Tag Archives: Marlon James

Mailbox – ‘An Evening With Marlon James’ Coming To Sugar Ridge Antigua in April 2019

We already had this listed in our latest A & B Arts Round-Up (our Wadadli Pen listing of upcoming arts events here in Antigua and Barbuda). But this official news release landed in my personal mailbox this week.

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Press release: St. John’s, Antigua, March 30, 2019: Book lovers across the Eastern Caribbean are in for a very special treat when award winning writer, Marlon James comes to Antigua to read from his new best seller ‘Black Leopard Red Wolf’. The event produced by HaMa Productions, will be held on Friday, April 26 at Sugar Ridge.

“We are super excited as Marlon James is one of the most loved and recognized writers in the world and he is coming here to share with us his amazing writing. It will be an evening for book lovers and writers here in Antigua and Barbuda and our neighboring islands in the Eastern Caribbean’” explains HaMa Productions’ Mitzi Allen.

Allen adds that an event like this needs partnership that reflect the joy of reading: “We are delighted that Sugar Ridge, fast becoming one of our top cultural venues, will be hosting Marlon. We are also very happy to be working with the Best of Books who have supported many literary events over the last 20 years. We are inviting 20 young writers 18-25 who will have an opportunity to meet Marlon and learn about his journey from graphic artist to international, award winning writer.”

Marlon James won the Man Booker Prize 2015 for his third novel ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’ and ‘Black Leopard, Red Wolf’ is on the New York Times best sellers list since its debut in February 2019. It has been described as “…the kind of novel I never realized I was missing until I read it,…..It’s something very new that feels old, in the best way. I cannot wait for the next installment.” (Neil Gaiman)

The film rights for ‘Black Leopard, Red Wolf’ was bought by Michael B. Jordon’s company Outliers Society and Warner Bros.

James’ earlier novels ‘John Crow’s Devil’ and “The Book of Night Women’ are firm favorites with readers.

An evening with Marlon James will feature readings by James, a Q and A session, book signing and a display of books by James and Antiguan and Barbudan writers.

Tickets are EC$150 and available at the Best of Books in Antigua.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Oh Gad!, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All rights reserved. Subscribe to this site to keep up with future updates.

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A & B Arts Round up – March 25th 2019 —>

April 26th 2019 –

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April 7th 2019 –

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March 31st 2019 – Voting deadline – #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

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Between now and summer – for summer youth writing camp –

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Ongoing –

Every Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon – Cushion Club Reading Club for Kids – University of the West Indies Open Campus (Antigua and Barbuda) – Queen Elizabeth Highway

Every Saturday (?) –

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As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Oh Gad!, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All rights reserved. Subscribe to this site to keep up with future updates.

 

 

 

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Reading Room and Gallery 33

Sit back and enjoy, and when you’re done, if you want to sit back and enjoy some more, use the search feature to the right to search ‘reading room and gallery’ and visit the previous installments.

MISC.

“In these revisions, Brathwaite seems to be Caliban discovering his mother’s voice through the  computer for the first time.” – Professor Kelly Baker Joseph’s Kamau Brathwaite Lecture

VISUAL ART

THE BUSINESS

“My mind was blown. As a lifelong perfectionist, it had never occurred to me that I should seek out failure as a means to level up. I felt both embarrassed and eternally grateful. This eureka moment—a trusty hand-me-down from Liao—inspired me to make rejection my New Year’s resolution.” – Courtney Kocak

For more Resources, go here.

CREATIVES ON CREATING


POETRY

‘“Your fault you were drinking”
“Well, was she wearing a thong?”
“Sounds like she just wants attention or something”’ – There is Strength in Our Stories: MeToo# – Christian Garduno

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“Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night and
Wouldn’t you love to love her?
Takes to the sky like a bird in flight and
Who will be her lover?

All your life you’ve never seen
A woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?

She is like a cat in the dark and then
She is the darkness
She rules her life like a fine skylark and when
The sky is starless

All your life you’ve never seen
A woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?
Will you ever win?

