Tag Archives: Lynn Sweeting

Womanspeak – the Lynn Sweeting Interview

Lynn Sweeting is a Bahamian writer, editor, and publisher. In 2012, she brought women from across the region together under the umbrella of Womanspeak, her literary and artistic journal of writings by women, and the common theme of the environment. In this latest edition of the Wadadli Pen interview, I chat with her about this ambitious project.

But first…Lynn was short listed in the poetry category of the Small Axe Literary Prize in 2010 and has reportedly placed second overall in 2012 (so just so you know, she knows her stuff). We begin, therefore, with the obvious – how does it feel,  why are these kinds of prizes important for Caribbean writers, and what does it take to craft a winning entry:

Lynn Sweeting: I’m very happy my poems were chosen, the prize is a great encouragement to me… The prizes mean that all the endless hours you spent working on your craft have resulted in a better manuscript. They mean your work is being read and becoming significant to other writers and readers of Caribbean literature. The prizes let us know our voices are being heard. And that is all any of us wants: to be heard. I’m also happy that in recent years women are winning the top Axe prizes and I’m honoured to be in their company.

I chose three poems about three women who are iconic and inspirational to me,  Frida Kahlo, Wangari Maathaii and my paternal great grandmother Alice Minns Drudge.  I care deeply about each one of them, Frida for her beautiful suffering, Wangari for the trees she planted and the empowerment she returned to the women of her country, and Great Grandmother Drudge, for returning to me and for receiving me back to her. I’m very happy that these are the poems being recognized.  So I think it is important to choose poems that are connected to one another thematically, and are about something you care very deeply about.  Also, these poems are short, they are made of small, simple words, and it took a lot of revisions to get them that way. So another way to craft a winning entry I think is to cut, cut, cut!  Part of writing well is knowing what to throw away.  Revision is key.

Hear that, Wadadli Pen hopefuls? “Revision is key”.

Shifting gears, If the name of Lynn’s journal, Womanspeak, and her blog, Womanish  Words, doesn’t give it away then surely her emphasis on gender in the answer above should provide a key to where Sweeting’s concerns are as a being and writer. And you might be wondering as we did, wherefore this emphasis on women and in the case of her journal on women writers:

LS: One of my favourite quotes is by Muriel Rukeyser who said, “When a woman tells the truth about her life the world splits open.” We wanted to create a space in Nassau for writing and art that told the truth about women’s lives in the Caribbean. Where we could tell the truth in our own poems and pictures and publish them in a safe place, i.e., in a place where our voices and stories would be heard over the din of the (male) politicians, preachers, businessmen, bankers, the tourism machine, the mainstream media and even the fine arts, all completely male dominated. History, the Bible, the Constitution, all written by men for men. It was like we didn’t really exist. Where were the stories of our lives, of our generation? And particularly, the stories that told secrets and broke silences, the creative explorations of taboo subjects like domestic violence, incest and rape, homophobia, the hatred of and war against women and the collusion of the church in all of these. Where were the women writers who could give voice to a new wave of Feminism in the Bahamas? Where were the writers whose work spoke about these issues? We believed they were out there, that if we made the space they would come, and that together we would make books with the power to change the culture in a positive way, books to uplift and inspire a new tradition of women’s literature in the Bahamas and perhaps in the Caribbean, created specifically to cause transformation, to make our lives better.

The new Womanspeak collection consists of 25 writer and painters. I wondered about the selection process and the challenge of pulling it all together.

LS: WomanSpeak in its new incarnation is only a few years old, and this is only our second book. We are just beginning, quite invisible, a seedling struggling to grow. So when we got about fifty submissions I was very pleased and encouraged. Challenges involved deciding whether to include work that wasn’t exactly on theme, (we did), and writing to the younger writers who submitted and encouraging them to submit to Wadadli Pen, and stopping myself from including every single piece submitted by some writers and painters because I loved every one of them. But it was easy to choose the writers who have been a part of the WSJ community since the beginning, as well as the new generation of rising stars from other countries, and I think I have a couple of actual discoveries in the new book. I feel humbled when I receive these works, half the time I’m saying to myself, “what am I doing, I don’t really have the right to edit this book”, but the other half of the time I’m saying, “Just do it, the writers and painters believe in this project, just do it.”

