Tag Archives: launch

Jumbies all around

Went tonight to the Youth Enlightenment Academy here in Antigua to attend the launch of Mali Olatunji’s book and exhibition. The books are now available for sale and the exhibition remains open for a month.  I quote below from the launch booklet.

Untitled

Painterly Photographer
The Artwork of Mali Olatunji
Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy
July – September, 2015

A Note from Artist, Mali Adelaja Olatunji (excerpts)
“This body of photographs, ‘Woodist Jumbie Aesthetics’, is for me an assemblage of abstract speculative conjectures.
“…their strident nature allows for a re-examination of Spirit and the aesthetics of departed souls – Jumbies.
“Each photograph is of two or more images that are inter-layered by inter-penetrating optical images of people, places or object onto silver halide salt (film), in a camera. This process is exceedingly improbable to replicate. Thus each is unequivocally an original.
“(in ‘pure photography’) …exactitude in physical replication: lines, color, form, texture and so on, is your aim. Having mastered this for a long twenty-one years, I deserve the space to make ‘my Art’!
“I made the decision to concentrate less on making photographs that were primarily instantiation of factual accuracy…more on picturing ideas of unreliability as an imaginative activity.”

A Note from Author, Paget Henry, the Art of Mali Olatunji (excerpts)
“In addition to bringing fresh support for the fine arts possibilities of photography, Olatunji brings to this visual practice a new technique and an original vision. This new technique is that of using the lines and textures of wood, tree bark, and leaves to enhance the symbolic capabilities of photography. It is this enhanced symbolic capability that gives his photography its painterly qualities and its power to engage the spiritual, and social themes that run through this exhibition.
“The original vision derives from Olatunji’s attempts to imagine how our world would look if seen through ‘the eyes’ of a Jumbie or a departed soul that has taken up residence in a tree now that it has lost its body. It is on account of this new woodist technique that this original vision that Olatunji’s photography will surely generate a lot of interest and debate.
“His photography is sure to raise questions about the long and tense relationship between painting and photography, as the painterly possibilities of the latter are developed in his work to a heretofore unprecedented degree.”

A Note from the Exhibition Curator, Karen Allen Baxter (excerpts)
“This exhibition, The Painterly Photographer, the Artwork of Mali Olatunji, the first in the Sir Reginald Samuel Gallery, also marks the formal opening of this important arts space. The work of Mali Olatunji is meaningful, engaging, explorative, poignant, sometimes humorous and perfect for this inaugural exhibition!
“These photographs invite the viewer to look again, view with intent, examine closely to realize more or realize something else and to appreciate differently.”

Untitled

So, this book has been many years in the making. I’ve had many discussions with both Mali and Paget about it over the years. I now look forward to reading it. I’m (insert indescribable emotion here) to be included among the images. Ha! me, a model! From all my discussions with the creators of this book over the years, I know it’s more than just pretty pictures, that there’s technical experimentation and exploration of ideas, and of a particular idea very much rooted in our (maybe more once upon a time than actual these days) African Antiguan belief system. I know books like this are important in grounding us in Self; as Mali said at the launch, there is too much of the Antiguan Self slipping away with this dressing up in other selves that we do, losing our Self in the process. As he said, this book is not just for us; it is Us. Thanks, Mali. Thanks, Paget, for pushing Mali (I know he didn’t go easy …but here it is for the record). Finally, congrats to Hansib for, in this weird time in publishing where even Big publishers aren’t taking risks, being outside the box not only in taking on an unconventional project like this but for quickly becoming an MVP when it comes to taking on book projects from this small place. Think about it, Hansib is responsible for the publication of several Antiguan and Barbudan books in recent years, from my own  The Boy from Willow Bend, to the Art of Mali Olatunji, and including Paget’s V. C. Bird book and Dorbrene O’Marde’s Bocas Short Listed Short Shirt book Nobody Go Run Me and Send Out You Hand. Which other publisher Caribbean or not would have taken a chance on those ideas, simply because they felt they were voices that needed hearing, stories that needed telling, and not rushing and skimping on the quality in the process. No relationship is perfect but jack his jacket on all that and look forward to more. Now go get Mali’s book. In fact, get all those books while you’re at it.

