Tag Archives: reading

Courts Reading Comp

Saw this in the local paper and thought I’d share it.

Courts Antigua Reading Competition is back again for the seventh consecutive year with te company’s very popular and success ‘Courts Schools Reading Competition.’ The competition which was first launched in 2008 in conjunction with the Ministry of Education has the sole goal of eradicating illiteracy in Antigua and Barbuda.

The official launch was held during the Sunnyside Tutorial’s Schools’ assembly with reining champion Khadijah Simon giving the opening remarks. She spoke proudly of her experience as the winner and her joy of being the overall winner of $3,000 for herself and $2,000 for her school plus the amazing opportunity to travel to Grenada for the regional competition.


Mr. Howard Warner, the principal of Sunnyside took the time to further encourage the students to follow in the footsteps of Khadijah and to keep the title of ‘Courts Reading Competition champions’ at the school.

“Nine books in eight weeks” was the mantra…

This year, the winner of the finals of the local leg of the competition will receive $2,000 for them plus an additional $2,000 for his/her school.  He/she will also get the opportunity to represent Antigua & Barbuda at the regional finals to be held in Dominica on October 15th.


I’ll end with a reminder that book lovers can also participate in the Cushion Club Wadadli Pen Reading Challenge. The more reading, the more adventure, all the better.

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Building a Reading Culture and the Link to Improving Exam Performance: a Perspective

Previously published in the Daily Observer. Reprinted here as it seems timely in light of the Cushion Club and Wadadli Pen teaming up for a summer reading challenge.

cushion clubnew

Recently, during an interview with a regional publication about the Wadadli Pen writing programme, I was asked about things people could do to support the literary arts. I spoke, of course, about the need for arts funding to run ongoing writing programmes and the like. But then the interviewer asked me a follow up that narrowed the scope of the question, and at the same time expanded it. What can the individual do? And what came immediately to mind was the simple act of encouraging a child to read, reading with and to a child; it can be your child, or it can be the child of someone else. It’s a simple act but that’s where it starts.


Quite recently, I read an article, during the period of hand wringing that usually follows the release of the results of the standardized tests as we try to figure out why our kids are failing English or Math or Social Sciences. It seems we do this dance every year. And certainly it’s a dance not unique to us here in Antigua and Barbuda. Within the rhythm and sway of it, one of the things that jumped out was the aforementioned article in which the Education Minister explained that “There has been a decline as teachers become acclimatized to this new English syllabus.” It gave me pause and I wondered what was in this new syllabus that was so challenging, so I read on; and what I read seemed to suggest that while the structure had changed what was expected was the same, the ability to comprehend.


I felt it at the tip of my tongue, like an overplayed song that everyone’s tired of hearing; we need to make reading a part of their everyday lifestyle. I really believe that the literary arts (imagining, reading, writing) is foundational to doing well not only in English but in the various subject areas, foundational to deciphering the puzzles that present themselves, foundational to thinking critically and creatively.


It helps perhaps that I’ve always found reading fun so I didn’t have to be bribed or bullied into doing it, and so maybe it’s easy for me to say this, but I believe that reading is the key to us beginning to figure out how to create, imagine, comprehend, and articulate ideas. It begins with that book you first read upside down and the stories you invented because the pictures made sense even though the words didn’t yet, and the stories you made up to fill in the blanks when the tale left you hanging, all the while building your vocabulary, your competence and confidence with respect to the use of language, and your brain’s ability to unknot things and create new patterns.


I was heartened, therefore, when I read a little further on in the story a comment attributed to an anonymous teacher who I really wished had acquiesced to having her/his name used because they made the point that links with what I’m saying here; that the real problem is that “children are not reading.”

