Tag Archives: Olive Senior

Wadadli Pen Challenge – Who Won What in 2021?

Listed below are the names of the finalists and the prizes they won, thanks to our patrons, in the 2021 edition of the annual Challenge initiative of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, a programme launched in 2004 to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. Here’s our press release announcing the winners. As for this year’s winning entry, you can also read or listen to Why We Chose It.

The awards were held virtually (for a second year in a row in deference to COVID-19 safety protocols) on May 30th 2021, hosted by Barbara Arrindell, Wadadli Pen partner and manager of longtime awards host The Best of Books bookstore. Congratulations to all.

Schools Prize Winner (for most submissions): St. Anthony’s Secondary School

Prizes – 12 Collins Caribbean School Dictionary; 6 copies of Social Studies Atlas for the Caribbean; 6 copies of Social Studies Atlas for the Caribbean workbook; 3 copies of You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); Barron’s SAT Premium Study Guide 2020 – 2021 (Ten Pages bookstore); EC$250 gift certificate for books (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and two sets of A-level reference guides (from the Best of Books bookstore).

Long Listed Writers:

Linita Simon ‘The Breeze’ (fiction), Rosemond Dinard-Gordon ‘Emerging’ (poetry), Naeem DeSouza ‘The Goat in the Rainforest of Puerto Rico’ (fiction), Anastatia K. Mayers ‘Home’ (poetry), Jai Francis ‘The Legend of the Snowy Egret’ (creative non-fiction), Annachiara Bazzoni ‘Maybe’ (poetry), Noleen Azille ‘Mission: Covered’ (fiction), Latisha Walker-Jacobsalso a finalist in 2011 – ‘Nothing Like Me’ (poetry), Kadisha Valerie ‘The Silence was So Loud’ (fiction), Aria-Rose Brownealso a finalist in 2020 – ‘Spirit of the Flame’ (fiction)

Prizes – All long listed writers will have the opportunity to participate in one (possibly two) workshops sponsored by Garfield Linton, facilitated by Joanne C. Hillhouse as part of her Jhohadli Writing Project. Additionally, Naaem, Anastatia, Jai, Annachiara, Kadisha, and Aria-Rose will receive secondary school reference guides contributed by the Best of Books bookstore, while Linita, Rosemond, Noleen, Latisha will receive copies of Musical Youth (which is the recipient of a Burt award and a starred review from Kirkus which named it one of its top indies) from author and Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and sometime judge Joanne C. Hillhouse. All longlisted and shortlisted writers received (electronically) a certificate from Wadadli Pen as record of their accomplishment.

Short Listed Writers:

12 and Younger – Winner:

Gazelle Zauditu Menen Goodwin , 12, ‘Beautiful Disaster‘ (poetry)

Prizes – Gazelle’s name becomes the first one added to the Zuri Holder Achievement Award plaque and she also receives an EC$75 gift certificate for books (from patron, Cedric Holder, Zuri’s father, in the name of the Cushion Club) – RIP, Zuri; EC$250 (from NIA Comms/Marcella Andre); A copy of each of the following Big Cat books – Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay and Stacey Byer, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune + You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); Hardy Boys #6: The Shore Road Mystery, Nancy Drew #4: The Mystery at the Lilac Inn, and Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham (contributed by Ten Pages bookstore); kindle and kindle carrier, EC$250 gift certificate, pen set, journal, dictionary, and back pack (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and Antigua My Antigua by Barbara Arrindell and Edison Liburd and A Short Guide to Antigua by Brian Dyde (contributed by Barbara Arrindell, who also volunteered to facilitate a number of workshops in the run-up to the Wadadli Pen submission deadline)

12 and Younger – Honourable Mention:

Eunike Caesar , 9, ‘The Blackboard‘ (fiction)

Prizes – A copy of each of the following Big Cat books – Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay and Stacey Byer, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune + You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); EC$108 gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); kindle and kindle carrier, EC$200 gift certificate, pen set, journal, dictionary, and back pack (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and Antigua My Antigua by Barbara Arrindell and Edison Liburd and A Short Guide to Antigua by Brian Dyde (contributed by Barbara Arrindell)

Sub-theme ‘2020’ – Winner:

Jason Gilead, ‘The Great Old Woodslave‘ (fiction)

Prizes – A spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); EC$250 ( from NIA Comms/Marcella Andre); a kindle and kindle carrier, EC$150 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and a copy of Pioneers of the Caribbean written by Ingrid V Lambie and Patricia L Tully (contributed by Patricia Tully)

Sub-theme ‘2020’ – Honourable Mention:

Sheniqua Maria Greaves , 19, ‘The Juxtaposed Reprieve‘ (fiction)

Prizes – A spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay (contributed by publisher Peepal Tree Press); EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); Kindle and kindle carrier, EC$100 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua)

Main Prize – Winner:

Kevin Liddie , ‘Mildred, You No Easy‘ (fiction)

Prizes – Name added to the Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge Plaque (sponsored by the Best of Books bookstore)

The plaque, which hangs in the Best of Books bookstore, got an upgrade in 2016 and is now known as the Alstyne Allen Memorial Plaque.

EC$500 cheque (contributed by Frank B. Armstrong); US$200/EC$520 gift certificate for books (contributed by Olive Senior); The Friends of the Bocas Lit Fest (FBLF) status allowing access to event archives, Book Bulletin, discounts on Bocas merchandise, books, workshops and paid events offered by the BLF, and be a part of FBLF exclusive events + A spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); Notes on Ernesto Che Guevara´s ideas on pedagogy by Lidia Turner Martí + The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (contributed by Sekou Luke); Four (4) copies each of Big Cat books: Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune to gift to a primary school of his choice (Harper Collins UK)

Main Prize – Second Placed:

Ashley-Whitney Joshua , 19, F, ‘Hiraeth‘ (fiction)

Prizes – EC$300 cash (contributed by Rilys Adams – an author, who was a Wadadli Pen finalist in 2005 and 2006); a spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); By Love Possessed: Stories by Lorna Goodison + Time to Talk by Curtly Ambrose with Richard Sydenham (contributed by Sekou Luke); Kindle and kindle carrier, EC$150 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua)

Main Prize – Third Placed:

Aunjelique Liddie , 13, F, ‘The Beach‘ (poetry)

Prizes – EC$250 cash (contributed by Daryl George – a finalist in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016); A copy of each of the following Big Cat books – Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune + You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan + The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (contributed by Sekou Luke); Kindle and kindle carrier, EC$100 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); Antigua My Antigua (contributed by Barbara Arrindell)

Main Prize – Honourable Mention:

Jason Gilead

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas – also a 2011 Wadadli Pen finalist, subsequent volunteer and partner, and, as of 2021, judge); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Sheniqua Maria Greaves

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Razonique Looby , 15, F, ‘Vixen‘ (fiction)

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Andre Warner , 23, M, ‘The Brave One‘ (fiction)

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Additional gifts

Wadadli Pen also gifted:

One (1) copy each of Big Cat books: Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune (Harper Collins UK) to the Cushion Club of Antigua and Barbuda

Four (4) copies each of Big Cat books: Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune (Harper Collins UK) to the Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda

Thanks and congrats all around.

