway and have faith. Before this I was an English teacher, and although I loved, and still love, working with children, my heart was pulling me toward something else. Not one day goes by where I am not thankful for the chance to live and work in my purpose.” – Danielle Boodoo Fortune interview


“When I actively started thinking about what I wanted to publish, Una Marson’s Pocomania was on the list. I had been coming across the name of that play as a quintessential Jamaican work since I was doing my BA. I then learned that it was housed in the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ)  and I thought, that needs to change. If that play was so important, why don’t more contemporary people have access to it? One of the key things to know is that without the printing press, we would probably have forgotten Shakespeare by now. We need to give more of our playwrights similar access. Publishing the works of our playwrights is a part of how we acknowledge, celebrate and keep good work from disappearing into the ether. I, therefore, made my first proposal to publish the works more than a few years ago and the timing wasn’t right. But finally, last year it came to be, and the more I learned about Una Marson, the happier I was that we had managed to publish this.” – Tanya Batson-Savage


“Many of the older writers are still important: Walcott, Brathwaite, Naipaul, Harris, Rhys, Lamming, Hearne among others. Lorna Goodison, Mervyn Morris, Earl Lovelace, Ian McDonald, the late Victor Questel, Dionne Brand and those who follow that first ‘Golden Age’ generation. Many new voices have arrived, many of whose works are rewarded by big prizes: Kwame Dawes, Claudia Rankine, Marlon James, Vahni Capildeo, Kei Miller, Vladimir Lucien, Tiphanie Yanique, Ishion Hutchinson, Shivanee Ramlochan, Ann-Margaret Lim, Richard Georges, Jennifer Rahim among others. These and their many other colleagues are important. Time will tell, of course, how truly important and significant they are. Then there are many Caribbean writers who have grown up in the diaspora: Caryl Phillips, Zadie Smith, Andrea Levy and others. Peepal Tree Press, Carcanet and Papillotte Press are doing a great job in publishing the works of the older and newer writers. And we have not even touched writers from the other language areas of the Caribbean.”    – St. Lucian poet and archivist John Robert Lee interview with Caribbean Literary Heritage


“In Ghana, I had worked in theater and for Ghana Television. In Barbados, I wanted to carry on theater directing. Since the theater companies were self-segregated, I (being white and nervous about intruding across evident racial lines) went to the one known for white or near-white members and a lot of European plays. They asked me if I had a play to suggest. Death and the King’s Horseman was an ambitious project to do outside Nigeria, requiring a lot of solid grounding in Soyinka’s cultural contexts. It was also ambitious as to the casting, in Barbados. It is a powerful story about English colonial intrusion on an ancient culture, told, as Soyinka carefully explains in his introduction to the play, from within Yoruba social space, focused on the strengths and weaknesses of the title character. He and his society are the core of the play, and so most of the main parts require actors of African descent. To find those actors, I needed to upset the self-segregation common in Barbados theater at the time, and I approached a group of black actors and writers. Earl Warner, later very well known as a major theatrical figure in the region, agreed to play the main role, Elesin. The white actors for the colonial parts came from the company producing the play. The production involved about fifty people, a fairly large budget, and a lot of work.” – Elaine Savory interviewed by Kelly Baker Josephs


“Our societies are not just diverse but complex, convoluted, so the poetry has to stretch itself formally to cope.” – Pamela Mordecai interviewed by Kelly Baker Josephs


“What I find myself most drawn to and excited by (both in my own reading and in programming the festival) are voices and perspectives which are not what anyone would expect. I think that many of us, even here at home in the region –  we should know better – we sometimes have very narrow ideas of what the Caribbean is, or should be. What is a Caribbean subject or voice, or topic or question or anxiety, and I’m not keen on that. I think we are far more various than we give ourselves credit for.” – Nicholas Laughlin interview for Caribbean Literary Heritage


“It took coming here to see that my voice was a voice that needed to be heard.” – Brenda Lee Browne, Real Talk with Janice Sutherland at Phenomenal Woman  And read more Antiguan and Barbudan artists discussing their art and more here on the site.


“The irony of the Internet, which was supposed to rob us of our attention span and be the death of journalism, is that it has actually promoted a new passion for longform nonfiction. It’s also given us more opportunities to find and discover poets, who are a big part of the movement towards essays as well, since they are doing work that is increasingly hybrid. In general, the best thing I can say about social media and the Internet is that it has allowed a lot of people to bypass the gatekeepers, such that I don’t know if there’s a real gate any more.” – Alexander Chee

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

Leave a comment

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

Reading Room and Gallery 28

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 28th one which means there are 27 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one. – JCH


“I’ve referred to mas as some of my earliest exposures to theatre and storytelling. I especially enjoyed the huge King and Queen of the Band costumes which have largely disappeared from Antiguan mas but which, after showing off on the stage, would take up the whole of Market Street as the parade inched along. The younger ones lobbying for Carnival to be moved from the city to the wider, less cramped, safer spaces on its outskirts can’t imagine how intimate and joyful that feeling was. We would sing the calypso, dance to the soca, and as the costumes floated by, or were dragged or carried by revelers who, despite their size and presumed weightiness, seemed buoyed rather than burdened by them, our eyes would open wide at their grandeur. They were shiny and colourful, a moving canvas; big and bold, inventive and daring. The costumes designed by Heather Doram, still one of Antigua’s finest artists, and built by her husband Connie Doram, come to mind – this would have been later, I think, in my pre-teens, during the costume segment of the Queen Show. Time bends in memory. The when isn’t important, just that it was all mas, and that mas at its best was like visiting the L’ouvre in France or the Museum of Modern Art in New York; only it was our art, from arwe imagination, telling our stories, and it was beautiful, and powerful, and magical. Of course, I wasn’t thinking all of that back then, not at three or thirteen. Back then it was just a feeling that exploded in my body like fireworks. That’s what mas is at its purest, that feeling: pure joy.

I would capture that feeling from the inside for the first time the first time I played mas in 1989.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse, A Life in Mas in Moko: Caribbean Art and Letters


“This color scheme is quite challenging at the moment. It’s a weird variety of colors. I’m taking my time and I know I’m working slower than normal, but the final product matters more than just rushing every moment.” – Brandon Knoll at Chaotic Works discussing a work-in-progress


Madonna– “In Jamaica, all archetypes of the Virgin are painted white. Referencing images of black madonnas in several European countries, I am going back to archetypes of ancient Egypt, the continent of Africa, archetypes like Isis, from whom it is believed the patriarchs modelled the Virgin Mary. Archetypes who expressed wrath, anger, and revenge – not the present day image found around the island churches, but one who when you call on her justice will be served.

I am using a common ‘Mary’ mold which I have painted as a black female archetype and have installed her at various locations in the corporate Kingston area. Some were removed or stolen and only one remains in Manor Park, Kingston where the men sell newspapers and cigarettes.

…I created another Madonna to replace the one that was damaged. When I went towards the same newspaper, cigarette men in the wee hours of the morning, they asked me what I wanted. I told them I have come to replace her (she was missing her head). They just replied ‘we love Mary’ and they helped me by taking the statue out of the car and placing her in what they felt was a safe spot. They believed a mad man had pushed the other black Madonna down causing her to lose her head, but they promised to keep watch over this one.” – Kristie Stephenson re her ‘Lady Justice’ sculptures, in Interviewing the Caribbean Spring 2017, p. 148-152


“A lot of critics think A Brief History of Seven Killings is horrifying, but I don’t think so, and I don’t think the characters think they’re living in horror. The fact is that even the most terrible situation is normal for the person living in it. In a lot of ways, this is the funniest book that I’ve ever written. It has the most humor and the most ridiculousness—certainly, it’s the most experimental. I don’t know about horror, but there’s violence and brutality. It opens up with a dead guy, but then again, death and horror is a Western association. It’s certainly not that way in the East. It’s certainly not in non-Anglo storytelling. This character’s horror comes from something quite living, not from anything spiritual—it comes from the fact that he was murdered. The horror that exists in the book isn’t supernatural: it’s the basic cruelty that human beings commit against each other. That is the scary stuff. Anything might happen at any time, and that’s what’s unnerving. It’s real, upfront, everyday fear.” – Marlon James


“Rumpus: Claire of the Sea Light is set in the fictional seaside town of Ville de Rose, a town shaped by its beauty—hence its namesake—but also the mountains above it, the sea at its border, the buzz of its single radio program, and the corruption of its civil servants. Talk to me about building this world. Specifically, I’m interested in how you break up and bring together social classes using topography.

(Edwidge) Danticat: When my first book, Breath, Eyes Memory, came out, I wrote about many real Haitian towns and a lot of people who were from those towns would say “you got this wrong” and “got that wrong,” so I decided to write about my own town by borrowing elements of different places. If you are inventing a town, you have all freedom. I added the lighthouse. Langston Hughes has a children’s book called Popo and Fafina, set in Haiti during the U.S. occupation because he used to travel to Haiti quite a bit. And I remembered that the story has a lighthouse in it, so I reread it and thought, I want a lighthouse, and the lighthouse went in. I could visually see the town and see myself walking around in it, but that takes many, many layers of writing. Sometimes in writing you have to live with things before you inhabit them, and that takes a very long time for it to stop feeling constructed and to start feeling like something real.” Read the full interview.


“Who do you write for?
Myself, who else? A great deal of stories that I ever write have been based on things I see in the news or people I hear about. Just the other day I sit down listening to my aunt and cousin talking about somebody who smoking out their whole house for ghosts.

There’s also another story that was in the news way back when in La Brea—where a whole family, granny and all, was taking care of this dead baby. The story fall out of the news a week later—we never get to know why any of this happen. Writing gives me the ability to imagine the bedlam of some of these situations. To figure out why.” – Kevin Jared Hosein interview with Caribbean Literary Heritage


‘What is most attractive and crucial about Kamau is that the world he creates erodes the invisible structures that govern how/why/what/from where we write. Walcott’s “White Magic” in The Arkansas Testament [1987], for instance, has always troubled me in the way it defends and argues for a world that, in tone and outlook, it is so distant from. The world of a spirituality that is quite real to me. Now, had the epistemic underpinnings of “White Magic” been different, we would’ve had a different poem. These underpinnings determine how we understand metaphor and what we can or do draw upon in creating figurative language. It decides what devices become the engines of our expression. Kamau gives me this, both through what he has done and what he gives me the courage to attempt.’ – Vladimir Lucien in conversation with John Robert Lee about the work of Kamau Brathwaite


“Because nothing in Brief History started the way it ended up. The first page I ever wrote is now on page 458. I was writing a crime novel starring a hitman who was trying to kill this Jamaican drug lord. I remember writing that, and thinking in the back of my head, “He’s one of the guys who tried to kill Marley.” But that was just going to be this sort of “Gotcha!” at the end, and my brief 120-page novel would have been finished. I just couldn’t finish it. I got to a part where I just couldn’t go any further. And I just figured, well, let’s find another character. So I created this character, another hit man, called Bam Bam. Then it was the same thing: writing the character for maybe forty, fifty pages, until I ran into a dead end.” – Marlon James in interview with Joshua Jelly-Schapiro


‘“Get Shorty” showrunner Davey Holmes asked Calderon Kellett if she feels an added pressure to get her show right, to which she replied: “For sure, especially when there aren’t a lot of Latinx shows right now on TV. Tanya and I know each other and we’ve done a million panels together. We’re like ‘the two.’”

To the horror of her fellow panelists, Calderon Kellett recollected the story of how when the two showrunners previously worked together in a writers’ room in 2012, they were called “sp– and span.” The only show that the two have worked together on is “Devious Maids.”

As she described looking back on her career when the Me Too Movement broke out, “everyone did a self-audit. I went through mine and thought: ‘Oh, my God. I’m so broken.’”’ – from Variety’s A Night in the Writers’ Room with Michael Schur (The Good Place), Peter Farrelly (Loudermilk), Tanya Saracho (Vida), Gloria Calderon Kellett (One Day at a Time), David Holmes (Get Shorty), Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Judd Apatow (Crashing), Andrea Savage (I’m Sorry), Gemma Baker (Mom), Jennie Snyder Urman (Jane the Virgin), Stephen Glover (Atlanta)


“Arimah: I often don’t care what things are called, or what the right word for something is, as long as what is said is understood. Magical realism, speculative, fantasy, science fiction—these are all terms I (and others) have used to describe my work, and I’m fine with all those labels. I’m sure there are arguments for the appropriateness of one or the other, but I’m not heavily invested (unless someone is trying to disparage any one of those genres. Then I’ll likely come to its defense).” – Lesley Nneka Arimah


“(BRUCE) MILLER We had a very long discussion in our room about what it actually feels like to get your period and how can you tell or not when you start to bleed. And the room, all they did was disagree with each other.

(LENA) WAITHE Because everybody has a very different experience.

MILLER Right. And it’s funny because you think, “Oh, there’s a universal answer to this.” And really, I just need a line. (Laughter.) But it doesn’t help if you just have one person. It’s one person’s opinion and there is no one to challenge it.”  – Courtney Kemp (‘Power’), Peter Morgan (‘The Crown’), Bruce Miller (‘The Handmaid’s Tale’), David Shore (‘The Good Doctor’) and Lena Waithe (‘The Chi’) in conversation with The Hollywood Reporter


“NPR’s LYNN NEARY: Woodson says she’d love to get rid of labels like struggling reader or advanced reader and encourage young people to concentrate more on how a book makes them feel or think.

AUTHOR JACQUELINE WOODSON: Labeling is not the best way to get young people to deeply engage in reading. I mean, at the end of the day, you take the qualifier away and they’re a reader. Childhood, young adulthood is fluid. And it’s very easy to get labeled very young and have to carry something through your childhood and into your adulthood that is not necessarily who you are.” Read the full interview.


“We are in a graveyard,” Dionne said. She traced the name of her ancestor while Trevor’s hand worked its way beneath her dress and along the smooth terrain of her upper thigh. She liked the way it felt when Trevor touched her, though she hadn’t decided yet what she’d let him do to her. She’d let Darren put his hands all the way up her skirt on the last day of school. But here, where girls her age still wore their hair in press and curls, she knew that sex was not to be given freely, but a commodity to ration, something to barter with.’ – Excerpt of The Star Side of Bird Hill, by Naomi Jackson


“As she can no longer see the shore, The Woman has decided it is time to bail ship, to jump into the water she cannot swim in, wearing her heaviest shoes and heart of great mass. She leaves on her red hat, hoping it will be her grave marker, should anyone wonder what happened to the boat and why it is floating out in the great lake.” – Zombie V. by Melanie S. Page 


“We all got married — Suzanne, and Virginia, and I — and it was all we ever wanted to be at the time. I fought with my parents to get married, and Suzanne ran away from home with her boyfriend to get married, and Virginia saved her money for a year and eight months, eating a bag lunch at work every day and walking up from the square to save the five cents for the transfer and making her own clothes and only seeing movies when they came to the drive-in — all to get married.” – We by Mary Grimm


“I like Markham, but I’d like to kill him. I dream of doing it in front of a huge pack of boys. Clinically.” – Stickfighting Days by Olufemi Terry


“Two white boys sat on a bench outside the closed door while a white man in a billed cap kept watch over them. Walter thought maybe the Funhouse couldn’t be so bad, with white boys here too—until a crack of leather striking flesh came from inside, and a boy’s scream. Walter had never heard anyone scream that way except Mama, in her dying. His blood burned cold.” – The Reformatory by Tananarive Due


“She (Kima Jones) reminds me that the first step in breaking out is actually taking the time to turn inward and look within.” – Poets & Writers in conversation with literary publicists Lauren Cerand, Kima Jones, and Michael Taekens


‘When I taught writing, I told my students there was no reason to worry about punctuation until they had written something worth punctuating correctly. I was trying to show them that the important part of writing—the part their teachers didn’t teach them—was the revision process. The stopping and starting, the rethinking, the crossing out, the sharpening of a thought—that’s writing. It’s a verb, after all. Punctuation, which their teachers had “taught” them, was simply politeness, no different from covering your mouth when you sneeze.’ – Piano Lessons: Do Writers Need a Teacher or a Coach? by Jim Sollisch


‘TD: This was a very, very tough moment for me to write in the story. But it was always the moment I was writing up to, which is beyond the violence, trying to find some hope on the other side—how to process that violence. Why is there so much? There is even more violence than the excerpt I read that I cut out. This is the bogeyman, for the most part, this whipping shed. In real life it was called “The White House.” I call it “The Fun House” in my story. But this was the place where these boys very often lost their innocence and where their lives were in some ways damaged a great deal for the rest of their lives. Just the trauma of the violence. And there were also accusations of sexual abuse. But for the most part the accounts I read have been about the physical beatings. A man to my face, and this was a white man, talked about how he had the skin whipped off of his back. He could not see his parents on visiting day because of the damage to his skin and the doctor literally had to remove the fabric from his injuries. This is brutality, brutality against children. To me it would be a cheat not to express the full brutality of the experience. And it is difficult to do that to a twelve year old protagonist, or even have him witness it, or be afraid it would happen to him, frankly, when I think of my own son. But it would not be fair to the survivors of this school, and the survivors of the system overall, to gloss over the violence, because violence and sexual abuse mark so many experiences in the criminal justice system. Where you are removed from a home environment, where you have measures of safety and control, and put in an environment where you have no control, no name. There are statistics that show that the majority of sexual abuse in juvenile detention centers is not perpetrated by other prisoners, it is perpetrated by guards. Horror, typically, is violence by the monster, the daemon, the zombie.  In this story, the horror is human, and the ghosts are just survivors in their own way.’ – Tananarive Due on writing The Reformatory


‘Yeah, the president is just such a different joke world, because it’s a moving target that’s constantly evolving and it’s constantly changing. You could write 20 minutes about one thing and then he reverses his opinion. Well, now what are you going to do with that material? I could start writing my act today, but in five weeks when we go and tape, 20 different things would’ve happened by then. It’s not something I enjoy because it forces you to stay on topic with an issue. To report every week on what Trump did, you’re just saying he did this, here’s a joke about it, and here’s why you shouldn’t think that way. There’s got to be more. There’s got to be something bigger to that. To me the issue isn’t Trump, it’s the people in office who don’t stand up to him. That’s the bigger deep dive. Because if you look at all of the president’s antics since he’s been sworn in, the one consistent narrative is that nobody stands up to him. So to me, that’s what I want to talk about. I want to talk about who are all these people who don’t go, “Hey, man, don’t fucking tweet today.”’ – Roy Wood Jr. on writing jokes


‘From the moment the idea for the story first came to me, I imagined it as a story in which the main character is falling and is considering the most important moments and people in his life. I think that framework gives some flexibility to the narrative, some elasticity, because that experience would be very different for each of us, depending on our personal and larger history, who we are, what we value most, and who or what we are most concerned about. Another news item that often catches my attention here in Miami is how many construction workers fall while working to build very expensive hotels or apartment buildings that they would not be able to afford to stay or live in—so that became one of the elements at play in “Without Inspection.”’ – Edwidge Dandicat

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

Leave a comment

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

Blogger on Books III

UPDATE! (October 4th 2016) I’ll be moving the Blogger on Books series (really just my take on books I’ve read and liked enough to write something about) to Jhohadli (my personal blog) with the next book. This archive will remain here on the Wadadli Pen blog. It’s the second major move for this series which began on my Myspace – remember that?