Chadd Cumberbatch visits the Cushion Club2 Chief Librarian Dorothea Nelson 3

At this point, you’re thinking of all the parents working too many hours to make ends meet to have time to read to or with their kids, or too busy putting food on the table to put books on the shelves. And I feel you on that because I come from a world of scant resources myself and still live in a world where people are struggling to do too much with too little. But this is where we’ve got to get creative. I remember a parent once saying to me that because she’s at work all day she has no way of making sure that her son reads, no way of making sure that he doesn’t spend all the summer-long day watching TV, which, let’s face it, he probably did. I suggested to her that one way around that is to set the expectation. And no I’m not just talking about my mother’s trick of checking the TV for heat to make sure that we hadn’t been watching the Soaps after school, which we totally did (hey, I said I liked books, doesn’t mean I didn’t like TV too). But how about asking them to summarize what they’ve read that day, they don’t even have to write it down; it could just be a conversation, which is good for getting them to begin articulating how they feel about things. Kara Stevens, speaking about a Read Aloud programme she did at Villa School earlier this year, spoke about the step in the programme where the children were encouraged to react to the material, a process that could potentially build their speaking and writing skills, and get them thinking about broader social issues. So, encourage that conversation over dishes or dinner or while they’re helping you hang clothes on the line, whatever window your busy day allows; and if they didn’t read the book after all, well talk about the TV show you know they spent the time watching…after all TV shows (and no I’m not counting (Un)Reality shows here) are story-driven too.

library reading

So that’s what I said in that interview about Wadadli Pen that writing begins with imagining and reading, and that one of the ways we can support the literary arts – and, I suspect, begin to put an end to the annual wringing of hands about our performance in not just language arts but other subject areas – is by creating a culture in which children are encouraged to read in the homes, in the community (why not start a Cushion Club in your village?), in the classroom (a la the drop-everything-and-read activity in some schools). It seems a frivolous thing to some, a weird thing even, an indulgence in a practical world, but it can be skill building and even fun, and not, as I say all the time about Wadadli Pen, only if you’re interested in becoming a writer.


All pictures in this post are Cushion Club related except for the last two – one of which is me, reading from The Boy from Willow Bend and Musical Youth at the public library in Anguilla and at Hillside school in St. Martin. It goes without saying that (especially as these are pictures of children) you can link the post but not copy and past the pictures without permission…but I’m saying it anyway.

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,  Fish Outta Water, Oh Gad!, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. 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. And using any creative work without crediting the creator will open you up to legal action. Respect copyright.

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Many sides to a single story

