Tag Archives: Marlon James

CARIB LIT Plus Mid to Late May 2020

CREATIVE SPACE

Have you been keeping up with my CREATIVE SPACE series covering local art and culture? I say local but there’s been some regional spillage. The second issue of May 2020 (the series as of 2020 is running every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer with an extended edition on my blog), however, covered Antiguan and Barbudan Art of the Century.  ‘Heather’s picks: Mark Brown’s Angel in Crisis series – a 2008 visual art show described in international publication The Culture Trip as “a provocative contemplation of the human condition”. She credited “the depth of the pathos”.’ That’s just one  of three picks by Antiguan and Barbudan visual artist Heather Doram. Read about her other picks, and picks from other artists. Tell me about your picks. In case you missed any of the previous installments in the series, they are archived on the Jhohadli website.

Covid Consequences

The country (Antigua and Barbuda), like much of the world, has been reopening – cross your fingers. Some are being real reckless; don’t be like them. COVID-19 is still very much with us; this is economic expediency not an all-clear sign.

Carnival remains cancelled – for the first time in my lifetime.

New music from local artist Rashid Walker

A little help from the Caribbean Development Bank for people in the creative industries who’ve suffered loss of income due to COVID-19. Specifically to the festivals sub-sector and the Carnival and Festivals sub-sector. The grant is for product development – to produce an online/virtual product, marketing – to promote new Caribbean content, digital – to support the further development of electronic solutions for revenue generation; projects should be community oriented. Details here.

Book Recs

Stay with me here. Margaret Busby OBE is Britain’s youngest and first Black female publisher. She was recently profiled in the 100 Pioneering Women of Sussex Blog series. Excerpt: “Margaret Busby was born in 1944 in Accra, Gold Coast (now Ghana) to Dr George Busby and Mrs Sarah Busby. She went to school in Sussex in Bexhill until the age of 15. She then went to London University to read English, graduating in 1964.” That had me saying, wow. because Margaret is a solid 29 years older than me and I had no idea when we met; her Black don’t crack for real but also she was just so cool – I never once felt out of place around her (which sometimes happens when you walk in to certain spaces). Here we are (her far right, me second from right) in Sharjah in 2019:

The article talks about New Daughters of Africa, the second global anthology in this series (this one 25 years after the original) which she edited. My interactions with her were always respectful and generous – even after all she  has achieved; I have enjoyed being a part of this project. “The 2019 anthology has been nominated for NAACP Awards for Outstanding Literary Work 2020 and a Lifetime Achievement in African Literature by Africa Writes in 2019. Each anthology compiles more than 200 women from Africa and the African diaspora.” So, the rec is New Daughters of Africa. Don’t sleep on it.

 

“Some of the earliest pioneers of crime fiction and mystery thrillers, who included Edgar Mittelholzer and John Morris (pseudonym of John Hearne and Morris Cargill), now find a worthy successor in Grenadian writer Jacob Ross.” – John R Lee’s review of new book Jacob Ross book Black Rain Falling

African American writer Jewell Parker Rhodes is a past Wadadli Pen patron (she donated copies of her book Ninth Ward in 2011) and we are happy to report this positive review of her latest book Black Brother, Black Brother. ‘Born of a white father and a black mother, Donte is extremely darker than his light-skinned brother Trey, and faces substantial discrimination at Middlefield Prep. His schoolmates label him “black brother” and even with Trey’s support he is treated like an outcast. Being one of the few black boys at his new school, Donte is framed and arrested for “throwing a pencil with intent to harm.” His society is constructed by whites for whites so those belonging to this race are considered lawful and civilized. Blackness, on the other hand, is viewed as a stain and is linked to criminality. This causes Donte to be seen as a “thug” who is responsible for any disruption that arises at Middlefield. He is left feeling defeated and confused as he highlights, “the uniform is supposed to make us all the same.” Uniforms at Middlefield Prep. do not guarantee uniformity and compassion, whiteness does, and this is something that Donte lacks on the outside.’ Sounds really interesting. Read the full review at the African American Literary Book Club.

