Tag Archives: stories

Wadadli Stories – Teaser

Wadadli Stories logo

Mark your calendar – Saturday 13th May, 2017 from 10am to 8pm, St. John’s City.

Ways you can participate…

Volunteer to assist
Buy-in to help cover costs
Help spread the word
Come out to support

p.s. We know you’re waiting for the results of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2017 Challenge. Well, like we said at the top, mark your calendar…

For more on the Wadadli Stories book fair or to contact the organizers, visit
the Wadadli Stories facebook page

 

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2017, Wadadli Pen News

From the Mailbox – Jewell Parker Rhodes

Jewell Parker Rhodes is a past Wadadli Pen patron. This just in, or recently in, news of her Louisiana Girls Trilogy.

The Louisiana Girls trilogy from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes brings together three heroic girls from across history. These coming of age books tell the stories of Lanesha, Sugar, and Maddy, each living in Louisiana during a time of crisis, and each finding bravery within themselves in the face of overwhelming adversity. Steeped in the folklore tradition of the American deep south, this trilogy celebrates the power of friendship and family, and demonstrates how anyone with enough strength in their heart can change the lives of those around them. All three Louisiana Girls books are now available in paperback.

Bayou Magic

It’s Maddy’s turn to have a bayou summer. At first she misses life back home in the city, but soon she grows to love everything about her new surroundings—the glimmering fireflies, the glorious landscape, and something else, deep within the water, that only Maddy sees. Could it be a mermaid? A coming-of-age tale rich with folk magic, set in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, Bayou Magic celebrates hope, friendship, and family, and captures the wonder of life in the Deep South.

Sugar

Slavery is over, but ten-year-old Sugar doesn’t feel very free laboring in the fields all day. When Chinese workers are brought in to help harvest the cane, the older River Road folks feel threatened, but Sugar is fascinated. As she befriends young Beau and elder Master Liu, they introduce her to the traditions of their culture, and she, in turn, shares the ways of plantation life. Sugar soon realizes that she must be the one to bridge the cultural gap and bring the community together. Here is a story of unlikely friendships and how they can change our lives forever.

This is the one she contributed to the Wadadli Pen Challenge prize package, and because one of the winners was a Cushion Club member, the club got an opportunity to read and enjoy it as well.

Ninth Ward

Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. She doesn’t have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the future. So when Mama Ya-Ya’s visions show a powerful hurricane–Katrina–fast approaching, it’s up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength Mama Ya-Ya has given her to help them both survive the storm. Ninth Ward is a celebration of resilience, love, family, and friendship, and a deeply emotional story of transformation.

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen News

Mailbox – Caribbean Cultural Theatre

Caribbean Cultural Theatre is a New York based organization involved in the business of organizing and promoting activities in celebration of Caribbean arts – and especially Caribbean literary arts. I’m on their mailing list, and recently this one came in.

“Do you remember title of the first novel or poem by a Caribbean writer you ever read (had to read)?  It most likely happened during primary school. Probably the first time you realized that someone who looked, acted; sounded like you could actually be in a book!
We really would love to know what was the novel, or poem, and why it was so memorable (after all these years)”

I couldn’t think of a SINGLE book. Does calypso count as a poem? Because I grew up listening to tons of those, and now in my grown up years as a writer and workshop facilitator have used calypsos from my childhood like King Obstinate’s Wet You Han, a story in calypso form, when discussing character, setting, atmosphere, dialogue, and more in workshops. I’d been introduced to Caribbean fiction, I think, through Anansi and village/true life and jumbie stories (informally, at home and in school) and short fiction (in school) – I remember this one story about a snobbish girl named Millicent who lorded her privilege over her peers, but I don’t remember much else about her; I remember reading Miguel Street which, I think, my older brother who was already in secondary school at the time, might have been studying; I remember enjoying excerpted stories from Michael Anthony’s Year in San Fernando; I remember reading a Selvon (one with a character named Tiger, not Lonely Londoners which would later become a favourite) over the summer – and really digging the writer – only to have them drop it from the reading list by the time the school year rolled around; and I remember Annie John – I was in Antigua State College by the time I read this one (it wasn’t being taught but outside of class we were discovering this and debating her other book A Small Place) and maybe this was the transformative one because by then I already knew I loved to write but couldn’t even begin to form the words to say I want to be a writer – and though it didn’t happen as it does in movies, a sudden and sharp epiphany, but this story of a girl I recognized from a world I knew by a writer from Ovals, a community right next to and much like my own Ottos community, my consciousness started to turn to the idea of it, that maybe writers could come from where I’m from and tell the stories I had dammed up inside. So maybe allahdat is the answer. Not a SINGLE thing but a progression. I feel like I’m forgetting something crucial but that’s what I have for now.

