Tag Archives: S E James

A & B Writings in Journals, Showcases, and Contests (H – N)

This page has grown fairly quickly, so I’m breaking it up in to four pages. For A – G, go here, for O – T, go here, for U – Z, go here. and for books, go here. This is exclusively for creative pieces by Antiguans and Barbudans accepted to established literary journals, festivals (and other notable literary platforms), and contests (not pieces posted only to personal blogs) as I discover (and in some cases, re-discover) them. Primarily, the focus is on pieces accessible online (i.e. linkable) because those are easiest to find; but it is not limited to these. It is intended as a record of our publications and presentation of creative works beyond sole authored books. Naturally, I’ll miss some things. You can recommend (in fact, I welcome your recommendations), but, as with all areas of the site, additions/subtractions are at the discretion of the admin.

HECTOR, LEONARD ‘TIM’ – Excerpt from The Art of Carnival and the Carnival of Art (non-fiction, previously published in The Outlet newspaper) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

HENRY, E.T.Christmas Stringband GreetingCardChristmas Stringband (visual art – greeting card),

Calypso dancers

‘Calypso Dancers’, and John Bull painting (visual art – painting) John Bull – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. Ixie and Izzy in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters – December 7th 2021

Excerpt: Grey was a palomino, pale and freckled and blonde, an unusual breed for the island but here nonetheless, as anomalies are everywhere. Perhaps it was their differentness that made them such good companions. The horse had waited patiently through the night. Now, she snuffed and fidgeted, as she rarely did, and when that didn’t get Ixie’s attention, she neighed. Ixie looked over to see a man standing, watching.

Hillhouse, Joanne C. – Presentation on Jamaica Kincaid and King Obstinate during the Antigua and Barbuda Conference – October 2021

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.  – Presenting on ‘The Art of Writing Children’s Books’ at Write the Vision’s 2021 Aspiring Authors and Writers Virtual Literary Event – October 7th 2021


HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Ah Write!, She Lives There, She Works, Ghosts Lament, When We Danced, Ode to the Pan Man, excerpt from With Grace, Da’s Calypso (poetry, fiction) – Festival Internacional de Poesia de Medellin (samples ‘Una Oda al Pan Man’ [An Ode to the Pan Man], ‘El Lamento de las Fantasmas’ [Ghosts’ Lament], ‘Ella viva Alla’ [She lives There], ‘Ella Trabaja’ [She Works], ‘El Calipso de Da’ [Da’s Calypso], and ‘Escribo!’ [Ah Write!] also published on the Festival site and ‘El Lamento de las Fantasmas’ [Ghosts’ Lament] and ‘El Calipso Da Da’ [Da’s Calypso] p. 279-282 in the official festival publication ‘Revista Prometeo Numero 115-116’ Agosto de 2021 Revista Prometeo 115-116 (JCH in Revista Prometeo)- August 10th 2021

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.Times A-Changing (fiction) – CREATIVE SPACE #15 of 2021 in the Daily Observer newspaper

Excerpt: “The already narrow road was made narrower by the line of cars. There were always cars there, even when the bars up and down both sides of the road were officially closed due to Lockdown.”

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.Antigua, at Night (poetry) – in BIM: Arts for the 21st Century Volume 10 – 2021

antigua-at-night

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.Carnival Hangover (fiction) – in intersectantigua.com – 2020

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.  –   reading excerpt from Rhythms (poem, Vol. 18, The Caribbean Writer) and Ode to the Pan Man (poem, Vol. 27, The Caribbean Writer) – (virtual) lit conference and journal launch of The Caribbean Writer – 2020

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – reading excerpts from award winning teen/young adult novel Musical Youth as part of St. Lucia’s Caribcation Caribbean Author Series – 2020

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure read during the Read2Me virtual series out of Trinidad and Tobago  – 2020

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Grandmother and Child, Waste Not, Weather Patterns (poetry) – Skin Deep magazine Is this the End? (UK) – 2020

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – readers sharing an excerpt from With Grace at the Barnes Hill Reservoir Park Black History Month event (fiction) – 2019