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Wadadli Pen Challenge 2021 Update

The Best of Books sponsored Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque is one of two plaques. The other, added this year, in memory of Zuri Holder will be emblazoned with the names of the 12 and younger winners.

After a lengthy period of processing, the entries are now off to the judges. If you submitted, we request your patience as the entries are vetted. The short list will be posted once the first round of judging is completed.

We can report that there are 73 submissions – all passing eligibility. Our About Wadadli Pen page is updated with this information and a bit of 2021 trivia. Here’s a bit more trivia, this is the highest single year submission since 2017.

Books contributed by Sekou Luke.

We want to thank and acknowledge, once again, all of our 2021 patrons, especially the ones who have been confirmed since our previous releases – NIA Comms (EC$500), Sekou Luke (a cache of books), Ten Pages bookstore (confirmed before but have since dropped off their books), Barbara Arrindell (who delivered a number of workshops leading up to the submission deadline), Bocas Lit Fest which has clarified the development opportunities on offer through workshops and memberships to some of our finalists – it’s great to have such a vibrant Caribbean partner on board, helping us to fulfill our promise to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

We have received Jamaican writer and new poet laureate Olive Senior’s contribution toward gift certificate for books, and the contributions by Daryl George and Rilys Adams, both former Wadadli Pen finalists. How great is that full circle moment.

As great as it will be to raise up another budding writer (or two, or three, or more). I for one am looking forward to reading these entries – that’s right, as I am also selecting participants for upcoming Garfield Linton sponsored Jhohadli Writing Project script development workshops, I have signed on as one of the 2021 judges. We will as usual have three judges (the others are expected to be regular judge and author Floree Williams Whyte and past finalist Devra Thomas – both Wadadli Pen team members) round 1, blind (or semi-blind in my case); and will bring on board a Kamala Harris (i.e. a high profile tiebreaking judge) if needed for a round 2. Watch this space and good luck to all entrants.

If you would like to support the work of Wadadli Pen, email wadadlipen@gmail.com

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, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). 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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An Olive Senior Appreciation Post

I described seeing Olive Senior posing with my books, and especially The Boy from Willow Bend, at the Allioagana lit fest in Montserrat, in 2019, (I wasn’t there, the picture was posted or sent to me), as a full circle moment. Let me tell you why.

Olive Senior made me cry. It wasn’t a full on bawling session but I teared up. It was during a one-on-one during my first international workshop – the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute – which she facilitated. I was grateful for the opportunity, at the crossroads of having just concluded undergrad at the University of the West Indies and re-entering the world of work back home in Antigua-Barbuda where I feared my dreams would become subsumed by practicality. I don’t think I fully appreciated then what a privilege it was to have The Olive Senior, Commonwealth Award winning, critically acclaimed, beloved by writers and readers alike, Olive Senior as my first (thankfully not my last) international creative writing workshop facilitator. It was at a time in my life when I was so scared that I would have to settle for anything else but what I wanted to do which was write (coming from a small place with no blueprint for the writing career I wanted) and I needed to know that my writing had something that made it possible (even if I hadn’t yet figured out the how-to of it). I wanted to believe, I wanted to hear, that my writing was good; and her role was to show me how my writing could be better. I wanted a cue. And was maybe too foolish to understand that Mervyn Morris who was my mentor and teacher at UWI recommending me for the CFWSI, when I had no publications yet to my credit, and being in the room much less in one-on-ones with Olive, and being in the company of all the much more seasoned writers I was fortunate and intimidated to be in company with that summer was that cue. The honest feedback I received made me cry but it also sent me back to pack, and in that pack, with the tips I learned that summer, I found the beginnings of the story that would become The Boy from Willow Bend, my first book. I have such warm feelings about that whole summer, in and out of workshop, and appreciate the growth experience it was for me as a writer. Also, I coach and facilitate workshops now too and I understand how hard it is to tell someone the truth about their writing ESPECIALLY when you see potential in it.

This image is from a workshop cohort lime during the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute, University of Miami, 1995. Olive is seated, front and centre, and I am standing immediately behind her in black.

This image is from a luncheon at the Prime Minister’s Residence with participating writers during the BIM Literary Festival, Barbados, in 2016. Olive is standing front, in grey, left, and I am one level up and behind her, also in grey.

I wouldn’t meet Olive again until Barbados in 2016 (the workshop was in 1995). We were both invited authors at the BIM Lit Fest. We would be reading and participating in other activities and she was scheduled to lead a master class which I was a bit bummed I wouldn’t be able to take as I was scheduled to co-lead a workshop at the same time. I am shy by nature and battle imposter syndrome on the daily. So I did my whole I don’t know if you remember me thing. After all, it had been 21 years (back when I had just turned 22) with no contact in between. But not only did she remember me, she remembered Mervyn telling her that I was going to be a writer, which I hadn’t known before (that he saw that potential enough in me to share it with one of his peers). Her sharing that with me felt like a gift and if that was to be the bookend to our knowing, that would have been enough. But we did the obligatory selfie and then Olive Senior made me cry again. She shared that image with her social media network with what felt like a fond note in which she called me a mentor to others as she had been to me. That post is a keepsake.

I don’t know if she knows this but her mentoring of me continued informally on that trip. There are the nerves I get being in those spaces but she treated me like it was perfectly natural for me to be there as a peer. Mervyn was also there – I had happily reconnected with him a few years earlier at the Nature Island Literary Festival. My workshop co-lead Bernice McFadden was cool. I vibed with them and most others. There are always exceptions, and there were. But those discomforts didn’t overshadow the genuine companionableness I found with Olive and others. And in conversation with Olive, perfectly casual conversation to her no doubt, I sopped up everything she told me about the ebbs and flows of her own journey as a writer, as I considered the ebbs and flows of mine (even acknowledging that I am no Olive Senior, we had in common the nature of the ebbs and flows of the writing life and from her attitude to the journey I could learn a thing or two about adjusting my own attitude and expectations). I could also obviously stand to learn a thing or two about how she produces at such a high level with such seeming effortlessness and frequency -case in point the Pandemic Poems book she managed to produce while some of us have been spinning in circles. I am some of us, some of us is me. And when I saw the book announcement, I was reminded of why she is The Olive Senior.

