Tag Archives: Rilzy Adams

Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed XIII

This picks up where the previous installments of Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed pages left off (use the search feature to the right to dig them up). As with those earlier pages, it features reviews about A & B writings that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible/professional reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. It’s all shared in an effort to underscore, emphasize, and insist on Antigua and Barbuda’s presence in the Caribbean literary canon.

“I was immediately struck not only by Miss Hillhouse’s exceptional story telling skills but also by the urgency of the story’s themes and their relevance to Caribbean social discourse.  Through the story’s protagonist… Hillhouse indicts the Antiguan society in general …even as she points to the psychological damage that Amelia has suffered due to her father’s abandonment of the family. As a reader from Belize, a small Anglo-Caribbean country much like Antigua and Barbuda, I was impressed by the manner in which Hillhouse has been able to capture an essential Caribbeanness through both her themes and the use of Antiguan Creole. In fact, as a lecturer in the English Department at the University of Belize, I felt compelled to introduce my students to Hillhouse’s writings last semester. My Women in Literature class studied ‘Amelia’ and wrote some wonderful essays from a variety of critical perspectives.”  – Ivory Kelly, lecturer, University of Belize; author Point of Order (re ‘Amelia at Devil’s Bridge’ in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean)

“A beautifully written story about a mother’s strength. Highly recommend reading.” – Hannah Sandoval, author of Arcamira (on ‘The Other Daughter’ in Adda)

“Antigua’s Joanne C. Hillhouse is a powerful, honest voice in the genre of West Indian fiction…There is integrity to Joanne’s work. Obvious is the ‘writer’s ear’ for effective characterization and narrative that stays true to Caribbean island experience.” – Barbara Jacobs-Small, editor, Island Where magazine (2004)

The three reviews immediately above and others can be read on Jhohadli

“Evanson writes Book of Wings in poetic vignettes, and her language brings the reader straight into the protagonist’s mind as she navigates her tumultuous heart. Evanson’s skill with poetry perfectly captures the protagonist’s journey of discovery and spiritual fulfillment because of how well her words make one reflect inwards.” – Canthius on Tawhida Tanya Evanson’s Book of Wings

“As much as Book of Wings is an engaging story of psychic transformation, it is also deeply rooted in sensorial experience, which saves it from slipping into the vagueness or loftiness that can sometimes hamper tales of spiritual awakening.” – Montreal Review of Books on Tawhida Tanya Evanson’s Book of Wings

“Tawhida Tanya Evanson’s first novel is a stunning testament to how the grief of heartbreak can bring us back to who we are. …Book of Wings is written in hyper-lucid vignettes only a poet of the highest order could master. …Book of Wings is grounded in astonishing turns of phrase. The fruit of experiences are so painful and profound they require deep reflection to reveal all the facets of meaning. Evanson operates as inflictor of wounds and healer, student and teacher. Book of Wings is more than a novel – it is a catalogue of revelation and redemption, surrender and solitude, a companion for those who choose to confront their own broken hearts. The author unravels the memory of her protagonist’s wounds, so we have the courage to heal ours.” – Quill & Quire on Tawhida Tanya Evanson’s Book of Wings

“I am so happy to have read her books because her stories are pure fun.” – theinfinitelimitsoflove.com on Rilzy Adams’ Go Deep

“If you love novellas, with a lot of heat and the feel-good factor, this is one you should try….This is the first book I read by Rilzy Adams, but it will not be the last. This was a very well written, very hot story that was not in any way limited by its length….If you like very hot reads with low stakes conflict, I truly recommend it.” – Scorchingbookreviews.com on Rilzy Adams’ Go Deep

“An all-time favorite book and one of the winners of The Ripped Bodice Award for Excellence in Romance Fiction, this little novella is simply wonderful.” – Bookriot.com on Rilzy Adams’ Go Deep