I follow Lynn on facebook and it’s clear to me that if gender is a big issue with her then just as big, or perhaps even bigger, is the environment. Womanspeak, especially this new edition which spotlights the environment, speaks to that. What it is about the environment (also, incidentally, the theme of this year’s Caribbean Writer literary journal, which speaks to its topicality), and what did she anticipate artistes could say on it, and what did they in fact say. These were some of my questions re content.  

LS: I believe the year 2010 with the Earthquake in Haiti and then the oil spill in the Gulf jarred us awake in the Caribbean, both events caused us in different ways to look again at our natural Caribbean environment  and our relationship to it. The oil disaster was close enough to the Caribbean to cause us to remember that our natural environment is not only beautiful, it is also vulnerable, easily destroyed, and us with it. The earthquake shook us awake to the fact that the Caribbean Earth in her awesome  dark aspect is capable of rending herself open and swallowing us all whole at any time. We look to our writers and painters in these times for the words and images that not only document our experiences  but also try to make sense of them, we look to the writers for our own voices, we want and need to hear our own stories of survival, endurance and transformation . Earth is in trouble, what is our culpability, our responsibility, our work now to defend and save her and ourselves? We look to the poets and painters to show us.

A number of pieces in the collection speak of the sea, some to celebrate the aliveness of the sea, like Danielle Boodoo Fortune’s paintings of spirit beings of the sea; and some to ask us to take a close and careful look at the issue of the pollution of the sea like the poet Lelawattee Manoo Rahming; some that give voice to the Casurina trees, doomed guardians of the in-between places where the sea meets the shore as in the poetry of Sonia Farmer. In your poem, Joanne, you write about being on the beach (by the sea) watching the tractors approach wondering how long you have until your path to the sea is completely blocked. In my poem, First Woman of the Lokono Indians arrives from the sea on the back of a whale. In Anita MacDonald’s poem, the sea is the goddess of death who takes her son. There are the beautiful photographs by Diane Claridge/Charlotte Dunn of the dolphins and whales of The Bahamas for whom the sea is home. The protection, conservation and wellbeing of the sea is central to the work in this collection. Then there is the painting on the cover, Requiem For Haiti, by Chantal Bethel, the artist’s vision of the Caribbean Earth as our mother, even as our Goddess, receiving the dead and survivors both of the earthquake into her womb to await a rebirth, it is a painting with the message of hope, even though the goddess has a belly full of gravestones. This is pre-Colombian Caribbean women’s spirituality rising up into our consciousness again, it is an image of the great mystery of life/death/rebirth that the ancient Earth worshipers knew to be divine. Women of the Caribbean are remembering a time before time when women were honoured and nature was sacred, because these remembrances might save our lives and our planet too.

Given Lynn’s emphasis on women writers and the environment, and the fact that the Earth is often feminized (Mother Earth), it seemed natural to take a bit of a philosophical detour with Lynn near the end. In scientific terms the earth is genderless (right?) so why do we tend to think of her in gendered terms.

LS:   We know Earth is female because we see her do what females do, and that is, produce life from herself and sustain it.  Humanity is a part of the life she produces and for this we have called her Mother since the day before the first day of time.  For many people, ancient and modern, Earth is not only female, but divine, a Goddess. Women have always been deeply and profoundly connected to the rhythms and cycles of the Earth and her cosmos. Susan Griffin said, “We know ourselves to be made from this Earth. We know this Earth is made from our bodies. For we see ourselves. And we are nature. We are nature seeing nature. We are nature with a concept of nature. Nature weeping. Nature speaking of nature to nature.”  I wanted to know what nature was saying to Caribbean women, what we were saying to nature, especially now in these difficult times.

I look forward to reading the full collection; I feel like a child on Christmas morning waiting for it to arrive in by mail, snail mail… and it feels like it. Best get your order in soon if you hope to have it under the tree for Christmas. Though of course, it promises to be the kind of reading that’s good all year round.

UPDATE November 22nd 2012 – Guess what just came in the mail?

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 Caribbean Plus Lit News

Caribbean Women Writers Speak

UPDATE! (February 7th 2017) Edited to correct an error pointed out by one of the contributors. Also, I’m aware that the links to the referenced samples are broken as the site address seems to have changed. I may correct at some point (when able) but even if I don’t (or can’t), I do encourage you to check out the collection and the entire series.