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Development and Summer One (poetry) – Angles of Light series on Chapel FM (UK) – 2019

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Ode to the Pan Man during Antigua and Barbuda Independence literary arts showcase (poetry) – 2019

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – excerpt from Musical Youth during Antigua and Barbuda Independence literary arts showcase (fiction) – 2019

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – The Night the World Ended (fiction) – The Caribbean Writer Volume 32 – 2018

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.A Life in Mas (non-fiction) – Moko: Caribbean Art and Letters – 2018

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. Papa Jumbie (flash fiction)- Akashic Books’ Duppy Thursday series – 2017

Excerpt: “… he choops to heself. Only picknee believe in jumbie. Dead na speak an’ Papa dead long time.”

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.The Other Daughter (fiction, included in a test question in the Denmark Ministry of Education’s 2019 English Evaluation Written Exam for upper secondary and higher preparatory students. Plus there’s analysis and breakdown on the Danish version of study net – 2019) – Adda (the Commonwealth Writers online literary magazine) – 2017

Excerpt: “The day we went uphill, my corn-rowed head level with Mom’s melon-sized chest, my inquiries about where we were going were met with silence and a determined tug on my arm as I dragged my feet.”

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.Little Prissy Palmer (flash fiction) – The Machinery – 2017

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – The Bamboo Raft and Election Season (poetry), and Zombie Island (fiction) – Interviewing the Caribbean Vol. 2 No. 1 – 2016

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Game Changer (fiction) – Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters, Vol. 9 – 2016

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – When we Danced (also winner of the Caribbean Writer’s 2014 Flash Fiction Prize) (flash fiction) and Election Season ll (poetry) – The Caribbean Writer Volume 29 – 2015

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – What’s in a Name? (fiction) – BIM: Arts for the 21st Century Volume 7 – 2015

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.Children Melee (poetry) – Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters Issue 3 – 2014

Excerpt: “Peanuts roasting
 Music pumping
 Obsti prancing about in pigtails”

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – To Market, Snapshot (flash fiction) – Susumba’s Book Bag Issue 1 – 2014

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Civi-li-za-tion (poetry) – Artemis Volume XXl- 2014

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.Summer 1 (poetry, also published in Tongues of the Ocean) & Something Wicked (fiction, Story of the Week) – The Missing Slate – 2013/2014

Excerpt (from Something Wicked): “Essie is flamboyant as ever; her full and curvy frame hugged up by a red bustier straight out of a burlesque show, black leather pants, and dangerously (sexy, she would say) red heels that still only bring her up to Claudette’s chin. Claudette is also in black, tall and svelte in a black strappy ankle-length maxi dress, black combat boots and a black beaded cloche hat someone like Louise Brooks might have worn during the jazz era; her red-red lip stick and the red beading in the fitted cap, the only pop of colour. Essie had given the whole get-up an eye roll when she’d picked her up. Claudette had done her own mental eye roll at the way her friend, enviably comfortable in her own skin, still doesn’t get the concept of size-appropriate clothing.”

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Carnival Blues (fiction, also published as Something Wicked in The Missing Slate), Is Like a Like It (screenplay excerpt), Music and Ode to the Pan Man and On Seeing Euzhan Palcy’s Rue Cases Nègres  (poetry) – The Caribbean Writer Volume 27 – 2013

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – All Fall Down (fiction) and Feather in Her Ear, Another Garden, Prison for Two, and Corporal Punishment (poetry) – Womanspeak: a Journal of Art and Writing by Caribbean Women Volume 7 – 2013

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.The Cat has Claws (flash fiction) – Akashic Book’s Monday’s are Murder online noir series – 2013

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.  – Caribbean Woman (poetry, subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – The Columbia Review – 2013

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – She Works (national contest selection 2009), She Lives There, and Development (also published in Tongues of the Ocean) (poetry, all subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – Womanspeak: a Journal of Literature and Art by Caribbean Women Volume 6 – 2012

Excerpt (She Works):
“A thin row of cane stalks marks
The boundary of the land
She carries a bath heavy with clothes in her hands”

HILLHOUSE JOANNE C. – Mango Season (poetry, subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – The Caribbean Writer Volume 26 – 2012