Rhiannon
Rhiannon
Rhiannon
Rhiannon

She rings like a bell through the night and
Wouldn’t you love to love her?
She rules her life like a bird in flight and
Who will be her lover? – two time Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame inductee Stevie Nicks

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“The motherland had called our sons to her bosoms
come, sons come fight for your motherland, she said;
that bitch

Son, I have no language for this loss
him dead” – from Unwritten (Caribbean poets sharing poems inspired by the Caribbean experience in the second World War) on BBC Sounds 

FICTION

“My body was a well of fear, but the neighbor was asking if he could come in for a minute and get warm. He appeared cold and gray, and he was trembling. He smelled as if he were his own ashtray. I imagined these past weeks hard alcohol had been his water, cigarettes worked as food, but on this day he was beyond human, some kind of wild animal, all bones of limbs and ribs. His cheeks sunken, his presence felt witchy. If I had asked him to leave, he might have cast a spell on me.” – Snow Line by Elizabeth Brinsfield

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“Meanwhile, the smell of bread, the taste of it. We’d split a loaf, slice it, and the steam would bloom up. We’d devour it. I’d bring out some butter and salt from the walk-in fridge and we’d stand in that kitchen, facing the empty bar and two-tops, eating our prize in silence. This was our communion, a religious moment, and there was nothing to contemplate but bread, and the soft inside was hot enough to burn you, and the crust could cut up the roof of your mouth.

Then I’d drive home. I’d circle my neighborhood, looking for parking, craving sleep, late afternoon, the sky turning orange. In my dreams I baked bread, ruined bread, ate bread. It went like this. Soon it would be early morning again, and I’d be trying to remember where I put my car so that I could drive back to the kitchen to bake bread, to make the kitchen dirty with flour again.” – Butter by Eve Gleichman 2016 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest Winner

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“She told me I could serve her in heaven. She accompanied me to school each day.” – from Genesis by Tope Folarin

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“They’re showing familiar-looking aerial footage, a SWAT team crossing the sports fields and the track, when I realize I’ve seen this all before, because I recognize that track.” – Breaking by Christopher Fox

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“I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal— having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition.” – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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– Jojo Instiful and Tamera George reading from the children’s picture book With Grace by Joanne C. Hillhouse at a 2018 Black History Month event organized by the Barnes Hill Community Development Organization and held at the Barnes Hill Community Reservoir Park.

For published short fiction and/or poetry by Antiguans and Barbudans, click the links for A-M and N-Z.

REPORTING

“I propose we start by giving the prophets honour in their own land while they’re alive. Let us like Barbados and Jamaica establish positions of writer laureates or poet laureates in our country for a defined period for each of our accomplished writers, giving them the opportunity to promote writing and their own missions either in schools or in other public spaces.” – Chairman of the Folk Resource Centre, St. Lucia, Embert Charles

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“As a child of generations of immigrants and a victim of civil war, she communicates her experience of feeling naked in a new and often unwelcoming environment. Thus, the poems in the collection reflect her attempt to get into the marrow of the immigrant’s ordeal.” – Ghana Writes Editor, Ekuwa Saighoe, interviews Prof. Mark-Romeo on The Nakedness of New

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“Gonnella depicts boxing great Muhammad Ali as young and strong in his fighting stance, the slightest hint of amused confidence hiding in his eyes; smoke escapes in a sinewy wisp from Jimi Hendrix’s lips, parted in a playful smile.” – Pop Phiz Fantastic by Naydene Gonnella as reported by Andrea Milam in Maco

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‘“Ryan really wanted them to have these blankets close off their costumes because he wanted them to have this moment of reveal, where they push the blankets back and you see their weaponry and they go into battle,” said Carter of her work on Black Panther. “Ryan felt he couldn’t really do the Black Panther story without having gone to Africa, so he went and spent some time with the Basotho people [in Lesotho] and he fell in love with these blankets and I see why — they’re beautiful.”

Having purchased 150 Basotho blankets from South Africa and “stamped [the fictional metal] vibranium on one side to make them like shields for the warriors,” Carter said, the blankets were inevitably screen-tested by Marvel as too thick and unusable. So one of Carter’s assistants spent hours shaving each one of the 150 blankets with a men’s shaver to get it right.’ – 10 Surprising Facts About Oscar Winner Ruth E. Carter and Her Designs

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“Of course, Debbie Eckert, I feel like there are two main lanes to her visual art – her portraits, she has an incomparable knack for capturing the light in her subject’s spirit, especially when it comes to children; and her nature canvases which are all about that magical glow. Right away I knew Approach, the full moon’s golden glow hitting the water and rippling out, was hers.” – from ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: AN ART, HISTORY, CULTURE TOUR 2 – CREATIVE SPACE #14 OF 2018 (coverage of the 2018 Independence Visual Arts Exhibition, spotlighting several local artists including one former Wadadli Pen finalist) 