This is the third installment of Blogger on Books where I talk about books I’ve read and have something to say about. Usually if I’m posting about a book, I either liked it or liked something about it. You can read Blogger on Books l and Blogger on Books ll here.

The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books Volume 9 Number 1 Fall 2016
The Bibliography of St. Lucian Creative Writing    Poetry, Prose, Drama by St. Lucian Writers   1948-2013 with related supporting material compiled and edited by John Robert Lee with assistance from Anna Weekes
The Boy who loved Batman: the True Story of How a Comics-Obsessed Kid conquered Hollywood to Bring the Dark Knight to the Silver Screen by Michael Uslan
Broo ‘Nansi and the Tar Baby (a US Virgin Islands Story) collected and written by Dr. Lois Hassell-Habtes Story as told by Ector Roebuck
Brown Pelicans (Caribbean Natural History Series) by Mario Picayo
The Caribbean Writer Volume 29
Do You Know Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay
Littletown Secrets by K. Jared Hosein
Point of Order: Poetry and Prose by Ivory Kelly (foreword by Zee Edgell)
A River of Stories: Tales and Poems from Across the Commonwealth, Natural Elements Series, Volume 4 – Fire (compiled by Alice Curry)
Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden
Susumba’s Book Bag (the erotic edition)

Time to Talk by Curtly Ambrose with Richard Sydenham

I felt bereft when Bernice McFadden’s Sugar ended. I’m still trying to decide if the ending was unsatisfying storywise or if the story was so successful that the leaving was inevitably melancholic. Either way, it’s certainly a reminder that as much as we’ve been conditioned by fairytales, we very (very) rarely get the endings we want. There’s no denying though that Sugar was a compelling read anchored both by a compelling title character and a convincing if unlikely bond between two women that was the heart of the story. I’m talking about church going elder Pearl, who’s been grieving the violent death of her daughter for 15 years, and Sugar, who the short answer would say is a whore, given her profession, but who on closer examination of her very complex life, is really a woman who never got a fair shot – not since her mother abandoned her without a name, not since she was raised in a whore house, not since her every attempt to break with the trade goes fubar. Sugar at times seems like her own worst enemy, her survival armor so thick, nothing, not even well meaning efforts, can penetrate, and certainly her own heart can’t break out. Except it does, thanks to Pearl – seriously, their relationship is easily my favourite part of this book – and she does let something like love in, but she doesn’t trust it, doesn’t trust herself, and the pattern that’s marked her life to that point re-asserts itself. You’ll root for Sugar and your heart will break for her, you’ll be warmed by the bonds she forges with her substitute mothers especially Pearl and realize that she’s hungry for that most essential of relationships. And I suppose my frustration in the end is I wanted that for her too. In the ways that she makes me care, in her detailed and layered characterizations of her essential characters, in the way she colours in the world of the story and roots it in its time and place, in the descriptions and the mood and atmosphere that she crafts so well, McFadden has rendered one of those books that you could see transferring really well to film because it paints pictures in your mind and makes an impression on your soul. But there are things about the plot that feel improbable to me and in fact there are time when the clues dropped about Sugar’s history kind of leave me floundering so that certain essential connections are not made (in my mind) and certain other connections when they are made feel…unlikely…like what are the odds. It didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book which had some emotionally powerful moments not in an overwrought way but in simple, simple gestures that pack a punch.top

Broo ‘Nansi and the Tar Baby like Brown Pelicans below is from Little Bell Caribbean. As with that one, I had the boy read it aloud; this time instead of asking him to write a review, I just asked his opinion. Here’s what he said: “That was a nice story.” Actually that first part was spontaneous and then I asked what did you like about it, to which he responded: “I like the part with the song. I like when the part with tar baby and when Bro Tukuma say ‘Brer Nancy les go’ and Brer Nancy say ‘I’m not finished yet’. I just don’t understand; he not listening. Why doesn’t  he listen?…I like the end; it rhymes.” After further consideration, he added spontaneously: “So, basically, this is just about two spiders, a tarbaby, and brer nansi almost being killed.” I should add that after the main story, there’s an explanation of who Anansi is and his place in African and diasporic lore; when I tried to add to the explanation he held up his hand (wait, wait, wait) and continued reading. So, I’d say it’s a good book to grab and hold even the interest of a reluctant (and boy is he reluctant) reader.top

Brown Pelicans (Caribbean Natural History Series) by Mario Picayo – this glossy book seems a good blend of nice visuals, history (the bit on Caribbean monk seals and why they became extinct, for instance), geography (maps), art (there’s some pelican inspired poetry), and science (all the pelican facts). But as I did with Pippi Longstocking (scroll down for that), I’m deferring to my nine-year-old on this one since this is more for his age group and reading it aloud to me and then writing what he thought was part of my strategy to pull him away from his ipad for five seconds. Here’s what he wrote: “The title is Brown Pelicans. I like the story because pelicans are my favourite birds and how they catch fish. I don’t like the story because they didn’t say why their feathers are oily and why they have webbed feet and why their beak is long. I know that pelicans are big, they can measure water depth and circle in the air to stop fish. The author is Mario Picayo. I like them because of their big beaks, oily feathers and webbed feet.” Okay, then.top

The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books (Volume 9 Number 1) very little space to the purpose suggested in its title, reviewing Antiguan and Barbudan books. The bulk of the volume publishes papers from the 2015 conference and some papers from a couple of decades ago – all, or mostly, with an economic theme. For people who understand that talk, those articles will be of interest and maybe in another platform they would be for me too …but when I crack the Review of Books, I really want to read book reviews and, Lord knows, there are more than enough books by Antiguans and Barbudans that have not been given critical treatment. So, that’s my gripe with this edition. That said, of the non-book-related articles, the one I found of particular interest was Juno Samuel’s The Making of the University of Antigua and Barbuda, because the re-purposing of a new secondary school into a university is very topical, controversially so, in Antigua and Barbuda right now (Fall 2016). Samuel’s piece reminds us of Antigua and Barbuda’s long tradition as a leader in education and that this university business is not a new idea, nor the opposition to it a new issue, but what his careful accounting of the work that’s been done and the thought that went in to the work by the original committee underscores is that it takes more work than simply re-purposing a building; and given the work already done, one has to wonder where’s the continuity. If this is an issue you are concerned about, you ought to read Samuel’s article which basically moots that a university is not only doable but necessary…but not this way. The unasked (and perhaps rhetorical) question as ever is can we (ever) look past the politics on such things? The actual reviews now get only pages 181 to 230 of the Review but they make for compelling reading. Natasha Lightfoot’s Troubling Freedom is on my to-read list and Review editor Paget Henry’s review has me even more convinced that this is a rendering of an unexamined area of our Antiguan history with a fresh approach to the reading of that history. Beyond that, there are three reviews, one by me, of Mali Olatunji and Paget Henry’s The Art of Mali Olatunji, each with a different angle on what each review agrees is a significant contribution to the Caribbean artistic, philosophical, and literary canon. I liked Jane Lofgren’s artistic insights on the book but then I also found intriguing associations Ashmita Khasnabish makes to Indian mysticism. So my request to the editor is more reviews, please.top

Time to Talk by Curtly Ambrose with Richard Sydenham – Curtly Ambrose, for the uninitiated, is a knighted former West Indies fast bowler from Swetes, Antigua. He first played for Windies in 1986 – there for the latter part of its days of dominance; his grit providing sparks of brilliance and hope during the team’s tumble from the top. Read the full reviewtop

>A River of Stories: Tales and Poems from Across the Commonwealth, Natural Elements Series, Volume 4 – Fire compiled by Alice Curry . Some entries feel out of place in this and, honestly, I’d count my poem Under Pressure among them. In fact, I’d say, in general, that this type of collection favours the folk tale. As a collection of writing from around the Commonwealth, it is at its best when it is sharing folk tales that tap in to the soul of the culture – you feel like you’re learning something about the people from whom the story came, about what informs the way they approach life. That said even among these, some of these tales end abruptly while others do a better job of coming to a point (and perhaps making a point). I found it a fascinating read overall. I like the idea of it and the execution, apart from whatever nitpicks I’m making here, was pretty good as well. I wasn’t in love with the art work and I did wish there was a bit more on the countries and the individual writers – a couple of lines. But I do appreciate the colossal amount of work that would have gone in to this; and I largely enjoyed engaging with so many different countries in a way I don’t get to do outside of an Olympics opening ceremony. Some standouts for me: Son of the Sun from Tonga, About a Chief and his Beautiful Wife from Botswana, The Beginning of Smoke from Brunei Darussalam, The Land Crab in the Kitchen from Maldives, The Gifts of Months from Malta, How to Share Five Cakes from Sri Lanka, The Tricky Invitation from Malawi (sidebar: I found an interesting Anansi oral/video/animation version of this that I used in one of my workshops alongside this version – a workshop focused on giving teachers tools and inspiration for bringing creativity into the classroom), Compere Lapin pays a Price from St. Lucia, Bhadazela and Mningi from South Africa, the Glass Knight from the United Kingdom, The Spear that Brought Fire from Zambia, the Burning Heads of the Susua Hills from the United Republic of Tanzania, and A Ball of Fire from Trinidad and Tobago. I don’t want to sound like I didn’t like the poetry, some of it just didn’t seem a good fit for a collection of this type but some did the job well – e.g. Fire from Namibia, War Song from Papa New Guinea, Creole Woman from Belize, and because, of course, it’s Paul Keens Douglas and his poems are always tales of the folk – Banza from Grenada.top

Do You Know Pippi Longstocking? by Astrid Lindgren – This is a children’s book so though I read it first, after my second to last nephew read it, I asked what he thought of it with the intention of sharing his review instead. It’s succinct: “I’m surprised she is a little girl and so strong. I really liked it.” Yes, I realize we have some work to do regarding his conditioning already at such a young age re what girls cannot do…especially since no one, girl or boy, could lift a horse like Pippi does in this story.top

Littletown Secrets reminds me of, those sort of fantastical children’s books from back in the day, books like Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series – you know what I mean, those books about normal children interacting with the abnormal world in a way that to our childish brains seems totally plausible and fun. Like, of course, there’s a talking rabbit who’s in a hurry and a giant, magical tree. Of course. Some of us never quite outgrow that and for us magical realism and, really, the many branches of speculative fiction exists (big up to all the adults who never lose sight of their inner child). Anyway, the point is, I really enjoyed Littletown Secrets – and my nephew enjoyed Littletown Secrets. In fact, he read it first, in 2014 after I bought it at Bocas. Yes, it’s that kind of book – the kind of book to lure a reluctant reader, a boy no less, and apparently they’re the archetype of reluctant reader, into the magical world of storytelling. The story is set in a small indeterminate town in Trinidad – I’m not sure they say that specifically; but the author K. Jared Hosein is a Trini and the book does mention the Savannah (which admittedly is located in the capital but) as a community space where kids play cricket and old friends re-connect. The organizing principle of the book is that the central narrator is the town’s secret keeper – which he becomes when instead of a lemonade stand, he sets up a Secret Keeper stand as his summer hustle – and each chapter is a different secret, each reflective of the ‘deadly sin’ that introduces it. The author uses the known deadly sins but gives his own definitions. Wrath, for instance, is the “the trait of setting oneself on fire and colliding in to others”. The redefinition of the sins sets up its own set of expectations – a darkly humorous tone and an entertaining and instructive tale in which lessons are learned, though maybe not always by the participants in the tale – and it delivers. It is totally invested in the madness it sets up – the world under the well, the magic mirror, the ghosts in the clock tower, mechanical bats…why not. And it invests you, the reader, in that world and in the lives of the characters – rooting for the good guys, hoping that the lazy and badminded get their comeuppance or learn the error of their ways, hoping that the good guys win. And they do, for the most part, this is the realm of they all lived happily ever after after all. Except this is not a fairytale and so we meet the keeper of tales as an adult – emotionally restless – who gets the opportunity to have his dreams of becoming a writer come true, if he would just give up his secrets. This sets up an opportunity to show how you can take life and make story without betraying life. That exchange at the end between the secret keeper/storyteller and one of his former clients tickled the storyteller in me. And I think the book as a whole will peak the interest of the young reader in your life – boy, girl, reluctant, avid – and may call to the child in the adults in your life, too…even if that adult is you. I can safely say that I’ve never read another Caribbean book QUITE like this one and now that I have I’m even more eager to read his second book, The Repenters.top

The Bibliography of St. Lucian Creative Writing    Poetry, Prose, Drama by St. Lucian Writers   1948-2013 with related supporting material compiled and edited by John Robert Lee with assistance from Anna Weekes – this is not something you read cover to cover, though I did flip through it; it’s a resource – a valuable one. And in this digital age a resource that works best with a companion digital version that is readily updatable. The print version can become dated very quickly – which is the case here as I read, for instance, Vladimir Lucien’s single entry in the Poetry section (Fathoms of Sunset and Other Poems, 2009) knowing that he’s since gone on to win the Bocas prize for Sounding Ground. But such is the limitation of print in an era where just about any information you can think of is at your fingertips. But recordings like this are still absolutely necessary for the record, and there’s no denying the work and the patience involved in putting this together especially as the author said “many publication, even those produced by reputable local printing houses, lacked basic bibliographic information. Many carried no date of publication. I found a publication with no author’s name, no title, no date!”  If I was to do something like this for Antigua – which I guess I sort of have been doing with the bibliography (and its sub-lists) of Antiguan and Barbudan writing – I would take the approach of having a print version covering a particular time period, as this did, with a plan to update it every five years or so with a readily accessible and steadily updated digital version as companion. All of this takes time and money, of course, so all a researcher can do really is what they can. I’ve done fiction, poetry, non-fiction, children’s fiction, screenplays/plays, songwriting, short stories/poems, awards, blog, and review lists on this site (slower than I’d like and investing more time than I have to give because nobody’s paying me to do this), and even I’m impressed with the breakdowns this author takes the time to do – there are primary lists broken down by genre, then an extensive list of supporting material, then author indexes broken down by genre, selected articles, index of literary periodicals, international anthologies with St. Lucian writers, dissertations etc. background readings – plus an appendix of Caribbean blogs (Wadadli Pen even gets a shout-out). As comprehensive as I’ve tried to be here on the site, the inclusion of unpublished and oral pieces would be a step too far for my individual resources; not for Lee though and he needs to be applauded for his meticulousness. I hope the St. Lucian arts community and government and people appreciate what he’s pulled together here (and support both the digitization and periodical updating of the print version). As for why this matters, think only to that proverb re the lion and the hunter and the importance of having a record of our lives in our words.top

The Boy who loved Batman: the True Story of How a Comics-Obsessed Kid conquered Hollywood to Bring the Dark Knight to the Silver Screen by Michael Uslan – the site I won this book from doesn’t exist anymore; that’s how long it’s been since I’ve had it. I’m a bit of a fangirl so I’m fairly sure that’s why I threw my hat in the ring but I had no idea what to expect when I opened it. It has been a good read for the most part – part memoir, part inspirational, part how-they did-it, part fanboy/fangirl fantasy. It is, as the title said, the story of the boy who loved and revived The Batman – specifically Michael Uslan is the one who brought my era Batman (Michael Keaton) to the screen but, yeah, he also executive produced your Batman (Christian Bale) too. Essentially, the dark, tortured Bruce Wayne who has eclipsed the sort of pop art ’60s era version of Batman is all his doing. And in this book he tells how he did it. It began with his love of (read: obsession with) comics as a kid, with teachers who encouraged his creativity and rebel spirit, with parents who supported even if they didn’t always understand, with mentors, with doubters and self-doubt and setbacks and despair and compromises, and luck and preparation meeting opportunity and all that jazz. For a writer, an artiste, like me I was especially keen on tracking how he held on to his dream of creating something while circumstances conspired to stick him in life’s cubicle. The how-he-did-it part in the end was the bit I obsessed about as I looked for clues to my own journey. I gained some insights but I also learned there’s no magic to it, just holding to your dream even if life does necessitate some detours and pauses. An interesting read for the movie buff, the comic obsessed, Batman lovers, and just anyone whose ever held a dream they felt impassioned by in spite of the odds – and as I am all those things, I quite enjoyed it.top

Point of Order by Ivory Kelly is an easy read. Which is not to say it’s a shallow read – quite the contrary. What I mean is that it’s a pleasurable read but it can be like that unexpectedly steep drop into the deep end at the beach. Only the drop here is into matters of politics, gender, and identity. Neatly organized into poetry and prose with sub-categories of the former, the collection opens strong with WMD – and, on reflection, was fair warning that a collection that references a leader (Dubbya?) “spending soldiers like loose change” wasn’t here to make nice on serious issues. From Crayons in which a mother commits to a quiet rebellion to reverse her daughter’s rejection of self (conjuring the doll test); to Heart of a Dragon in which she tries to get beneath the hard scales to the heart of the dragon, stand in for police and more specifically police overreach, really insisting that the dragon look at himself; and beyond what quickly becomes clear to me is the running theme of tension between opposites – things as they are, things as the poet would like them to be, each sandbox-tree-like dig a rejection of the way things are. It’s there in pieces like Contradictions (the warring opposites threaded together with irony as it comes hard at the community’s ongoing battle to reconcile itself with itself); in Writer’s Block (where the warring impulses are within the writer, and specifically the feminine writer who wonders “how can I write this poem/with all those voices in my head?” except she is writing the poem, making the act of writing an act of rebellion, a feminist act); in Perspectives and Schoolbooks (where the tensions/contradictions are cultural); in Time and the Sittee River (where nature and wo/man war); in Public Service (where it’s the frustrating push and pull between the Public and the ones it claims to serve, all evidence to the contrary). It also needs to be said that though very, very Belize specific, much of what Kelly writes is Caribbean relatable (there are even a few “jacks” in there – thought that was an Antiguan thing) and, now and again, thematically universal. I liked almost everything in part one; in the second poetry section, my likes were a bit more spread out (Vocabulary Lesson, Unshackled, Fences, Civil Disobedience – a sharp reminder that the pen is mightier than the sword with its pointed line “some braved Jeffries’ gun/Threw missiles at policemen/Me? I drew my pen.”). Coming from that it was a bit hard to switch gears to the third section of poetry – which dealt with affairs of the heart but Mr. Write did make me laugh out loud on the bus – try that without getting funny looks. Did I mention the humour built in to the situations is part of the book’s appeal? Far from being abstract, a lot of the poetry is rooted in specifics, situations, that help give the reader a sense of connection. My favourite poem in the fourth and final section of poetry for instance was A Bouquet of Pencils, which, with this very specific line “No more half pencil/(the good half for your brother)”, stirred memories of having to share mangoes with my sister – how she would get the seed and I would get the sides – and spoke to a time where you didn’t have a lot, but you had enough.