Bocas Lit Fest’s #MyCaribbeanLibrary survey which invited people to share books that made them has yielded the following titles: Giant by Trinidad-born BVI author with Antiguan roots, recent Bocas winner (for another book) Richard Georges, Pynter Bender by Grenada born UK based writer Jacob Ross, US based Jamaican writer Orlando Patterson’s Children of Sisyphus, UK based Jamaican writer Kei Miller’s Augustown, He Drown She in the Sea by Shani Mootoo, a Canada based Trinidadian writer, Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez, Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo, of Trinidad, based in Scotland, Mad Woman by Jamican-American Shara McCallum, Uncle Brother by Jamaican Barbara Lalla, who is professor emerita from Trinidad’s UWI campus, Jamaica’s poet laureate Lorna Goodison’s By Love Possessed, Claire Adam’s Trinidad set Golden Child, The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prada-Nunez of Puerto Rico, UK based Trini Monique Roffey’s House of Ashes, Barbados’ George Lamming’s In the Castle of My Skin, Trinidad’s Michael Anthony’s Green Days by the River, Nobel winning Omerus by St. Lucia’s Derek Walcott, Dominican Jean Rhys’ Voyage in the Dark, Small Island by Andrea Levy, a British writer of Jamaican descent, Trinidadian V. S. Naipaul’s Miguel Street, and Guadeloupean writer Maryse Conde’s Segu.

The New York Public Library’s picks in April for Immigrant Heritage Week included Caribbean titles, including US based Trinidadian Elizabeth Nunez’s memoir Not for Everyday Use and Esmeralda Santiago’s When I was Puerto Rican.

Awards

The five regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize will be announced on June 2nd 2020 and the overall winner during a special ceremony on June 30th 2020. Click here for information on catching it live. In the running for the Caribbean prize are Jamaica’s Brian S. Heap (Mafootoo), Trinidad and Tobago’s Brandon McIvor (Finger, Spinster, Serial Killer), and Sharma Taylor (Cash and Carry), of Jamaica but resident in Barbados, whom I interviewed on my Jhohadli blog.

Jamaican writer Marlon James won the Ray Bradbury prize from the L. A. Times for his book Black Leopard, Red Wolf. The prize is for science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction generally.

Congratulations to all Wadadli Youth Pen Prize recipients. Here’s this year’s photogallery.

Opportunities

The Bocas Lit Fest, as part of its 10th anniversary, has rolled out a number of resources for readers and writers – e.g. a publishing consultancy and book network.

Remember to check the Opportunities Too page here on the blog for opportunities for writers and artists with pending deadlines.

Obit.

Fans of the road march winning (Dress Back) Antiguan and Barbudan Vision band are mourning another loss. Founding member and vocalist (2 x Calypso monarch Edimelo) died quite suddenly recently and now so has another founding member, keyboardist Eric Peters. It was announced on May 20th 2020 that he had been found dead at his Browne’s Avenue home. A post mortem was scheduled to determine the cause of death.

Poet Cecil Gray died in March and was subsequently tributed by Peepal Tree Press with which he had a special relationship.

Guyanese playwright and director Michael Gilkes and cartoonist Samuel Rudolph Seymour – more casualties of COVID-19 from the Caribbean arts community – were remembered in the hometown press.

 

Compiled by Antiguan and Barbudan writer and Wadadli Pen coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse from various sources. 

 

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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 30th 2019 – Reggae in the Park celebrates its 10th anniversary during the Annual Sailing Week activities. Headliners are Christopher Martin and Junior Kelly. Local talent will be DJ’s Jime and Illist, and musical artistes LCD-The Band and Blakk Gold.

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–>April 27th 2019 – InternationalDanceMusicandFolkloreFestivalevents

For more details, go here.

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April 26th 2019 –

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April 24th 2019 – 54516026_2153534838221705_606143662128103424_n.jpg

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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

****

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

***

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

THE BUSINESS

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

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

3.Be ready and willing to revise.

4.Know thyself. Be brutally honest.

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

INTERVIEWS

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

***

***

“What is the first thing you wrote?

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

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

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

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

***

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

***

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

FICTION

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

***

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

***

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

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

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Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

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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Reading Room and Gallery XVlll

This page is for sharing links to things of interest around the internet. It’ll be sporadically updated; so, come back from time to time. For the previous reading rooms (1, 11, 111, 1v, v, v1 , v11, v111, 1x, x, x1, x11, x111, x1v, xv, xvi, xvii), click the links or use the search feature to the right, to the right.

ON PUBLISHING

“#3 Not following guidelines.
Double check all guidelines before submitting to a magazine. Is there a word count requirement? Should your name be removed from the piece? Should your document be in Word, pdf, or rich text format? If it’s an email submission, do they want the document attached, or pasted into the body of the email? Do they accept simultaneous submissions? Don’t risk getting your piece being tossed out because you didn’t follow the rules.” – (here at Wadadli Pen I know this one well) – read the rest of the list of mistakes writers make when submitting.