REVIEWS

Doe Songs
“This is a fascinating collection, recommended for readers who like their poetry with teeth, claws and a dash of surrealism.” – PN Review of Doe Songs, an acclaimed poetry collection by Danielle Boodoo Fortune (past Wadadli Pen judge and patron, Trinidad and Tobago writer, illustrator – including of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure by Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse) – Also check out Danielle Boodoo Fortune in Reading Room and Gallery 31, 30, 26, 25, 22, 18, 17, 14, 11, 5, 4, 2, and 1

For reviews of works by Antiguans and Barbudans, go here.

INTERVIEWS

“I think a great many of us thought that Independence would lead to a kind of progress; that things that seemed inadequate like education, medical care, infrastructure that we feel had been neglected – we thought well they denied it to us, at least that was my view – but now that we were in control, we would proceed and show them how to manage small places with small, dedicated, intelligent people and morally good people, people on the right side of history. So when I returned I met kind of a universal chorus of ‘oh, they’re so corrupt, oh this, oh that, and the disturbing thing I think for me was the way the citizens reveled in it.” – Jamaica Kincaid on the BBC (interview also features Jacob Ross and Claire Adam)

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“When you live in Baltimore City, especially coming up in the crack era, people dying is not a strange thing. Witnessing murders is not a strange thing, or being in a situation where you’re on a basketball court and somebody starts shooting is not a strange thing.” – Baltimore author D. Watkins in conversation with NPR

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“I got a message a few years ago from a minister of government when I returned to Grenada accusing me of giving the island a bad name and I said to the messenger I’d like you to tell the minister I’ not writing tourism brochures.” – Jacob Ross  – interview with Jacob Ross, Jamaican Kincaid, and Claire Adam with the BBC

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“It was really fun to get inside each others’ heads and understand how we see the world.” – Jennifer Miller w/Jason Feifer in conversation with quickanddirtytips.com

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“First and foremost, I think she is an unquestionably talented writer whose books and poems shed light on a very interesting literary and geopolitical period.” – Eliot Bliss biographer Michela Calderaro in conversation with Jacqueline Bishop. Read the whole thing: Bookends Eliot Bliss

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“We inhabit the life of a theoretical stranger and we really get to know a point of view that we might not otherwise really understand.” – Barbara Kingslover (interview on BBC) 

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“I acknowledge the assimilation of many writers from what I think of as a Caribbean Tradition in the writing of my first novel Witchbroom. Africa, India, Europe all mixed up – a creole culture, so many languages. That’s what I celebrate. Beacon movement, our part in Harlem Renaissance, but also what I call the greats of the 50s, 60s, 70s novelists, poets and historians and now such a lot going on, many many more women: poets, story tellers, novelists, historians, Bridget Brereton; critics – Ramchand and Rohlehr, setting the pace in 1977. Dear Pat Ismond! London calling: New Beacon, Bogle Overture. And let’s adopt Jimmy Baldwin. I went on pilgrimage last December to St Paul de Vence. Volunteering at The George Padmore Institute. I get so excited at the lives and the works that are being archived there.” – Lawrence Scott

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“When I was writing my dissertation in the 80s, this was my initial quest to unearth the first and earliest novel/poem/play, anything by a Caribbean Woman. As a teenager I had read Herbert G. De Lisser, 1929, novel The White Witch of Rose Hall, but I yearned for the stories of black enslaved women and free working class Caribbean women. I read the Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Mary Seacole in Many Lands,1857; The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave, 1831, and I wanted to find the Caribbean equivalent to Phillis Wheatley. I had read poems by Una Marson, and of course everything by Louise Bennett. Read Sylvia Wynter’s novel, The Hills of Hebron, 1962, then stumbled on Phyllis Shand Allfrey, The Orchid House, 1953; Ada Quayle’s first novel, The Mistress, 1957; Eliot Bliss’ Luminous Isle, 1934; and finally Alice Durie’s One Jamaican Gal, 1939. Although, Durie is an outsider, a white American who married a Creole Jamaican, her text offers important insights. Sadly, when I was doing field research in Jamaica and sought out and met her son, he confessed to burning her papers and other unpublished novels, because he didn’t know what to do with them, he claimed. This was a man with a successful business and warehouse. I was so angry I gritted my teeth to keep from slapping him. If this was the fate of an upper class white woman, then what chance during those earlier times for the poems and novels of a poor black woman, especially in the Caribbean.” – Opal Palmer Adisa  – Also check out Opal Palmer Adisa in Reading Room and Gallery 21, 13,  5, 4, and 1.

