Tag Archives: Leone Ross

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid January 2023)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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

Accolades

ABS TV/Radio General Manager Erna Mae Brathwaite is one of four outstanding Antiguans and Barbudans to be awarded in the King’s New Year’s Honours for 2023. Mrs. Brathwaite is being appointed as an Ordinary Member of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire, MBE for services to Youth and Community Development.

(Source – CBU Secretariat email)

***

The (Antigua and Barbuda) National Youth Awards have been presented. I am not sure if this is the first post-pandemic and I haven’t seen a lot of press around it – e.g. during the nomination process as I would normally take the time to submit some nominations across the board but especially in literary arts (which is absent from this year’s line-up of winners). Once I realized it had taken place, I dm’d them for the full list as what was available online seemed scattered and incomplete and I was told the full list would be available in the following day’s paper. I have pulled and copied the arts winners below:

Young Media Practitioner – Carlena Knight (who works with Newsco. publishers and producers, respectively, of the Daily Observer newspaper and Observer Radio reporting on sports and news)

Archeology and Heritage Development – Desley Gardner (whom I interviewed for CREATIVE SPACE #18 OF 2021 – CLARENCE HOUSE AND THE COMPLICATED LANDSCAPE OF OUR COLONIAL PAST) and who was a model in CREATIVE SPACE #12 OF 2022 – CUT AND CONTRIVE)

Culture and Performing Arts – Ge’eve Philip (whom I remember as one of the soca breakouts of the 2022 Carnival season)

Fellow soca artiste and producer Bernard ‘Bernie’ DeNully is also a recipient in this category as is soca and calypso artist Trevaughn ‘Lyricksman’ Weston.

He was a first time winner of the jumpy section of the Party Monarch competition and of the road march crown in 2022. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)

Art and Culture

Hell’s Gate steel orchestra in Antigua has resumed its pan academy at the pan yard in Villa. Call 727-8712, 726-8948, or 720-8948 to register. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco)

***

‘In fact, Aimable, who said “too many times our culture is pushed to the back”, is aiming for our culture to be as ubiquitous as Chinese restaurants – “we want it to be accessible to everybody.”’ Read new CREATIVE SPACE art and culture column, first of 2023, is an interview with founder of Tropical Fete in New York Alton Aimable.

Obits.

We dedicate this first bulletin of 2023 to the memory of Zuri Holder who died January 4th 2020 after a tragic car accident. Zuri was family and we continue to memorialize him here at Wadadli Pen with a plaque named after him for our junior challenge winners. Keeping him in our hearts.

***

Former chief librarian of Antigua and Barbuda Phyllis Mayers has passed. At this writing, unsure of the particulars but the Public Library announced a closure for January 4th 2023 to allow staff to pay their respects.

Mrs. Mayers started as a young librarian at the old High Street building, decimated by the 1974 earthquake, and when I came to know her in the 1980s when I worked a summer job as a teen, was operating upstairs a Market Street retail cloth store. She retired years before the library would finally get a new home in the 2010s. But she kept library services alive during the many lean decades. I remember her warmly.

RIP, Mrs. Mayers. (Source – the National Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda’s facebook page)

ETA: Read this lovely and deserving tribute to Mrs. Mayers in Antigua and Barbuda’s Daily Observer newspaper.

***

Four-time Dominica calypso king Melvin Constant became his country’s first drowning victim of 2023, while on vacation home from the US where he resides. Constant who went by the stage name Solo won the crown in 1973, 1975, 1976, and 1977, and remained active in competition overseas. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco/Antigua and Barbuda)

Events

The National Cultural Foundation of Barbados has booked St. Maarten/Martin publisher Lasana M. Sekou for a January 14th 2023 professional development session.

(Source – The National Cultural Foundation Barbados on Linkedin)

***

Carib Lit Plus has already informed readers of the #WereadJamaica hashtag; here’s another one, #12Caribbeanbooksin2023 from bookstagrammer Rensbookishspace. As with the other hashtag, it’ll be a monthly read-a-long. The first two books are

Myriam J A Chancy is a Haitian-Canadian writer and What Storm What Thunder which was longlisted for the Bocas prize charts the lives of several characters affected by a devastating quake in Port-au-Prince, mirroring the one experienced by Haiti in 2010. Jonathan Escoffery is American-born to Jamaican parents whose journey possibly served as inspiration for If I survive You, a linked multi-generational multi-story collection set off by immigrants fleeing political violence in 1970s Jamaica. It too has numerous accolades including being long listed for the National Book Award in the US. (Source – DanziBooks on Twitter)

Books and Other Reading Material

British and Jamaican writer Leone Ross is editor of a new anthology, first of its kind, Glimpse: An Anthology of Black British Speculative Fiction. The Peepal Tree publication has been rolling out with events since December 2022. (Source – Leone Ross on Instagram)

***

In Dominica, the Stories by Children Committee which forms part of the Fernance and Cyrilla Family Club has dedicated its second children’s book – Stories by Children Vol. 2 – When I Grow up – to Kernisha Etienne. Kernisha was reported missing in 2022 and she remains missing at the start of 2023, months later. The book was launched in December at the UWI Open Campus in the nature isle. It is the follow up to Vol. 1 which has been in the marketplace for about one year. Both collections and Vol. 3, to come, includes the best of the works submitted by junior writers, the top winners of whom receive prizes in addition to a copy (to all contributors) of their first authored book. (Source – Daily Observer by Newsco Ltd/Antigua and Barbuda)

***

One of the blogs we follow, African Book Addict has posted its annual collage of new books to anticipate in 2023, and we spy some Caribbean titles: Afro-Dominican author Elizabeth Acevedo’s Family Lore, Guadeloupean author Maryse Conde’s The Gospel According to The New World, Jamaican poet Safiya Sinclair’s How to say Babylon (a memoir), St. Vincent and Grenadian author Alexis Keir’s Windward Family, and Trinidad and Tobago author Kevin Jared Hosein’s Hungry Ghosts. (Source – This Browne Girl Reads on Facebook)

***

The latest edition of Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters, Issue 22: New Vocabularies, is a special Bermuda bicentennial issue. Editor Andre Bagoo said in the introduction, ” The theme of the biennial, which runs at the Bermuda National Gallery until January 7, is ‘A New Vocabulary: Past. Present. Future.’ It’s a theme that not only matches the sense of change and transition precipitated by the ongoing global pandemic, but it also mirrors some of the messy questions of genre that any publication – and I dare say Caribbean publication – has to grapple with.” There are submissions as well from other parts of the Caribbean, primarily Trinidad and Tobago. (Source – N/A)

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!Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid November 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 – credit and link back if you use).

Opportunities

The last Jhohadli Writing Project of 2022 is December 2nd 2022. Participate virtually. Also see Opportunities Too.

Wondering if the JWP is for you? Participants this year have included someone hoping to learn more about the business of writing while considering a self-publishing journey (“I learned quite a bit about the writing process”), someone revising a Caribbean-set novel who wanted the perspective of a Caribbean editor (“strengthened my pages”), someone hoping to overcome the fear and lack of confidence keeping them from writing (“I feel my confidence building”), and a newcomer taking her first writing workshop who said she felt comfortable and participated fully in the environment created. Your goals are your own, but I really try to meet participants where they are. People have participated from the Caribbean and the US; so, as a reminder, it’s virtual, you can participate from anywhere. (Source – me)

Art and Culture

An Antiguan and Barbudan designer, Danielle McCoy, had a hand in the creation of the Nigerian uniform worn during the Winter Olympics earlier this year.

Per this Essence article, the outfits were produced by a brand known as ActivelyBlack. It was one of the top designs according to major tastemakers, alongside well established international brands like Ralph Lauren and Puma. Danielle worked with Jordan Jackson, both of AmenAmen Studio on the look. (Source – N/A)

***

Barbadian songstress and international superstar Rihanna is now part of the Black Panther universe with her contribution of “Lift me Up” to the blockbuster’s sequel’s soundtrack. It’s haunting melody is a reminder that the second film arrives without its titular lead played by Chadwick Boseman who died of cancer between this and the previous film. RIP to him. Take a listen.

(Source – Twitter)

ETA – In further Black Panther news, via Variety, the sequel to the seminal Marvel cinematic universe film, Wakanda Forever, took in US$180,000,000 domestically (i.e. in the US). It is the second biggest domestic debut of the year after the latest Dr. Strange, another MCU film. I checked Box Office Mojo, and this is already the 9th top grossing film of 2022. Wakanda Forever‘s international take for its opening weekend was $330,000,000. Why do we care about this at Carib Lit Plus? The Caribbean representation, of course, with Guyana born British actress Letitia Wright (Shuri) and Tobago born US actor Winston Duke (M’baku) revived their star-making roles. Also Haiti is trending. Comments from Twitter:

*Spoiler alert*

“Two scenes in the #BlackPanther movie are set in #Haiti! Actual footage of Cap-Haïtien made it to the big screen. Haitian Creole and even our local transportation, tap taps, are in the movie. An important character is named after our national hero, Toussaint…Historically, major cinematic films that have portrayed #Haiti have emphasized zombies, poverty, demons, just pure darkness. They’ve silenced our glorious past & our present beauty. #BlackPanther has begun to shift the narrative.”

“Cap-Haitien, Haiti just popped up as a location in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and they are speaking Kreyol!”

“Shoutout to black panther for their representation of Haiti in the movie.”

The shoutouts are plentiful and have even moved off twitter, with karukerament.com blogging about “How Black Panther 2 introduces the Caribbean to the World (afro)”. The post celebrated the uncharacteristic positive representation of the island: “Listen, if you had told me that one day I would watch an MCU movie without the need for subtitles because the dialogues are in Haitian Creole, I would never have believed you. Never. And not only did they aim for the authenticity of the language, but they also linked the history of Ayiti to the history of Wakanda. They tied the history of the first black Republic to the history of the only black nation that was never colonized. They did not create a hierarchy. They just put them together as two equal parts of the Afro world. We are what we are, we don’t need to hide it and no one can take it away from us.”

