Tag Archives: Literary

Two of My Faves

Cleaning out some files just now, I came across a release I neglected to share when it was still news (read it here: OESnews18-PresAward_6-2-2018). It concerns two Caribbean literary giants – Earl Lovelace of Trinidad and Tobago, and America-based Edwidge Dandicat of Haiti – being awarded by the St. Martin’s Book Fair. From the release: “The Presidents Award is presented to individuals and institutions whose work is noted
for its excellence and for combining literary, cultural, and liberation components in the service of progress, of their people or nation, and of humanity,” said Lasana M. Sekou, projects director at House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). I saw the accompanying photo and wanted to share it along with a note on each of these writers, two of my faves and writers you should know if you don’t already.

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Their books (the ones I’ve read)

Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994) – This was an Oprah’s Book Club pick (1998) right around the time a book club I was then a part of introduced me to it. Oprah being the literary king and queen maker at the time, it launched her in to the stratosphere not only as a major modern Caribbean voice but as a major author. It was uncomfortable and moving, dealing as it does with home, the mother-daughter dynamic, and purity tests for girls;  definitely a must-read.

The Farming of Bones (1998) – I credit the book club I was a part of at the time for introducing me to this one and unearthing, for me, a part of Caribbean history I knew  nothing about –  the massacre at the border between the two countries of Haitians by Dominicans at the behest of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1937. It rocked me in so many ways, thinking about how Haiti has inspired (as the singular example of Black people freeing themselves from bondage) and suffered (paying for their claiming of their ownership of themselves and their country) to this day; thinking of how so many Dominicans have, since the 1980s and continuing, made Antigua their home by that point, of earlier migration, decades before my birth of eastern Caribbean people to the Dominican Republic and other parts of Latin America, of Caribbean people moving for all sorts of reasons, economic and otherwise, of Black people, darker Black people especially, too often being treated as a stain upon the world, undesirables, of how to reconcile all of this ugliness, especially when from slavery to economic recolonization, we won’t even face it. What I liked about this book was the way it insisted we face it. The tensions between Haiti and the DR persist to this day (and Dandicat has become quite a vocal advocate for the humanity of Haitian people in these battles), Haiti is still treated like the world’s problem and not a self-determining nation that showed us the way, the colourist attitudes and their underpinnings in our enslavement is an issue we’ve barely scratched the surface of, but one of the things I like about fiction is how it mixes these big racial, social, historical, and geo political issues in to an engaging, and all too human, story that we can’t shake, long after we’ve forgotten the details. This is a masterpiece and easily one of my favourite books, period.

Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work (2010) – a collection of essays that while they spoke to the challenges of writing about Haiti, spoke to me as a writer trying to write truthfully, the bravery that that requires, and the fear that I may not be up to the task. I love this book for the insights it gives to Dandicat’s journeying but also for the ways it challenges me on my own.

Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (2010) – this gripping children’s book of a child trapped in the days after the major Haiti quake of that same year. I believe it was a fundraiser as the country struggled (struggles still) to find its footing; it was also a favourite of the Cushion Club Reading Club for Kids with which I volunteer (… or have).

Dandicat’s short fiction – of her loose short fiction, my favourite of the ones I’ve read is Ghosts which was published in the New Yorker.

Still on my to read list – Behind the Mountains (2002), The Dew Breaker (2004) , Anacaona: Golden Flower (2005),  Brother, I’m Dying (2007), Claire of the Sea Light (2013) – I’ve actually read excerpts of this one but not the whole book though the excerpts I’ve read make me want to read it in full, and Untwine (2015). Actually I could probably add all the books by her that I haven’t read yet to this list but I’m sticking with the ones already on my TBR.

I’ve read less of Lovelace (less even than I realized) and yet he looms just as large in my literary imagination – in part because he is always part of everyone’s conversation as a pure Caribbean artist who has influenced the way we tell our stories to the world, and is many people’s favourites. The one I remember reading, again with my book club back in the late 90s/early aughts, I believe, is The Wine of Astonishment (1982) – with that iconic cover and its use of Trinidad traditional stick fighting culture (an extension of Africa in the lives of these displaced Africans). The details are fuzzy but the Bolo character is one of the things/people/entities that imprinted on me from this book (and from many Caribbean books I’ve read); I love a great character. I’m now realizing as I write this that I may have only thought I read The Dragon Can’t Dance; it is one of those Caribbean classics you grow up with until it feels like you’ve read it because you know it so well…only, maybe not (this was me and Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea for the longest while). I can’t say for sure which probably means I need to re/read it. So I’m going to put The Dragon Can’t Dance back on the TBR alongside the ones already there – Is Just a Movie and Salt.

Their impact

Lovelace is “celebrated for his descriptive, dramatic fiction about West Indian culture. Using Trinidadian speech patterns and standard English, he probes the paradoxes often inherent in social change as well as the clash between rural and urban cultures.” (Britannica)

“Earl Lovelace is well known for his groundbreaking novels about carnival and
religion in Trinidad and Tobago, The Dragon Can’t Dance and The Wine of
Astonishment. His more recent award-winning novels, Salt and Is Just a Movie have
advanced his regional and international standing as a noted Caribbean author.” (from the press release re the St . Martin Book Fair 2018)

I remember we did an informal poll on the now (unfortunately) defunct Caribbean Literary Salon re favourite Caribbean writer and Lovelace won easily.

