Tag Archives: read Antigua Barbuda

Children’s Books for Your Christmas Lists #WeNeedDiverseBooks

These lists, highlighting books by people of colour or otherwise outside of the mainstream will remain necessary as long as books by people of colour or otherwise outside of the mainstream (e.g. Caribbean books even in the Caribbean) remain in the margins. And I’ll keep sharing them even as I hope to see my books on those lists, as more people with the power to put them in the conversation become aware of them.






If those images and the title of this post haven’t given it away, this post is about children’s books specifically (i.e. the people not yet in double digits, give or take a pre-teen or two). And we return for that list to the greatest resource I’ve found online for Black books, the African American Literary Book Club which polled industry professionals for its 150 Recommended African American Children’s Books. I’m not sharing the full list, you can view that here, but I thought I’d pull out the Caribbean creatives I found on the list (apologies if  I missed anyone).








Boonoonoonous Hair and Anna Carries Water by Canada-based Jamaican writer Olive Senior collaborating with Laura James, a US illustrator with Antiguan-Barbudan roots.









I am Loved for which he illustrated the words of Nikki Giovanni and his own written and illustrated Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan who is also American of Antiguan descent.


















I am Mixed by Garcelle Beauvais, former star of the Jamie Foxx show, born in Haiti; Jamaica’s Cedella Marley, daughter of late reggae icon Bob Marley, doing a book inspired by his song One Love; US based Canadian born Zetta Elliott who has Kittitian roots and her book Bird; and Jamaican Kellie Magnus’ independent juggernaut Little Lion goes to School.

I want to also do some picks (a personal list) spotlighting Caribbean and Antiguan-Barbudan children’s books. For the Caribbean, I’ll mention 7 (3 I heard excerpted when I shared a panel with the authors from the Miami Book Fair last year, 3 read and liked previously, and 1 extra because I liked the cover and the author is always generously boosting other writers on her blog as I’m trying to do here).












































And six from Antigua and Barbuda that I’ve read and liked or in the case of Jamaica Kincaid’s want to read.





































Okay, the last one is Kittitian and Trinidadian not Antiguan but she does have Antigua connections.




As with all content on Wadadli Pen, unless otherwise indicated, this is written by author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse. All rights reserved.

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Book of the Year Presentation (Photo Gallery)

This morning was the presentation ceremony for the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda (now #discoverAntiguaBarbuda through its literary culture) Readers Choice 2017-2018 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Book of the Year initiative. The winner was Vivian Luke, author of F. A. K. E. and she designated the Foundation Mixed School as the school to receive the EC$950+ in books in her name, made possible through contributions by five patrons. Vivian lives in the US but was represented at the Monday 8th April 2019 morning festivities at the Best of Books by her cousin Josina Luke who read a statement on her behalf. Josina, also, accepted a certificate from the Best of Books for her as well. Thanks to all. Here are some pictures.

And in case you were interested, the way we did it is we wanted it to be fun for the kids, we want reading to be fun for them; so we invited a delegation from the school to come to the store and make their picks. Best of Books set up two tables, one with Antiguan-Barbudan and Caribbean books and one with international books so that they got the best of all worlds. This means that they went away with books like Carol Ottley-Mitchell’s Pirates at Port Royal and Adventure at Brimstone Hill from her Caribbean Adventure series, illustrated by Ann-Catherine Loo, as was another of the children’s picks Chee Chee Fights Back from her Chee Chee Adventures series, plus Caribbean Reads Publications’ Round My Christmas Tree, Barbara A. Arrindell’s Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Antiguan Stories (illustrated by Edison Liburd), Iris Josiah’s Tiny Goat and Tiny Bird alphabet books from her Tiny Island Series, Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Musical Youth, Cherise Harris-illustrated With Grace and both Danielle Boodoo Fortune-illustrated Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and its Spanish language edition translated by Loudymar Lightfoot and Nneka Edwards Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, among the other books in the running for the Readers Choice vote Gemma Handy’s Explore Antigua and Barbuda and Floree Williams Whyte’s The Wonderful World of Yohan, Lion Paw and Oliver: an Unlikely Friendship by Heidi Fagerberg, Collins’ Big Cat books How the Birds Got Their Colours: Tales from the Australian Dreamtime by Helen Chapman, Twinkle Twinkle Firefly featuring poems by Caribbean poets John Agard and Grace Nichols with illustrations by Satoshi Kitamura, and Travellers Guide to the Solar System by Giles Sparrow, plus child-friendly bios on Brian Lara, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and Rosa Parks, several books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries series, of course, Geronimo Stilton and Cave Mice books, and Treasury of Illustrated Classics –

sooo many books made possible thanks to discounts provided by the Best of Books making them another of the prize’s patrons. Thanks to them as well for that.