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James book
“MARLON JAMES: A lot of it came out of all the research and reading I was doing. African folklore is just so lush. There’s something so relentless and sensual about African mythology. Those stranger elements aren’t about me trying to score edgy post-millennial points. They are old elements. A lot of this book was about taking quite freely from African folklore, specifically from the area below the Sahara Desert. And that’s important to me. Mostly when people think of sophisticated Africa, they think of Egypt. And even that they attribute to aliens.” – Interview magazine. Also check out Marlon James in Reading Room and Gallery 31, 28, 18, 1514, 6, and 1.

For Antiguans and Barbudans discussing their art, go here.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Oh Gad!, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All rights reserved. Subscribe to this site to keep up with future updates.

 

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New Book Alert!

My main and social media knows me well; it’s been flooding me with news of multi-award winning Jamaican author Marlon James new book (I mean, that’s the marketing dream team any writer wish they had amirite? because they are outchea!). The book is Black Leopard, Red Wolf (from Riverhead Books) and it’s the first of a three book epic fantasy fueled by African mythology. In other words, fan of fantasy or not (which I am), it’s the book we’ve been waiting for. As I said on Marlon’s facebook, I like that he takes big swings and with some like Bill Maher recently trashing comic books and comic book readers, that he doesn’t give a tosh (is that an expression…well, it is now) about your genre snobbery. I haven’t read Jim Crow’s Devil but I have read the historical slavery narrative The Book of Night Women and the historical crime drama A Brief History of Seven Killings. And in addition to points blogged in my reviews, as he adds Black Leopard, Red Wolf to his bibliography, it’s easy to see that he’s someone who responds to the challenge of big ideas and deliberately or not (because I wouldn’t presume to speak his intention) creates literature (say it with a high brow accent) with popular appeal. And I’m here for it because I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again a good story is a good story and he tells them well.

With Black Leopard, Red Wolf, he steps, from everything I’ve been reading (haven’t read the book yet though), in to George R. R. Martin territory (doing what Game of Thrones did with its euro-rooted historical fantasy and mythology for African-diasporic storytelling – a la Black Panther). And I’m here for that. Don’t put Black literature, Caribbean literature, nor for that matter Marlon James literature in a box.

Here are some links:

“In these pages, James conjures the literary equivalent of a Marvel Comics universe — filled with dizzying, magpie references to old movies and recent TV, ancient myths and classic comic books, and fused into something new and startling by his gifts for language and sheer inventiveness.” – New York Times

‘Kris Kleindienst, Co-owner of Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Missouri, selected the new novel Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, whose novel A Brief History of Seven Killings won the 2015 Man Book Prize. Kleindienst told Forbes, “Marlon James possesses almost frightening levels of talent. The arc of his career has barely begun, but he has already shot past the best of what other writers could ever hope for. His work is wholly original, while paying homage to all the important literary ancestors. Black Leopard, Red Wolf holds the promise of being an archetypal epic for the 21st century.’ – Forbes

I have some other links bookmarked but I haven’t had time to read them as yet (this only got posted today because people are inboxing me links as well)- bottom line from Lit Hub to Time this book is getting all the buzz. I peep in my timeline that it is in Antigua (at the Best of Books)

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From the Best of Books’ social media.

– and I’m not above hard hinting them that I have a Blogger on Books series wherein I talk books I’ve read (think they’ll share a review copy? yeah, I tried it!), but until then I’ll let the anticipation build (because the way my book buying budget is set up…)

In all seriousness though, did I say new book alert!

Also new, this one already has its own post (a couple of them) but I’m mentioning it here as the publisher (UK/Caribbean independent Papillotte) now has it posted on their site, Saint Lucian Writers and Writing (edited by John Robert Lee) – an author index of prose, poetry, and drama. So look out for that one as well.9780995726314-300x462

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.