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, Musical Youth, 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 WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, 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, Literary Gallery

She Wanted a Love Poem

she wanted a love poem

“It’s on, my first book launch where I will be signing the print edition of She Wanted A Love Poem and introducing Saving Babylon. It will be at The Best of Books on Saturday 13th, at 7pm”

– Kimolisa Mings

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Literary Gallery

Musical Youth launched…and some other stuff happened :-)

turnout

I launched my latest book Musical Youth with a reading, November 21st, at the Best of Books.

It was a treat for me to be able to include some of the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge finalists in that event, merging my literary activities with my literary advocacy. I enjoyed hearing them read. Here are some highlights:

Asha Graham, who took the main prize in both 2013 and 2014, read from her most recent winning piece LaJabless (use the search feature to the right to read it if you haven't yet and would like to).

Asha Graham, who took the main prize in both 2013 and 2014, read from her most recent winning piece LaJabless (use the search feature to the right to read it if you haven’t yet and would like to).

Alexandra Spence was an honourable mention in the 18 to 35 category of the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge. She read her story Why did I get Punished? At the launch, and received a copy of my book Musical Youth as a token of my thanks. (Read her story by using the search feature to the right).

Alexandra Spence was an honourable mention in the 18 to 35 category of the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge. She read her story Why did I get Punished? At the launch, and received a copy of my book Musical Youth as a token of my thanks. (Read her story by using the search feature to the right).

CODE, publisher Caribbean Reads, and me contributed copies of Musical Youth to the Public Library; here I am presenting those copies to the library representative.

CODE, publisher Caribbean Reads, and me contributed copies of Musical Youth to the Public Library; here I am presenting those copies to the library representative.

Here I am reading…so cool to have this image of me reading from my latest book Musical Youth while standing under a banner of one of my other books Oh Gad!

Here I am reading…so cool to have this image of me reading from my latest book Musical Youth while standing under a banner of one of my other books Oh Gad!

And here I am signing copies for readers like local attorney E. Ann Henry.

And here I am signing copies for readers like local attorney E. Ann Henry.

All in all, it was a wet but good night…big thanks to all who came out.

All in all, it was a wet but good night…big thanks to all who came out.

I want to say thanks to the Best of Books, the Public Library, and audience members like Kimolisa Mings for the pictures; thanks to Best of Books for hosting, Glen Toussaint for MC-ing and Wadadli Pen alums Margaret Irish, Asha Graham, and Alexandra Spence for participating. I want to say thanks to everyone who came out…was especially happy to see my Cushion Club folks and to give them and the library copies of the book…and floored by a personal written thank you from one of my former Cushion Club kids, not a kid anymore, now a young lady striding toward her dreams and giving me way too much credit for any part in that (though I am happy if I’ve had any sort of positive influence on her journey).

With my Cushion Club folks. The Cushion Club reading club for kids meets Saturdays at the University Centre between 10:30 a.m. and 12 noon.

With my Cushion Club folks. The Cushion Club reading club for kids meets Saturdays at the University Centre between 10:30 a.m. and 12 noon.

I just want to add that the night before the launch I was awarded the 2014 Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Award. And the day after the launch I had the opportunity to lead two days of CODE sponsored workshop; perfect bookends to a literary highlight. I didn’t see the award coming and the workshop went better than I’d dared hope. I am thankful for both. And I am so thrilled at the release of this book which placed second earlier this year for the inaugural BURT award for Young Adult Caribbean Literature, a prize sponsored by CODE which is a Canadian non-profit. Musical Youth – which begs the question “Can one summer make the difference of a lifetime?” – is published by CaribbeanReads Publishing. CaribbeanReads has also just released Round My Christmas Tree, a seasonal anthology, featuring writers from around the region including, from Antigua, me and Carel Hodge. Give T’anks.