(Source – Facebook)

***

A biopic of reggae legend Jamaica’s Bob Marley is in the works. Kingsley Ben-Adir, a British actor with a Trinidadian mother and white British father, has been cast to play him. Ben-Adir was last seen playing Malcolm X (whose mother, Louise Little, was Grenadian by the way) in One Night in Miami. Variety also reports that the screenwriter (Zach Baylin) and director (Reinaldo Marcus Green) behind King Richard, about Richard Williams, the father of tennis greats Venus and Serena, a role that recently won Will Smith his first Oscar, are attached. (Source – Twitter)

***

Late calypso giant Rupert ‘Swallow’ Philo’s family has donated instruments – a full set of steel pans and drum set – to Nelvie N. Gore Primary School. This is the former primary school of Willikies, Swallow’s home village. One of his dreams was the establishment of a music department at his alma mater and Vernon ‘Dr Solo’ Benjamin advocated for the department to be named in his honour. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper, Antigua)

***

A reminder to check out my CREATIVE SPACE column especially the 2022 series, the most recent of which focussed on collaging with St. Lucian sister Catherine-Esther and Kelsey.

(Source – me)

Events

Peepal Tree Press has collaborated with the Out of Many Festival to bring Book Club events in October and November. Still to come are The Merchant of Feathers with Tanya Shirley on November 18 and Prophets with Kwame Dawes on December 2. (Source – JRLee email)

***

I’m seeing reports around social media about the BVI Lit Fest, like this one from Jamaica born Barbados based writer Sharma Taylor, whose debut novel What a Mother’s Love don’t teach You landed this year.

“Had the absolute pleasure of recently participating in the 2nd annual BVI Lit Fest in beautiful Tortola www.bvilitfest.com The Governor, Premier, Dr. Richard Georges and his team at the H Lavity Stoutt Community College were amazing hosts! Book lovers, please put this event in your calendar as a ‘must attend’ event for next year! I met some awesome writers there!”

Sharma is pictured to the left of the image taken from her facebook page.

The BVI Literary Festival ran from November 3 – 6 2022 in Tortola after being founded (virtually) in 2021 as part of the Department of Culture’s Culture and Tourism Month activities and operates in collaboration with the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. This year’s line-up included well known Caribbean writers like Trinidad and Tobago’s Andre Bagoo, USVI based editor of The Caribbean Writer literary journal Alscess Lewis-Brown, the USVI’s Tiphanie Yanique, Grenada’s and the Virgin Islands (British and US’) Tobias Buckell, Jamaica’s Kei Miller, and BVI poet laureate himself Richard Georges. (Source – Sharma Taylor’s Facebook)

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Montserrat’s Alliouagana Festival of the Word returns with book launches, movie screenings, and activities for the children.

The featured films are The Fab 4 & The Silent Retreat, written by Jamaican-Canadian Diane De La Haye and directed by UK born Sint Maarten based filmmaker Peter Sagnia

and

Deep Blue, written and directed by Antigua and Barbuda’s Howard Allen

Festival dates are November 17 – 19. (Source – Nerissa Golden on Linkedin)

***

Spilling Ink’s Poetry in the Park returns with an art and open mic event on November 26th. Featured artist is Laikan whom I wrote about in a recent CREATIVE SPACE and whom you can listen to on my Spotify list. Venue is the 90s Restaurant and Lounge on High Street in St. John’s, Antigua, 6:30 – 10:00 p.m. If you want to really dig in to the archives, check out my CREATIVE SPACE on Spilling Ink. (Source – Laikan on Instagram)

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November 13 – 20 is the Miami Book Fair. This is the 2022 schedule. As usual, there will be a strong Caribbean presence, primarily through the Read Caribbean programme. Highlights include a pre-event, on November 12, “Original Roots: The Sound & Story of Jamaican Tradition” featuring Jamaican poet laureate Olive Senior, “Our Beautiful and Corrupted Islands”: Pamela Mordecai, Mc. Donald Dixon & Celeste Mohammed on November 19, “Out of Many, One People”: Olive Senior, Dionne Irving & Jonathan Escoffery on November 19, and Zain Khalid, Leila Mottley & Elizabeth Nunez: A Conversation on November 20. The Miami Book Fair dates back to 1984 and is today considered one of the most comprehensively programmed book fairs in the US. This year includes participation by authors both in-person and virtual (e.g. Trinbagonian author of Bocas winning Pleasantview Celeste Mohamed has announced that she will be part of Miami Book Fair online activities the named Read Caribbean panel discussion, an interview with fellow Trini writer Tracey Baptiste, and a podcast interview with Marva Hinton). (Source – Celeste Mohamed on Instagram)

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Antiguan and Barbudan artist Heather Doram has a show coming up.

(Source – Facebook)

***

Caribbean book and lifestyle influencer Book of Cinz is reporting a successful staging of her first reading retreat in the nature isle, Dominica. Round two will be held in October 2023 and interested readers of Caribbean lit can already sign up here. Meanwhile, her next virtual book club meet-up to discuss Irish Trinidadian author Amanda Smyth’s novel Fortune will be on November 29th 6-8 p.m. (Source – Book of Cinz newsletter)

Books

I-ROY by Eric Doumerc, with various contributors, is a book about the prolific and talented Jamaican deejay, Roy Samuel Reid, 1942-1999. He enjoyed a hugely successful recording career in the 1970s but died of heart failure relatively young after two decades of declining health and output. Belated recognition has come following the selection of his song ‘Sidewalk Killer’ to feature in the 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and this timely re-appraisal reviews his life’s work and achievements in sound and lyrics. (Source – JRLee email)

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UK based Trinidad and Tobago writer Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s When We were Birds dropped this year. It is described as “a mythic love story” and has been widely acclaimed. In addition to the print and ebook editions, there is also an audio version using the voices of Trinidad actors/readers, sourced with assistance from the UTT’s theatre programme, Wendell Manwarren and Sydney Darius. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said the writer. (Source – N/A)

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US based Jamaican children’s book writer Renaee Smith has announced a couple of new titles, bringing her total book count to 10 – seven of them children’s books. The new titles are Dorianne the Baker, written with Nella Perrier and Freddie learns the Value of Money. This book is an introductory book for children ages 5-12 that teaches them the value of money. It introduces the basic financial concepts of saving and budgeting, from earning money from chores to spending money earned in stores. 

This seems to be the fifth in a Freddie series of books. (Source – Renaee Smith email)

***

ESPJr. of Trinidad and Tobago have uploaded a number of early readers – such as the Ready Set Hatch! storybook, Spanish language edition, and colouring book; The Most Magnificent, about the sentient (in the story) seven magnificent houses along Trinidad and Tobago’s Queen’s Park Savannah; Alex the Awesome & the Crazy Quest for the Golden Pod, about a secret agent agouti; and the Agriman series of adventures. All written by Jeunanne Atkins, storyteller and co-founder of ESPJr with former teacher Andrea Alkins. (Source – N/A)

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Caribbean book influencer ifthisisparadise on instagram has announced a Jamaica Kincaid read-a-long for 2023 – 2024.

Jamaica Kincaid was born Elaine Potter Richardson in Ovals, Antigua so this is exciting news and I had to share. They’ll be reading in publication order beginning with At the Bottom of the River (1983), and continuing, I assume, with Annie John (1985), Annie, Gwen, Lilly, Pam, and Tulip (1986), A Small Place (1988), Lucy (1990), The Autobiography of My Mother (1996), My Brother (1997), Talk Stories (2001), My Garden (Book) (2001), Mr. Potter (2002), Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalayas (2005), See Now Then (2013), Party: A Mystery (2019) – I’ve bolded the ones I’ve read and linked the ones I’ve reviewed. Maybe a chance to read the ones I haven’t? (Source – Karukament newsletter)

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Of Rivers and Oceans is Dominican author, Anella Shillingford’s second poetry collection after 2019’s Bonfire. It was launched at the Portsmouth Branch Library in September 2022. A press release from the author described the publication as “a celebration of heritage, history, healing, and home.” (Dominicanewsonline.com) (Source – N/A)

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Young participants in the Antigua and Barbuda Film Academy, a development arm of the Motion Picture Association of Antigua and Barbuda have published a book of stories they worked on during the pandemic. The book is called Love Friendship & Betrayal: An Anthology of Lessons Learned and the authors are Joel Lewis, Noah Yeboah, Destiny Simon, Delicia Howell, Shenika Bentick, and Sheneilla Somerset. Abigail Piper is credited as development editor. The publisher is Dr. Noel Howell’s I & I Books. The authors also acknowledged, in their preface, the contribution of Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse whose services to the project included workshop facilitation and copy editing. “Once we started the in-person workshops with Ms Joanne Hillhouse, I was re-energized. … I realized that writing is more than physically putting pen to paper. We were able to use all our senses and feelings to create emotions that our readers can relate to. This workshop opened my eyes to various aspects of writing.” wrote Destiny. Shenika also wrote that the workshops, “helped boost my own self-confidence and helped me in writing this story.” Delicia commented on how the process helped her deal with real life issues. “As I developed the plot and addressed these fears, I realized that some of them were my own fears expressed in different situations. This type of self-reflection was new to me and I was able through these fictious characters to better deal with my own insecurities.” The stories were originally intended to be productions but due to the lockdown plans were changed, with participants working with each other remotely to develop their scripts for publication. Sheneilla said, “The zoom meetings and workshops were very helpful and assisted me with the many corrections and rewrites I had to do. I also learned many new things about writing. I had fun creating characters and putting them in situations that created conflict and drama. Receiving feedback from a professional writer was eexciting and encouraging. The critique sessions with my writing partner also helped me to stay focussed and motivated.” The book’s summary focusses on the in-between status of teenagers who are neither teens nor adults but young people dealing with feelings like fear, pain, and loneliness, using the literary arts as a vehicle. These same teens scripted the 2022 short film, also produced by Dr. Howell, Don’t hit me Pickney. Film and book were released during a red carpet event at the Dean William Lake Cultural Centre on October 31st 2022. (Source – me)

ETA – report of the book launch in the Daily Observer –

Accolades

Trini writer, British based, Anthony Joseph was named to the short list of the T S Eliot Prize alongside nine other poets. Per The Guardian, “He is shortlisted for Sonnets for Albert, an autobiographical collection that weighs the impact of growing up with a largely absent father.” The winner will be announced on January 16th 2023. (Source – JRLee email)

***

Jamaican artistes Spice, Koffee, Skillibeng, Popcaan, Shenseea, and Sean Paul are contending for the Best Caribbean Music Award in the UK’s MOBO (Music of Black Origin awards).