“Systemic racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, the ongoing critique of police brutality and abuses of power—they loom large. In “Violins” the poet concludes, “We are all in prison. / This is the lesson of the twenty-first century.” This is not just a Foucaultian notion of the machinations of state power, or of Bentham’s panoptic, all-seeing surveillance structures. It is an allusion to the disproportionate rates of incarceration of Black males. All races are implicated in such a world.” – Andre Bagoo for The Rumpus on Rowan Ricardo Phillips’ Living Weapon

“I had NPR on in the fall and I heard a poem called “Violins” read by Rowan Ricardo Phillips. I loved the sound of it. Words are repeated and then rhymed and off-rhymed: the verse links sounds and concepts, combines jarring images and language. The poem ends with a date: 1916, and it expresses a bold vision of the 20th century. It’s the best poem in Phillips’s new collection, Living Weapon. It begins “He never saw a violin. / But he saw a lifetime of violence.” Right away Phillips makes this unlikely association of violins and violence — a surprising but apt comment on our current era’s juxtaposition of white privilege and Black Lives Matter.” – Poetry Review: The Verse of Rowan Ricardo Phillips — Let’s Get Weaponized? by Ed Meek

‘But this preoccupation with meta-definition is not entirely self-referential. It’s difficult, at times, to turn a page in Living Weapon without bumping into a familiar face: Elizabeth Bishop arrives just pages after W. H. Auden; Orpheus seems to pop up every 10 pages or so; and, in “Who is Less than a Vapor?,” Phillips offers a loose reinterpretation of a passage of John Donne’s prose — which he calls not “quite a found poem or an erasure” but rather “language in the crux of being instrument, weapon, and tool all at once.”’ – “Stronger Than Steel”: On Rowan Ricardo Phillips’s Living Weapon by Will Brewbaker in the Los Angeles Book Review

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“The author excels as a storyteller, providing highly informative glimpses into the history, social life, and linguistic landscape of the island of Antigua… is adept at capturing and reproducing the various language registers of Antigua and Barbuda. The dialogue in Antiguan and Barbudan dialect therefore has a higher degree of authenticity. Hol’ de Line and Other Stories has the advantage of appealing to old and young readers and offers Antiguans and Barbudans the opportunity to see what their society was years ago, its history, customs, language and food.” – Bernadette Farquhar on Mary Geo Quinn’s Hol’ de Line and Other Stories in The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books, Volume 12, Summer 2019

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Press Release – Wadadli Pen, New Prize Pays Tribute

A Wadadi Pen Release, the second after the release announcing the launch of the Wadadli Pen 2021 season, was disseminated to the media on March 10th 2021. Thanks to media like the Daily Observer, and many others – including longtime patron Antiguanice.com. The text is copied below.

Press Release

Wadadli Pen, New Prize Pays Tribute


March 10th 2021

On the heels of launching the 2021 season of the Wadadli Pen Challenge with a March 26th submission deadline, the organizers announce several additional and very meaningful patronages.

Cedric Holder, father of Zuri Holder, who died tragically in a road accident in January, has requested inclusion of a plaque to honor his memory. The Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award, inclusive of a gift certificate toward the purchase of books, will be awarded to a writer 12 years or younger. Cedric is a long time Wadadli Pen patron, his gifts typically made in the name of the Cushion Club Reading Club for Children, with which he is chief volunteer and of which Zuri was a member. Zuri also had history with Wadadli Pen – 2nd place in the 12 and younger category in 2011 and 3rd place overall and winner of the 12 and younger age category in 2013.

Zuri with his two prize certificates from the 2013 Wadadli Pen awards ceremony.

“His passing remains a huge personal loss to his family, friends, and all the communities he belonged to,” said Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, who also volunteered with the Cushion Club and knew Zuri for many years as a result. “We welcome Cedric’s desire to keep his name alive in this way, while contributing meaningfully to the development of other young people.”