This is a repost about Lynn Sweeting’s new WomanSpeak collection out of the Bahamas, but featuring the fresh voices of contemporary female writers from across the Caribbean. Including yours truly. You can read samples of the chosen pieces at Tongues of the Ocean including Trinidadian Simone Leid Etiquette for Fine Young Cannibals – which Sweeting describes as “one of the most important pieces in the collection” and “a disturbing depiction of Caribbean rape culture”; American Anita McDonald’s Seized – of which Sweeting said, “beautifully written, taboo subject matter”; Bahamian Helen Klonaris’ Addie’s House – which “shines a light on a doomed lesbian love affair, the religious intolerance that destroys it, and a protagonit that survives it all in a profound way”; Bahamian Nicolette Bethel’s Nellie ad Marion Bethel’s Seduction of Self; Jamaican Opal Palmer Adisa’s Watching and Waiting; Trinidadian Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming’s The Sea has been Sick; Bahamian Sonia Farmer’s An Unfortunate Number; me, repping for Antigua and Barbuda with Development; Trinidadian Danielle Boodoo-Fortune’s At Grand Riviere; late Bahamian writer Telcine Turner-Rolle’s Blue Hills Blues; Bahamian Keisha Lynne Ellis’ The Serpent and I – a creative re-telling of the Creation story; Bahamian writer Patricia Clinton Meicholas’ Miss Annie.

So looking forward to reading the full collection and after samplinig these tidbits, you will be too. Here’s the post announcing the collection lifted from here:

WomanSpeak vol 6/2012 Now Available at Lulu.Com

WomanSpeak, A Journal of Literature and Art by Caribbean Women, vol. 6/2012, is now available for purchase at Lulu.com. The new anthology from WomanSpeak Books Nassau, The Bahamas, brings together 24 writers, poets and painters in a full colour volume edited by yours truly, designed by Julia Ames and featuring cover art by Chantal Bethel and Ashley Knowles. Volume six is especially themed, Women Speaking for The Earth. In this collection writers are not just writing about nature but are giving voice to Mother Earth herself. They also address the environmental emergencies they face as Earthling women in the Caribbean, including the pollution of the ocean, the vanishing coastlines, deforestation, as well as the responsibilities we bear in it all. As always WomanSpeak volume six/2012 is dedicated to providing a forum for women writers with diverse points of view, who break silences that need to be broken, who discuss taboo subjects, who challenge oppression by telling the truth about Caribbean women’s lives. Rape, homophobia, religious oppression and intolerance, sexuality, grief and loss are among the forbidden subjects they are bravely writing about. New works by noted writers like Lelawattee Manoo Rahming, Marion Bethel, Nicolette Bethel, and Patricia Glinton Meicholas of The Bahamas and Joanne Hillhouse of Antigua are included in this collection, as well as the work of emerging writers like Sonia Farmer and Angelique Nixon of the Bahamas, Vashti Bowlah, Danielle Boodoo-Fortune and Simone Leid of Trinidad and Tobago. There are new voices too, including poet Anita L. MacDonald and fiction writer Keisha Lynne Ellis, and new artists like Carla Campbell and Ashley Knowles in the collection. Beautiful full colour art by established and new painters make the new WomanSpeak a literary journal unlike any other, an essential book not only for writers but for painters too and for all who love art by conscious Caribbean women. WomanSpeak was founded in 1991 by Lynn Sweeting, Helen Klonaris and Dionne Benjamin Smith to provide a forum for Bahamian and Caribbean women’s creative work, to nurture that creativity by publishing fine literature and art by women, to discover and publish emerging and developing writers, to preserve publications for future audiences and to create a space where community and sisterhood among writers and artists of the Caribbean can be cultivated and encouraged. Please click the Lulu.com badge at right and get your copy today, and thank you for supporting women writers and artists of the Caribbean!


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

Reading Room and Gallery

UPDATE! The Gallery is now closed. Continue reading at Reading Room and Gallery II, Reading Room and Gallery III, and Reading Room and Gallery IV.

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.

