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On Bill Burt, the Burt Award (for Caribbean Literature), and the 18 teen/young adult Caribbean fiction titles it produced

Burt-Award-winners-book-covers

Home Homethe beast of kukuyoThe Art of White RosesThe-Dark-of-the-SeaMy-Fishy-StepmomA-Dark-Iris

The-Unmarked-Girl-Jeanelle-Frontin

You may not know the name Bill Burt. After all, he was a Canadian commodities broker. But you may know some of the titles above (all Code Burt award titles from the Caribbean). That seal on all but the newest of the pictured titles (This year’s titles are not yet published but the original edition of the winning 2019 title The Unmarked Girl is pictured) is the Oprah’s Book Club seal of teen/young adult Caribbean literature, that little edge, that extra endorsement to help them stand out and perhaps be picked up. It is an endorsement. It indicates that these titles have been tapped by writers, editors, and other literary professionals from the Caribbean and elsewhere who served as judges (refreshed every year), as being among the best new writing from the region in the teen/young adult genre.  It is Bill Burt putting a ring on it.

Accepting Burt Award trophy

That’s Bill Burt, left, above presenting me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) with the first runner up trophy for the inaugural Caribbean Code Burt award, for my then unpublished manuscript Musical Youth, at the 2014 Bocas literary festival in Trinidad.

A trophy. The most substantial single cheque of my creative writing career to that point. An opportunity to be published and to select the publishing house I would be working with from among several options in the Caribbean. A guaranteed order of the books. That was my prize. It was an amazing boost at the time.

Musical Youth and all of the pictured books benefited from someone, who, with the funds he made through this stock market investments, helped amplify stories from typically marginalized communities of which the Caribbean was only one.

Winners ...and #MusicalYouths in their own right ... members of the AGHS winning cast from the secondary schools drama festival collecting copies of Musical Youth.
(above and below, me presenting copies of Musical Youth at local schools)Musical Youth copies 2014 3

The Burt Award, named for Bill Burt and administered by CODE, a Canadian non-profit, stimulated the production of teen/young adult fiction specific to communities whose voices are not often heard in the vast publishing world. He presented the first Burt Award (for teen/young adult African literature), in Tanzania in 2009. The programme subsequently expanded to Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Canada (specifically among First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people), and the Caribbean.

The initial guaranteed order of the winning books was/is distributed to teens and young adults through individuals and institutions that work with youth. If you appreciate that funding is a major hindrance for working artists and for independent publishers, you will appreciate how significant this prize is; if you can appreciate that this was about producing books teens and young adults in the region would WANT to read, you would see how impactful this prize was or could be.

I entered that first year (October 2013 submission deadline), after they had adjusted initial proposed guidelines to accept unpublished manuscripts. I had to print, bind, and FedEx the manuscript from Antigua to Trinidad. I believe the guidelines were adjusted the following year to allow for online submissions but submissions had to be professionally bound in 2013. It wasn’t cheap but it was one of those invest in yourself moments and it was worth it because, thanks in great part to this programme, the book that manuscript birthed, Musical Youth, placed with Caribbean Reads publishing, out of St. Kitts, has become one of my best performing books. I can’t imagine Musical Youth even existing in a Burt-less world, especially given that two weeks out from the deadline I started writing something to submit (which is not the advised way to approach competitions of this nature but is the way this book came to be). Future Burt finalist Shakirah Bourne (of Barbados) who wrote her title (My Fishy Stepmom) in less than a month, blogged recently about how this bit of foolhardiness on my part inspired her (after some disappointments that made her consider not submitting at all):

“Five months later, on October 7th 2017, Antiguan author, Joanne Hillhouse shared the invitation to submit to the 2018 CODE Burt Award on Facebook. Initially I dismissed it. The deadline was October 31st, 24 days later. But Joanne is an amazing blogger and so I checked out her post ‘The BURT Blog – Memories to Keep and a Trophy’ and was amazed to read that she wrote her award-winning book Musical Youth in less than two weeks!”

When I heard this year ahead of the announcement of the last Burt finalists at the Bocas lit fest which administered the prize regionally, that this would be the last year, I wrote back to them “Congrats to the shortlisted writers. Sorry to hear it’s coming to an end. Sorry as well to learn (as I just did in this email) of the passing of Bill Burt. He did a great thing.”