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“My advice for young writers is to keep reading widely and for pleasure. And don’t get discouraged! So much of it is just mule-like persistence. That’s what I feel I learned this time around. There were many times when Swamplandia! failed and I had to pick it up and try and write it again. There were stories in my collection that were just duds, they’ve been voted off the island, and it was only because I had this material commitment to getting them out the door that I was willing to keep working at them. I really do think that’s the best advice—to keep at it.” – Karen Russell

***

“An interesting insight into the process came when the pair considered how they had arrived at rather different descriptions for the location of the windmill-giants – Jull Costa has them ‘on that same plain’, whereas Bush situates them ‘in the nearby field’. It transpired that, rather than seeking a literal translation of the Spanish ‘en aquel campo’, each had pictured what they read the original to mean and then found a way to render the image in English.” – Ann Morgan on dueling translations of Don Quixote

***

“Not only do I not see movies as I write, I can’t visualise, well, anything. At all. I don’t even dream in pictures. I have absolutely no concept of what it would be like to see things that no one else can see.” – Jo Eberhardt

***

“It happens too often that beginning fiction writers fail to give their characters jobs or occupations. Weak stories by beginning writers often feature adults who are wealthy without any discernible means of income or who perform the indiscernibly ambiguous task of “work.” Characters are described as working each day, but the reader is never told what they do or how their daily jobs affect them or their interactions with others. Characters do not earn money; they simply have it. There are no bills, no expenses, and, of course, no financial struggles.” – Amina Gautier

***

“So here you have a man at the beach, but he can’t enjoy it; he has to sit, because of his paranoia, with his back to the water, sitting in a chair; he wears a Hawaiian shirt but there’s a bullet proof vest under it; he likes a red wine spritzer but it tastes like Skittles which is very loaded…Trayvon Martin had a pack of Skittles.” – Rowan Ricardo Phillips, born in New York to Antiguan parents, reflecting on his poem News from the Muse of Not Guilty after a reading of the poem, from his collection Heaven, on CBC Radio.

***

“You start from building this world with their rules, and then you just follow logic in order to come up with the rest of the details. So once you have this simple fact that you’re treating couples in a certain way and single people in another way—and there’s a bit of a concept that this is almost like a prison drama or something, at least in the first half of the film—then you pick up on those things and you borrow things from other kinds of situations … We tried to get into the heads of people that would be in charge and what they would come up with.” – Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos on the making of his film The Lobster

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Writing other…Mary Robinette Kowal provides some insight to culturally sensitive approaches to doing so.

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“The second thing is reminding myself: You don’t have to write anything that you’re not deeply interested in. Every time I remember this, it’s a relief and a surprise.” – Rita Mae Reese on curing the affliction of not-writing.

****

“I use traditional women’s techniques, such as sewing, beading and applique. I incorporate found objects in my work; they are clues towards understanding my story and that of women in general.” – Heather Doram

***

“So much of what the filmmakers did in creating and then editing their work is what we writers strive for when polishing a manuscript: pinpoint the heart of the story and stay true to it, cut what can be lost, and always direct conflict and pacing.” – Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton w/ Elena Greene discuss The Lord of the Rings’ adaptation from book to film and what writers can learn from the choices the filmmakers made. It’s a five part series that begins, here.

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A long form interview on the arts is a rare thing, especially in a Caribbean print publication, so kudos to Jamaica’s Observer for this series of poetry month features, this one spotlighting American Tim Tomlinson, co-founder of the New York Writers’ Workshop, in conversation with Jamaican-American poet and artist Jacqueline Bishop. Tomlinson’s book Yolanda, an Oral History in Verse, is focused on the Phillipines but his connection to the Caribbean – his time spent visiting and diving in various islands and countries but most especially the Bahamas is explored as well. Essentially, this interview is about both his journeying as a person and how that has informed his writing, how he creates, generally, and specifically in the case of Yolanda. W/thanks to Jacqueline Bishop for sharing, here have a slow as you sipping your iced tea kind of read:

Tim Tomlinson 1Tim Tomlinson 2Tim Tomlinson 3

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“That was one of those magic moments. That came out pretty much whole cloth. Every now and then you ride the tiger. Most days the tiger rides me, but every now and then I ride the tiger. That’s my favorite chapter in the book. The opening chapter of The Given Day is another example. It’s my favorite chapter in The Given Day. It was written in two nights. It was rewritten extensively for prose, but it just came out.” – Dennis Lehane

***

“When I closed my eyes, I could smell flue-cured tobacco. I could feel the hot sun beating down on me. I could hear the southern accent of a teacher whose voice reminded me of poetry.” – Shannon Hitchcock on the inspiration for her book Ruby Lee & Me

VISUAL ART

Online gallery of Netherlands artist Marijke Buurlage.