His awards include a 1980 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 1986 National Endowment for the Humanities grant, the 1997 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best book (Salt), being shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 1998, a 2002 Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of the West Indies, the 2011 Grand Prize for Caribbean Literature (Is Just a Movie), and the 2012 OCM Bocas Prize, fiction category and overall winner (Is Just a Movie) among others.

“Edwidge Danticat, (born January 19, 1969, Port-au-Prince, Haiti), Haitian American author whose works focus on the lives of women and their relationships. She also addresse(s) issues of power, injustice, and poverty.” (Britannica)

“Edwidge Danticat (Haiti/USA), a much in-demand writer around the world, is the
author of Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection; Krik? Krak!; The
Farming of Bones; and Claire of the Sea Light. She is the editor of The Butterfly’s Way:
Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States. A MacArthur fellow, Danticat
has written six books for children and young adults. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, is a
USA National Book Critics Circle Award winner.” (from the press release re the St . Martin Book Fair 2018)

When this blog posted on Caribbean Favourites in 2010, four Dandicat books were listed with fans of the book crediting The Farming of Bones for “unflinchingly and vividly rendering (a brutal chapter in Haitian-Dominican Republic history)”, Breath, Eyes, Memory’s “simply beautiful writing”, Krik? Krak? as a book that “weaves love, heartbreak, pride, pain, and raw human emotion” in to its storytelling (this fan also described Dandicat as “truly gifted in her story telling”), and The Dew Breaker as an example of “truly amazing writing” and “a powerful exploration of the effect of political violence on individuals and communities”.

Dandicat was named by Harper’s Bazaar as ‘1 of 20 people in their twenties who will make a difference’, featured in The New York Times as one of ’30 under 30′ people to watch, and called one of the ’15 Gutsiest Women of the Year’ by Jane magazine. She received fiction awards from Essence and Seventeen magazines. She won a Pushcart for Between the Pool and the Gardenias’, Granta magazine’s Best Young American Novelist prize (1996), the American Book Award for The Farming of Bones (1999), the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for The Dew Breaker (2005), and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for Create Dangerously (2011), among others. She is a repeat National Book Award nominee (Krik? Krak?, Brother, I’m Dying) and the recipient of honorary degrees from Smith College (2012), Yale (2013), and the University of the West Indies (2017) – possibly more. She is a MacArthur Fellows Program Genius Grant recipient (2009).

“Both authors are also courageous advocates for the advancement of Caribbean
sovereignty and human rights” (from the press release re the St . Martin Book Fair 2018)

Our crossings

I’ve met each of these authors at least once – Lovelace at the International Congress of Caribbean Writers (2013) and Dandicat at the Miami Book Fair (2018). It can be fun to meet your heroes…it can be uneventful; one was one of these and one was the other but both remain as mental keepsakes for a writer (me!) very much inspired by them both.

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. You’re also invited to follow me on my author blog http://jhohadli.wordpress.com 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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New Book – It’s Madness, Plus

(21/01/19 – ETA: Also new, Peepal Tree Book of Contemporary Caribbean Short Stories, “The collection includes the work of, amongst others, Opal Palmer Adisa, Christine Barrow, Rhoda Bharath, Jacqueline Bishop, Hazel Campbell, Merle Collins, Jacqueline Crooks, Kwame Dawes, Curdella Forbes, Ifeona Fulani, Kevin Jared Hosein, Keith Jardim, Barbara Jenkins, Meiling Jin, Cherie Jones, Helen Klonaris, Sharon Leach, Alecia McKenzie, Sharon Millar, Breanne Mc Ivor, Anton Nimblett, Geoffrey Philp, Velma Pollard, Jennifer Rahim, Raymond Ramcharitar, Jacob Ross, Leone Ross, Olive Senior, Jan Shinebourne and Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw.” Read more.

I’ve been meaning to share announcement re this Caribbean collection focused on madness in the writing of Caribbean wordsmiths.

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From an Antiguan-Barbudan standpoint, writings referenced include Freida Cassin’s With Silent Tread and Jamaica Kincaid’s writing in general, it seems, in, for one, a chapter entitled ‘Fighting Mad to Tell Her Story’: Madness, Rage, and Literary Self-Making in Jean Rhys and Jamaica Kincaid. The latter, if I’m reading the preview correctly, argues that “Jean Rhys and Jamaica Kincaid make(s) purposive use of ‘raving’ and ‘raging’ women in projects of literary self-making that are finely attuned to the geopolitical and cultural legacies of colonialism.”

More broadly, the book, Madness in Anglophone Caribbean Literature: On the Edge, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018, edited by Bénédicte Ledent, Evelyn O’Callaghan, and Daria Tunca, “takes an original view of madness as a potential space of political, cultural and artistic resistance, (and) looks at a wide range of Caribbean texts, including recent work”.

I’m interested in this, having touched on mental health issues (born of societal pressures in an uneven world) in my novel Oh Gad! and women dealing with the external and internal messiness of being in a lot of my writing – with the possible exception of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure (lol). And I agree that it (madness) has been under-discussed not just in criticism but in our Caribbean reality – plus I’m just interested in feminine emotions and how they are sometimes mis-categorized as irrationality and/or madness, and how on the page female characters are, problematically, expected to be likeable (or else) – and things of that sort.  So, I’ll likely check it out at some point; and you can too.

