Tag Archives: shakirah bourne

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late April 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)

New(ish) Books

Not new(ish) books but a new discussion coming out of Bocas (and linked in this post) on the 100 Caribbean Books that Made us. (Source – Bocas)

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Trinbagonian writer and illustrator Danielle Boodoo Fortune has announced the imminent release of Sitting Moon: Colouring Meditations on Motherhood.

(Source – the author/artist’s facebook)

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From UWI Press, a number of biographies including Sheer Bliss: a Creole Journey by Michaela A. Calderaro, about Eliot Bliss, Stuart Hall by Annie Paul, and Una Marson by Lisa Thompson, among others. Go to UWI Press. (Source – N/A)

Check this out/Reports

The Ministry of Education (Antigua and Barbuda) has announced its first annual virtual symposium every Wednesday in May 2021, 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It will be held under the theme ‘Meaningful Research – Enabling, Informing, and Creative Positive Change’. (Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

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The Barbados-based US Embassy hosted Bajan writer Cherie Jones in a zoom for World Book and Copyright Day. Jones is writer of the acclaimed novel How the One-armed Sister Sweeps Her House. U.S. Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean Linda Taglialatela welcomed the participants and Haitian-American creative writer Inga Laurent guided the discussion. The first 25 registrants were eligible to receive How the One-armed Sister Sweeps Her House and the chat was to feature a contest to win additional titles, including Jones’ earlier collection The Burning Bush Women and Other Stories. I don’t know about you but I’m sorry that I missed it. (Source – US Embassy Bridgetown email)

World Book and Copyright Day was pretty busy in Antigua and Barbuda as well. Check it out.

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Intersect Antigua and Barbuda, a gender advocacy group with a storytelling platform, has announced a new Caribbean feminist series, featuring two inspiring Caribbean women in history across their social media platforms once a month. The series launched on International Women’s Day in March 2021 and have since featured Una Marson, Mary Jane Seacole, and Amy Ashwood Garvey. There’s also this upcoming event:

(Source – Intersect newsletter)

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With the hopeful theme of “The Cure,” the 19th annual St. Martin Book Fair is scheduled for June 3 – 5, 2021.

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Volume 35 of The Caribbean Writer will launch this April at the Virgin Islands Literary Festival. ‘The 2020 edition, a tribute to the late literary icon Kamau Brathwaite, will be launched at the upcoming Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair (VI Lit Fest) hosted online from April 30 to May 2, 2021 under the theme, “Diasporic Rhythms II: Interrogating the Past; Imagining a Future”. The volume features poetic and prosaic tributes from award-winning authors and poets as well as not-before published submissions from “The Man Himself.” According to Program Chair Alscess Lewis-Brown, the issue is part of the collective outpourings of gratitude, remembrances and reminiscence lyricized in musings, tributes, celebrations of his life — a continual repast of ubiquitous reminders of his influence.’

The festival line-up includes Edwidge Dandicat, Kwame Dawes, Canisia Lubrin, Vladimir Lucien, Jacqueline Bishop, Rozena Maart, Summer Edward, Yona Deshommes, Chika Unigwe, Shara McCallum, Michela Calderaro, and Mervyn Taylor. Register here. Sign up to present at Book Bacchanal here. (Source – The Caribbean Writer email)

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The Bocas Lit Fest Programme

Read it here.

I know you’re looking forward to this list.

(Source – Bocas Lit Fest email)

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The Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association now has a website. About time. Here you can find back issues of the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books and other scholarly information re Antigua and Barbuda. Start reading here. (Source – email from the editor Professor Paget Henry)

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With lyrics penned by St. Lucian writer Adrian Augier, More than Just Islands is a new song and music video promoting marine conservation. It features the voices of several Organization of Eastern Caribbean States musical superstars including Antigua and Barbuda’s soca diva Claudette ‘CP’ Peters and Ricardo Drue. The initiative was spearheaded by managing director of Right Angle Imaging Barbara Jacobs-Small of St. Lucia, who said, “It advocates the singular importance of the OECS marine space to our lives, livelihoods, way of life and the promise of the Blue Economy for our region.” (Source – Barbara Jacobs-Small’s linkedin)

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Trinidad born US rap superstar Nicki Minaj and US folk rock legend Tracy Chapman had a copyright dispute that ended with the former reportedly agreeing to pay out US$450,000 to the latter. Is this just an opportunity to link the original version of Sorry/Baby, can I hold you tonight?, which was in heavy rotation back in the day?

Maybe.

But also this is relevant to a site like ours which does try to educate on literary and publishing matters. A previous ruling, reportedly, determined that the song which Chapman had refused requests to license to Minaj fell under fair use. The settlement means that the case won’t be returning to trial (and that judgment won’t be tested). But it’s an opportunity for an always timely reminder to respect copyright, make sure you have permission (from the creator and/or license holder) to use any content you did not create and/or that it falls firmly within fair use if you do use without seeking permission. Read the details here. (Source – The Root) See also Resources including links re legalities vis-a-vis creative works here on Wadadli Pen.

Wadadli Pen News

Judging for the Wadadli Pen Challenge is still in progress. Meantime, check out our patrons.

Congrats are due to

Tekiah Minott, 17, Antigua Girls High School, winner of the Carl Adrian Joseph photojournalist award.

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Winners of the Priest Isaac Institute of Holistic Knowledge eighth annual Africa-themed essay competition here in Antigua and Barbuda, Johanna Jacobs, Nyeisha Chiddick, and John Germain. All three won electronic devices – tablets or laptops. (Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

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Halcyon Steel Orchestra, one of Antigua and Barbuda’s winningest pan orchestras, on reaching its 50th anniversary. The Grays Green musical band has 13 titles to its record, and has the distinction of being the only pan orchestra to ever 4-peat in the history of the local panorama. For its anniversary, the group is having a Keeping the Vibes Alive 50th anniversary facebook competition giving pan players domestic and abroad the opportunity to rearrange and present one of its winning panorama tunes. Follow via the #Halcyon50 hashtag. (Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

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Desiree Seebaran, winner of the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize for Poetry. This prize allows an emerging writer to improve her/his skills through mentorship for an entire year. St. Lucian poet (Canada-based) Canisia Lubrin is the winner of the OCM Bocas Prize with her book length narrative poem The Dyzgraphxst (see earlier post re the prize – below – re the other finalists) (Source – writers and book lovers and Bocas watchers on twitter)

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Kevin Jared Hosein, as the already mult-award winning Trini writer lands a major publishing deal. Don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Bookseller.com had to say:

‘Bloomsbury is to publish Devotion by Kevin Jared Hosein, after securing the title at auction for a “major” sum.

The novel, set in 1940s Trinidad and inspired by oral storytelling traditions, follows the intertwining lives of a wealthy couple and the poor families who live in the barracks below their farm, after the mysterious disappearance of the husband leads his wife to hire one of the barracks’ farmhands as a watchman. Described as a novel with “a huge moral canvas”, the book interrogates class and the consequences of powerlessness.

Alexis Kirschbaum, associate publisher, acquired UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) and audio rights to the novel from Chris Wellbelove at Aitken Alexander Associates. US rights were acquired at auction by Gabriella Doob at Ecco.

Hosein lives in Trinidad and Tobago. He was the winner of the overall Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2018, and of the Caribbean regional prize in 2015.’ Read more. (Source – Facebook)

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The Bocas Lit Fest and the three writers shortlisted for its main prize: poetry winner Canisia Lubrin (The Dyzgraphxst – a Quill & Quire Book of the Year), fiction winner Maisy Card (These Ghosts are Family), and non-fiction winner Andre Bagoo (The Undiscovered Country). Lubrin is from St. Lucia, Card from Jamaica, and Bagoo from Trinidad and Tobago. More here. (Source – Bocas email)

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Jamaican-British writer Leone Ross whose latest Popisho (also known asThis One Sky Day) debuts this month. It is getting a lot of hype (including lots of media coverage – e.g. in Bookseller.com, the Financial Times, and The Guardian). You can join her on any of her current tour stops (e.g. this one – click the image to register).

(Source – Leone Ross’ social media)

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Journalist Daphne Ewing-Chow of Cayman who has been adjudged winner of the PAHO/CDB/CBU Award ‘Celebrating Responsible Coverage of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support During Covid-19’. “Ewing-Chow’s winning article, ‘Mental health professionals voice looming concerns for Cayman teens’, earned her a cash prize of US$500 and a certificate. It was the only entry across all three categories that met the criteria of the four-member judging panel. The report, published on January 26, 2021 on the online news website Loop Cayman, featured the personal experiences of teens in the Cayman Islands who were feeling the psychological impact of Covid-19 lockdown measures. It also provided insight from experts and offered tips for supporting teenagers struggling with mental health challenges.” (Source – Loop’s social media initially)

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Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne who has landed a deal for two more books ahead of the summer 2021 release of her first US release Josephine Against the Sea (the Caribbean edition of which has been previously published with Jamaica’s Blue Banyan). See below (Source – Shakirah Bourne’s social media)

Read my recently posted review of the audio book of Bourne’s previously self-published In Time of Need.

