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Carib Plus Lit News (Middish January 2020)

Condolences

We begin with condolences to the friends and family of Victor Chang, and the community at the University of the West Indies. He actually died some weeks ago, in 2019. This Jamaica Gleaner article described Dr. Chang as a former lecturer in the Department of Literatures in English at UWI.

“Chang’s academic career is characterised by his involvement with the wider community and beyond, having served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Hull, England in 1981, carried out assignments with the Ministry of Education and Jamaica Festival. The noted academic was a contributor to the National Association for Teachers of English Workshops for some 20 years and was assistant chief examiner in English Literature with the Caribbean Examinations Council …(in addition to) service to the West Indian Association for Commonwealth Language and Literature Studies (WIACLALS).” There were many expressions of condolences being shared among the Caribbean literary community including my own memory of him as head of my department during my time at UWI (Mona, Jamaica) and this one (unknown) “He gave brilliant conference papers about Caribbean writers, and his sense of humor was wicked.”

Trinidad Poet wins the T. S. Eliot Prize

We move to celebratory news with Trinidad and Tobago poet Roger Robinson’s win of the T. S. Eliot Prize, the only major poetry prize judged solely by established poets. He won for A Portable Paradise about which judges said: “Roger Robinson’s characters bear witness to a country where ‘every second street name is a shout out to my captors’. Yet though Robinson is unstinting in his irony, he also gives us glimpses of something that his chosen protagonists also refuse to surrender – a taste, through the bitterness, of ‘life, of sweet, sweet life’.” A Portable Paradise was published by Peepal Tree Press in the UK. Robinson receive a £25,000 cheque.

Wadadli Pen 2020

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge is back for 2020 with several new categories to stimulate artistic expression among young people in Antigua and Barbuda. …The Wadadli Pen Challenge is open to any resident aged 35 and younger. Entries – fiction, poems, creative non-fiction –1000 words max. must be original. Beyond that entries can be as creative or tonally diverse as the artist desires; as long as it retains a Caribbean sensibility (i.e. feels Caribbean). Young Antiguans of all ages are encouraged to try – there will be, as usual, age category prizes, with a slight adjustment to the breakdown (six and younger, seven to 12, 13 to 17, and 18 to 35) – in addition to an overall top three. All entries require completed submission forms (2020 WADADLI YOUTH PEN PRIZE SUBMISSION FORM). Incomplete and plagiarized entries will be disqualified.

Special Prizes

Imagine a Future – A special prize will go to the story which per the sub-head ‘Imagine a Future’ best illustrates either the consequence of inaction (dystopia) or action (futopia) on climate change. This is an opportunity to venture in to speculative fiction (including science fiction). What does the future look like through your eyes? Be creative.

Art Prize – Visual artists can also tell their story, solo or in collaboration with others by creating a comic strip – telling a complete story using visual art and (optionally) words in three horizontally-aligned art panels of equal size, fitting on to a single sheet of paper. Art entries can be hand inked and coloured (per standard comic panels) or electronically created. No collages. Winning collabos get a single prize.

The Wa’omani Prize – Eligible Barbudans are also invited to write a story or poem, or create a comic strip (telling their complete story using visual art and, optionally, words in three horizontally-aligned art panels of equal size, fitting on to a single sheet of paper). This prize is designed to encourage greater participation from Barbuda and create a space for Barbudans to tell their unique stories.
An entry can be considered for more than one special prize (indicate with entry), and everyone vying for a special prize will also be considered for the main prize and for their age category prize. There will also be a prize for the school with the most submissions. Submit by 16/02/20 with ‘Your Name Wadadli Pen Challenge Submission 2020’ in the subject line.

Some early patrons have pledged their commitment and will be announced in a subsequent release. Other businesses or individuals wishing to contribute, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com To keep up with all things Wadadli Pen follow the blog. For all things Wadadli Pen 2020, check https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/wadadli-pen-2020

Sharma Wins

Sharma Taylor, Jamaica born, Barbados based, inaugural winner of the Johnson and Amoy Achong prize in 2019 starts 2020 with another win – first prize in Barbados’ 22nd annual Frank Collymore Literary Endowment award for an unpublished collection of short stories called Hollow Calabash which one judge described as “unputdownable”. She wins $10,000 (I’m not sure if this is US or BDS but either way).

Sharma credits the support of Commonwealth Writers (CW) through initiatives like the short story prize for which she was shortlisted, a 2018 fiction writing workshop in Barbados, and the individual mentoring the CW provided in 2019, as well as encouragement from other writers.

Congrats to her (pictured below, second from left).