(summary)
“This collection takes as its starting point the ubiquitous representation of various forms of mental illness, breakdown and psychopathology in Caribbean writing, and the fact that this topic has been relatively neglected in criticism, especially in Anglophone texts, apart from the scholarship devoted to Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966). The contributions to this volume demonstrate that much remains to be done in rethinking the trope of “madness” across Caribbean literature by local and diaspora writers. This book asks how focusing on literary manifestations of apparent mental aberration can extend our understanding of Caribbean narrative and culture, and can help us to interrogate the norms that have been used to categorize art from the region, as well as the boundaries between notions of rationality, transcendence and insanity across cultures.”

Chapters listed are “Kingston Full of Them”: Madwomen at the Crossroads by Kelly Baker Josephs, “Fighting Mad to Tell Her Story”: Madness, Rage, and Literary Self-Making in Jean Rhys and Jamaica Kincaid by Denise deCaires Narain, Madness and Silence in Caryl Phillips’s A Distant Shore and In the Falling Snow by Ping Su, Speaking of Madness in the First Person/Speaking Madness in the Second Person? Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and “The Cheater’s Guide to Love” by Delphine Munos, What Is “Worse Besides”? An Ecocritical Reading of Madness in Caribbean Literature by Carine M. Mardorossian, Performing Delusional Evil: Jamaica Kincaid’s The Autobiography of My Mother by Rebecca Romdhani, Horizons of Desire in Caribbean Queer Speculative Fiction: Marlon James’s John Crow’s Devil by Michael A. Bucknor, When Seeing Is Believing: Enduring Injustice in Merle Collins’s The Colour of Forgetting by Alison Donnell, Migrant Madness or Poetics of Spirit? Teaching Fiction by Erna Brodber and Kei Miller by Evelyn O’Callaghan, and (Re)Locating Madness and Prophesy: An Interview with Kei Miller by Rebecca Romdhani. (Palgrave)

Should be an interesting read.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

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Carnival in to Arts

Carnival is, of course, an art form consisting of and celebrating many art forms in its own right, but I’m calling this post Carnival in to Arts because it announces the Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters 13th issue Carnival Suite. The Anu Lakhan edited issue sees Carnival through the perspective of the literary and visual arts with poetry, fiction, essays, sculpture, gaming, mas, painting from creatives across the Caribbean.

Moko

The Antigua Carnival pre-season has already opened up (meanwhile, Caribana in Barbuda was recently cancelled due to the slow recovery from last September’s hurricane Irma and no doubt the fact that most Barbudans are still not home). So you can go ahead and add this Moko issue to your reading to get in to the spirit of things. I’m in the issue with A Life in Mas, an essay on, well, my life in mas, leading up to my experience of bringing a character from my children’s picture book With Grace to the road last Carnival 1– being a mas leader, which is a very generous way of putting it considering that we were the micro-est of mas, was a one-and-done experience though I did receive a registration reminder this year from the Carnival office. I will never be done with Carnival though. In fact, as I type this I realize this is my third time being published in Moko which previously published my poem Children Melee and my short story Game Changer, both of which are also Carnival themed. So, let this be a reminder, whatever your passions, write them and seize the opportunities to insert them in to the conversation. Moko is an opportunity to do just that as not just another market (albeit a non-paying one) but one of the few Caribbean-specific markets for creative work – a platform that allows you to occupy a small space in the Caribbean literary canon (Antigua and Barbuda, why not us?) and a journal that helps your writing to evolve by putting you through the rigor of selection and editing. So, challenge yourself. Get out there.

Shout out to Moko’s founding editors, the British Virgin Islands’ Richard Georges and David Knight Jr. who didn’t let their own hurricane lashing disrupt their agenda to create pan-Caribbean connections through the arts. I’m looking forward to reading this issue – the writers whose work I already know (like St. Lucia’s John Robert Lee, Bermuda’s Nancy Anne Miller, and Trinidad & Tobago’s Lisa Allen-Agostini and Barbara Jenkins; and the writers and artists whose work I have yet to discover. Check it out.

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

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Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed Vll

This picks up where the previous Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed pages left off (there was one, two, three, four, five , six – use the search feature to the right to dig them up if the links don’t work).  As with those earlier pages, it features reviews about A & B writings that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible/professional reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. It’s all shared in an effort to underscore Antigua and Barbuda’s presence in the Caribbean literary canon.

“…what’s most intriguing is Dot Kid’s magnificently imaginative editorial photographs that capture the surreal and otherworldly in beautifully compelling ways.” – AfroPunk on the art of Antigua-Barbuda’s Dot Kid.

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FWbook_cover_V10-1-766x1024‘What he left behind suggests that he is among the great visionaries of the late-20th and early 21st centuries. The sampling at the Armory is enough to immerse us in Walter’s world. His colors are beautiful, glowing, opaque primaries, pastel yellows, reds, blues, cream, and thalo greens. His touch is careful — he knows what he’s trying to depict; surfaces are scumbled, rough, and awkward, like his mind is moving faster than the brush — his hand trying to keep up, get it all down. He also paints foggy or iridescent washes with tissue-like attention to changes of brush direction. It’s impossible when looking at his work not to sometimes think of modern artists like Cocteau, Picasso, and Kandinsky, as well as contemporary artists like Chris Ofili, Peter Doig, Chris Martin, Nicole Eisenman, even Mary Heilmann. A startlingly abstract image of geometrically divided stars within faceted, colored circles instantly suggests the visionary greatness of my all-time favorite American 20th-century painter, Marsden Hartley. Indeed, Walter gives the work a title that Hartley would have understood: “Psycho Geometries.” We see jet-black faces that recall Kerry James Marshall. There are strange Whistler-like nocturnal scenes of seasides and waves. A mystical series titled “Meditative Patterns” pictures dot-patterns of crowns, hearts, birds, spiderwebs, and petroglyphs.’  – Vulture.com in a piece entitled Antiguan Master Frank Walter is a Revelation at ADAA

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“In her debut collection of poetry, Marilyn Sargeant, a contemplative and introspective writer, as well as light-hearted and playful in her verses, presents her readers with both narrative and lyrical poetry that is innocent and explorative, as well as dark and brooding—touching upon topics which have stood the test of time in their truth and importance for contemporary audiences.” – Anna Grace, B.A.H. Eng. Lit., M.Ed.

