Tag Archives: King Short Shirt

Reading Room and Gallery 48

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


“You’re wearing your yard slippers

Likewise, I say nothing

Think of the breaking of the shell

we call

self” – “The Last Time” by Jason Allen-Paisant


‘“Keep ahead of those dogs,” Rose said. “They’re all hers. All mean just like her.”’ – “Last Stop on Route Nine” by Tananarive Due in Nightmare magazine

Video/Visual Art

Images from Art Week in Antigua and Barbuda in CREATIVE SPACE #9 OF 2023: MY BARBUDA ART HOP


Virtual tour and other visuals from the 2022 Bermuda Biennial. The art is great but I love that it includes literary arts – they get it.


“…it was only towards the end of his life that he became accepted.” (re Édouard Manet)


Documentary film by Dr. James Knight – The Making of the Monarch –


“Judy taught a lot of people that they’ll never know everything. That your body will change, and so will your heart, so it’s OK to change your mind.” – Judy Blume doesn’t miss Writing. She’s not afraid of dying Either by Selome Hailu


“He once said his goal was to create and produce plays which would be as popular in Dominica as the American films that packed in people by the hundreds every weekend.” – The Remarkable Alwyn Bully by Honor Ford-Smith in Stabroek News


“In May we launched a vote to curate a list of ten essential books for men, written by women. Our campaign aimed to encourage more men to read novels by women born out of statistical research in Mary Ann Sieghart’s bestselling book The Authority Gap. Mary Ann’s research demonstrated that whilst women read novels by men and women almost equally, fiction written by women is rarely read by men.” – 10 Essential Reads for Men, by Women 


‘“women were at the forefront of the protest” and have always been sparks in political action, notwithstanding their shamefully deficient numbers in elected office.’ – CREATIVE SPACE #7 OF 2023 – ANTIGUAN AND BARBUDAN WOMEN AND POLITICAL ACTION


“Though she thought in an utterly non-nationalistic, pan-Caribbean way, Jennifer’s writing was always deeply immersed in the Trinidadian landscape. In Songster, the final piece reflects on what it means to stay and live in the land of her birth. Her Trinidad is ‘not a world in my head like a fantasy’, but the island that ‘lives and moves in the bloodstream’. Her reflections on the nature of small island life is as fierce and perceptive as Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place, but it comes from and arrives at a quite opposite place. What she found in her island was a certain existential insouciance and the capacity of its people, whatever their material circumstance, to commit to life in the knowledge of its bitter-sweetness. In her most recent published collection of poems, Sanctuaries of Invention, much of which was written under the curfew of Covid-19, there’s a brilliant sequence of poems, (“mapping home”) that chart journeys (made in the head) from Valencia, through Salybia, Balandra, Rampanalgas, Cumana, Toco and L’Anse Noir – places that these poems bring to sensuous geographic, human and historical life. You sense that this was her Trinidad, her places of resilience and hope.” – “A Season of Sorrow: Jennifer Rahim (1963-2023)” on Peepal Tree Press’ Wha’ppen blog by Jeremy Poynting


‘It’s important to point out that because I’m a shameless self-promoter who’s also fairly friendly that sometimes many people that I don’t know reach out to me because they like my work and offer to assist me with random things. (That’s tip number four — network, network, network) That’s also how I got funding for my very first audiobook, The Secrets of Catspraddle Village, an anthology of award-winning short stories. A Bookstafriend sent me a link about a seminar for an audiobook class which the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) was hosting. I signed up because I thought “eh, why not?”. What I thought would just be an informative seminar turned out to be an even bigger blessing. Every single person who attended was given studio time to help them record their audiobooks. (Shout out to the NCF for supporting Bajan culture, btw!) BUT please note that (a) I already had material written which was deemed good enough for my application to the writing retreat (b) Catspraddle Village was already compiled since I had planned to release the anthology this year. I say that to say this: (tip five) you don’t have to get ready if you stay ready. In both of those instances, I was (unknowingly) prepared.’ – Callie Browning guest post: Callie Browning has “done everything wrong” and That’s All Right: The Bajan Author on the Secrets to Her Success


“There’s a story behind every image in the segregation series, each doing its part to answer the question: What does it look like when Black women are othered and yet refuse to allow that othering to destroy them? The series became a rejection of the status quo, a denial to be deemed less than.” – ‘Through Gordon Parks’ Photographs, I Found My Beauty Outside the White Gaze‘ by Khalisa Rae in Jezebel