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***

Technically this is musical and literary art (lyrics) shared via a visual medium but that’s not the point. RIP, Prince.

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“Nature is completely indifferent to the human endeavours whether they are good, evil, otherwise, whatever.” – Lori Landey and Beth Harris discussing Joseph Mallard William Turner’s Slave Ship

NON FICTION

“How many times over the years
I have explained
This.
Celie and her “prettier” sister Nettie
are practically identical.
They might be twins.
But Life has forced on Celie
all the hardships
Nettie mostly avoids…” – Is Celie actually Ugly? By Alice Walker

***

“Why, I asked my brother, did you like the film so much? So many messages. Look at the title. Everyone has problems underneath. Just because you are smart doesn’t mean u can work everything out yourself.” – Sejal Shah writing on Ordinary People

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“You must read to develop a deeper understanding of literary elements, such as character arc, subtext, voice, and narrative distance.” – Chuck Sambuchino in his article The Pros and Cons of getting a Creative Writing MFA at Writer’s Digest

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Kei Miller’s essay in this BBC piece resonates with me – it’s truthful and thoughtful and bold as so much of his writing is even when speaking of his tentativeness writing the issue of race -how our whiteness and blackness mediate our interactions. That said, I feel that same prickle of disagreement I feel stir in me whenever a black person, black writer (especially if they’re from colonized or formerly colonized places like I am) say, I didn’t know I was black until… because it’s not my truth (my blackness didn’t limit my sense of possibility but the reality is that, like class and other things, our blackness or shades of blackness was and remains a way of separating ourselves from ourselves) even in the predominantly black places I have lived (including Kei’s Jamaica). The Caribbean is not insulated from these issues, though they are not as starkly or sharply or consistently experienced in whiter places like the US and UK. Beyond my own experiences (some touched on in my February 2016 Essence article Mirror Mirror and issues of colourism/shade-ism explored in my book Musical Youth), this fairly recent memory comes to mind: being in a roomful of children of different shades of black, in a public child-friendly space, right here on our predominantly black island, only to have another adult, call out to one of the children, “black boy, black boy” with a tone and cadence that suggested “bad boy, bad boy” and to have him look up, in full acceptance of this (internalizing it). My aside aside, give the audio clip a listen; it’s a really engaging and touching reflection from one of the Caribbean’s best.

INTERVIEWS

“A writer always benefits from being a kind of outsider. That is why I try not to belong to anything too much. [Alienation] makes you an insider-outsider . . . sharpens [your] sense of observation. You look at things with detached eyes. Even some words. Pondering these English words with your Creole eyes. . . . There always is a sort of dialogue going on [within] most artists anyway. They just soak things in that they ultimately try to reproduce some other way. I think having this dual lens has been very helpful.” – Edwidge Dandicat

***

“Grounded in the realities of our history and geography, but unbounded in their imaginative possibilities” – Philip Sander describing the work of Nalo Hopkinson jumped out at me as the very thing I’ve been trying to define when I speak of a Caribbean aesthetic as a criterion for (but not a limitation of) Wadadli Pen submissions.

***

“Shorter doesn’t mean faster or easier! Short story writing is a very different art from that of the novel, from pacing to character development. So for a novelist, it can actually take longer and be more of a stretch to try her hand at writing a short story. A rewarding challenge, certainly, but definitely a challenge.” – Lauren Willig

***

“I remember myself as a young child, my mother had books inside here, and one of them dealt with the Haitian Revolution. I was ever so proud of Toussaint L’Ouverture. I was just proud. I mean, there he was, sitting in the same book with Napoleon and all of these other great men. So, for me, the Haitian Revolution was very significant. I don’t know how it is in popular memory, because right now everybody’s sorry for the Haitians—and “sorry for” in the sense of, “We’re better off” or “They can wear our old clothes.” So I don’t know about it in the popular memory. But certainly historically, Haiti served to frighten late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century governments. Frightening them, and as a matter of fact, had them even more repressive towards their black enslaved workers because their fear of Haiti was so strong. So, I don’t know that it has popular resonances, but certainly for nineteenth-century politics, it did.” – Erna Brodber interview at SX Salon, a Small Axe Literary Platform