Remember to vote for your favourite book by an Antiguan and Barbuda, 2017-2018.

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Reading Room and Gallery 31

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Share by excerpting and linking, so to read the full story or see all the images, or other content, you will need to go to the source. No copyright infringement is intended. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 31st  one which means there are 30 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one.JCH

POETRY

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

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

NEWS FEATURES & OPINION

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

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

CREATING

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

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

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

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

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

THE BUSINESS

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

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

3.Be ready and willing to revise.

4.Know thyself. Be brutally honest.

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

INTERVIEWS

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

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“What is the first thing you wrote?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FICTION

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

***

“In the autumn of Maria’s eighteenth year, the year that her beloved father—amateur coin collector, retired autoworker, lapsed Catholic—died silently of liver cancer three weeks after his diagnosis, and the autumn her favorite dog killed her favorite cat on the brown, crisped grass of their front lawn, and the cold came so early that the apples on the trees froze and fell like stones dropped from heaven, and the fifth local Dominican teenager in as many months disappeared while walking home from her minimum-wage, dead-end job, leaving behind a kid sister and an unfinished journal and a bedroom in her mother’s house she’d never made enough to leave…” – Mary When You Follow Her By Carmen Maria Machado, Illustrations by Sergio García Sánchez

***

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

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

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Reading Room and Gallery 28

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 28th one which means there are 27 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one. – JCH

ESSAYS/NON-FICTION

“I’ve referred to mas as some of my earliest exposures to theatre and storytelling. I especially enjoyed the huge King and Queen of the Band costumes which have largely disappeared from Antiguan mas but which, after showing off on the stage, would take up the whole of Market Street as the parade inched along. The younger ones lobbying for Carnival to be moved from the city to the wider, less cramped, safer spaces on its outskirts can’t imagine how intimate and joyful that feeling was. We would sing the calypso, dance to the soca, and as the costumes floated by, or were dragged or carried by revelers who, despite their size and presumed weightiness, seemed buoyed rather than burdened by them, our eyes would open wide at their grandeur. They were shiny and colourful, a moving canvas; big and bold, inventive and daring. The costumes designed by Heather Doram, still one of Antigua’s finest artists, and built by her husband Connie Doram, come to mind – this would have been later, I think, in my pre-teens, during the costume segment of the Queen Show. Time bends in memory. The when isn’t important, just that it was all mas, and that mas at its best was like visiting the L’ouvre in France or the Museum of Modern Art in New York; only it was our art, from arwe imagination, telling our stories, and it was beautiful, and powerful, and magical. Of course, I wasn’t thinking all of that back then, not at three or thirteen. Back then it was just a feeling that exploded in my body like fireworks. That’s what mas is at its purest, that feeling: pure joy.

I would capture that feeling from the inside for the first time the first time I played mas in 1989.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse, A Life in Mas in Moko: Caribbean Art and Letters

VISUAL ARTS

“This color scheme is quite challenging at the moment. It’s a weird variety of colors. I’m taking my time and I know I’m working slower than normal, but the final product matters more than just rushing every moment.” – Brandon Knoll at Chaotic Works discussing a work-in-progress

***

Madonna– “In Jamaica, all archetypes of the Virgin are painted white. Referencing images of black madonnas in several European countries, I am going back to archetypes of ancient Egypt, the continent of Africa, archetypes like Isis, from whom it is believed the patriarchs modelled the Virgin Mary. Archetypes who expressed wrath, anger, and revenge – not the present day image found around the island churches, but one who when you call on her justice will be served.

I am using a common ‘Mary’ mold which I have painted as a black female archetype and have installed her at various locations in the corporate Kingston area. Some were removed or stolen and only one remains in Manor Park, Kingston where the men sell newspapers and cigarettes.