But she is also just Olive. And I got to hang with Olive on our third encounter in 2019 when she had a day’s layover in Antigua, and she and I and Barbara Arrindell, a local author and bookseller and my friend, whom she had recently met at Alliougana in Montserrat limed between her arrival and departure. We had emailed and I may have worked up the courage to ask her for a recommendation a time or two in between (she was always gracious), but we had never really socialized as just people. Which we did over lunch and a short island tour that day. I feel like I got to see another side of her – although people don’t really have sides, do they; let’s say, I got to see more of her, what she thinks about things and how she thinks about things. But mostly just be which is the realest form of interaction, ent it. Anyway I had fun that day and I hope she did too. And while we’re not day to day email buddies, we’ve kept in touch.

With Olive 2019, at Fort James, Antigua. Mid-conversation.

Recently, Olive reached out to find out how she could support Wadadli Pen and became one of the first patrons to come on board for the 2021 season. She didn’t tell me in the midst of all of this that her investiture was coming up because, hello, way to bury the lead, Olive!

That’s right, people, she has won the deserved accolade of being named Jamaica’s third Poet Laureate after Mervyn Morris and Lorna Goodison.

Click the image to view the full investiture ceremony.

Olive will serve as Poet Laureate from 2021 to 2024. The Poet Laureate programme is a signature programe of the National Library Service of Jamaica. It is easily the highest recognition a nation can give to a writer and an opportunity for the writer to serve, to the benefit of other budding writers and literary arts in the country generally. In accepting, Olive described it, at the investiture ceremony, as both an honour and a great responsibility. Kudos to Jamaica for this initiative and to whoever is responsible for tapping Olive for the role.

I know, because I’ve seen the social media chatter, that people have been championing her for the role for a while because the love is real for Ms. Senior, for her writing, which is sharp and nuanced – just check out stories like The Boy who loved Ice Cream – but also for being her unproblematic self (and by unproblematic I don’t mean bland, at all, she’s soft spoken but steely, don’t get it twisted, and, it has been my experience, in spite of the fact that she made me cry, kind; I mean, she’s a real one). She carries Jamaica in her spirit, and particularly the rural Jamaica she grew up in, which is as she said “embedded in her heart beat”. They really couldn’t have picked a more Jamaican Jamaican from the esteemed writers of a culture that has produced so many great writers. I know Olive hasn’t always felt the love -especially in terms of availability of her books in local bookstores, or the lack thereof, which she has spoken about on social media. I hope she’s feeling the love fully in this moment.

This is the cover of Olive’s first children’s book which I single out for mention here because of how it celebrates the land and the rhythm of life in a rural Jamaica made of love and support for each other and laughter – not, as I saw in one youtube review from a white, non-Jamaican reviewer who clearly loved the book but I felt missed the message of it, the tragedy of being so poor you have to walk miles for water. An announced catchphrase of Olive’s tenure as poet laureate will be #IseeMyLand which, as anyone who follows Wadadli Pen would know we appreciate, our challenge insisting since 2004 on a Caribbean inspired, Caribbean imagined, Caribbean specific aesthetic – not generic.

Fun fact, Ms. Olive’s collaborator on both her children’s book, Laura James, is of Antiguan-Barbudan descent …which is why her Boonoonoonous Hair is in the running for the #readAntiguaBarbuda 2021 readers choice book of the year initiative. Don’t forget to vote.

I couldn’t be happier for Olive the Senior. I know she’s going to do great things in the role and I love that at my mama’s age she continues to demonstrate the full scope of a writers’ life fully lived. I stay watching and learning.

My next goal is to get a one-on-one interview with her for the blog; think she’ll go for it?

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, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). 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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Press Release – Wadadli Pen Workshop, Additional Patrons Announced as Submission Deadline Approaches

March 16th 2021

Wadadli Pen team member Barbara Arrindell, an author and bookseller, will be offering a free workshop on March 18th 2021 ahead of the March 26th 2021 submission deadline for the annual lit arts challenge. The workshop is expected to cover creative writing, using local history in your writing, and bringing inanimate objects to life in your stories. The workshop will be offered via zoom and pre-registration is necessary. To register for the zoom link-up, email barbaraarrindell@yahoo.com or send a message to the ‘Free Creative Writing Workshop to get you ready to participate in the Wadadli Pen Challenge’ event page on facebook. Arrindell, who is also a trainer by profession, has volunteered her time for this extra activity, and anyone interested in submitting to Wadadli Pen is encouraged to take advantage of it.

The Wadadli Pen team is also happy to announce that a number of new patrons have been confirmed since previous announcements. These include Frank B. Armstrong, a contributor for the past 10 years, and Junie Webson, a US based Antigua-Barbuda businesswoman, who has been a patron since 2014 – both have pledged their usual EC$500 to Wadadli Pen 2021. “We don’t take any of these gifts for granted,” said Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, “especially in this hard guava crop season.”

Hillhouse announced as well that Garfield Linton, a Jamaican based in America, with whom she has been in talks re arts funding for a while, has committed to underwriting her delivery of two workshops in the Wadadli Pen post-season. She hopes to select up to 10 writers from the Wadadli Pen entrants to offer a spot in these workshops. A long term goal, she indicated, is development of their stories and writing skills, and if additional funding can be sourced adaptation of one or more of the stories for print and/or film format. “My goal with Wadadli Pen has always been, as our tagline says, ‘nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda’,” she said. “The competition, or challenge, as we call it, has been our flagship project along with the Wadadli Pen website, and to a lesser degree workshops and showcases we have delivered in the past, but it was never the end goal. Our goal is to be sustainable and ultimately self-sustaining as a non-profit supporting the arts in various ways, and the literary arts in particular. It has been little little full basket since 2004 but we continue the work and hope for growth and expansion.”

The patrons announced in this release join previously announced patrons Rilys Adams, the Best of Books bookstore, Daryl George, Harper Collins (UK) publishers, Cedric Holder, Diana McCaulay and Peepal Tree Press, Moondancer Books, Olive Senior, and Patricia Tully. Anyone interested in supporting the work of Wadadli Pen is encouraged to contact wadadlipen@gmail.com Anyone hoping to participate in Wadadli Pen is reminded to read the guidelines and download the submission form at wadadlipen.wordpress.com Remember to also vote for your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan book and help a local school win.