‘Second place went to Claudia Clarke, who was awarded $6,000 for her “CircleSquare.” Anderson Lowe’s “Inside the Blackbelly Sheep” secured him third place and prize money of $4,000. Lowe also received the Prime Minister’s Award. Ingrid Persaud and Sarah Venable received honourable mention for “So it Go” and “The Tropic of Sweet and Sour” respectively.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes spoke of the importance of Barbados having a strong literary tradition, saying, “seeing your culture reflected and celebrated in print is a powerful and validating experience.”

The Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Awards was started in 1998 to support and develop the literary arts in Barbados. In addition to the annual competition, the programme includes outreach to secondary schools and technical workshops for writers.’ Read more.

Sabga

The 2020 Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence have been announced. They are:

Arts & Letters: Mr Jallim Eudovic, Sculptor, St Lucia
Entrepreneurship: Mr Andrew Mendes, Energy Services Entrepreneur, Guyana
Public & Civic Contributions: Dr Olivene Burke, Community Activist, Jamaica
Science & Technology: Dr Shirin Haque, Astronomer, Trinidad & Tobago

The Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards is the only programme in the Caribbean which seeks out and rewards outstanding nominees in Arts & Letters, Public & Civic Contributions, Science & Technology and Entrepreneurship. It has been in existence since 2005, and has named, inclusive of the current inductees, 43 Laureates from throughout the region.

The 2020 ceremony will be staged on April 25, 2020 at a venue to be announced in the near future. Here’s the press release: 2020-Laureate-announcement-Press-Kit

Impac Dublin Caribbean

I first became aware of the Impac Dublin award back in 2012 when I was researching possibilities for which my novel Oh Gad! could contend. I bring that up because I wondered then and I still wonder now which books have been nominated by our local library service with which I’ve shared the Impac Dublin information. The latest Caribbean author to be nominated and longlisted for the Impac Dublin prize is Viviana Prado-Nunez, the Puerto Rican author of the Burt award winning The Art of White Roses which the nominating Jamaica Library Service describes as  “a striking debut novel with a cast of engaging characters. Told through the eyes of a 13 year old who lives with her family in Marianao, a quiet suburb six miles away from Old Havana, the novel gives an intimate view of the struggles of the working people fighting for independence fuelled by a burning desire to end corruption. It is a sharp-eyed study of power, community, questioning values and the contradictory messages of adults.” The Art of White Roses is published by Dominica’s Papilotte Press.

Also nominated by the Jamaica Library Service, also long listed, another Burt Award title Kevin Jared Hosein’s The Beast of Kukuyo. This is published by Jamaica’s Blue Banyan.

Congrats to them and to the library service for nominating them. See the entire long list. The prize is €100,000 which is awarded to the author if the book is written in English. If the winning book is in English translation, the author receives €75,000 and the translator, €25,000. The winner also receives a trophy provided by Dublin City Council. Nominations are made by libraries in capital and major cities throughout the world – libraries interested in participating can contact the organizers.

The shortlist for the 2020 prize will be announced in April.

Publishing News

Papilotte press, of Dominica and the UK, continues to make major moves with the acquisition of UK based Trinidad author Lawrence Scott’s Dangerous Freedom, a novel described as “radical and moving”. Said the author, “In Dangerous Freedom I am trying to redress what I see as the romantic portrayals of Dido in art, film and literature. I wanted to question the sketchy history we have of Dido and, through fiction, to alter the psychological and political perspectives. I hope that the novel can add to our understanding of a pain that remains just below the surface of contemporary life.” I’ve seen at least one of the film adaptations, Amma Asante’s Belle which starred Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the daughter of an Englishman and an enslaved African who lived with her aristocratic uncle, none less than Chief Justice Lord Mansfield at a time when he was adjudicating a critical case in the anti-slavery movement. Papilotte publisher Polly Pattullo bought world rights, excluding translation, for Dangerous Freedom from Johnson & Alcock. It will be published in May 2020 and distributed by NBN International.

New Music Awards for Antigua and Barbuda

You might remember that there was a music awards held in Antigua and Barbuda some years ago. It was produced by a private person and called the National Vibes Star Project Award. It was a  great Grammy-style event that I truly enjoyed covering. But it was a one-time event. And while I will always wish we weren’t reinventing the wheel, the announcement of a national musical awards by the Culture Department is, on the surface of it, a welcome development.

 

Deputy Director of Culture, and accomplished musician, Mr Khan Cordice described the awards, to be held on April 16th 2020, as a “Grand Celebration’ to recognize the work of all musicians and music practitioners alike to include vocalists, instrumentalists, pannists and DJs for the work they would have contributed to music over the years, but more specifically, throughout the year 2019.”