Sara speaks to how while reading Considering Venus, a book by an Antiguan writer, she had difficulty getting in to it not because of deficiencies in the story and the writing but because of how little she related to it. Reasonable. We’re drawn to the familiar. She further writes that After considering the privilege of being able to pick up any number of books that reflected her/world, it got her ruminating on why diversity matters…I agree 150 thousand percent that there is not enough diversity in publishing (and that there should be for many reasons, including ones touched on by Chimamanda Adichie in her TED talk on the danger of a single story)…diversity matters… but I have to say as well that growing up, I couldn’t wait to hang with Fern, Jo March and her sisters, Judy Blume’s Margaret, Bronte’s Jane, Scout and so many other heroines from other places, who I did find points of connection with despite the differences in our location, identity, circumstances…I mean, reading Last of Eden, I related to main character Mike as a loner, as a wanna-be writer, as a mixed up teen trying to navigate friendships and family and the confusion of growing up…I do believe that a good and engaging story is just that, good and engaging, and that we can see ourselves in others and through that point of connection move in to other spaces, the world beyond our world, because, cliché though it may be, we are all human under the skin, and I’ve come to believe more and more that it can help us to appreciate the humanity of others who are other…than us… of course, growing up in the Caribbean where, ironically enough, so little of what I had access to to read was from the Caribbean (or for that matter from a black perspective, which might explain why I loved Ludell and Willie so much), there wasn’t much choice and I’ve seen (and experienced) the ways not seeing yourself in the imaginative space that art occupies can detract from your appreciation of self, of the value of your own experience, of the power of your own stories…it’s one of the reasons I insist on this idea that the Wadadli Pen Challenge submissions be rooted in the Caribbean imagination, that they be an expression of the writers’ unique perspective as a Caribbean person…I’m trying (among other things) to reinforce this idea that your stories matter, your world matters, you matter…it’s one of the reasons the Burt Award for Caribbean literature exists to gift the Caribbean teen with stories reflective of their Caribbean reality, its very existence a reminder that there are not nearly enough of these stories …how many times have I heard younger black and/or Caribbean writers say their first stories featured white protagonists doing things in other spaces because that’s who and what they thought stories had to be about?…and beneath that this damaging idea of privileging other over self (something Chinua Achebe touched on when he said, “I began to read about adventures in which I didn’t know that I was supposed to be on the side of those savages who were encountered by the good white man. I instinctively took sides with the white people. They were fine! They were excellent. They were intelligent. The others were not . . . they were stupid and ugly. That was the way I was introduced to the danger of not having your own stories.”)… it’s for this reason that in my evolution as not only a reader and a writer but as a person, that a book like Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John (a book which as a coming of age tale remains an enduring favourite of non-Caribbean readers as well though penned by an Antiguan writer) was such a pivotal discovery for my teenage self. Because there was our world on the page, and here finally was a character I understood not just as a girl but as a girl from Antigua…and as an aspiring writer, well, coo deh (!) a writer from Antigua signaling to me it wasn’t a laughable dream. Having said that, as a writer, as a writer writing from what I like to think of as an authentically Antiguan perspective, doing my best to cut through the fat and get to the meat of those characters, the heart and soul of them, I do hope that people who are a part of that Antiguan experience get to see  themselves, their stories (it thrilled me no worl’ for instance when a mother tagged me in a picture of her daughter dressed up as Zahara from my book Musical Youth musical_youth_nov1-e1415925946338for, I think, dress-as-your-favourite-literary-character day)… at the same time, just as I as a young Caribbean readers engaged with Jo, Margaret, Scout and the others, there is room I’d like to believe for those not of our world, to engage with our stories, if they’re open to it and the story is engaging, to still find something in the story to latch on, something that makes them want to hang with these characters for a while… tall order? Maybe …can’t be all things to all people (and the experiences over the skin that separate us aren’t just superficial)… and, when writing, my focus is on being true to my characters, first and last… still and all…the girl (that would be me) who read about Mike and her love of poetry and her dream of being a writer while the social issues of her time began to press in on life in her elite American boarding school is kind of tickled at the possibility (however small) that someone from Mike’s world is sitting reading about Zahara playing her guitar and reimagining Anancy with her musical theatre friends as she too grapples with self-doubt and issues of growing up, in a world where the sun shines 365…and thinking, yeah, I can relate.

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,  Fish Outta Water, Oh Gad!, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. 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. And using any creative work without crediting the creator will open you up to legal action. Respect copyright.


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The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission is inviting applications from suitably qualified persons to fill the position of Reading Specialist to the “OECS Early Learner’s Programme”.


The overall purpose of this project is to improve the reading achievement levels of all learners during the early primary grades. Over the longer term, it is expected that this will contribute to overall improvement in student learning at the end of the primary education cycle. The OECS Early Learner’s Programme will be implemented among Kindergarten to Grade 3 students and their teachers in the six independent OECS Member States[1]. Specifically, the project seeks to:

Develop teachers’ capability to assess and to teach reading to children at the early grades of primary school.

Improve teacher competence in the use of diagnostic tools for the early assessment of children at risk of low achievement in reading at the primary level.

Introduce appropriate language of instruction to teach reading at the early grades.

Secure adequate instructional and practice time to reading in and out of school.

Develop and adopt/adapt as appropriate, teaching resources and learning materials for reading.

Design, develop and adopt appropriate intervention strategies for at-risk children

Design and implement a programme of assessment which provides better guidance for addressing student needs.