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late March 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here)

Opportunities

One of the great losses in Antigua and Barbuda in 2020 was broadcaster Carl Joseph of the Observer Media Group. Antiguans and Barbudans for Constitutional Reform and the staff of Observer/Newsco Ltd are offering a young person in Antigua and Barbuda the opportunity to be a ‘journalist for a day’. The Carl Adrian Joseph Memorial Reporter for a Day Service Project invites students between 13 and 17 to write a newspaper story about an event that happened, or is happening, in their community. Opportunity also open to teen photo journalists.

Read pdf for more details:

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A reminder that March 26th 2021 is the deadline deadline extended to April 2nd 2021 for submission of entries to the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2021. See the following press releases:

Finally! Wadadli Pen Launches
Wadadli Pen – New Prize Pays Tribute


Wadadli Pen Workshop, Additional Patrons Announced as Submission Deadline Approaches

Workshop Wraps, Deadline is Here, New Patrons on Board


Read about this and other pending Opportunities here. (Source – Wadadli Pen)

Events

Be sure to check my appearances page (on Jhohadli) for my upcoming events. Like this World Book Day live on my AntiguanWriter YouTube channel – subscribe and hit notifications to make sure you don’t miss it.

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The Bocas Lit Fest (virtual again this year) has been announced for April 23 – 25th 2021. The programme is here. Some of the events that caught my eye: Crowdsourcing a Canon, Placing the ‘Caribbean’ in Caribbean Writing, “Toussaint was a Mighty Man”, Making History: Lawrence Scott & Lauren Francis-Sharma, Imaginary Homelands: Barbara Lalla and Leone Ross, and Launch of the Caribbean Books that Made Us.

Bocas has come on board as a Wadadli Pen patron in 2021 by the way; how dope is that? (Source – Bocas)

Other (Non-Book) Reading/Art Material

A reminder that Heather Doram merch is available on redbubble and that she now has colouring books available through Amazon. Kids can play with them if they want but these colouring books are for adults. The Heather Doram Colouring Book Collection is our latest addition to the Antiguan and Barbudan Writing data base (and we won’t be putting these colouring books in the children’s section).

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This is an In Case You Missed It and not limited to reading. Here you’ll find listed all of the Catapult Arts Caribbean Creative Online Grants recipients. There are a number of us but my goal is to go through and discover every one. I invite you to do the same. (Source – from my involvement as a Catapult Arts recipient)

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New books are still below but I’ll drop the latest edition of the Journal of West Indian Literature here. You’ll need to purchase it, of course, to read its book reviews and various articles. This issue, Vol. 28 No. 2, is an open issue edited by Glyne Griffith with cover art, Keeping it Close, by Mark Jason Weston. (Source – St. Lucian poet John Robert Lee email blast)

For access to some free content be sure to check our Reading Room and Gallery.

Accolades

Here comes the Bocas Long List with some of the books that have been trending for much of the year and maybe some that have fallen below your radar. ETA: Short listed books in bold.

Poetry
The Dyzgraphxst by Canisia Lubrin (St. Lucian)
Guabancex by Celia Sorhaindo (Dominican)
Country of Warm Snow by Mervyn Taylor (Trinidadian)

Fiction
These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card (Jamaican)
Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud (Trinidadian)
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey (Trinidadian)

Non-Fiction
of colour by Katherine Agyemaa Agard (Trinidadian)
The Undiscovered Country by Andre Bagoo (Trinidadian)
Musings, Mazes, Muses, Margins by Gordon Rohlehr (Guyanese)

Read all about them on the Bocas website. (Source – Rebel Women Lit newsletter)

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Three Trini writers (Ahkim Alexis, Desiree Seebaran, and Jay T. John) have been short listed for the 2021 Johnson & Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize. These “top contenders were accomplished or very promising. History, myth, gender, and identity are the most common areas of engagement. At the level of experiment, robber talk, the mechanics of spoken word, the tradition of nursery rhymes, rasta groundation, and elegiac tradition are evident.” (Bocaslitfest.com) The Johnson & Amoy Achong developmental prize is aimed at advancing the work of an emerging Caribbean voices, this year in the poetry genre (genre changes annually). But the domination of this and most regional prizes by the bigger countries continues. The longlist included 8 Trinis, one Barbadian, and one Guyanese. In this, the final year of the prize, the organizers (the Bocas Lit Fest) note that there were 35 submissions from across seven countries – the others being Jamaica, Grenada, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, and Bahamas. And they seemed unimpressed with the general quality. “Many of the poets failed to sustain their opening imagery, some deployed disconnected symbolism, inappropriate diction, inconsistent code-switching between English and Creole, and in some cases, were obviously too prosaic.” (Bocaslitfest.com) The Johnson and Amoy Achong Writers Caribbean Prize consists of a cash award of US$3,000, participation in a workshop at internationally renowned Arvon, three days networking in the UK, where Arvon is based, mentorship by an established writer, and a chance to be agented by Aitken Alexander Associates Literary Agency. Congrats to all long and, especially, short listed writers who are in line for a boost. (Source – Bocas email)

Believing that there is abundant talent in the region and Wadadli Pen being a project concerned with nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, the limited advance of writers from home and neighbouring small islands through vital programmes like this one (which will hopefully attract funding to continue) is of concern – to date, among local writers, only Brenda Lee Browne has been longlisted for the previous version of this particular prize (Hollick Arvon). None since and it is not clear how many, if any, of us are even submitting (or are perhaps discouraged from submitting). We are happy to report though that Bocas, a 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge patron, has agreed to offer spots in upcoming workshops to a handful of our 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge finalists and access to member services to our winner.