It was lovely to see the children so excited about shopping for their books and we hope they enjoy them.

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PRESS RELEASE The Antigua and Barbuda Readers’ Choice Book of the Year Is…

Issued April 3rd 2019

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize congratulates Vivian Luke, whose book, F.A.K.E., netted the most votes in its #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda Book of the Year initiative.

On being informed of the news, Luke said in a statement, “Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for my book…  Writing is a gift but the ability to conceive of and complete a well-structured story that is well received is a dream for any author.  So, I must congratulate the rest of the authors who were part of this process as well.”

The winning author has picked the Foundation Mixed School, alma mater of her mother and aunt, to receive a donation of books – valued at EC$900 – in her name. The donation is made possible by three Wadadli Pen patrons all of whom volunteered to make contributions anonymously – a fourth patron donated a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus.

Luke is a senior executive consultant and mother of two in the US. She is connected to Antigua and Barbuda through a line that goes back to her maternal great-great grandfather, with both sets of grandparents being born and raised in Antigua. She describes herself as “a proud Antiguan – 1st generation removed.”

Voters described F.A.K.E. as “a must read (that) reinforces the importance of creating true friendships,” “a page turner that shows us that friendship is valuable and we don’t need to live fake lives when we’re surrounded by real friends” and, simply, “a great read”. The people have spoken.

F.A.K.E. picked up the majority by one vote in a photo finish with Shawn N. Maile’s How to Work Six Jobs on an Island: an Island Boy’s Dream – described, among other things, as “a great example of time management and maximizing resources.” The book with the third most votes is Rilzy Adams’ The Gift – a romance described by one voter as “heartwarming and heartwrenching at the same time”.

The top three authors will be presented with certificates of their achievement during a brief ceremony at the Best of Books Monday 8th April 2019 at 10:00 a.m., at which time children from the Foundation Mixed will have the opportunity to select books for their school library.

This initiative is consistent – especially in a year when the usual writing challenge is absent – with Wadadli Pen’s mission since 2004 to nurture and showcase Antigua and Barbuda’s literary culture, a culture which, as illustrated by Luke’s win and Maile’s especially strong showing begins here but is not limited to our shores.

Luke’s message to the students can be read in full here. In it she spoke of her love of writing being fostered by a love of reading which she modelled from her parents, and urges, the children to “Read, Read, Read so that your intellectual curiosity may be heightened.”

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(Barbuda image – JCH)

The annual Antigua and Barbuda Conference 14th in the series, has been set for August 15–16, 2019, and they have issued their call for papers.

Here It Is:

This year, our focus will be on Barbuda and its recovery after the devastating impact of hurricane Irma. To do this topic justice, we will have to break the usual patterns of putting Antigua first and Barbuda second. In spite of being constitutionally joined since 1860, the history of relations between Barbuda and Antigua has been a rather intense and explosive one. Consequently, between the two territories there have been deep and abiding levels of distrust and misunderstanding.

One indicator of the explosive nature of the relations between these territories of our twin-island state is the 1858 four-day explosion of violence in St. Johns between migrant Barbudans and resident Antiguans. A second indicator of the depth of this divide was the secessionist position taken by the Barbuda delegation to the 1980 Lancaster House conference at which the independence constitution of the soon-to-be nation of Antigua and Barbuda was being drafted. The Barbudan delegation made it clear that they wanted a separation from the union with Antigua. The third indicator of the depth of this divide that I will mention here is the one we are living through—the differences between Barbudans and Antiguans over how best to reconstruct and develop Barbuda after hurricane Irma.

In other words, in spite of 38 years of political independence as the nation of Antigua and Barbuda, we have not been able to forge a collective identity that includes Barbudans and Antiguans on equal terms. There remains a deep fissure in the “We” or the collective identity of our nation that continues to erupt every so often, with threats to dissolve our union. Thus it is important that we seek a better understanding of this long and well-established divide by exploring its distinct nature and history.

