Tag Archives: Shara McCallum

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late September 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)


I don’t know how to write this. I just learned of the passing from COVID of a past Wadadli Pen patron. In life, they didn’t want public credit and I don’t want to break trust with them now. So I will say, in their memory, thanks and walk with God. Gone too soon. Because this wasn’t an old smadee (for those who think youth will protect them and they don’t need to think about others). I guess I’m going there… stop playing with this COVID (double figures – 20+ people – dead in 108 square mile Antigua from one disease in one month? That we know of? Hospital so stressed that people can’t access any kind of non-COVID lab testing except for emergency surgery, other services impacted as well? and we still playing?!) Wear the mask. Social distance. Sanitize. and most importantly #getvaxxed (just as we have for polio, rubella, small pox etc). And please don’t be selfish, if COVID is in your home don’t take it out in to the community – tap home. (Source – Facebook)


I didn’t think I’d be writing about Lil Nas X on this site but here we are. I was listening to a book vlog on booktube matching songs from his new album with books, and when the vlogger said Dominica (actually she said Dom-in-ik-a not Dom-in-eek-a as it’s actually pronounced but) my radar went up (I have a radar for all things Caribbean). So I wondered, wait, does this kid shaking up the industry and societal norms have Caribbean roots? Yes, yes, he does. Per Loop, his dad Robert Stafford is from Dominica. Okay, but what’s the ‘Dominica’ connection to the song? The song is pretty bleak after all, not a sign of the nature isle in sight. But, again, according to Loop, though not named ‘Dominica’ exists in the artist’s mind in opposition to the bleak reality in the song. ‘He explained that he choose to name the track Tales of Dominica “because I feel like Dominica is like that beautiful place.”’ So, there you have it, that’s why there’s a Lil Nas X song in this round up – catchy beat, melancholic lyrics, my kinda song.

(Source – Booktube)


The Kingston Culture Forum.

Register here. (Source – Twitter)


What a charmed journey this book (Love after Love by Ingrid Persaud) has had. Keeping up with the awards has been a challenge. This one is from June.


My next workshop will be with the Bocas lit fest and its focus will be writing children’s lit. Register from anywhere.

Go here to register. (Source – Bocas)


Barbados-based, multi award winning writer Sharma Taylor, whose first novel recently sold at auction and is forthcoming in 2022, is for the first time offering writing courses and you can register from any where in the world.

(Source – email from Ayesha Gibson-Gill, Barbados Cultural Officer – Literary Arts + from the author )

See other Opportunities and Opportunities Too.

New Books

No Ruined Stone by Jamaican writer Shara McCallum was published by Peepal Tree Press this past July. It is described as “a story of slavery and colonialism, challenging the historical archive’s sheer, unyielding wall by going not over or around it, but fearlessly through”. Specifically, “her poems imagine the what-if-that-almost-was of Scotland’s best-loved Bard, following Burns into the life he might have lived as a plantation overseer in Jamaica—then seeing his enslaved granddaughter back to Scotland to claim a life reserved for white women.” – Peepal Tree Press (Source – John R. Lee email)


West Indies cricket legend and sports commentator Michael Holding of Jamaica dropped a new book this past summer, a timely book. “Through the prism of sport and conversations with its legends, including Usain Bolt, Adam Goodes, Thierry Henry, Michael Johnson, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Makhaya Ntini, Naomi Osaka and Hope Powell, Michael Holding explains how racism dehumanises people; how it works to achieve that end; how it has been ignored by history and historians; and what it is like to be treated differently just because of the colour of your skin.” Ironic that the book has a ringing endorsement from Piers Morgan but maybe a testimony to how good it is. Especially as the book seems to be a part of the conversations around #BlackLivesMatter – specifically the 2020 uprising fuelled by the murder of George Floyd in the US. “Rarely can a rain delay in a cricket match have led to anything like the moment when Holding spoke out in the wake of the #BlackLivesMatter protests about the racism he has suffered and has seen all around him throughout his life. But as he spoke, he sought not only to educate but to propose a way forward that inspired so many. Within minutes, he was receiving calls from famous sports stars from around the world offering to help him to spread the message further.” This birthed Why We Kneel, How We Rise, in which Holding shares stories from some of the world’s most iconic Black athletes. “To say I was surprised at the volume of positive feedback I received from around the world after my comments on Sky Sports is an understatement,” Holding is quoted on the site of publisher Simon & Schuster as saying. “I came to realise I couldn’t just stop there; I had to take it forward – hence the book, as I believe education is the way forward.” Holding’s previous books are his autobiography No Holding Back and Whispering Death: the Life and Times of Michael Holding written with Tony Cozier. (Source – Twitter announcement from Kingston Bookshop initially, additional information from S & S website)