***

Kwame Dawes of Jamaica (and Nigeria and America-based), editor of the literary journal Prairie Schooner, ‘is the recipient of the biennial PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing. The award honors an editor whose high literary standards and taste have contributed to the excellence of the publication they edit. Judges Patrick Cottrell, Carmen Giménez Smith, and John Jeremiah Sullivan call Dawes “a bold and visionary editor” who has “proved the ongoing validity of the literary journal and taken it to new places.”’ (Source – PEN America email)

***

Two overseas writers of Caribbean origin Dionne Brand and Canisia Lubrin are in the running for the US$165,000 Windham-Campbell Prize. There are eight remaining finalists. “Established in 2013 and administered by Yale University, the prize annually honours a selection of fiction, nonfiction, drama and poetry writers who have been nominated in secret. The prize is given to support their writing.” (CBC) Trinidad born Brand is recognized in the fiction category and St. Lucian Lubrin is recognized for poetry. (Source – Lubrin’s twitter)

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“The Surinamese writer Astrid H. Roemer (Paramaribo, 1947) will receive the 2021 Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren (Dutch Literature Prize) this fall. The Prize includes a sum of € 40,000…The Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren is the most prestigious literary prize in the Dutch language area and distinguishes authors of important literary works originally written in Dutch. The Prize is awarded once every three years to an author whose body of work occupies an important place in Dutch literature. The Prize is funded by the Taalunie. It is organized alternately by Literatuur Vlaanderen and Nederlands Letterenfonds.” (Source – Repeating Islands)

***

Congrats to Olive Senior who has been named Poet Laureate of Jamaica. Watch the full ceremony linked in this Olive Senior appreciation post. (Source – right here)

***

Antiguan and Barbudan cinematographer is up for a British Society of Cinematographers award for the first film in the Steve McQueen Small Axe series, Mangrove. The awards will be announced on April 9th 2021. The film is nominated in the TV drama category. As previously reported this series has been wracking up nominations and awards this season.

***

Bermudian writer Florenz Maxwell had her book, the Burt Award winning Girlcott singled out as a “must-read” by Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine.

‘The coming-of-age novel is set during the 1959 Theatre Boycott and seen through the eyes of Desma Johnson as she approaches her 16th birthday.

Ms Maxwell based her book partly on her own experiences.

She was a member of the Progressive Group that organised the boycott in order to break down segregation on the island.

Stephanie Castillo, writing in O Magazine, included Girlcott among “some of the best classic and contemporary books about the Caribbean”.’ (RoyalGazette.com)

The book was a 2016 finalist for the Burt Award, and a boost from Oprah has helped many a book soar, making this a valuable notice for both the first time author and Jamaica-based independent Blue Banyan Books. (Source – N/A)

***

Monique Roffey is on a roll. On the heels of her Costa best novel win, we have learned that she is shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize for her book The Mermaid of Black Conch, described as “a tale of love against the odds, a feminist revision of an old Taino myth, an adventure story set in a small coastal Caribbean village.” (Source – the author’s social media)

New Books

Dangerous Freedom is the latest from UK based, award winning Trinidad writer Lawrence Scott. It explores the life of Dido Belle. The book is published with Papillote Press which debuted it with a reading by the author himself.

‘Scott’s first novel since Light Falling on Bamboo in 2013, Dangerous Freedom was published in March 2021. It weaves fact with fiction to reveal “the great deception” exercised by the powerful on a mixed-race child, Dido Belle, born in the late 18th century and brought up in the London home of England’s Lord Chief Justice.’ (Papillote press release)

The video above is part of a series featuring authors with the Dominica/UK publisher on its youtube channel; so while there, check out readings by the likes of Lisa Allen-Agostini (Home Home), Diana McCaulay (Gone to Drift), and others. I’ve read and reviewed Allen-Agostini and McCaulay’s books and am currently reading The Art of White Flowers by Viviana Prado-Núñez, also from Papillote. I don’t mind saying I’d like to read Lawrence’s novel as well – I’ve been meaning to read him since meeting him at a literary festival some years ago (we got along well, I think and I liked the reading that he did then, it’s just been a case of too many books, too little time since). Also Belle interests me. We all know the painting plus I saw the film starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the title character, Belle. Plus I would have learned about the Somerset case referenced in the film in history class in secondary school – remembered enough anyway to remember that I learned about it and that it was a pivotal precedent in the anti-slavery narrative. Scott’s video talks about trying to “redress the image and historical sense we have of Dido Elizabeth Belle” and I’m interested. I mean, I’m interested in a lot of the books I post here, so this isn’t new but nothing wrong with declaring it one time.

***

ireadify.com isn’t so much about new books as new platform for perusing books. Specifically, the platform develops and promotes digital books (ebooks and audio books) accessible to children birth-14 years old, representing African Stories, Black, Indigenous and People of Color. I have confirmed with the publisher that my books with Caribbean Reads Publishing are on this platform.

***

Desryn Collins, Antigua and Barbuda’s language arts coordinator with the Ministry of Education, is latest author to be featured in the Collins Big Cat series of Caribbean #ownvoices releases and the latest to be added to our bibliography of Antiguan and Barbudan books and Children’s Literature in particular here on the site. Her book How to become a Calypsonian (with illustrator Ricky Sanchez Ayata) drops in March.

The story “told through the words of Mighty Glen Glen, a calypso singer (introduces) the world of calypsos and (teaches) what it takes to become a calypsonian.” Collins, originally from Guyana, has worked in Antigua and Barbuda for close to two decades, as senior lecturer at the Antigua State College between 2005 and 2017 and as Education Officer for Language Arts since 2017. (Source – N/A)

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, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). 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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Reading Room and Gallery 39

Things I read 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.

ESSAY/NON-FICTION

“Writing helps me attain knowledge of Trinidad and Tobago, helps me understand it and appreciate it, and helps me forgive the hurtful parts of it.” – from The Fishing Line by Kevin Jared Hosein

***

‘She carries Jamaica in her spirit, and particularly the rural Jamaica she grew up in, which is as she said “embedded in her heart beat”. They really couldn’t have picked a more Jamaican Jamaican from the esteemed writers of a culture that has produced so many great writers.’ – from my Olive Senior Appreciation Post on Wadadli Pen

***

“I am a black woman writer from Trinidad and Tobago. I was born here to Trinidadian parents. I have lived here all my life. I do not have an escape route to Elsewhere, whether the route is through money, family connections or non-TT citizenship.” – Lisa Allen-Agostini, 2018 in Repeating Islands

POETRY

“America, I am poor in all
ways fixed and unfixable. My poverty a bullet point” – from Double America by Safiya Sinclair, Montreal Poetry Prize International

INTERVIEWS/CONVERSATIONS

“It’s not just one influencing the other; to me they are one.” – Ava Duvernay re the relationship between art and activism, in discussion with The Root

***

“What was extremely important for me was coming to England in 1984. That was a few months after the US invasion of Grenada in 1983, and I arrived here with a profound sense of betrayal and outrage largely because I thought that story needed to be told from the point of the people who were at the receiving end of the guns and the canons and that invasion, and I had to write that rage..36 years later I’m just about doing the book.” – Jacob Ross

***

“When I was young, people didn’t think children could see or hear, they would do and say anything in front of them… but from my own experience, children hear a lot.” – Zee Edgell talking about her work in a 1990 Banyan TV interview (click on the image below and type pass word ‘zee’ to access)

***

“I wanted to create a book that would encourage people in Antigua and Barbuda to be proud of their identity… so instead of A is for Apple, let’s begin with A is for Arawak.” – Margaret Irish

***

“We were all asked to give details of what we wanted to see in terms of the art work, at least I know I was, and to me it’s like she took my thoughts and she somehow created almost exactly what I had in my head. That’s the way it felt (and)..it’s everything I would have wanted it to be. The people look as if they’re our people and there are a mix of people in the story book. And I say that because there are times when I’ve seen some books that are supposed to be our books and the people look perhaps the way other people think we look.” – Barbara Arrindell

***

“It’s about when you see these things to not get depressed by it and to make the change you can because you mightn’t be able to create the world you want to see but you can do one thing that does that and it’s very important that we do those things.” – Tanya Batson-Savage

MISC.