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“Dolphin the Arctic seal is a playful, adorable seal who easily gets distracted and “day-dreamy.” Thanks to his wandering mind, he’s about to go on a very big adventure, and young readers will love following along to see what happens.” – The Feathered Quill reviews Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure

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“Joanne Hillhouse is a powerful writer, raising questions directly and with great energy.” – Literary Hub’s 10 Female Caribbean Authors You Should Know (and Add to Your American Lit Syllabus)

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“Written in Hillhouse’s strong poetic voice, With Grace spins a magic-laden story of the universal battle between good and evil. But it is far from ordinary. An involved tale, With Grace takes the reader on a series of twists and turns as Hillhouse explores the limits of human capacity for tolerance and meanness.” – read the full review by children’s book author and publisher Carol Mitchell

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Lost books“Children will likely relate well to this story of getting lost while daydreaming and to the reassurance that kindly adults will look after strays. The book also gives them a chance to learn more about the work of environmentalists and Caribbean sea life.

An appealing book, all the more so for being based on real life.” – Kirkus Reviews on Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure

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Re Dorbrene O’Marde’s play This World Spin One Way:

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“Dorbrene O’Marde’s best written play, and probably the best play written by an Antiguan….” – Tim Hector

“…really good. Everyone should go. It was a combination of funny and sad. A must see!” – The Daily News (St. Thomas)

“…subtle and well-suited to the universal themes of the ups and downs of love affairs… The two main characters (played by Alvin G. Edwards and Zeinab C. Sekai) created plentiful tension that kept the audience hanging on to their every word, wondering how it would all turn out. They made sparks fly” – The Dominica Online Review

“(This World Spin One Way is) about very intimate human relations, disappointments – finding oneself…..it is about the choices people make in life. I am interested in the discussions after people see the play. It will make everyone reflect on their life.’ – Jean Small of the University of the West Indies School of Drama who directed the St. Thomas version

“(This World Spin One Way) is a wonderful source of entertainment that laudably raises important issues from the Caribbean perspective’. She suggests that ‘O’Marde writes to validate the unique aspects of social behaviour in the Caribbean including not only intimate relationships but also the exercise of authority.’ – Drama critic Barbara Twine Thomas

“(This World Spin One Way explores) complex relationships between men and women that permeate life in our islands. It is thought provoking….you’ll find yourself flashing-back to O’Marde’s drama in days to come.” – David Edgecombe – who produced the first version of this play and directed the second

“There were some very powerful scenes in this play….the audience ate them up. The artists’ creative juices blend in a most delightful, funny and provocative play. It will surely prompt discussions among those who were fortunate enough to see it during its short run here.” – Dorrett Phipps/Night Crawler

“While there was considerable sexual overtone in the play, I found it subtle and well-suited to the universal themes of the ups and downs of love affairs …as well as betrayal, misunderstandings and nostalgia about past relationships.  The two main characters created, These two main characters … (made) sparks fly easily (and) … created plentiful tension that kept the audience hanging on to their every word, wondering how it would all turn out.” – Ti Domnik Tales commenting on the 2014 staging in Dominica where the main characters were played by Alvin G Edwards and
Zenaib C. Sekai

“Good play, well written play, well directed play, well-staged play (for the most part), good performances all around but especially so that of Dr. Alvin Edwards, not because his character was likeable, he often wasn’t, but because he so successfully made him human.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse for Wadadli Pen

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Time to Talk “You don’t have to be a cricket fan to enjoy Curtly Ambrose’s Time to Talk.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse (exclusive to Wadadli Pen) 

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“O’Marde’s first book after a well-established reputation as a playwright, the fictional book Send out you Hand, was weighted and slow by comparison – exposition heavy, the characters too often coming across as mouthpieces for the writer’s intellectual concerns rather than fully drawn people.

In Nobody, O’Marde invests more successfully in the characterization and humanization of his subjects, making them (Short Shirt, Short Shirt’s writers, and, in fact, calypso, more relatable, complex, and interesting) while at the same time tying them all, Short Shirt and calypso especially, in to the larger cultural and societal shift.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse on Dorbrene O’Marde’s Nobody Go Run Me in the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books

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untitledn“I found the last story, the most domestic of the stories, dealing with a mother’s death and its impact on her family, to be, strangely enough, the most interesting of the three. This story, Chasing Horses, love that title, is also included in the new anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan writing, So the Nailhead Bend So the Story End, edited by Althea Prince.  I did wonder, what it might have sounded like from a single perspective like the story of the Governor’s wife kidnapped by the Kalinago and then exiled by her husband or the progressive Bishop trying to build a church community in a socially and racially divided island, instead of shifting from point of view to point of view. I enjoyed and empathized with the other children’s voices, yes. But, as the reader I was particularly interested in how Irene, the oldest daughter whose life was most transformed by her mother’s death, was processing the changes in her life. I felt that sticking with her perspective could have sharpened the thematic focus with respect to what it was like for girls then when it came to the intersection of family obligation and personal ambition.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse on Barbara Arrindell’s The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories, originally published in the Daily Observer, archived to Wadadli Pen