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The writers, including a number of Caribbean writers, shortlisted for this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The full line up is here but, of course, we single out for mention Andre Bagoo of Trinidad and Tobago, who was also recently announced as the winner of this year’s Bocas non-fiction prize, Heather Barker of Barbados, Rashad Hosein of Trinidad and Tobago, Sharma Taylor, originally of Jamaica, resident in Barbados, a multi-award winning short story writer whose book deal we announced in a recent Carib Lit Plus bulletin, and award winning novelist Roland Watson-Grant of Jamaica, who previously made the Commonwealth long list back in 2017. (Source – Twitter)

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Shabier Kirchner, of Antigua and Barbuda, who recently wracked up awards for his work as cinematographer of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series, is attached to another winning project, Sundance short prize winner, Lizard.

Kirchner served as cinematographer on the project which was directed by Akinola Davies Jr. (Source – Facebook)

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Lawson Lewis, local artist and filmmaker, whose ‘Neighbour’, part of an ad campaign for North Coast Hardware, has won a silver award at the American Advertising Federation Awards, through the Caribbean Advertising Federation. “We are the only Leeward Islands Agency to reach this far. Usually, the winners are from bigger islands with well-established agencies, like Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, and Puerto Rico. To be listed among them is a huge accomplishment,” Lewis was quoted as saying in the Daily Observer newspaper. “What the Silver means is that now we will actually move to compete in the Florida segment and if we manage to get a Gold or Silver then we move to nationals to compete against other states in the US.”

The series of ‘Neighbour’ ads created some social conversation around community values.

Lewis’ agency, Tarsier, previously won a Marcom Gold Award in 2019, in the animation category, for the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s Cool is Clean campaign. (Source – Lawson Lewis on Facebook initially)

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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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business, Wadadli Pen News

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business, Wadadli Pen News

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid 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)

Publishing News

Pree, an online literary journal out of Jamaica, has announced its first print edition. Bookmarked launches with a webinar in collaboration with the Shuttleworth Foundation. The forum features Diana McCaulay (Judge, The Commonwealth Short Story Prize); Kwame Dawes (editor-in-chief at Prairie Schooner magazine) and Luke Neima (deputy editor of Granta) moderated by Isis Semaj-Hall (Associate Editor, PREE), looking at submission and rejection and tips for acceptance. The forum will take place February 24th at 12 noon. Details to come – for which I would suggest following Pree online. (Source – facebook post by Pree co-founder Annie Paul)

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I have been running a #BlackHistoryMonth #bookaday initiative across my social media for the month of February 2021. On Day 13, I wrote about the audio book of Barbadian writer Shakirah Bourne’s self-published In Time of Need, scheduled for release on February 14th 2021.

Here’s what I wrote: ‘I’ve listened to only three stories from the audiobook and enjoyed them so much, I plan to listen to the whole thing though I’ve already read the book. Back then, I wrote of the book, “It’s genuinely funny and then clocks you in the middle of the laughter with some hard truths – rooted in our Caribbeanness but also in our humanity.” The audio book, what I’ve heard of it, and especially so Four Angry Men, reminds me of listening to Paul Keens Douglas stories of Slim and Tanty Merle at the Oval on the radio as a child. The Caribbean, and Four Angry Men in particular, is well suited to the audio book format given an oral storytelling tradition that makes it less a reading and more a radio play of ole talk and a weaving (and at the same time specific and grounded) narrative. The Caribbean and the collection’s natural, sometimes absurd, humour comes through, but this is not all easy laughs, there is a certain poignancy within the broad laughter of the rum shop. The production is atmospheric, without crowding out the story, and the voices, distinctive Bajan voices, are well cast and directed by …Barbadian literary media arts company Story Shyft. White Sand, the story of a naive girl stepping in to the lion’s den, has a light and hopeful tone and an undertone of dread. And I absolutely loved The Five-Day Death of Mr. Mayers as much as I did on the page – the story is still funny and thanks to the characterization and imagery, the layering of voices and addition of a score, almost cinematic. In Time of Need is Story Shyft’s first audio book production and if these three stories are anything to go by they’re one for one. For my full review of the print edition of In Time of Need visit Blogger on Books. Look out for Josephine Against the Sea (sis is about to blow up).’ (Source – Story Shyft reached out to ask me to listen to sections of the audio book and provided the audio files)

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Congrats to Wadadli Pen team member Margaret Irish, who has published her first book, a children’s alphabet book A is for Arawak. “The inspiration behind it started with a question, …why do we begin to learn by using objects from cultures outside of the Caribbean? Why can’t we learn by utilizing objects, the history and parts of our lives that we are quite used to? So I decided that I wanted to create a book that would help young people in the Caribbean, in particular Antigua nd Barbuda to  be proud of their identity… I wanted to start with the alphabet,” Irish said in a 2021 ABS TV interview. Irish, originally from Jamaica, works as a 3rd to 5th form English teacher at St. Anthony’s Secondary School. She holds an Msc in material cultures and history of the book from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She is the winner of two Wadadli Pen prizes – the 2014 Lead by Example Teachers Prize for The Skipping Rope and the 2015 flash fiction prize for Justice. She subsequently became a volunteer with and core Wadadli Pen team member.  (Source – stumbled upon author interview on ABS TV via YouTube)

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St. Lucia-based independent press, Bumpkin Books, started by Jamaica-born Rachel Thwaites-Williams has published its first non-self-published book. A subset/affiliate of her Baby Charlotte enterprise featuring flower crowns, Bumpkin’s first books were Rachel’s own Charlotte and the Two Puffs and What do the Stars do When It’s Time to Go To Bed. In December, Bumpkin Books launched its first book by another author, Antiguan and Barbudan Ladesa Williams. As with Rachel, Ladesa’s book is influenced – and in some ways, co-written – by her child. Zane visits Costa Rica, based on a father-son trip to Costa Rica, is illustrated by Rahana Dariah. Per pandemic realities, the book was launched by Zoom. You can view the video here. We have added Zane visits Costa Rica has been added to our Antiguan and Barbudan Writing, and Antigua and Barbuda’s Children Literature data bases.

This book is one of more than 50 eligible for the Antigua and Barbuda Readers Choice Book of the Year award. (Source – another local author reached out to let me know about this one and then I watched the virtual video launch)

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Antigua & Barbuda- and UK-based Art At The Ridge founder Joy James’s first book, 101 Black Black Inventors and Their Inventions, is about to be published.

James is inviting patrons to support the project via Kickstarter and receive a copy of book at the end. The book is intended as an educational children’s book about Black inventors and their inventions; it’s intended for upper primary/lower secondary students. Funds will only be collected if the Kickstarter reaches the project’s financial goal. James’ pitch explains, “My book proposal received a lot of early interest from a number of UK publishers before I chose to use professional publishing services in order to retain control over my work. I am also keen to learn about the publishing process. The funds I am trying to raise will cover the cost of these services as well as illustrations. This is my first book – I already have a few more projects and ideas in the pipeline and am very excited about this adventure!” (Source – Joy James reached out to share information on this initiative)

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Jamaica Kincaid speaking at the VI Lit Fest in 2015.

Late last year, it was announced that Picador had won a four way auction for 10 Jamaica Kincaid titles. Jamaica Kincaid is originally from Antigua-Barbuda, a country she has written about in books like Annie John, A Small Place, My Brother, and Mr. Potter, and tangentially in Lucy.

“The 10 titles to be released by Picador are the novels Annie John, The Autobiography of My Mother, Lucy, Mr Potter and her most recent novel, See Now Then; the non-fiction works Talk Stories and My Brother; the books on gardening, My Garden Book and Among Flowers; and the short-story collection At the Bottom of the River.

“The first selection of titles will be published by Picador in summer 2022, and the second selection will be published in summer 2023. Publication will be supported by a significant marketing and publicity campaign featuring the author.

“Her books Lucy, Annie John and At the Bottom of the River were published in Picador’s paperback white-spine series in the 1980s. Kincaid is published by FSG in the US, and the move to Picador brings all of her work in the English language to Macmillan.”

For more, go here. (Source – Don’t remember but probably social media)

As with all content on this site, unless otherwise noted, this is prepared by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, Joanne C. Hillhouse. As we try to do, credit if sharing.

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Reading Room and Gallery 35

Here I share things I like that I think you might like too. But not just anything. Things related to the arts – from the art itself to closer examination of the art to the making of the art…like that. There have been 34 installments in this series before – use the search window to the right to find them; and there’ll be more additions to this installment before it too is closed – so come back.