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Differences (poetry, subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – Theorizing Homophobias in the Caribbeean: Complexities of Place, Desire, and Belonging – 2012

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.Teacher May (fiction, subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – Poui: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing Number XII – 2011

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – At Sea (flash fiction, subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – Munyori – 2011

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Ghosts Lament (poetry, subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – SX Literary Salon – 2011

Excerpt: “…as someone beats a pan; a skanking Marley jam…”

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Somebody (fiction; subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – St. Somewhere – 2010

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.Scenes from a Caribbean Childhood (poetry) – Anansesem – 2010

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Country Club Kids (fiction) and Tongue Twista (poetry,  both subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – The Caribbean Writer Volume 24 – 2010

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – AfterGlow (fiction) – Tongues of the Ocean – 2009; subsequently published in So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End – 2012 and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Venus Ascending (poetry, subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – Mythium: the Journal of Contemporary Literature and Cultural Voices – 2009

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. The Arrival , Prospero’s Education , and Da’s Calypso (poetry, all subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – Calabash – 2008

Excerpt from Da’s Calypso:

“He na min school pon
Shakespeare,
but he understan’ well
de ingenuity o’
wan pun,
weave imagery o’
everyday life
inna song –”

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Friday Night Fish Fry (fiction, subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – published in Sea Breeze and read at the Breadloaf Writers Conference – 2008

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Cold Paradise and Portent (fiction) and Benediction before the Essences: A Prayer, Caribbean Sunset, Caribbean Spirit, The Sea (poetry, all subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – Women Writers – 2008

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Soca Night (fiction, subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) and excerpt from Oh Gad! (fiction, a novel subsequently published by Simon & Schuster, 2012) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Rhythms (fiction) and Ah Write! (poetry, later published, 2010, in PEN America: a Journal of Writers and Readers) (both subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – The Caribbean Writer Volume 18 – 2004

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Martin, Dorie, and Luis: a Love Story (fiction, subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – Jamaica Observer Literary Arts – 2004

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Philly Ramblings 8 (poetry, subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – Ma Comère: Journal of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars Volume 3 – 2000

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Bitter Memories (fiction) and Hope Springs Eternal and Old People (poetry, subsequently published in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings – 2014) – Collective Soul – 1998

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – reading excerpts from unpublished manuscript Closed for Repairs (fiction) and Second Middle Passage and Apocalyptic Dance (poems) while a participant in the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute at the University of Miami – 1995

Excerpt: “A sister pimping her soul
A baby with a gun in his hand
Love gone cold”

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – reading from novel Oh Gad! published by Strebor/Atria/Simon & Schuster (USA) in 2012 at the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop participant readings showcase at Brown University, Rhode Island (USA) – 2012

HOLDER, ZURI – The Scary Night (fiction, 2011 award winning Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem (the Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

HUNT, SIENA K. MARGRIE – Nuclear Family Explosion (fiction, 2004 award winning Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem (the Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

HUNTE, JOSEPH ‘CALYPSO JOE’ – Bum Bum (calypso lyrics – 1970 Carnival road march tune)  – Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

ISAAC, D. GISELE – Excerpt from In Search of a Road (fiction, unpublished-in-progress novel) – Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

ISAAC-GELLIZEAU, DOTSIE – Home (poetry) – national contest selection (no word of announced publication) – 2009

Excerpt:”Her soul and heart rejoiced
Upright and locked position”

JACKSON, ANNETTAUnlearning Anti-Blackness – in intersectantigua.com – 2020

“It is Sunday, May 4th, 2014 and I am in my bathroom with blue handle scissors cutting off 6 years’ worth of permed hair from my head. My afro is like a mushroom and my face looks like a boy. I had been growing my hair out for a few months and my biological mother had been washing my scalp with red stripe and aloe. I got tired of battling with the two textures, so I cut it off.”