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“This book is also interesting, as noted, for the insight it offers to the immigrant experience.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse’s review of Althea Romeo-Mark’s If the Dust Would Settle, originally published in the Daily Observer, archived to Wadadli Pen

 

 

 

 

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Mailbox – Lit Culture

Teacher Cray (Cray Mahalia Francis, author of children’s book Honey Dew’s Carnival Fever) has produced a pilot for her new independently produced literary themed show. Check it out:

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!, Fish Outta Water, With Grace, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. Do not re-use content without permission and credit. 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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Who were some of your coming-of-age heroines?

I did one of those procrastinating online quizzes; this one, ‘which literary heroine are you?’ And something in my answers – or, who knows, maybe everybody gets the same answer – told them I was Jo March of Little Women (and I’m okay with that…I love that book, as you’ll see, and even visited the […]

via My Pre-and-Teen Lit Heroines, A Look Back — jhohadli

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Mailbox – Word!

Caribbean Cultural Theatre’s Caribbean Lit Fest is coming up in June – Caribbean American Heritage Month – and will celebrate Caribbean Literary Classics, Old and New!

The afternoon-long program in New York has activities for book lovers of all ages of readings, author signings and discussion, as well as film screenings based on the work of Caribbean literary pioneers. It promises new venues, new programs, new writers (including Antigua and Barbuda’s Cray Francis), and new stories.

In the tri-state area? Go here for the breakdown.

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Literary Carnival

How’s this for a cool idea, a literal literary Carnival.

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Little Bell Caribbean (publisher of my book With Grace) worked with local stakeholders (like the Ministry of Education, the business community, and mas builders) in the US Virgin Islands carnivals to give characters from their catalogue of children’s book a visible presence on the road – why should Dora and Sponge Bob have all the fun, right?

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Publisher Mario Picayo explained that the kids themselves worked on all the pieces under the instructions of the puppeteer. One hundred and two papier mâché  stick puppets were made – 64 of which were used on St. Croix and 102 due for a showing at St. Thomas Carnival in April. Five large puppets were also made.

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IMG_4264For St. Thomas they plan to add a Green Sea Turtle, big enough to be carried by three students. It will be a preview of a new book for the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge (GSRC) about Caribbean sea turtles.

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Pretty cool, huh?

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, and With Grace; also a freelance writer, editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator). Excerpting, reblogging, linking etc. is fine, but PLEASE do not lift ANY content (images or text) wholesale from this site without asking first and crediting the creator of that work and/or copyright holder. All Rights Reserved. If you like the content here follow or recommend the blog, also, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. Thank you.

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Dis ‘n Dat

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

Updating these links, it hits me how impermanent the web is (though we like to say the internet is forever): so many sites have gone altogether or gone stagnant since Wadadli Pen started and since I started keeping this list. We’re still here though; let’s have a party! But first, check out the links.

Antigua – history in pictures (archival photos)

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Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association – this is the organization behind the Antigua Conference and the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books, two initiatives that have fueled inquiry into and documentation of the Antigua and Barbuda literary culture and a range of socio-economic and historical issues and personalities; while connecting the deep and vast network of scholars from Antigua and Barbuda.

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Antigua Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra

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Antiguan, Nadine has two interesting, I would say lifestyle blogs. One, Local Flavours Added, can be found here and the other, Antigua A La Carte, can be found here.

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http://www.antiguanice.com – Before Wadadli Pen ever had its own site, it had a page on Antigua Nice, the country’s local online hub, thanks to the generosity of Colin and Alison Sly-Adams.

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http://antiguamusic.com – Antiguan and Barbudan music.

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http://antiguastories.wordpress.com/about/ – The Friends of Antigua Public Library is interested in collecting oral histories; some of them are posted here. Do you have a story to share? I’m sure they’d like to hear it.

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The Antiguanization Project – here’s their facebook

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Virtual home of the Antigua and Barbuda Progressive Society based in New York.

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Antiguan Writer – this is my current you tube channel

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Archeology Antigua with Dr. Reginald Murphy, director of Heritage Resources for the National Parks Antigua, president of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology, affiliated Professor of the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center, co-director on the Human Eco-dynamics Research Group CUNY Graduate Center, co-founder and President of the Museum of Antigua, and the Secretary General for the National Commission UNESCO Antigua and Barbuda. Dr. Murphy is, also, a “Restoration Ambassador to the St. John’s Cathedral, a trustee of the Clarence House Restoration Trust in the U.K., Chairman of the Betty’s Hope Estate Project, and a director of the Barbuda Research and Archaeological Center.

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Badass Black Girl vlog co-hosted by Haitian-American writer M. J. Fievre.

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Best of Books Antigua on facebook.

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Black Public Media.

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Need to get around by bus in Antigua but don’t know the routes? You’ll want to check out Bus Stop Antigua.

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A charity to aid Caribbean Children.

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The Caribbean Commons which primarily announces Caribbean Studies events and publications of interest.

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Caribbean Painters

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Create Caribbean – out of Dominica, a research institute allied with the Dominica State College.