Last year’s winner of this award is Shenseea, above right, wearing Antiguan and Barbudan designer Shem Henry, pictured left, whom I wrote about in CREATIVE SPACE.

MOBO is celebrating its 25th anniversary. (Source – Antigua and Barbuda’s Daily Observer newspaper)

***

The winners of Dominica’s Independence Literary Competition are Arrundell Thomas (Dominica between Sentences), English poetry; Ian Jackson (Orvince Gone), short story; and Jules Pascal (Bondye ka Mété), kweyol poetry.

(Source – Nature Island Literary Festival on Facebook)

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Antiguan and Barbudan writer Gayle Gonsalves has received additional awards for her novel My Stories have No Endings: an Independent Press Award distinguished favourite & Next Generation Indie Book Award grand prize, second place, fiction, and winner, multicultural fiction. See more re recently awarded Antiguans and Barbudans. (Source – Gayle Gonsalves on social media)

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I thought I had posted the Bocas children’s lit prize long list but maybe that was a fever dream. Here’s the short list.

I write Rhymes: A Novel by Nadine Johnson
Zo and The Forest of Secrets by Alake Pilgrim
The Whisperer’s Warning by Danielle Y C Mclean
The Land Below by Aarti Gosine

(Source – Bocas Lit Fest on Facebook)

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Twelve young artists from Barbuda participated in the second annual Barbuda Youth Art Workshop and Competition in October 2022; three took home top prizes. Four on scene judges plus viewers via social media weighed in on favourite art works. Kyrollos Greaux (art: Under the Sea – the Big Coral Race) won in the 10-12 age group, Trinity Whyte (art: Postcard from Barbuda) won in the 13-15 age group, and Makaida Whyte (art: The Sound of Music) won the 16-18 age group. Each winner received EC$500.

(Source – Antigua and Barbuda’s Daily Observer newspaper)

***

Jamaica-born Brits (pictured) Yvonne Bailey-Smith’s The Day I feel off My Island and Leone Ross’ This One Sky Day were this year shortlisted for the Diverse Book Awards. It is a UK based awards recognizing books featuring characters not typically or widely represented. (Source – Myriad Editions email)

***

Shabier Kirchner of Antigua and Barbuda has been invited to join the Motion Picture Association of America. While I am not sure if any Antiguans and Barbudans have been a part of the Oscar-voting body in the past, I can say that either way it’s a rare opportunity and Kirchner is one of only 10 cinematographers in the 2022 class.

Kirchner has won awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, and the British Academy Television Craft Awards for his work on the Small Axe anthology. (Source – Bert Kirchner)

***

Dr. Noel Howell, medical practitioner and filmmaker, who works with the young people of the Antigua and Barbuda Film Academy, while announcing the release of student production Don’t Hit Me Pickney announced that it had received an award as best student production at CommFestt, a film festival in Canada.

See Playwrights and Screenwriters (the Antigua-Barbuda Connection) for this and more productions from Antigua and Barbuda. (Source – Dr. Noel Howell/ABFA/MPAAB)

***

The Antigua and Barbuda Film Academy presented awards to four people at the October 31st 2022 premiere local screening of CommFestt award winning student film Don’t hit me Pickney and launch of book of student stories Love, Friendship, and Betrayal: An Anthology of Lessons Learned – executive produced and published, respectively – by Antigua-born, US-based pediatrician and filmmaker Dr. Noel Howell. Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse who has worked with the AFA as an editor and workshop facilitator was the night’s first awardee, her plaque for her commitment to the advancement of literacy in Antigua and Barbuda.

Meanwhile, for their contributions to the development of film production in Antigua and Barbuda, producers and former heads of the Motion Picture Associstion of Antigua and Barbuda Howard Allen, Dr. Alvin Edwards, and Bert Kirchner were awarded as well. Kirchner is the country’s film commissioner and is responsible for bringing a number of film and commercial productions to Antigua and Barbuda. Dr. Edwards, an ophthamologist, has been involved in production of high profile arts events like Romantic Rhythms in addition to producing films like Once in an Island and publication of its companion book. Allen is part owner with his wife of HaMa, Antigua and Barbuda’s pioneering filmmakers and still the most prolific producer of features (The Sweetest Mango, No Seed, Diablesse, The Skin, Deep Blue). The event was hosted by the Motion Picture Association of Antigua and Barbuda of which the Film Academy is a part. (Source – me)

***

November 1st was Antigua and Barbuda’s 41st anniversary of Independence, and at that day’s Ceremonial Parade a number of national awardees were announced as per normal. They included members of the arts community. I don’t have the full list (at this posting and I have never understood why the official list is so hard to find) but per reporting in the Daily Observer newspaper, among them are calypsonian Oliver ‘Destroyer’ Jacobs and pannist Patrick Johnny Gomes. Jacobs, a veteran of the field both on stage and with his pen is now GCH – meaning Grand Cross, the Most Precious Order of Princely Heritage, and Gomes is MH – Most Precious Order of Princely Heritage.

(photo credit Nathaniel Edwards/Facebook)

Jacobs, whose respected position within the Antigua and Barbuda calypso fraternity translated in to classics but not crowns told Observer that this honour is “not for me alone, it’s for all the calypsonians who never won a crown and kept on going.”

(Destroyer back in 2007, I believe, accepting a National Vibes Star Project award)

(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, Oh Gad!Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late May 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).

Publications

SOS: Season of Storms by Fabian Adekunle Badejo was released in 2021 by House of Nehesi in St. Martin. Endorser Jeannine Hall Gailey described the book as “A frank, passionate description of a life in the Caribbean impacted by hurricanes, power outages, health crises, and pandemic. …also highlights the region’s history of racial injustice and provides insight into St. Martin protests.” (Source – publisher email)

***

Alwyn Bully’s book The Cocoa Dancer and Other Stories dropped late last year. The stories are set in several Caribbean islands including his own Dominica. One of the book’s endorser’s, quoted in Dominica News Online, Trinidadian director/playwright, Rawle Gibbons, described it as “one of victory over historical suffering, political apocalypse and person tragedy. There can be no more urgent time for this message than now.” (Source – Caribbean Writers and Poets on instagram)

Events

There’s a visual art exhibition on at Government House, Antigua, until June 13th 2022. It features the work of art teachers and it’s free. (Source – Facebook)

***

Babu is one of Antigua and Barbuda’s premiere pannists with his work with Halcyon Steel Orchestra and the National Youth Pan Orchestra among his contributions to culture and nation building. Proceeds from the concert are to offset his medical costs. (Source – Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra’s facebook page)

***

July 12th is Caribbean Literature Day, which began in 2020 with this declaration by St. Martin’s House of Nehesi Publishers, which is once again urging regional participation.

(Source – House of Nehesi Publishers email)

ARTS News

Your kids are plugged in to the world wide web anyway, Bocas Storytime on YouTube is somewhere wholesome and fun to direct their attention.

Yes, it’s been mentioned before but it bears repeating. (Source – Bocas email)

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Antiguan and Barbudan reggae artist Causion (Gregory Bailey) has recently undergone surgery for colon cancer. The 11-hour surgery took place in Florida. Reportedly his song ‘Thank you’ was played during the surgery. Causion has a charity by the same name – its aim to support him and other artists fighting cancer or other diseases.

I remember years ago, Causion running a music festival in the Falmouth area at which the price of entry was a canned food item that, I believe, went back directly to the community, so he’s been about cooperation for a long time. For now, he has to cooperate with his doctor’s recovery plan for him which is months of rest. We wish him well. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

***

This isn’t exactly new – it was announced back in December 2021 – but its certainly news that Jamaican writer Marlon James has landed a series order from HBO and the UK’s Channel 4 for a six-part crime drama ‘Get Millie Black’, which he will be writing and co-executive-producing. Read about it in Deadline. (Source – N/A)

Accolades

Leone Ross of Jamaica and the United Kingdom has won the 2021 Manchester writing competition. This is the UK’s biggest prize for unpublished fiction. In acknowledgment of the prize, Ross said, “I have such affection and respect for the Manchester Prize – one of few in the UK that celebrates the short story so very generously. Whether subversive, experimental or just thumpingly good old fashioned story-telling, the Fiction Prize reminds us that the short story is a fluid space for amusement, beauty and politics alike. ‘When We Went Gallivanting’ is about the increasing gap between rich and poor, about dancing in the face of injustice, and it imagines a reclamation of joy in the very architecture around us. The story celebrates every-day miracles, not least its lead character, Athena Righteous-Fury, a fat, Black woman, surviving and thriving and inspiring just as she is. My deepest thanks to the judges, for their time and consideration in the name of Carol Ann Duffy, who established the prize. To know that you’re trying and becoming a better writer, for that effort to be acknowledged, is a very special experience.” Read the Manchester fiction writing short list here. (Source – Leone Ross social media)

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In 2021 (late again) blogger Harmony Farrell was announced as Bocas’ Youth Award winner. The first, I believe. Trinidad-Tobago specific, I also believe. Judging by this, she seems to be the only one to date. You can read her blog here. (Source – N/A)

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Virgin Islander Daisy Lafond was 3rd honourable mention in the 2021 Anita McAndrews poetry contest for her poem ‘Only among the Wise’. (Source – Email)