On to the stories. I had already had a taste of Ivory’s storytelling skills thanks to her story in Pepperpot and the opportunity to hear her read from it in 2014 when we both participated in a session at the Aye Write! festival in Scotland– that’s how long this book has been sitting on my shelf and me too shame though there are just more books than time (there are books that have been waiting longer – read me! read me!). I liked all the stories – tout monde sam and baggai. The first ‘If You kyaa ketch Harry…’ will resonate with any adult Caribbean person who has been through at least one election cycle, ‘Andrew’ will strike a familiar note for anyone who has been to school in the Caribbean – though its tensions are very Belize specific; and ‘Family Tree’ might throw you for a curve until you consider the non-nuclear family model with all its stray branches pervasive throughout the Caribbean (you’ll not only find its not that far-fetched, you might be moved to wonder why it doesn’t happen more). ‘The Real Sin’ was the weakest of the stories in my view simply for being a little too-heavy-handed with its messaging, but even so it had some strong moments – the quiet moment of two friends laid out side by side not looking at each other, absorbing life changing  news was one such moment, the infuriating meeting to discuss that life changing news with administrators who have more sanctimony than empathy was another well executed scene.

So all in all, big up to mi sistren from Belize; an easy read on uneasy issues.top

This edition of Susumba’s Book Bag is Rated R. Not actually but with its focus on the erotic, it’s fair to say it falls in to that category – even if it didn’t at once tickle your fancy and your Muse (and it does; both). My favourites are Sharon Leach’s Her and Him which counterbalances the coldness that has settled in to a 20 year marriage – “She thought about the morning after the last child, Astrid, her baby had left home for college, how they’d both sat staring at each other over breakfast at the dining table, two strangers with no words to say to each other.” – with the heat that’s stirring between the partners in the marriage and someone outside it. Who might surprise you. It didn’t me, the big reveal more a confirmation of what I had suspected. The titillating details aside, this is really  a feminist unpacking of a relationship in which the wife is lost and searching, and on the verge of claiming something for herself, and the husband is arrogant and clueless, and on the verge of being cuckholded (and I can’t feel a lick of sympathy for him in he arrogant, selfish self!). In poetry, I was moved by Gillian Moore’s Oya All Over, mythical and messy at the same time (“she’s never learned to say no to what she really wants”). If  you think this has feminist overtones, you need to read Peta-Gaye Williams’ If You Lead I Would Follow, the poetic voice’s assertion of dominance over her own pleasure, by extension her own life (a criticism, intentional or not, of the dominant point of view that the man is the head of all things womanly, the home, the marriage bed etc. that counter-argues you can be the head if you know how to head things right, and only then):

“And can you touch me?
Oh sure! But with conditionalities attached
Cause if you’re gonna touch me without reaction
It is better you just watch me…”

Love it!

Her other poem of note (for me) is Navigating my Vagina which deals with the awkwardness of early self-exploration. I would share something from it but
“I flip through the pages eager and keen” was the only PG quote I could find. Be warned, this book is hot (so kids, this one nuh fuh yuh).

“Miss, Miss, yuh fat.
Yuh fat bodder me.
Yuh fat bodder me bad.” – that’s from Walking on the Street in Liguanea by Loretta Collins Klobah. If you’ve been to the reading room, you know I’m drawn to her poetry, having shared quite a bit of it here. But this series (which includes In the Bank at UWI at Mona Campus, Walking Montego Bay, Walking Below Sovereign, and In a Taxi) taking on the erotic through the lens of street harassment or creative, heavy-handed flirtation depending on your point of view resonated with me – taking me back to the streets of Jamaica which really could be anystreet, Caribbean, any public space where a woman is sexualized and, frankly, doesn’t always know how she feels about it – embarrassed, flattered, disgusted, harassed, threatened, a mix-up of these?

I’ll say this, lots of people do the erotic – it’s taboo and risqué and fun – but not a lot of people do it right, and these writers, the ones that stirred a reaction in me reminded that it’s not just about how raw can you be but how real (and I don’t mean in a throw away keeping it real sense but in making the moment matter, in tying it in to character, in giving it significance beyond the meeting of body parts…while making it hot).top

Gone to Drift – Remove the sub-text about the larger environmental issues and you still have a pulse quickening drama, and a poignant social narrative, at the  heart of which is a boy you come to not only root for but love. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Lloydie managed at least twice to bring tears to my eyes. Read more.top

After reading The Caribbean Writer (Volume 29, the 2015 edition), which I read almost every year, I like to share the pieces I liked even if I didn’t love the issue. I think this year’s write-up falls in to that category. I didn’t love it cover to cover but I did like…
10 Reasons why My Brothers like White Girls …intriguing title right?…plus the poet Felene M. Cayetano, I’m now realizing after the fact, is someone I met this past January (2016) in Guyana…there’s a dry wit I recognized in her when I met her that comes through in this poem from its opening lines …there’s also a rootsiness, an earthiness that pervades the ironic lines, the contrasting impulses within the black body as detailed in this poem…
I, also, liked Dike Okoro’s stuff (After Edwidge Dandicat and Rituals) well enough as well…Althea Romeo-Mark’s Now Massa Loved Some Hunting, Aprille L. Thomas’ Silver Anniversary, Khalil Nieves’ Guantanamera: Se Fueron, Dario R. Beniquez’s Ode to a Platano, D’Yanirah Santiago’s Boy: A Futuristic Take on Kincaid’s ‘Girl’…that’s it in Poetry…
In Fiction…Her Story, My Regret by Bibi Sabrina Donaie…actually I feel fairly certain I liked Bibi’s other story The Bakers as well (though I can’t be sure without re-reading)…but Her Story, My Regret definitely, for me, made a stronger impression dealing as it does with the still too prominent reality of the monster in your home…Nena Callaghan’s A Hanging has me reflecting meanwhile on the region’s dalliances with totalitarianism (with Big Brother’s complicity) and stirs a vague prickling of concern at how easy, with each infringement on our freedoms, it would be for any of us to sink in to such a state…and she does it with powerful passages like this:

“I still remember when Trujillo was killed, the secret celebratory handshakes among the adults, amidst the fear of what was to come, and me jumping on the bed trying to smash Trujillo’s picture, a mandatory effigy that all Dominicans had to display in their homes as if its very presence would protect them from Trujillo’s wrath. Trujillo’s picture not only told Dominicans who was boss, but also served as a reminder to anyone who considered taking actions against his totalitarianism, that he not only ruled the nation, he ruled their homes from afar as well.”

The Right Hand of God by Justin Haynes was a sad account of receding memory amidst internalized trauma…and then there’s Mona George-Dill reflecting on the pains (such as whipping days) and pleasures (mangoes for days) of a Caribbean childhood in Stonin de Mango…I used Neala Bhagwansingh’s Jumbie Daddy in a workshop this past summer (2015)… Haitian Boy meets Mommy by Isnel Othello and almost a counterpoint to it Heirs by Jonathan Escoffery…another enjoyable tale from a child’s perspective was Twanda Rolle’s The Sunday School Teacher, God and a Little Girl, Tim W. Jackson’s When the Sea shall give up the Dead was an immersion for both reader and character… Robbery at Rendezvous Restaurant by Niala Maharaj was suspenseful…while still on the subject of crime Dwight Thompson’s Haitian Carpenter proved quite the rapscallion, shout out to Antiguan Tammi Browne-Bannister and her Wee Willie Winkle on winning the Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for short fiction …Christine Barrow’s Evelyn  was a subtle tale that lands hard in its exploration of class, privilege, and moral compromises…and also on the subject of class and privilege the less subtle The Lives of Kenneth and Ramesh by Vashti Bowlah was also an interesting read…though the little boy especially was well written…Highlow’s Cricket Bat by James Baisden was highly entertaining… The Exhibition by Darin Gibson was a favourite…in part because it sits in the world of art and the pretentions it elicits …and Crab Girl by Ashley-Ruth M. Bernier was relatable…
In non fiction, I like Blake Scott’s read on tourism in revolutionary Cuba – very topical, recent events considered…the Jamaica Kincaid and Tiphanie Yanique interviews were insightful reads…in book reviews, I was surprised that Bethany Jones Powell’s review of  Vybz Kartel’s  Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto made me want to read the book when I am not a fan of the artist…that’s about it…
Oh, my CW award winning Flash fiction When we Danced and my poem Election Season ll are in this issue, as well.top

Leave a comment

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

Reading Room XIV

This page is for sharing links to things of interest around the internet. It’ll be sporadically updated; so, come back from time to time. For the previous reading rooms, use the search feature to the right, to the right.


“Calypso provided lessons in how to play, teasingly, with language.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse


“These days, I meet far too many young writers who try to start off with a novel right off, or a trilogy, or even a nine-book series. That’s like starting in at rock climbing by tackling Mt. Everest. Short stories help you learn your craft. They are a good place for you to make the mistakes that every beginning writer is going to make. And they are still the best way for a young writer to break in…” – George R. R. Martin


“Be careful to stay consistently in one verb tense unless your narrator is a person who might switch tenses.” – Crawford Killian


“As I’m sure you know, Time is never a neutral, abstract thing. Nor merely a clock-ticking-on-the-mantlepiece thing. Time for writing your novel is time not for other occupations, not for other people. It’s time stolen from your loved ones; time they will probably resent you not devoting to them. Time is closing the door behind you and not answering when people knock – not unless they knock very hard, and shout words like ‘Fire’ and ‘Bastard’ and ‘I’m leaving – I really am’.” – Toby Litt


“I should be clear: there are plenty of times when the thought of reading my own story one more time makes me want to vomit.” – Max Barry


“I do think that as a society, even though my work is valued in the tertiary system as a text, writers are often seen as artists. And artists are often connected with entertainment, and seen as not scientific and not affecting evidence-based decisions.” – Oonya Kempadoo


I almost passed this one over because I’d never read Anne Lamott but there was too much good insight here to overlook…and now I want to add Lamott to my very long and ever growing reading list. Here’s Theo Pauline Nestor on things you can learn from reading Anne Lamott.


“One Wednesday night, while Pastor was telling us that blessings were five miles upstream so we should, like Enoch, wait on the Lord, I started reading Salman Rushdie’s “Shame,” hiding it in the leather Bible case. I had never read anything like it. It was like a hand grenade inside a tulip. Its prose was so audacious, its reality so unhinged, that you didn’t see at first how pointedly political and just plain furious it was. It made me realize that the present was something I could write my way out of. And so I started writing for the first time since college, but kept it quiet because none of it was holy.” – Marlon James


“But for those of us who are called to this craft, we know we must write. Because it’s true, your mother, father, brother, sister or cat could end up hating you, but if you don’t write, you’ll end up hating yourself. Ultimately, we write not for the world but for our own souls.” – Bushra Rehman


“This is how I know that the symbols we write and read about are as real as flesh, and are one of the only means of remembering ourselves and our personal and ancestral stories.” – Danielle Boodoo-Fortune. Read and see her Amazona and And Other Winged Creatures.


“We recognize, in their faces—in their actions—their fearlessness. They haven’t yet been anesthetized by the daily grind of adult life. They still think they have a puncher’s chance at beating everything.” Interesting post by Matthew McGevna, my co-panelist at the Brooklyn Book Festival, about the genesis of his book, Little Beasts. Read his full post.



“Editing can also lead to moments of humor. At some point, when two of my main characters, an older female scientist and a working mom who grow very close over the course of the book, clasped hands for something like the fifth time, I almost cried out with irritation, and wrote ‘There is way too much hand clasping in this book! Stop it!!’” – Kamy Wicoff


“You are not imagining it, my art has become darker over the last couple years. For so long my attitude was that I just wanted to paint upbeat, joyful images to increase the beauty in this world, and not dwell on negativity, which would just be feeding it.

At the time, that meant bright, vibrant, ‘sunny’ colours … sometimes I literally painted on yellow canvases.

But the times we live in have a dark undertone, and I am not immune to it. As artists, it is not just our nature, but our job to FEEL, and to be a channel – through our art – to make others FEEL.” – Donna Grandin


“How could his daily toil
of hammer, saw and nails;
an old lady’s reckoning
of last month’s window
against the patching
of her roof this week —
how could her life of sacrifice
and his of labour, sweat
and boiling sun
be totalled up
in this small word?” – Word (on teaching an adult male to read) by Esther Phillips


“She was stabbed in a bar in Kingston.
Only men attended her funeral, extra drunk.” – Ishion Hutchinson, Prudence from Far District


“There’ve always been Sunday mornings like this,
when God became young again
and looking back you see
that childhood was a Sunday morning.” – Kendel Hippolyte, Sunday


“And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:” – Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley


“…the beach say, This him. John Goodman
he name, originally Jean-Paul Delattre,
brother of Stephen Dillet, first coloured man

in Parliament. Come here on a boat
from Haiti back then, back again,…” – Goodman’s Bay ll by Christian Campbell


“…their lines uneven, their slow step out of sync
marching with wrinkled faces to commemorate
a war they didn’t start, majesty’s ship that didn’t sink
distended necks show a conceited attitude

for having served mother England.” – from Memorial Day by Reuel Lewi



Danielle Boodoo Fortune working on a mural project in Trinidad… when I bookmarked this a while ago, my note to myself was why can’t we have something like this in Antigua… turns out, we do, sort of; check out the Antigua Graffiti series.


Heather's image

Heather Doram’s Rootedness and other art pieces from the Caribbean, Latin America, and Canada, showed during the Pan Am Games, featured in this showing at the Textile Museum of Canada. See all the pieces here.


i want

This beautiful painting (I want it soooo bad) is Gardener of Small Joys, 2015 by Danielle Boodoo-Fortune (artist). Danielle is a Trinidadian-Tobagonian artist (and a Wadadli Pen ally having served as a judge in 2014 and 2015); she is superbly talented in both the visual and literary medium. Here’s a link to her work. And to a review of her work in the Arc.