“I wasn’t trying to write to be funny; I wanted to just write normally in my own voice about things but to use the creole and I think I successfully did that.” – Woman’s HerStory Month 2022 Brown Girl Reads facebook live discussion with Lisa Allen-Agostini, discussing her Women’s Prize short listed book The Bread the Devil Knead


“I was in a daze, I think, when I was in Yale.” – ZZ Packer (Drinking Coffee Elsewhere) on Ursa Short Fiction podcast with authors Deesha Philyaw (The Secret Lives of Church Ladies) and Dawnie Walton (The Final Revival of Opal & Nev)


“I wrote what felt true to the character and the world of the story.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse

One correction: On the second page where it says “where the lick”, it should say “were the lick” (from the Antiguan-Barbudan vernacular). Pointed out as the error changes the meaning of the sentence.


“Again there is a theme, it’s like people seeing some potential in me and me going ‘okay’…and also you have to do a bit yourself; luck is hard work meets opportunity” – Jacob Anderson, Black British actor and singer with Caribbean roots (currently appearing as Louis on Interview with the Vampire)


“I will never forget my dad holding my face, looking me in my eyes, and letting me know how beautiful I am,” Tasheka said. “He told me my skin, the power that is in my melanin; he told me about my hair, how beautiful my hair is; and then he went on to speak about my African culture and specifically how powerful my ancestors were…he allowed this spark to light up within me.” – Tasheka Lavann in CREATIVE SPACE – BACK TO AFRICA


“I’m happier writing about women’s lives, particulary their inner lives. Women’s outer lives are so much more owned by others. They have a great deal of responsibility for making sure the world runs for the maximum benefit for the maximum number yet often have little agency or power. How they manage responsibility and relative outward powerlessness makes for rich, complex inner lives.” – Barbara Jenkins in conversation with Jacqueline Bishop for her #InConversation series in the Bookends section of the Jamaica Observer.

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, To be a Cheetah, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my blog, including my CREATIVE SPACE art and culture column, which is refresthed every other Wednesday, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid March 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).



Bocas Lit Fest has announced that season 7 of its virtual conversation series Bios and Bookmarks returns on March 10th 2022. (Source – Bocas Lit Fest instagram)


The VI Lit Fest begins online on Friday April 8 th. The line up includes featured speaker Nikole Hannah Jones, who will present on Saturday, April 9th. She will be in conversation with local and regional scholars at the Fest’s Bush Tea Morning Social in the University of the Virgin Islands’ Great Hall beginning at 7:30 a.m. (her presentation starts at 9). Hannah Jones is the woman behind The 1619 Project. (Source – Alscess Lewis Brown on Facebook)


On the heels of being named to the Women’s Prize long list, the paperback edition of Jamaican-British writer Leone Ross’ One Sky Day drops this March. (Source – author’s instagram)


We love seeing our books out and about. This round-up of recent sightings includes books by Floree Williams Whyte (The Wonderful World of Yohan, Dance on the Moon) and Koren Norton being gifted to the Public Library, Barbara Arrindell’s Turtle Beach being read by mental health advocate Chaneil Imhoff at a local school for World Book Day UK (March 3rd 2022), and a share of The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse shared in a Public Library promo and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure in a social media video promo from Paper Based Bookshop in Trinidad and Tobago. Floree, Barbara, and Joanne are members of Team Wadadli Pen in addition to being authors, and Koren is a former patron. All their books are listed in our Antiguan and Barbudan Writings data base. (Source – Twitter, Facebook)


Three Antiguan and Barbudan teachers have been awarded as the top producers in the royal drawing school art certification training course completed in December 2021 – winner Mark Brown, art lecturer at the Antigua State College, and runner-up Shanahan Gillon, art teacher at Pares Secondary, and Carol Gordon-Goodwin, art teacher Princess Margaret Secondary School. The three month course was financed by the Halo Foundation with certification by the Ministry of Education at the G Art Studio in Picadilly. The 23 participants will display their pieces at Government House in April. Brown will travel to London with the Halo Foundation to auction his piece at the Wings of Charity gala – with funds going to assist the most vulnerable in society as well as initiatives for youth. Gillon received cash and Gordon a trophy. (Source – Facebook)


Two Caribbean writers are among the 16 books longlisted for the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction. This One Sky Day by British-Jamaican author Leone Ross and The Bread the Devil Knead by Trinidad and Tobago’s Lisa Allen-Agostini. Here’s the announcement.