***

Romance novelist Kimolisa Mings emerged winner of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Love and Wanderlust short story competition – a first time initiative that will see the winning piece, ‘Rule No. 3’, integrated in to the national tourism campaign. Mings is a self-published novelist of romance ebooks in the double digits plus print books that include a poetry collection (see Antiguan and Barbudan Writing). Her win comes with a $1000 cheque. Full disclosure (JCH): I was brought on board by the ABTA as a consulting judge for Love and Wanderlust, and they have also offered to sponsor participation of two of the finalists in my upcoming workshop, which per my Jhohadli Writing Project schedule takes place on June 3rd 2022. Thanks to ABTA and Congratulations to Kimolisa and the other finalists. (Source – Antiguanice.com)

***

Jamaican publisher Tanya Batson-Savage Cine Qua Non Lab, a screenwriter’s lab in Mexico that gives independent filmmakers from around the world the opportunity to work intensively on their feature-length narrative scripts. Batson-Savage will be working on ‘Escape to Last Man Peak’. In her announcement on social media, she said, “Writing is the most important part of my creative life, but increasingly, it’s the thing I do the least. I’m therefore beyond thrilled that my project Escape to Last Man Peak has been selected to be part of @cinequanonlab Storylines lab 2022! Looking forward to the meeting the 17 other filmmakers from Brazil, Canada, Finland, Guatemala, India, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden and the United States. Most of all, I’m looking forward to the writing.” (Source – Tanya Batson-Savage’s social media)

***

The Commonwealth Writers short list has been announced and the top writer from the Caribbean is Jamaica’s Diana McCaulay, who previously won the regional prize in 2012 for ‘The Dolphin Catcher’. Her short-listed story this time around is ‘Bridge over the Yallahs River’. Commonwealth Writers’ 2022 short list also includes Ntsiki Kota of Eswatini, winner for the Africa region; Sofia Mariah Ma of Singapore for Asia; Cecil Browne of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom for Canada and Europe; and Mary Rokonadravu of Fiji for the Pacific. More here. (Source – Twitter)

Opportunities

Bocas lit fest has in its June workshop line-up a three-part series on Writing for Children. Tracey Baptiste will explore writing fantasy, Carol Mitchell character and development, and Jeunanne Alkins design and illustration.

Here’s where you register. (Source – Bocas email)

***

This is a gentle reminder related to the call for applications and nominations of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes 2022. Every year, the prizes are organized around a specific theme. This year’s focus is on: ‘Transforming literacy learning spaces’. The nomination process is taking place via an online platform. An applicant can request the access to the online application form through this link. All applications will go through a nomination process by the National Commissions for UNESCO or an NGO maintaining official relations with UNESCO. The deadline for the candidates to submit an application to the nominating entities is set on 6 June 2022. The deadline for nominations is Sunday 20 June 2022. Any enquiries with regard to the application and nomination process should be addressed to the Secretariat of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes, located within the Section of Youth, Literacy and Skills Development of the UNESCO Education Sector (phone: +33 1 45 68 08 59; e-mail: literacyprizes@unesco.org).

***

The Caribbean Development Bank and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) and its partners are teaming up through The Caribbean Animation Business Network to produce the Caribbean animation business model. It’s a way of collating resources and attract global opportunities. They put out a call for people (not sure if it’s specifically creatives and/or animators) to help them research, develop, and test the model. Here’s where you register. Looks like it requires Company information, Professional Skills and Training, and Sector Experience. (Source – Cultural and Creative Industries Innovation Fund email)

***

This is a reminder (since it was mentioned in the last bulletin) that we should all be scribbling away in preparation to submit to the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival short story contest. The BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writer’s Prize seeks to unearth hidden storytellers in the United States and Canada and is open to unpublished writers of Caribbean heritage. The BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean, on the other hand, is open exclusively to Caribbean writers of all levels who reside and work in the Caribbean. The 2022 BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest will award $1750US in cash for each of the two prizes for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (3000 words max). Submissions close on July 1st, 2022, 11:59 pm EST. Katia D. Ulysse and Ifeona Fulani will judge the BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writer’s Prize . Tanya Savage-Batson and Ayesha Gibson-Gill will judge the BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean. This and more is on the Opportunities Too page; check it out. (Source – BCLF email)

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The Catapult Caribbean arts grant programme for 2022 has wrapped but I thought I’d share the video of the virtual mixer held by the organizers to discuss the programme and meet the artists and learn how the grant initiative has impacted us.

(Source – CATAPULT: A Caribbean Arts Grant on YouTube)

***

The Bocas Lit fest workshops continues with a June 4th 2022 session led by Debbie Jacob.

Jacob is an award-winning journalist, author, librarian, and prison reform activist, whose career spans over three decades and books such as Wishing for Wings and Making Waves: How the West Indies Shaped the United States. (Source – Bocas email)

***

There is a new initiative (Creative Caribbean) designed to boost creative industry or what’s being called the orange economy via UNESCO. Per project documents, it “seeks to develop a robust creative ecosystem in the region, to enable more globally competitive creative businesses; support increased training and capacity building; and strengthen the enabling environment in relation to policy, planning, incentives and legislation.” Up to 15 Caribbean countries are eligible; check the links and documents shared below re your eligibility. The application process (reading the information provided – copied below) seems steep if not prohibitive, plus it’s a lot of documentation. But as I am trying to do, I encourage Caribbean artists to read through and try to see if you can find rungs to clear the hurdles if you could use the money – and couldn’t we all. Submit application by June 16th 2022. (Source – Antiguan and Barbudan writer Kimolisa Mings on Facebook)

Remember to see Opportunities and Opportunities Too which are always being updated.

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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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid April 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).

Publications News

Joy James, founder and former owner of Art At The Ridge, a former Wadadli Pen patron, will soon be publishing her third children’s non-fiction book, Another 101 Black Inventors and their Inventions. This is the third in a series of books after 101 Black Inventors and their Inventions and Brilliant Black Inventors. Joy, who has returned to the UK after her time as a gallery owner in Antigua and Barbuda, says that the idea for her books started when her children were younger and she was looking for books with Black role models to help inspire them and expand their minds. “I knew this information was out there somewhere, but I couldn’t find anything in an organised format or in the form of a children’s book.” Her first book targetted upper primary and lower secondary, and her second book ages 5 and younger. This new one will target 9 to 12 year olds.

“I hope that everyone young and old will enjoy reading about the many Black inventors in our world and their wonderful contributions that help to improve our lives. I hope that they will be heartened by this. Our world has certainly benefitted from these amazing inventions!” Joy is currently running a creative campaign for her book on Kickstarter where early copies are offered as rewards. 

Misc.

Shout out to young Antiguan and Barbudan chess combatants who scored victories in their first rated hybrid tournament. I don’t fully know what that means but past Wadadli Pen winner (and my current mentee/intern) Andre Warner – who has previously played internationally, scoring Antigua and Barbuda’s first win at that level – explains in this Daily Observer article.

(Source – Andre Warner)

Opportunities

Antigua and Barbuda: Where Love and Lust Collide is the theme of a campaign being promoted by the Tourism Ministry. It’s a romance campaign writing competition open to citizens – you’ll need to upload your passport bio page as proof of citizenship when submitting. The word limit is 1200 words, prose or poem, and the work should have been previously unpublished. No previous publications. Other details here. (Source – Tourism email)

Accolades

Demari Samuel (left, above) has won the Optimist Club of St. John’s Oratorical contest, back after a two-year break due to COVID-19. The sixteen-year-old St. Joseph’s Academy student was one of six young people who took part in the contest. His competition came from his own school, along with the Clare Hall Secondary and the Antigua Girl’s High School. The fifth former is expected to take part in a Caribbean District contest on April 30th. He will compete with other students for scholarship money which can be used to assist with college financing. Wadadli Pen patron The Best of Books contributed book prizes to the top three. (Source – email)

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This One Sky Day (also known as Popisho) by Jamaican-British author Leone Ross catapults to another long list, the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize, which is awarded to a book of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry which best evokes the spirit of a place. Ross, in celebrating her latest accolade, reflected, “I am nominated for writing Popisho, a fictional Caribbean-esque archipelago. Popisho: I can see it right now. A home I made in my head. I could go back tomorrow. And I never knew this was a skill I had.” She also celebrated the number of “women and global majority” writers on the list. The short list will be announced on April 20th and the winner on May 4th 2022. (Source – Leone Ross’ Facebook)

Events

Antiguan and Barbudan artist Mark Brown is exhibiting at Kafé de l’Arawak in Guadeloupe, April 6th to 29th 2022. “It’s been a very long time since I had the opportunity to do a solo show and I’m so happy to be able to do my first post-Covid exhibition in Guadeloupe, because I always felt like family there.” (Brown)

The exhibition, Mark’s first solo show in the French West Indies, is in partnership with United Karibbean Artists. (Source – Mark Brown via facebook)

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Antigua Artisans Travelling Market is a pop-up market, the Easter edition of which lands at St. Anthony’s Secondary School in Langfords. Regular vendor artisans listed here. (Source – Facebook)

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There are two major Caribbean literary festivals this month. One I already covered, so I’ll start with the one I’ll be posting for the first time (I think).

