Things I read or view or listen to that you might like too. Things will be added – up to about 20 or so – before this installment in the Reading Room and Gallery series is archived. For previous and future installments in this series, use the search feature to the right. Possible warning for adult language and themes.
The Antigua and Barbuda Conference has been held each year since 2004/5 with papers and various reviews subsequently published in the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books. More about these activities here https://bartiguastudies.org This is my third time presenting at this event. My paper was entitled: “The New [Caribbean] Daughters of Africa: A Review Focused on Caribbean Women’s Voices in New Daughters of Africa”.
“As a writer, I don’t think it’s my job to create characters that people love or hate, but to create a scenario where a character’s motivation is believable, to make sure readers understand why a character takes a certain action.” – Donna Hemans in conversation with Jacqueline Bishop, both Jamaican, for the Jamaica Observer’s Bookends
Two from CREATIVE SPACE, my art and culture column – the first with independent romance and erotica author Kimolisa Mings & the second me with two of my girls from the Cushion Club, now young women talking –
Jacqueline Bishop in conversation with Jamaican-Brit Hannah Lowe for Jamaica Observer’s Bookends.
Marita Golden celebrates 40 years as a published author with a conversation on her journey as a writer, mentor, and literary activist.
The way I had hoped to see this song (featuring American singer Jessy Wilson and Beninese-American singer Angélique Kidjo) performed at the 2022/2023 Academy Awards but I don’t think the song even made the long list. In fact, the entire film, The Woman King, about the Dahomey warriors who inspired Marvel’s Black Panther all-female dora miloji, irl the Agojie (which I wrote about in my She’s Royal series some time ago), produced by and starring Viola Davis and directed by Gina Prince Bythewood (here’s how she did it), both Black women, not a small point (as Bythewood points out in this Hollywood Reporter article), was completely shut out of this year’s Oscars, though deserving across multiple categories. See for yourself. It’s coming to Netflix on February 16th 2023 though; check it out.
“I don’t take long drives to nowhere anymore,
West Bay doesn’t follow the coast anymore,
I don’t always know where I am anymore,
Only that I’m in a place where no one knows me.
Fifty three years I have lived here,
Anonymous as a pig on a factory farm,
Invisible as the breath of a ghost long gone,
My hands can’t take hold of the dark sunlight,
My voice calls out without answer or echo,
I am the only one for a thousand miles to hear it
Even as the faceless crowds press closer,
Like each one of them, I am lonely as a moon.” – “Erasure” in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters by Lynn Sweeting (RIP)
Creatives on Creating
“The book or author I came back to
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. Though short, it was absolutely unbearable as a teenager. I never even made it to the part with the sharks. A decade later, however, after an unlucky streak of story submissions, the tale became much more relatable.” – Kevin Jared Hosein in The Guardian’s The Books of My Life series
“It’s increasingly valuable to just have that headspace where if I want to take the time and do some thinking, then I do it.” – Alberta Whittle (10 years ago) on her Fresh Milk (Barbados residency)
“As for Mr B, the one good thing mi can say is that him never once put man-and-woman argument to mi and try get inna mi panty. That is more than mi can say for some bosses mi did have. And at least Mr and Mrs B don’t have no likkle pickney mi need to run behind and clean up after.” – from What a Mother’s Love don’t Teach You by Sharma Taylor, with an introduction from the writer, in Wasafiri
““She rolled her one good eye” … (and asked) ‘Child, stick break in your ear?'” – a reading from Alake Pilgrim’s Zo and The Forest of Secrets on the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival’s Cocoa Pod podcast
“I was born and raised in Haiti; Celeste Rita Baker is from the Virgin Islands; and Tonya Liburd is from Trinidad and Tobago. The three of us gathered together over a few months and designed a unique fictional universe deeply inspired by Caribbean culture and society—synthesizing its folklore and mythology and shared history that culminated in a seventeen-page “Story Bible” that housed the world. Thereafter, we three invited Joanne C. Hillhouse from Antigua and Barbuda to write within this world.” – Fabrice Guerrer in “ON CARIBBEAN FUTURES, SPECULATIVE FICTION AND THE “SKY ISLANDS” FICTIONAL WORLD” introduces stories – “Magic Mangoes“, “Rock, Feather, Shell“, “Ixie and Izzy” – published in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters.