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“What’s interesting to me is that of the women who have read this, every single one thinks that it is absolutely sexy and totally horny. Then I was like, ‘oh, so this is erotica’. And I was reminded again that erotica does not need to be explicit. And, of course, what is erotic and what we find sexy and will respond to viscerally in that way is entirely subjective.” – Leone Ross

***

“The fiction writer in me likes gaps in stories because I can jump into that gap and try to suggest something.” – Marlon James’ Vogue interview

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“There’s a place for everything…” – says Barbados’ Shakirah Bourne in this NIFCA interview:

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“To move past the ugly parts of history, you have to acknowledge them, on all sides, and this is what I think historical fiction can do so well: show how we got from there to here, but told through characters who see themselves not as history but as completely modern.” – Andrea Mullaney, author of The Ghost Marriage, 2012 Commonwealth Short Story winner for Canada and Europe

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“The area where I spent my childhood years was surrounded my trees, and always seemed just on the edge of wilderness. That area has changed so much, but there is still that space in my imagination that’s the same…” – Danielle Boodoo Fortune, Woman of Colour interview

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“What I’m trying to bring out is the power of words themselves, the power and musicality of words.” – Clifton Joseph

***

“Reading was such a sanctuary when I was a teenager, I wanted to see if I could tell a Jamaican story, a Caribbean story, that would interest even an urban teenager.” – Diana McCaulay re her new book Gone to Drift

FICTION

“In April of 1945, after facing only minimal resistance, Rhett was part of the Allied force that liberated a concentration camp named for the beech forests that surrounded it. The day was damp and overcast, with a heavy ground mist that sometimes hid the heaped bodies and sometimes revealed them. Living skeletons stood at the fences and outside the crematoriums, staring at the Americans. Some were horribly burned by white phosphorous.” – Cookie Jar by Stephen King

***

“In death, we live far more richly than we do in life. Our lives are pale shadows in which we are preoccupied with the business of living. It is in death that we take on nuance and colour. We seep through the floorboards of houses, spread out and nestle there. We whistle through windows, ruffle curtains and inhabit the minds and memories of others. We take on a resonance that only memory provides. We become deities. We become ancestors.” – from Ayanna Gillian Lloyd’s Walking in Lapeyrouse

***

“There was no rebuttal. She ended the call. From the decanter on side board, she poured herself a drink. The rum quelled the chill in her stomach — a chill reminiscent of rain-fly wings brushing against her skin. Where did they find him? They were hunting him for so long. Did he put up a fight? Errol had a point: There was really no need for her to kill him herself. But she wanted to.” – H. K. Williams’ Celeste in Moko

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“They’ve taken you, in the rolling melody of their steps and song, to the river Aripo inside the forest, and when they sit and beckon you to come join them, their feet, you notice, are not as they’re supposed to be. It’s a peculiar thing to miss, really, backwards feet. You sense that your own feet have been treading air when they come into contact once again with the marshy forest floor. You look back into the bush where you think you came from, and you want to go home.”- Wenmimareba Klobah Collins

***

Edwidge Dandicat reads and discusses Jamaica Kincaid’s Girl and her own Wingless. And here’s Girl, so you can read along.

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“My wife is happiest on Sunday afternoon, when I leave the house. We have been married five years – too soon for us to take pleasure in each other’s absence.” – from Radio Story by Anushka Jasraj – Commonwealth Short Story winner for Asia

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“After years of working like a dog, clawing his way to fame and fortune—forfeiting family in the process—Desiree and the people of the island had broken down his mighty reserve and rewarded him with passion, friendship and the happiest times he’d ever experienced. He loved living in a place where everyone was aware of who he was, but not impressed or intimidated by what he had done. He admired the lack of social divides, that the Chief Minister played dominoes with ‘The People’, and that his best friend and “liming partner” was her cousin, and his Captain.” – Trudy Nixon’s Anguilla Boat Race, part of Akashic’s Mondays are Murder series