At this point, it is the biggest, most consistent of the big Caribbean literary festivals – home to several major literary prizes including the coveted Bocas best book by a Caribbean writer, at home and abroad, prize. I’ve already told you that the finalists for this year’s prize are poet Jason Allen-Paisant (Thinking with Trees), novelist Celeste Mohammed (Pleasantview), and essayist Kei Miller (Things I have Withheld). The announcement of the winner will be one of the highlights of Bocas. Here’s the rest of the programme. We can once again participate online. That in mind, I think I’m most looking forward to The Difference a Word Makes with T&T writers Akhim Alexis, Simone Leid, and Hadassah Williams on April 29th; Backchat 2022: Embracing Power, Making Change: Celebrating Caribbean LGBTQI+ Stories with Kei Miller, Shani Mootoo, Rosamond S. King, Rajiv Mohabir, Andre Bagoo, Deneka Thomas, Lisa Allen-Agostini, Shivanee Ramlochan, Angelique Nixon, and Willum Watts, with musical performances by Xoe Sazzle and Moon the Artist, and a presentation by artist Arnaldo James, hosted by Phillipé Alexander on April 29th; A World made of Stories during which Ayanna Lloyd Banwo launches her debut novel When We were Birds on April 30th; the April 30th Winners Row event featuring the Bocas winners and winners of the Bocas Henry Swanzy and emerging writers prizes; and Fierce as an Island on May 1st, featuring Olive Senior, Pamela Mordecai, and Canisia Lubrin. (Source – JR Lee email)

The other event, and much sooner, is, of course, the US VI lit fest. You can register for the events here. There doesn’t seem to be an online breakdown of the events but it is a mix of in person and online, featuring The 1619 Project’s Nicole Hannah-Jones, academics Natasha Lightfoot, Hadiya Sewer (in person) – ETA: you can view that here; and (virtually) Ingrid Bough, Clelia O. Rodriguez, Rozeena Maart, Lewis R. Gordon, Marva McClean, and authors and poets Alecia McKenzie, Andre Bagoo, Richard Georges, Cadwell Turnbull, Biko McMillan, Tobias S. Buckell, Tiphanie Yanique, and Joanne C. Hillhouse. Additionally, musician and illustrator Errol ‘Ajani’ Williams and child writer Bae Shantee Sewer. (Source – see Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late March 2022))

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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Reading Room and Gallery 40

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.

BLOGS

June was Caribbean American Heritage Month, prompting the return of the #readCaribbean and #CaribAthon hashtags around social media. Over on my other blog Jhohadli, I participated with some recommendations.

REPORTS

“Like any journalism, film criticism often displeases those being written about. And, like any journalists, film critics must have the support of their publications when that displeasure, usually coming from people far more powerful than any journalist, is made known — especially when that publication claims to report on the industry those powerful people inhabit,” the statement reads. “It is appalling that, in this instance, Variety chose to side with that power rather than supporting its writer.” – a report on the criticism of the response to criticism of criticism in The Wrap.

***

“James uses vibrant colors and draws on Ethiopian Christian iconography in her work, an influence evident in the wide, almond-shaped eyes of the people she depicts.” – Antigua-descended, Bronx-artist Laura James work discussed in Fordham News’ Behind the Cover: Together We Rise by Laura James

“In an effort to fight conoravirus fears, Antigua-rooted artist Laura James posted a painting powered message of hope on Facebook …” – read more about it in the NY Daily News.

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“I knew I wanted magic and I knew I wanted magical realism.” – Leone Ross discusses her new book Popisho/This One Sky Day with Alicia O’Keeffe in The Bookseller. Read in full.

STORIES/SHORT FICTION

“He remembered a time before, when his mother’s breath smelled of almonds and her neck smelled of roses and cinnamon. She used to hold him in her arms and he used to breathe her in. A long time ago.” – from Cam and the Maskless by Lisa Allen-Agostini in About Place Journal Vol. II Issue II Pandemic Blues

***

How to Marry an African President by Erica Sugo Anyadike – Wasafiri Magazine

“Your husband is no longer the authoritarian figure he was, tall, forbidding, back ramrod straight. His shoulders droop now, he falls asleep at the dinner table. Still he is respected and revered. What he says counts and he has crowned you his political heir.” – How to Marry an African President by Erica Sugo Anyadike

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“Carnival is much more than a show.” – Mario Picayo’s It Takes a Village read by Chef Julius Jackson

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“When she wakes up, she is alone on the back of a float, pieces of her costume missing and other pieces askew, and the mas yard is all but abandoned.”

This is an audio recording of my (Joanne C. Hillhouse) story Carnival Hangover as prepared for posting on the intersectantigua.com platform. It is read by Nneka Nicholas. Pay attention to the trigger warning.

INTERVIEWS/CONVERSATIONS

“I can’t think of any one favorite poem now. At present, I love the poetry of Dionne Brand, who is in many ways different from me politically. You know, she is an activist, LGBT, and we get on well, we talk well, I love her work. Somebody would want to know, how come I, kind of a conservative Christian, and this activist LGBT connect but we admire each other’s work. Our connection is the literature and writers we look to. I admire the vision and movements of her poetry.” – John Robert Lee in conversation with Andy Caul

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“I like to think of myself as a superhero.” – Ibtihaj Muhammad in conversation with Jewell Parker Rhodes (and vice versa)

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“I remember just really resenting how much my little body was policed as a child.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the birth of her feminism in this conversation on Bookshelfie.

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“I’m proud of this. I’m proud that I keep getting asked about the food… the challenge was to find different ways to make food beautiful, accessible, interesting, magical, multilayered.” – Leone Ross of Jamaica and Britain in conversation with American author Amber Sparks about her book Popisho/This One Sky Day.

***

“I wasn’t able to kind of bring out those nuances enough but I hint at them. The idea that the urban gay person has access to a culture and support network that the rural Indian boy…does not have. …and it really does seem to spin on socio economic factors.” – Trinidad born author Ingrid Persaud in conversation with Grenada born author and editor Jacob Ross about her book Love After Love.

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“We have a governor who is attempting to sell the magic and again, they push it away; again, society says we will not have it.” – Jamaican writers Leone Ross and Marlon James in conversation about Ross’ new book – Popisho in the US; This One Sky Day in the UK.

***

“My journey is my own and once I’m learning from it and growing from it, then it’s a success.” – Cherie Jones, Barbadian, author of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House, during the US Embassy celebrates World Book and Copyright Day with a Writers Book Chat featuring Cherie Jones ‘Inspiring Eastern Caribbean Female Writers’

***

“The beautiful thing about the creative arts, isn’t it, if you’re doing the thing you’ve always done, then you’re not really creating. For me, as challenging as these new endeavours are, because I always like to experiment, you’re always trying to discover the boundaries not only of your talent, of the ideas that are in your mind, of your potential, of your ability to imagine the world…. as a writer, you don’t get to see the side work as much, but I feel that we do that as well…it’s always about challenging yourself, push your boundaries technically but also express, …for me the things that I’m trying to understand, or the things that I’m trying to explore.” – me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) in conversation for World Book and Copyright Day with artist and award winning poet Danielle Boodoo Fortune, of Trinidad and Tobago, who has illustrated my books Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and The Jungle Outside. We discuss the process of creating together.

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

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late April 2021)

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

New(ish) Books

Not new(ish) books but a new discussion coming out of Bocas (and linked in this post) on the 100 Caribbean Books that Made us. (Source – Bocas)

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Trinbagonian writer and illustrator Danielle Boodoo Fortune has announced the imminent release of Sitting Moon: Colouring Meditations on Motherhood.

(Source – the author/artist’s facebook)

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From UWI Press, a number of biographies including Sheer Bliss: a Creole Journey by Michaela A. Calderaro, about Eliot Bliss, Stuart Hall by Annie Paul, and Una Marson by Lisa Thompson, among others. Go to UWI Press. (Source – N/A)

Check this out/Reports

The Ministry of Education (Antigua and Barbuda) has announced its first annual virtual symposium every Wednesday in May 2021, 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It will be held under the theme ‘Meaningful Research – Enabling, Informing, and Creative Positive Change’. (Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

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The Barbados-based US Embassy hosted Bajan writer Cherie Jones in a zoom for World Book and Copyright Day. Jones is writer of the acclaimed novel How the One-armed Sister Sweeps Her House. U.S. Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean Linda Taglialatela welcomed the participants and Haitian-American creative writer Inga Laurent guided the discussion. The first 25 registrants were eligible to receive How the One-armed Sister Sweeps Her House and the chat was to feature a contest to win additional titles, including Jones’ earlier collection The Burning Bush Women and Other Stories. I don’t know about you but I’m sorry that I missed it. (Source – US Embassy Bridgetown email)

World Book and Copyright Day was pretty busy in Antigua and Barbuda as well. Check it out.

***

Intersect Antigua and Barbuda, a gender advocacy group with a storytelling platform, has announced a new Caribbean feminist series, featuring two inspiring Caribbean women in history across their social media platforms once a month. The series launched on International Women’s Day in March 2021 and have since featured Una Marson, Mary Jane Seacole, and Amy Ashwood Garvey. There’s also this upcoming event:

(Source – Intersect newsletter)

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With the hopeful theme of “The Cure,” the 19th annual St. Martin Book Fair is scheduled for June 3 – 5, 2021.

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Volume 35 of The Caribbean Writer will launch this April at the Virgin Islands Literary Festival. ‘The 2020 edition, a tribute to the late literary icon Kamau Brathwaite, will be launched at the upcoming Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair (VI Lit Fest) hosted online from April 30 to May 2, 2021 under the theme, “Diasporic Rhythms II: Interrogating the Past; Imagining a Future”. The volume features poetic and prosaic tributes from award-winning authors and poets as well as not-before published submissions from “The Man Himself.” According to Program Chair Alscess Lewis-Brown, the issue is part of the collective outpourings of gratitude, remembrances and reminiscence lyricized in musings, tributes, celebrations of his life — a continual repast of ubiquitous reminders of his influence.’

The festival line-up includes Edwidge Dandicat, Kwame Dawes, Canisia Lubrin, Vladimir Lucien, Jacqueline Bishop, Rozena Maart, Summer Edward, Yona Deshommes, Chika Unigwe, Shara McCallum, Michela Calderaro, and Mervyn Taylor. Register here. Sign up to present at Book Bacchanal here. (Source – The Caribbean Writer email)

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The Bocas Lit Fest Programme

Read it here.

I know you’re looking forward to this list.