That’s why I’m writing this because Bill Burt did a great thing and we need more people within and without the region to replicate this kind of philanthropy – in fact, one of my dreams for Wadadli Pen is that someday it has the resources to support a writer now and again in the region or maybe even the sub-region, maybe just Antigua and Barbuda, for completion of a project – just give them a financial break for a bit so that they can focus on creating. It’s the kind of help I need and as with Wadadli Pen itself, started because of a void in my experience of anything to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, I want to be in a position someday to support other artists in the ways that I don’t feel supported today.

Bill Burt’s life at least from his 40s onwards (I think) is a reminder that there is great value in giving if you can, where you see the gaps, simply because it needs to be done.

I know this is running long but I wanted to run through the books and some developments (re the authors’ professional trajectory) certainly in the Caribbean since winning the Burt award. Starting with 2019 (via bocaslitfest) and working back to the inaugural year, 2014, with the hope that you will consider purchasing (sharing, reviewing, recommending) these specifically Caribbean books, which wouldn’t exist as they do (as exciting new titles from Caribbean publishers for the teen/young adult market) without Bill Burt.

The Burt Award will not be accepting submissions from 2020 on; it will be interesting to see if any philanthropic entity steps in to the gap.

2019 titles:
Winning title – The-Unmarked-Girl-Jeanelle-FrontinThe Unmarked Girl by Jeanelle Frontin (Trinidad and Tobago), published by Mark Made Group Ltd (which is a Caribbean-based company providing arts and entertainment services of which publishing is only one component) – a quick google suggests that Frontin submitted the first of three ebooks in her YaraStar trilogy; self-published, according to Looptt (which suggests to me that Mark Made is not a traditional publisher but either a vanity or hybrid, paid for their services by the author). That book (already awash with five star reviews on Amazon) and the entire series just got a boost.

The Accidental Prize by Tamika Gibson (Trinidad and Tobago) – Tamika, a returning finalist, submitted a manuscript which puts this in the to-be-published category. Gibson, also a 2016 finalist for Dreams Beyond the Shore, published by Jamaica’s Blue Banyan Books, and named one of 2017’s best contemporary teen reads by Kirkus, said, “What’s phenomenal about the Burt Award is that it’s a direct path to getting your books into the hands of readers. Entering the competition has freed me to focus on writing the best novel that I can, without having to worry too much about the business aspects that come after the book is finished.”

Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay (Jamaica), also a manuscript – Diana is also a previous winner for 2015’s Gone to Drift which has since had an American edition published (2016) with Harper Collins after its initial release with Dominica’s Papillote Press. McCaulay was already an award winning and critically acclaimed author and activist when she first triumphed at Burt and hasn’t missed a step with another non-Burt book published in 2017 (her fourth novel) and Daylight Come forthcoming with, I believe, Peepal Tree press (which is UK based but publishes primarily Caribbean fiction and has been a favourite of the main Bocas prize).

2018 titles:
Winning title – The-Dark-of-the-SeaThe Dark of the Sea by Imam Baksh (Guyana) – also a repeat winner this is his second previously unpublished manuscript to find a home with Jamaica’s Blue Banyan Books after 2015 Burt title Children of the Spider which was published in 2016.  He explains in this linked article how the increased visibility positions him to do more to boost literature in his country even as he continues to work on his next novel and embraces opportunities to travel and present his work (most recently featured at the Edinburgh literary festival)

My Fishy Stepmom by Shakirah Bourne (Barbados) – manuscript, the Caribbean edition since published by Blouse and Skirt which is an imprint within Blue Banyan. Bourne is an independent filmmaker and self-published author now with a literary agent (I mention that this is the Caribbean edition of the book for just this reason as she also landed the book with an international agent right around the time it was shortlisted for the prize, as she blogs here). For her, there are loads of emerging opportunities (of which being a featured presenter at the 2019 Edinburgh festival is only one).