VISUAL

“I’ve worked with so many artists, but I’ve seldom experienced such an ebullient, rich, and massively productive creative process,” Mouly told Artnet, later adding, “The goal for both of us was not just a resemblance but something that emotionally evokes her person, because Morrison is deeply complex. [The artwork] works in a cathartic way for the artist and the viewer and the reader…I’m very grateful that Kara was willing to put herself through this process.” – ‘Quiet As It’s Kept’: Artist Kara Walker Creates the New Yorker’s Cover Tribute to Toni Morrison

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BLOGS

“Our last poetry and prose collection was published in 2014 and we are overdue for another.” – Althea Romeo-Mark blogs about Writers’ Works’ Bern in Switzerland

NON-FICTION

“As an adult, when I was estranged from my mother, my father would ask me to recall those holidays where my mother labored in the kitchen for hours. He would ask me to think about why my mother went to such pains and expense. Was it just for her friends, he’d want to know? Of course not. He would tell me that my mother always felt an astute guilt at raising me away from my extended family. For all those holidays absent of grandmothers and aunts and uncles and cousins. Instead of allowing me to feel that loneliness, she filled up our house with guests. She feared that I would never know family as they knew it, that even though I professed not to feel that sense of loss, I had inherited it nevertheless. Her failure to teach me those values, my mother believed, extinguished in this world a way of love.” – Give Hostages to Fortune by By Mehdi Tavana Okasi

***

“Since my 30s, I’ve hated those birthday cards with their black balloons and messages of doom: How does it feel to be over the hill? Don’t collapse your  lungs blowing out candles!” – Judith Guest

POETRY

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At sunset,
when sunlight morphs into dusk,
slaps start: mosquito roulette.” – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming’s Writer’s Digest winning Weekend at the Beach

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“LVDB: My first novel was in the first person, and that felt like working from the center to the exterior in that I feel like I had such a deep understanding of that character from the start. And it was more about how to write this character in such a way where what I understand about her is accessible to a reader who is not me. With The Third Hotel it was sort of the opposite in the sense that there was a lot that I actually didn’t know about Clare and didn’t understand about Clare and so hard to work from the outside in. One bit of latitude that you get in the third person is that you can see into a character and you can also see around them. That roundness of perspective felt important for The Third Hotel, given how much instability there is in both Clare’s POV and the world at large.” – Crystal Hana Kim and Laura Van Der Berg in conversation

***

“For fiction written in the past tense, here’s a technique for tackling flashbacks that I stumbled upon years ago, and writers I’ve shared it with have tended to get highly excited: Start off your flashback with, let’s say, two or three standard-issue had’s (“Earlier that year, Jerome had visited his brother in Boston”), then clip one or two more had’s to a discreet “’d” (“After an especially unpleasant dinner, he’d decided to return home right away”), then drop the past-perfecting altogether when no one’s apt to be paying attention and slip into the simple past (“He unlocked his front door, as he later recalled it, shortly after midnight”). Works like a charm.” – Are These Bad Habits Creeping Into Your Writing? by  Benjamin Dreyer

***

“Rule No. 10: Revise, revise, revise.” – Colson Whitehead, Rules of Writing

INTERVIEWS

“The importance of controlling the image answers the question of why there are very few black films from that time. The hostage-taking of the image is something that happened because of a lack of access to tools, because of a lack of access to exhibition and distribution, because of a lack of access to the tools that captured who we were, and because of how images were distributed falsely with a different and untrue narrative. Every time a filmmaker of color makes a film, it is a rescue effort. It is an act of resistance and defiance to use tools that were kept away from us, tools that were used to harm us for so long. When I get to a film like this, where there are so very many black people in it, every frame becomes a vitally important demonstration of freedom.” – Ava Duvernay in conversation with vulture.com re her mini-series When They See Us

***

I don’t make any such decisions as my poems come to me as the first few lines come into my head, and any language that it comes in I just continue in that language. Sometimes it breaks in the middle of the poem and goes to Jamaican or breaks and goes to England but from when the first few lines come into my head that is the language it comes in
and I don’t make that choice in advance.” – Jean Binta Breeze talking to Jacqueline Bishop. Read the full interview which was published in Jamaica Observer’s Bookends column edited by Sharon Leach: BOOKENDS MARCH 24

***

“I resisted buying a scrapbook-like biography of Charles Dickens put together by Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, his great-great-great-granddaughter, on the occasion of his bicentenary (1812-2012). The book has photographs and facsimiles of documents: letters, his will, theater programs . . . I have the same birthday as Dickens (February 7th), and when he turned 200, I was a mere 60. A friend heard me talking about the book and surprised me with it.” – Brooklyn Book Fair pre-event interview with Mary Norris

***

“I was an avid reader when I was a pre-teen, so my mother would come home from work with Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High novels. It felt like Christmas each time. I would inhale the newness of the books, running my fingers across the pages, refusing to put creases in them. I was shocked when I came to America and found out that people leave books on sidewalks to take for free! I discovered The God of Small Things, The Alchemist, and 1984 this way. I had considered it an abomination to leave books on street corners, but I remember grabbing every one of those titles as if I were in a contest and grabbing gifts.” – Brooklyn Book Fair pre-event interview with novelist Nicole Dennis-Benn

***

“I daresay that as Caribbean writers, we are extremely fluent in the shapes and short story procedures absorbed largely from an English-focused curriculum; and later, from our exposure to narratives outside the Caribbean. In fact, we excel at them, much as we used to in cricket. If people don’t know it yet, the Caribbean is the producer of world-class contemporary short fiction in the Commonwealth, I’m thinking in particular of Trinidad and Jamaica. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But I do contend that the caribbeanness of the Caribbean short story remains underexploited, though I’ve begun to see the emergence of writers who are reaching past the creole language to explore ‘folk’ tropes and structure.” – Jacob Ross in conversation with Jacqueline Bishop. Read the full interview: Ross 1Ross 2Ross 3Ross 4

FICTION

“I continued to go to the interviews, to prove that I was still alive, but I no longer expected anything.” – The Golden Bough by Salman Rushdie

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“It is an awkward thing to buy fish from another vendor. It’s like horning your partner, or switching to a new barber or hairdresser. Be guaranteed that your regular vendor will find out about your clandestine purchase, because the new vendor will be sure to gloat that they were able to ‘tek yuh sale from yuh’, and the next time you go to the market, your regular vendor’s glare will follow you all the way back to your house. Even those dead fish eyes will stare at you with scorn, and that normally tender flesh will fight you all the way down from your throat to your colon.” – A Hurricane and the Price of Fish by Shakirah Bourne

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“I’m Mildred 302.0” – Mildred by Robin Burke

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‘Humph,’ Mavis say in her usual grunt: ‘Nuh worry. Mi find some US dolla under the dresser when mi clean it last week that mi aggo keep. But mi have something fi har though, man. De wretch nuh know sey is her toothbrush mi use clean the toilet.’  – Son-Son’s Birthday by Sharma Taylor

Antiguan and Barbudan fiction and poetry here and here.

REPORT

“Born in 1892, Savage would often sculpt clay into small figures, much to the chagrin of her father, a minister who believed that artistic expression was sinful. In 1921, she moved to Harlem, where she enrolled at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. A gifted student, Savage completed the four-year program in only three and quickly embarked on a career in sculpting. During the early to mid-1920s, she was commissioned to create several sculptures, including a bust of NAACP leader W.E.B. Du Bois and charismatic black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey — two key black leaders of the period who were often at odds with each other. Both pieces were well received, especially in black circles, but the racial climate at the time hampered wider recognition of her work. Savage won a prestigious scholarship at a summer arts program at the Fontainebleau School of the Fine Arts outside of Paris in 1923, for instance, but the offer was withdrawn when the school discovered that she was black. Despite her efforts — she filed a complaint with the Ethical Culture Committee — and public outcry from several well-known black leaders at the time, the organizers upheld the decision.” – from The Most Important Black Woman Sculptor of the 20th Century (Augusta Savage) deserves More Recognition by Keisha N. Blain  

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“I write, and I take my writing seriously,” he said. “Awards affirm this. But were I to write for awards, I would be a failed writer.” – Kwame Dawes in article in The Daily Nebraskan

***

“Winning the regional prize for the Caribbean means everything to me. It means that I made the right choice. After my first semester in college, I had to make a difficult choice between doing what was expected of me and what I wanted. It seemed to be a selfish decision. I come from a struggling family and a struggling island, so as a girl with potential, I was expected to prepare myself for a lucrative career in the traditional professions: law, medicine, architecture. However, I chose to write. I got a lot of criticism for that choice. Many people asked me what I could do with a Literature degree: write children’s books; teach? I could, and there is nothing wrong with either. I make my living using my degree, and I am happy, but I still felt as if the true purpose behind my decision had not been realized. It has now.” – Alexia Tolas, of Bahamas, Regional winner (for the Caribbean) of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story prize. Other regional winners are from Zambia, Malaysia, Cyprus, and New Zealand

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Please note that, except otherwise noted, images on this site also need to be cleared if you wish to use them for any purpose. Thanks.

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Mailbox – Commonwealth Short Story Prize

This email I received as a (failed) entrant indicates that there were 5,081 entries this year; and 21 short listed entries. Regional winners will be announced in May and the overall winner will be named in July.

And FYI: “The Short Story Prize is Commonwealth Writers’ flagship project, attracting entries from almost every single country of the Commonwealth. We appreciate all the entries we receive: not only do we celebrate the winners and shortlisted writers, but a number of entries also feature in our anthologies and on our sister website, adda. We also run a series of creative writing workshops related to the Short Story Prize, and will be sure to contact you if any of these are organized for your area. Please do keep writing and sending us your entries.” Their email address is: writers@commonwealth.int

So the email links to the actual news re winners – and right away I have to shout out Barbados’ Shakirah Bourne and Alexia Tolas of the Bahamas (both of whom I participated in a Commonwealth Writers workshop with last year – though I knew Shakirah before).

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That’s Alexia and Shakirah, also a 2018 finalist for the Burt Award, second and third from left during a hangout at the Commonwealth Writers workshop in Barbados last year. Also pictured are far left Sharma Taylor, a Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlisted writer last year and is short listed this year for the Johnson and Amoy Achong Prize which will provide mentorship for a Caribbean writer; fourth from left workshop co-facilitator with Jacob Ross, Karen Lord; and me (JCH).