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http://danielleboodoofortune.blogspot.com – I’ve been a fan of Trini Danielle Boodoo Fortune’s poetry since I met and shared a panel with her in Barbados in 2008. Who knew she was such a delightful artist as well?

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Danish West Indies – online searchable historical records.

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http://www.darienbookaid.org – In existence since 1949, Darien Book Aid is a non-profit, all volunteer organization that builds a foundation of peace, understanding, and friendship through the free distribution of books. Book Aid sends books in response to specific requests from Peace Corps volunteers,  libraries and schools all over the world   Books are also donated to libraries, prisons, hospitals, and Native American and Appalachian groups in the United States. Among the groups, Dariend Book Aid has donated to is the Cushion Club right here in Antigua.

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Daily Writing Tips – link of writing prompts.

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DDX Channel – This YouTube find has interviews with various Caribbean personalities – across sports, academia, the arts, media, and more. Its founder and interviewer hails from London. He is a Brit of Caribbean descent – born to a Caribbean mother and a English-born father of Caribbean descent.  He has a deep interest in Caribbean history and a desire to document interesting people, capturing their stories while they’re healthy and alive, for his own enjoyment and to give others an insight in to what they do. Which, in addition to being a resource for school work or other purpose, can be useful in helping people learn more about themselves. This is the video that led me to the site, an interview with Antiguan and Barbudan scholar Dr. Natasha Lightfoot

and this is the one that sold me on the channel, this delightfully unorthodox interview (what DDX calls a Thread Bag Session) with local star sprinter Cejhae Greene.

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Frank Walter – a site dedicated posthumously to showcasing the life and work of the late Antiguan and Barbudan artist.

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http://freshmilkbarbados.com/ – Fresh Milk is a Caribbean non-profit, artist-led, inter-disciplinary organization that supports creatives and promotes wise social, economic, and environmental stewardship through creative engagement with society and by cultivating excellence in the arts.

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Antigua-based artist Gilly Gobinet has a website where she blogs on active projects; interesting for those interested in process.

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History of Antigua and Barbuda in Writings, Photographs, and Stories by Dr. Susan Lowes

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The History Makers

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http://islandstyle.typepad.com – Okay, so this site isn’t strictly literary but the blogger (an Antiguan) does have an engaging style and occasionally posts excerpts of fictions. But mostly it’s about fashion…and what’s wrong with that?

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Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology – I kind of wish Arts was in there but …

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The Museum of Antigua and Barbuda – Opened in 1985 and housed in one of the oldest and best preserved buildings on the island, this is, of course, one of the best spots for exploring Antigua and Barbuda’s history. See the old Museum site.

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Museum of Photography and Fine Arts – Photo museum showcasing the history of Antigua & Barbuda – a project of photographer and publisher Timothy Payne – located in the upstairs gallery at the Multipurpose Centre Perry Bay – the subject matter is mostly historical

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National Archives database – digitization of some of the material related to the history of Antigua and Barbuda.

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Nugents of Antigua – bumped across this bit of local history, thought I’d share it.

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Other Artists – a gallery page that includes bios of several Antiguan and Barbudan artists.

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Permit me to mention this other artist, Barbadian artist Sheena Rose, whom I had the opportunity to profile for my former Zing column Creative Space – http://sroseart.tumblr.com/

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I edited a book for this blogger, a delicious culinary book. It’s not in wide release yet; meantime, check out her blog: Sitting in a Mango Tree.

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It’s a little known secret that while I don’t cook (well), I do watch cooking shows and troll cooking sites like this one: Tastes Like Home.

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TED Talks like this one by Sir Ken Robinson on how schools as currently constructed kill creativity, Tracey Chevalier’s wonderful presentation on finding the story inside the painting, and Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s powerful presentation the Danger of a Single Story

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Travelling Light – this site is on a mission to collect an object – physical or virtual – from every country in the world. And, yes, I sent them something from Antigua and Barbuda.

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I like the beauty of Van Gogh’s art and find his life so fascinating…fascinating like I’d like to see it on screen someday, with maybe Michael Fassbender in the title role…yeah, I’d go see that…in the meantime, check out the man and his work – Van Gogh, not Fassbender – here at the Van Gogh Gallery.

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Wadadli Short Film Festival – bringing films from all over the world to Antigua and Barbuda.

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Wadadli West USA – US based group connected to the Villa/Point community in Antigua.

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http://www.youtube.com/user/WayneBowen – Jamaican Wayne Bowen’s vid uploads

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White Creole Conversations –  a new dialogue privileging open and honest communication. Rather than asking ‘who am I?’ the question posed might be ‘who are you?’ The focus of the conversations pivot on issues to do with race and class in this small post-colonial island space and take place between the artist and the participant.

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http://womenspeak.tumblr.com/ – This is a space for women to share their stories, embrace their power, and celebrate their womanhood. It’s also a space of vulnerability and pain where the struggles and sacrifices are spotlighted. It’s an inclusive space, constantly updated with information and prompts designed to engage the reader in the process. Also, it’s 100 percent Caribbean. Check it out.

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WiWords – a user driven online dictionary of Caribbean terms.

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Hard to get printed historical material seems to be available through this site.

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Met Annie Paul at the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars conference in 2012. This is where she blogs on the literary arts and other things. Also had the opportunity to reconnect with well known author, literary scholar and former professor Carolyn Cooper and like Paul she is another thought provoking blogger out of Jamaica. Here’s where she stirs it up.