Wadadli Pen also welcomes a cash contribution (EC$300) from award winning author Rilzy Adams, pen name of local lawyer Rilys Adams. Rilys, author of almost 20 self-published books, recently collected an international romance industry award for her novel Go Deep, only her latest accolade. Rilys is also a former Wadadli Pen finalist (2nd place in 2005 and 2006) – one of two former finalists who are 2021 patrons. The other is Daryl George who has contributed EC$250. “It feels good to see that Wadadli Pen has not only survived these 17 years, since it first launched in 2004, but that the people who’ve come through the programme have gone on to do great things, of which we are only a small part,” Hillhouse said, “and that they’ve looked back.” The Wadadli Pen core team also includes two former finalists.

Though focused on nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, Wadadli Pen is networked with Caribbean literary entities and one, Diana McCaulay and her publisher Peepal Tree Press have pledged her latest award winning book Daylight Come to the Prize Package.

More than 80 books including Big Cat Caribbean titles have already been received from Harper Collins (UK). Other announced 2021 patrons, so far, are the Best of Books, Moondancer Books, award winning Jamaican author Olive Senior, and new local author Patricia Tully.

Wadadli Pen is still hoping to attract more patronage for both the Wadadli Pen Challenge and the #readAntiguaBarbuda readers’ choice book of the year initiative. To support the work, email wadadlipen@gmail.com To create and submit to the Wadadli Pen Challenge download the submission form at the Wadadli Pen 2021 tab on wadadlipen.wordpress.com There, too, you’ll find the link to vote for your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan book of the year.

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late February 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)

Misc.

Follow, if you will the WADADLI PEN 2021 page for news upcoming re the launch of the 2021 Challenge (yes, we are late), for the latest on patronage and how you too can become a patron, and to vote for your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan book of recent years. (Source – me)

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Listen, if you haven’t already to Sunday 21st February 2021’s Sessions in Steel on Observer Radio on the station’s facebook page, for a full reading of Jim Nanton’s reflections on his time with the Harmonites International Steel Orchestra. It is, as they said, very poetic in its use of language, comprehensive in its recollections, and incisive in its reflections. It wasn’t my first time ‘reading’ this longform essay as its author James Nanton had hired me to edit it some time ago (see JN, client, longform essay in Performance Reviews) but when he contacted me today to let me know that the piece had found a home, I gladly listened and I think you should too. I do hope it gets printed at some point for all the invaluable pan and cultural history it contains. Sam Roberts’ superb reading of it though was surely bountiful in terms of the essay’s reach. (Source – James Nanton)

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Read, if you will, the latest installments of my column CREATIVE SPACE, a column covering local (Antiguan-Barbudan/Caribbean) art and culture, the latest headline of which is How does Your Garden grow?

(Source – me)

Obits.

Clarvis Joseph of CaribSeas was an arts philanthropist as a backer of Point steel orchestra Harmonites for a considerable time. News of his passing circulated on February 20th 2021 – I don’t have a full obit but I did want to acknowledge his contribution.

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The deaths of local and global cultural icons since the start of the year has been almost too much to keep up with – from beloved African American author well known to us here in the Caribbean Eric Jerome Dickey, a fAntiguan who had been a regular at our local literary festival and lived and wrote in Antigua and Barbados, to legendary Hollywood actress of Nevisian descent Cicely Tyson to Trinidadian calypso barrier breaker Singing Sandra to star with Antigua and Barbuda’s legendary musical Mason family Tyrone Mason. Read about the passing of the latter in this Daily Observer article:

Issues

“A people are known by their culture
A people are known by their past
The past determines the future
From the present we could forecast
And that is why in Antigua
We must rectify our history
And remove all dem false heroes
Retarding our destiny
So that is why we must now
Proclaim our own
And drop all those false names
That aliens imposed upon we
Let’s reclaim our own history”