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, Musical Youth, 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 WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

2 Comments

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

2014 Review of Book to be Launched Thursday at the UC (Antigua)

The University of the West Indies, Open Campus Antigua and Barbuda, and The Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association

 

Present

A Colloquium on

 

RELIGION IN ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

 

AT

 

UWI OPEN CAMPUS ANTIGUA & BARBUDA

 

AUGUST 21-22, 2014

 

 

 

PROGRAMME:

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 21ST (7:00 – 9:00 PM)

 

Opening Ceremonies and Keynote Address

 

Opening Blessing: Rev. Reid Simon

 

Opening Speakers: Ian Benn (UWI), Paget Henry (ABSA)

 

Keynote Speaker and Performer: Dr. George Roberts: “Changing the Music of Our Churches”

 

Formal Introduction of Dr. Hazra Medica

 

Short Address: Dr. Hazra Medica

 

Launch of The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books 

 

Friday afternoon will consist of panels on the church and society.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus

Standing Room only for the Pepperpot Launch

Over a hundred people crowded into Martin’s Bar in Port of Spain for the launch of the Pepperpot anthology at the NGC Bocas LitFest.

Pepperpot is an anthology of some of the best entries from the Caribbean region for the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, including the joint overall winner, Trinidadian author Sharon Millar. It is the first publication from the new imprint Peekash Press, a  collaboration between Peepal Tree Press in Leeds and Akashic Books in New York.

The Trinidadian writer Earl Lovelace gave …READ MORE

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love

WADADLI PEN’S 2011 CHALLENGE: STORIES FOR YOUTH BY YOUTH

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize is back with a challenge for young Antiguan and Barbudan writers – can you write an engaging children’s story in 600 words or less? The competition dubbed the BEST OF BOOKS WADADLI PEN CHALLENGE 2011 is, as usual, open to writers 35 years and younger, resident or native to Antigua and Barbuda. Writing can be fiction, poetry or non-fiction, and can be in any genre, fantasy to comedy, but it must be written to appeal to younger readers. It must, in other words, be the kind of story a parent might read to a child or a young reader would pick up and read on his or her own. As has been the case since the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize was launched in 2004, the writing must reflect a Caribbean sensibility. We, therefore, expect the submitted pieces to be set in the Caribbean and/or in some way reflect the Caribbean experience. This can include the rough and tumble reality, the superstition and mythology, the history or the possibility. The world of children’s fiction should allow you to let your imagination fly as Thumbelina did on a lily pad, as Peter Pan and Wendy did simply by wishing it so, as Harry Potter did with a wave of his magic wand, as Dorothy did with three clicks of her ruby slippers. Dream, that’s what this year’s challenge is asking you to do and let’s create literature that can be read and enjoyed by the youngest among us and yet still appreciated by every young-at-heart adult.

There are a couple of opportunities to win; within your particular age category – 12 and under, 13 to 17, 18 to 35 – or as one of the top three writers overall, in which case it’s anyone’s contest.  With input from the judges/editors, each short listed writer will have the opportunity to edit and fine tune the work before final judging. Winning pieces will be posted to https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com and possibly via other sites promoting Caribbean literature, especially children’s literature. Also, Wadadli Pen reserves non-exclusive right to publish/record the winning works in other formats without restriction.

Attractive prizes are currently being solicited for the winning writers. Wadadli Pen is once again partnering with the Best of Books, celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2010, in this venture. Best of Books will sponsor the Challenge plaque displayed in their store with the name of the winning writer; as well as other prizes and certificates. They will also host the prize giving as a part of their anniversary activities in June 2011. Prize contributions and/or commitments, meanwhile, have also come from Seven Seas via local distributor Frank B. Armstrong, the International Women’s Club of Antigua and Barbuda,  the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival, African American author of Ninth Ward Jewell Parker Rhodes, Through a Window Antiguan author Floree Williams, and Antigua Nice.

More prizes/commitments will be announced as they come to hand; it promises to be an attractive compensation package for the winning writers, as usual. Each writer is allowed a maximum of three submissions. Submissions should be sent to wadadlipen@yahoo.com no later than March 31st 2011.

Prospective participants are reminded that they can try out works-in-progress at the Wadadli Pen Open Mic hosted once a month by the Best of Books Royal Palm branch. Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse will be present at the next Wadadli Pen open mic, February 12th at 7:30 p.m., and available to answer any questions in relation to this competition. See you there.