This 16 is whittled down from 175 submissions and there will be an additional whittling for a short list of six to be announced on April 27th 2022. (Source – YouTube)


The Monarch King Short Shirt (Sir Mclean Emmanuel), Antigua and Barbuda’s, and one of the Caribbean’s, best calypsonians, was feted as he marked his 80th birthday on February 28th. Events included a church service and a live broadcast on the ABS TV morning show on location at Shorty’s Beach Bar, the land lease for which was finally handed over to him, after many decades of operation and disputes over his right to operate there, by the country’s prime minister. There is also talk, first raised by former calypso king Progress during the church service, and endorsed by the PM, to add Short Shirt to Antigua and Barbuda’s growing list of national heroes. My favourite part of this week of observance is probably that Dr. James Knight’s documentary, released nearly a decade ago, is now online – the first time I’ve seen it since attending the premiere at the Deluxe Cinema. I have an even deeper appreciation for its narrative structure this time around.

This week’s CREATIVE SPACE is also about Short Shirt. You can read it here. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

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. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Lamentations by King Short Shirt

Sung by Mclean ‘Short Shirt’ Emanuel
Written by Shelly Tobitt

See also our song lyrics data base; and our song writers’ data base. All lyrics are transcribed from the song recording. Errors and omissions are my own; feel free to help me correct or fill in the blanks. – JCH, blogger

Lament oh my soul (x2)
I crying for this cruel world
Mankind can’t find no solution
I say, we reaping the sour fruits of retribution
And I’m now convinced we are violent, Lord
Vulgar animals
And is we who say we intelligent
We superior
We civilize and we wise
Yet we making all kinda bomb
Blowing up everyone
Killing one another with gun
And who ain’ got gun
Use knife

Lord I say
That the time has come
For us to get on our knees
Lift our head to the trees
To the very sky above you
(Oh Lord, Oh Lord)
Let there be happiness in our soul
(Oh Lord, Oh Lord)
Let there be love not hate in our world
Oh for the day when he come down
In all he glory and say
Let there be peace
And all them fighting cease

Peace, peace, peace
Everybody shouting peace
Oh lord
Love and happiness is what we need
No one no one
Will stretch that loving hand
Everyone sitting down on their ass
Watching the other man
While war and crime and violence
Gone rampant in every land
Yes, he said he made us above the animal
Destiny to hold
The galaxy’s in our hand
But dog and pussy stop fight
They living and unite
Is only we human wantonly destroy life


Female liberation
Even women wants their freedom
Rioting, demonstration
Where will this end
If it keeps on
I can only visualize annihilation
With them bombs and guns
And constant improvement on modernized weapon
Yes, he gave us eyes to see and ears to hear
But wha me eyes perceive
Lord a trembling in fear
Bombs falling from the air
Shooting everywhere
Rebellion far and near
And every day is more talk bout revolution I hear


Power madness has come
Every land in raw confusion
Poverty and starvation
Lining the street
Hand in hand with man
Grasping at the throats of the poorer ones
Pounding and grinding him in to oblivion
Hatred, injustice, greed and vengeance
Corruption and treachery
So very eminent
It’s the order of the day
You cannot get away
No matter what you do or say
Unless we kneel and let the nation heel



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

Viva Grenada

This was Short Shirt’s (and/or his writer Shelly Tobitt’s) take on a real life event in a neighbouring Caribbean country. See also our song lyrics data base; and our song writers’ data base. All lyrics are transcribed from the song recording (thanks for this one to the youtuber who already had this one transcribed as I only had to do a bit of tweaking). Errors and omissions are my own; feel free to help me correct or fill in the blanks. – JCH, blogger

March 13 of ’79, a most historic freedom time
The people of Grenada rose with dignity
Rose up from oppression
Rose up from iniquity and shame
From the darkness of desecration
Shaking off paralysis of corruption
Tyranny, violence, and subjugation
To shine out before the Caribbean
And strike terror into repressive regimes
Unscrupulous politicians are now trembling in their pants

Stand up, Grenada
Stand up again, Grenadian
Don’t let nobody come in and dictate your course of action
All of them who oppose your revolution
Are political bandits just like Gairy in their own islands
Fight for your rights.
Protect what you have
You fought a good fight
Protect what you have
Don’t give in a single inch
Don’t retreat not even a pinch
Don’t compromise your revolution
For those scandalous, tiefing, oppressive political scamps in the Caribbean
No way
Never, I say
No way