Make innovative use of ICT in the management and delivery of literacy improvement programmes across the OECS. This would include the use of Web-based teacher professional development resources. At their 22nd Meeting held in May 2012, the Council of Ministers of Education of the OECS endorsed a new OECS Education Sector Strategy (OESS) which will guide education development in the OECS over the next decade. To date, the Secretariat through the Education Development Management Unit (EDMU) and its Member States has begun implementation of the OESS.

2.0          BACKGROUND

The OESS is intended to harness and focus commitment in a concentrated regional effort to achieve set learner outcomes across OECS education systems. It outlines a shift towards addressing emerging trends among OECS States which were established in an analysis of the state of education. Seven Strategic Imperatives for improving education were identified as priorities which are reflective of national priorities. Each imperative contributes to strengthening different aspects of the education system. Additionally, the plan entails several development issues which are identified as cross-cutting themes which are addressed through the strategic imperatives, one of which relates to improving the levels of literacy, numeracy and technology among all learners.

Poor performance in English Language and in Mathematics continues to be an area of major challenge for educators and policy makers in the OECS region. At the early grades approximately 50% of students score below the national average in Mathematics and about 40% are under-performing in English Language. This situation is further compounded as there is an achievement gap between male and female performance throughout the primary school years.

The OESS recognises that there is a critical role for improving children’s abilities in reading, writing and mathematics if the region is to realise the vision – Every Learner Succeeds. Thus, as the region commences the implementation of the new education strategy, priority will be given to instituting measures to address these critical areas. During the period of implementation, the OECS Commission will pursue several avenues to address what is clearly an undesirable situation in the education system. This proposed project is the first initiative under the new strategy to address aspects of policy and practice that are essential to improve student learning at early primary.

3.0          Activity Description:

The project consists of four components to be undertaken, in the following areas:

Policy Improvement – under this component, the project will seek to develop Language Policies for introducing reading to children for whom English is not a first language; review of time allotted to reading instruction and for students to practice reading skills.

Teacher Training– the capacity building component includes the training of teachers to undertake early diagnosis of children’s needs, the development and implementation of a programme for in-service teacher training in reading and the development of a regional framework for the teaching and assessment of students’ reading ability.

Procurement of reading materials – this includes the procurement of appropriate teaching and learning materials- this involves researching existing reading materials available for students and teachers, development of prescribed list of reading materials, procurement of materials which are readily available to teachers and students.

Monitoring and Evaluation– this component involves the monitoring and evaluation of strategies and reading materials recommended, under this project at the national level to measure impact and effectiveness.Objective:

The OECS Commission wishes to procure the services of a Reading Specialist. The Reading Specialist will have responsibility for:

Providing overall technical oversight and guidance for all work in curricular and materials design, teacher professional development, assessment and research related to improving early grade reading instruction;

Managing the input of various employees and consultants in order to create a coherent, context-appropriate set of guidelines and documents usable in the early grades across multiple contexts;

Ensuring complementarities of approaches in reading across OECS Member States by liaising with government representatives and technicians on technical matters in order to achieve improved outcomes in reading for children in the region.

The duties and responsibilities of the Reading Specialist will include, inter alia:

Contributes to policy review and reform related to instructional time for reading, language of instruction, book printing and distribution policies, etc;

Advices on current trends and issues in the area of reading and literacy in order to propose options for policy, programming and reform for improving reading at the early grades in OECS Member States;

Guides the process of setting targets and benchmarks for reading performance, integrating these expectations with existing curricular demands;

Advices and guides the process of assembling or developing all early grade reading materials (decodable readers, supplementary readers, and textbooks) in all relevant languages under the OECS Early Leaner’s Programme, ensuring that these materials correspond to the expectations described in the standards framework;

Assists and guides the development of all training modules to ensure that they are directly related to the use of the approved early grade reading materials;

Develops and oversees the implementation of quality controls for all teacher trainings undertaken under the OECS Early Learner’s programme ;

Guides the process of developing classroom coaching protocols specific to early grade reading and oversees their implementation;

Guides the development of student assessment protocols that are coherent with the early grade reading performance standards, and oversees their generalization across the population of schools supported by the programme;

Assists in the development of the ongoing research agenda related to early grade reading, and supports the “feedback loop” between the completion of research activities and adjustments to the policy environment in early grade reading;

Assists with the sharing of knowledge and lessons learnt from exemplary practice in reading/literacy and other areas related to the OECS Early Learners Programme ;

Contributes to preparing and reporting on the OECS Early Learner’s Programme work plan;

Undertake related assignments by the Head; EDMU, Director, Social and Sustainable Development and the Director General.