“It is revealed that all of the appointments to the University of the West Indies were vetted in London by a committee on which there was a representative of MI5 which aimed ‘to keep the university free of communism’. Within the West Indies communism was an elastic category into which were consigned anyone with an uncompromising relationship to the colonial order and its successor.” – from a public lecture by Richard Drayton

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“First, I made a collage of 6 recent rom-com covers I loved, that reflected the current look of the genre—hand-drawn fonts, bold color, big fonts. I noted I wanted an inclusive, modern design (no male/female cake topper or thin white bride etc).” – Georgia Clark, author of It Had To Be You on the process of conceptualizing a cover; click the instagram link to read (and see) more. (Source – direct author mail and instagram)

***

‘Impressionist/actor Jay Pharoah has a zeroed in on a few distinctive traits — some comics call them “handles” — to help flesh out his version of Biden; there’s the little rasp in his voice, as well as favorite Biden phrases like “c’mon man,” “malarkey” and, of course, “here’s the deal.” “The key to a great impression and keeping it fresh, is always trying to look for things that person does, that other people don’t know yet,” says Pharoah, who played President Barack Obama, Jay-Z, Denzel Washington and many more notables in six years on Saturday Night Live. With Biden poised to take office as the nation’s 46th president, comics like Pharoah face a crucial question: How to impersonate him in a way that really resonates? … Pharoah recalls Saturday Night Live sat on an idea he brought up when he joined the show in 2010; a character who was Obama’s more emotional subconscious. Years later, Comedy Central’s show Key & Peele debuted Obama’s “anger translator,” Luther, in a similar sketch, and Pharoah saw an opportunity missed. “There was not a Black person in America, sitting there while Barack Obama had to take everything that he took from the Republican party, [who didn’t think] ‘He has got to be ticked off,” Pharoah adds.’ – NPR

***

“So don’t start with exciting plot; start with people.” – Leone Ross, masterclass on characterization

***

“Film is so powerful, television is so powerful, it can literally change perception and change culture.” – Gina Prince Bythewood, writer-director of Love and Basketball, Beyond the Lights, and The Old Guard.

This blog is maintained by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, and author Joanne C. Hillhouse. Content is curated, researched, and written by Hillhouse, unless otherwise indicated. Do not share or re-post without credit, do not re-publish without permission and credit. Thank you.

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Reading Room and Gallery 38

Things I read 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.

Read the winning entries Wadadli Pen Challenge entries, a mix of poetry and short fiction, with some visual art, through the years.

THE BUSINESS 

INTERVIEW/DISCUSSION

***

– Joanne C. Hillhouse Catapult Caribbean Creatives Online #catapultartsgrant #AskMeAnything Q & A with readers

***

Antiguan and Barbudan writers discuss To Shoot Hard Labour by Keithlyn and Fernando Smith as part of a month long reading series featuring the book. The series was produced by Beverly George for Observer Radio’s Voice of the People.

REPORTING

Excerpts, in no particular order, from Caribbean Time Bomb author Robert Coram’s A Reporter at Large: Ancient Rights in The New Yorker, 1989:

“Joseph, like most of the divers, is fond of having a drink now and then, and he is fond of rum, but he will not touch Cavalier rum, because it is made on Antigua.”

“And although the Barbudans had long ago learned to live together, so that there was little need for a judicial system, they were now technically bound by the laws of Antigua.”

“But the Antiguans, who saw Barbuda as a poor and backward island, did not want to finance medical facilities, schools, clergy, and courts on Barbuda.”

“The island is also ridiculed because the people are different; their quirky individuality standing out even in the Caribbean.”

“Barbudan slaves (enslaved Barbudans – my edit) even used Codrington boats to send their livestock and the fresh meat from their poaching to Antigua, and in 1829 the Codringtons’ island manager wrote of Barbudan slaves (enslaved Barbudans – my edit) wrote of Barbudan slaves, ‘They acknowledge no master, and believe the island belongs to themselves.’”

“Until 1961, when regular air traffic from Antigua began, it could take a week to reach Barbuda, even from Antigua.” – read the full article here: New Yorker 06 Feb 1989 

***

‘It was in form four, he says, that his work began to acquire an especially grim, menacing glint, layered with violence, tones of the macabre, and an arsenal of baleful sexual suggestion. His father, who dutifully printed off copies of the stories at work, gave him a sage kernel of advice that Hosein has never forgotten: “Even if you writing smut, keep writing. Just be careful of who you showing it to.”’ – Shivanee Ramlochan on Kevin Jared Hosein in Caribbean Beat

ESSAYS/NON-FICTION 

– Yvonne Weekes reading from her volcano themed memoir

***

“Georgetown is where some 90% of the population live today. We shouldn’t really be here. But in the 1700s, Dutch colonisers, bringing technology from their own low-lying country, decided to drain the swampy coast and install a ‘polder’ system of canals, sluice gates (known locally as kokers) and dams to cultivate sugar and other crops on the fertile land. Historian Dr Walter Rodney estimated that, in doing so, enslaved Africans were required to move 100 million tonnes of soil by hand. Ever since then, the sea has been trying to reclaim the land that was taken from it.” – Life on Stilts: Staying Afloat in Guyana by Carinya Sharples

***

“We are unwitting victims of a larger global issue beyond our control.” – from After the Aftermath: Hurricane Dorian by Bahamian writer Alexia Tolas