JACOBS, OGLIVIER ‘DESTROYER’ – Message from Gorkie (calypso – from his album The King and The Patriot) – Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

JAMES, S. E. – (fiction) Excerpt from the chapter Carnival in her book Tragedy on Emerald Island – Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

JARDINE, AKILAH – (fiction) Excerpt from the chapter Blue Devils in her book Living Life the Way I Love It – Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

JARDINE, ARTHUR ‘BUM’ (youngest member of Brute Force, the first recorded steelband) – The Man and His Pan and My Travels with Brute Force (non-fiction from memoir in progress The Man, His Pan, and The Conflict), Pan Rhapsody and Song for Fundu (poetry) – Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

JARVIS-GEORGE, TAMEKA Woman to Woman (fiction) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014

JARVIS-GEORGE, TAMEKA Ugly (poetry) – featured in/providing narrative structure for film of the same name

JARVIS-GEORGE, TAMEKA – Dinner (poetry) – featured in/providing narrative structure for film of the same name

JENNINGS, HUDLE – (visual art – illustration for Shakeema Edwards’ The Curse of the Kumina and for Devra Thomas’ Sand and Butterflies (2011 Wadadli Pen art and fiction) – Anansesem (the Best of Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

JOSEPH, CLIFTON – That Night in Tunisia  – performed in the documentary Dark Arts in the Plastic Hallway – 2009

JOSEPH, CLIFTONI Remember Back Home & Slo Mo (poetry) – performed at the Words Aloud 4 Spoken Word Festival in Canada – 2007

Excerpt: “It wasn’t all bright smiles, sea sand, sun and
fun/Back home had its share of oppression in the sun/
Back home had its share of dreams burnt in the sun”

JOSEPH, JAMALReturning to Natural Roots (visual art) – intersectantigua.com – 2020

KINCAID, JAMAICA2021 Langston Hughes Festival – Evening Ceremony Honouring Jamaica Kincaid – 2021

KING, X-SAPHAIRTurmoil Within and  Strength through Pain (visual art – painting) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014

KINSELLA, MARIE – ‘Drum Man @ Boy’, ‘Two Pan Drummers’, and ‘The Joy of Pan’ (visual art – painting) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014

LAKE, EDGAR O. – Little Richard’s Second Coming (poetry) – Calabash – 2007

Excerpt: ‘But, the Faithful wait for the King of Pommade, Tuti
The Monarch of Mascara, pre-Pink Floyd, Tuti-Fruti
He’s turned his back on Hollywood – protesting!
He’s the King of Rock-and-Roll – will take it back –
“This Little Light of Mine – Say What?”
The tired Daughters of the Carolinas toss their curls
Little Richard’s seen the fork in the road – and took it

Praise his name!’

LAKE, EDGAR O.Walcott Reads to Brodsky’s Godmother (poetry) – Calabash – 2007

LANGLEY, CHARLESBlack Woman Cry (poetry) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014

LAWRENCE, LISCIA – The Day I saw Evil (fiction, Wadadli Pen award winning story) – Anansesem (the Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

LAVELLE, ARDIS – PreSchool Days (poetry, 2011 Wadadli Pen award winning story) – Anansesem (the Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

LI, DENISE – Carnival 1988 (visual art – drawing) – Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

LI, SARAH ANN – Lucky Dollar (fiction, 2005 Wadadli Pen award winning story) – Anansesem (the Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

LIBURD, EDISON – ‘Mysteries and Contradictions’ – Caribbean Writer 29(visual art, cover art) – The Caribbean Writer Volume 29 – 2015

MARTIN, COLIN ‘WANGA’ – selected images (visual art – costumes: Bush Doctor, reminiscent of the old time medicine; Calabash and Can Cup, one time household utensils; Cane Cutters, referencing the sugar plantations that once dominated; Can Can and Hot Pants, referencing past fashions; and Perry Grey Ghost, referencing an old time folk character) from Reveller’s Mas Troupe’s 2003 presentation ‘Ole Time Something Come Back Again’ and ‘Spirit of Carnival’ (designed for 2005 Antigua Carnival Queen finalist Kimmorna Otto, to her ReggaeSoCalypso theme) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

MCDONALD, HILDA – Dawn and Evensong – KYK-OVER-AL No. 22: Anthology of West Indian Poetry, edited by A. J. Seymour (p. 47) – 1957

MEADE, SHANNONI, Atlas (fiction) – intersectantigua.com – 2020

MEADE, SHANNONMy Old Foe (poetry) – intersectantigua.com – 2020

MEDICA, HAZRADiscretely Antiguan and Distinctly Caribbean  (non-fiction) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014

Excerpt: “Near twenty years ago and entirely by chance, I discovered my first Antiguan novel.”