Let us refer to this divide between Barbuda and Antigua as a form of insular inequality. This is a form of social inequality that emerged out of the peculiar relationship that colonial rule established between a colony and its dependency. Consequently, in the period after colonial rule, the people and leaders of some postcolonial nations have found themselves confronted with not only forms of imperial, class, race and gender inequality, but also insular inequality. Just as these other forms of domination and related inequalities required well-developed discourses of analysis and organized action to counter them, so too does insular inequality. To fight it, we will need carefully developed discourses of insularism that should be comparable to those of classism, imperialism, racism and sexism. Among the new postcolonial nations that inherited all of these forms of social inequality, we can think of Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and of course Antigua and Barbuda.

Between a colony and its dependency, there exist definite feelings of insular difference produced by the maritime separation between the two islands or territories making up the union. These are basic self/other, or we/they differences that often develop on both sides around observable differences such as race, gender, geography or ethnicity. However, upon feelings of insular and other forms of difference, structures and processes of domination, exploitation and neglect were established during the colonial period. These practices greatly exaggerated these feelings of difference, transforming them into toxic forms of insularism. These exaggerated feelings in turn, became the foundations of the insular inequality that currently exists in cases like Antigua and Barbuda or Trinidad and Tobago.

We have not named and theorized insular inequality to the same degree that we have the other major forms of social domination. We have been able to name and theorize sexism, racism, imperialism and classism because there have been extensive developments of these discourses abroad on which we have been able to draw. This has not been the case with insularism, which has left us with the challenge of taking the lead in developing such a discourse that could guide the struggle for insular equality within postcolonial nations with inheritances of dependencies. We would not think of fighting racism or sexism without carefully naming and theorizing them. Yet this is precisely what we have been attempting to do in the case of insularism.

Between Barbuda and Antigua, there developed a particularly toxic form of insularism, even by Caribbean standard. Before gaining the constitutional status of a dependency, Barbuda was simply real estate owned by the Codringtons, and used to support their sugar plantations in Antigua. William Codrington called Barbuda a private governmency, a “constitutional” status that was clearly below that of a dependency. As a private governmency, there were no requirements that legislatures and other institutions of government be set up. All that was required was a manager and a lawyer, who had to report to the Codringtons. This was the low point from which Barbuda became a dependency of Antigua, with the developmental gap between the two only growing wider. As this gap widened, the insular differences turned toxic as they were equated with moral, intellectual and performative differences between Barbudans and Antiguans.

This is the persistent heritage of toxic insularism that continues to divide us. It has produced attitudes of Antigua-first and Antigua-centric forms of politics, which Barbudans have instinctively resisted. This resistance has been a major obstacle in the way of the central government’s attempts to develop Barbuda and to close the gap between these territories of our twin-island nation. The current tensions over the post-Irma reconstruction of Barbuda are the latest in a long series.

Given this long history of insular inequality, it is clear what we must do at this 14th annual country conference. First, we must listen to the anti- Antigua-centric voices of Barbudans and grasp more fully the depths of the fight for insular equality from which they speak. Second, we will have to put these Antigua-centric discourses and practices on the table for close examination. Third, we will have to get into the historical roots of this now toxic relationship so that we can understand it better. And fourth, we will have come up with suggestions for ending this practice of Antiguan superiority, as we have in the cases of white or male superiority.

Thus some of the topics that you may consider writing and speaking about are:

How is insular inequality different from class or racial inequality?
Is Antiguan insularism a form of micro imperialism?
What has been the history of the Barbudan economy and the attempts to develop it?
What have been the policies of the ABLP, PLM, UPP administrations on Barbuda?
What was the ACLM’s position on the development of Barbuda?
How do we deal with the vexed issue of land ownership on Barbuda?
How does Antigua and Barbuda today compare with Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines or St. Kitts-Nevis?
How do we heal and close the deep fissure between Barbuda and Antigua?

If you are interested in making a presentation at this 2019 conference, please send us a brief abstract that includes your name, your title and a brief description of the theme of your presentation. We must receive your abstract by May 20th, 2019. It will help us to put you on the right panel. Your abstract, in the form of a word document, should be emailed to paget_henry@brown.edu or to janetlofgren@gmail.com


Paget Henry, president, Antigua Barbuda Studies Association
Zane Peters, head, UWI (Antigua)
Schuyler Esprit, program officer, UWI (Antigua)
Janet Lofgren, editorial assistant, Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books

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

There’s still time to vote in the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda Readers Choice Book of the Year initiative.