The film Ah! Hard Rain is the story of a fishing village struggling to survive due to over fishing by huge trawlers from, Europe, China, etc. The film sponsored this special performance at the British Museum, on Saturday 15th August, 2015 by providing two of the amazing Moko Jumbie performers, all the way from Trinidad & Tobago, who feature in the soon to be released film Ah! Hard Rain. Photo is from the Ah! Hard Rain facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AhHardRain

The film Ah! Hard Rain is the story of a fishing village struggling to survive due to over fishing by huge trawlers from, Europe, China, etc. The film sponsored this special performance at the British Museum, on Saturday 15th August, 2015 by providing two of the amazing Moko Jumbie performers, all the way from Trinidad & Tobago, who feature in the soon to be released film Ah! Hard Rain. Photo is from the Ah! Hard Rain facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AhHardRain


w/John R. Lee:

“…how the literature has developed through personages and work, I’ve always been conscious of that; I’ve always been conscious of the cultural context of our literature and our arts…”



“I don’t mourn the bad, I don’t celebrate the good, I just walk forward.”


w/Attica Locke:

“We exist in the middle: We’re not demons or angels — we’re human beings. And so that is what needs to be reflected in the art of our nation.”


w/Anne Germanacos:

“As writers, we live double lives: lived once in the world of others, and again, in the quiet of our own minds. It takes a certain amount of will and courage to leave with regularity the circle of humanity in order to enact a kind of theft, which is one aspect of what the writing life seems to be.”


w/Diana King:

“As for me, I just was not the type of Jamaican singer that was ‘hype’ at the time so no attention or encouragement was given. Dreams can die like this.”


w/Marlon James:

“Of course I’m intimidated, but I’m also protected by social and artistic privilege. You can be immune if you’re a Rex Nettleford, or a rich gay dude, but for a poor or middle class person, not so much. And nobody is ever really immune. Gay men are still getting shot in the face in New York, there is still too much stigma against HIV for no reason. Job discrimination. Some stores want a legal right to discriminate. It isn’t over.”


w/Justin ‘Jus Bus’ Nation:

“I think that if we help to support this type of creative behaviour, musically and artistically, our culture in the music and arts sector can evolve greatly. A lot of people get discouraged because from a young age they are being told that they can’t succeed at their dream because it’s not the normal doctor or dentist stereotypical job that their parents see fit for sustainable income. If the government and more people took it seriously and equally took risks and chances then an infrastructure could be made for year-round arts and music on a more realistic economic level for people – instead of this fairytale, ‘movie star’ illusion that’s being fed to young kids through TV and internet.”


w/Yiyun Li:

“I used to keep this journal…and I knew my mother would read my journal (so) my journal was just negative space; so if there was a bird, I would not say there was a bird – I would describe the cloud around, trees, skies, just leaving a blank space of the bird. So if my mother read it, she would not see the bird.”


w/Joanne C. Hillhouse:

“The analogy in my head is like I’m driving down a lane, a bumpy lane like so many of the off roads in Antigua, and I’ve never been on that road before and there’s a bend and I don’t know what’s around the bend but I want to find out so I keep going, even though it’s a little bit scary…”


w/Diane Chamberlain:

“I wish someone had told the very young me that good writing is the ticket to success in nearly everything. I didn’t learn that until my junior year of high school when a history teacher taught us how to research and organize our essays and term papers. Suddenly, I realized I could use my writing skills in every subject (except math, unfortunately). My grades soared. It’s those skills that got me through college and graduate school, and it’s those skills I still use today as I outline and work on my books. We can do our young people a big favor by helping them learn to write well.”


w/Jamaica Kincaid:

“More immediately, I’m trying to earn a living in the way that is most enjoyable to me. I love the world of literature, and I hope to support myself in it. I come from the small island of Antigua and I always wanted to write; I just didn’t know that it was possible. I would pretend when I was a child that I was Charlotte Brontë, because I’d read Jane Eyre when I was ten and, although I didn’t understand it, I loved the idea that this woman had written a book. I wanted to be her.”


w/Jamaica Kincaid:

“I was up all night long, working on a sentence,” she said. She hadn’t finished it yet.


w/Michael Anthony:

“I realized I liked words, the sound of words” – Listen to the full interview 


w/Colin Farrell …yes, that Colin Farrell…Colin is officially the first Hollywood actor in the Wadadli Pen Reading Room…as if Hollywood actors need more publicity, right?…But whatever, I like this interview and love his accent…no apologies….besides it’s always interesting hearing artists, from any area of the arts, talking about their craft…and always refreshing to see the ways in which their journey and sensibility is not that foreign from your own:

Interviewer: Was that the last time that you were on stage?
Colin Farrell: …other than struggling to be myself on things like this.


w/Oonya Kempadoo:

What’s the best advice on writing you ever received? “Just write.”


w/John Robert Lee:

“Firstly, more creative arts education programmes are needed at all levels of our education system. The arts will evolve when young people come to a better, informed understanding of the arts. This education also creates an audience for the arts, an audience that is informed, understands what is being presented to them, and so they are better able to appreciate and evaluate creative arts.”


w/Tamara Ellis Smith:

“Well, the idea for Hurricane came when my son — who was four at the time — asked me from the back seat of the car, ‘Who is going to get my pants?’

This was August 2005, and we were driving a few bags of clothing and food to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort. What a great question! Of course I didn’t know, but I began to imagine who would get his pants — and then I began to actually IMAGINE who would get his pants. And I was off and running . . .”


“But it’s getting weird lately; some nights as he rocks on top of me, I start to imagine that I’m Her…” – Starfish by Randy Triant


“He always cooked his pepper pot on their Oh Gad, claiming coal fire gave a better flavor, but Nora knew that it wasn’t the fire that made the dish unforgettable, it was him. It was the way they would sit on the veranda, with a bowl of the aromatic stew and listen to him recount the tales of his youth, stories of climbing mango trees and oil pan cook out by the dam. Of adventures in the sugar cane fields, and of jumbi, and sokuna and all the things that made up the lore of the country side. All their legends told in his base voice, punctuated by belly laughs and mouthfuls of pepper pot.” – The Grave Digger’s Wife by Random_Michelle (Michelle Toussaint)


“Legend states that the Moss is a creature hatched from a chicken egg layed on Good Friday after three months of incubation. The egg is placed under the arm of the person wishing for the Moss and has to stay there until the three months have passed. Once it begins to hatch, at the moment it emerges from the shell, one must say: ‘Mweh seh mette ou’ (I am your master) before it can say it to you, needless to say what happens if you fail. If you accomplish this then the Moss is charged to fulfill your every desire not unlike the Djinns of Persia. However it seems that a Moss comes with a terrible price…” – Glen Toussaint, Tale of the Moss.  Read more.


“He is taking the back way to town so that he can look at this man’s corn and consider the way in which his corn looks better.” – listen to Austin Smith’s Friday Nigh Fish Fry


“Outside, I see a million butterflies flitting about in the golden sunlight. He once told me that there’s a place in Kingston where, in butterfly season, you can see them falling out of trees like golden rain. We’d made plans to marry beneath one of those trees. But those plans, like Isaiah, have all disappeared. Suddenly, an image of Peter and Denise appears before me, the money they have promised me for one night.” – Read all of Sharon Leach’s Sugar.


“Miss lady house burn down, everybody outside. Not even the moon out but everybody out.” – Read all of Glen Toussaint’s Is Obeah dat burn down di house or Goat Mout!?


The only part of this Andrew Lowe article I didn’t like was “He said no. Something about how he never allows his images to be used for commercial reasons.” which, to me, felt vaguely dismissive/mocking of the photographer’s choice but overall I thought it was an interesting and insightful take on the process of cover design… something, incidentally, we’ve tried to tackle with the Wadadli Pen Challenge.


If you’re out here freelancing, this article actually has a lot of stuff I’ve tried and continue to try …with mixed results.


“Build relationships with your readers as best you can. Building a loyal following of readers who are willing to pay for your books is your most effective way of personally combating piracy.” – if you’ve written and been published, chances are you’ve come across some site purporting to offer your book for free at some point. As with any theft, it feels like a violation…and it’s cutting in to your royalties. This article provides tips for writers on dealing with piracy.


“I thought back over the many interactions I’d had with agents – all but two of them white – before I landed with mine. The ones that said they loved my writing but didn’t connect with the character, the ones that didn’t think my book would be marketable even though it was already accepted at a major publishing house. Thought about the ones that wanted me to delete moments when a character of color gets mean looks from white people because “that doesn’t happen anymore” and the white magazine editor who lectured me on how I’d gotten my own culture wrong. My friends all have the same stories of whitewashed covers and constant sparring with the many micro and mega-aggressions of the publishing industry.” –  on Diversity is not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing


“After colossal effort and countless attempts to acclimate myself to them, I focused on changing my way of seeing them. I pulled the curtain from the other side and started to explore the depths of their world. It took me a while, but I came to the conclusion that criminals laugh, too”. – from 1000 Lashes Because I Say What I Think by Raif Badawi. Translated by Ahmed Danny Ramadan. Read more.


“When I was a little girl I was sent to mass every Sunday, but I did not pay much attention to the mass, which was mostly in Latin.  My interest was drawn to the ceiling of the church where there were hundreds of paintings of pink-faced cherubs, angels and saints. There was not one black face on that ceiling!  I deduced that black people did not go to Heaven. I was a child, how was I to know that those paintings were some artist’s depiction of The Great Beyond?” – Daisy Holder Lafond, I could have been a terrorist


Storytelling by Jamaica Kincaid, Josh Axelrad, and Sebastian Junger from the Moth Radio series: link.

As with all content (words, images, other) 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,  Fish Outta Water, Oh Gad!, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. And using any creative work without crediting the creator will open you up to legal action. Respect copyright.

Leave a comment

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

Reading Room XII

This page is for sharing links to things of interest around the internet. It’ll be sporadically updated; so, come back from time to time. For the previous reading rooms, use the search feature to the right, to the right.


“From its exposure, Negro Aroused (by Edna Manley) excited the public’s imagination and was acquired by public subscription and presented to the Institute of Jamaica to form the nucleus of an exhibition…” Read more about it here.


From the MoMA website: “(Wifredo) Lam painted The Jungle, his masterpiece, two years after returning to his native Cuba from Europe, where he had been a member of the Surrealist movement. The work, ‘intended to communicate a psychic state,’ Lam said, depicts a group of figures with crescentshaped faces that recall African or Pacific Islander masks, against a background of vertical, striated poles suggesting Cuban sugarcane fields. Together these elements obliquely address the history of slavery in colonial Cuba.” See it here.


“The Irish were the bastards white, so even they were black” – McDonald Dixon says this and other interesting things in this interview with Vladimir Lucien.


“Of course you have to love music. It’s unlikely you’ll ‘make it’ in the first couple of years or make a whole lot of money, so you have to build your career and work hard to make it grow. It takes time to let the world know who you are, so if you don’t really love music then it is best not to get into it.” – Etana’s talking music but this applies to writing and probably all the arts. It’s not an easy road but the passion drives it. Read her full interview here.


“Don’t let fear of blundering hold you back, either—accept that you will likely blunder, and that to err is human. We all make blunders, but learning how to apologize and do better next time is also very important. Learn to listen and respond politely to feedback before you publish, and to change what needs to change. And learn that even after doing all you can, you will make mistakes. Learn from them and move on to do better next time.” – Tu Books editor Stacy Whitman on writing outside of your race and culture; and other issues at the intersection of publishing and diversity. Read the full interview and find out what her imprint is looking for as well.


“I’m not convinced that this is something I can live on. I have the time and space to do this now, but in terms of writing being viable I’m still not sure. I’m still not published yet.” – Sharon Millar in the Trinidad Guardian, 2013. Her first book The Whale House and Other Stories, reviewed right here on the blog, was released in 2015.


“She was a widow and she had no close relatives to write to in the evenings, and more than one moving picture a week hurt her eyes, so smoking had come to be an important punctuation mark in the long sentence of a day on the road.” F. Scott Fitzgerald is best known for The Great Gatsby. This is another of his writings, a short story entitled Thank You for the Light.


“Know this: no time is ever wasted. Every year you spend on your work is another opportunity to document your creative journey, and grow as a writer. Now why would anyone impose a time limit on that?” Read more.


“But it’s still essential for an agent to be a good negotiator. Why? Because it’s the agent who negotiates the initial offer (that’s what you’re paying them for!), not some hired contract professional. And often that necessitates some savvy pre-negotiating skills during the offer stage—before a contract is even generated. For authors further along in their careers, this is a given; they know it needs to be done. It’s not a maybe. And if your agent is not a good negotiator, you can see pretty clearly how that is going to impact your level of success and your long-term writing career. Your agent might not know how to do this.” – Kristin Nelson with Karen Dionne on what makes a good agent.


“I am not saying that my grandchildren are brilliant beyond words. I am not suggesting that you use your grandchildren for proofing, though it might not be a bad idea.  Rather, it’s a post to warn you about the importance of proofing, even of 500 words; the challenge of  self-publishing – it is essential to use professionals even if you, yourself, are a professional, or perhaps because you are a professional, and too confident by far. (That’s why you should also use an editor.) I tremble to think what might have happened, had I not unexpectedly (magically) come to Barbados.” – Diane Browne blogging about transforming her Commonwealth award winning story The Happiness Dress into a picture book.


“It only takes a couple of these poems for you to sigh whenever you see certain themes emerging from the words in front of you.” Read on to find out what themes make Oyez Review editor Hilary Collins sigh. And if you still want to submit, knock yourself out.


“And what is praise but the offering up of one’s self…” from Let this be Your Praise by Tanya Shirley


Mindy Hardwick was one of the very first bloggers to interview me when my book Oh Gad! was getting ready to come out. And for a writer way under the radar of the big publications and critics (even the ones right here in the Caribbean) that usually cover the literary world, bloggers and readers posting online reviews have been invaluable to whatever ripples I’ve made in the water. We’ve never met but she’s been on my radar ever since. Recently, I read on her blog about this project she’s involved with, the Denney Juvenile Justice Center Poetry Workshop. I have a friend, Brenda Lee, who runs a similar project at 1735 (Antigua’s prison) without the kinds of resources suggested by Mindy’s donor funding list which includes the BECU School Grants, Greater Everett Community Foundation, Terry & Cheryle Earnheart Fund for Children, Tulalip Tribes, Everett Public Schools Foundation, and the Blanche Miller Art Exhibit Program. Because there’s really next to no support for the kind of project that Brenda has going (I don’t know of any support for the project than that of Gender Affairs under whose umbrella she does this volunteer work). I’ve shared here on the blog some of the poetry Brenda’s interventions have helped the incarcerated produce. The purpose of this post is to pass on some of the work Mindy has shared from her workshop (but I also want folks to keep in mind the work B has been doing here at home too). Both projects I’d venture have the ability to do a lot of good and, frankly, these kinds of arts initiatives need more support. If through the arts we can get the incarcerated to start thinking about their situation and giving voice to their feelings, then maybe we’ll begin to do more than cycle them in and out. The poems shared by Mindy, written by Teen Boy, suggest as much. They are One Last Chance and Fake Faces.


“I never feel more clueless than when I’m asked for wisdom…because I’m still terrified with each sentence, with each word I write! I do believe you have to write for yourself and not for others, that in your writing you have to reach for what frightens you,  that you have to be a good literary citizen and support other writers. That you can’t wait for the Muse to show up and invite you over – you’re the hostess, you have to sit at your desk first, and start the party all on your own. Other than that…just keep the faith.” – Tara Ison


Mary Robinette Kowal posted this writing/puppetry exercise that’s entertaining to watch even if you don’t try it. Check it out.


“Exploring inner lives/outer facades, character wardrobes, and sleeping conditions are just three ways to begin to layer your characters in exciting, memorable ways.” – Kathleen Shoop tells you how at Writer’s Digest


“Whether it’s your manuscript, your author bio, your book description, or any of your other marketing materials, it’s important to keep them free of errors so your readers can focus on the most important thing: the content.” – Maria Murnane with grammar tips.


“Being lonely and beastly had little to do with getting into writing. But the solitude did help. As well as the misery through secondary school. I had plenty anger to get out. Thank God it didn’t have Facebook back then, else I woulda waste all that anger and emotion, scouring for ‘likes’ instead of moulding it into creative writing.” – K. Jared Hosein on how he became a writer and a beast.


“And so I reached for empathy. Writers know about imagination, but it takes something more to truly occupy our constructed characters. It takes a conscious process of empathy, of asking ourselves – how would I feel if I were a young boy bullied at the standpipe every morning? What emotions would this catalyze? How would my future look from the mud beside the standpipe? For many months I went to bed with potential scenes in my mind, seeking the feelings that went along with them, and I wish I could tell you I had dreams of my novel in embryo, but I didn’t. Trust the darkness, I would tell myself staring into it, channeling Anthony Winkler’s advice. And somehow, that conscious commitment to empathy brought me words when I sat at my computer each morning, seeking the mind and heart of a twelve-year-old inner city boy. Were they true words, the right words, in the end? That is for a reader to decide. Over the years of Dog-Heart’s gestation, I learned that empathy was different to sympathy and I was far more familiar with the latter. In a place like Jamaica sympathy is frequently aroused. As I tried to understand my main character, I realized I needed more than sympathy. Sympathy is simple – something appears painful to me, and I feel sorry. Empathy seeks a more nuanced understanding of where another stands. Empathy is less willing to decide what is good or bad.” Read more of Diana McCaulay’s reflections on empathy and tapping in to character, when that character is so unlike you.


“Writing the novel was much more about confronting uncertainty and the unknown. As I began to write, ideas, themes and characters slowly emerged. I had no idea that I would end up writing a scene where my main character butchers a deer, but as I began to explore her situation and the emotions she was battling with, it suddenly seemed strangely inevitable.” Read more about what Lucy Wood learned while writing her first novel.


“Unreliable narrators tell a story in a way that is misleading or distorted. The unreliable narrator’s version of the story is skewed from the true understanding of the story.” Read Mindy Hardwick’s tutorial on wrestling with the unreliable narrator.


“I LOVE seeing the craft in action. I love seeing students clear away the cliches, overwrought verbiage, the excess adverbs, the ridiculous formality, and just…express. Trust their writer’s eye.” – Leone Ross


“Write where it hurts.  Write where it feels real.” – Jen Falkner, Why It Works: Making Guava Jelly by Sharon Millar


“A huge amount of information about character and backstory can be conveyed through small detail.” – Sarah Waters, Tips on Writing.


“you must now enter the silence alone and listen
Wait for the translation of the first line
Write with your fingers searching the pigments on the palette…” John Robert Lee talks writing with Vladimir Lucien (both of ST. Lucia)


“It’s about the degree to which we allow ourselves not to censor and do the work we should do on the page, and take the risk that we should. To do so without apology is my directive.” Read more of Myriam Chancy’s very interesting, very enlightening interview not just on writing but on the history and philosophy that informs it and informs some of our lives and reality as Caribbean people.


This space is usually reserved for writings I come across by other people. But I was reading a piece just now on dialogue and I’ll share it. But it occurred to me that this is something I’ve written about to, posted to  my blog, and so though I don’t usually recommend writing by me in this space (because who does that?), I’m giving in the urge to share it in case you’re not following both blogs. So here’s what Maria Murnane wrote and here’s what I had to say on dialogue. My post is about listening, her post is about saying it out loud; I do both actually and like her I have been told that the dialogue is realistic so hopefully I’m doing something right. Anyway, just sharing.


“Later, I read out what I had written to the rest of the group, received a fantastic reaction from them and, more important, the motivation to carry on.” – author John Teckman on the workshop experience. Read the full.

As with all content (words, images, other) 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,  Fish Outta Water, Oh Gad!, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. And using any creative work without crediting the creator will open you up to legal action. Respect copyright.

1 Comment

Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love

Discovering Caribbean Literature in English: A Select Bibliography (UPDATED)

Caribbean Writers


Caribbean Women Writers

Compiled and selected by John Robert Lee – Castries, St. Lucia 2014

Photo 1: Derek Walcott, Martin Carter, George Lamming, Earl Lovelace, Ernest Moutoussamy (Guadeloupe), Kamau Brathwaite. Carifesta 1995, Trinidad.