MEDICA, HAZRA – The Greeting (fiction) – Poui: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing XIII- 2012

MEDICA, HAZRA Ode to a Night in Ale – finalist in the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest – 2010

MEDICA, HAZRAThe Banana StainsHighly Recommended in the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Short Story Contest – 2008/9

Excerpt: “I see my father motioning for me to come to him. His face is grim- the inspector had not been kind to him. On the drive home I think of Mr. Massiah and his stained clothing. Mr. Massiah has calloused hands. His hands make me think of the banana trunk in my dream.”

MENTOR, KEILLIA Mongoose in a Hole (fiction, 2011 award winning Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem (Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

MERANTO, JENNIFER – ‘Carnival Mask’ (visual art – photography) – originally shot 1996; silver prints  – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

MINGS, KIMOLISALittle Red Hoodie (fiction) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014

NANTON, ERROL ‘BUMPY’ – ‘Dance of the Masks’ and selections from Dynamics’ 2007 mas which revisited the best of Antigua’s Carnival over 51 years (visual art – costumes; 2001’s presentation ‘Dance of the Masks’  grew out of Nanton’s fascination with the tribal masks of Africa) – Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007

NICHOLAS, NNEKANaima and Forgiveness (fiction) – in intersectantigua.com – 2020

NICHOLSON, KEMAL OSMELMa Belle (fiction, 2006 Wadadli Pen short story award winner) – Anansesem (the Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

NICHOLSON, LIATekin’ Ahn Dey (fiction, 2004 Wadadli Pen short story award winner) – Anansesem (the Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011

As with all content 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, Musical Youth, Oh Gad!, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Please do not repost artist images without permission and credit. If you enjoyed this post, check out myJhohadli  page and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen, my books, and my freelance writing-editing-coaching-workshop services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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ABILF – Flashback

So, word is, there’s no Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival this year (2011). That’s really too bad considering the event’s potential, but perhaps not too surprising given its financial struggles since its debut in 2006. This post flashes back to the promise of that first year.

From left Elizabeth Nunez, Verna Wilkins, Althea Prince, Nalo Hopkinson, and Marie Elena John.

Althea Prince, Elizabeth Nunez, Verna Wilkins, Nalo Hopkinson, Marie Elena John, and me (Joanne C. Hillhouse)

Antiguan writers (standing) S E James, Marie Elena John, Rosalyn Simon, and me (Joanne C. Hillhouse); (seated) Althea Prince, and Jamaica Kincaid with a young writer and fan.

Hopefully we haven’t seen the last of what was then the Caribbean International Literary Festival.

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Flashback – Word Up! 2006

Word Up! was a literary showcase held for the first time in 2006 – with a revival in 2010 – in collaboration with the Museum which hosted the event. It was a joint fundraiser and an opportunity to shine the spotlight on Antigua’s literary stars such as

S. E James, author of the children’s adventure series that includes Tragedy on Emerald Island, A Narrow Escape, and Kidnapped at the Beach

S. E. James

Joy Lawrence, author of Island Spice, Colours and Rhythms, The Way We Talk, and The History of Bethesda and Christian Hill

Joy Lawrence

Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau, who can be heard on the Spoken Word CD Absouluuutely Dotsie
 
Tamo Zakela

Tamo Zakela, also known as Antigua's High Priest of Poetry

 Jermilla Kirwan, star of The Sweetest Mango and Diablesse (with which she also served as co-writer)

Jermilla Kirwan, writer and former Carnival Queen

 Kush David, poet and activist

Kush

Tameka Jarvis author of the poetry collections, I Am That I Am and I Am, and book of fiction (released 2010) Unexpected
 