Here you’ll find stories, interviews, reviews, poems; you name it…a totally subjective showcase of (mostly) Caribbean written (sometimes visual and audio visual) pieces that I (Joanne) have either personally appreciated or which have been recommended (and approved) for posting/linking. If you’re looking for the winning Wadadli Pen stories (and I hope you are!), click on ‘Categories’ and go to the respective year for ‘2004 Winners’, ‘2005 Winners’, ‘2006 Winners’, ‘2010 Winners’, 2011 winners… You can also see the Best of Wadadli Pen special issue at Anansesem which has the added feature of audio dramatizations of some of the stories.


http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2011/02/over-hawkins-hill/ – hard to believe this writer is only 13; some interesting insights and beautifully rendered language here.

http://afrobeatjournal.org/en/Issue_2_Spring_2011/1/129/Debris-Poetry-Jamaica-Marcia-Douglas.htm – From Afro Beat Journal, Debris by Marcia Douglas, a British born, Jamaican writer, who reportedly teaches in the US. We are a migratory people, aren’t we; kind of like the juice bag she writes about that still floats somewhere in the sea.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2011/08/the-magic-mirror-tempts-lilys-white-daughter-1951 – a literary mash-up of Snow White and racial politics. Very interesting.

http://www.anansesem.com/2011/10/earths-water.html – imagery, personification…nature comes alive in this one by Summer Edward.

http://www.nyu.edu/calabash/vol5no1/0501042.pdf – literary shout outs aplenty suffuse this lively poem (When I Die by Ann-Margaret Lim).

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/179809 – A little hip action: Hip-Hop Ghazal by Patricia Smith.

http://www.online-literature.com/frost/748 – Nothing Gold Can Stay; love love this poem…and can relate to/understand it better now as a 30 something than I did when I first heard Pony Boy say it in one of my fav movies a a kid The Outsiders …years later I actually visited Frost Farm (Aside: visited Little Women  author Louisa May Alcott house that summer, too :-)) – Summer ’08, walked a good road that summer, which calls to mind another Frost favourite, The Road Not Taken.

http://oldpoetry.com/opoem/7126-William-Shakespeare-Sonnet-116—Let-me-not-to-the-marriage-of-true-minds— a favourite from the English bard, Shakespeare.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqOqo50LSZ0&feature=related – Maya. Enough said.

http://www.bartleby.com/126/52.html – ‘When I have fears that I may cease to be’ by another personal favourite John Keats.

http://ananseseminfo.blogspot.com/2010/12/sugarcane-dance.html – I just love how this feels. Summer Edward’s Sugar Cane Dance at Anansesem, a site for Caribbean children’s literature.

http://www.nyu.edu/calabash/vol4no2/0402115.pdf – Mervyn Morris (my writing mentor during my UWI days) says so much with such few words in this endearing piece.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2010/04/liberian-curfew/ – This poem set in war torn Liberia and written by Antiguan, Althea Romeo-Mark has been described as “powerful”, “touching”, and “strong”.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2010/12/chameleon-thoughts – Danielle Boodoo Fortune is a relatively new discovery (first heard her read in 2008) who’s quickly become an old favourite. Here’s an example of why. Here’s another example: Evening in the Room Built from Words.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2009/03/the-joy-of-planting-banana-suckers-in-your-own-land – The Joy of Planting Suckers in Your Own Land; of the compulsion to grow things (a plantain, a child, a nation, an idea…)

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2010/06/1-o-clock-mass  – ‘1 o’clock mass’ – the line that jumps out at me from this “do nations unite or do they divide”.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2010/08/sip-an-talk – a related piece (borders, immigration and themes of that nature) by Angelique Nixon.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2010/06/what-you-cryin-for -The causes and symptoms of crime take centre stage in this piece ‘What you Crying for?’ by Anku Sa Ra, well complemented by the Stevie Burrows image entitled, appropriately, ‘Crime’. Tongues of the Ocean is a multi-media site and this is one of the postings that have, in addition to the written, an aural presentation of the work.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2009/11/wheelbarrow-woman – Readers describe this Lynn Sweeting poem which challenges readers to “love up your own self fearlessly” as “refreshing and candid”.

http://www.nyu.edu/calabash/vol4no2/0402128.pdf – Delores Gauntlett’s Pocomania appeared in Volume 4 Number 2 in the Spring 2007 issue of Calabash.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2010/03/marassa-jumeaux/ – Geoffery Philp’s perspective on Haiti had an interesting “angle” on things. And for those who think Anansi is always up to no good for no good reason, check out his ‘Anancy Song’ here

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/current/ – This leads to Xan-Xi Bethel’s ‘Sister, Love’, a poignant piece on Haiti, complemented by Lindsay Braynan’s touching image ‘Help a Sistah Out, Man’.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2010/07/walcott-in-nassau – Walcott in Nassau; very effective analogy.

http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_if.htm – If.