Photo 2: Women writers at BIM magazine conference on women’s writing, Barbados, 2008. Carolyn Cooper, Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné, Angela Barry, Dana Gilkes, Esther Phillips, Ramabai Espinet, George Lamming, Joanne C.  Hillhouse,  Patricia Mohammed , Margaret Gill, Curdella Forbes.




This bibliography presents selected texts of Caribbean writing in English and of works on the background to the writing.  Many of these represent the first writers and writings that identified and defined West Indian Literature. They are familiar names in the now established West Indian Canon. Many new writers and distinctive works have emerged since the early days, a number of whose names and works are listed.  This bibliography is aimed at those discovering the Literature and will help them to identify the major writers, the now-classic authors and talented new voices. The selected readings give a broad chronological background to the history of the literature, and its cultural and historical setting. The anthologies provide a perspective on the span of writers and their concerns. The range of anthologies – from the classic first compilations to the more recent – also offer a historical view of the development of the literature.

Only Prose and Poetry writers are listed. No Drama is cited though a number of the writers are also playwrights. Selected works of the novelists are given (including some of their non-fiction writing,) while only a name index is provided for the poets.  Years of births and deaths are given where identified, and the birth place of all writers is listed. The citations are of book texts. No periodical references are provided.

There are many web sites dedicated to West Indian writing in English and the other languages of the region. A Google search of “West Indian Literature” or “Caribbean Literature” will find them. National Bibliographies can be located that list writers and writing by country of origin.  Information on individual writers can also be found on the Internet.  Numerous blogs discuss Caribbean Literature and related issues.

Peepal Tree Press (www.peepaltreepress.com) is the foremost publisher of Caribbean Literature at this time. Based in Leeds, UK, they are republishing classic West Indian works as well as prose and poetry by new writers. www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com publishes excellent, readable reviews of new writing. Ian Randle Publishers (www.ianrandlepublishers.com) of Kingston, Jamaica is the leading publisher of scholarly works including some poetry and prose. The University of the West Indies Press (www.uwipress.com) is also increasing its publication of academic texts.

In Section 5, Readings on West Indian Literature in English, a chronological listing by publication date is generally followed. However in some cases, books by certain authors (eg Gordon Rohlehr) or on certain authors (eg Lamming, Walcott), are kept together for ease of reference. A chronological listing is also generally followed in Sections 3 (Anthologies) and 6 (Historical etc background). For section 4, the listing of major Caribbean periodicals, the listing is also chronological, by date of first issue. Sections 1 and 2 (the writers) use an alphabetical listing by authors’ surnames.

Full citations are provided in Sections 3, 5, 6. Section 4 is briefly annotated.  In section 1, Authors’ names, dates of birth (and death where necessary), Place of birth (and residence in some cases) and titles of selected works with dates of first and, in some cases other, editions, are given. Section 2 is a Name Index only of poets, with their birth (and death) dates, and place of birth (and in some cases, residence.)

Regarding selection of the newest writers, the criterion used was that they should have published work recognized as significant by their peers, and were themselves recognized by their peers as significant new voices. The past twenty years has seen much publication by new and talented Caribbean writers. Many of these live in the diaspora, but many have also chosen to remain and write and work at home. Their recognition and inclusion ensures that the shaping of the growing Caribbean Canon remains alive, relevant and exciting to follow. Journals like the Caribbean Review of Books proved invaluable as a source of information on new writers and writing, including both the creative and critical works. In this digital time, the Internet and Google were also invaluable in tracking down further information on writers and their works. Because this is only a select bibliography, users and researchers must use Internet search engines to follow paths suggested here.

Introduction Edited: June 26th 2014

After some discussion with friends interested in this project, I have decided to rename the bibliography, “Discovering Caribbean Literature in English: Selected Bibliography.” I will update to cover writing in English from anywhere in the Caribbean, not only from the former British colonies, typically called “West Indian.”  I will also include works in English translation by writers like Edwidge Danticat, Simone Scharz Bart, Junot Diaz and others. This obviously widens the scope of the bibliography, but is a realistic extension given the wealth of literature that exists across language boundaries in our Antilles. And in many ways the old “West Indian” designation has long been surpassed.

At some point I will endeavour to update the poetry section to include titles of collections.

This still remains a part time, occasional, developing work but it has proved useful to many. So I do have a growing responsibility to make it as substantial and respectable as I can. I will have to rewrite the Introduction, but I will look at that later.

While this bibliography is not a comprehensive compilation, it is hoped that it provides a good general  up-to-date survey of the literature of the Anglophone Caribbean. As with all bibliographies of this kind, it will need to be regularly updated. Readers are welcome to make comments and suggestions to the compiler at:

John Robert Lee:  johnrenator@gmail.com



1: West Indian Authors – prose writers, mainly novelists, with selected works listed. Note that this is not a comprehensive listing. Many of these authors have written more works than listed here, including prose non-fiction, poetry, drama and criticism. Internet search engines will help to identify other works of writers.

Ezekiel Alan 19..     Jamaica.
Disposable People. 2012.

Lisa Allen-Agostini  19..       Trinidad.
The Chalice Project. Macmillan Caribbean, 2008; co-editor, with Jeanne Mason, of Trinidad Noir. Akashic Books, 2008.

Phyllis S. Allfrey (1908-1986).   Dominica.
The Orchid House, 1953; It falls into place: the stories of Phyllis Shand Allfrey, 2004.

Michael Als 19-. Trinidad.
The Underclass, 2006; Manchild, 2007?/8?; Children’s Feet, 2009.

Michael Anthony 1932 – .  Trinidad.
The Games were coming, 1963, 2005; The Year in San Fernando, 1965; Green days by the river, 1967; and many other publications.

Robert Antoni  1958- . Trinidad.
Divina Trace, 1991; Blessed is the fruit, 1998; My Grandmother’s Erotic Folktales, 2000; Carnival, 2005; As flies to whatless boys, 2013.  Editor, with Bradford Morrow, The Archipelago: new writing from and about the Caribbean, 1996.

Michael Aubertin 1948-.  St. Lucia.
Neg Maron: freedom fighter, 2000.

Kevin Baldeosingh 19…-. Trinidad.
The Autobiography of Paras P., 1996; Virgin’s triangle, 1997; The Ten Incarnations of Adam Avatar, 2005.

Lindsay Barrett. 1941-. (writes poetry as Eseoghene).  Jamaica.
The State of Black desire, 1966; Song for Mumu, 1967, 1974; Veils of Vengeance Falling, 1985.

Angela Barry 19-. Bermuda.
Endangered Species and other stories, 2003.

Valerie Belgrave. Trinidad.
Ti Marie, 1988.

Jacqueline Bishop 19-. Jamaica.
The River’s Song, 2007.

Neil Bissoondath 1955- . Trinidad
A Casual Brutality, 1988; The Innocence of Age, 1992; The Worlds within her, 1998; Digging up the mountains – stories, 1985; On the Eve of Uncertain Tomorrows – stories, 1990.

E.R. Braithwaite 1920 -. Guyana.
To Sir with love, 1959; Paid servant, 1973; Choice of straws, 1965; Honorary White, 1975.

Erna Brodber 1940 -. Jamaica.
Jane and Louisa will soon come home, 1980; Myal, 1988; Louisiana, 1994; The Rainmaker’s Mistake, 2007.

Wayne Brown (1944-2009). Trinidad.
The Child of the Sea: stories and remembrances, 1989; Landscape with Heron: stories and remembrances, 2000. The Scent of the past: stories and remembrances,  2011; Biography: Edna Manley: The private years (1900-1938), 1975.

Tobias S. Buckell 1979-. Grenada/USA.
Crystal Rain, 2006; Ragamuffin, 2007; Sly Mongoose, 2008; Halo: The Cole Protocol, 2008; Tides from the New Worlds: short stories, 2009; [with Karen Traviss and Eric Nyland] Halo Evolutions: Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, 2009.

Timothy Callender  (1946-1989).  Barbados.
It so happen, 1975; How music came to the Ainchan people, 1979.

Hazel D. Campbell 1940- . Jamaica.
The Rag Doll and Other stories, 1978; Women’s Tongue, 1985; Singerman, 1992.

Jan Carew 1920- . Guyana .
Black Midas, 1958, 2009; The Wild Coast, 1958, 2009; The Last Barbarian, 1961.

Margaret Cezair-Thompson 19-. Jamaica.
The True History of Paradise, 1999; The Pirate’s Daughter, 2008.

Colin Channer 1963-. Jamaica.
Waiting in vain, 1998; Satisfy my soul, 2002; Passing through (stories), 2004; Editor, Iron Balloons: Hit Fiction from Jamaica’s Calabash Writer’s Workshop. Akashic Books, 2006.

Charles, Cornell, 19-, St. Lucia.
The Provident family of Baxter’s Yard, 2012; In pursuit of running water, 2009.

David Chariandy 1969-. Trinidad/Canada.
Soucouyant, 2007.

Willi Chen 1934- . Trinidad.
King of the Carnival and other stories, 1988, 2001.

Austin Clarke 1934 – . Barbados .
The Survivors of the Crossing, 1964; Amongst thistles and thorns, 1965; The Meeting Point, 1967; Storm of Fortune, 1973; The Bigger Light, 1975; Growing up stupid under the Union Jack, 1980, 2002; Pigtails ‘n’ Breadfruit: A Barbadian memoir, 2000; The Polished Hoe, 2002; The Origin of Waves, 2003; The Prime Minister, 2004; The Meeting Point: The Toronto Trilogy, 2005; More, 2009; and many other novels and non-fiction writing.

Michelle Cliff 1946-. Jamaica.
Abeng, 1984; The Land of Look Behind, 1980; Bodies of Water, 1990;  No telephone to heaven, 1996; The Sore of a Million Items, 1998; Everything is now: New and Collected Stories, 2009.

Merle Collins 1950-.  Grenada.
Angel, 1987; The Colour of Forgetting, 1995.

Frank Collymore (1893-1980). Barbados.
The Man who loved attending funerals, 1993.

Dathorne, Oscar R. (1934-2007). Guyana.
Dumplings in the Soup, 1963; The Scholar-man, 1964; Dele’s child, 1986.

Kwame Dawes 1962-. Jamaica/Ghana.
A Place to hide and other stories, 2002; She’s gone, 2007. Bivouac, 2010. And other non-fiction and poetry.

Neville Dawes (1926-1984). Jamaica.
The Last Enchantment, 1960, 2009; Fugue and other writings, 2009.

Ralph De Boissiere (1907-2008). Trinidad.
Crown Jewel, 1952; Rum and Coca Cola, 1956; No Saddles for Kangaroos, 1964; Call of the Rainbow, 2007.

Jean D’Costa 1937 – . Jamaican.
Sprat Morrison, 1972; Escape to Last Man Peak, 1975; Voice in the Wind, 1978.

Fred D’Aguiar 1960-. Guyana
The Longest Memory 1994; Dear Future, 1996; Feeding the Ghosts, 1999; Bethany Bettany, 2003.

Herbert G. De Lisser (1878-1944). Jamaica.
Jane: a story of Jamaica, 1914; Jane’s Career: a story of Jamaica, 1914; The White Witch of Rosehall,  1929.

Mcdonald Dixon 1944-. St. Lucia.
Season of Mist, 2000; Misbegotten, 2009; Careme and other stories, 2009; Saints of Little Paradise:Book One,

Geoffrey Drayton 1924- .  Barbados .
Christopher, 1959;  Zohara, 1961.

Beverly East 1953 – . Jamaica
Bat Mitzvah girl – memories of a Jamaican child, 2013.

Zee Edgell  1940- .  Belize.
Beka Lamb, 1982; In times like these, 1991; The Festival of San Joaquin, 1997; Time and the river, 2007.

Garfield Ellis 19- . Jamaica.
Flaming hearts: stories, 1997; Wake Rasta: stories, 2001; Till I’m laid to rest, 2010; Such as I have, 2003;
For nothing at all, 2005.

Ramabai Espinet  1948 – . Trinidad/Canada
The Princess of Spadina, 1992; Ninja’s Carnival, 1993; The Swinging Bridge, 2003.

Curdella Forbes  19- . Jamaica.
Songs of Silence, 2002; Flying with Icarus and other stories, 2003; A Permanent Freedom, 2008; Ghosts,

Fitzroy Fraser19-. Jamaica.
Wounds in the Flesh, 1962

Beryl Gilroy (1924-2001). Guyana.
Frangipani House, 1986; Boy-Sandwich, 1989; In praise of love and children, 1994; The Green Grass Tango,

Thomas Glave 19  -. Jamaica/New York.
Whose Song? and other stories, 2000; The Torturer’s Wife, 2008; Words to our now: Imagination and dissent  – Essays, 2005; Editor : Our Caribbean: a gathering of Lesbian and Gay writing from the Antilles, 2008.

Lorna  Goodison 1947-. Jamaica.
Baby Mother and the King of Swords: short stories, 1990; Fool Fool Rose is leaving Labour-in-vain Savannah, 2005; From Harvey River: a memoir, 2007.

Vishnu Gosine 1946- , Trinidad.
The Coming of lights, 1992.

Roland Watson-Grant 198?, Jamaica.
Sketcher, 2013; Skid, 2014.

Rudy Gurley. St. Lucia.
A Caribbean Tale, 2006; Sent from overseas, 2007.

Rosa Guy (1925-2012). Trinidad & Tobago.
The Disappearance, 1979; I heard a bird sing, 1986; The Friends, 1995.

Wilson Harris 1921-. Guyana.
Palace of the Peacock, 1960; Heartland, 1964, 2009; The Guyana Quartet (his first four novels), 1985; The Eye of the Scarecrow, 1965; The Waiting Room, 1967; The Mask of the Beggar, 2003, The Ghost of Memory, 2006, and many other novels; Selected essays, 1999; Poetry: Eternity to season, 1954.

John Hearne (1926-1995). Jamaica.
Voices under the window, 1955; Stranger at the gate, 1956; The Faces of Love, 1957; The Autumn Equinox, 1959;  Land of the Living, 1961; The Sure Salvation, 1981. Editor, Carifesta Forum: An Anthology of 20 Caribbean Voices (Carifesta 1976 Publication).

Roy Heath (1926-2009). Guyana.
A Man come Home, 1974; The Murderer, 1978; The Shadow Bride, 1988; The Ministry of Hope, 1997; The Armstrong Trilogy, 1994.

Joanne C. Hillhouse 1973-. Antigua & Barbuda.
Dancing nude in the moonlight, 2004; The Boy from Willlow Bend, 2002, 2009; Oh Gad!, 2012. Fish Outta Water, 2013.

Merle Hodge 1944-. Trinidad.
Crick Crack, Monkey, 1970; For the Life of Laetitia, 1999.

Nalo Hopkinson 1960- . Trinidad/Toronto.
Brown Girl in the Ring, 1998; Midnight Robber, 2000; Skin Folk: short stories, 2001; The Salt Roads, 2003; The New Moon’s Arms, 2007. Editor, Mojo: Conjure Stories, 2003.

Lionel Hutchinson (1923-2000). Barbados.
Man from the people, 1970; One touch of nature, 1971.

C L R James (1901-1989). Trinidad.
Minty Alley, 1936; The Nobbie Stories for Children and Adults. Edited by Constance Webb (1918-2005), 2006.

Cynthia James 1948-. Trinidad.
Bluejean: a novel, 2000; Sapodilla Terrace, 2006.

Marlon James 1970-. Jamaica.
John Crow’s Devil, 2008; The Book of Night Women, 2010.

Keith Jardim 19- , Trinidad.
Near open water: stories, 2011.

Barbara Jenkins, 19- , Trinidad.
Sic Transit Wagon and other stories, 2013.

Marie-Elena John 1963-.  Antigua.  Unburnable, 2006.

Ruel Johnson 1980-. Guyana.
Ariadne and other stories, 2003; Fictions Volume 1, 2008.

Simon Jones-Hendrickson. St. Kitts, Nevis.
Sonny Jim of Sandy Point, 1991.

Peter Kempadoo (Lauchmonen) 1926- . Guyana.
Guiana Boy, 1960; Old Thom’s Harvest, 1965.

Oonya Kempadoo 1966 – . Guyana.
All decent animals, 2013.Tide Running, 2001; Buxton Spice, 1998.

Ismith Khan (1925-2002). Trinidad.
The Jumbie Bird, 1961; The Obeah Man, 1964; The Crucifixion, 1987; A Day in the Country – stories, 1990.

Jamaica Kincaid (Elaine Potter Richardson) 1949- . Antigua.
At the Bottom of the River, 1983; Annie John, 1985;  A Small Place, 1988; Lucy, 1991; The Autobiography of my mother, 1996; My brother, 1997; Talk stories, 2000. And other fiction and  non-fiction writings; See now then, 2013.

Karen King-Aribisala 19 – . Guyana/Nigeria.
Our wife and other stories, 1991; Kicking tongues, 1998; The Hangman’s Game, 2007.

Harold Sonny Ladoo (1945-1973). Trinidad.
No pain like this body, 1972; Yesterdays, 1974.

George Lamming 1927-. Barbados.
In the Castle of my skin, 1953; The Emigrants, 1954; Of Age and Innocence, 1958; Season of Adventure, 1960; The Pleasures of Exile (essays), 1960; Water with Berries, 1971; Natives of my person 1972; Cannon Shot and Glass Beads: Modern black writers (Ed.), 1974; Conversations: Essays, addresses and interviews 1953-1990, 1992; Coming, Coming Home: Conversations II, 1995, 2000.

Nicholas Laughlin 1975-.         Trinidad.
editor, Town, 2009-; Editor, [CLR James] Letters from London. Prospect press, 2003; Editor, V.S. Naipaul. Letters between a father and Son. Picador, 2009.

Sharon Leach 19-. Jamaica.
What you can’t tell him: stories, 2006.

Jacintha Anius Lee 1951-. St. Lucia.
Give me some more sense: St. Lucian folk tales, 1988.

Andrea Levy 1956-. Jamaica/UK.
Small Island, 2004; The Long Song, 2010.

Earl Long. St. Lucia.
Consolation, 1995; Voices from a drum, 1996; Slicer, 2000; Leaves in a river, 2009.