Anyway, I decided to share E. Wayne – that’s the CCT’s artistic director’s – email here and I figured you could share your stories with him as well. So I decided to ask him what the purpose was. He replied that he wasn’t sure-sure, just that he was “hoping to do something around:
•Life-long learning/reading
•A trajectory of Caribbean (young readers) literature (c. 1950 – present)
•Getting parents introduce kids to Caribbean (young readers) literature (both old and contemporary)
•For our WORDFest (June) or Brooklyn Book Festival (Sept)
•Might be a one-off or a season-long project
•Prob have live, online and archival components”

So, there you have it. If you have a memory to contribute, email him: caribbeantheatre@yahoo.com

Don’t post them here, eh, send them directly to him. Cool? Cool.

 

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, Fish Outta Water, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my pages –  WordPress, 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.

Leave a comment

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

Stories Handed Down

Friends of Antigua Public Library – NY, Inc. Presents

Stories Handed Down

2014 Short Story and Visual Arts Competition
Deadline: October 24th 2015

Short-Story-Competition-2015-1

Students are invited to interview an Antiguan/Barbudan elder, and submit a story about “ole time days” in Antigua & Barbuda. For the Visual Arts component, students are asked to submit a piece of artwork that illustrates either a story handed down, or portrays the storyteller.

This year’s prizes include:
First Place: Note book computer;
Second Place: Digital Camera;
Third Place: EC$100 gift certificate to Best of Books.

PRESS-RELEASE-2015-Short-Story-Competition

 

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love

Read and learn

Did I mention this before? Did you check out the winners of the Commonwealth Short story prize? If you love to read, they make for good reading. I haven’t read all of them yet but I really like the two I’ve read – K. Jared Hosein (Trini massive!)’s ‘The King of Settlement 4’ and ‘Light’ by Nigerian writer Lesley Nneka Arima. These were among the regional winners – overall winner yet to be announced, I believe. So far, I’m rooting for Kevin (yes, the Caribbean to the worl’!)… but seriously not just because he’s from the Caribbean but because I really like his story. Wishing all finalists well though and, here’s the thing, if like me you’ve entered this competition or plan to again, read…not to mimic… but to be reminded of the effort it takes…and to prime yourself to keep trying.

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, DancingNude in the Moonlight, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you share this list, give credit; if you appreciate the service, 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love

You don’t want to miss this!

Okay, yes, that headline was shameless bait. It’s true though. If you have subscribed to or visit this site regularly, I have to assume you have some interest in Antiguan and Barbudan literature. Well, nearly a year ago I was asked to edit an Antigua and Barbuda issue of the online Caribbean platform Tongues of the Ocean. And here it is finally.

Cover image Summer One by Glenroy Aaron inspired by Summer 1, a poem by Joanne C Hillhouse.

Cover image Summer One by Glenroy Aaron inspired by Summer 1, a poem by Joanne C Hillhouse.

Actually, at this point, you’ll find the art roundtable, Dr. Hazra Medica’s discourse on Antiguan and Barbudan literature, my introduction to the issue, and the cover art above. But content will be added every week until the entire issue is online so keep checking back, and please share.

While I’m bending your ear, I’ll share a couple of new developments…

I’ve been named to the selection panel for the 2015 Burt Award for which I was a 2014 finalist. Be sure to get your entries in by October 24th 2014.

My first ever fairytale With Grace was one of two honorable mentions in the Desi Writers Lounge short story contest and may be published.

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.

 

 

Leave a comment

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

Do our children lack the abilty to imagine?

I was asked to present at the public library camp over the summer, as I did last summer.DSC_0346Couldn’t do it. But it provided the opportunity to introduce the children to the writing of one of our Wadadli Pen Challenge winners (or so I hoped).

Margaret Irish - winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize collects her gifts courtesy Caribbean Reads Publishing and plaque sponsored by Joy Lawrence.

Margaret Irish – winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize collects her gifts courtesy Caribbean Reads Publishing and plaque sponsored by Joy Lawrence.

Margaret Irish is the winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize 2014, and, from the beginning, the idea behind that was encouraging teachers to write, and getting them to get creative in a way that could inspire their students to do the same, inspire them to share their own stories. The teachers were Challenged to submit entries that they could share with their students. Margaret’s The Skipping Rope is a good example of this and that’s why I thought she’d be a good match for the library programme. She readily agreed to do it (thanks to her for doing that) but as she informed me in a subsequent email (shared with permission) she didn’t share her story after all. Instead, she said, “I took them through an exercise in learning to use their imagination” I’m still disappointed she didn’t share her story but adjusting to the circumstances in the field is perfectly reasonable; matter of fact, absolutely essential. Her adjustment was driven by her observation that “students are unable to write creatively, simply because they cannot, they have not developed their imagination.”

As I write this, I remember one of the judges making a similar comment in her review of the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge submissions (a comment that echoed the 2005 judges’ report, in which the judge commented about the writers playing it safe, if I’m remembering correctly). The 2014 judge wrote: “The talent is there but I think they need to be taught a few techniques in story writing. I think they suffer from writing too many structured school stories. It is as though they don’t know they can use their imagination.”