Functional relationships
The Reading Specialist will be required to:

Function as part of a Project Management Team established for the purpose of managing the OECS Early Learners Programme

Reports to the Project Coordinator and Head EDMU;

Internal Contacts – OECS Secretariat personnel, beneficiary OECS Member States, Project and OECS Procurement Personnel and OECS Administrative Personnel;

External Contacts – Project Funders, Development Partners Officials, Consultants, Contractors and Suppliers, Commercial Bank Representatives and External Auditors.

Skills and Experience:

A post-graduate degree (Masters level or higher) in Reading or Literacy with a specialty        in early grade reading and/or curriculum development, reading instruction;

At least 10 years of experience in programmes that work specifically to         improve early    grade reading and or prior experience with the development of early grade reading     materials, training programs, classroom monitoring protocols, and tests and       assessments is required.

Excellent oral and written communication skills in English.

Ability to work as a member of a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural team.

Ability to take initiative and to work with minimum supervision.

Demonstrated and sound competence in organising national and regional    meetings/workshops;

Experience in project management will also be an assetPreferred skills/qualifications:

Experience with multi-country and multi-donor projects.

Experience and skills in the Microsoft Suite of programmes, (including Microsoft Project,      MS Excel, Word) and database programs.


The position is available for two years in the first instance with the possibility of renewal. The salary is tax free. The successful applicant will also be eligible for membership in the Organisation’s Group Health and Life Insurance. The Organisation will meet reasonable relocation expenses where applicable.


Applications are to be submitted for the attention of: The Human Resource Unit, Post of Reading Specialist, the OECS Early Learning Programme, Morne Fortune, P.O. Box 179, Castries, Saint Lucia and should reach us by January 10, 2014. Applications should include Curriculum Vitae stating nationality as well as the contact information of the present or most recent employer and that of two referees. Copies of relevant certificates should be submitted with applications.

Applications can also be sent via e-mail to oesec@oecs.org.

Only applications under consideration will be acknowledged.

[1]OECS Independent Member States are: Antigua and Barbuda; Commonwealth of Dominica; Grenada; The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

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She Wanted a Love Poem

she wanted a love poem

“It’s on, my first book launch where I will be signing the print edition of She Wanted A Love Poem and introducing Saving Babylon. It will be at The Best of Books on Saturday 13th, at 7pm”

– Kimolisa Mings

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Adventures in Reading…with Children

By Joanne C. Hillhouse

I realized today as I listened to a group of children recite Little Ms. Muffet during an Independence/Child Month programme that much as I’d heard and said it in my life time, I’d never really known what curds and whey was. I mean, I knew it was food, after all Ms. Muffet was eating in the classic children’s rhyme; but as to exactly what the curds and whey she ate looked or tasted like, I had no idea. I’d never wondered.

Is this bad or good?

On the one hand, converting it to something more culturally relevant – cornmeal pap, perhaps –might have grounded it for me.

But then, again, reading, watching, or listening to things we’ve never heard before is an opportunity to learn. To this day, I’m learning new words and discovering the many things I only thought I knew. How much more magical must the discovery of new words and things be for children, who are naturally curious and capable of soaking up knowledge like a sponge soaks up liquid…though hopefully not to be squeezed out as easily.

But what if we never ask? I did so only very recently after all, after wondering why we didn’t have more of these nursery rhymes relevant to our culture so that from a very young age, our wee ones are soaking up our culture; and what the hell are curds and whey, anyway? The best explanation I got, on voicing this latter question, included a visual of cottage cheese; the curd being the parts that clump together, whey being the more fluid parts that resist clumping…or something.