If you’re familiar with our song lyrics project, or if you are Antiguan and Barbudan, these lyrics should ring a bell. They are from King Obstinate’s True Heroes (Sons of the Soil) and they seem relevant again in light of global anti-racism #BlackLivesMatter FedUprising that recently peaked in 2020. The recent publication of a letter dated 2019 from the Reparations Support Commission to the Minister of Culture

adds to the conversation on a part of this discussion – reclaiming and renaming spaces named for colonizers. We’ve seen the likes of the ceremonial removal in 2020 of the Nelson Statue (as in Admiral Lord Nelson) in Barbados. Antigua and Barbuda’s own Nelson’s Dockyard is a World Heritage site but the conversation has been happening here as well and this letter serves as a reminder of that, and this 40 or so years old song reminds that, at least in Antigua and Barbuda, it is not a new conversation. I was a child when I saw King Obstinate perform these songs at Recreation Grounds (which Obsti’s song suggested be renamed “Vivi Richards Recreation Ground”) and witnessed not long after as several streets in St. John’s City, whether coincidentally or consequentially, renamed for national heroes – streets like “Drake, Hawkins, and Nelson streets” previously named for enslavers became (and I don’t remember which was which) the likes of Vivian Richards, Andy Roberts, and Nellie Robsinson street, and Coolidge Airport did indeed become V. C. Bird International Airport (as Obsti recommended). With the passing of one of Obsti’s contemporaries, Swallow, in 2020 talks of how to honour him saw renaming his village of Willikies in his honour in the conversational mix (though poo-pooed by some) – a fitting tribute in my view. And per this once again timely song, Obsti would go even bigger. He sang in the latter part of the verse opening this section, shouting out the other two calypsonians who, alongside him, are known as the Big Three of Antiguan and Barbudan calypso,

“English names like St. George and St. John,
Falmouth, Willikies, and Codrington,
they don’t reflect our background,
call dem Short Shirt village or Swallow t’ung (town).”

(Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Opportunities

There are always Opportunities (such as the Collins Big Cat Writing Competition for chidlren) being added for writers and artists of all ages; so don’t forget to visit our Opportunities Too page. (Source – Big Cat, via email from Collins; Opportunities Too)

Accolades

UK-based Trinidad writer Monique Roffey landed atop the Times (UK) bestseller list even as her Mermaid of Black Conch continues to pick up awards (such as the Costa best novel prize).

(Source- the author’s social media)

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Former Wadadli Pen finalist (2005, 2006)and one of our 2021 patrons Rilys Adams, who has been exceedingly prolific in the romance and erotica genres has won the Ripped Bodice Awards for Excellence in Romantic Fiction for Go Deep. How prolific is Adams? She keeps me very busy when it comes to keeping up with published Antiguan and Barbudan books. She published Go Deep (which is in the running for the #readAntiguaBarbuda 2021 readers choice book of the year prize launched back in January 2021) back in June 2020, and since then has released Birthday Shot which was a nominee for the Rebel Women Lit Caribbean readers choice of the best Caribbean novels of 2020, Ate: an Erotic Novelette, Ho! Ho! Ho!, Deeper: Navaya and Xander Tie the Knot (Unexpected Lovers), and most recently Love Scammed. Adams, who publishes as Rilzy Adams receives US$1000 and the opportunity to gift US$100 to a charity of her choice; she chose The Asha Project, an organization in Wisconsin which provides support to Black women who are survivors of domestic violence, trafficking, and sexual assault. (Source – the author’s facebook page)

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Son of the Antiguan and Barbudan soil Shabier Kirchner continues to receive praise for his work, and most recently for his work on the Steve McQueen anthology series Small Axe. He was named Best Cinematographer in the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. “I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d ever receive anything like this,” Kirchner said in his acceptance video. He credited McQueen, an Academy Award winning director for 12 Years a Slave, for “being a teacher, a friend, a collaborator, …(who) really encouraged me and gave me the opportunity to put the biggest part of my soul into something that will outlive us all.” His final word: “I really want to thank my home, the West Indies, my family, the culture, I see you. I love you. Bless up.” Full video here. (Source – online generally, awards scrolling)