Karen Lord, 1968, Barbados.
Redemption in Indigo, 2010; The Best of all possible worlds, 2013.

Earl Lovelace 1935-. Trinidad.
While Gods are falling, 1965, 1984; The Schoolmaster, 1968, 1979; The Dragon can’t dance, 1979; The Wine of Astonishment 1982 ; A Brief Conversion and other stories, 1988;  Salt, 1996; Is just a movie, 2011. Also published Essays and plays.

Glenville Lovell 19-..,Barbados.
Fire in The canes, 1995; Song of night, 1998; Too beautiful to die, 2003; Love and death in Brooklyn, 2004. Glenville also has Going Home in Chains (short stories) 2012.

Roger Mais (1905-1955). Jamaica.
The Hills were joyful together, 1953, 2009; Brother Man, 1954; Black Lightning, 1955; Listen, the Wind and
other stories, 1986.

Rachel Manley 1955 -. Jamaica.
Drumblair: memories of a Jamaican Childhood, 1996; Slipstream: a Daughter remembers, 2000; Horses in Her
Hair: A Grand-daughter’s Story, 2008.

E. A. Markham (1939-2008). Montserrat. Something Unusual: short stories (1986); Taking the drawing room through customs, 1996; Meet me in Mozambique, 2005;  At home with Miss Vanesa, 2006;  The Three suitors of Fred Belair, 2009; and other works (including poetry).

Paule Marshall 1929 – . Barbados/USA.
Brown Girl, Brownstones, 1959 (1981); Soul clap hands and sing, 1961; The Chosen Place, The Timeless People, 1969; Praisesong for the Widow, 1983; Reena and other stories, 1983; Daughters, 1991; The Fisher King, 2001; Triangular Road, 2009.

Diana McCaulay 19- , Jamaica.
Dog-Heart, 2010; Huracan, 2012.

Ian McDonald 1933-. Trinidad/Guyana .
The Hummingbird Tree, 1969.

Claude McKay (1889-1948). Jamaica.
Home to Harlem, 1928; Banana Bottom, 1933.

Alecia McKenzie 1960-. Jamaica.
Satellite City, 1993; Stories from Yard, 2005; Sweetheart, 2011.

Earl McKenzie 1943-. Jamaica.
A Boy named Ossie: A Jamaican childhood, 1991; Two roads to Mount Joyful and other stories, 1992.

Mark Mcwatt 1947-. Guyana.
Suspended Sentences, 2005.

Pauline Melville 1941-. Guyana/UK.
Shape-shifter, 1990;  The Ventriloquist’s Tale, 1997; The Migration of ghosts, 1998; Eating Air, 2009.

Alfred Mendes (1897-1991). Trinidad.
Pitch Lake, 1934; Black Fauns, 1935; The Man who ran away and other stories of Trinidad in the 1920’s and
1930’s. Ed. by Michèle Levy. UWI Press, 2006.

Kei Miller 1978- . Jamaica.
Fear of stones and other stories, 2006; The Same earth, 2008; The Last Warner Woman, 2010; Writing down the Vision: Essays and Prophecies, 2013.

Edgar Mittelholzer (1909-1965). Guyana.
Corentyne Thunder, 1941, 2009; A morning at the office, 1950, 1974,2009; Shadows move among them, 1952; Children of Kaywana, 1952; The Life and Death of Sylvia, 1953; My bones and my flute, 1955; The Jilkington Drama, 1965, and many other novels.

Shani Mootoo, 1958 – . T’dad/Canada.
Out on Main Street, 1993; Cereus blooms at night, 1996; He drown she in the sea, 2005; Valmiki’s Daughter, 2008.

Seepersad Naipaul 1906-1953. Trinidad.
Adventures of Gurudeva,  1976.

Shiva Naipaul (1945-1985). Trinidad.
Fireflies, 1970; The Chip-Chip Gatherers, 1973; North of South, 1978; Black and White, 1980; A Hot Country, 1983; Love and death in a hot country, 1984; Beyond the Dragon’s Mouth: stories and pieces, 1984; An Unfinished Journey, 1986.

V S Naipaul 1932-. Trinidad. The Mystic Masseur, 1957; The Suffrage of Elvira, 1958; Miguel Street, 1959;  A House for Mr. Biswas, 1961; The Mimic Men, 1967; In a Free State, 1971; Guerrillas, 1975; A Bend in the River, 1979; Half a Life, 2001; Magic Seeds, 2004; The Middle Passage, 1962; An Area of Darkness, 1964; The Enigma of Arrival, 1988; A Way in the World, 1995, Literary Occasions: essays, 2004;  A Writer’s People: Ways of looking and feeling, 2008; and many other novels and non-fiction writing.  Letters between a father and son. V.S. Naipaul. Edited by Nicholas Laughlin. Picador, 2009.   NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE, 2001

Christopher Nicole. Guyana.
Off-White, 1959; Shadows in the Jungle, 1961; Blood Amyot, 1964; White Boy, 1966, and other novels.

Anton Nimblett. 19….. Trinidad.
Sections of an Orange, 2009.

Elizabeth Nunez. 1944-.  Trinidad.
Beyond the Limbo Silence, 1998; Bruised Hibiscus, 2000; Discretion, 2002; Grace, 2003; Prospero’s daughter,

Dorbrene O’Marde, 1950, Antigua.
Send out you hand, 2012; Nobody go run me: biography of King Short shirt of Antigua, 2013.

C. Everard Palmer 1930 – . Jamaica.
The Cloud with the Silver Lining, 1966; Big Doc Bitteroot, 1968; The Sun salutes you, 1970; The Hummingbird People, 1971; The Wooing of Beppo Tate, 1972; A Dog called Houdini, 1979.

Marion Patrick-Jones 193? – . Trinidad.
Pan Beat, 1973; J’Ouvert Morning, 1976.

Orlando Patterson 1940 – . Jamaica.
The Children of Sisyphus, 1964, 2009; An Absence of ruins, 1967; Die the Long Day, 1971.

Lakshmi Persaud 1939-. Trinidad.  Butterfly in the wind, 1990. Sastra, 1993; For the love of my name, 2000;  Raise the lanterns high, 2004.

Caryl Phillips 1958 -. St. Kitts.
A State of Independence, 1986; The Final passage, 1985; Cambridge, 1991; Crossing the River, 1993; A Distant Shore, 2003; In the Falling Snow, 2009; The European Tribe, 1987; A New World Order, 2001; Color me English, 2011 and other fiction and non-fiction works, including drama.

Geoffrey Philp 19-.  Jamaica   Who’s your daddy? and other stories, 2009.

Patricia Powell  1966- . Jamaica.   Me dying trial, 1993; A small gathering of bones, 1994; The Pagoda, 1999; The Fullness of Everything, 2009.

Althea Prince 1945-. Antigua.
Ladies of the Night and other stories, 1998; Loving this man, 2001. Also children’s books and various non-fiction collections.

Raymond Ramcharitar. 19…. Trinidad.
The Island Quintet:  five stories – A Sequence, 2009.

Tom Redcam (Thomas H. MacDermot) (1870-1933), Jamaica
Beckra’s Buckra Baby, 1903; One Brown Girl and – , 1909.

V S Reid (1913-1987).  Jamaica
The Leopard, 1958; Sixty-five, 1960; New Day, 1973, 2009.

Anderson Reynolds. St. Lucia.
Death by fire, 1999.

Trevor Rhone 1940 – 2009. Jamaica.
Bellas Gate Boy (Memoir), 2008.

Jean Rhys (Ella Gwendoline  Rees Williams 1894-1979). Dominica.
Quartet, 1928, 1969; After leaving Mr. Mackenzie, 1930; Good Morning, Midnight, 1939, 1969; Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966; Sleep it off Lady: stories, 1976, 1979; Smile Please, 1979; Tales of the Wide Caribbean, 1985; Complete Novels (Norton), 1985;  The Collected  Short Stories (Norton), 1990; and other novels and essays.

Joan Riley 1958 – . Jamaica.
The Unbelonging, 1984; Waiting in the Twilight, 1987; Romance, 1988; The Waiting Room, 1989; A kindness to the children, 1992.

W. Adolphe Roberts  (1886-1962). Jamaica.
The Haunting Hand, 1926; Creole Dusk, 1948; The Single  Star, 1949 and other novels.

Monique Roffey, 1965-. Trinidad.
Sun Dog, 2002; The White woman on the green bicycle 2009; With the kisses of his mouth (Memoir), 2011; Archipelago, 2012.

Jacob Ross 19-. Grenada.
Pynter Bender, 2008.

Namba Roy (1910-1961). Jamaica .
Black Albino, 1961.

Garth St. Omer 1931- . St. Lucia.
Syrop: a novella, 1964; A Room on the Hill, 1968; Shades of Grey, 1968; Nor Any Country, 1969; J-, Black
Bam and the Masqueraders, 1972; The Lights on the Hill, 1968, 1986; PRISNMS (unpublished novel).

Andrew Salkey (1928-1995). Jamaica.
A Quality of Violence, 1959;  Escape to an Autumn Pavement, 1960, 2009; Anancy’s Score, 1973; Anancy
Traveler, 1992; Havana Journal, 1971; Georgetown Journal, 1972 and many other writings.

Robert Edison Sandiford. Barbados.  Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall : stories, 1995; Sand for snow, 2003; The Tree of Youth and other stories, 2005; Intimacy 101: Rooms and suites, 2013; And sometimes they fly, 2013.

Lawrence Scott  1943-. Trinidad.
Witchbroom, 1992; Ballad for the New World and Other Stories, 1994; Aelred’s Sin, 1998; Night Calypso, 2004;
Light falling on bamboo, 2012.

Samuel Selvon (1923-1994). Trinidad.
A Brighter Sun, 1952; The Lonely Londoners, 1956, 1972; Ways of Sunlight, 1957, 1973; Turn again Tiger,
1958; Moses Ascending, 1972; Eldorado West One ( 7 one act plays based on the characters from the novels), 1988; Foreday morning, 1989; Highway in the sun and other plays, 1991; and other novels.

Olive Senior, 1941- .Jamaica.
Summer Lightning and Other stories, 1986;   Arrival of the Snake Woman and other stories, 1989.

Janice Shinebourne. Guyana.
Timepiece, 1986; The Last English Plantation, 1989.

Vanessa Spence 1961-. Jamaica.
The Roads are down, 1993.

Jeremy Taylor 19-. UK/Trinidad.
Going to Ground : Journalism (1972-1992),1994.

Michael Thelwell  1939-. Jamaica.
The Harder they Come, 1994.

G.C.H. Thomas (1911-1994).
St. Vincent.  Ruler in Hiroona, 1972.

Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw 1964-. Trinidad.
Four taxis facing north, 2007; Mrs. B, 2014.

Eric Walrond (1898-1966). Guyana.
Tropic Death, 1926.

Gemma Weekes 1978-.  St. Lucia.
Love Me, 2009.

John Wickham (1923-2000). Barbados.
Casuarina Row, 1974; World without end, 1982; Discoveries,  1993.

Denis Williams (1923-1998). Guyana.
Other Leopards, 1963, 2009; The Third Temptation, 1968, 2009.

N D Williams 1942- . Guyana.
Ikael Torass, 1976; The Crying of rainbirds, 1992; The Silence of Islands, 1994; Julie Mango – stories, 2003;
The Friendship of Shoes – stories, 2005.

Ronald A. Williams, 1950, Barbados.
Four saints and an angel, 2009; A Death in Panama, 2010; A  Voice from the tomb, 2012.

Anthony C. Winkler 1942- . Jamaica.
The Painted canoe, 1983; The Lunatic, 1987. The Duppy, 2008; Crocodile, 2009, and other novels.

Sylvia Wynter 1928-.
The Hills of Hebron, 1962.

Tiphanie Yanique, 1978 (St. Thomas,USVI)
How to escape from a leper colony: a novella and stories, 2010. I am the Virgin Islands (children’s picture book), 2012.
The Land of love and drowning, 2014

2.West Indian authors – poets, a name index.

This list represents many of the major names in West Indian poetry. It is not an all-inclusive compilation. Many of the writers whose works now form the foundation of West Indian Literature are listed here. A number of newer writers are also included.

The names of the writers and their place of birth are given here. Birth and death dates are added. Titles of their works are not included. Many West Indian writers produce both prose, drama and poetry. An Internet search will provide more information on the writers and their major works.


James Christopher Aboud 1956 -. Trinidad.

Opal Palmer Adisa 1954-. Jamaica

Roger Bonair-Agard. Trinidad.

John Agard 1949-. Guyana

Lillian Allen 1951-. Jamaica

Lauren K. Alleyne, 19 – , Trinidad

Phyllis Shand Allfrey (1908 – 1986), Dominica

Adrian Augier 1959-. St. Lucia
Raymond Barrow 1920-. Belize

Edward Baugh 1936-, Jamaica

Vera Bell 1906 – . Jamaica

Louise Bennet-Coverley  (1919-2006). Jamaica

James Berry 1924-, Jamaica/UK

Marion Bethel  19-. Bahamas

Nicolette Bethel 19-. Bahamas

Jacqueline Bishop 19… Jamaica

Valerie Bloom 1956-. Jamaica

Danielle Boodoo Fortune 19-. Trinidad and Tobago.

Malika Booker, 19?. UK/Guyana/Grenada

Dionne Brand 1953-. Trinidad

Kamau Brathwaite 1930-. Barbados

Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze 1957-.  Jamaica

Wayne Brown, Trinidad. (1944-2009)


Christian Campbell 1979. Bahamas/Trinidad & Tobago

George Campbell (1916-2002). Jamaica

Vahni Capildeo 1973-. Trinidad

H.D. Carberry 1921-. Jamaica

Peggy Carr 1955-. St. Vincent

Martin Carter (1927-1997). Guyana

Wilfred Cartey (1931-1992). Trinidad

Brian Chan 1949-. Guyana

Faustin Charles 1944-. Trinidad/UK

Staceyann Chin 1971-. Jamaica

LeRoy Clarke 1938-. Trinidad

Michelle Cliff 1946-. Jamaica

Merle Collins 1950-. Grenada

Loretta Collins Koblah 1961. Puerto Rico

Frank Collymore (1893-1980). Barbados

Christine Craig 1943-. Jamaica

Dennis Craig (1929-2004). Guyana


Fred D’Aguiar 1960-. Guyana/UK

Cyril Dabydeen 1945-. Guyana/UK

David Dabydeen 1955-. Guyana/UK

Melania Daniel 1962-. St. Lucia

Mahadai Das (1954-2003). Guyana

Oscar R. Dathorne (1934-2007). Guyana

Kwame Dawes 1962-. Jamaica.

Linda Deane, 19-, Barbados

McDonald Dixon 1944-. St. Lucia

Lisa Dublin, 19-, St. Lucia


J. Edsel Edmunds 1935-. St. Lucia

Gloria Escoffery (1923-2002). Jamaica

Winston Farrell 19-. Barbados

Howard Fergus 1937-. Montserrat

Hunter J. Francois 1924-. St. Lucia

John Figueroa (1920-1999). Jamaica

Honor Ford-Smith 1951-.  Jamaica.

Denis Foster 19.-. Barbados

Michael Foster (19..-19..). Barbados


Michael Gilkes 1933-. Guyana.

Margaret Gill 1953-. Barbados

Anson Gonzalez 1936-. Trinidad.

Lorna Goodison  1947-. Jamaica

Millicent  A. Graham  1974-. Jamaica

Cecil Gray 1923-. Trinidad

Stanley Greaves 1934- . Guyana


Claire Harris 1937-. Trinidad/Canada

Wilson Harris 1921 – . Guyana

Cecil Herbert 1926-. Trinidad

A.L. Hendricks (1922-1992). Jamaica

Kendel Hippolyte 1952-. St. Lucia

Jane King-Hippolyte 1952-. St. Lucia

Abdur Rahman Slade Hopkinson (1934-1993). Guyana

Ishion Hutchinson 19-. Jamaica


Arnold Harrichand Itwaru 1942-. Guyana


Cynthia James 1948 – . Trinidad

Bongo Jerry 1948-. Jamaica.

Linton Kwesi Johnson 1952-. Jamaica/UK

Evan Jones 1927-. Jamaica


E. McG. ‘Shake’ Keane (1927-1997). St. Vincent

Paul Keens-Douglas 1942-. Grenada/Trinidad

Ricardo Keens-Douglas 1953-. Grenada

Anthony Kellman 1955-. Barbados


Anthony John La Rose (1927-2009). Trinidad

Paul A. Layne (19?—1971). Grenada/Barbados

Fragano Ledgister 1956-. London/Jamaica

John Robert Lee 1948-, St. Lucia

Ann Margaret Lim, 19…, Jamaica

Edward Lucie-Smith 1933- . Jamaica

Vladimir Lucien 1978-. St. Lucia.


Malik (Delano Abdul Malik De Coteau) 1940-. Grenada

Rachel Manley 1955- . Jamaica

Lelawatee Manoo-Rahming  1960, Trinidad

E. A. Markham (1939-2009). Montserrat

Una Marson 1905-1965. Jamaica

Mark Matthews 1937-. Guyana

Wordsworth McAndrew (1936-2008). Guyana

Shara McCallum 19-. Jamaica.

Ian McDonald 1933-. Tdad/Guyana

Basil McFarlane 1922-. Jamaica

J. E. Clare McFarlane (1894-1962).  Jamaica

Claude McKay (1889-1948). Jamaica/USA.

Earl McKenzie 1943. Jamaica

Anthony McNeill (1941-1996). Jamaica

Dionyse McTair 19??.    Trinidad

Roger Mc Tair 1943-. Trinidad and Tobago

Mark McWatt 1947-. Guyana

Judy Miles 1942-. Trinidad & Tobago

Kei Miller 1978-. Jamaica

Rooplal Monar 1945-. Guyana

Pamela Mordecai 1942. Jamaica

Mervyn Morris 1937-. Jamaica

Mutabaruka 1952-. Jamaica


Philip Nanton 19 ??.  St. Vincent.