***

‘In “Winged and Acid Dark,” Hass tells us directly what happens to the woman in Potsdamer Platz in May 1945, but he does this direct telling circuitously. The poet approaches the idea, then “suggests” the rape. Note the second stanza: “the major with the swollen knee, / wanted intelligent conversation afterward. / Having no choice, she provided that, too.” The poem suggests the before by describing the “afterward” and by describing what the woman has to do “too.” Later in the poem, Hass describes the prying open of her mouth and the spitting in it, and lets these moments stand for much more. The lightning strike of this poem, the one we would expect at least, would be a graphic description of the rape, and yet, Hass soothes us on that front while delivering alternatively terrifying truths. The thing we prepare ourselves for, because we’ve heard that old war story repeated so many times, is only alluded to. Instead, Hass focuses on something else we are surprised by and therefore have to hear.’ – Tell It Slant: How To Write a Wise Poem by Camille T. Dungy

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“I wanted not simply to record but to interrogate what was happening and my response to it, to use poetry the way it can function at its utilitarian best: offering ways of seeing, of examining, of challenging complacency, and of contextualising the current situation within broader life considerations. …I am surprised at what I am doing because I normally spend a huge amount of time thinking about, writing, and then editing everything that I write before sending it into the world, so this speed of composing, followed by a click of Send and then almost immediate response is something new for me. I am less concerned with literary values or aesthetics than I am with memorializing the historic moment that I am living through. I want to capture the zeitgeist, literally, ‘the spirit of the time’.” – Cross Words in Lockdown by Olive Senior

“I would sit and talk to them, get to the essence of who they were…because it would help me to figure out how to write for them.” -Babyface

FICTION

“On his knees, hands behind his head, he asked for a cigarette. I gestured that he be given one. Our eyes met, we held each other’s gaze. What was he thinking? He must have been the same age as me. The same dark skin and stature. In another time, another place, we might have been neighbours, colleagues, friends. But here, now, he is one of them. ” – from The Debt by Nicholas Kyriacou

***

“In later years when he lying in bed all by he self…” – Levar Burton reads ‘A Good Friday’ by Barbara Jenkins. You can read this and other stories in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean

***

“Sunny stayed up the entire night, mopping the floors of her living room and bedroom as the heavy winds forced water through the shutters and windows. It was silly, in hindsight. The water was coming anyway, and fast. But she had to pass the time. Once every half hour or so, she would run to the hallway, frightened by the loud crashing noises from outside, anticipating that one of the shutters would give way and the kitchen window would burst wide open. They never did that night.” – Four Women at Night by Schuyler Esprit

POETRY

“A mother has just lost her son
A mother has just lost her son
A mother has just lost her son.” – reading by Curmiah Lisette, from her poem ‘The Bandits’, part of the CaribCation Caribbean Author Series

***

“Speaking to you from St. Lucia…we have a strong literary tradition, anchored by our Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott.” – John R. Lee reading and discussing his lit and more in the CaribCation Caribbean Author Series

***

“Somewhere or other there must surely be
The face not seen, the voice not heard,
The heart that not yet—never yet—ah me!
Made answer to my word.” – from Somewhere or Other by Christina Rossetti

***

“But grief,
it wrings out your soul-case” – Grief by Yvonne Weekes in Barbados’ Arts Etc.

***

“My iPhone keeps me company.
Plays music for me, shows pictures
of friends, what they’re thinking.
Lights up the dark when I’m missing you,
brings other poets’ words with a touch.” – from ‘April 2020’ by Julie Mahfood (Jamaican in Canada) in the Jamaica Gleaner’s Meeting Ground: Poems in the Time of COVID-19

***

‘Like other poets of the Harlem Renaissance, McKay, though a powerful advocate of black liberation, took the dominant “voice” of traditional culture, mastered it and made it accommodate his different ways of seeing, his visions and his anger. The fusion of urban realism with more traditional Romantic tropes in Harlem Shadows still leaves room for clear blasts of rage against “the wretched way / Of poverty, dishonor and disgrace”.’ – re poem of the week Harlem Shadows by Claude McKay (poem and analysis) 

***

“She forgave grandma, then a single mother of six,
who fed her children with one hand
while choking them with the other.” – from Mother Suffered from Memories by Juleus Ghunta in Anomaly 28

This blog is maintained by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, and author Joanne C. Hillhouse. Content is curated, researched, and written by Hillhouse, unless otherwise indicated. Do not share or re-post without credit, do not re-publish without permission and credit. Thank you.

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Reading Room and Gallery 36

Things I read that you might like too. For previous and future installments in this series, use the search feature to the right.

READING

INTERVIEW

***

***

“The different sides of freedom was another thing that was always interesting for me to see.” – Alice Yousef on Poetry Influence on Origins: the International Writing Program Podcast

CREATIVES ON CREATING

***

“Photography is not just about what you put within an image but what you choose to leave out of that frame.” – Nadia Huggins

***

“Even Jesus had to pass through a punnanny” – Staceyann Chin talking about her life and work, and in conversation with Nicole Dennis-Benn

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***

***

Through the edit, we wanted to give the suspense and a little bit of hope. That was achieved by letting the scene breathe.” – How Spencer Averick Built Suspense Through Editing Ava DuVernay’s ‘When They See Us’

***

‘The questioner said he was a journalist and had trouble making his mind switch from the journalistic style of writing to fiction. “I have students who have this same problem. I understand you. There is one thing you can do; interview the character/person you want to write about. Ask him anything, then you will have enough information to move them forward,” answered McFadden.’ – by Maryam Ismail writing on the Sharjah International Book Fair and specifically a session by African American author Bernice McFadden

***

“Imagine Hirut on the top of a hill, rifle ready, prepared to ambush the enemy. Along the way to this war, she is forced to contend with sexual aggression and then rape by one of her own compatriots. The smoky terrain of the front lines has expanded to engulf Hirut herself: her body an object to be gained or lost. She is both a woman and a country: living flesh and battleground. And when people tell her, Don’t fight him, Hirut, remember you are fighting to keep your country free. She asks herself, But am I not my own country? What does freedom mean when a woman—when a girl—cannot feel safe in her own skin? This, too, is what war means: to shift the battlefield away from the hills and onto your own body, to defend your own flesh with the ferocity of the cruelest soldier, against that one who wants to make himself into a man at your expense.” – Writing About the Forgotten Black Women of the Italo-Ethiopian War: Maaza Mengiste on Gender, Warfare, and Women’s Bodies By Maaza Mengiste

***

‘But she was a reader, in the fiercest sense. Susan knew exactly what she wanted. When I finished my last book, she said, “I love that Paris chapter. I want more. Could you please turn it into a novel?” She said it again and again, so often that I began writing the book in my head. Last month, when Susan fell ill, I asked what I could do for her. The reply came shooting back: “The best gift would be to write me that book.”’ – ‘I Think You Need to Rewrite It’: Ruth Reichl on What Makes an Editor Great