They are two of the four from the Caribbean still in the running – Shakirah for ‘A Hurricane & The Price of Fish’ and Alexia for ‘Granma’s Porch’; the other two are Guyana’s Kevin Garbaran for ‘The Ol’ Higue on Market Street’ and Trinidad and Tobago’s Rashad Hosein for and ‘Oats’ by Rashad Hosein.

There are short listed writers from across the Commonwealth and you can read the full list here. Of the list internationally acclaimed author and 2019 prize judge Caryl Philips (whose roots are in St. Kitts-Nevis) said, “The vitality and importance of the short story form is abundantly clear in this impressive shortlist of stories from around the world. These authors have dared to imagine into the lives of an amazingly wide range of characters and their stories explore situations that are both regional and universal. Almost as impressive as the number of entrants and the quality of the shortlist, is the amount of work that the panel of judges have invested in this process. They have read carefully, debated with great sensitivity, and been mindful of cultural traditions as they have collectively reached their decision. Compared to many literary prizes, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize is still young. However, with each passing year the prize gains importance within the literary world. It offers a unique opportunity to read and think across borders, and to connect imaginations from around the globe. It has been a great honour to be a part of the judging of the 2019 prize.”

The announcement gives some teasers; I’ll just share the blurbs of the Caribbean ones:

“The unlikely romance between a no-nonsense market vendor and a retired swindler has dire consequences on the price of fish during hurricane season.” – A Hurricane & The Price of Fish

“Folktales and Jumbie stories take a dark turn after young Devika decides to investigate the rumours of an Ol’ Higue living in her village.” – The Ol’ Higue on Market Street

“Fearing for his life, Forceripe Frederick obeys the blind obeah man after breaking his window. His request: read to him. This is a story about an old man who keeps oats in his pocket and a troubled teen who learns why.” – Oats

“Abandoned by her father on her grandmother’s porch, Helena fumbles along the delicate border between adolescence and adulthood, guided by the past traumas of her friends and family and her troubled first love.” – Granma’s Porch

Congrats to all the winners; Caribbean, come through.

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, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

 

 

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Reading Room and Gallery 24

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 24th one which means there are 23 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one. – JCH

NON-FICTION

“Culture is, of course, much more than the lifestyle patterns of a particular point in time, but those patterns are informed by the culture.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse’s How to Make Cassava Bread and Other Musings on Culture

MISC.

– dialect coach Erik Singer breaking down the performances of actors attempting the accents of real people.

CREATIVES ON CREATING

20170807_161635
“Carnival is mas, and mas is  an opportunity to showcase our creativity and that, the opportunity it provides to showcase our creativity, is the purpose of this post.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse (read full blog post on how the mango fairy from children’s picture book With Grace ended up in the parade of the 60th anniversary of Antigua’s Carnival )

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sweet gossip-“For me, Sweet Gossip is about the Bajan culture.” – Sheena Rose – watch the full video

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Leones tips

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“Descriptions are a lot easier to write when you consider who is noticing what and why.” – from Janice Hardy’s Fiction University online

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Analysis (of artists like Biggie, Mos Def, Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, MF Doom) which includes discussion of rhyme patterns by rappers like Rakim and Eminem, and speaks to the structuring of the poetry of rap.
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“Get out of your head—your head is good at convincing you that what is bouncing around inside is incredibly important. Usually it’s not.” – Andrew Foster Altschul 

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Kenwyn Murray on lessons he learned from other Trinidadian artists – in two parts – really interesting read and visually stunning. Go to Part One.

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“I’m always most interested in any version of the question, what am I most scared to write about? I try to answer it as honestly as I can every single time, and I often discover it’s something I did not know about myself, which is thrilling. I think that’s the direction I need to run to.” – Shivanee Ramlochan in Caribbean Beat

INTERVIEWS

“Treat yourself with respect and kindness. Make your writing time sacred. When you are not writing, you should be reading. Writers are never off duty because material can come from anywhere — a chance remark or when buying bread. Maybe it is just my sieve of a memory but I recommend note taking on the go. And don’t wait for the muse. That woman woke up late this morning and is stuck in traffic. She’s coming but best you start writing now. She’ll join you later.” – Ingrid Persaud interview

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“Any poet who is going to be more than very good better be prepared to disappoint, upset, puzzle or even scandalize some people.” – Vladimir Lucien in Pseudo Mag

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“I find it invigorating to constantly work in new forms and genres.” Alyse Knorr at Grab Life by the Lapels

FICTION

“This secret chocolate handover was our special sin. Everybody know that a little secret-sinning sweet too bad. If you don’t agree I know you lying through your teeth. In them sinning moments Reggie softened, forgot his constant pain and forgot to fight the big C. He even forgot to fight me.” – Sweet Sop by Ingrid Persaud is the winning story from the Caribbean Region of the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

***

‘Granddaddy start to look uncomfortable. “Go and start getting ready for school. I gine mek you some breakfast.”

“It is Saturday.”

“Stop giving me back chat!!” Granddaddy yell. He turn and stomp back into he bedroom.’ – from Shakirah Bourne’s Corn Curls and the Red Bicycle in Adda

***

“Arnav’s palms are cool and moist; I know he is frightened. He quickens his pace and I am afraid he will break into a run. I tell him it’s alright; they didn’t hear the asphalt hit the hut. I push him in front of me and clutch his shirt from behind. They will shoot him if he runs. They are shooting a lot of young boys these days. In the villages that flank our town, they are making boys run in the open fields, then shoot them down as if they were balloons at a hit-the-target game in funfairs. There is a name for it which escapes me now.” – Greetings from a Violent Hometown by Ritu Monjori Kalita Deka

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“Before he died, my father, who loved words, told me that the Chinese language has no past tense—that therefore all events recur and nothing ends. Similarly, he said, the Japanese language has no future tense and so, in order to imagine the days to come, all we have within our vocabulary is the present.” – The Second Waltz by Madeleine Thien

POETRY

“When I have fears that I may cease to be

Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,” – from When I have fears that I may cease to be by John Keats

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– Maya Angelou

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“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size” – An audio of May Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman at Poem Hunter

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Caribbean Writers Online

Links to artiste/writer pages (websites and/or blogs) from the Caribbean region – artistes listed here are either Caribbean born or Caribbean descended (in the latter case, they are listed under their country of lineage). I’ve opted to list per country of birth or origin, though the writer may have grown up on elsewhere.

Please note, this page is a work in progress – links will be added over time – if you have a link you would like added, email wadadlipen@gmail.com for consideration – if linked or if sharing this post, please link back.

Antiguan_writers_group_with_Caryl_Phillips_2[1]

From left, Antiguan and Barbudan writers S E James, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Brenda Lee Browne, Akilah Jardine, Marie Elena John w/Kittitian author Caryl Phillips at the Calabash literary festival in Jamaica (2007).

 Antiguan and Barbudan Writers on the Web

group photo

This image is from a fiction editing workshop in Guyana and participants included some of the writers listed on this page – Joanne C. Hillhouse, first left back is listed among the Antiguan and Barbudan Writers on the Web; and below Shivaneee Ramlochan (Trinidad and Tobago), second from left, front; Richard Georges (BVI), second from left, back; Nailah Imoja (Barbados), third from left, front; Ruel Johnson (Guyana), third from right, back; Felene Cayetano (Belize), front, right. (2016)

Barbados

Shakirah Bourne

Babara Ann Chase

Nailah Imoja

Karen Lord

Sandra Sealey

Edison T. Williams

Belize

Felene Cayetano

Ivory Kelly

Bermuda

Yesha Townsend

the British Virgin Islands

Richard Georges

Eugenia O’Neal

the Dominican Republic

Junot Diaz

Grenada

Tobias Buckell

Oonya Kempadoo 

Guyana

Maggie Harris

Ruel Johnson

Yolanda T. Marshall

Caribbean Writers Congress with Marin Bethel and Leone Ross 2013

Leone Ross, right, shows up in the Jamaica section. Pictured here at a writers’ conference in Guadeloupe with Joanne C. Hillhouse and Bahamas’ Marion Bethel.

Jamaica

Raymond Antrobus

Tanya Batson-Savage (publisher and editor Blue Banyan Books)

Jacqueline Bishop

Amina Blackwood-Meeks

Diane Browne

Colin Channer

Carolyn Cooper

Kwame Dawes

Jonathan Escoffery

Yashika Graham

Diana McCaulay

Alecia McKenzie

Kei Miller

Opal Palmer Adisa

Annie Paul

Geoffrey Philp

Leone Ross

Olive Senior

Safiya Sinclair

Puerto Rico

Lisa Paravisini-Gebert

Ivette Romero-Cesareo

St. Kitts & Nevis

Carol Mitchell 4 by Joanne C Hillhouse

Carol Mitchell is pictured here as a guest presenter at Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Jhohadli Summer Youth Project writing camp in Antigua, 2013.

Carol Mitchell

Caryl Phillips

St. Lucia

John Robert Lee

Derek Walcott

Suriname

Rihana Jamaludin

Karin Lachmising

Trinidad and Tobago

Lisa Allen-Agostini

Vashti Bowlah

Danielle Boodoo Fortune (see also this link to her various past blogs)

Summer Edward

Marsha Gomes-McKie

Nicholas Laughlin

Sharon Millar

with Sharon Millar

Sharon Millar, left, makes a point at the V I Lit Fest 2015 as Joanne C. Hillhouse listens.