(Source – Bocas Lit Fest email)

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The Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association now has a website. About time. Here you can find back issues of the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books and other scholarly information re Antigua and Barbuda. Start reading here. (Source – email from the editor Professor Paget Henry)

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With lyrics penned by St. Lucian writer Adrian Augier, More than Just Islands is a new song and music video promoting marine conservation. It features the voices of several Organization of Eastern Caribbean States musical superstars including Antigua and Barbuda’s soca diva Claudette ‘CP’ Peters and Ricardo Drue. The initiative was spearheaded by managing director of Right Angle Imaging Barbara Jacobs-Small of St. Lucia, who said, “It advocates the singular importance of the OECS marine space to our lives, livelihoods, way of life and the promise of the Blue Economy for our region.” (Source – Barbara Jacobs-Small’s linkedin)

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Trinidad born US rap superstar Nicki Minaj and US folk rock legend Tracy Chapman had a copyright dispute that ended with the former reportedly agreeing to pay out US$450,000 to the latter. Is this just an opportunity to link the original version of Sorry/Baby, can I hold you tonight?, which was in heavy rotation back in the day?

Maybe.

But also this is relevant to a site like ours which does try to educate on literary and publishing matters. A previous ruling, reportedly, determined that the song which Chapman had refused requests to license to Minaj fell under fair use. The settlement means that the case won’t be returning to trial (and that judgment won’t be tested). But it’s an opportunity for an always timely reminder to respect copyright, make sure you have permission (from the creator and/or license holder) to use any content you did not create and/or that it falls firmly within fair use if you do use without seeking permission. Read the details here. (Source – The Root) See also Resources including links re legalities vis-a-vis creative works here on Wadadli Pen.

Wadadli Pen News

Judging for the Wadadli Pen Challenge is still in progress. Meantime, check out our patrons.

Congrats are due to

Tekiah Minott, 17, Antigua Girls High School, winner of the Carl Adrian Joseph photojournalist award.

***

Winners of the Priest Isaac Institute of Holistic Knowledge eighth annual Africa-themed essay competition here in Antigua and Barbuda, Johanna Jacobs, Nyeisha Chiddick, and John Germain. All three won electronic devices – tablets or laptops. (Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

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Halcyon Steel Orchestra, one of Antigua and Barbuda’s winningest pan orchestras, on reaching its 50th anniversary. The Grays Green musical band has 13 titles to its record, and has the distinction of being the only pan orchestra to ever 4-peat in the history of the local panorama. For its anniversary, the group is having a Keeping the Vibes Alive 50th anniversary facebook competition giving pan players domestic and abroad the opportunity to rearrange and present one of its winning panorama tunes. Follow via the #Halcyon50 hashtag. (Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

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Desiree Seebaran, winner of the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize for Poetry. This prize allows an emerging writer to improve her/his skills through mentorship for an entire year. St. Lucian poet (Canada-based) Canisia Lubrin is the winner of the OCM Bocas Prize with her book length narrative poem The Dyzgraphxst (see earlier post re the prize – below – re the other finalists) (Source – writers and book lovers and Bocas watchers on twitter)

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Kevin Jared Hosein, as the already mult-award winning Trini writer lands a major publishing deal. Don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Bookseller.com had to say:

‘Bloomsbury is to publish Devotion by Kevin Jared Hosein, after securing the title at auction for a “major” sum.

The novel, set in 1940s Trinidad and inspired by oral storytelling traditions, follows the intertwining lives of a wealthy couple and the poor families who live in the barracks below their farm, after the mysterious disappearance of the husband leads his wife to hire one of the barracks’ farmhands as a watchman. Described as a novel with “a huge moral canvas”, the book interrogates class and the consequences of powerlessness.

Alexis Kirschbaum, associate publisher, acquired UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) and audio rights to the novel from Chris Wellbelove at Aitken Alexander Associates. US rights were acquired at auction by Gabriella Doob at Ecco.

Hosein lives in Trinidad and Tobago. He was the winner of the overall Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2018, and of the Caribbean regional prize in 2015.’ Read more. (Source – Facebook)

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The Bocas Lit Fest and the three writers shortlisted for its main prize: poetry winner Canisia Lubrin (The Dyzgraphxst – a Quill & Quire Book of the Year), fiction winner Maisy Card (These Ghosts are Family), and non-fiction winner Andre Bagoo (The Undiscovered Country). Lubrin is from St. Lucia, Card from Jamaica, and Bagoo from Trinidad and Tobago. More here. (Source – Bocas email)

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Jamaican-British writer Leone Ross whose latest Popisho (also known asThis One Sky Day) debuts this month. It is getting a lot of hype (including lots of media coverage – e.g. in Bookseller.com, the Financial Times, and The Guardian). You can join her on any of her current tour stops (e.g. this one – click the image to register).

(Source – Leone Ross’ social media)

***

Journalist Daphne Ewing-Chow of Cayman who has been adjudged winner of the PAHO/CDB/CBU Award ‘Celebrating Responsible Coverage of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support During Covid-19’. “Ewing-Chow’s winning article, ‘Mental health professionals voice looming concerns for Cayman teens’, earned her a cash prize of US$500 and a certificate. It was the only entry across all three categories that met the criteria of the four-member judging panel. The report, published on January 26, 2021 on the online news website Loop Cayman, featured the personal experiences of teens in the Cayman Islands who were feeling the psychological impact of Covid-19 lockdown measures. It also provided insight from experts and offered tips for supporting teenagers struggling with mental health challenges.” (Source – Loop’s social media initially)

***

Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne who has landed a deal for two more books ahead of the summer 2021 release of her first US release Josephine Against the Sea (the Caribbean edition of which has been previously published with Jamaica’s Blue Banyan). See below (Source – Shakirah Bourne’s social media)

Read my recently posted review of the audio book of Bourne’s previously self-published In Time of Need.

***

The writers, including a number of Caribbean writers, shortlisted for this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The full line up is here but, of course, we single out for mention Andre Bagoo of Trinidad and Tobago, who was also recently announced as the winner of this year’s Bocas non-fiction prize, Heather Barker of Barbados, Rashad Hosein of Trinidad and Tobago, Sharma Taylor, originally of Jamaica, resident in Barbados, a multi-award winning short story writer whose book deal we announced in a recent Carib Lit Plus bulletin, and award winning novelist Roland Watson-Grant of Jamaica, who previously made the Commonwealth long list back in 2017. (Source – Twitter)

***

Shabier Kirchner, of Antigua and Barbuda, who recently wracked up awards for his work as cinematographer of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series, is attached to another winning project, Sundance short prize winner, Lizard.

Kirchner served as cinematographer on the project which was directed by Akinola Davies Jr. (Source – Facebook)

***

Lawson Lewis, local artist and filmmaker, whose ‘Neighbour’, part of an ad campaign for North Coast Hardware, has won a silver award at the American Advertising Federation Awards, through the Caribbean Advertising Federation. “We are the only Leeward Islands Agency to reach this far. Usually, the winners are from bigger islands with well-established agencies, like Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, and Puerto Rico. To be listed among them is a huge accomplishment,” Lewis was quoted as saying in the Daily Observer newspaper. “What the Silver means is that now we will actually move to compete in the Florida segment and if we manage to get a Gold or Silver then we move to nationals to compete against other states in the US.”

The series of ‘Neighbour’ ads created some social conversation around community values.

Lewis’ agency, Tarsier, previously won a Marcom Gold Award in 2019, in the animation category, for the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s Cool is Clean campaign. (Source – Lawson Lewis on Facebook initially)

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, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). 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.

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Reading Room and Gallery 39

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.

ESSAY/NON-FICTION

“Writing helps me attain knowledge of Trinidad and Tobago, helps me understand it and appreciate it, and helps me forgive the hurtful parts of it.” – from The Fishing Line by Kevin Jared Hosein

***

‘She carries Jamaica in her spirit, and particularly the rural Jamaica she grew up in, which is as she said “embedded in her heart beat”. They really couldn’t have picked a more Jamaican Jamaican from the esteemed writers of a culture that has produced so many great writers.’ – from my Olive Senior Appreciation Post on Wadadli Pen

***

“I am a black woman writer from Trinidad and Tobago. I was born here to Trinidadian parents. I have lived here all my life. I do not have an escape route to Elsewhere, whether the route is through money, family connections or non-TT citizenship.” – Lisa Allen-Agostini, 2018 in Repeating Islands

POETRY

“America, I am poor in all
ways fixed and unfixable. My poverty a bullet point” – from Double America by Safiya Sinclair, Montreal Poetry Prize International

INTERVIEWS/CONVERSATIONS

“It’s not just one influencing the other; to me they are one.” – Ava Duvernay re the relationship between art and activism, in discussion with The Root

***

“What was extremely important for me was coming to England in 1984. That was a few months after the US invasion of Grenada in 1983, and I arrived here with a profound sense of betrayal and outrage largely because I thought that story needed to be told from the point of the people who were at the receiving end of the guns and the canons and that invasion, and I had to write that rage..36 years later I’m just about doing the book.” – Jacob Ross

***

“When I was young, people didn’t think children could see or hear, they would do and say anything in front of them… but from my own experience, children hear a lot.” – Zee Edgell talking about her work in a 1990 Banyan TV interview (click on the image below and type pass word ‘zee’ to access)

***

“I wanted to create a book that would encourage people in Antigua and Barbuda to be proud of their identity… so instead of A is for Apple, let’s begin with A is for Arawak.” – Margaret Irish

***

“We were all asked to give details of what we wanted to see in terms of the art work, at least I know I was, and to me it’s like she took my thoughts and she somehow created almost exactly what I had in my head. That’s the way it felt (and)..it’s everything I would have wanted it to be. The people look as if they’re our people and there are a mix of people in the story book. And I say that because there are times when I’ve seen some books that are supposed to be our books and the people look perhaps the way other people think we look.” – Barbara Arrindell

***

“It’s about when you see these things to not get depressed by it and to make the change you can because you mightn’t be able to create the world you want to see but you can do one thing that does that and it’s very important that we do those things.” – Tanya Batson-Savage

MISC.