THE BUSINESS


FICTION

“This is Orson Welles, ladies and gentlemen, out of character to assure you that The War of The Worlds has no further significance than as the holiday offering it was intended to be. The Mercury Theatre’s own radio version of dressing up in a sheet and jumping out of a bush and saying Boo! Starting now, we couldn’t soap all your windows and steal all your garden gates by tomorrow night. . . so we did the best next thing. We annihilated the world before your very ears, and utterly destroyed the C. B. S. You will be relieved, I hope, to learn that we didn’t mean it, and that both institutions are still open for business. So goodbye everybody, and remember the terrible lesson you learned tonight. That grinning, glowing, globular invader of your living room is an inhabitant of the pumpkin patch, and if your doorbell rings and nobody’s there, that was no Martian. . .it’s Hallowe’en.” – from the script of the 1938 radio broadcast of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds which you can also listen to (I recommend listening to it first)

VISUAL ART

“We do not need permission nor expensive equipment to play the game or make art” – video essay re Steven Soderberg and his film High Flying Bird which was shot entirely on an iPhone

***

***

Flow presents the results of its 2019 amateur mobile short film contest

POETRY

“You feel like is fire inside you
a fire twisting you insides into ash
a fire that sucking the earth beneath you dry
But you watch her dancing” – Tricia Allen

“…it almost I who came
back out of each punishment,
back to a self which had been waiting, for me,
in the cooled-off pile of my clothes? As for the
condition of being beaten, what
was it like: going into a barn, the animals
not in stalls, but biting, and shitting, and
parts of them on fire? And when my body came out
the other side, and I checked myself,
10 fingers, 10 toes,
and I checked whatever I had where we were supposed
to have a soul…” – How it Felt by Sharon Olds from her collection Arias

‘Fool neber ‘fraid w’en moon look bright,
Say, “Crab and jumbie lub dark night.”
Jumbie like moon as well as we—
Dey comin’ waalkin’ from de sea.
Deir foot tu’n backward w’en dey tread,
Dey wearin’ body ub de dead
Dat fisher-bwoy dat wu’k on sloop,
He watch dem waalkin’ from Guadeloupe.
Dey waalk de Channel, like it grass;
Den, like rain-cloud, he see dem pass.
Dey comin’ steppin out ub Hell,
Wit burnin’ yeye an’ a sweet smell.’ – Lullabye by Eileen Hall from her 1938 collection

“It is far from here now, but it is coming nearer.
Those who love forests also are cut down.
This month, this year, we may not suffer;
the brutal way things are, it will come.
Already the cloud patterns are different each year.
The winds blow from new directions,
the rain comes earlier, beats down harder,
or it is dry when the pastures thirst.
In this dark, overarching Essequibo forest,
I walk near the shining river on the green paths
cool and green as melons laid in running streams.” – from The Sun Parrots are Late This Year by Ian McDonald

REVIEWS

‘The book starts with an epigraph from Jamaican blogger Paul Tomlinson’s reproach to the commissioner of police to “go inna the bush and catch” the criminals who “always escaping in nearby bushes.”’ – Vahni Capildeo on Kei Miller’s ‘In Nearby Bushes’

REPORTS

“She writes intuitively from her own rural Jamaican childhood through to her becoming a global citizen, and because she writes from a searing past of aloneness and pain, her self-discovery and choice of self makes her work relevant, not only to people of the Caribbean who appreciate that she deals sensitively with race, class hierarchies and cultural oppression ­ the legacy of colonialism – but to all sensitive people of the world who respond to her quiet assertion of personal identity.” – One on One with Olive Senior in the Jamaica Gleaner, 2004

***

“Canadian writer Margaret Atwood and British author Bernardine Evaristo split the Booker Prize on Monday, after the judging panel ripped up the rulebook and refused to name one winner for the prestigious fiction trophy.” UK-based Evaristo is Ango-Nigerian though those of you who’ve read her previous novel Mr. Loverman might remember that it features an Antiguan character (I remember meeting her when she was here in Antigua researching that character). Her Booker winning book is Girl, Woman, Other; tied with Canada-born Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale sequel The Testaments. Read the judges’ reasoning here.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator 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 – Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe). All rights reserved. 

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Senior, History, Challenge

When I came across an article about the honorary doctorate presented by the University of the West Indies to Olive Senior (my alma mater and first fiction workshop leader, respectively),

Senior on social media

From Olive Senior’s social media.

I wanted share it. Just to big her up. But what she says gives me an even better reason.

‘Reasoning that cultivating curiosity — a writing tool — will enrich lives, making better citizens, workers, parents, future leaders and future influencers, Senior urged graduates to be more conscious in employing the tool to know more about themselves as Jamaicans, the country and its heritage.

…“Knowing about our country and ourselves is what enables us to feel rooted no matter how far we grow, for that is something that cannot be taken from us.”’

Apart from the obvious nod to one of the reasons we write, there is the specific reference to knowing and embracing your culture, not to the exclusion of others but as a way of understanding yourself when engaging with others. This naturally intersects with Wadadli Pen and especially with the 2018 Wadadli Pen Challenge. Wadadli Pen’s annual Challenge gives Antiguans and Barbudans the opportunity to write their world, and though we don’t normally do themed Challenges, this year’s is specific to historical fiction – not fiction necessarily set in a realistic point in our historical timeline (in fact we encourage writers to be experimental) but which, whatever the genre or sub-genre, engages with our history in some way. This was in part inspired by recent discussion about the waning interest in Caribbean history and our belief that we need to make Caribbean history cool again.

So, here’s the launch flyer Wadadli Pen 2018 Flyer

Here’s the link to the article on Olive Senior’s well-deserved honour

And here’s that history article

Looking forward to being wow’d by the submissions to this year’s Challenge

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure; also a freelance writer, editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator). All Rights Reserved. If you like the content here follow or recommend the blog, also, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. Thank you.

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Congrats to Dr. Olive Senior

A report by Jediael Carter for Jamaica’s Observer. Famous author Olive Senior has called on Jamaicans to hone their national pride by gaining knowledge about the island. Senior, an accomplished practitioner of the arts, who on Friday was awarded a Doctor of Letters degree from The University of the West Indies, made the call while addressing graduates […]

via Olive Senior wants Jamaicans to know more about their island as she receives Dr of Letters Degree from UWI — Repeating Islands

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