Some talk of legality
But only to export their hypocrisy
For if you examine
The state of affairs in their land
You will find human rights violations
Total disregard for the constitution
Complex political persecution
And a wave of sanctioned violence
With the blessing of legislative criminals
And forced by sadistic gangs
Just like the mongoose one


God bless you, Grenada
May your freedom be blessed with longevity
And prosperous your economy
May he grant your leaders
Wisdom, endurance, and courage to go on
For your road may be long and rugged
Many are the problems to be confronted
Guard against corruption being repeated
And that rude awakening
That early dawn
Be an example to tyrants in other lands
No power, no weaponry
Can extinguish a people’s will to be free

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Summer Festival by King Short Shirt

This one is a collaboration between King Short Shirt and co-writer and collaborator Stanley Humphreys. It won him the road march king in 1980, a year in which he also won one of his 15 Antigua Calypso Monarch crowns. See also our song lyrics data base; and our song writers’ data base. All lyrics are transcribed from the song recording. Errors and omissions are my own; feel free to help me correct or fill in the blanks. – JCH, blogger

Every year, it’s becoming more popular
The Carnival we display in Antigua
From every nation
They come to jump up in we steel band
Show them that they’re welcome
Let them enjoy our native land
You must show them
Our tropical sceneries
Our beautiful sites
Relating to histories
Our white sandy beaches
Our smiling faces
I say, they won’t want to go home

They enjoying the Caribbean’s
Most colourful
Summer festival

The tourist come
They come to enjoy the festival
It’s fun and spree
During the whole Carnival
They hear about j’ouvert
If you see them prowling for a band
They are filled with excitement
Dressed for the special occasion
Some are wearing tear up pajamas
Big boots and sneakers
With oversize trousers
Zip up panties
Half slip and nighties
Like if they don’t plan to go home


Our shows, I say they are spectacular
Yes we have
A high standard in Antigua
My calypsos
They vibrates the Caribbean
Our steelband and mas men
Strive for more innovation
See beautiful women in costume parading
The prince and princess
Are played by our children
Accept the invitation
For your participation
I sure you won’t want to go home


Once you have
Tasted this great festival
You must come back to share in our bacchanal
It’s so captivating
You can’t miss a next j’ouvert morning
The whole place pulsating
From sound of steel and brass playing
Mas bands parading
Colourful, fascinating
It’s so exciting
To see people dancing
So peaceful and free
It will live in your memory
You’ll wish Antigua was your home


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Transcribed by ear; all errors or omissions are mine. I’d love to continue building this data base of Antiguan and Barbudan song lyrics; anyone who wants to help with this (teachers? students? can anyone say research project?) welcome to do so.

Song: Illusion
The artist: King Short Shirt

You told the youths that they were free
And slavery has lost its sting
But they’re not foolish they can see
You’re lying deep within
Slavery has not left our doors not yet I’m sure
We have got to fight the battle some more
The time has come for every man in the Caribbean
To forge one common destiny
Designed to make our people free
We have got to stand up for the rights to lead the lives we choose
To change, enhance, or to refuse

If you think the battle is done
My brethren you are riding
an illusion, an illusion
You talk of progress, love and justice, peace and unity
all illusion
We have no hold on these our native islands
Our hands are tied, we don’t control our actions
Come le we forward together in a social endeavor
our goal: social control
We slave no more
We’ll slave no more
only then we’ll slave no more
We’ll beg no more
We’ll stoop no more
Only then, we’ll be no …(?)


We cannot live forever more
Subjected from shore to shore
Reflecting cowardice and shame
Against our ancestral name
Are there no warriors left among us to rise and shine
No heroes left to rise up on to the shrine
No martyrs in our history for the youths to know
Scallas (?) died to make us free
Cuffy died to make us free
Garvey died to make us free
Must all these warriors die in vain
While we go back to slavery once again


The struggle has only just begun
We’ve got to carry on
Uniting these West Indian lands
May take us generations
But independent in this region don’t mean one damn
If we can’t be independent as one
The economical policies are disheartening
The people voices are ringing
We are tired of living
A life of total subjection
Told what to spend
And what to keep
God knows sometimes we ain’t even have enough to eat


This is transcribed by me (blogger and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator) Joanne C. Hillhouse for educational purposes; no profit is being made.

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