There are six categories: ‘Vocal Awards’; ‘Instrumental Awards’; ‘Steelpan Awards’; ‘Best Recording Artiste of the Year’; ‘DJ of the Year’ and ‘Special Awards’. In the vocal awards category, the breakdown includes:
Junior Soca Artist of the year
Junior Calypsonian of the year
Junior Reggae Artist of the year
Junior Gospel Artist of the year
Soca Artist of the year
Calypsonian of the year
Reggae Artist of the year
Gospel Artist of the year
Choir of the Year

At a glance, one difference between this and the NVSPA is that the latter also included hip hop and artists that didn’t fit in to the usual boxes.

For the Steelpan Awards announced categories include:

Steelpan Awards
Junior Pannist of the Year
Pannist of the Year
Arranger of the year
Junior Steelband of the Year
Steelband of the Year

The rebirth of pan continues – you love to see it.

The Instrumental Awards include:
Junior Instrumentalist of the Year
Instrumentalist of the Year

Two young Antiguans and Barbudans having recently featured in the finals of the Commonwealth International Composition Awards, as reported in Carib Plus Lit News in November 2019, it makes sense to continue to encourage our Musical Youth in this way.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday month to one of my literary icons Zora Neale Hurston who LitHub informs me was born January 7th (two days after me) 1891 (so not exactly the same century).  

Another reason I’m shouting out the late Harlem Renaissance writer, she has a new book coming with a foreword from Tayari Jones (whose book, the Oprah’s book club pick An American Marriage I’m currently reading after absolutely loving her previous book Silver Sparrow). Hurston died in 1960 – and while she had published significant work like Their Eyes were watching God – had slipped in to obscurity until resurrected by Alice Walker in In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, the title piece in the latter’s 1984 essay collection. Hurston has been a staple on university lit syllabuses since then including my African-American lit courses at UWI, which is where I discovered her and, in her, a literary model. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is Hurston’s second posthumous book (after 2019’s Barracoon: the Story of the Last Black Cargo) in three years.  Can’t wait.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, 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/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Plus Lit News (early December 2019)

Interviews

Caribbean Voices was a programme out of the BBC that helped either launch or popularize the artists who would come to be known as the foundations of the 20th century Caribbean literary canon. And now we have a New Caribbean Voices podcast for the 21st century, hosted by Caribbean-Brit poet Maliker Booker. Read about it at Repeating Islands and then check out the podcast as we will be. Check out our Reading Room and Gallery if you still need to satiate your arts-appetite.

There’s also this new interview with me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) at U.S. online platform Ravishly, in which I talk about my teen/young adult novel Musical Youth.

Read it here. More of my interviews can be found on the Media page on my author blog.

New Books

Sandra Sealy, Barbadian artist and writing professional who has been sharing opportunities for writers in the Caribbean longer than I have, has launched her first book Chronicles of a Seawoman: a Collection of Poems. Be sure to support her as she has supported the journey of so many writers.

PLUS New releases from Antigua-Barbuda Samantha Dian Samuel’s Journey to Discovery: Carl’s Summer of Adventure illustrated by Sonali Andrews, and (it’s been out for a minute but has it’s Antigua and Barbuda launch the first Saturday in December at the Museum Sue Evan-Wong aka Sue Appleby’s Cornish in the Caribbean. Finally, Wadadli Pen alum (a finalist 2005 and 2006) Rilys Adams, writing prolifically as Rilzy Adams’ dropped her latest, Twelve Dates of Christmas (Love on the Rock Book 1).

 

Remember books make great gifts and check out data base of Antiguan and Barbudan books (note: some of the newer ones haven’t been added yet), the Wadadli Pen post on children’s book for your Christmas shopping list, or our last Carib Plus Lit News in case you missed it, for the right book for that person in your life.

Showed/Showing

The fourth iteration of Human Stories in November 2019 marked the UK solo exhibition debut by Nadia Huggins (Trinidadian, based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines), whose photographic and filmic works capture intimate moments between sea and surface around St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Curated by Kaia Charles, Human Stories is a series of annual photography exhibitions that encourage a contemporary discourse on modern life via a human point of view. Source.

You can catch independent Barbadian filmmaker Shakirah Bourne’s take on Shakespeare’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Caribbean Dream, on Amazon Prime.

Be sure to check the latest A & B Arts Round up to see what’s coming up in Antigua and Barbuda this December. Including a return of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues directed by Zahra Airall fresh from her wins at the Caribbean Secondary Schools Drama Festival (added to the Antiguans and Barbudans Awarded page).

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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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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Mailbox -Advancement for Children Foundation Supports St. Kitts-Nevis Literacy Project

Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 11, 2015. The Advancement of Children Foundation, a non-profit organization based in St. Kitts and Nevis, and the ‘Plant a Seed to Read’ programme have a mission in common, to positively affect the lives of children and youth in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. With that in mind, the Foundation yesterday donated $7,913.41 to a pilot version of CaribbeanReads’ Plant a Seed to Read Initiative to be launched at the Beach Allen Primary School.