***

Mary Akers said about ‘Viewing Medusa’ after it had been posted at The Good Men Project: “For all you writers out there, this story’s publication is a testament to persistence. It won the Mary Mackey Short Story Prize, it was the story I submitted for my successful Bread Loaf waiter application, but for ten years, I tried unsuccessfully to get it published. I submitted it to 101 journals, 100 of whom rejected it before Matthew Salesses believed in it and brought it out into the world.” Here’s an excerpt from the story:  “I found myself unable to look away as she slurped her soup, dipping the pieces of dasheen in the broth and sucking them dry after each dip. When the soursop was served, she peeled away the bumpy green skin and slurped the fruit into her mouth, rolling it around until the smooth brown seeds were free, spitting them onto her plate. Soursop juice ran down her wrists and dripped off her elbows to the floor. I thought of Miss Connie, later, on her hands and knees, wiping up the stickiness while shaking her head at the lack of manners displayed by scientists.” – the voice/point of view and descriptions work well together to create a clear picture of the part of Dominica in which the story (which feels less fiction and more here’s how it happened) is set – the beauty and ruggedness in the landscape and the character of the people as compared with the visiting (presumably white) scientists, to create as well a certain mood of foreboding, and to suck the reader in…even if it spits that reader out the other end with questions, or rather one lingering question: so wait, she nar go do nutten? – Read the whole of Viewing Medusa here.

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“The fuel tank was empty. He’d collapsed from sunstroke and dehydration. He’d been raving incoherently. When he finally recovered he’d lost all memory of where he’d left his men. A Lysander was sent out to look for them but nothing was ever found. The unforgiving maw of the Sahara had simply swallowed them up.” – Bully Beef and Biscuits by Guy Carter – this was the 2015 winner of the Mogford Prize for Food & Drink Writing

POETRY

“In Trinidad, everyone knows

the Pitch Lake but few have been

few have seen the dark and strange

surface, the vast dirt a mind of its own:

asphalt lake as constant as change.” – from La Brea. Read that and other poems by Andre Bagoo in Moko.

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“No one sees my tears
wafting through the branch clusters
weeping airy patterns into the jungle silence.” – from Mangrove Armour by April Roach in Moko

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“We read menacing messages in the scowls
of passers-by. Some circle around,
mark the territory with treads of footprints,
count down days to our departure.” – Camp by Althea Romeo-Mark in Moko

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“…crushed lemongrass
overcooked tourist flesh sizzling in the noonday sun
barnacled, rusted boats off Devonshire Dock
my neighbour’s garbage ripped open by feral cats
overpriced perfume – from Trimingham’s, I think
‘mountain fresh’ detergent scent of laundry drying on the line
frying fish and sun-ripened fish guts
Baygon and stale beer
overripe cherries
Limacol and sweat..” – from Kim Dismont Robinson’s Scents of Bermuda: Or, All De Smells That Accosted My Nose One Day When Ahs Ridin My Bike From My Momma’s House on Norf Shore To My House in Smif’s Parish

***

‘In the roaring of the wolves the doctor said “Do you feel tenderness”
She was touching me’ – Niina Pollari, sharing and discussing her poem Do You Feel Tenderness

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“There’ve always been Sunday mornings like this,
when God became young again
and looking back you see
that childhood was a Sunday morning.” – Kendel Hippolyte (Sunday) – be sure to also check out the Dunstan St. Omer Red Madonna that accompanies the poem.

BLOG

“I think I had a very different vision of myself when I was young, and definitely thought I’d have a family and be a loving parent by now. Instead I’ve birthed books” – Zetta Elliott

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“Neglected authors fascinate me. While the particulars for their disregard may vary over time and from culture to culture, one thing remains constant: their perseverance despite official recognition. Such is the case of Eliot Bliss, a ‘white, Creole, and lesbian’ Jamaican novelist and poet whose collected poems have been resurrected by Michela A. Calderaro in Spring Evenings in Sterling Street.” Geoffrey Philp

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“Getting to the place in yourself that is beyond influence is the radical edge.” – Brooke Warner

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“…exploring a new space is a thing of wonder and an entirely individual experience…” – Sonia Farmer, blogging her Fresh Milk residency in Barbados

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Reading Room XV

This page is for sharing links to things of interest around the internet. It’ll be sporadically updated; so, come back from time to time. For the previous reading rooms, use the search feature to the right, to the right.

FICTION

“So, Damian spent his time climbing trees in our backyard, acting like those TV monkeys. He mimicked them: jumping on me like those babies did their mommies. It’s cute when they do it. But when he did it . . . well, things broke. My arm, leg, and, once, he yanked so hard on me I herniated a spinal disc.” – Read Mindy Halleck’s full story.

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‘“Did you pack a snack and a sweater?”