Paula Obe

Ingrid Persaud

M. Nourbese Philip

Shivanee Ramlochan

Leshanta Roop

Lawrence Scott

Liane Spicer

U. S. V. I.

Tiphanie Yanique

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Reading Room and Gallery XVlll

This page is for sharing links to things of interest around the internet. It’ll be sporadically updated; so, come back from time to time. For the previous reading rooms (1, 11, 111, 1v, v, v1 , v11, v111, 1x, x, x1, x11, x111, x1v, xv, xvi, xvii), click the links or use the search feature to the right, to the right.

ON PUBLISHING

“#3 Not following guidelines.
Double check all guidelines before submitting to a magazine. Is there a word count requirement? Should your name be removed from the piece? Should your document be in Word, pdf, or rich text format? If it’s an email submission, do they want the document attached, or pasted into the body of the email? Do they accept simultaneous submissions? Don’t risk getting your piece being tossed out because you didn’t follow the rules.” – (here at Wadadli Pen I know this one well) – read the rest of the list of mistakes writers make when submitting.

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“My advice for young writers is to keep reading widely and for pleasure. And don’t get discouraged! So much of it is just mule-like persistence. That’s what I feel I learned this time around. There were many times when Swamplandia! failed and I had to pick it up and try and write it again. There were stories in my collection that were just duds, they’ve been voted off the island, and it was only because I had this material commitment to getting them out the door that I was willing to keep working at them. I really do think that’s the best advice—to keep at it.” – Karen Russell

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“An interesting insight into the process came when the pair considered how they had arrived at rather different descriptions for the location of the windmill-giants – Jull Costa has them ‘on that same plain’, whereas Bush situates them ‘in the nearby field’. It transpired that, rather than seeking a literal translation of the Spanish ‘en aquel campo’, each had pictured what they read the original to mean and then found a way to render the image in English.” – Ann Morgan on dueling translations of Don Quixote

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“Not only do I not see movies as I write, I can’t visualise, well, anything. At all. I don’t even dream in pictures. I have absolutely no concept of what it would be like to see things that no one else can see.” – Jo Eberhardt

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“It happens too often that beginning fiction writers fail to give their characters jobs or occupations. Weak stories by beginning writers often feature adults who are wealthy without any discernible means of income or who perform the indiscernibly ambiguous task of “work.” Characters are described as working each day, but the reader is never told what they do or how their daily jobs affect them or their interactions with others. Characters do not earn money; they simply have it. There are no bills, no expenses, and, of course, no financial struggles.” – Amina Gautier

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“So here you have a man at the beach, but he can’t enjoy it; he has to sit, because of his paranoia, with his back to the water, sitting in a chair; he wears a Hawaiian shirt but there’s a bullet proof vest under it; he likes a red wine spritzer but it tastes like Skittles which is very loaded…Trayvon Martin had a pack of Skittles.” – Rowan Ricardo Phillips, born in New York to Antiguan parents, reflecting on his poem News from the Muse of Not Guilty after a reading of the poem, from his collection Heaven, on CBC Radio.

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“You start from building this world with their rules, and then you just follow logic in order to come up with the rest of the details. So once you have this simple fact that you’re treating couples in a certain way and single people in another way—and there’s a bit of a concept that this is almost like a prison drama or something, at least in the first half of the film—then you pick up on those things and you borrow things from other kinds of situations … We tried to get into the heads of people that would be in charge and what they would come up with.” – Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos on the making of his film The Lobster

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Writing other…Mary Robinette Kowal provides some insight to culturally sensitive approaches to doing so.

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“The second thing is reminding myself: You don’t have to write anything that you’re not deeply interested in. Every time I remember this, it’s a relief and a surprise.” – Rita Mae Reese on curing the affliction of not-writing.

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“I use traditional women’s techniques, such as sewing, beading and applique. I incorporate found objects in my work; they are clues towards understanding my story and that of women in general.” – Heather Doram

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“So much of what the filmmakers did in creating and then editing their work is what we writers strive for when polishing a manuscript: pinpoint the heart of the story and stay true to it, cut what can be lost, and always direct conflict and pacing.” – Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton w/ Elena Greene discuss The Lord of the Rings’ adaptation from book to film and what writers can learn from the choices the filmmakers made. It’s a five part series that begins, here.

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A long form interview on the arts is a rare thing, especially in a Caribbean print publication, so kudos to Jamaica’s Observer for this series of poetry month features, this one spotlighting American Tim Tomlinson, co-founder of the New York Writers’ Workshop, in conversation with Jamaican-American poet and artist Jacqueline Bishop. Tomlinson’s book Yolanda, an Oral History in Verse, is focused on the Phillipines but his connection to the Caribbean – his time spent visiting and diving in various islands and countries but most especially the Bahamas is explored as well. Essentially, this interview is about both his journeying as a person and how that has informed his writing, how he creates, generally, and specifically in the case of Yolanda. W/thanks to Jacqueline Bishop for sharing, here have a slow as you sipping your iced tea kind of read:

Tim Tomlinson 1Tim Tomlinson 2Tim Tomlinson 3

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“That was one of those magic moments. That came out pretty much whole cloth. Every now and then you ride the tiger. Most days the tiger rides me, but every now and then I ride the tiger. That’s my favorite chapter in the book. The opening chapter of The Given Day is another example. It’s my favorite chapter in The Given Day. It was written in two nights. It was rewritten extensively for prose, but it just came out.” – Dennis Lehane

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“When I closed my eyes, I could smell flue-cured tobacco. I could feel the hot sun beating down on me. I could hear the southern accent of a teacher whose voice reminded me of poetry.” – Shannon Hitchcock on the inspiration for her book Ruby Lee & Me

VISUAL ART

Online gallery of Netherlands artist Marijke Buurlage.

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Technically this is musical and literary art (lyrics) shared via a visual medium but that’s not the point. RIP, Prince.

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“Nature is completely indifferent to the human endeavours whether they are good, evil, otherwise, whatever.” – Lori Landey and Beth Harris discussing Joseph Mallard William Turner’s Slave Ship

NON FICTION

“How many times over the years
I have explained
This.
Celie and her “prettier” sister Nettie
are practically identical.
They might be twins.
But Life has forced on Celie
all the hardships
Nettie mostly avoids…” – Is Celie actually Ugly? By Alice Walker

***

“Why, I asked my brother, did you like the film so much? So many messages. Look at the title. Everyone has problems underneath. Just because you are smart doesn’t mean u can work everything out yourself.” – Sejal Shah writing on Ordinary People

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“You must read to develop a deeper understanding of literary elements, such as character arc, subtext, voice, and narrative distance.” – Chuck Sambuchino in his article The Pros and Cons of getting a Creative Writing MFA at Writer’s Digest

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Kei Miller’s essay in this BBC piece resonates with me – it’s truthful and thoughtful and bold as so much of his writing is even when speaking of his tentativeness writing the issue of race -how our whiteness and blackness mediate our interactions. That said, I feel that same prickle of disagreement I feel stir in me whenever a black person, black writer (especially if they’re from colonized or formerly colonized places like I am) say, I didn’t know I was black until… because it’s not my truth (my blackness didn’t limit my sense of possibility but the reality is that, like class and other things, our blackness or shades of blackness was and remains a way of separating ourselves from ourselves) even in the predominantly black places I have lived (including Kei’s Jamaica). The Caribbean is not insulated from these issues, though they are not as starkly or sharply or consistently experienced in whiter places like the US and UK. Beyond my own experiences (some touched on in my February 2016 Essence article Mirror Mirror and issues of colourism/shade-ism explored in my book Musical Youth), this fairly recent memory comes to mind: being in a roomful of children of different shades of black, in a public child-friendly space, right here on our predominantly black island, only to have another adult, call out to one of the children, “black boy, black boy” with a tone and cadence that suggested “bad boy, bad boy” and to have him look up, in full acceptance of this (internalizing it). My aside aside, give the audio clip a listen; it’s a really engaging and touching reflection from one of the Caribbean’s best.

INTERVIEWS

“A writer always benefits from being a kind of outsider. That is why I try not to belong to anything too much. [Alienation] makes you an insider-outsider . . . sharpens [your] sense of observation. You look at things with detached eyes. Even some words. Pondering these English words with your Creole eyes. . . . There always is a sort of dialogue going on [within] most artists anyway. They just soak things in that they ultimately try to reproduce some other way. I think having this dual lens has been very helpful.” – Edwidge Dandicat

***

“Grounded in the realities of our history and geography, but unbounded in their imaginative possibilities” – Philip Sander describing the work of Nalo Hopkinson jumped out at me as the very thing I’ve been trying to define when I speak of a Caribbean aesthetic as a criterion for (but not a limitation of) Wadadli Pen submissions.