…I created another Madonna to replace the one that was damaged. When I went towards the same newspaper, cigarette men in the wee hours of the morning, they asked me what I wanted. I told them I have come to replace her (she was missing her head). They just replied ‘we love Mary’ and they helped me by taking the statue out of the car and placing her in what they felt was a safe spot. They believed a mad man had pushed the other black Madonna down causing her to lose her head, but they promised to keep watch over this one.” – Kristie Stephenson re her ‘Lady Justice’ sculptures, in Interviewing the Caribbean Spring 2017, p. 148-152

INTERVIEWS

“A lot of critics think A Brief History of Seven Killings is horrifying, but I don’t think so, and I don’t think the characters think they’re living in horror. The fact is that even the most terrible situation is normal for the person living in it. In a lot of ways, this is the funniest book that I’ve ever written. It has the most humor and the most ridiculousness—certainly, it’s the most experimental. I don’t know about horror, but there’s violence and brutality. It opens up with a dead guy, but then again, death and horror is a Western association. It’s certainly not that way in the East. It’s certainly not in non-Anglo storytelling. This character’s horror comes from something quite living, not from anything spiritual—it comes from the fact that he was murdered. The horror that exists in the book isn’t supernatural: it’s the basic cruelty that human beings commit against each other. That is the scary stuff. Anything might happen at any time, and that’s what’s unnerving. It’s real, upfront, everyday fear.” – Marlon James

***

“Rumpus: Claire of the Sea Light is set in the fictional seaside town of Ville de Rose, a town shaped by its beauty—hence its namesake—but also the mountains above it, the sea at its border, the buzz of its single radio program, and the corruption of its civil servants. Talk to me about building this world. Specifically, I’m interested in how you break up and bring together social classes using topography.

(Edwidge) Danticat: When my first book, Breath, Eyes Memory, came out, I wrote about many real Haitian towns and a lot of people who were from those towns would say “you got this wrong” and “got that wrong,” so I decided to write about my own town by borrowing elements of different places. If you are inventing a town, you have all freedom. I added the lighthouse. Langston Hughes has a children’s book called Popo and Fafina, set in Haiti during the U.S. occupation because he used to travel to Haiti quite a bit. And I remembered that the story has a lighthouse in it, so I reread it and thought, I want a lighthouse, and the lighthouse went in. I could visually see the town and see myself walking around in it, but that takes many, many layers of writing. Sometimes in writing you have to live with things before you inhabit them, and that takes a very long time for it to stop feeling constructed and to start feeling like something real.” Read the full interview.

***

“Who do you write for?
Myself, who else? A great deal of stories that I ever write have been based on things I see in the news or people I hear about. Just the other day I sit down listening to my aunt and cousin talking about somebody who smoking out their whole house for ghosts.

There’s also another story that was in the news way back when in La Brea—where a whole family, granny and all, was taking care of this dead baby. The story fall out of the news a week later—we never get to know why any of this happen. Writing gives me the ability to imagine the bedlam of some of these situations. To figure out why.” – Kevin Jared Hosein interview with Caribbean Literary Heritage

***

‘What is most attractive and crucial about Kamau is that the world he creates erodes the invisible structures that govern how/why/what/from where we write. Walcott’s “White Magic” in The Arkansas Testament [1987], for instance, has always troubled me in the way it defends and argues for a world that, in tone and outlook, it is so distant from. The world of a spirituality that is quite real to me. Now, had the epistemic underpinnings of “White Magic” been different, we would’ve had a different poem. These underpinnings determine how we understand metaphor and what we can or do draw upon in creating figurative language. It decides what devices become the engines of our expression. Kamau gives me this, both through what he has done and what he gives me the courage to attempt.’ – Vladimir Lucien in conversation with John Robert Lee about the work of Kamau Brathwaite

***

“Because nothing in Brief History started the way it ended up. The first page I ever wrote is now on page 458. I was writing a crime novel starring a hitman who was trying to kill this Jamaican drug lord. I remember writing that, and thinking in the back of my head, “He’s one of the guys who tried to kill Marley.” But that was just going to be this sort of “Gotcha!” at the end, and my brief 120-page novel would have been finished. I just couldn’t finish it. I got to a part where I just couldn’t go any further. And I just figured, well, let’s find another character. So I created this character, another hit man, called Bam Bam. Then it was the same thing: writing the character for maybe forty, fifty pages, until I ran into a dead end.” – Marlon James in interview with Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

***

‘“Get Shorty” showrunner Davey Holmes asked Calderon Kellett if she feels an added pressure to get her show right, to which she replied: “For sure, especially when there aren’t a lot of Latinx shows right now on TV. Tanya and I know each other and we’ve done a million panels together. We’re like ‘the two.’”

To the horror of her fellow panelists, Calderon Kellett recollected the story of how when the two showrunners previously worked together in a writers’ room in 2012, they were called “sp– and span.” The only show that the two have worked together on is “Devious Maids.”