Arts news

Local designer Kevon Moitt partnered with Digicel to release a documentary (‘Own It – Our Festival; My Passion’) on his creative journey this past summer. Moitt told the Daily Observer (p. 3 of its August 4th 2021 issue), “I find that we don’t have much documentation in regards to Carnival, culture, designers, and designing processes, so I thought that being in the industry and having so much involvement in it that I needed to start the documentation process.” The doc is available in two parts on YouTube.

Part 1 begins here.

(Source – Facebook)


This isn’t arts news but it is news worth knowing and there is at least one artist involved.

The Environmental Awareness Group in Antigua and Barbuda has a new executive that includes (top to bottom) mindfulness coach Chloe Johnston, Inland Revenue deputy Jermaine Jarvis, data processing controller at the Antigua Public Utilities Authority Kerri Gore, Lawson Lewis – an artist and filmmaker I mentioned back in April when he won a regional prize for one of his commercials, civil engineer Phikwe Goodwin, lawyer Rushaine Cunningham, private sector project engineer Stanley Barreto, previous president Tahambay Smith, and sustainable tourism minister with the Ministry of Tourism Vashti Ramsey-Casimir. It’s interesting to see the continuing changing face of the EAG – the country’s main environmental advocacy group, started back in 1988 – and that sounds like a good mix of capabilities, and it’s certainly a youthful looking line-up. (Source – Antiguanice on twitter)


check out the two latest editions of my column CREATIVE SPACE, spotlighting marine culture in Antigua and Barbuda.


Papillote Press out of Dominica has announced a “glittering new website” which it says is mobile and user friendly. The new website was done by Dominica-based designer Petrea.


It is not yet known if a virtual option was considered nor when CARTIFESTA will return, and hosted by whom, as the Caribbean continues to struggle with the fallout from COVID-19 and its myriad variants including sharp economic decline, an overwhelmed healthcare sector, personal loss for those who have lost people to the pandemic, cancellation of other cultural markers like Carnival and beach days, and social turmoil. (Source – facebook)

Related PSA: Please inform yourself using verifiable and credible fact-based sources; and then, hopefully, get vaxxed. Meanwhile, care about the people around you enough to wear a mask, socially distance, sanitize, and seriously, think about getting vaccinated. (JCH)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, 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 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 34

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 33 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.



Keanu Reeves: Reading From Paul Gauguin’s ‘Noa Noa’


“I didn’t know much about publishing, so I reached out to several local writers who had been published but didn’t get much response. It was only when Rosalind Carrington replied that I was able to gain some traction. She would introduce me to Sharon Miller and these two women were the only ones who gave me the time of day. So many people just didn’t even respond! So I am grateful, everyday, that they did,” she details. In the course of editing her novel with the mentorship she received, she would come to realise that though she had the basic novel idea down in words, it was her craft of writing that needed something more. She explains further, “People think that in writing — well we all learn to write, so a writer simply puts words to paper, crafts a story and then goes out there, gets published and wins an award right?” she says with a laugh. “There probably should be another word for what we do — but it’s not as simple as ‘writing’ implies. It’s a different craft altogether; a very solitary profession that requires hours and hours of work and a certain disposition. As a writer you not just have to be able to tolerate solitary confinement but also somehow enjoy it.” – re Celeste Mohammed. Read more.