***

“Shorter doesn’t mean faster or easier! Short story writing is a very different art from that of the novel, from pacing to character development. So for a novelist, it can actually take longer and be more of a stretch to try her hand at writing a short story. A rewarding challenge, certainly, but definitely a challenge.” – Lauren Willig

***

“I remember myself as a young child, my mother had books inside here, and one of them dealt with the Haitian Revolution. I was ever so proud of Toussaint L’Ouverture. I was just proud. I mean, there he was, sitting in the same book with Napoleon and all of these other great men. So, for me, the Haitian Revolution was very significant. I don’t know how it is in popular memory, because right now everybody’s sorry for the Haitians—and “sorry for” in the sense of, “We’re better off” or “They can wear our old clothes.” So I don’t know about it in the popular memory. But certainly historically, Haiti served to frighten late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century governments. Frightening them, and as a matter of fact, had them even more repressive towards their black enslaved workers because their fear of Haiti was so strong. So, I don’t know that it has popular resonances, but certainly for nineteenth-century politics, it did.” – Erna Brodber interview at SX Salon, a Small Axe Literary Platform

***

“What’s interesting to me is that of the women who have read this, every single one thinks that it is absolutely sexy and totally horny. Then I was like, ‘oh, so this is erotica’. And I was reminded again that erotica does not need to be explicit. And, of course, what is erotic and what we find sexy and will respond to viscerally in that way is entirely subjective.” – Leone Ross

***

“The fiction writer in me likes gaps in stories because I can jump into that gap and try to suggest something.” – Marlon James’ Vogue interview

***

“There’s a place for everything…” – says Barbados’ Shakirah Bourne in this NIFCA interview:

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“To move past the ugly parts of history, you have to acknowledge them, on all sides, and this is what I think historical fiction can do so well: show how we got from there to here, but told through characters who see themselves not as history but as completely modern.” – Andrea Mullaney, author of The Ghost Marriage, 2012 Commonwealth Short Story winner for Canada and Europe

***

“The area where I spent my childhood years was surrounded my trees, and always seemed just on the edge of wilderness. That area has changed so much, but there is still that space in my imagination that’s the same…” – Danielle Boodoo Fortune, Woman of Colour interview

***

“What I’m trying to bring out is the power of words themselves, the power and musicality of words.” – Clifton Joseph

***

“Reading was such a sanctuary when I was a teenager, I wanted to see if I could tell a Jamaican story, a Caribbean story, that would interest even an urban teenager.” – Diana McCaulay re her new book Gone to Drift

FICTION

“In April of 1945, after facing only minimal resistance, Rhett was part of the Allied force that liberated a concentration camp named for the beech forests that surrounded it. The day was damp and overcast, with a heavy ground mist that sometimes hid the heaped bodies and sometimes revealed them. Living skeletons stood at the fences and outside the crematoriums, staring at the Americans. Some were horribly burned by white phosphorous.” – Cookie Jar by Stephen King

***

“In death, we live far more richly than we do in life. Our lives are pale shadows in which we are preoccupied with the business of living. It is in death that we take on nuance and colour. We seep through the floorboards of houses, spread out and nestle there. We whistle through windows, ruffle curtains and inhabit the minds and memories of others. We take on a resonance that only memory provides. We become deities. We become ancestors.” – from Ayanna Gillian Lloyd’s Walking in Lapeyrouse

***

“There was no rebuttal. She ended the call. From the decanter on side board, she poured herself a drink. The rum quelled the chill in her stomach — a chill reminiscent of rain-fly wings brushing against her skin. Where did they find him? They were hunting him for so long. Did he put up a fight? Errol had a point: There was really no need for her to kill him herself. But she wanted to.” – H. K. Williams’ Celeste in Moko

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“They’ve taken you, in the rolling melody of their steps and song, to the river Aripo inside the forest, and when they sit and beckon you to come join them, their feet, you notice, are not as they’re supposed to be. It’s a peculiar thing to miss, really, backwards feet. You sense that your own feet have been treading air when they come into contact once again with the marshy forest floor. You look back into the bush where you think you came from, and you want to go home.”- Wenmimareba Klobah Collins

***

Edwidge Dandicat reads and discusses Jamaica Kincaid’s Girl and her own Wingless. And here’s Girl, so you can read along.

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“My wife is happiest on Sunday afternoon, when I leave the house. We have been married five years – too soon for us to take pleasure in each other’s absence.” – from Radio Story by Anushka Jasraj – Commonwealth Short Story winner for Asia

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“After years of working like a dog, clawing his way to fame and fortune—forfeiting family in the process—Desiree and the people of the island had broken down his mighty reserve and rewarded him with passion, friendship and the happiest times he’d ever experienced. He loved living in a place where everyone was aware of who he was, but not impressed or intimidated by what he had done. He admired the lack of social divides, that the Chief Minister played dominoes with ‘The People’, and that his best friend and “liming partner” was her cousin, and his Captain.” – Trudy Nixon’s Anguilla Boat Race, part of Akashic’s Mondays are Murder series

***

Mary Akers said about ‘Viewing Medusa’ after it had been posted at The Good Men Project: “For all you writers out there, this story’s publication is a testament to persistence. It won the Mary Mackey Short Story Prize, it was the story I submitted for my successful Bread Loaf waiter application, but for ten years, I tried unsuccessfully to get it published. I submitted it to 101 journals, 100 of whom rejected it before Matthew Salesses believed in it and brought it out into the world.” Here’s an excerpt from the story:  “I found myself unable to look away as she slurped her soup, dipping the pieces of dasheen in the broth and sucking them dry after each dip. When the soursop was served, she peeled away the bumpy green skin and slurped the fruit into her mouth, rolling it around until the smooth brown seeds were free, spitting them onto her plate. Soursop juice ran down her wrists and dripped off her elbows to the floor. I thought of Miss Connie, later, on her hands and knees, wiping up the stickiness while shaking her head at the lack of manners displayed by scientists.” – the voice/point of view and descriptions work well together to create a clear picture of the part of Dominica in which the story (which feels less fiction and more here’s how it happened) is set – the beauty and ruggedness in the landscape and the character of the people as compared with the visiting (presumably white) scientists, to create as well a certain mood of foreboding, and to suck the reader in…even if it spits that reader out the other end with questions, or rather one lingering question: so wait, she nar go do nutten? – Read the whole of Viewing Medusa here.

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“The fuel tank was empty. He’d collapsed from sunstroke and dehydration. He’d been raving incoherently. When he finally recovered he’d lost all memory of where he’d left his men. A Lysander was sent out to look for them but nothing was ever found. The unforgiving maw of the Sahara had simply swallowed them up.” – Bully Beef and Biscuits by Guy Carter – this was the 2015 winner of the Mogford Prize for Food & Drink Writing

POETRY

“In Trinidad, everyone knows

the Pitch Lake but few have been

few have seen the dark and strange

surface, the vast dirt a mind of its own:

asphalt lake as constant as change.” – from La Brea. Read that and other poems by Andre Bagoo in Moko.

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“No one sees my tears
wafting through the branch clusters
weeping airy patterns into the jungle silence.” – from Mangrove Armour by April Roach in Moko

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“We read menacing messages in the scowls
of passers-by. Some circle around,
mark the territory with treads of footprints,
count down days to our departure.” – Camp by Althea Romeo-Mark in Moko

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“…crushed lemongrass
overcooked tourist flesh sizzling in the noonday sun
barnacled, rusted boats off Devonshire Dock
my neighbour’s garbage ripped open by feral cats
overpriced perfume – from Trimingham’s, I think
‘mountain fresh’ detergent scent of laundry drying on the line
frying fish and sun-ripened fish guts
Baygon and stale beer
overripe cherries
Limacol and sweat..” – from Kim Dismont Robinson’s Scents of Bermuda: Or, All De Smells That Accosted My Nose One Day When Ahs Ridin My Bike From My Momma’s House on Norf Shore To My House in Smif’s Parish

***

‘In the roaring of the wolves the doctor said “Do you feel tenderness”
She was touching me’ – Niina Pollari, sharing and discussing her poem Do You Feel Tenderness

***

“There’ve always been Sunday mornings like this,
when God became young again
and looking back you see
that childhood was a Sunday morning.” – Kendel Hippolyte (Sunday) – be sure to also check out the Dunstan St. Omer Red Madonna that accompanies the poem.

BLOG

“I think I had a very different vision of myself when I was young, and definitely thought I’d have a family and be a loving parent by now. Instead I’ve birthed books” – Zetta Elliott

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“Neglected authors fascinate me. While the particulars for their disregard may vary over time and from culture to culture, one thing remains constant: their perseverance despite official recognition. Such is the case of Eliot Bliss, a ‘white, Creole, and lesbian’ Jamaican novelist and poet whose collected poems have been resurrected by Michela A. Calderaro in Spring Evenings in Sterling Street.” Geoffrey Philp

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“Getting to the place in yourself that is beyond influence is the radical edge.” – Brooke Warner

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“…exploring a new space is a thing of wonder and an entirely individual experience…” – Sonia Farmer, blogging her Fresh Milk residency in Barbados

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READING ROOM Vlll

Like the title says, this is the eighth reading room. Use the search feature to your right and the term ‘reading room’ to find the others. Seven came before, pack-full-0 good reading: poetry, fiction, non fiction, and some visuals too. Good reading makes for good writing. So use the reading rooms like your personal library and enjoy. And remember, keep coming back; they’re never finished. As I discover things, things get added. And don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts re not only what you read here but also possible additions to the reading room.

This one is uncategorizable (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that’s not a word; not the point). It’s the PEN World Voices
online anthology 2014 and I’m sharing the whole thing because I still can’t believe that I got a chance to be a part of this wonderful and prestigious activity. For me a highlight will just be sitting in the audience and listening to the greats read and discuss; but getting the chance to do my own salon style reading was pretty damn cool too. I want you to get the chance to experience some of what I did by sharing some of the other writers who participated via these anthology excerpts. It covers poetry, fiction and non-fiction and includes a piece of my Amelia and all of my Ah Write! as well as, from other Caribbean writers, who I’m happy to say I got along really well with, Barbara Jenkins and Sharon Leach.