A Dark Iris by Elizabeth J. Jones (Bermuda) – manuscript, since published by Blouse and Skirt (Blue Banyan Books). You’ll see Tanya Batson-Savage’s Blouse and Skirt and/or Blue Banyan Books on this list a number of times as it has published more Burt Caribbean titles than any other imprint. Specifically, The Dark of the Sea and Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh, My Fishy Stepmom by Shakirah Bourne, The Beast of Kukuyo by Kevin Jared Hosein, Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell, Dreams Beyond the Shore by Tamika Gibson, Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph, and the very first Burt Caribbean winning title All Over Again by A-dZiko Simba Gegele. This means that this independent Caribbean publisher’s list has grown by almost 10 (maybe more by the time this year’s winning books are published) because of this prize’s investment in the region and in the process new voices from across the region (Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda, and Jamaica just from this list alone) are being either heard or amplified. I have had the opportunity to work with Blue Banyan as an editor of one of the named books and can attest to how seriously Tanya takes the job of shepherding these books in to the marketplace.

2017 titles:
Winning title – The Art of White RosesThe Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Nunez (Puerto Rico) – this previously self-published novel was described by Kirkus as “An emotional coming-of-age story posed against the backdrop of the Cuban revolution.” It is one of three Burt titles issued by Dominica’s Papillote Press. What’s interesting to me is that Papillote, while not publishing Dominican books exclusively, had, certainly in my mind, been branded as a distinctively Dominican press (a press primarily concerned with stories out of Dominica) – with the publication of three Burt books out of Jamaica, Trinidad, and Puerto Rico in a short three year span, it emphatically broadened its brand to include the wider Caribbean.

Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini (Trinidad and Tobago) – this too is a Papillote book. I actually couldn’t find a lot from Lisa re the publication of the book but she did say this about its genesis on her blog: “The manuscript I first wrote a decade ago and rewrote while in hell in an airport in Suriname in 2016 is now being published as Home Home by Papillote Press, after being named third place in the CODE Burt Awards for Caribbean Literature in 2017. We’re hoping to do a launch at the 2018 NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

Yay!!!”

For a manuscript 10 years in the making, I suspect that “Yay!!!” is only the half of it. And that’s the other thing, some of us write new things, some find a home finally for that manuscript gathering dust because of an industry that makes very little room for voices like ours. ETA: Home Home has landed a deal with Delacorte (Penguin) for release of a US edition due in 2020.

The Beast of Kukuyo by Kevin Jared Hosein (Trinidad and Tobago) – Kevin was actually on quite a roll (with several Commonwealth short story wins, Bocas long listing)  when he placed in Burt so perhaps for him this didn’t change much but it certainly added to his coffers and his publishing credits.

2016 titles:
Winner – Dreams Beyond the Shore Dreams-Beyond-the-Shore-front-lr-190x300by Tamika Gibson (Trinidad and Tobago)

Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell (Bermuda) – who, per this article, dreamed of being a writer since her days reading the Bobbsey Twins and then of working in publishing, then a librarian only to find that she couldn’t work as a librarian in Bermuda because of segregation. With this book, the first dream is fully realized and she finally gets to tell the little known tale of segregation in Bermuda – and telling our under-told and unknown stories in a way that can enlighten generation now about the past is not a small thing. This is just one review I came across on booktube which contrasts segregation in the US and in Bermuda via Girlcott, indicating that this is a book primed for social studies discussion.
Beautifully Bookish Bethany, who seems to be American, said “(Girlcott is) super interesting… because I actually had never heard anything about Bermuda during the civil rights era… this is from an indie publisher but I really recommend it.”

The Protectors’ Pledge by Danielle Y C Mclean – published by Caribbean Reads
It’s worth noting here that one of the interesting elements of the Burt titles is that they underscore that the Caribbean story is not one thing; we write in different genres of different times and different futures, we have lore that is primed for exploration and expansion, and imaginations not constrained by the perceived tropes of Caribbean literature. There are many other non teen/young adult books that do this of course but if you’re looking for your teen reader you can find romance, adventure, crime, fantasy, coming of age, history, and so much more; just google them (I haven’t linked every book because I don’t feel like linking to Amazon but I have linked to the reviews I’ve written of the ones I’ve read).

2015 titles:
Winner – children of the spider 001Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh (Guyana) – Anansi as you’ve never seen…ze?

Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay (Jamaica) – a book that draws on the author’s career in environmental advocacy as it weaves a tight rescue tale.

Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph (Trinidad and Tobago) – I haven’t read the published version of this one yet though it is on my book shelf but I did read it when it was a contender for the prize as I was a judge that year. And speaking of telling different stories, this was is not only a Caribbean story but is another story that can be added to the library of books (if such a thing exists) about the fallout from 9/11, existing as it does at the intersection of Caribbean and American life. It’s also about grief as Home Home is about depression, as such tackling the still fairly taboo issue of mental health. These books (the Burt books generally) go there and really should be read not just by Caribbean teens but beyond.

2014 titles:
Winner – all over again - cover FAW 05JUN2013All Over Again by A-dZiko Simba Gegele (Jamaica) who has recently been announced as a Musgrave medal recipient (the equivalent of national awards) for her contribution to the literary arts. She said in the  linked article, “We are still in the very early stages, but there are a lot of fantastic writers right here in Jamaica. Unfortunately, most of them get on a plane and leave in search of greater opportunities for income and exposure. With technology moving the way it is, the good thing is that that is not even necessary any more as we can stay here and enjoy the benefits of these markets. But at a certain level, our work has to be recognised, we need to be taken seriously and it must be recognised that behind every great movie, song, radio or television programme is a good writer.” No lies detected and the Burt award – in fact other Bocas prizes are among the very few opportunities for writer development and reward in the Caribbean. That’s another reason why it’s sad to see it go- especially before another Eastern Caribbean small island writer could come through.

Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse (Antigua and Barbuda) – that’s me (the previous Eastern Caribbean small island writer that came through) and I would be remiss if I didn’t speak a bit on the opportunities I’ve had to work with the Burt Award and/or Code since being short listed for this prize. I organized and facilitated a workshop in 2014 (in addition to assisting with distribution and promotion of all three Burt titles here in Antigua and Barbuda)

my gift1.jpg

presentation of Colleen Smith-Dennis’ Inner City Girl at Clare Hall Secondary school

Gift to Library

copies to the Public Library at the official launch of Musical Youth

; I was recruited as a judge for the 2015 Caribbean Burt prize; and I was hired in 2017 as a mentor for one of the finalists of the Burt Africa prize. Thanks to Caribbean Reads’ hustle, my book Musical Youth (added to the schools reading lists in Antigua and Barbuda in 2018 and to a reading list in Trinidad before that, with its second and hard cover editions published in 2019)

MUSICAL_YOUTH_Cover_FRONT_Final

new edition released 2019

continues to find new readers (I’ve personally presented it at readings in New York, St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Croix, Barbados, and here at home).

with Muntsa Plana Valls and Auntie Janice and the staff at one of three schools visited

after a school presentation in St. Croix

It has earned accolades from the likes of Oonya Kempadoo (author of Buxton Spice) who said, “I first recognized the weight of her work by the response of the teens to her book, Musical Youth , in the Grenada Community Library. It remains one of the most popular books with teens, despite their tendency to shun Caribbean literature when they have a choice because they are required to read it in schools.”

Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis (Jamaica)

Bocas 5

Bocas Photo of finalists panel at the inaugural Code Burt award for Caribbean teen/young adult fiction (photo by Marlon James/original Bocas photographer)

If you’ve never heard of the Code Burt Award, I hope this post helps fill in the blanks and underscores the need for arts philanthropy. Per the Bocas press release announcing the wrapping up of the prize, “This unique literary award programme has inspired Caribbean writers to create fantastic stories; publishers have been supported to build young adult literature into their lists; teachers and librarians have been given fantastic resources; and young readers now have access to more books than ever before.”  I would say that we have always been telling fantastic stories and Burt gave us a platform to get them published while building the publishing infrastructure in the region and targeting the desired audience, ensuring that they, Caribbean teens, have stories they can relate to which also fire their imagination.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, unless otherwise indicated, this is written by author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse. All rights reserved.

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Small island writers encouraged to submit to Burt Award

‘”(Carol) Mitchell, who is the author of the popular Caribbean Adventure Series and Barberry Hill, also runs a burgeoning publishing company called CaribbeanReads. Her company focuses on the young adult genre and has in the past published some of the Burt Award winners, including Antiguan (and Barbudan) Joanne C. Hillhouse’s ‘Musical Youth.’

However, she is concerned that most of the winners come from the larger Caribbean nations, such as Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Guyana and the competition is missing out on the great talent in the smaller islands.