ACF Grant

The cheque was presented by ACF Board Chair and Projects Committee Chair Naaemah Hazelle to Heidi Fagerberg, CaribbeanReads’ representative. Also in attendance were Andrew Cleary, Vice Chair and Marketing and Fundraising Committee Chair; Board Secretary, Leah Crag Chaderton; and Natasha St. Juste, Projects Committee Chair.

The Plant a Seed to Read programme is aimed at instilling a love of reading in young children by providing them with books that are relevant and engaging. They will achieve this by first providing the children with their own copy of a book that is set in the Caribbean and secondly by providing teachers with curriculum support so that they can easily integrate the books into the classroom setting. The project is spearheaded by CaribbeanReads founder Carol Mitchell and author Heidi Fagerberg, a St. Kitts resident who holds degrees in Early Childhood Development, Education, and Human Services.

“Illiteracy and crime are closely related,” commented Heidi Fagerberg author of the Living the Beach Life Series. “By encouraging children to read we can guide them towards being better students and eventually more productive adults with better earning capacity and more options in life. Reading also helps children to develop language and communication skills and can be a fun alternative to more negative activities.”

“We are very grateful for ACF for seeing the possibilities in this project. This is just the beginning as we have plans to have local books integrated into the curriculum of every primary school in the Federation and to supply books each year. Beach Allen is one of our largest primary schools and so it is a good starting point. We are actively seeking funding to move the project into additional schools,” commented Carol Mitchell.

The project organisers continue to seek funding to place books in additional schools at about US$2,000 per school per year through groups like the ACF and with a GoFundMe page.

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A & B SUMMER READING CHALLENGE GETS “MUSICAL”

Teens in Antigua and Barbuda, this one’s for you! As part of the Cushion Club Wadadli Pen Summer Reading Challenge, Antiguan and Barbudan teens, 12 to 18, are being invited to read Musical Youth, a Best of Books’ teen summer pick, post a musical or otherwise creative review to the social media platform of your choice, and send the link to submissions@caribbeanreads.com flyer final
This is a challenge within a challenge.

You don’t know about the original Cushion Club Wadadli Pen Summer Reading challenge?

Here it is in 50 words or less: Read as many books as you want, write a really-really-really short review of each book read, email your list of books completed and reviews to cushionclub@yahoo.com at the end of August 2015. Maybe win a prize. There are discounts and minimum requirements; search “reading challenge” at the Wadadli Pen website (https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com) go here for details.

The Map Shop and the Best of Books helped compile the reading lists, so you know the books can be sourced locally.

The Best of Books and Cindy’s Bookstore are offering 20 percent discounts to anyone “taking the challenge”. Now, Caribbean Reads Publishing and Joanne C. Hillhouse – publisher and author, respectively – have made the challenge just a little more “Musical”. As Musical Youth, second placed for the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature in 2014, is targeted at teens; they want to know what teens think of this book. This additional prize – sponsored by the publisher and author of Musical Youth – will go to the most creative review.
musical_youth_nov1-e1415925946338
Keep it honest: you’re not going to be graded up for gushing over the book if that’s not how you feel. Keep it creative: the internet and social media provide infinite ways for you to express yourself. So, in keeping with the book’s theme and cast of characters who embrace music and creativity, share your review in a way that shines a light on your creativity. Once you’ve posted to your YouTube, Instagram, vine, tumblr, twitter, or wherever, email the link and your contact information to submissions@caribbeanreads.com. Feel free to tag as many people as you want in the meantime. You can tag Hillhouse and CaribbeanReads via any of their social media platforms – but you still need to email the link to submissions@caribbeanreads.com. Check caribbeanreads.com and https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com for more details (oh, you’re already here).

You must be based in Antigua and Barbuda to participate. And remember this is part of the Cushion Club Wadadli Pen Reading Challenge. So, you know what you have to do first: read…and remember, get creative and have fun with it.

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Antiguan Author Releases Award-Winning Novel, Musical Youth

“The book, which placed second in the 2014 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, follows one eventful summer in the life of a group of Antiguan teenagers. According to the book’s blurb, guitarist Zahara and Shaka, a musical genius find love and challenges as they take part in a musical that they must get right by the end of the summer. Readers will be drawn in by the book’s cast of interesting characters and will love the musical thread that runs through the story.”

MUSICAL_YOUTH_Nov1

READ THE FULL RELEASE RE THE RELEASE OF MY NEW BOOK MUSICAL YOUTH.

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