“It is revealed that all of the appointments to the University of the West Indies were vetted in London by a committee on which there was a representative of MI5 which aimed ‘to keep the university free of communism’. Within the West Indies communism was an elastic category into which were consigned anyone with an uncompromising relationship to the colonial order and its successor.” – from a public lecture by Richard Drayton

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“First, I made a collage of 6 recent rom-com covers I loved, that reflected the current look of the genre—hand-drawn fonts, bold color, big fonts. I noted I wanted an inclusive, modern design (no male/female cake topper or thin white bride etc).” – Georgia Clark, author of It Had To Be You on the process of conceptualizing a cover; click the instagram link to read (and see) more. (Source – direct author mail and instagram)

***

‘Impressionist/actor Jay Pharoah has a zeroed in on a few distinctive traits — some comics call them “handles” — to help flesh out his version of Biden; there’s the little rasp in his voice, as well as favorite Biden phrases like “c’mon man,” “malarkey” and, of course, “here’s the deal.” “The key to a great impression and keeping it fresh, is always trying to look for things that person does, that other people don’t know yet,” says Pharoah, who played President Barack Obama, Jay-Z, Denzel Washington and many more notables in six years on Saturday Night Live. With Biden poised to take office as the nation’s 46th president, comics like Pharoah face a crucial question: How to impersonate him in a way that really resonates? … Pharoah recalls Saturday Night Live sat on an idea he brought up when he joined the show in 2010; a character who was Obama’s more emotional subconscious. Years later, Comedy Central’s show Key & Peele debuted Obama’s “anger translator,” Luther, in a similar sketch, and Pharoah saw an opportunity missed. “There was not a Black person in America, sitting there while Barack Obama had to take everything that he took from the Republican party, [who didn’t think] ‘He has got to be ticked off,” Pharoah adds.’ – NPR

***

“So don’t start with exciting plot; start with people.” – Leone Ross, masterclass on characterization

***

“Film is so powerful, television is so powerful, it can literally change perception and change culture.” – Gina Prince Bythewood, writer-director of Love and Basketball, Beyond the Lights, and The Old Guard.

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

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late January 2021)

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

Appointments

Richards Georges, an award winning BVI writer with Trinidad and Antiguan roots, has been named the first ever Virgin Islands Poet Laureate. Per the image below, he was actually appointed back in November – I’m just tardy in posting.

As explained at the programme, the Poet Laureate is selected from among the territory’s most accomplished poets and must serve for three years. Nomination and appointment is based on the subject matter of their written work which should speak to the unique experience of the virgin islands and the volume, quantity, and quality of their work as evident by literary awards and other achievements. The laureate programme was established by the Minister of Culture. Richard who has specific duties under the laureate programme but who sets the intention of making time to write every day, said, ” ‘Writing isn’t just the physical act of writing, it’s researching, it’s reading, it’s thinking actively about a particular project.” You can find Richard’s books listed in the Antiguan and Barbudan poetry page. (Source – Social Media – Facebook; with additional links via email from House of Nehesi and John Robert Lee)

Accolades

Instagrammer shows love for two Antiguan and Barbudan books.

This was in a series breaking down the bookstagrammer’s favourite reads of the year. And since part of what we do here is amp up Antiguan and Barbudan books, I thought I’d share some of what she said:

Re Brand New – “I’m a fan of Rilzy Adams. She also writes about Antigua. “Brand New” is a spin-off from the Love on The Rock universe she created to tell the stories of ordinary Caribbean millennials looking for love in Antigua. I loved it because of the lead man (a teacher with dreadlocks…) but mostly because of the 90s party atmosphere.” She named Brand New named one of her top five #readCaribbean novels of 2020.

Re Dancing Nude in the Moonlight (10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings) – “I’m a fan of Joanne C. Hillhouse. Her writing (highlights) the issues of Caribbean societies. Here she tells the love story between a man from Antigua and an immigrant woman from the (Dominican) Republic. Colorism and xenophobia (complicate) a relationship that at its core seems doomed. I don’t put it higher in my ranking because (it’s) not a feel good romance. And I think the book is more about showing how one person tries to figure out which path to take in that actual romance. It is realistic and anchored in our present. …Although it was written more than 15 years ago.”

(Source – instagram/bookstagram)

***

Rilzy Adams (pen name of Rilys Adams, Antiguan and Barbudan romance writer and past Wadadli Pen finalist) is in the running for her book Go Deep for the Black Girls Who Write 2020 Award (an awards initiative targeted at Black romance writers and their readers, for Best Black Erotica – vote here). (Source – the author’s social media/facebook)

***

ETA: Roffey goes on to win the Costa Book of the Year Award for The Mermaid of Black Conch, of which BBC arts correspondent Rebecca Jones said: “At first, the novel might sound a bit odd. Set on a Caribbean island in the 1970s, it is a bittersweet love story between a beautiful young woman cursed to live as a mermaid and a fisherman.” Read all about it at BBC.com (Source – social media/facebook)

Trinis Ingrid Persaud and Monique Roffey were Costa Book Awards winners – first novel and novel, respectively.

(Source – Social Media – Facebook author announcement and other sources)

***

A portrait of late Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite hangs in Pembroke College in the UK. Jamaica-born Errol Lloyd was commissioned by the College to paint this first portrait of a BME Fellow to go on permanent display. “It is a great honour for us to be able to place Kamau amongst our other distinguished alumni, here in our Hall”, said the Master, Lord Smith. “He was a hugely distinguished, major international literary figure. He put Caribbean literature very firmly on the literary map.” – More at the College website. (Source – Email from St. Lucian poet John Robert Lee)

New Books

UK-Jamaican author Leone Ross’ latest This One Sky Day landed on January 15th 2021. It is published by the prestigious Faber & Faber, and, in the US, Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux. And promoting it, the author landed herself on the cover of Bookseller.

In the article, she said, of the gap between her las novel and this third work – 20 years (not counting her 2017 short story collection Come Let Us Sing Anyway) – ‘“It felt, for reasons I don’t quite understand, that everything went to sleep a little bit,” she says. “I think probably because I needed to hustle more, probably because I needed a different agent, we could say all kinds of things… I don’t know what I needed to do. But I do know that at the end of Orange Laughter I was exhausted emotionally. It had taken a lot to write those two novels over a very short period of time.” It felt, she says now, as though nobody was waiting for book number three, not that anyone should have been, she adds hastily. “I didn’t feel entitled, but also I didn’t get very much support. So I kind of thought, ‘Oh, that’s the end of that’.”’ As someone who first heard Ross read in Guadeloupe in 2013, becoming immediately intrigued, and as a fan of stories of hers like The Woman who lived in a Restaurant and The Mullerian Eminence in Peepal Tree collection Closure – both out in 2015, I believe – I have been waiting, and can’t wait to read. (Source – Leone Ross’ social media)

***

Two Caribbean specific Collins (UK) Big Cat books hit the UK market on January 7th 2021 – The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse (me) and Turtle Beach by Wadadli Pen team member and bookseller Barbara A. Arrindell, illustrated, respectively by Danielle Boodoo Fortune of Trinidad and Tobago and Zavian Archibald of Antigua and Barbuda. Per this post on The Spectator’s facebook page, Barbara’s book, though “a story set in the Caribbean, … goes beyond the Caribbean and highlights environmental issues of interest to everyone. Barbara’s hobby for swimming and love of beaches are strong influences this children’s book.” She noted the influence my mother and nephew had on my story, and, I would add, that it is, too, in its way a pro-environment story of potential appeal to young readers everywhere. Both will be rolled out in other markets in coming months. (Source – Petra Williams, The Spectator)

***

Trinidad and Tobago author Lisa Allen-Agostini (you may remember her from this interview here on the blog) is preparing to launch her latest book, The Bread The Devil Knead, her third overall and her first for adults, and first book since the award winning Home Home.

Cover art by Brianna McCarthy.

Launch day is in May 2021, ahead of which Lisa did this January 19th 2021 live special with TTT News on facebook. (Source – Lisa Allen-Agostini’s social media – facebook and instagram)

Showcase

Dominica/UK’s Papillote Press has launched a video series spotlighting its book titles. The series started with readings from teen/young adult titles Home Home by Trinidad and Tobago’s Lisa Allen-Agostini, Gone to Drift by Jamaica’s Diana McCaulay, The Art of White Roses by Puerto Rico’s Viviana Prado-Núñez, and Abraham’s Treasure by Dominica’s Joanne Skerrett; and continued with Riff: the Shake Keane Story, a biography of the poet and jazz musician, by Philip Nanton. Publisher Polly Pattullo, who introduces the readings with a personal note about each title, says, “Even though the pandemic has kept us apart it has also brought the Caribbean literary community together online. These readings in En Papillote are a way of bringing our authors and their important writing to readers everywhere.” The series will continue with other books across other genres and sub-genres in the Papillote catalogue. (Source – Papillote press release)

***

On January 20th 2021 (yes, that January 20th 2021), I was the virtual guest of the National Public Library, the first of the year for their Local Author of the Month series.

Next up is Shawn Maile, author of How to work Six Jobs on an Island, on February 17th 2021. (Source – Me)

***

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize channel, launched late in 2020, continues to add content – lately dramatized readers of past winners. Check them out and remember to like, comment, share, subscribe, and hit the notification bell.

Image and story from the first Wadadli Pen Challenge Awards in 2004. Go to YouTube for the full playlist of stories recorded between 2004-2005.