Charlisa pointed to her backpack. “They’re in my satchel,” she said, waiting to see if Sister Rita would notice she’d learned the word.’ –
Read the full award winning story by Brenda Scott Royce here.

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I’m putting this in the fiction category though Moko’s Firing the Canon includes visual arts and poetry as well, because I mostly talk about the fiction here (you can and should read the whole issue though).

VISUAL

A new website, http://www.barrelstories.org launched in January following the successful Commonwealth Shorts’ film by Lisa Harewood, Auntie. Lisa’s idea is for the site to encourage conversations about the effects, both positive and negative, of migrants leaving their children behind in the care of others. It’s a place where we can listen to personal accounts of parents, children and carers.  You can also contribute your own story; to do so, email to submit@barrelstories.org

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“A definite powerful conversation piece, the mural sends a strong message to our society and demonstrates what can be accomplished when youths are empowered and encouraged to affect change.” Read more about this mural, created by youths of Antigua and Barbuda.

WRITERS ON WRITING

“Although you the writer are indeed doing the writing, your narrator is the one telling the story. And that narrator is not you. Sure, your narrator could be a slightly more neurotic or jealous version of you, or someone very different from you, or somewhere in between, but he or she is not you. Yep, even when you’re using first person.” – Janelle Drumwright

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“While too much detail and description can bog down the pace of a story, the reader still needs adequate description to frame the story.” – Zetta Brown, introducing How to Create a Fictional Setting by Michelle Gwynn Jones.

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“Very often your dialogue can become stilted unless you are a good listener, and if you listen you’ll discover that people interrupt each other.” – Maeve Binchy – Secrets from the Writing Club

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“Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work. … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything. Or a broken billboard. Or weeds growing in the cracks of a library’s steps. Of course, none of this means a lot without characters the reader cares about (and sometimes characters—‘bad guys’—the reader is rooting against).” – Stephen King, read more at Writer’s Digest.

BLOG

From Antigua to London to the US to the Bahamas…Linisa George’s Brown Girl in a Ring is indeed well-travelled. In this post, a Bahamian actress reflects on performing it in the country’s annual Shakespeare Festival. Check out what she had to say about the experience in this posting – You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do on her blog The Little Lady’s Diary.

AUTHORS ON PUBLISHING

“Most writers I know continue to work on their submissions for years, even after acceptance, feeling they can always improve. So don’t get egotistical about what you want to stubbornly believe is your final draft. Accept that most writing is never final, even amongst the best.” Read more of Ralph Monday’s article : The More Lines Cast Into the Water, the More Fish That Will Bite (and Other Tips on Submitting to Lit Mags)

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“Never give up” plus *bonus* Supernatural gifs. Read more on self-publishing after publishing by Jennifer Armentrout here.

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“Instead of sending the manuscript out to other potential markets, I waited…and waited…and waited for a response from Arabesque. I eventually got despondent and put the whole publishing idea on indefinite hold. (Pro tip: DO NOT DO THAT!)” – Liane Spicer at Novel Spaces

VIDEO

“Books have an extraordinary power to take you out of yourself and into someone else’s mindset, so that for a while at least you look at the world through different eyes.” – Ann Morgan talking about her journey Reading the World. (click on the image for the vid)Ann MorganFor For my thoughts on the book that her journey birthed, check Blogger on Books ll

POETRY

“And somewhere inside him, he wanted/ to be here for all of it: all the repeating shapes and pegs/ of that life-long game where the more things changed,/ was the more they stayed the same.” – Vladimir Lucein’s Overseer: Detention

***

“It’s not your fault, no
I blame those boats
I blame the coast
Hell, I blame the tide
I blame the sea for not picking a side
I blame the slave traders and sellout chiefs alike
But it seems like you blame me
For being born in a former British colony
I sound white?
As opposed to what?
Sounding American?” – slam poet Maya Wegerif, Why You talk so White?

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This one started showing up in my social media timeline after the November 2015 Paris attacks. I decided to look it up and share it. It’s by Somali-British poet Warsan Shire:
later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

Read all of What they did Yesterday Afternoon

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by David Crawley.jpg

by David Crawley

INTERVIEWS

w/David Baldacci:

‘A former lawyer, Baldacci still attacks his writing career as if preparing for a high-stakes defense. His typical day currently involves a few hours of work on his second Decker thriller, another few hours drafting Book 3 of Vega Jane, and another few hours on a screenplay. “During the course of the day I might work on three or four different projects, but only when I run out of gas on one do I move on to another,” Baldacci says. “I write until my tank is empty each day. I don’t count words or pages or whatever—that seems like an artificial goal for me.”’

w/Claudia Rankine:

‘“Because white men can’t/ police their imagination/ black men are dying.” What was in your mind when you wrote that line?