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As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, 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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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business

Caribbean Literary Resources

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

Now, in mostly alphabetical order…

ACalabash interviews with writers.

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The Allen Prize is committed to the development of young writers in Trinidad and Tobago much like Wadadli Pen is committed to the development of young writers in Antigua and Barbuda.

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 – Anansesem is an online magazine devoted to Caribbean children’s and young adult literature written by both new and established writers.

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The Anansesem Bookstore – featuring own voices books for children from, in, and of the Caribbean.

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ArtsEtc Inc. is an independent Barbadian publishing company and cultural forum founded in 2003 by writers Linda M. Deane and Robert Edison Sandiford. It aims to be the premier cultural forum for Barbados, offering readers independent, authoritative, entertaining, and timeless perspectives in words and pictures on all aspects of the nation’s arts.

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Beyond Publishing Caribbean is an interesting space for anyone interested in art-comics-graphic novels etc.

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BIM: Arts for the 21st Century is one of the older if not the oldest surviving Caribbean literary journal. It is non-paying (to the best of my knowledge) but as the first pub of many a literary luminary is still a good credit to have.

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Calabash International Literary Festival – I attended this with a group of Antiguan writers in 2007. It’s held in St. Elizabeth and included readings from esteemed writers from all over including all parts of the Commonwealth since the top contenders for the Commonwealth Writer Prize were there as well. It was fun but a good learning and networking experience as well.

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Calabash is a Caribbean-focused international literary journal published out of NYU. It hasn’t been updated in some time but the content is archived, so you can still check it out. You’ll find interviews with literary elders, reviews, poetry (including three of mine in the Summer 2007 issue), short stories and not just from the English speaking Caribbean.

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Caribbean Adventure Series is  a series of historical-fantasy-adventure children’s books by Nevisian Carol Ottley-Mitchell. She landed here after becoming one of the first wider Caribbean authors to contribute to Wadadli Pen and other local projects like the Cushion Club and the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project. She has since become through her indie publishing company Caribbean Reads Publishing, the publisher of my teen/young adult novel, Burt Award finalist, Musical Youth.

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Caribbean Books is a promotional platform for Caribbean writers.

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Caribbean Book Blog focusses on publishing trends especially for the do-it-yourselfer, and also has interesting coverage of book clubs, authors, readings etc.

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Caribbean Children’s Fiction – This is the blog spot of Hazel Campbell, veteran Caribbean children’s writer, who provides invaluable tips on readying your work for publication, issues in Caribbean literature with an emphasis on children’s literature, and other writing news.

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Caribbean Civilization Tumblr shares things cultural and artistic from around the Caribbean virtual space.

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Caribbean Intelligence shares news and analysis about the Caribbean. They were also running a writing contest at the time they caught our eye.

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Caribbean Literary Action Group is self-described as “a working group of Caribbean writers, publishers, academics, festival coordinators and other persons from the literary sphere, with a shared interest in promoting Caribbean writing and publishing…(and the site is a) central resource for writers and publishers to gain information on publishing, marketing, distribution and bookselling in the Caribbean and to share their expertise and best practices.”

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Caribbean Literary Heritage is a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust that promotes literary and archival preservation in the Caribbean and the diaspora, as well as bridging connections between the literary past and present with an interest in exploring the new challenges and possibilities of born digital initiatives.

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 – the Caribbean Literary Salon– hats off to Anouska Kock, a freelance journalist and writer, born in the Netherlands to Dutch Surinamese parents and resident in Aruba, who drew Caribbean writers in to this virtual space to workshop, network, and support and promote each other. With more institutional support it could have been really something (but, alas); it now seems to be dormant or dead.

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Caribbean Passion is, per the blog’s about page, “the Caribbean’s first line of Romance novellas.”

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Caribbean Press downloadable library

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The Caribbean Review of Books

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Caribbean Science Fiction – A site for readers looking for Caribbean Science Fiction, Caribbean Science Fiction writers looking for a community, and for researchers looking to link up with others writing about Caribbean Science Fiction.

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The Caribbean Writer, produced by the University of the Virgin Islands, is in the top tier of Caribbean literary journals. Order copies by emailing orders@thecaribbeanwriter.org

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Caribbean Studies Association self-describes as an independent professional organization devoted to the promotion of Caribbean studies from a multidisciplinary, multicultural point of view. It is the primary association for scholars and practitioners working on the Caribbean Region (including Central America and the Caribbean Coast of South America).

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Caribbean Tales defines itself as the first full-service film sales, and distribution company in the English-speaking Caribbean with the aim of becoming the reference point for producers and buyers of Caribbean-filmed content.

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Caribbean Writers tumblr   celebrates Caribbean writers by sharing excerpts from their work.

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Danielle Boodoo Fortune‘s art can be found here.

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Diane Browne’s Blog focuses on Caribbean Children’s Literature.

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The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) provides  users with access to Caribbean cultural, historical and research  materials held in archives, libraries, and private collections, including but not limited to: newspapers, archives of  Caribbean leaders and governments, official documents, documentation  and numeric data for ecosystems, scientific scholarship, historic and  contemporary maps, oral and popular histories, travel accounts,  literature and poetry, musical expressions, and artifacts. One of the publications archived at dLOC is the Ma Comere Literary Journal, a publication of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars. Archived there are issues covering a number of years 1998 to 2009. Ma Comere was the first to publish a poem of mine (Philly Ramblings 8) internationally and more recently the ACWWS hosted me at its 13th annual conference. Lots of good reading, scholarly and creative to be found in its pages.