http://oldpoetry.com/opoem/show/119806-Edna-St–Vincent-Millay-To-A-Friend-Estranged-From-Me – Actually discovered this as a teen in my much-dog-eared (translation: much loved) copy of Stephanie Tolan’s The Last of Eden. Love the imagery in the first verse, especially and the sense of loss and longing it evokes.

http://imani.wordpress.com/2007/05/13/for-my-mother-may-i-inherit-half-her-strength/ & http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/corporate/projectsandschemes/artmusicdesign/poems/poem.asp?ID=161 – two faves by Jamaica’s Lorna Goodison

http://sheeralmshouse.blogspot.com/2010/07/no-more-smalling-up-of-me.html – ‘No More Smalling up of Me’ by Jean Wilson


If you’ve been to the Blogger on Books recently, you may remember my mini-review of American writer Will Allison’s What You Have Left. Here’s an excerpt from that very book. ALSO, you’ll remember me raving about Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s The Thing Around Your Neck; I just came across one of my favourite stories from the book. So, read.

http://www.munyori.com/novioletbulawayo.html – a story by Zimbabwe-American writer Noviolet Bulawayo.

http://dloc.com/AA00000079/00009/19j – Pamela Mordecai’s Cold Comfort is all kinds of funny.

http://ananseseminfo.blogspot.com/2011/05/sun-moon-darkness-rain-and-heart.html – A Caribbean folk tale from Anansesem.

http://ananseseminfo.blogspot.com/2010/12/beaumont-and-moonflower.html – A children’s story; perhaps a bit of inspiration given Wadadli Pen’s 2011 theme.

http://visitstsomewhere.blogspot.com/ – The St. Somewhere Journal features new writings from across the Caribbean. Among your blogger’s faves in the Autumn 2010 issue are Kittian writer Carol Mitchell’s ‘Kept Promises’ on Page 4 and Trinidadian Shakira Bourne’s ‘Crossing Over’ on Page 6. While you’re there, check out my story ‘Somebody!’ on Page 30 and my essay ‘On Writing’ on Page 37.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2009/10/the-rain/ – This “delightful but dark” Christi Cartwright story was hailed by readers for its “vivid imagery”.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2010/03/landscape-without-horizon/ – “Brilliant”, “vivid”, “beautiful” are a few of the words that have been used to describe this short story by Bahamaian, Sonia Farmer.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2010/05/when-coffee-time-come/ – Randall Baker’s ‘When Coffee Time Comes’ was credited for its “great characterization”.

http://ananseseminfo.blogspot.com/2010/12/yohan.html – Check out this imaginative children’s piece by Antiguan author Floree Williams.

http://www.munyori.com/miriamshumba.html – Straight out of Africa and yet familiar to all.


This Jamaican children’s author asks ‘who are we writing for?’

I remember watching a group of kids at the national Youth Rally recently (Nov. 2011) chat and walk about during the Antigua and Barbuda National Anthem remembering how we couldn’t even twitch to scratch our nose singing the anthem every morning on the grounds of Holy Family School. How times have changed. It’s for this reason that I found the article ‘Tales out of School: Singing the National Anthem Word Perfect’ by Mary Quinn   to be at once sobering and amusing.

I’ll be the first to admit, I have my reservations about self-published material; while I appreciate the frustrations of the traditional route, and the desire to bypass them (been there, done that), there’s a part of me that believes the hurdles help ensure that what’s turned out is the best it can be – in terms of physical quality of the product and the quality of the content (stumbling over basic grammatical errors, plot gaps, character inconsistencies or other things that should have been caught and refined in editing takes away from the reading experience). That said, I’ve read poor material from the traditional route and really good self-published works (usually where the writer exercises the patience and good sense to invest in editing). So, with self-publishing more accessible than ever, as you consider the best route for your literary baby, I’m happy to share this article balancing both arguments while ultimately making a pro self-publishing case (in specific instances). Incidentally, the site is the online home of Bahamian writer Nicolette Bethel where there are other interesting postings on a range of topics.