When white men are shooting black people, some of it is malice and some an out-of-control image of blackness in their minds. Darren Wilson told the jury that he shot Michael Brown because he looked “like a demon”. And I don’t disbelieve it. Blackness in the white imagination has nothing to do with black people.’

w/Brenda Scott Royce:

“When I struggle to think of ‘what’s next’ in a story, I draw a blank. But then I’ll be listening to NPR or shopping for groceries or having a random conversation with a stranger, and something sparks an idea. Meeting someone with an unusual occupation always makes me wonder, could one of my characters do that for a living?”

w/Marlon James:

“At some point you have to accept writing bad on the way to getting good. That you can write one hundred pages and only use twenty. I’m at the stage where that is no problem for me. I’m a very sloppy writer and I don’t rewrite, I don’t reread, until I’m done. I write everything straight to the end.”

Pamela Taivassalo Wikholm travelled from Sweden to Antigua in 2015 and interviewed a handful of local artistes – Joanne C. Hillhouse (writer), Tian Winter (singer), Mark Brown (painter); see interview links for all three below.

w/Tian Winter (Popreel TV):

“If it’s singing, just sing; someone will hear you, something will happen.”

w/Joanne C. Hillhouse (on Popreel radio):

“The writers from here that I knew and I have great respect for them were the calypso writers people like Shelly Tobitt and Marcus Christopher because when I was coming up calypso was the literature that I would hear that had some relevance to my community,, the other literature that we read was mostly from America or from Britain.”

Joanne

w/Joanne C. Hillhouse:

“The characters come to me. They don’t always reveal their stories fully, so for me writing is a journey of discovery. Like I can’t always see where it’s going but I’m kind of wandering my way through it and trying to figure out what is it all about.” – Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse on Sweden’s Popreel TV.

w/Tian Winter:

“If you have a dream, don’t let anybody, no one, not your mother, not your brother, no one, kill that vibe, kill that dream out of you, don’t let them out that fire.” – Antiguan and Barbudan soca artist Tian Winter on Sweden’s Popreel radio.

w/Mark Brown (on Popreel radio):

“I need to paint things that people are not saying enough, and people find hard to say, and hrd to encounter, and hard to read, and hard to speak about.”

Untitled

w/Mark Brown:

“At that time I didn’t know what it was called but I knew that I lived in a very imaginary world.” – Antiguan and Barbudan artist, Mark Brown’s interview on the Popreel TV programme on Swedish TV.

 

w/Eric Jerome Dickey :

“I walked from the undergraduate degree in Computer Systems Tech, but I carried the knowledge with me. Every class I had taken at the University of Memphis to complete those requirements; from English, to Physics, to Sociology, to Latin, to Electronics, to kicking it in karate class with Bill Wallace, it all went with me.”

w/Nalo Hopkinson:

“The Caribbean region. Writers from there are producing wonderful literature that takes language, story and form and bends them into creations you would never have believed possible.”

w/Carol Ottley-Mitchell:

“CaribbeanReads is a small publishing company dedicated to serving talented Caribbean authors. Our aim is to make publishing more accessible to potential Caribbean authors and to increase the number of high-quality books about and for the Caribbean.”

w/Ision Hutchinson, Tanya Shirley, and Christian Campbell:

“I know there are some people who are just born with exceptional talent, but for the rest of us, I recommend workshops with reputable poets, constant revision of the work, an openness to criticism and an insatiable desire to read poetry.” (Tanya Shirley in S/X Salon interview)

NON FICTION

“The self-governance of trees is mysterious and moving, though not always elegant.” – read all of Summer Edwards’ descriptive and reflective Fairmont Trees

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“When someone dies their silence becomes a sort of held note, a key on the piano pressed down for so long it becomes an ache in the ear, a new sonic register from which we start to measure our new, ruptured lives. A white noise. Maybe this is why there is so much music in dying: the funerals, the singing, the hymns, the eulogies. All those sounds crowding the air with what the dead can’t say.” – Read all of Ocean Vuong’s The Weight of Our Living: On Hope, Fire Escapes, and Visible Desperation

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“…getting a whooping from her was like getting a beating with fresh plucked feathers. I cried mostly because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings…” – Yvonne McBride, The Ballad of Broad Street

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