‘“Micah, you know you white too, right?”
“I tell you to stop that shit. I not white.”
Keisha snorted.
Micah’s face got a little redder despite his tan “You know is the expats I talking about Keisha – the foreign kinda white, the rich peoplekinda white. Acting like if the place belong to them.”’ – Ayanna Gillian Lloyd


“When time come for food to share, she take out she KFC and start to eat.” – from The Cook by Lisa Allen-Agostini in New Daughters of Africa, presented as the Bocas Lit Fest


“Climbing the tree was easy, the sequence of steps and grips was like recalling a once-forgotten language. As I maneuvered along the branch to my old window, surprised it could still bear my weight, the backyard lights next door came on. I stopped moving, the pillowcase of pills swinging to a silence. The justice let out two of his goldendoodles to pee. Every summer when I was a boy, the justice and his wife had paid me twenty dollars a week to walk their dogs. Then he gave me the clerking position. Everything in my life had been handed to me.” – The First Bed by Matthew Socia


‘It feels cold at first but that is the wind on the waves. Take a deep breath and fall to me.’ – from Part 4 of Paul Andruss’ The House by the Sea


“The next letter, an H, took a few weeks to appear, made by juxtaposing the calf of our fire chief with the pinkie finger of the oldest woman in town. Some accused them of copycatting, writing on their skin in marker for the attention it would bring, but those who saw in person knew the sheen of the marks in the light—the matte finish of a coffee bean—and all soon admitted it was authentic.” – The Marks by Chris Haven

Antiguan and Barbudan fiction and poetry here and here.


“Some days the body is a clenched fist. At other times it is a door knob leading out.” – Enzo Serin, Haiti, reading from forthcoming book ‘When my body was a clenched fist’, poem ‘Born to Triggers’





“I have always loved the image-making power of poetry.” – Grace Nichols. Read her full interview with Jacqueline Bishop: Nichols 1, Nichols 2, Nichols 3, Nichols 4


‘I get a lot of questions from people that are How did this person do this thing? And I’m like, “Well, in chapter blah, blah blah, they said they were going to do this thing that way.” One thing I’ve noticed is that people tend to not read accurately. People read fast these days, so they don’t catch all the details, and I tend to write in a lot of detail.’ – N. K. Jemison


‘We can’t know how long the book, or any of us, will live but … “something remains”’



‘John Robert Lee: Papillote Press, “the small and invaluable Papillote Press,” has made a significant mark in small press publishing regionally and internationally with the important authors you have published and the awards that some of the books have garnered. As a result, are you overwhelmed by manuscript submissions, budgetary and other constraints? Have you set yourself a tight selection policy and publishing schedule?

Polly Pattullo: I am essentially a one-woman band, so I do have some difficulty in making sure that manuscripts don’t pile up. I am well aware how frustrating it is to have to wait for a response, and I would hate to have such a reputation.

Even so, I welcome manuscripts – in a way you can never have too many, because you might miss a gem and I always ask someone else to get a second opinion.

It is very much a labour of love and I think I am a bit choosy, but you have to be true to yourself.’ – read the full interview


“Carribeans love racket sports. My dad played a lot, so I started out going to his matches and serving as a terrible ballboy. The only thing we watched as a family on television was tennis, Breakfast at Wimbledon was big in my house. I had forgotten about those days, but I am fond of them. I never would’ve written the book without it. Here’s a good example: My dad rarely calls with breaking news, but one day he rang me up and said, ‘Turn on the TV, there’s a tennis poem being read on the air.’ It was Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated encapsulating his time at one of the big tournaments. Dad wanted to make sure I saw my personal Venn Diagram becoming one circle.” – Rowan Ricardo Philips


“Who are our most important writers today?