“You would not have loved him,
my friend the scholar
decried. He brushed his teeth,
if at all, with salt. He lied,
and rarely washed
his hair. Wiped his ass
with leaves or with his hand.
The top of his head would have barely
reached your tits. His pits
reeked, as did his deathbed.
But the nightingale, I said.” – poem by Diane Seuss excerpted in “On the Mundane Letters of John Keats” by Geoffrey D. Morrison in LitHub
“Miss Robinson broke down color and class barriers when she opened her own school for children of all races, classes, and faiths in a country where British colonialism had imposed class and race inequalities upon people of non-white backgrounds.” – ‘Nellie Robinson, the Antiguan hero who brought secondary education to black children on the island‘ by Mweha Msemo in Face 2 Face Africa
“Whether you’re a painter, a graphic designer, an author, or a scriptwriter, there’s one thing you’ll always have that AI can never compete with – the human touch.” – Creative Job Security in the Age of AI Art by Miles Oliver
‘By the time she was 15, Hinton had already been churning out stories and poems for eight years. She wrote about what she knew: the ongoing battles between the haves and have-nots. In interviews over the years, Hinton described herself as an observer who grew up in North Tulsa “greaser” (slang for their greased-back hairstyles) territory but wasn’t beholden to any one group. She was a tomboy who loved to read and yearned for honest teenage representation.’ – “S.E. Hinton Is Tired of Talking About ‘The Outsiders.’ No One Else Is” by Pat Sauer for Smithsonian Magazine
“I literally exclaimed “nooo” when Aycayia’s scales started coming back, though conflicted about the limitations that being a woman would impose on her – something she herself was contemplating as she transitioned from one life to the other…and then back again, mournfully. It’s the paradox of the thing you’re not sure you want, until you have to let it go, a part of your heart breaking at the loss.” – from my review of Monique Roffey’s The Mermaid of Black Conch on Jhohadli Blogger on Books 2022 main page.
“[Earl] Lovelace (The Wine of Astonishment) taught me about creating empathy in the reader for an anti-villain…I love how [Jamaica] Kincaid (A Small Place) made the personal political for me…In it (Miguel Street) I think [V S] Naipaul demonstrates his mastery of characterisation and also his ability to capture Caribbean life in all its beauty, lyricism and complexity…Haunting is the word I’d used to describe [Edwidge] Dandicat’s work (Everything Inside) and its effect on me…Her (Olive Senior/Dancing Lessons) treatment of her subject matter is gentle, nuanced and economical…” – Barbadian writer Cherie Jones (How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House) writes on the website for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (which she was shortlisted for in 2021) about “5 Caribbean Writers to Discover“.
On the Bocas 100 Caribbean Books that made Us podcast, contemporary Caribbean writers deliver audio essays on books making the list. At this initial writing (January 24th 2023), that so far includes Kevin Jared Hosein on fellow Trinidadian and Tobagonian novelist’s Harold Sonny Ladoo No Pain like This Body, Vashti Bowlah on fellow Trinidadian and Tobagonian short story writer Sam Selvon’s Ways of Sunlight, and aspiring Trinbagonian poet Desiree Seebaran’s of Canada-based M. Nourbese Philip’s Zong! The last is especially engaging from a presentation standpoint.
“You know who loves books that are already a success? Publishers. In June 1902, the book was officially acquired by Frederick Warne & Co., one of the publishers who had originally rejected it” – Literary History: Beatrix Potter, tired of rejection, self-publishes her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my blog, including my CREATIVE SPACE art and culture column, which is refresthed every other Wednesday, 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.