It got me thinking about the many things we, even the more curious among us, gloss over, never seeking explanation, and so not learning what we don’t know.

I’m tutoring a high schooler in English at the moment, and during a recent reading session I could tell he was just calling words. I started asking questions to test his comprehension; and though this story, unlike Little Ms. Muffet was set in the Caribbean, I realized there was much he wasn’t getting. There was a simile, for instance, that used the word molasses but as a comparison, it was flying over his head because, as he confessed when asked, he didn’t know what molasses was. So we spent some time with me moving from sugar cane plantations to maple trees tapped for syrup and back, trying to give him a visual of how molasses is meant to move. We had to repeat this process a few more times; a kernel, for instance is that thing left in the bottom of the popcorn bag unpopped, i.e. a small seed or something that’s just the very small beginning of something.

Even as I tried to help him learn the things he didn’t know by relating them to the things he did know, I found myself wondering how often he did that; just kind of moved past the words he didn’t fully comprehend while reading. And if that’s what he routinely did, no wonder he was just calling words; the story held no meaning to him, and was certainly not engaging his imagination. Worse, and I’ve seen this with Cushion Club kids too, there was the occasional word substitution that completely changed the meaning, took the story off track. How could you stay in the story if in a single substitution you’d move the story from Sutherlands to Surrey; that is from one place with a unique set of environmental realities to another with a completely different set of realities? And the thing you realize when you go over it is that the word substitution isn’t always deliberate, nor does it always reflect unfamiliarity with the word on the page; it’s not for nothing that I’ve had to tell everyone of my nieces or nephews at some point, slow down, take your time, think about it because often they know it but rush to answer before searching for the knowledge of it somewhere in their head. At which point you end up with misspellings or word substitutions.

But sometimes they just don’t know and they don’t know that they don’t know. The thing that reading with children should encourage them to do, though, is think, wonder, turn things over in their minds, and come out on the other end knowing more, even if it’s just on an emotional level, than they did before.

But sometimes we have to prompt them as we read along…or even as we watch something on the TV together. Do you know/understand what that is?

We might be surprised at the things we think they know/understand that they really don’t.

After all, I’ve been reading and writing for years, and only just learned what Ms. Muffet was eating; still have no idea how it tastes though.

Previously published in Anansesem.

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,  Fish Outta Water, Oh Gad! and, forthcoming, Burt Award finalist Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. 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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Spotlight: Tina Chang

Courtesy the US Embassy Bridgetown, concerning the presentation this Thursday 25th September, 6 p.m. by Brooklyn Poet Laureate, Tina Chang, at the Antigua State College. This is a bit more about the poet, plus interesting insight re the role of the poet laureate, and your late day reminder about the event.


The San Francisco Chronicle has described her poetry as “a vast, beautifully fashioned mosaic of indelible, variegated pieces.” Publishers Weekly has also described her poetry as “ambitious, yet accessible.”

For Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang, poetry is not “lofty.” As a matter of fact, one of her chief goals is to “demystify the role of the poet.”

Of Chinese descent and raised in New York City, Ms. Chang is the first woman to be named the Poet Laureate of Brooklyn. But what exactly is a Poet Laureate? A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government or conferring institution. Laureates receive a stipend and are given the responsibility of overseeing an ongoing series of poetry readings and lectures, as well as a charge to promote poetry. Ms. Chang said that as the Brooklyn Poet Laureate, she wants to create a website spotlighting other borough poets.

Her interest in poetry began from a very early age. Born in Oklahoma to Chinese immigrants, Ms. Chang moved to New York when she was a year old, so her father could be treated for liver cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “I started questioning even at a very young age, well, what is language?” she said. “What is the role of words?”