I don’t think this is a useful question for a creative writer to consider (at least not for me). What’s more crucial for me to think about is: How can I do my best work yet?” – Thomas Glave


“Anancy, for example, is the kind of figure who endures in the imagination because he represents many conflicting aspects of the self in one vessel – he is often selfish and greedy, so in that regard offers a cautionary tale of the baser aspects of our nature. And yet, here is this tiny creature who routinely outwits others with far more power and who often is the cause of so much that happens in the stories, good and bad. The twinness in his nature is where his appeal lies for me.” – Bocas winner Shara McCallum interviewed for the Jamaica Observer’s Bookends by Jacqueline BishopShara Book 1Shara Book 2Shara conclusion


“I write, seeking an art that will last as the shadows lengthen, one that braids the lyric to the political without sounding like a jeremiad from the sidewalk or a piece of propaganda that will live only for a moment. I seek a political, nuanced, understanding, beautiful, blood-incarnadined art that brings all of us, no matter our differences, to life.” – Gabrielle Bellot


“The story of why my own family came to be in the Caribbean had been blurred over time: it was something to do with the British, something to do with slavery, but that was all that was shared. Decades later the Guyanese-American journalist Gaiutra Bahadhur published the seminal book Coolie Woman, which brought much insight, but there have been few other notable works. Guyana doesn’t feature in the history books or the school curriculum in Britain. Consequently, when I tried to explain to my schoolfriends where my family was from – ‘What Ghana?’, ‘No, Guyana in South America’, ‘What like Ossie Ardiles?’, ‘No, he’s Argentinian’. When the Falklands War began in 1982, there were even more questions to navigate.

This is astonishing when you think that the British had such a role to play in that nation’s birth and how central that colony was to the United Kingdom’s industrial wealth and growth in the nineteenth century. Unlike the Caribbean islands of Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad, it is possible that Guyana’s unique geography (being attached to the South American mainland) has rendered it and its history all but invisible from the collective British consciousness. Perhaps fittingly, it was the inspiration for Conan Doyle’s The Lost World.” – The Forgotten World: How Scotland Erased Guyana from Its Past by Yvonne Singh



“I’ve learned to listen to them when they argue with me.” – C. S. Marks


“I lay my head on the pillow at night purposefully with a scene in my mind so that my subconscious will work out the kinks. I often pop awake with ideas. Or maybe I don’t, but when I sit to write, more ideas still happen to flow.” – C. Hope Clark


“You have to leave room for the story to grow unexpectedly.” – Cecelia Ahern


“People say, I write for myself, and it sounds so awful and so narcissistic, but in a sense if you know how to read your own work—that is, with the necessary critical distance—it makes you a better writer and editor. When I teach creative writing, I always speak about how you have to learn how to read your work; I don’t mean enjoy it because you wrote it. I mean, go away from it, and read it as though it is the first time you’ve ever seen it. Critique it that way. Don’t get all involved in your thrilling sentences and all that . . .” – Toni Morrison


“I am writing this now on a laptop in central Mexico, in a region where my ancestors lived for centuries. My office is a leather equipal table and chair on a covered terrace. On either side of me, a Chihuahua snoozes. Next door a palm tree rattles like a maraca, and down in the town center a church bell gongs the hour.” – re Sandra Cisneros. Read more.



“I was one of a number of writers invited to Finland in the late 1980s as part of a celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Finnish book. The trip really resonated with me, even though it didn’t occur to me at the time that I might use small details I picked up during my time in Finland in a novel. But of course, given the nature of the celebration itself, it makes sense that I did, and I’ve now generally come to be more aware, whenever I travel, that something I see or feel might make its way, in a transformed form, into my fiction.” – Meg Wolitzer discusses the writing of The Wife


‘The Southern writer Rosemary Daniell once looked at me as we sat on a panel at an early Atlanta Book Festival and murmured with wonder, “Hmm, a writer with a happy childhood.” Well, of course, it was not all happy. We all have our own bag of rocks, and a writer of color in this country has more than her share. But it was my childhood.’ – Tina McElroy Ansa



“She’s still being sexually abused but now she also has three children to watch and a farm to keep, and he’s just brutally beating her constantly.” – the Margos discuss movie vs. book, The Color Purple (Alice Walker)


Discussions of Antiguan and Barbudan art by the artistes can be found here.

Discussion of Antiguan and Barbudan art by critics can be found here.

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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