Comments Off on WADADLI PEN’S 2011 CHALLENGE: STORIES FOR YOUTH BY YOUTH

Filed under Wadadli Pen 2011

Yeah Yeah for Ya Ya

I wrote this after attending the Antigua launch of Chadd’s cumberbatch Ya Ya Surfeit back in August 2010. The option to publish wasn’t picked up by any of the usual suspects. But, hey, that’s what blogs are for. Here then are reflections on a beautfiul night. Photos by Marcella Andre.

That's Marcella, far right; yes, she's talented like that...the photog and the subject...also pictured, far left the night's emcee Brenda Lee Browne, artist extraordinaire Heather Doram next to her, y yo.

By Joanne C. Hillhouse

Ya Ya Surfeit; translation, plenty chat. When Montserratian Chadd Cumberbatch

Chadd

 launched the book here recently there was plenty of something else; laughter – I mean, laugh until you belly hurt you laughter.

The Best of Books @ Royal Palm launch was, frankly, not well attended  but it was full in every way that counted.

The poetry collection, which enjoyed a theatrical launch at home earlier in the summer, travels well. It helps that Cumberbatch, no stranger to either stage or movie lights, brought to the reading, the ease and charisma of a natural storyteller. The effortless chemistry between Cumberbatch and radio personality Marcella Andre, who also participated in the Montserrat launch, was a plus.

The stripped down presentation and smaller venue, meanwhile, allowed for a certain intimacy not just with the performers but the words. Certainly, it allowed even those of us who’ve read this poetry collection and witnessed the coming alive of favourite pieces at the previous launch, hear the words as if for the first time; I mean really hear them, and be tickled or moved anew as a result.

As with the book itself, the pieces chosen for the Antigua launch were well ordered, beginning, rightly, with the reflective Ascent to Grace before picking up the pace with the defiant Emancipation and the caustic Fences – the latter capturing well the attitudes of some to the all-a-we-is-one-family sentiment and having fun with the words. “So hall you bauxite”, therefore, emerges as the kiss-off it is when dependent only on the sound of the words for the meaning, a reminder that so many of the pieces in this collection, while they read well, really feel meant for the stage or some sort of audio recording. At other times the visual is so clear – “with a flick of her plastic, blonde weave” – the layers of meaning immediately reveal themselves. That’s from Buy Local, which ends with the sarcastic, “It is her religion to take communion at Western Union”.

Cumberbatch went to great lengths to reiterate – perhaps overmuch – that not all the pieces reflect his lived experiences. But certainly Daily Bread, the seed of which was planted during a tedious staff meeting at his day job, is. It was Andre’s favourite piece and she declared  we could all relate to:

“Lord de wuk

De never-ending-forever day wuk

De hustle

De sweat

De back and forth

De forth and back…

And the meeting

And the other meeting

And the meeting to plan the next meeting

About the briefing

About the memo

Re de missive from de Ministry

Cause de Boss say

De minister say…”

You get the idea.

And for everyone who’s ever been to a pageant, Priscilla, featuring “…Peggy daughter, the one wey look like one ‘O’” was no less relatable, easily earning the biggest laughs of the night – the kind of laugh where you swear somebody’s about to tek een. Well, to be honest, the competition for biggest laugh of the night tug-o-warred between this and the three-man skit On the Block which wondered, what do women want?

The pieces in what Cumberbatch described as the “love zone” earned a different kind of laughter, more subdued, more the laughter of commiseration; I’ve-been-there-I-know-what-that’s-like kind of laughter. From Monday to On Rumpled Sheets to Crescent to Grey to Confessions of a Love Sick Fool, the pieces tracked love’s slow unraveling: such as “Tonight I’ll slip away from you and you will never know because you don’t see me anymore” (from Wakening) and “I fell hard like a rock/hard like granite/hard like diamond/heavy like a stone/and I shattered…like glass” (from I Fell).

The encore came via the poet’s reading of one of his favourite pieces, Conversation with Cheese. It was a reminder of the real life relatability, layers of meaning, and sly humour of the well-worth-buying collection. In it, a young boy asks a Rasta – Cheese? – why he smokes weed. The answer comes via the Bible and, specifically, how Moses received the epiphany that led him to Pharaoh’s door precipitating the Israelites’ exit from Egypt: “through the burning bush”.

Chadd signs copies for his fans including Antiguan artist/actress Heather D.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Caribbean Plus Lit News