As she described looking back on her career when the Me Too Movement broke out, “everyone did a self-audit. I went through mine and thought: ‘Oh, my God. I’m so broken.’”’ – from Variety’s A Night in the Writers’ Room with Michael Schur (The Good Place), Peter Farrelly (Loudermilk), Tanya Saracho (Vida), Gloria Calderon Kellett (One Day at a Time), David Holmes (Get Shorty), Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Judd Apatow (Crashing), Andrea Savage (I’m Sorry), Gemma Baker (Mom), Jennie Snyder Urman (Jane the Virgin), Stephen Glover (Atlanta)

***

“Arimah: I often don’t care what things are called, or what the right word for something is, as long as what is said is understood. Magical realism, speculative, fantasy, science fiction—these are all terms I (and others) have used to describe my work, and I’m fine with all those labels. I’m sure there are arguments for the appropriateness of one or the other, but I’m not heavily invested (unless someone is trying to disparage any one of those genres. Then I’ll likely come to its defense).” – Lesley Nneka Arimah

***

“(BRUCE) MILLER We had a very long discussion in our room about what it actually feels like to get your period and how can you tell or not when you start to bleed. And the room, all they did was disagree with each other.

(LENA) WAITHE Because everybody has a very different experience.

MILLER Right. And it’s funny because you think, “Oh, there’s a universal answer to this.” And really, I just need a line. (Laughter.) But it doesn’t help if you just have one person. It’s one person’s opinion and there is no one to challenge it.”  – Courtney Kemp (‘Power’), Peter Morgan (‘The Crown’), Bruce Miller (‘The Handmaid’s Tale’), David Shore (‘The Good Doctor’) and Lena Waithe (‘The Chi’) in conversation with The Hollywood Reporter

***

“NPR’s LYNN NEARY: Woodson says she’d love to get rid of labels like struggling reader or advanced reader and encourage young people to concentrate more on how a book makes them feel or think.

AUTHOR JACQUELINE WOODSON: Labeling is not the best way to get young people to deeply engage in reading. I mean, at the end of the day, you take the qualifier away and they’re a reader. Childhood, young adulthood is fluid. And it’s very easy to get labeled very young and have to carry something through your childhood and into your adulthood that is not necessarily who you are.” Read the full interview.

FICTION

“We are in a graveyard,” Dionne said. She traced the name of her ancestor while Trevor’s hand worked its way beneath her dress and along the smooth terrain of her upper thigh. She liked the way it felt when Trevor touched her, though she hadn’t decided yet what she’d let him do to her. She’d let Darren put his hands all the way up her skirt on the last day of school. But here, where girls her age still wore their hair in press and curls, she knew that sex was not to be given freely, but a commodity to ration, something to barter with.’ – Excerpt of The Star Side of Bird Hill, by Naomi Jackson

***

“As she can no longer see the shore, The Woman has decided it is time to bail ship, to jump into the water she cannot swim in, wearing her heaviest shoes and heart of great mass. She leaves on her red hat, hoping it will be her grave marker, should anyone wonder what happened to the boat and why it is floating out in the great lake.” – Zombie V. by Melanie S. Page 

***

“We all got married — Suzanne, and Virginia, and I — and it was all we ever wanted to be at the time. I fought with my parents to get married, and Suzanne ran away from home with her boyfriend to get married, and Virginia saved her money for a year and eight months, eating a bag lunch at work every day and walking up from the square to save the five cents for the transfer and making her own clothes and only seeing movies when they came to the drive-in — all to get married.” – We by Mary Grimm

***

“I like Markham, but I’d like to kill him. I dream of doing it in front of a huge pack of boys. Clinically.” – Stickfighting Days by Olufemi Terry

***

“Two white boys sat on a bench outside the closed door while a white man in a billed cap kept watch over them. Walter thought maybe the Funhouse couldn’t be so bad, with white boys here too—until a crack of leather striking flesh came from inside, and a boy’s scream. Walter had never heard anyone scream that way except Mama, in her dying. His blood burned cold.” – The Reformatory by Tananarive Due

THE BUSINESS

“She (Kima Jones) reminds me that the first step in breaking out is actually taking the time to turn inward and look within.” – Poets & Writers in conversation with literary publicists Lauren Cerand, Kima Jones, and Michael Taekens