This judge’s comment also has me considering another part of Margaret’s email. When she asked the 80 or so students (campers) how many of them liked writing compositions, only five or six raised their hands; when asked how many hated writing compositions “you should have seen the frustrated looks and defiant hands. It was sad.”

Sad indeed.

Possibly, part the problem is in the phrasing. One of the participants in my summer media training workshop at the Department of Youth Affairs comes to mind. She was distracted and disruptive throughout, but, as our rap sessions revealed, sharp as a tack and quite articulate and opinionated. Like most of them she resisted settling down to the work. I remember when she was required to present her review of the first film we’d watched. She hadn’t written a thing and I know she expected me to skip her but I told her she was still expected to present. And she did; she winged it. Interestingly, she did a pretty good job, there was good recall and clear insights in her ramblings and I couldn’t help thinking she’d have had a pretty good presentation if she’d taken the time to even organize her thoughts into bullet points if she didn’t want to write. I remember my one on one with her to discuss the article that each participant was required to produce at the end of the two weeks. She identified her topic, one of the topics we’d discussed earlier in the week but as I pressed re her action plan, trying to get her to focus and to draw on the tools and techniques I’d been sharing with them, it was clear she had no interest in the assignment or the topic. The assignment I dug in my heels on – I was determined that each person would at least try – but why would you pick a topic you had no interest in? So I threw it out and opened up a conversation with her about her genuine interests; it was a bit like pulling teeth at first but eventually I got her talking about one of her biggest interests and suggested to her how that could be a story. She hadn’t finished by the end of the week, and, frankly, I was doubtful she would, but she’d started. When she showed me her progress, it was primarily structured as responses to the questions I’d thrown out to guide her and I realized she’d need more time learning to structure them into prose. But I counted the baby step of getting her started on something as a win. The connection I’m seeing between that story and Margaret’s observation and the judges’ comments is the way we sometimes get locked into this square way of thinking, everything inside the box. One of the reasons I do Wadadli Pen is to awaken that idea that the stories are right there in their own backyard, in their own lives, not remote from their reality. Sometimes it’s enough to get them thinking and talking about the stuff they actually want to think and talk about, a little difficult to do in a one-off session with 80 people (with anything over, say, 15 – 20 really). Sometimes you have to jump start the conversation with films or songs or really whatever works. And, as I tried to do with the breaks and journaling activities at the DYA workshop, sometimes you need time to just be still within yourself, idle even, let your brain just float.

Because the imagination is key to everything: without the imagination there  is no writing, without the imagination there is no creativity, without the imagination there is no visioning, no seeing beyond where you are to the impossible. This is not just about writing now because seeing beyond where we are is something we need as individuals, period, and as a nation; it is this imagining that guides our feet, and lifts a song of promise and possibility in our souls, staving off stagnation and cynicism. So what is it about our environment that has them so uninspired and how can this be addressed not by way of one-off sessions but consistently?

Questions to ponder. Because it’s not that our kids lack imagination. As author Andre Dubois lll said, “We’re all born with an imagination. Everybody gets one.” And it is the font from which writing flows, and not just writing but everything that’s magical in the world.

During her session at the camp, Margaret read C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, instead of her own story (and I still, all said, have some issues with that decision because why not do both). She chose that story though I think to reinforce the idea that “when using one’s imagination, the events do not have to make sense.” It opened up the opportunity for her to engage them in an active exercise in which they would make up a story on what one could find on entering a wardrobe. And I’m pretty sure she wasn’t looking for shoes…maybe unless they were ruby red slippers which, clicked three times…conjured up a magic carpet that spirited you away to…Wonderland???

It sounds like she did it as a chain writing exercise, which I do too, as it’s a great way to get everyone involved and a good way to get out of the safe zone as you never know what the person before you is going to add to the story so you can’t over think it, you just have to go with it. Which reminds me of another quote (for you writers still reading this) from the Dubois article: “I love that line from E.L. Doctorow: ‘Writing a novel is like driving at night. You can only see as far as your headlights—‘ but you keep going until you get there. I’ve learned over the years to just report back anything that I see in front of the headlights: Are they yellow stripes or white? What’s on the side of the road? Is there vegetation? What kind? What’s the weather? What are the sounds? If I capture the experience all along the way, the structure starts to reveal itself. My guiding force and principle for shaping the story is to just follow the headlights.” It’s a good way to get out of that zone of what writing is supposed to be and just letting it be, a good way of just imagining where the story could go. It sometimes takes them a minute to warm up to it, to embrace the freedom inherent in the idea that everything doesn’t have to make sense. At least not the first time around; that’s what revisions are for.

To answer the question headlining this piece, no they don’t lack the ability to imagine, though it sometimes needs to be nudged awake, even as we put to sleep this idea that writing is this daunting, insurmountable, dead, and deadly boring thing.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2014, Wadadli Pen News, Workshop