Zeina Hechme who won the first of the Independence Literary Arts competitions in 2005
Sandrena Martin, 2005 Wadadli Pen Winner
and others. It was a really fun night, emceed by Natalie Clarke White, and well attended. Proceeds helped with the 2006 Wadadli Pen competition and part proceeds went to the museum. When Word Up! was held for the second time in 2010 it was directed by Zahra Airall with performances by her Zee’s Youth Theatre – interpreting the work of various Antiguan authors – and others . Proceeds from that were donated to the Red Cross for Haitian relief in the wake of the quake.
Photos by Laura Hall and/or Gemma Hazelwood

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At Calabash

In 2007, a group of Antiguan writers

Here we are (image includes S.E. James, me, Brenda Lee Browne, Marie Elena John) with Kittitian writer Caryl Phillips, author of Commonwealth best book winner A Distant Shore

, with assistance from the Commonwealth Foundation made its way to the Commonwealth Foundation. It was an amazing experience. One blogged about here by Sharon James. And here’s what I wrote back then:

By jhohadli

 

In one of our conversations, Brenda Lee and I marvel at their sureness, at the tender age of teen-something.

We’re talking about a young writer we know – me through Wadadli Pen [a youth writing competition I coordinated between 2004 and 2006 coordinate] and Brenda through the various writing workshops she conducts. This young writer would shortly head to Washington for participation in a prestigious writing workshop.

We’re, also, talking about Akilah, another young Antiguan writer standing a few paces away on this breezy day in this coastal fishing village-cum-literary Mecca. Just two nights earlier, she’d launched her latest book; and before the day is out she’ll face the many expectant faces gathered under the Calabash tent from the podium beneath the thatched stage, her back to the sea, her words hitching a ride on the brisk wind.

I’ll take a turn at mic – Open Mic – as well, reading from my first book The Boy from Willow Bend. It would be a shame, I’d decided, to travel all this way and not leave my footprints in the brown-sugar-brown sand at Treasure Beach. But it is narrower footprints that occupy my mind at this writing, on this night – still, except for the rushing surf and my stirred up thoughts. The prints of one bold enough to step before the same sizable crowd that had South African Writer, Commonwealth Writers-prize-best-first-fiction nominee for All We Have Left Unsaid Maxine Case, remarking, rather nervously, that this was the largest crowd she’d ever read to.

There she stands, the youngest of our group; gaze unclouded, shoulders square.

Young hearts, run free. Who sang that? Candi Staton? Well, there it is; and it’s a beautiful thing. Like music.

Perhaps this is the definitive sign that we’ve come a long way; back in real time, in Antigua. Sure, we still don’t have a home for our public library – haven’t in my lifetime. Sure, we still have no cultural policy; nor it seems the will to dig one from amidst the talent and dreams and quest for identity, the collective floundering for a hold as waves of change blow unrelentingly in. Sure, the arts still enjoy stepchild status; doesn’t pay. Not really, not as bountifully as the professions I still shy away from as if from a life of certain bondage.

But these girls – these Antiguan writers not yet out of their teens – are a far cry from the girl with a dream in her heart that she hardly dared believe in. Practicality, security, were the lyrics woven into the music of her world; there, even when the tune had no words. The confidence to dance to her own strange beat, without apology, took time; and she still sometimes loses step.

Perhaps – even with the things still missing; library, cultural policy, nurturing environment for the arts, arts financing – their bold steps are a sign that strides are being made. In some measure, the much more populous field has something to do with it; that once vast field where once a lone warrior stood pen poised before her like a sword cutting through the detritus. But it’s something else, too, something innate.

Of course, we muse – Brenda and I, we’re far from that proverbial There. How many children are still taught that art is trivial, incidental to life not its very heartbeat? How many with this singular talent, to writetodrawtosingtodance, never truly emerge, are never taught how to use God’s gift, how to multiply this talent? How dismissive are we still of the arts? It doesn’t have the currency of politics or sports, or currency? Aren’t we still forced to hedge our bets (yes, even these daring kids that dare give voice to dreams that we, at their age, wrapped in cotton wool)?