INTERVIEWS

Elizabeth Nunez being interviewed on NPR about my book Oh Gad!

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Elizabeth Nunez being interviewed about her book, the memoir Not for Everyday Use.

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What is the last book you read?
“The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. – Jus Bus. Read more of this Texas born, Antiguan-Barbudan raised producer-artiste’s interview with Luxury Locations. And just a reminder about this interview with him right here on Wadadli Pen.

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Opal Palmer interviews Jacqueline Bishop in Moko.

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Jack Neely interviews Nikki Giovanni for New Millennium Writings.

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“This was my main problem when I was just starting out: I was trying to say something. When I began to write, I was deeply self-conscious. I was writing stories hoping they would say something thematic, or address something that I was wrestling with philosophically. I’ve learned, for me at least, it’s a dead road. It’s writing from the outside in instead of the inside out.
But during my very early writing, certainly before I’d published, I began to learn characters will come alive if you back the f*ck off. It was exciting, and even a little terrifying. If you allow them to do what they’re going to do, think and feel what they’re going to think and feel, things start to happen on their own. It’s a beautiful and exciting alchemy. And all these years later, that’s the thrill I write to get: to feel things start to happen on their own.
So I’ve learned over the years to free-fall into what’s happening. What happens then is, you start writing something you don’t even really want to write about. Things start to happen under your pencil that you don’t want to happen, or don’t understand. But that’s when the work starts to have a beating heart.” – read more of this Andre Dubus lll interview.

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Loved so much about this interview, but, I’m biased, as I love all things Edwidge Dandicat…well, all things Edwidge Dandicat’s writing…don’t know her personally at all. Among the things I liked in this Guernica interview, the phrasing of the questions (How did you find her? – about Dandicat’s main character); the insight that Dandicat reads and re-reads to re-immerse herself in the world of the story and the sense she has of eavesdropping on her characters because I do that too; the judgments about certain writing choices e.g. English or Creole – I’m not an immigrant (she contextualizes it as a problem of immigrants writing in English) but I can relate to this: “people think it’s primarily a commercial choice. But for many of us, it’s a choice that rises out of the circumstances of our lives. These are the tools I have at my disposal, based on my experiences” – yep; her take on book reviews and categorizations and the burdens put upon fiction and her point that “fiction is not journalism or sociology or anthropology. Every story is singular. The way we get depth is by putting a bunch of singular stories together to tell larger more complex and sometimes even contradictory stories”… and more… I also find her description of her book as a hybrid between a story collection and a novel interesting and her references to books like it will be added to my reading list because one of my current writing projects seems to be veering into this hybrid territory. Anyway, reading interviews with great writers is always a master class for me, and Edwidge is one of the best in my opinion. Check out the full interview here.

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Michael Anthony, a Caribbean favourite, talks about his favourite meal, his favourite calypso, and more in this interview.

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New Orleans writer and journalist Missy Wilkinson about how being a journalist fuels her fiction and being a shape-shifter. Found this very relatable. Read the whole thing at Grab the Lapels.

VISUAL

Sandra Sealey talks about her journey as a writer.

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This Pinterest link is all visuals of Caribbean writers of fiction for children, teens, young adults. The clip, lifted from the site, features Tamarind publisher sharing in a very personal way why such diverse books are absolutely essential.

FICTION

“She breathes deep like she learned from the weekly yoga classes she paid for but eventually dropped. Deep breathing makes her dizzy. Too slow. Too many text messages buzz in the time it takes to exhale.” – from Empty by M. M. De Voe. More here.

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“And you!” Adele said “I raised my quivering arms on high; I laughed and laughed into the sky…. Edna St. Vincent Millet. You were so romantic!” – from Time Capsule by Carol J. Arnold. Read more.

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“We pushed north, praying for the aurora borealis, a whale breaching, something. An eagle dropped fish entrails on the deck. We studied the water’s flotsam for glass floats and fished out styrofoam cups.” – from The Famous Writer by Norma Shainin. Read more.

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“Najua had been in the room one night and Kate had asked Seth if people went to heaven when they died. Seth hadn’t hesitated to tell her yes, and to go on to say what he remembered from his childhood Sunday school lessons: heaven was a place of pure eternal happiness and joy, where no one suffered and no one got sick or hurt. He’d felt a twinge of guilt as he told his girl what he did not himself believe, but Najua smiled and nodded her reassurance that he was doing the right thing, her dark eyes moist and full of admiration. At the time, he’d taken it for more than that; he’d thought she might be falling for him too.” – Hush Little Baby by Vic Sizemore. Read the full.

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‘Cerberus closes both eyes, dreaming of the old man’s future, death waiting in the threshold to cradle him as it will never cradle Cerberus. He twitches in his sleep, wakes to the sound of Alma’s footsteps running through the front door, across the hardwood floor, out of breath, “Hi, Cerberus,” passing him like a warm, Aegean breeze.’ – from Cereus Sleeps by B. K. Loren. Read the full.

***

“He is looking at her, has no wings to flick and she has none to fly off with and she knows from one moment to the next that nothing can get her out of the situation without leaving some sort of residue.” The tension is palpable and, unfortunately, if you’re a woman, all too relatable in Doro Boehme’s Thief Knot, Fastening at Canopic Jar.

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Coo Yah by Tammi Browne-Bannister, an Antiguan writer who now resident in Barbados, captures the shifting, dark poetry of a hurricane lashed landscape.

POETRY

Esther Phillips reppng for Barbados on the BBC’s Poetry Postcards.

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Alone by Maya Angelou. May she rest in peace.

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“Nothing understands the ecstatic wine
of this music like your body” – from Shostakovich: Five Pieces by Pamela Uschuk. Read also her poem Learning the Theremin.

NON FICTION

An interesting and important conversation and one of relevance to writers like us, far far far off the map of mainstream publishing. NPR’s To Achieve Diversity in Publishing, a Difficult Silence beats Silence.

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‘The hit or miss nature of words is well suited to navigating in the dark, and this story proves that words have great power even if the speaker knows they only have a 50% chance of being true. And even when the speaker knows they are 100% untrue, pragmatic words get a person past the gatekeeper and into the circus. Or, words can be thrown out into unknown territory like hooks on a line. Our friend Judith, who spoke Hebrew and Dutch before learning English advised my husband, “If you want to find your way in a foreign language, you must guess a thousand times a day. Be bold—guess!” Words infused with longing and thrown like dice—left, right, or straight ahead—can get you home.’ – from The Resiliency Gene by Ellen Graf. Read the full.

***

Martin Scorcese on the difference between plot and story. You know, I just finished watching his film Shutter Island before posting this and, though he references other filmmakers, it’s as illustrative as any of them of the point he makes in this short clip. Watch and learn.

BLOG

From Shakirah Bourne’s Get Write! – On Dialect: How Caribbean People Supposed Tuh Talk In A Story, Eh?

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So when did you begin falling in love with books? Read Kamy Wicoff’s blog here – and feel free to share your responses in the comments section below.

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One writer’s journey to publication. She Writes.

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Antiguan and Barbudan Leonard Tim Hector is one of the greats of Caribbean thought (i.e. among those who researched, observed, analyzed, and offered insight to our lives, in his case, various areas of our lives – politics to sports to the arts). JAmerican writer Geoffrey Philp acknowledges as much in his preamble to a re-posting of a Hector piece on Caribbean literature and why it matters. Read here.

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Writers Read by Jeff Goins.

*NEW* REVIEWS
A section for books I haven’t necessarily read as yet but, thanks to these reviews, now kind of want to.

Annie Paul reviews Jamaican writer, and fast Wadadli Pen patron, Diana McCaulay’s Huracan.

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, 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 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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READING ROOM VII

Like the title says, this is the seventh reading room. Use the search feature to your right and the term ‘reading room’ to find the others. Six came before, pack-full-0 good reading: poetry, fiction, non fiction, and some visuals too. Good reading makes for good writing. So use the reading rooms like your personal library and enjoy. And remember, keep coming back; they’re never finished. As I discover things, things get added. And don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts re not only what you read here but also possible additions to the reading room.

BLOG

Monique Roffey (Trinidad and Tobago), author of The White Woman on the Green Bicycle -a book I recommended in my Blogger on Books a while back – shares writing advice and recommended reads in this post. I also want to mention that another Roffey post sparked a most interesting discussion re Caribbean literature – check out this post (also this) and this one from Vladimir Lucien (St. Lucia) for more on that.

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Have you read any of these Caribbean women writers?

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Love everything about this post and Shakirah Bourne’s gushing nervousness and excitement over meeting her literary hero. READ MORE.

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“Make no apology for your language, and nobody will expect one.” Bajan Shakirah Bourne speaks about the write to use our natural, our mother, our heart language in life and on the page. Sidebar: that bit about Dickens struck me about him training his ear and his hand to write what people said, and how they said it; as a reporter, who writes what some people think is short hand but is actually Joanne-warp-speed-hand, I’m beginning to see how my life tracking down stories and interviewing people shaped and shapes the stories I tell and how I tell them. Still figuring it out, but yeah, that resonated with me. Plus I love Dickens. Sidebar over. Substantively, Bourne writes about Scottish author Irvine Welsh and what we can learn about how he uses dialect, unapologetically. Read the full here.