Grace Nichols 1950-. Guyana/UK


Oku Onuora  (Orlando Wong)1952-. Jamaica


Jude Patrong 19-. Trinidad

Sasenarine Persaud 1958-. Guyana

Marlene Nourbese Philip 1947-. Trinidad

Esther Phillips 19??. Barbados

Geoffrey Philp 1958- . Jamaica

Velma Pollard 1937-. Jamaica


Victor Questel, (1949-1982). Trinidad


Jennifer Rahim 1963-. Trinidad

Barnabas J. Ramon-Fortuné (1905- ?? ). Trinidad

Rajandaye Ramkissoon-Chen 1936-. Trinidad

Claudia Rankine 1963- . Jamaica

Roger Robinson, 19?. Trinidad/UK

Eric Roach (1915-1974). Trinidad

Althea Romeo-Mark 1948- . Antigua

Rupert Roopnaraine 19…-. Guyana

Sassy Ross 19-. St. Lucia

Heather Royes 19- , Jamaica


Andrew Salkey (1928-1995). Jamaica

Dennis Scott (1939-1991). Jamaica

Olive Senior 1941-. Jamaica

Arthur J. Seymour (1914-1989). Guyana

Philip Sherlock (1902-2000). Jamaica

Tanya Shirley 19  -. Jamaica

Hazel Simmons-McDonald 1947-. St. Lucia

Louis Simpson 1923-. Jamaica

Dorothea Smartt 19 -. London/Barbados

M. G. Smith (1921-1993). Jamaica

Obadiah Michael Smith. Bahamas

Michael Smith (1954-1983). Jamaica

Eintou Pearl Springer 1944-. Trinidad

Gandolph St. Clair 195? St. Lucia

Bruce St. John. (1923-1995). Barbados

Ian Gregory Strachan 19-. Bahamas


Harold Telemaque. (1909-1982). Trinidad

Ralph Thompson 1928-. Jamaica

Patricia Turnbull 19-.  St. Lucia


H.A. Vaughan (1901-1985). Barbados

Vivian Virtue (1911-1998). Jamaica


Derek Walcott, 1930- . Saint Lucia. NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE, 1992.

Daniel Williams (1927-1972). St. Vincent

Milton Vishnu Williams 1936-.     Guyana

Cynthia Wilson 1934-. Barbados



3. Selections of West Indian Literature – Anthologies

PROSE FICTION (Some of the general anthologies carry poems)

West Indian Stories. Edited by Andrew Salkey. Faber, 1960.

Tales from the West Indies retold by Philip Sherlock. [A collection of folk tales]. Oxford, 1966.

Caribbean Literature: An Anthology. Selected and edited by G. R. Coulthard. University of London Press, 1966.

From the Green Antilles: Writings of the Caribbean. Edited by Barbara Howes. Souvenir Press, 1967.

The Sun’s Eye. New Edition.  Compiled by Anne Walmsley. Longman Caribbean, 1968.

New Writing in the Caribbean. Edited by A.J. Seymour. Carifesta 1972 Publication. [Prose and poetry from all Caribbean language areas, including Latin America.]

Caribbean Rhythms: the emerging English Literature of the West Indies. James T. Livingston.  NY: Washington Square Press, 1974.

New Planet: Anthology of Modern Caribbean Writing. Edited by Amon Saba Saakana (as Sebastian Clarke). Karnak House, 1978.

Best West Indian Stories.  Edited by Kenneth Ramchand. Nelson Caribbean, 1982. [Selected short stories by major WI writers]

An Anthology of African and Caribbean Writing in English.  Edited by John J. Figueroa. Heinemann, 1982.

Facing the Sea.  Compiled by Anne Walmsley and Nick Caistor.  Heinemann, 1986.

Her True-True Name: an anthology of women’s writing from the Caribbean.  Edited by Pamela Mordecai and Betty Wilson. Heinemann, 1989.

Caribbean New Wave: Contemporary Short Stories.  Edited by Stewart Brown.  Heinemann, 1990.

The Faber Book of Contemporary Caribbean Short Stories.   Edited by Mervyn Morris. Faber, 1990.

And I remember many things: folklore of the Caribbean. Compiled and edited by Christine Barrow. Ian Randle Publishers, 1993.

The Penguin Book of Caribbean Short Stories.  Edited by E. A. Markham.  Penguin, 1996.

Caribbean Women Writers. Edited by Harold Bloom. Chelsea House Publications, 1997.

The Whistling Bird: Women writers of the Caribbean [Fiction, Verse, Plays]. Edited by Elaine Campbell, Pierrette Frickey. Lynne Reinner Publishers, 1998.

The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories.  Edited by Stewart Brown and John Wickham. Oxford, 1999.

Caribbean Folk Tales and Fantasies. Michael Anthony. Macmillan Caribbean, 2004.

Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean. Peekash (Akashic/Peepal Tree) – 2014.


Pulse: A Collection of essays by Saint Lucian writers. Edited by Kendel Hippolyte and Melchoir Henry, 1980.

Saint Lucian Literature and Theatre: an anthology of reviews. Compiled and edited by John Robert Lee and Kendel Hippolyte. Castries: Cultural Development Foundation, 2006.



Caribbean Verse: an anthology. Edited and introduced by O.R. Dathorne. Heinemann Educational Books Ltd, 1967.

Caribbean Voices: an anthology of West Indian Poetry. Selected by John Figueroa.  Vol. 1 – Dreams and Visions. Evans Brothers, 1966; Vol. 2 – The Blue Horizons. Evans Brothers, 1970.

West Indian Poetry.  New edition.  Edited by Kenneth Ramchand and Cecil Gray.  Longman Caribbean, 1971.

Breaklight: an anthology of Caribbean poetry. Edited by Andrew Salkey. Hamish Hamilton, 1971.

Melanthika:  an Anthology of Pan-Caribbean writing. Edited by Nick Toczek, Philip Nanton and Yann Lovelock. L.W.M. Publications, 1977.

News for Babylon: The Chatto Book of Westindian – British Poetry. Edited by James Berry. Chatto and Windus, 1984.

A Shapely Fire: Black Writers in Canada. Edited by Cyril Dabydeen. Mosaic press, 1987.

Jahaji Bhai: an anthology of Indo-Caribbean Literature. Frank Birbalsingh. TSAR, 1988.

Voiceprint: an anthology of oral and related poetry from the Caribbean. Selected and edited by Stewart Brown, Mervyn Morris, Gordon Rohlehr. Longman, 1989.

Hinterland: Caribbean poetry from the West Indies and Britain. Edited by E.A. Markham. Bloodaxe Books, 1989.

Creation Fire: A CAFRA Anthology of Caribbean Women’s Poetry. Edited by Ramabai Espinet. Sister Vision, 1990.

The Heinemann Book of Caribbean Poetry.  Selected by Ian McDonald and Stewart Brown. Heinemann,  1992.

Caribbean Poetry Now.  2nd edition.  Edited by Stewart Brown.  Edward Arnold, 1992.

Crossing Water: Contemporary Poetry of the English-Speaking Caribbean. Edited by Anthony Kellman. NY: The Greenfield Review Press, 1992.

The Massachusetts Review: Contemporary Caribbean Culture and Art. Autumn-Winter 1994.

The Penguin Book of Caribbean Verse in English. Edited by Paula Burnett.  Penguin Classics, 1986, 2005.

The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse.  Edited by Stewart Brown and Mark McWatt.  Oxford, 2005.

University of Hunger: Collected poems and selected prose of Martin Carter. Edited by Gemma Robinson. Tarset: Bloodaxe Books, 2006.

New Caribbean Poetry: an Anthology. Edited by Kei Miller. Carcanet, 2007.

Wheel and Come Again: An Anthology of Reggae Poetry. Edited by Kwame Dawes. Peepal Tree press, 2008.


Confluence: nine Saint Lucian poets.  Edited by Kendel Hippolyte.  Castries, 1988.

Roseau Valley and other poems for Brother George Odlum.  Compiled and edited by John Robert Lee. Castries.


4. West Indian Literary Journals

BIM. Barbados. Begun in December 1942 by E.L. (Jimmy) Cozier the Founder and First editor.  Edited for many years by Frank Collymore and John Wickham.  New issues are now edited by Esther Phillips.

Kyk –Over- Al.  Guyana. Founded in 1945. Edited by the late A. J. Seymour.  Last issue in 1961 after 28 issues. Kyk-over-Al #49/50 (June 2000) dedicated to Martin Carter Tribute.  More recent editors of occasional publications: Ian McDonald and Vanda Radzik.

Focus. Jamaica. Edited by Edna Manley in 1943, 1948, 1956, 1960. 1983 edition edited by Mervyn Morris.

Caribbean Quarterly 1949-.  Edited by Director of Extra Mural Studies, UWI, Mona, Jamaica.

New World Quarterly: A Journal of Caribbean Affairs and Public Opinion (1965-1969?/1972). Managing Editor: George Beckford (1934-1990). Published by New World Group Ltd. Carried poems, prose and literary reviews.

Jamaica Journal 1967- . Journal of the Institute of Jamaica.

The Trinidad and Tobago Review (formerly Tapia), beginning publication in 1969, has regularly published poetry, prose and reviews of Caribbean Literature. Among its writers have been Derek Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite, Gordon Rohlehr, Ian McDonald, Kenneth Ramchand. It was edited for many years by the late Lloyd Best (1934-2007). Published by the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of the West Indies.

SAVACOU: A Journal of the Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM). From Issue #1 June 1970 – Issue #15 1980. Main editors were Kamau Brathwaite, Andrew Salkey, Kenneth Ramchand, Gordon Rohlehr. Published by CAM and Savacou Publications Ltd. A number of issues were anthologies of writing, in particular the landmark and controversial Savacou 3/4 which presented New Writing 1970.

The New Voices. Trinidad. No longer published. Edited from 1973 to 1993, by Trinidadian author, Anson Gonzalez.

The Journal of West Indian Literature 1986 -.  Edited and published by Departments of Literatures in English, The University of the West Indies.

The Caribbean Writer 1987-.  Published by the University of the Virgin Islands.

WASAFIRI (UK) 1984-. Edited by Susheila Nasta. Published for the Association for the Teaching of Caribbean, African, Asian and Associated Literatures (ATCAL).

Caribbean Beat: the magazine of the true Caribbean. Published since 1992 by Media and Editorial Projects Ltd (MEP), it is the leading magazine on Caribbean and West Indian arts, culture and society. The inflight magazine of Caribbean Airways. (formerly BWIA).

Calabash: A Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters. 2000-. Founding Editor: Jacqueline Bishop.  Editor: Gerard Aching.

Small axe: a Caribbean Journal of criticism 2001-. Editor: David Scott (1958-). Associate Editors: Anthony Bogues, Nadi Edwards, Annie Paul.

The Caribbean Review of Books (CRB). First edited by Samuel Bandara, in Jamaica, 1991-1994. Revived in 2004.  Edited by Nicholas Laughlin, Trinidad.  www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com. Now an online journal.

The Arts Journal: Critical Perspectives on the contemporary Literature, Art and Culture of Guyana and the Anglophone Caribbean. May 2004-. Published yearly by The Arts Forum Inc., Georgetown, Guyana. Editor: Ameena Gafoor.  <www.theartsjournal.org.gy>

Many of these Journals and others that review Caribbean Literature are now online. Many blogs created by individual writers discuss and review Caribbean Literature and related issues. In its February 2009 Issue, CRB discussed the growing necessity for online literary journals. Some of the sites noted were:

Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal (www.anthurium.miami.edu). Published from the University of Miami, debuted online in 2003. Appears roughly twice per year.

Calabash: A Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters (www.nyu.edu/calabash). Based at New York University. Started in 2000.

Repeating Islands (www.repeatingislands.com). Started in 2009.

Tongues of the Ocean (www.tonguesoftheocean.org). Poetry journal based in the Bahamas. Launched in 2009. Edited by poet and playwright Nicolette Bethel. Three issues annually.

Wadadli Pen (https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com).   Managed by Antiguan & Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse. Site provides a bibliography of writing from Antigua and Barbuda.


5: Readings on West Indian Literature in English.

West Indian Literature. 2nd Edition. Edited by Bruce King. Macmillan, 1995. [Provides a historical background to West Indian writing, with brief studies of selected writers.]

The Islands in Between. Edited by Louis James. Oxford, 1968.

Caribbean writers: critical essays. Ivan Van Sertima (1935-2009). New Beacon Books, 1968.

Tradition the writer and society: Critical essays. Wilson Harris. New Beacon Books, 1967.

The West Indian Novel and its background. Kenneth Ramchand (1939-). Faber 1970; Heinemann, 1993.  Revised edition published by Ian Randle Publishers, 2004.  With bibliographies to 1967.

West Indian Poetry 1900-1970: A study in cultural decolonization. Edward Baugh. Kingston: Savacou Publications, 1971.

West Indian Poetry.  Lloyd Brown. Boston: Twayne Publications, 1978.

Critics on Caribbean Literature.  Edited by Edward Baugh. Allen and Unwin, 1978.

A Companion to West Indian Literature. Michael Hughes. London: Collins, 1979.


On George Lamming:

The Novels of George Lamming. Sandra Paquet Pouchet. Heinemann, 1983.

Caliban’s Curse: George Lamming and the revisioning of history. Supriya Nair. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996.

From Nation to Diaspora: Samuel Selvon, George Lamming and the Cultural Performance of Gender.  Curdella Forbes. Kingston: UWI Press, 2005.


Resistance and Caribbean Literature. Selwyn R. Cudjoe. Ohio University Press, 1980.

The Man-of-Words in the West Indies: Performance and the Emergence of Creole Culture. Roger D. Abrahams. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983.


On Jean Rhys:

Jean Rhys. Carole Angier. Penguin, 1985.

Jean Rhys. Letters 1931-1966. Edited by Francis Wyndham and Diana Melly. Viking Adult, 1984. Penguin Twentieth Century Classics, 1995.

Jean Rhys’s  Imagination: Reading and Writing the Creole. Veronica Marie Gregg. Atlantic Books, 1995.

Jean Rhys (Cambridge Studies in African and Caribbean Literature). Elaine Savory, 2007.

The Cambridge Introduction to Jean Rhys (Cambridge Introductions to Literature). Elaine Savory. 2009.

The Blue Hour: A Portrait of Jean Rhys (Bloomsbury Lives of Women). Lilian Pizzichini. Bloomsbury, 2010.


Phyllis Shand Allfrey: a Caribbean Life. Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. Rutgers University Press, 1996.

History of the Voice: The Development of Nation Language in Anglophone Caribbean Poetry.  Kamau Brathwaite.  London: New Beacon Books, 1984.

Poetry in the Caribbean. Julie Pearn. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1985.

Passion and Exile: Essays in Caribbean Literature. Frank Birbalsingh. Hansib, 1988.

A Reader’s Guide to West Indian and Black Literature. David Dabydeen and Nana Wilson-Tagore. Hansib, 1988.

The Caribbean Artists Movement 1966-1972: A literary and cultural history. Anne Walmsley. New Beacon Books, 1992.

New World Adams: conversations with contemporary West Indian Writers. Daryl Cumber Dance. Peepal Tree, 1992.


Gordon Rohlehr  (1942-.):

Calypso and Society in Pre-Independence Trinidad. Gordon Rohlehr. Port of Spain, 1990.

The Shape of that Hurt and other essays. Gordon Rohlehr. Longman Trinidad Ltd, 1992.

My Strangled City and other essays. Gordon Rohlehr. Longman Trinidad Ltd, 1992.

A Scuffling of islands: Essays on Calypso. Gordon Rohlehr. Lexicon Trinidad Ltd, 2004.

Transgression, Transition, Transformation: Essays in Caribbean Culture. Gordon Rohlehr. Lexicon Trinidad Ltd, 2007.


On Kamau Brathwaite:

Pathfinder: Black awakening in The Arrivants of Edward Kamau Brathwaite. Gordon Rohlehr, 1981.

Roots: essays of Kamau Brathwaite. Kamau Brathwaite. University of Michigan, 1993.

The Art of Kamau Brathwaite. Edited by Stewart Brown. Seren Books, 1995.

Kamau Brathwaite’s MiddlePassages:  A Lecture, with an introduction by Elaine Savory, produced by Hyacinth M. Simpson. Sandberry Press, 2005. [CD, 65 minutes].

Caribbean Culture: soundings on Kamau Brathwaite. Edited by Annie Paul. UWI Press, 2007.

Copied from Wikipedia:

Selected works of Brathwaite and the year of publication follow:

  • Four Plays for Primary Schools (1964)
  • Odale’s Choice (1967)
  • Rights of Passage (1967)
  • Masks (1968)
  • Islands (1969)
  • Folk Culture of the Slaves in Jamaica (1970)
  • The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica, 1770-1820 (1971)
  • The Arrivants (1973)
  • Contradictory Omens: Cultural Diversity and Integration in the Caribbean (1974)
  • Other Exiles (1975)
  • Days & Nights (1975)
  • Black + Blues (1976)
  • Mother Poem (1977)
  • Soweto (1979)
  • History of the Voice (1979)
  • Jamaica Poetry (1979)
  • Barbados Poetry (1979)
  • Sun Poem (1982)
  • Afternoon of the Status Crow (1982)
  • Gods of the Middle Passage (1982)
  • Third World Poems (1983)
  • History of the Voice: The Development of Nation Language in Anglophone Caribbean Poetry (1984)
  • Jah Music (1986)
  • X/Self (1987)
  • Sappho Sakyi’s Meditations (1989)
  • Shar (1992)
  • Middle Passages (1992)
  • The Zea Mexican Diary: 7 September 1926 – 7 September 1986 (1993)
  • Trenchtown Rock (1993)
  • Barabajan Poems (1994)
  • Dream Stories (1994)
  • Words Need Love Too (2000)
  • Ancestors (2001)
  • Magical Realism (2002)
  • Golokwati (2002)
  • Born to Slow Horses (2005) (winner of the 2006 International Griffin Poetry Prize)
  • Limbo As published in Oxford AQA GCSE English Anthology 2005 and 2008
  • Elegguas (2010)

Critical writing about Brathwaite:

  • Kelly Baker Josephs. “Versions of X/Self: Kamau Brathwaite’s Caribbean Discourse.” Anthurium, 1.1 (Fall 2003).
  • June Bobb. Beating a Restless Drum: The Poetics of Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1997.
  • ed. Stewart Brown. The Art of Kamau Brathwaite (Seren, 1995, ISBN 9781854110923).
  • Loretta Collins. “From the ‘Crossroads of Space’ to the (dis)Koumforts of Home: Radio and the Poet as Transmuter of the Word in Kamau Brathwaite’s ‘Meridian’ and Ancestors.” Anthurium, 1.1 (Fall 2003).
  • Raphael Dalleo. “Another ‘Our America’: Rooting a Caribbean Aesthetic in the Work of José Martí, Kamau Brathwaite and Édouard Glissant.” Anthurium, 2.2 (Fall 2004).
  • Montague Kobbe, “Caribbean Identity and Nation Language in Kamau Brathwaite”. Latineos, 12/23/2010. Retrieved 10/18/2012.
  • Melanie Otto, A Creole Experiment: Utopian Space in Kamau Brathwaite’s “Video-Style” Works. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2009.
  • Anna Reckin: “Tidalectic Lectures: Kamau Brathwaite’s Prose/Poetry as Sound-Space.” Anthurium, 1.1 (Fall 2003).