But it is progress, of a sort, to have stretched for the high branches, plucked and sucked, like a particularly sweet mango, the various opportunities that have leaked from this pen. To be here at Calabash – the Caribbean’s premier literary festival started in Jamaica by Waiting in Vain author Colin Channer, poet Kwame Dawes, and producer Justine Henzell back in 2001. It is progress that five of us – all literary arts activists and writers – looked at each other and said, “Let’s do this”; and raised the funding (thanks to the Commonwealth Foundation, thanks to Caribbean Airlines) and did.

Marie Elena remarks as we amble back to the Cacona guest house on our last day at Treasure Beach (which I like to think of as Treasure Island) that it feels like we’ve stepped out of time. I must admit – and did – that I was not ready to step back in.

Only an hour earlier, we’d shook hands and posed for a keepsake with Channer, and joked with internationally-renowned Kittitian scribe, Caryl Phillips poolside in the magical glow of twilight.

Hours earlier, we’d sat with a savvy New York editor as she schooled us on the industry, a lesson tailored to fit Caribbean writers.

Hours earlier we’d allowed Cindy Breakspeare (former Ms. World and, yes, Damien Marley’s mommy) and others to lead us through Ganesh’s tragicomic world with their relay-style reading of V. S. Naipaul’s Mystic Masseur.

For hours upon hours, we’d listened, delightedly, to reading after reading (wondering if an Antiguan crowd would ever give itself over to hours of just this), the listening itself lesson after lesson on shaping character, plotting, creating atmosphere, pacing. Caryl (“I love fiction because I can hide”) Phillips shares his memoirs. American poet Linda Susan (“grab those notes like you own them”) Jackson conjures Etta and Billie in What Yellow Sounds Like. Aussie Andrew O’Connor, a Commonwealth best first fiction nominee effortlessly tickles us with his readings from Tuvalu.

Beautiful. Like music. The wind blows strong and the tent flaps excitedly – its own applause, as the bodies sway forward as though at a Tanya Stephens concert. And we buzz excitedly many a morning after, with ideas on how we could bring even a fraction of this experience home. We hope to find a way to do so, before real life, real time, overrides best intentions. We want to bring the salt of the sea breeze, the music of the words, the vibes that grabbed hold, shaking loose the constraints of life back in real time. We want to bring this flow, this letting go and letting one’s art live, this urge to create and serve the art that was gifted to us. We want to bring the desire to reach for the high notes and to understand (and use well) the tools we use.

The experience clings like fresh dew, and we are refreshed. And that’s the best reason to go to these things after all. To hear Maryse Condé, yes. To meet writers from far flung areas – as far as New Zealand, yes. To learn, to network, to grow, yes. But mostly to stand still and soak it up, feel it infuse and energize. Like music.

It’s a reminder that the journey is the thing. Lloyd Jones, announced at Calabash as best book winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize, shared with one of our group that it took him 12 drafts to complete the Dickensian inspired Mr. Pip. And in that there is hope that our own daily struggles with the page and with finding our way to the page, aren’t so bleak.

One conversation, with Sharon and Brenda, is about the challenges of being a writer in Antigua; the writing you have to do in order to do the writing you want to do, how little of you it leaves to give to the writing you need to do. You debate about whose grass is greener, whose lawn better manicured.

In the end, you all agree that events like Calabash are like manna in a desert. You want to stretch this moment. Let your muse out to play, at will. Listen – to the surf, to the words. Watch as a young Antiguan literally half your age (and how scary is that; tick tock) steps to the mic. Believe in your thrumming heart that, not only is your rhythm not discordant, it is music to the ears.

This article references the trip of the first ever Antiguan delegation to the Calabash Literary Festival in Jamaica. That delegation consisted of Marie Elena John, author of Unburnable, Sharon James, author of a series of children’s books that begins with Tragedy on Emerald Island, Akilah Jardine, author of a duo of teen books that begins with Living Life the Way I Love It, writer and literary activist Brenda Lee Browne, and Joanne C. Hillhouse, author of The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight. It’s been previously published in the Daily Observer newspaper, Antigua – June 1st 2007, on my blog at www.myspace.com/jhohadli, and in the U.S. publication, the Coup.

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