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I was tempted to put this art-heavy Althea Romeo Mark post in the visual category but it’s an art blog,  in which she reminds us that “art is part of our everyday life” and shows us too. Read and see here.

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Food for thought: 5 Reasons to Wait and Slow Down when it comes to Publishing your Book.

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In this post, Jamaican writer Diane Browne wonders, what is it about Calabash, the literary festival that leaves us all a little bit drunk on words. Dr. Carolyn Cooper also had some musings about the magical festival.

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What Makes a Writer ‘Caribbean’? asks Lisa Allen-Agostini

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Creative people can be oddities…but that’s a good thing…really…and daring to be a little odd can be good for anyone. Embarrass Yourself. It’s Good for the Heart by Elaine Orr.

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“I think you have to work hard, and you have to place yourself in the light somehow – whether it is at readings, by writing online, by submissions, by reaching out to people as you have just done – and if you stand there long enough and nicely enough (i.e. as part of a bigger picture, not as the star of your own show!), then good things do happen.” – RU FREEMAN RESPONDS TO A ASPIRING WRITER

FICTION

I’ll confess I haven’t fully read Gateway – a Caribbean Sampler in the Missing Slate as yet but somehow I have no qualms about recommending it. When you’re done, check out the first issue of Susumba’s Book Bag.

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“You wake to see the sunrise exactly once a year. The cock’s crow which normally signals the start of the day alerts you that you are late.

Kadooment Day is here.” READ MORE OF THIS BARBADOS FESTIVAL FROM THE UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE OF SHAKIRAH BOURNE’S PEN IN ‘THE FOOT IS MINE’

INTERVIEWS

Elizabeth Nunez being interviewed on NPR about my book Oh Gad!

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Kei Miller interview.

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John Robert Lee’s interview with the ARC has some interesting insights about the arts scene in St. Lucia which some may find also mirrors the scene in their territory. Read the full here.

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Audio interview – my girl, Belizean writer Ivory Kelly on the BBC.

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“The IDEA is key. Get your IDEA straight and you can execute it in a thousand ways. But the IDEA must always be singular and original.” – Read more of Jamaican Roland Watson-Grant’s interview with Annie Paul.

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“There’s been a kind of amnesia,” he says, “or not wanting to focus on this, because of it being so painful. It’s kind of crazy. We can deal with the second world war and the Holocaust and so forth and what not, but this side of history, maybe because it was so hideous, people just do not want to see. People do not want to engage.” More from the director of 12 Years a Slave here.

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“My father recited poetry all the time, spasmodically and loudly in the house. But there was a method to his madness. He read with a compelling rotundity: Neruda’s ‘United Fruit Company’, Wilfred Owen’s ‘Exposure’, Martin Carter’s ‘This is the Dark Time My Love’, Derek Walcott’s ‘As John to Patmos’, Dylan Thomas’ ‘Do Not Go Gently Into that Good Night’. He also wrote and was very modest about doing so.” – Read more of the Arc’s interview with St. Lucian poet Vladimir Lucien.

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“In a way Island Princess in Brooklyn celebrates my father’s family and their journey. Interestingly enough, Cordelia Finds Fame and Fortune celebrated the fact that fame and fortune can be found here at home (no need to migrate). However, Princess is forced to migrate and forced to make a new life or return home. Is this back story then part of the journey, a journey in which I am now able to look outwards from our island to our people overseas? This circle of family, of story, fills me with wonder.” – Diane Browne, Read the full interview at the Brown Bookshelf.

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“My greatest fortune has come from the people who believed in me who have allowed my writing to flourish, and from the many individuals who I’ve come into contact with during the creative process of writing. However I have yet to walk into a bookstore and see my books there, that remains a dream!  So – a mixed life, and at the age of 60 I know I have much to be thankful for and hope when and if my writing is read, that it will bring inspiration to others.” – Read more o Arc magazine’s interview with Commonwealth short story prize winner for the Caribbean region.

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Carib Lit interviews Ezekiel Alan, a self published Jamaican novelist who claimed the Commonwealth book prize. Now that’s inspiring. How’d he do it?

“Get honest feedback, from people not too close to you. Do as professional a job as possible — get your book properly edited and proofread.”  Alan also encourages writers to develop and stick with a writing routine and to think outside the box in selecting story ideas. “It is tougher to compete by producing what everyone else is producing.”

Read more.

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Writer-colleague and Burt Award Winner A-dZiko Gegele told me on facebook “Your ‘Island SisStar’, Jamaica Kincaid was at Calabash Jamaica this year – what a fabulous soul – she was witty, and full of humility and grace – highly rated by the audience.” Here’s Susumba’s coverage of that interview.

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So much inspiration to pull from in this interview, it was hard to excerpt just one but in the end I went this: “Whatever work we do, we must work from the heart.” Dena Simmons is an American educator and activist with Antiguan and Barbudan roots. I know because I was at a literary conference in the USA where among the very few black people there, there was one other Antiguan or so she introduced herself to me and I’m happy to have made the connection. Read up.

NON FICTION

Zadie Smith’s 10 rules for writing.

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“I write because the island I live in is small, and I feel a sting each time the people who ask where I am from, then cut short their attention when they realize just how small it is, cut short their attention because the island is not on the radar of much-of-the-world, unless one sharpens the gaze.” – Jonathan Bellot. Read more.

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I hardly know where to excerpt, there’s so much wisdom here but…how about this:

“If you like fantasy and you want to be the next Tolkien, don’t read big Tolkienesque fantasies — Tolkien didn’t read big Tolkienesque fantasies, he read books on Finnish philology. Go and read outside of your comfort zone, go and learn stuff.”

Incidentally, I remember a professor making a similar point about being a journalist, he suggested that we needed to spend less time in the bubble of learning about media and communications and more time just learning about…well, everything.

Read more from Neil Gaiman here.

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“As a child being educated in Guyana, English Literature was an invitation to other worlds, an invitation which has never lost its appeal…” read more of Maggie Harris reflecting on a literary journey which most recently spiked with her 2014 win of the Commonwealth Short Story prize for the Caribbean region.

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If you’re thinking of publishing especially in the children’s market and you live in the Caribbean, you should read this article by Kellie Magnus.

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“In the first draft I sometimes found my characters being mouthpieces for me and my good intentions, and that made the writing weak and bland. In the second draft, I shut up and let the characters do their own talking, and the story improved considerably. The struggle of the protagonist to come to an understanding of herself beyond victimhood was also much clearer when I didn’t try to impose a social justice agenda on her. She became not merely a representative of all children and adults who have survived child sexual abuse, but a real character, with hopes and fears and wants and needs she tries to meet in the way she knows how to, and I had to let her speak for herself in order to give her the agency her history had denied her.” – READ MORE OF LISA ALLEN-AGOSTINI’S ATTEMPTS  TO NAVIGATE THE TERRAIN BETWEEN NON FICTION HORROR AND FICTION WITH BOTH A SOCIAL CONSCIENCE AND A REAL HEART BEAT.

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“I want to write poetry that is alive, fresh, vibrant, contemporary in feeling, readable, thought-provoking, playfully subversive, powerful, and yet still tender. I want it to be full of the energy, culture, history, music, natural beauty, spirituality, and social struggles of Puerto Rico, and other islands of the Caribbean where I have visited or lived… I don’t write love poetry, and I don’t rhyme. I write because I want to communicate with readers in a way that matters, makes an impact, or makes some kind of beneficial difference in the reader’s thoughts and in the society. Can poetry do that? I still believe in the power of the word…If there is any “must” for a poet, from my perspective, it is to widely read other poets and thus develop the ability to sort out your own place as both an innovator and a member of an ongoing literary community and tradition that you will nourish and be nourished by.” READ MORE INSIGHTS FROM PUERTO RICAN POET LORETTA COLLINS KOBLAH

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Plagiarists, Muses and ‘Stalk-home’ Syndrome by Farzana Versey.

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Never give up…plus, yay, supernatural gifs: Jennifer L. Armentrout on Why I’m not the Person to ask about self-publishing.

POETRY

Antiguan and Barbudan Linisa George’s Poetry Postcard on the BBC, In the Closet.

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St. Lucian Vladimir Lucien’s Poetry Post Card on the BBC, Ebb 1.

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“In Carnival season, he is Lord and often Monarch, but at his day job, he is a squire at White Knight Laundry, where hotels and restaurants hire linens for special occasions, and employees wash, iron, mend, pick-up, and drop off.” This line captured for me that split between real life and the larger than life calypso persona of the Carnival season. Read the full poem – What He Brought For Me by Loretta Collins Koblah – in the July 2014 edition of Caribbean Beat.

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“Tonight I want to offer you
this moonlight cupped in a purple
flower …” sigh, right? Swoon to the rest of this Esther Phillips poem, And Yet Again, here.

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Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep by Elizabeth Frye

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Poetry Parnassus – “verse from each Olympic nation

VISUAL

Calypso is storytelling… check out this Sparrow classic for a brief lesson. Don’t forget to dance.

Other calypso video posts on this site include: the Latumba post, the King Obtinate post, and the Short Shirt post.

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Something I’ve long wanted to do with the Wadadli Pen stories.

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, 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 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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