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A & B Arts Round up – February 8th 2019 —>

July 6th 2019 – 6 p.m. – The Royal Society of Literature – New Daughters of Africa – part of the Africa Writes Festival @ the Knowledge Centre, the British Library, London – this is obviously not being held in Antigua (and though I’m unlikely to be there, I wanted to let my Caribbean and especially my Antiguan people know about this, one of the events being held to promote the New Daughters of Africa). “Twenty-five years after Margaret Busby’s Daughters of Africa anthology, a new companion volume brings together the work of over 200 writers from across the globe – Antigua to Zimbabwe, Angola to the USA – to celebrate a unifying heritage, illustrate an uplifting sense of sisterhood and showcase the remarkable range of creativity from the African diaspora.” Details here.

April 30th 2019 – A feature of Antigua Sailing Week is Reggae in the Park at the Nelson’s Dockyard, an official UNESCO heritage site. Go here for details.

March 31st 201951558809_2021898281220325_2135068856052350976_n – last year this empowering afternoon had everyone from Destra to CP and even one of the authors up for book of the year Janice Sutherland.

March 31st 2019 – Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year voting deadline. If there’s a book, released between 2017 and 2018, by an Antiguan and Barbudan that you read and liked. Vote. If you haven’t read any of the books on the list; there’s still time. Here’s where you go to see the books and vote.

#readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

March 9th 2019NEW_DAUGHTERS_HIGH-RES-670x1024the public launch event of New Daughters of Africa at the WOW – Women of the World Festival on London’s Southbank. This is not being held in Antigua (and though I’m unlikely to be there, I wanted to let my Caribbean and especially my Antiguan people know about this, one of the events being held to promote the New Daughters of Africa). “Twenty-five years after Margaret Busby’s Daughters of Africa anthology, a new companion volume brings together the work of over 200 writers from across the globe – Antigua to Zimbabwe, Angola to the USA – to celebrate a unifying heritage, illustrate an uplifting sense of sisterhood and showcase the remarkable range of creativity from the African diaspora.” More here.

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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Voter Turnout Low

(media release updating re #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda – issued December 8th 2018)

Votes are trickling in but voter turnout could be a lot higher. That’s according to Wadadli Pen which is running a #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda People’s Choice Book of the Year Challenge. The Challenge – the first of its kind for Wadadli Pen, which will not be having its usual creative writing challenge in 2019 – invites and encourages readers to vote from among the 45 books in the running; and if you or your circle haven’t read any of the books, Wadadli Pen wishes to remind you that books make good gifts to self and others.

Some authors have embraced the idea, notably Shawn N. Maile, who did a promotional ebook giveaway of his book, How to Work Six Jobs on an Island: an Island Boy’s Dream, in order to encourage people to read and vote. And he didn’t limit his encouragement to his book, posting on his facebook page, “also support the other authors by purchasing and reading their works in whatever format you can.” His book is one of the leading vote getters so far. Voters are encouraged to leave a reason for their vote and one of those who voted for Six Jobs said, “It was a great example of time management and maximizing resources.” Also on the board so far, the second leading vote getter Vivian Luke’s F.A.K.E.; three books by Roxy Wilson, who writes ebooks in the romance genre – Be With You, Friends to Forever, and The Guardian Vampire; former Wadadli Pen judge Brenda Lee Browne’s London Rocks; and former Wadadli Pen finalist Rilzy Adams’ The Gift – “it really had me in the feels”.

The #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda initiative has not reached the minimum vote threshold but readers do have until March 2019 to vote. Wadadli Pen does want to reminder the Antigua and Barbuda public, though, if there’s a book you like – or a book your children liked – don’t sleep on it. With 44 books in the running – after corrections to adjust for books of which Wadadli Pen might not have been aware – there are plenty of choices to go around.

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One online group, Amazing Antiguans and Barbudans for Social and Economic Development, sharing one of the several social media posts about #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda, said, “so I heard on radio the other day that we are lacking in authors and then here comes (this)…do you know your local authors? If not, get to know them and vote! If you are already familiar then do vote now!” Wadadli Pen appreciates the love and encourages everyone to share, read, and vote.

Wadadli Pen is reminding fans of the books to vote, as well as authors of the books as well and their circle – authors may not be able to vote for their own book but they can vote; and they can and should do whatever they can to push their book. The #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda is about giving our local authors and their books a boost in keeping with Wadadli Pen’s mission to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

For more on #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda and to vote, visit https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/readantiguabarbuda-voteantiguabarbuda

As with all posts on Wadadli Pen, this is written by founder and author Joanne C. Hillhouse, who (full disclosure) also has a book – Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure – in the running. This one you can feel free to share fully and encourage your fellow book lovers to #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

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