CREATIVES ON CREATING

‘When I taught writing, I told my students there was no reason to worry about punctuation until they had written something worth punctuating correctly. I was trying to show them that the important part of writing—the part their teachers didn’t teach them—was the revision process. The stopping and starting, the rethinking, the crossing out, the sharpening of a thought—that’s writing. It’s a verb, after all. Punctuation, which their teachers had “taught” them, was simply politeness, no different from covering your mouth when you sneeze.’ – Piano Lessons: Do Writers Need a Teacher or a Coach? by Jim Sollisch

***

‘TD: This was a very, very tough moment for me to write in the story. But it was always the moment I was writing up to, which is beyond the violence, trying to find some hope on the other side—how to process that violence. Why is there so much? There is even more violence than the excerpt I read that I cut out. This is the bogeyman, for the most part, this whipping shed. In real life it was called “The White House.” I call it “The Fun House” in my story. But this was the place where these boys very often lost their innocence and where their lives were in some ways damaged a great deal for the rest of their lives. Just the trauma of the violence. And there were also accusations of sexual abuse. But for the most part the accounts I read have been about the physical beatings. A man to my face, and this was a white man, talked about how he had the skin whipped off of his back. He could not see his parents on visiting day because of the damage to his skin and the doctor literally had to remove the fabric from his injuries. This is brutality, brutality against children. To me it would be a cheat not to express the full brutality of the experience. And it is difficult to do that to a twelve year old protagonist, or even have him witness it, or be afraid it would happen to him, frankly, when I think of my own son. But it would not be fair to the survivors of this school, and the survivors of the system overall, to gloss over the violence, because violence and sexual abuse mark so many experiences in the criminal justice system. Where you are removed from a home environment, where you have measures of safety and control, and put in an environment where you have no control, no name. There are statistics that show that the majority of sexual abuse in juvenile detention centers is not perpetrated by other prisoners, it is perpetrated by guards. Horror, typically, is violence by the monster, the daemon, the zombie.  In this story, the horror is human, and the ghosts are just survivors in their own way.’ – Tananarive Due on writing The Reformatory

***

‘Yeah, the president is just such a different joke world, because it’s a moving target that’s constantly evolving and it’s constantly changing. You could write 20 minutes about one thing and then he reverses his opinion. Well, now what are you going to do with that material? I could start writing my act today, but in five weeks when we go and tape, 20 different things would’ve happened by then. It’s not something I enjoy because it forces you to stay on topic with an issue. To report every week on what Trump did, you’re just saying he did this, here’s a joke about it, and here’s why you shouldn’t think that way. There’s got to be more. There’s got to be something bigger to that. To me the issue isn’t Trump, it’s the people in office who don’t stand up to him. That’s the bigger deep dive. Because if you look at all of the president’s antics since he’s been sworn in, the one consistent narrative is that nobody stands up to him. So to me, that’s what I want to talk about. I want to talk about who are all these people who don’t go, “Hey, man, don’t fucking tweet today.”’ – Roy Wood Jr. on writing jokes

***

‘From the moment the idea for the story first came to me, I imagined it as a story in which the main character is falling and is considering the most important moments and people in his life. I think that framework gives some flexibility to the narrative, some elasticity, because that experience would be very different for each of us, depending on our personal and larger history, who we are, what we value most, and who or what we are most concerned about. Another news item that often catches my attention here in Miami is how many construction workers fall while working to build very expensive hotels or apartment buildings that they would not be able to afford to stay or live in—so that became one of the elements at play in “Without Inspection.”’ – Edwidge Dandicat

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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James, Hutchinson are Academy Winners

“NEW YORK, March 20, 2018—The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced today the names of 15 writers who will receive its 2018 awards in literature. The awards will be presented in New York at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial in May. This year’s literature prizes, totaling $185,000, honor both established and emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The Academy’s 250 members propose candidates, and a rotating committee of writers selects winners. This year’s award committee members were Joy Williams (chairman), Russell Banks, Henri Cole, Amy Hempel, and Anne Tyler.”

Among the 15 are two notable Caribbean writers, Marlon James and Ishion Hutchinson who are among eight recipients of Arts and Letters Awards of $10,000 each honoring exceptional accomplishment in literature.

Read the rest of the list here.

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