(Source – Me)

Press

Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine picked up news of the Caribbean Reader’s Awards in an article headlined ‘The 7 Best Caribbean Books for Your 2021 Reading List, According to Rebel Women Lit’s Readers’ Awards’. From the article: ‘The Caribbean Readers’ Awards are like the Goodreads’ Choice Awards in that they are completely reader-led. While it may be smaller in scale, the response was even greater than (co-founder Jherane) Patmore expected, with some readers already suggesting candidates for the 2021 awards. “I’m excited for new people to discover different genres and to have this space to celebrate literature that has been pushed aside or ignored,” Patmore tells OprahMag.com.’ Read the full article by Hearst magazines SEO manager Stephanie Castillo. (Source – Social Media in general)

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

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Reading Room and Gallery 31

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 31st  one which means there are 30 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

POETRY

“The woman is perfected.
Her dead
Body wears the smile of accomplishment…” – Edge by Sylvia Plath

***

‘“Unwritten: Caribbean Poems After the First World War” is an attempt to address this gap in the narrative.’ Those poets commissioned by this project, writing and researching new work, come from both the Caribbean, and the Caribbean diaspora. Performing are: Jay Bernard, Jay T John, Ishion Hutchinson, Kat Francois, Tanya Shirley, Vladimir Lucien, Charnell Lucien, Malika Booker and Karen McCarthy Woolf.’ – Unwritten

NEWS FEATURES & OPINION

“The fact that no importance is placed on storytelling makes me very frustrated not only because it puts so little value or emphasis on children’s creativity, but also because storytelling is more than simply an art – it is a crucial skill for life and commerce.” – Ditch the Grammar and Teach Children Storytelling Instead by Tim Lott

***

“Simon was a four-time Oscar nominee and a staggering 17-time Tony nominee; he won three times and received a special Tony in 1975, along with virtually every other honor a playwright can win, including the Pulitzer Prize for 1991’s Lost in Yonkers. Because he was so prolific, churning out more than 60 plays, screenplays, teleplays, and even contributions to musicals over the course of half a century, it’s hard to home in on his most important works, or even his most important decade. But here are four Simon works we think every theater lover should know.” – Vox on late American playwright Neil Simon

CREATING

“When I was 24 years old, I chanced upon this style of comedy. I was doing a very small cable TV show, it was a public access show in England called F2F and I was playing an early form of the character that became Ali G. In that version he was  called Joseline Cheadle Human. He was an upper-class wanna be rapper, skateboarder, lover of hip-hop. In this show, I would go out and shoot little segments and then I would sort of pop them into this live show. I shot a little thing with this character and then I saw a bunch of real-life Ali G’s. The director with me at the time, a guy called Mike Toppin, a brilliant ex-editor of evening comedies who happened to be working on this public access show. I said, those guys are like me and he said, go and speak with them. That moment changed my career. I interacted with them, I started trying to get on my skateboard and they are going, ‘you’re wack, man. That is ridiculous.’ They were mocking me, and after two minutes I came out of character and I said, ‘guys, I’m pretending. It’s not me.’ They were shocked, and I realized oh my God, I’ve found something. Suddenly a tourist bus turned up. I jumped on the tourist bus with a camera. I grabbed the microphone. I started rapping into the microphone. We got off the bus, I went into a pub and started breakdancing on the floor. They called the cops. I then went into the lobby of some big business firm and I said my dad ran the business, and security threw me out, and I was completely invigorated.

I took the stuff and would cut it into the live show, and by the third segment everything was cut. It went black. Somebody had pulled these pieces that we’d shot. I was pulled in front of the station chiefs afterward and they said, never do that again or I’d get sued. I knew at that point that I had found something. It was by chance, by luck. I chanced upon a new style of comedy, which was putting comedy characters into the real world. A week later there was a pro-hunting rally in England, which every member of the upper class was there, save the royal family, and I decided to go undercover as a foreign character. I’m driving down there and in the back seat. There’s a hat from Astrakhan in Southern Russia. I put it on my head and I come out of the car and I am basically an early form of Borat.

Hello, my name is…[he assumes the Borat accent]. I would start asking people, ‘excuse me. When we went hunting in Moldova, we like to hunt the Jew. Would you hunt the Jew here?’ And they’d start answering…[assumes upper crust British accent] ‘Well, actually…yes, so long as he was given a fair start. Yes, I would.’ And I suddenly realized here was a method that allowed people to really reveal their true feelings on camera. I came back home and I said to my flatmate, I think there’s a new style of comedy here that I’ve accidentally chanced upon, an undercover character comedy. I just started working on that and when the cable access show got shut down, I started developing a show for Borat, which was going to be undercover in a house with students with hidden cameras for three months, kind of an early form of Big Brother. It was not commissioned, but that is how all this happened.” – Sacha Baron Cohen

****

“To know a character, I have to understand what they want and what they’ve lost.” –  Bret Anthony Johnston

***

‘The short story is well placed for putting twists on simple things. Unlike the novel – in which the author is primarily concerned with world-building – the short story is typically centred on a moment or event and charged with a more playful energy. An author of three novels – The Beast of Kukuyo (2018), The Repenters (2016) and Littletown Secrets (2013) – Hosein felt ‘Passage’ was better suited for the short form, for its warmth, tension and confusion. “‘Passage’ works because of its set-up and quick deflection of expectations,” says Hosein. “There also had to be continuously rising tension that’s a lot more difficult to maintain in a novel, especially a novel that entails such few players.”’- Kevin Jared Hosein on The Culture Trip

THE BUSINESS

“1.Give anything you’ve just finished some time and space before you submit.

2.Try to be as objective as possible when you finally do return to that piece.

3.Be ready and willing to revise.

4.Know thyself. Be brutally honest.

5.In the end, go with your gut. If you think it’s ready, send it.” – Matt Mullins in Atticus Review newsletter

INTERVIEWS

“A sense of the inner wildness, the “untameness” that is always beneath the surface of people and places, is what drives many of the poems. In the process of writing and editing Doe Songs, I tried to access that inner wildness and to learn to see it in everything, to acknowledge that the domestic and the wild, the gentle and the feral are bound together so closely in all living things and places.” – Danielle Boodoo Fortune 

***

***

“What is the first thing you wrote?

When I was in sixth form, I studied literature for my “A” levels with Dennis Scott. We had finished with the syllabus fairly early, so Dennis invited his friends, Rex Nettleford, Mervyn Morris, Lorna Goodison, and Christopher Gonzalez, to name a few, to talk to us about music, art, and poetry. I believe it was after a lecture by Lorna Goodison that he gave us an assignment to visit any gallery and write an essay about what we saw.

I had arrived at the gallery late and begged one of the cleaning ladies to let me in. I told her it would only be a few minutes. She smiled with me and said, “Only ten minutes.”

When I walked into the gallery, a security guard was walking past a statue, “Eve” by Edna Manley. As he walked by the statue, he slapped the statue on the buttocks and said, “Big batty gal.” Talk about a visceral reaction to art.

I wrote the essay and then, published my first poem, “Eve (For E.M.)” in the Daily Gleaner.” – Geoffrey Philp interviewed for the Caribbean Literary Heritage website

***

“You know I think the jokes that work for white guys and their white guy comedian friends don’t work, always, for women of color. …” – Amber Tamblyn

***

What advice would you give to new writers starting out? Where to start? Kill adverbs. Use nouns and verbs. Adjectives are less useful than you think. Think about what you’re trying to say and then do that, plainly. Be kind to yourself – writing is hard. Read lots of stuff, everything, but try including some good ones, you know, that have critical acclaim. It does count for something. Grammar. Jesus Christ – fixing that is not an editor’s job, or it shouldn’t be. Go looking for your inspiration – be active. There is no bolt from the blue that will deliver you literary perfection – it takes work. READ. Most of the time the story will not just seek you out – you have to go find it. READ. Oh, and if you’re a poet, I beg you not to read poetry in that sing-song voice that so many put on at worthy events. Sorry, I know I’m supposed to be talking about shorts. READ. ” – Leone Ross

***

“For writers, dreams are where it’s at.” – Angela Barry

***

Who made reading important to you? When I was little, my older sisters read to me from time to time. I also have one memory of my father reading to me. He was not a very fluent reader and I remember him struggling with the words, but he tried very hard and put a lot of heart into it. I was about five or so and was very moved by it all; that reading experience fueled something and has remained with me on many levels.” – interview with Marcia Douglas

***

***

“If you’re prepared to be tough with yourself. That’s hard to instill in people – that you can have a lot of confidence and still be really tough. And also know it’s not factory work, it’s not office work, it’s not going to come out the same every day. And because this is the only place we write from, this self that we are, some days it’s a bit fucked up.” – Jeanette Winterson with Marlon James

***

‘And when someone asked me that [authority question], I said, “You mean… talent and imagination?”’ – Marlon James with Jeanette Winterson

FICTION

“The obit didn’t say how he died. Just that he left a wife, one son, a brother, and a mother behind.” – From Where We Rush Forth by Rachel Ann Brickner

***

“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, and the autumn her favorite dog killed her favorite cat on the brown, crisped grass of their front lawn, and the cold came so early that the apples on the trees froze and fell like stones dropped from heaven, and the fifth local Dominican teenager in as many months disappeared while walking home from her minimum-wage, dead-end job, leaving behind a kid sister and an unfinished journal and a bedroom in her mother’s house she’d never made enough to leave…” – Mary When You Follow Her By Carmen Maria Machado, Illustrations by Sergio García Sánchez

***

“‘Well me wasn’t there, but people say it, so I believe it,’ the man said, chuckling through a smile of missing teeth.” – An Elephant in Kingston by Marcus Bird

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.

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Salute

‘Peepal Tree Press is thrilled to announce that the Saboteur Awards judges shortlisted Leone Ross’s Come Let Us Sing Anyway (Peepal Tree Press) for the award for Best Short Story Collection.

This is Leone’s second nomination of the year, after she was nominated for the Jhalak Prize, which last year was won by Peepal Tree Associate Fiction Editor and author, Jacob Ross for his riveting Caribbean crime novel, The Bone Reader. Peepal Tree is no stranger to award success, with wins including the Clarissa Luard Award, the Forward Prize and the Casa de la Américas Literary Award.

Independent and small presses dominate the Saboteur Awards, which celebrate the best books published by the little guys of the book world.

“It’s very nice to be shortlisted,” Leone said. “There are so many wonderful books nominated this year, and the fact readers can vote directly makes me grateful for all the people who’ve read and enjoyed my book.”‘

Come let us sing anyway

CONGRATS to Leone Ross. Read more here.

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