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Geoffrey Philp is a JAmerican author, who teaches at Miami Dade College and still finds time to maintain this very rich blog. It has author insights, Caribbean lit news, reviews, and interviews.

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Get Write! is the website of Bajan writer and filmmaker Shakirah Bourne.

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Groundation Grenada is a Collective developed by Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe and Richie Maitland to share the vision that Grenadian Society is fertile for positive change, requiring simply the necessary seeds and by extension the seed sowers.

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Hands Across the Sea is a US charity that helps stock school libraries across the Caribbean.

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Helen Williams aka Billy Elm (Delroy in the Marog Kingdom) – Beyond the Marog Kingdom – writes about literacy issues and the literary arts.

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Interviewing the Caribbean (IC),  founded and edited by Opal Palmer Adisa, is an online/print journal that celebrates Caribbean artists everywhere. Each issue features works from Caribbean artists at home and in the Diaspora and, as the title implies, the mode is interview.

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Island Fiction Series blog by Joanne Gail Johnson has interesting and insightful publishing industry perspectives.

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Jamaica Writes – a  group of Jamaicans who write and take photos for the sheer joy of it.

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Jhohadli’s Writing, Editing, and Coaching Services – offered by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse to other writers as well as business clients of all type.

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A site on the Legacies of British Slave Ownership.

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Leone Writes is the blog of Jamaican-British writer Leone Ross. Check it out.

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This is a two-fer, Trini novelist Liane Spicer’s blog  and a blog to which she and Caribbean author Carol Mitchell are regular contributors, Novel Spaces. Both are good for interesting insights on the writing and publishing process.

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LoveAxe – A virtual summer 2012 book club whose members were Geoffrey Philp, Stephen Narain, and Kelly Baker Josephs.

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Manahaim Notes is the blog maintained by St. Lucian writer John Robert Lee.

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Memorial page for the late Angela Cropper, founder of the Cropper Foundation under which falls the Cropper Foundation Residential Workshop for Caribbean Writers.

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The Museum of Antigua and Barbuda. And their old but still useful site.

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Pen Tuh Paper – Caribbeanness deconstructed, identities explained.

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Poets of the Caribbean – I came across Jamaican born librarian and poetry lover Yasmin’s website (Poets of the Caribbean) via the network at CLS. I love that it celebrates Caribbean verse.

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Repeating Islands – Here’s one I check from time to time for general info on the Caribbean arts scene.

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Rebel Women Lit – Rebel Women Lit started off as a book club, and is now a lit community with a Community Library, Bookstore, Book Subscription Service for Tea Lovers and Book Clubbers, Podcast and lots of Projects.

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Seawoman Press, a blog run by Bajan writer Sandra Sealey, is a good resource for market listings and news from the literary scene.

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Society of Caribbean Book Writers and Scholars – Caribbean South Chapter whose services for financial members include
1.       Member swap services – where we can barter editing with editing etc
2.       Illustrator list and contacts on the website – so members can use your services more.
3.       Free edits completed by Advisor for works under 1000 words
In addition to broader SCBWI benefits like:
·         Quarterly SCBWI magazine from the USA office
·         Weekly online industry updates via email and Facebook (please feel free to connect with me online)
·         Opportunity to attend the International Los Angeles & New York Conferences (conference fees to be borne by SCBWI member)
·         SCBWI biannual pre-Bologna Conference
·         USA and other international publisher information
Each member gets a personal page on Caribbean South website (i.e. in addition to your member page at the main site)
Any questions? Email info@marshagomes.com for Marsha Gomes-McKie, Regional Advisor, Caribbean South, SCBWI
Registration is done online at http://caribbeansouth.scbwi.org

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St. Lucia Oral History Project

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Susumba regularly has news and interviews on not only literary events and talent but anything to with the cultural arts (with an emphasis on Jamaica).

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The Spaces Between Words: Conversations with Writers… and Caribbean Writers in particular. It includes readings and audio interviews with some of the best on the contemporary Caribbean literary scene (Nalo Hopkinson to Tiphanie Yanique, Lorna Goodison to Marlon James). Sadly with the passing of Dr. Giselle Rampaul, it seems as if the site is no more (link inactive but I’ll keep this note here in recognition of the work she did); I hope all those valuable interviews haven’t been lost.

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The University of the West Indies Press is a not-for-profit scholarly publisher of books in thirteen academic disciplines. It is particularly well known for its work in Caribbean history, Caribbean cultural studies, Caribbean literature, gender studies, education and political science. Founded in 1992, the press has over 350 books in print.

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Charmaine Valere, formerly Signifying Guyana, somewhat quiet of late, delivers interesting news, reviews, series, and perspectives related to Caribbean Literature.

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Vintage Caribbean – a blog about Caribbean history, music, culture, people, and more.

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Voices from Haiti – because often the arts provide the real insight to the soul of a nation.

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West Indies Books – a short list with search feature of Caribbean (primarily Haitian) books.

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WiWords – the Caribbean Dictionary – it’s driven by user additions so be sure to add your Antiguanisms and Barbudanisms, Wadadlians.

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The Writing Clinic at UWI Mona – Empowering student writers.

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Facebook page for Womanspeak, a journal of literature and art by Caribbean women

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, 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, Fish Outta Water, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Thanks.

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Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, The Business