Come back to me my language: poetry and the West Indies. J. Edward Chamberlin. Illinois, 1993.

Woman version: Theoretical Approaches to West Indian Fiction by Women. Evelyn O’Callaghan.  Warwick University Caribbean Studies, 1993.

Out of the Kumbla: Caribbean Women and Literature. Edited by Carole Boyce Davies, Elaine Savory Fido. NJ: Africa World Press, 1994.

Women writing the West Indies, 1804-1939: ‘A Hot Place, belonging to us.’ Evelyn O’Callaghan. London: Routledge Research in Postcolonial literatures, 2004.

Deconstruction, Imperialism and the West Indian novel. Glyne A. Griffith. UWI Press, 1995.

Rena Juneja. Caribbean Transactions: West Indian Culture in Literature. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996.

The Repeating Island: The Caribbean and the Postmodern Perspective. Antonio Benitez-Rojo (1931-2004). Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996.

Frontiers of Caribbean Literature in English( Interviews). Edited by Frank Birbalsingh.  St. Martin’s Press, 1996.

The Routledge reader in Caribbean Literature. Edited by Alison Donnell, Sarah Lawson Welsh, 1996.

Traveller’s Literary Companion: Caribbean. James Ferguson. Passport Books, 1997.

Conversations with V.S. Naipaul.  Edited by Feroza Jussawalla. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi,   1997.

An introduction to West Indian Poetry. Laurence A. Breiner. Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Historical thought and literary representation in West Indian Literature. Nana Wilson-Tagoe. UWI Press, 1998.

Beating a Restless Drum: The Poetics of Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott. June Bobb. Trenton, NJ: Africa World press, 1998.

The Other America: Caribbean Literature in a New World Context. J. Michael Dash. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1998.

Caribbean Literature in English. Louis James. Longman, 1999.

Is English we speaking and other essays.  Mervyn Morris. Ian Randle Publishers, 1999.

Natural Mysticism: Towards a New Reggae Aesthetic. Kwame Dawes. Peepal Tree Press, 1999.

Talk yuh talk: Interviews with Anglophone Caribbean Poets. Edited by Kwame Dawes. University of Virginia Press, 2000.


On Derek Walcott:

The Art of Derek Walcott. Edited by Stewart Brown. Seren Books, 1991.

Critical Perspectives on Derek Walcott. Edited by Robert Hamner. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1996.

Conversations with Derek Walcott. Edited by William Baer. University Press of Mississippi, 1996.

What the Twilight says: Essays. Derek Walcott. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1998.

Derek Walcott: A Caribbean Life. Bruce King. Oxford, 2000.

Abandoning dead metaphors: the Caribbean phase of Derek Walcott’s poetry. Patricia Ismond (1944-2006). University of the West Indies Press, 2001.

Nobody’s Nation: Reading Derek Walcott. Paul Breslin. University of Chicago Press, 2001.

Derek Walcott. Edward Baugh. Cambridge University Press [Cambridge Studies in African and Caribbean Literature], 2006.

Interlocking basins of a globe: essays on Derek Walcott. Edited by Jean Antoine-Dunne. Peepal, 2013.


The Caribbean Novel in English: An Introduction. Edited by M. Keith Booker and Dubravka Juraga. Ian Randle Publishers, 2001.

The novels of Samuel Selvon: A critical study. Roydon Salick. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001.

The Maroon Narrative: Caribbean Literature in English across boundaries, ethnicities and centuries (Studies in Caribbean Literature). Cynthia James. Heinemann, 2002.

The Empire writes back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures. Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, Helen Tiffin. 2nd Edition. Routledge, 2002.

The Second Shipwreck. A Study of Indo-Caribbean Literature. Jeremy Poynting. Peepal Tree, 2003.

Self-Portraits: Interviews with Ten West Indian Writers and Two Critics. Funso Aiyejina. UWI School of Continuing Studies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago, 2003.

Growing in the Dark: Selected Essays. Earl Lovelace and Funso Aiyejina.  Port of Spain: Lexicon, 2003.


On Wilson Harris:

Wilson Harris: A Philosophical Approach. C.L.R. James. UWI, 1965.

Wilson Harris and the Caribbean novel. Michael Gilkes. Longman, 1975.

Wilson Harris. Hena Maes-Jelinek. Boston: Twayne, 1982.

The Literate Imagination: Essays on the novels of Wilson Harris. Edited by Michael Gilkes. Macmillan, 1989.

Selected Essays of Wilson Harris, the unfinished Genesis of the Imagination. Edited by A.J.M. Bundy. Routledge, 1999.

Exploring the Palace of the Peacock: Essays on Wilson Harris. Joyce Sparer Adler. Edited by Irving Adler,  UWI Press, 2003.


All are involved: the Art of Martin Carter. Edited by Stewart Brown. Peepal Tree, 2004.

Making West Indian Literature (Essays and interviews). Mervyn Morris. Ian Randle Publishers, 2005.

Twentieth Century Caribbean Literature: Critical Moments in Anglophone Literary History. Alison Donnell. Routledge, 2005.

Caribbean Literature and the Environment: Between Nature and Culture. Elizabeth M. De Loughery. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005.

Tourist, traveller, troublemaker: essays on poetry. Stewart Brown. Peepal Tree, 2007.

Nationalism and the Formation of Caribbean Literature. Leah Reade Rosenberg. Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

The World is what it is: The Authorised Biography of V.S. Naipaul. Patrick French. Picador, 2008.

Black Yeats: Eric Roach and the politics of Caribbean Poetry. Laurence A. Breiner.  Peepal Tree, 2008.

Caribbean Literature After Independence: The Case of Earl Lovelace. Edited by Bill Schwartz.  Institute  for the Study of the Americas, 2008.

A  Place in the World: Essays and Tributes in Honour of Earl Lovelace at 70. Edited by Funso Aiyejina. Port of Spain: Lexicon, Trinidad, 2008.

Writing Life: Reflections by West Indian Writers, Edited by Mervyn Morris & Carolyn Allen. Ian Randle Publishers, 2008.

Frank Collymore: a biography. Edward Baugh. Ian Randle Publishers, 2009.

Philosophy in the West Indian novel. Earl McKenzie. UWI Press, 2009.

Caribbean Women Writers: Essays from the First International Conference. Selwyn R. Cudjoe. University of Massachusetts, 2009.

The Caribbean Short Story: Critical perspectives. Edited by Lucy Evans, Mark McWatt & Emma Smith, 2011.

The Sky’s Wild Noise: Selected Essays. Rupert Roopnarine. Peepal, 2012.

Writing down the vision: essays and prophecies. Peepal Tree Press, 2013.


Bibliographies, Indexes, Reference materials:

Caribbean Writers: a Bio-Bibliographical-Critical Encyclopedia.  Edited by Donald E. Herdeck. Three Continents Press, 1979.

Derek Walcott: An Annotated Bibliography of His Works. Irma Goldstraw. New York: Garland, 1984.

Fifty Caribbean Writers: a Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Edited by Daryl Cumber Dance. Greenwood Press, 1986.

West Indian Literature: an Index to criticism 1930-1975. Jeannette B. Allis. Boston: G. H. Hall, 1981.

Anglophone Caribbean Poetry 1970-2001: An Annotated Bibliography. Emily Allen Williams. Greenwood, 2002.

Encyclopedia of Latin American and Caribbean Literature 1900-2003.  Edited by Daniel Balderston and Mike Gonzalez.  Routledge, 2004.

Bibliography of St. Lucian Creative Writing: poetry, prose, drama by St. Lucian writers 1948-2012. John Robert Lee. Castries: Mahanaim, 2013. EBook by Author House, 2013.


6. The Historical, Cultural and Social background

The Traveller’s Tree. Patrick Leigh Fermor. Murray, 1950.

The Making of the West Indies. F.R. Augier et al. Longmans, 1960.

The Rastafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica. M.G. Smith, Roy Augier, and Rex Nettleford. Kingston: Institute of Social and Economic Research, UWI, 1960.

Federation of the West Indies. Sir John Mordecai. Northwestern University Press, 1968.

The Growth of the Modern West Indies. Gordon K. Lewis (1919-1991). Monthly Review Press, 1968; Ian Randle Publishers, 2004.

How Europe underdeveloped Africa.  Walter Rodney. London: Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications, 1972.

The Groundings with my brothers. Walter Rodney (1942-1980). London: Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications, 1969. Reprint, 1990.

Contemporary Caribbean: A Sociological Reader. Two Volumes. Edited by Susan Craig. Port of Spain, 1981, 1982.

Main Currents in Caribbean Thought. Gordon K. Lewis (1919-1991). Heinemann, 1983.

West Indian Societies. David Lowenthal. Oxford, 1972.

The Caribbean People, Books 1,2,3.  Lennox Honychurch.  Nelson Caribbean, [1979.]

The Caribbean: Survival, Struggle and Sovereignty. Catherine A. Sunshine. An EPICA Publication, 1985.

The Modern Caribbean. Edited by Franklin W. Knight and Colin A. Palmer. University of North Carolina Press, 1989.


C.L.R. James (1901-1989):

Beyond a Boundary. C.L.R. James.  Serpent’s Tail, 1963.

The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. 2nd Edition Rev.  C.L.R. James. Vintage Books, 1989.

The CLR James Archive: A Reader’s Guide. Compiled by Anna Grimshaw. NY: CLR James Institute, 1991.

Special Delivery: The Letters of CLR James to Constance Webb 1939-1948. Edited by Anna Grimshaw & Constance Webb. Blackwell Publishers,  1995.

C.L.R. James: A Life. Farrukh Dhondy. Pantheon Books, 2002.

Letters from London (letters of C.L.R. James). Edited by Nicholas Laughlin. Prospect Press, 2003.

C.L.R. James: Cricket’s Philosopher King. Dave Renton. Haus Publishing,  2007.

Urbane Revolutionary: C.L.R. James and the Struggle for a New Society. Frank Rosengarten. University Press of Mississippi, 2007.


Whispers from a Continent: the Literature of contemporary Black Africa. Wilfred Cartey (1931-1992). Random House, 1969.

Whispers from the Caribbean: I going away, I going home. Wilfred Cartey (1931-1992). University of California, 1991.

From Columbus to Castro: the History of the Caribbean 1492-1969. Eric Williams (1911-1981). Andre Deutsch, 1970.

The Sociology of Slavery. Orlando Patterson (1940-). London, 1971.

The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica 1770-1820. Edward (Kamau) Brathwaite. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971.

“Is Massa Day Done?”.  Edited by Orde Coombs.  Anchor/Doubleday, 1974.

Bob Marley: Soul rebel-Natural Mystic. Adrian Boot & Vivien Goldman. EEL Pie Publishing/Hutchinson, 1981. [Photographs of Marley 1945-1981].

West Indians and their language. Peter Roberts. Cambridge, 1988.

The Trinidad Awakening: West Indian Literature of the Nineteen-Thirties. Reinhard W. Sander. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988.

Trinidad Carnival: a republication of the Caribbean Quarterly Trinidad Carnival Issue Vol. 4 (numbers 3&4), 1956. Port of Spain: Paria Publishing Company Limited, 1988.

The Caribbean: The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism. Franklin W. Knight. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Inward Stretch, Outward Reach: A Voice from the Caribbean. Rex Nettleford. London: Macmillan, 1993.

Noises in the blood: orality, gender and the vulgar body of Jamaican Popular Culture. Carolyn Cooper. Duke University Press, 1993.

Liberation Cricket: West Indies Cricket Culture. Edited by Hilary McD. Beckles and Brian Stoddart. Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers, 1995.

The Development of West Indies Cricket. Hilary McD. Beckles. Kingston: UWI Press, 1999.

Ethnic Minorities in Caribbean Societies. Edited by Rhoda Reddock. St. Augustine, Trinidad: Institute of Social and Economic Research, UWI, 1996.

UNESCO General History of the Caribbean [6 titles Vols i-vi]. Volume III: The Slave societies of the Caribbean. Editor: Franklin W. Knight. Macmillan, 1997. Vol. 5: The Caribbean in the Twentieth century.

Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage.  Richard Allsopp (1923-2009). Oxford, 1997.

The Trinidad Carnival: Mandate for a National Theatre.  Errol Hill. London: New Beacon, 1997.

Catch A Fire: the Life of Bob Marley. Timothy White. Holt Paperbacks, 1998.

Before and after 1865: education, politics and regionalism in the Caribbean. Edited by Brian L. Moore and Swithin R. Wilmot. Ian Randle Publishers, 1998.

Chanting down Babylon: A Rastafari Reader. Edited by N. Samuel Murrel, William Spencer,and Adrian Anthony. Ian Randle Publishers, 1998.

Caribbean Art.  Veerle Poupeye. Thames & Hudson, 1998.

The Shaping of the West Indian Church 1492-1962. Arthur Charles Dayfoot. UWI Press, 1999.

On the canvas of the world. Edited by George Lamming. Published by the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of the West Indies, 1999. Contained are the two special issues of New World Quarterly, first published in February and November 1966 to mark the Independence of Guyana and Barbados. They were edited by George Lamming, Martin Carter and Edward Baugh.

Enterprise of the Indies. Edited by George Lamming. Published by the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of the West Indies, 1999. The material was first published in the Trinidad and Tobago Review. Contains poetry, prose, fiction and non-fiction by many leading writers and intellectuals.

Contending with destiny: The Caribbean in the 21st Century. Edited by Kenneth Hall and Denis Benn. Ian Randle Publishers, 2000.

Caribbean Art Criticism: Fashioning a Language, forming a dialogue. Edited by Nick Whittle. Bridgetown: AICA Southern Caribbean, 2000.

New Caribbean Thought. Edited by Brian Meeks and Lindahl Folke. Kingston: UWI Press, 2001.

This is Reggae Music: The Story of Jamaica’s Music. Lloyd Bradley. Grove Press, 2001.

A History of West Indies Cricket. Revised Edition. Michael Manley with Donna Symmonds. Andre Deutsch, 2002.

Understanding the contemporary Caribbean. Edited by Richard S. Hillman and Thomas D’Agostino. Ian Randle Publishers, 2002.

Questioning Creole: Creolisation Discourses in Caribbean Culture. Edited by Verene Shepherd and Glen L. Richards. Ian Randle Publishers, 2002.

Paradise and Plantation: Tourism and Culture in the Anglophone Caribbean. Ian Gregory Strachan. University of Virginia Press, 2002.

The Caribbean: an Intellectual History 1774-2003. Denis M. Benn. Ian Randle Publishers, 2004.

Jamaican Dancehall Culture at large. Carolyn Cooper. Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Rastafari: A universal philosophy in the third millennium. Edited by Werner Zips. Ian Randle Publishers, 2005.

Globalisation, Diaspora and Caribbean Popular Culture. Edited by Christine G. T. Ho and Keith Nurse. Ian Randle Publishers, 2005.

Rex N: Selected Speeches Rex Nettleford (b.1933– d.2010). Edited by Kenneth O. Hall. Ian Randle Publishers, 2005.

Shouts from the Outfield: The ArtsEtc Cricket Anthology. Edited by Linda M. Deane and Robert Edison Sandiford. AE Books, 2007.

Governing Sound: The Cultural Politics of Trinidad’s Carnival Musics.  Jocelyne Guilbault.  Ian Randle Publishers/University of Chicago Press (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology), 2007.

No Woman No Cry: My Life with Bob Marley. Rita Marley (with Hettie Jones). Hyperion, 2005.

Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius. Kwame Dawes. Bobcat Books, 2007.

Bob Marley: A Life (1945-1981). Garry Steckles. Macmillan Caribbean/Signal Books/Interlink Books, 2008.

A History of St. Lucia. Jolien Harmsen, Guy Ellis, Robert Devaux. Vieux Fort, St. Lucia: Lighthouse Road, 2012.

caribbean writers

Caribbean writers in St. Lucia for WordAlive Literary Festival, 2010

From left to right:

Standing: Earl Lovelace, McDonald Dixon, John Robert Lee, Kei Miller, Esther Phillips, Kendel Hippolyte, Alwin Bully, Anita Bully, Lorna Goodison, Edward Baugh.

Sitting: Roger Bonair Agard, Marie – Elena John, Adrian Augier, Marc Matthews.




John Robert Lee. Photo by Davina Lee                                                                                                                                                            

 John Robert Lee is a published writer of prose, poetry, journalism; a librarian; and a radio and television broadcaster. His  latest publications are  “elemental: new and selected poems,  1975-2007”. Peepal Tree Press, 2008, “Sighting and other poems of faith, Mahanaim, 2013 and “Bibliography of St. Lucian Creative writing” 1948-2013, Mahanaim.


Filed under Uncategorized