This is just one of the interesting points made in Susan Lowes’ article on Social Relations in Antigua in the 1940s: “In fact, it was by traversing this terrain that young people often came to know their “class.” Thus a young man would suddenly find that he was not allowed inside the gate of a close school friend, and realize that he was socially unacceptable to his friend’s parents. Or men who were good friends nevertheless did not visit each other inside their houses; those who reported that they were “very close” often got no further than the veranda. Women, as keepers of the indoors, controlled the most intimate types of socialization, ranging from house visits to marriage. Men, in contrast, socialized outdoors, on the streets and playing fields, in rum shops and clubs, arenas where they were less constrained by indoor standards of respectability. It was by and large the women who policed the distinctions of social class: who knew, and cared about, the genealogies, who determined who their children could socialize with inside the house and who had to remain an “outdoors” friend, and so on.”


http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html – This is not a written piece but rather a piece on the power of writing and the danger of a single story. It’s one of the more circulated TED talks on the net, featuring Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie, author of Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and The Thing Around her Neck – which I read and reviewed in the Blogger on Books. On the strength of the latter book and the TED talk – which I can relate to so much as a girl from the Caribbean – she’s a new favourite of mine.

http://www.thereviewreview.net/publishing-tips/what-editors-want-must-read-writers-submitti – Submitting to literary journals? Read this first.

http://accordingtohoyt.com/2011/08/30/you-say-editing-i-say-proofreading – The importance of editing.

http://www.shewrites.com/profiles/blogs/the-criticism-that-changed-my – It may not feel like it at the time but constructive criticism helps us grow as writers.

http://ananseseminfo.blogspot.com/2011/05/writing-up-storm.html – tips for unlocking the literary imagination among students.

http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/7+Things+Ive+Learned+So+Far+By+Danica+Davidson.aspx – What aspiring writers need to know.

http://www.365antigua.com/cms/content/news-community-marcella-andre-commentary-haiti-march-27-2011 – I can FEEL Haiti in this piece.

http://summeredward.blogspot.com/2010/06/caribbean-picture-books-importance-of.html – Interesting piece on illustrations for Caribbean children’s literature; perhaps particularly interesting to me given that it ties in with our effort in 2011 to generate art to support the Caribbean children’s literature themed word entries for Wadadli Pen.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2007/03/poetry-terrors/ – On the writer and the blank page (by Kwame Dawes)

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2010/02/me-writing/ – On writing (by Trinidadian Paul Hadden).

http://www.candw.ag/~jardinea/ffhtm/ff971219.htm – The late Tim Hector putting into perspective the writing and life of (one of my favourites) the late Martin Carter.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/waves-and-murmurs/senior-lecture/ – Olive Senior, former winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize, was actually my workshop leader when I attended the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute at the University of Miami back in 1995. Here she speaks at the Bahamas Writers Summer Institute in 2010 on ‘Writing and the Politics of Imagination in Small Spaces’. It’s a lengthy but interesting read.


An interview with the always outspoken Dr. Carolyn Cooper, whom I personally remember as one of my favourite professors at the University of the West Indies.

“I find that in order to write your characters well, you have to be a little bit in love with them, even the ones that aren’t lovable at all.” – from Nalo Hopkinson’s 5 Minute Interview on Date with a Book.

“There was an idea I wouldn’t have been able to conceive of [the narrator] Precious’s life unless I had lived it,” said Push writer Sapphire. Push, some of you may know is the book that birthed the academy award winning film, Precious. Read her full comments on fact/fiction and assumptions/labelling here. This struck me because I’ve actually gotten a lot of the same assumptions (or questions) about my books – The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight – that the stories were biographical when they are in fact fiction (and no more biographical than any other work of fiction, in fact less so I’d say). Never thought of it as racism though since most of the questioning came from my own community. Hm.

The Farming of Bones remains my favourite book by Edwidge Dandicat, one of my favourite contemporary writers. In this interview, she talks about the book (good reading).

This interview with Tiphanie Yanique is quite engaging and revealing, plus how many of us can say Maya Angelou read a poem of ours while we were still in high school.

http://maudnewton.com/blog/?p=9295 – as I post this, I haven’t yet read Marlon James’ books (though they’ve been recommended to me time and again, especially Book of Night Women) but I found this interview quite interesting. My favourite line comes in the section where he talks of his struggles writing a love scene: Someone once scared me by saying that love isn’t saying “I love you” but calling to say “did you eat?” (And then proceeded to ask me this for the next 6 months).    All that and he’s a Buffy fan; I think I’m going to have to book mark his blog (http://marlon-james.blogspot.com/index.html) and get to reading those books.