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Jamaican Renaee Smith, my former block sister at Taylor Hall at the University of the West Indies, made Yahoo! News with her latest series of children’s books. In an article headlined ‘International Award-Winning Author Renaee Smith Launches Entertaining and Informative Children’s Book Series’, we’re told that “Renaee Smith, prolific author of the Freddie series, is pleased to present a series containing four of her celebrated children’s books in a single collection. With stunning full-color illustrations and educational messages that will inspire young readers, Smith’s work is an engaging way to teach children about their own power as agents of change. This 4-part series is the perfect way to experience the series as a whole and follow Freddie’s adventures in different environments and situations. In the first book, The Great Compost Heap, Freddie introduces the concept of recycling. Next, in Freddie’s First Race, he learns to follow his dreams of being a track star by putting in the hard work. Smith’s series also covers important interpersonal concepts like empathy for others in Freddie’s Good Deed and spending time with family in Freddie Goes to the Beach.” Read the full article. (Source – the author’s facebook page)

New Publications

Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne’s next book, Josephine Against the Sea, her first with one of the US publishing industry’s big houses is due this year and is, as you read this, available for pre-order.

Read about Josephine.

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New magazine, Fu Arwe, landed in the first quarter of 2021. The 22-page magazine is a publication of the Department of Culture. I haven’t read it yet but a scan reveals articles on The Relevance of Moko Jumbies by Silvyn Farrell, Copyright Royalties and Their Importance in the Music Industry Within Antigua and Barbuda Part 1 of 4 by Vanesa Mortley, Art: Not Just a Subject, But It’s Importance to the Development of the Student by Alvin Livingstone (whom you might remember as our 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge art winner), and Q & As with performing artists Abi McCoy and Zahra Airall. The magazine is intended to be quarterly. Contributions can be emailed to Culture at CDDANU.INFO@GMAIL.COM (Source – Zahra Airall’s facebook)

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I signed 60 copies of The Jungle Outside, my latest book (with illustrator Danielle Boodoo Fortune) – my seventh published book overall, third children’s picture book – at the Best of Books bookstore Antigua; so limited edition signed copies are now available at the bookstore. The Jungle Outside and Turtle Beach by (Wadadli Pen team member) Barbara Arrindell with Zavian Archibald, both Antiguan and Barbudan, both launched in the UK in January and are now both available here. They are also available for pre-order online in other markets like Canada and the US where they will shortly become available. See Barnes and Noble, and wherever books are sold. (Source – me)

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For the duration of the readers choice book of the year initiative, we will continue to encourage you if you’re reading this to take a minute and go to over to vote in the #readAntiguaBarbuda 2021 installment of the initiative. The goal is to spotlight our local publications and the tangible reward goes to a local school – selected by the winning author – to receive books as made possible by whatever patronage we receive. Remember, you can give to both this and the Wadadli Pen challenge 2021 by emailing wadadlipen@gmail.com (Source – me)

ArtrEpreneurship

Leading Antiguan and Barbuda artist, Heather Doram, who has been exceedingly prolific during the pandemic, is an independent artist creating amazing designs for great products – canvas, t-shirts, stickers, posters, phone cases, and more. This is a new venture for Doram and we love to see it. You can now by her work from anywhere in the world and with any budget via the Redbubble online retail platform. We checked with the artist and items have to be ordered online, cannot be sourced directly from the artist.

(Source – the artist’s facebook; image from the artist’s redbubble.com account as an example of some of the artist’s merchandise)

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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Wadadli Pen Alum Publishes Another Book

Just updated – as I do periodically – the listing of books by Antiguans and Barbudans, and the sub-list of books of fiction by Antiguans and Barbudans. Wanted to take a minute to remind you to check them out and to say “big up!” to Rilzy Adams on the publication of her latest ebook. Rilzy, actually Rilys Adams, lawyer by day and former Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge finalist (2005 and 2006), has self-published to this point a spoken word CD and four books, available exclusively in the ebook format. Her books are in the romance genre and the latest Will You Be Mine? is no exception.

mine

Congrats to this Wadadli Pen alum for continuing to be a creative force.

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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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