After pursuing a string of English-related jobs, Ms. Chang enrolled in a master of fine arts program in poetry at Columbia in 1995. Her first book “Half-Lit Houses,” a collection of poems tracing the life of a girl who loses her father back to Hunan, China in the 1930s and ’40s, was published in 2004. She is also the author of the poetry collection “Of Gods & Strangers.” Ms. Chang has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Poets & Writers, and the Van Lier Foundation among others.

She currently teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and is an international faculty member at the City University at Hong Kong.

U.S. Embassy Bridgetown is pleased to host the Brooklyn, New York’s Poet Laureate Tina Chang from September 25- 27, 2014 on a three-island tour of Antigua, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Ms. Chang will showcase her poetry during evening public events, which will highlight the diversity and modernity of American literature, as well as allow her to share her opinions on poetry’s relevance and give insight on her creative process.

This series of public readings will also help the U.S. Embassy recruit candidates for the International Writers’ program (IWP), the Department of State’s premier exchange program for creative writers.

Tina-Chang Antigua

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Cushion Club Resumes

The long hot summer is over and school is back in session, you know what that means – Cushion Club weekends. The children’s reading clubs comes together again this and every Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon. You know where, the University of the West Indies Open Campus (Antigua and Barbuda). Let the reading adventure begin. Adult volunteers also welcomed.


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An Evening With Elaine

The following is a press release from the organizers:

BEST OF BOOKS is pleased to announce AN AUDIENCE WITH ELAINE SPIRES to be held on 7th June at 7pm at Best of Books, St Mary’s Street, St John’s.

Elaine is a novelist, playwright and actress.  Her background in education and tourism perfected her eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with her readers.  For nine years she continually brought groups of single tourists to Antigua, which became her ‘home-from-home’.

Spires reading at a her previous Best of Books event.

Spires reading at a her previous Best of Books event.

Elaine is the author of four novels, two of which, Singles’ Holiday and Sweet Lady, are set in Antigua and she will be reading from and taking questions about these two books, plus all aspects of her work during the evening.

Here in Antigua Elaine is also busy filming a pilot episode for TV of The Amazing Adventures of Maisie and Em, with Heather Doram, based on the two characters they introduced in When A Woman Moans, produced by Women of Antigua (2011 & 2012)

Elaine has recently completed two stints on the West End stage (London) in the Ladykillers and is in rehearsal for the world premier of Singles’ Holiday (the Stage-play), which opens at the Brentwood Theatre 13th October, in which she takes the role of Eve.

Elaine is working on her fifth novel; Single All the Way and a book of short stories.  She is a regular blogger: http://www.elainespires.co.uk/journal

…and here ends the press release.

WADADLI PEN SIDEBAR: Both Elaine and the Best of Books have been Wadadli Pen patrons in recent years, and Best of Books a behind-the-scenes partner…so, support.


UPDATE!!! UPDATE!!! You may remember that Elaine and Heather Doram

Elaine and Heather.

Elaine and Heather.

are the two actresses behind the hilarious Maisie and Em characters first showcased during Women of Antigua’s When a Woman Moans theatrical presentation. Heather and Elaine have been on a mission to bring the crowd favourites to the small screen, and looks like tthey’re making some head way.

Elaine, who divides her time between Antigua and Barbuda informs us that she’ll be filming the pilot June 8th at a church in Glanvilles, from midday. They’ll need extras. Can anybody say, hallelujah! Anyway, check back for more on that when we get it, and kudos, Elaine and Heather…finding funding for arts programming in Antigua and Barbuda isn’t easy so we know it took some doing to get to this point and look forward to seeing the final product.

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, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.


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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News

Cushion Club back in Session

Cushion Club image from 2013.

Cushion Club image from 2013.

The Cushion Club resumes this coming Saturday, January 18th, with another year of reading and fun reading related activities. Open to kids and volunteers of all ages; you need only bring your enthusiasm and snacks, if you think you’ll need them. The Cushion Club meets 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., every Saturday at the UWI Open Campus located between the Queen Elizabeth and Sir Sydney Walling highways.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Literary Gallery