http://antiguaspeaks.com/news/?p=204 – Linisa George’s Brown Girl in the Ring – inspired by the children’s nursery rhyme and her experiences as a dark skinned sister growing up in a shade conscious society – is a staple of not only her When A Woman Moans productions but the local (i.e. Antiguan and Barbudan) performance poetry scene. In this article, she discusses the piece with her sister-friend and collaborator, ZIA.

http://sheroxlox.tumblr.com/post/1640248532/she-rox-tameka-jarvis-george– “Write from your heart. Write about your experiences good or bad. Everything in your life happens for a reason, so let those moments big or small be your inspiration to teach or help other people.” – excerpt from interview with Antiguan author of 2010 release Unexpected. Follow the link to read the rest.

http://www.nyu.edu/calabash/vol5no1/0501104.pdf – One of the interesting aspects of this Opal Palmer Adisa interview featured in Calabash was her insights on the Caribbean aesthetic.


http://afrolicious.com/2011/08/16/the-missing-peace-is-beautiful – This is a short film, The Missing Peace, by Rachel Benjamin; it’s based on a story by Haitian-American writer Edwidge Dandicat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymvk3HsocqQ – Motion in motion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-DWLzbPmcQ – She Rox Lox – Zahra Airall’s rendering of locked women who are just beautiful.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2010/06/crime – This Steven Burrows piece calls to mind for me the Bob Marley song ‘Johnny Was’: “woman hold her head and cry, ’cause her son has been shot down in the street and die”…a commentary on the unsettling state of affairs on our streets and in our homes.

http://wn.com/UNICEF_oneminutesjr__Dear_Dad – This is a winning piece in a UNICEF competition by Antiguan Carlon Knight; it’s entitled ‘Dear Dad’ and is quite touching.

http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2010/06/help-a-sistah-out-man – This was posted on Tongues of the Ocean, the Bahamian-Caribbean multi-media arts journal. The artist is Lindsay Braynen.


Excerpt from Oh Gad! (my new book due in 2012)

Friday Night Fish Fry (fiction) @ Sea Breeze – http://www.liberiaseabreeze.com/joanne_c_hillhouse.html

After Glow (fiction) @ Tongues of the Ocean – http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2009/11/after-glow

How to Make Cassava Bread and Other Musings on Culture (non fiction) @ Antigua Stories – http://antiguastories.wordpress.com/food-2/food

At Calabash (non fiction) @ Caribbean Literary Salon – https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/at-calabash

Defining Moments (non fiction) @ Geoffrey Philp’s blog – http://geoffreyphilp.blogspot.com/2010/12/defining-momentsjoanne-c-hillhouse.html

Off the Map (non fiction) @ Signifying Guyana –


What Calypso Taught Me About Writing (non fiction) @ Caribbean Literary Salon – http://caribbeanliterarysalon.ning.com/profiles/blogs/what-calypso-taught-me-about

At Sea (fiction) @ Munyori – http://www.munyori.com/joannehillhouse.html

Pushing Water Up Hill (non fiction) @ Caribbean Literary Salon – http://caribbeanliterarysalon.ning.com/profiles/blogs/pushing-water-up-hill-one

Wadadli Pen – Nurturing Another Generation of Antiguan and Barbudan Writers (non fiction) @ Summer Edward’s blog – http://summeredward.blogspot.com/2010/08/guest-post-by-joanne-c-hillhouse.html

Cold Paradise (fiction) @ Women Writers – http://www.womenwriters.net/aug08/fiction_poetry/Hillhouse_ColdParadise.htm

Somebody! (fiction) @ St. Somewhere – http://visitstsomewhere.blogspot.com

Reflections on Jamaca (non fiction) @ Caribbean Literary Salon – https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/reflections-on-jamaica

Portent (fiction) @ Women Writers – http://www.womenwriters.net/aug08/fiction_poetry/Hillhouse_Portent.htm

Philly Ramblings 8 (poetry) @ Ma Comère – http://dloc.com/AA00000079/00004/36j

Ghosts Laments (poetry) @ Small Axe – http://smallaxe.net/wordpress3/prose/2011/06/30/poem-by-joanne-hillhouse

Benediction before the Essence (poetry) @ Women Writers – http://www.womenwriters.net/aug08/fiction_poetry/hillhouse_poetry.html

Prospero’s Education, The Arrival, Da’s Calypso (3 poems) @ Calabash – http://www.nyu.edu/calabash/vol4no2

Interview @ Caribbean Literary Salon – http://caribbeanliterarysalon.ning.com/profiles/blogs/interview-with-joanne-c

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