“I do believe the results reflect perhaps, a lack of access to the resources that may be key to producing a polished manuscript that has a shot at winning,” says Mitchell.

She explained that while the judges accept work that has not yet been accepted by a publisher, these manuscripts are expected to be at the same level of structural soundness, grammatical and logical accuracy, and thematic relevance as any published manuscripts that may be submitted.

“It is important for would-be submitters to ensure their work is in the best possible condition,” she says. “If you are planning to submit a novel, there are a few things you should do. If you haven’t already done so, read some of the work of previous winners and of highly acclaimed young adult novels that are similar in theme to yours. This is not so you can copy their plot or style but so that you can get a feel for the type of writing that appeals to young people (and to the judges). If you don’t enjoy reading these books, the young adult genre may not be right for you.”’ – Read the full article at Dominica News Online

Read more about this and other Opportunities and upcoming deadlines (Opportunities Too) here at Wadadli Pen. Also check out these Resources the site continues to compile to assist writers on the journey. To read about past Caribbean Burt titles, go here.

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Mailbox – The CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature 2019 is now open for submissions!

(from the Bocas Lit Fest)

With the generous support of the Literary Prizes Foundation based in Canada, the CODE Burt Award is given annually to three English-language literary works for youth created by Caribbean writers, and illustrators.

The winning title is awarded $10,000 and the two finalists each receive $2,000. Local Caribbean publishers are granted a guaranteed purchase of a maximum of 2,500 copies. These copies are then distributed to youth in schools, libraries, and community centers across the region.

Books published between 1 November 2017 and 31 October 2018 and eligible manuscripts must be received at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest office by 31 October 2018. Submissions that arrive after the deadline will not be considered. The award shortlist will be announced in March 2019. The winners will be announced April 2019.

See deadline listing for Burt Award and other opportunities for writers with upcoming deadlines in Opportunities Too.

See past Burt Award Winners.

Be inspired.

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, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). 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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Barbados, Guyana, and Bermuda Finalists for 2018 Burt Award

The Burt Award for Caribbean teen/young adult fiction is sponsored by Canadian non-profit CODE and administered by Trinidad and Tobago’s Bocas Literary Festival. The winner will be announced at this year’s festival, scheduled for April 25th to 29th 2018. In the running are Shakirah M. Bourne of Barbados (below right), Imam Baksh of Guyana (below left), and Elizabeth J. Jones of Bermuda (below middle).

2018-burt-finalists

Here’s the announcement making the rounds:

CODE and NGC Bocas Lit Fest are thrilled to announce the finalists for the 5th annual CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature. This year’s finalists were selected from over 30 submissions of both published books and unpublished manuscripts from around the Caribbean.

In alphabetical order by title, the 2018 finalists are:
A Dark Iris by Elizabeth J. Jones (Bermuda)

Jury Summary: “A sophisticated ‘speculative fiction’ story that reveals the realities of adolescence; crushes, family problems, and school. The main character is real and relatable.

My Fishy Stepmom by Shakirah Bourne (Barbados)

Jury Summary: “A delightful story that is charmingly funny. With a folktale antagonist, the shenanigans that result as the main character fights to preserve her bonds of family and friendship are heartwarming.”

The Dark of the Sea by Imam Baksh (Guyana)

Jury Summary: “A compelling page turner, this fantastical adventure story follows the journey of a young man who is rebellious, unimpressed by education and religion, cynical about the future, and obsessed with girls. The humour is dark, the morality complicated, …and the victories bittersweet.”

The winner and two finalists will be announced on 25 April 2018 at the opening night celebration of the 2018 NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Celebrating YA literature will continue throughout the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

Since 2014 a dedicated network of local partners has distributed more than 37,000 award-winning books in eleven Caribbean countries. We look forward to seeing this year’s winning books published and distributed to youth throughout the Caribbean.

***

I would like to add my congratulations to the finalists. It’s no secret that this award is one that means a lot to me – since being a finalist in the inaugural year, 2014, I’ve had the opportunity to work with CODE as a workshop facilitator and a mentor to the Africa leg of the programme (which also has a Canada leg focused on the First nations community), and as a judge with Bocas. I like that the programme in Canada, the Caribbean, and Africa is opening up publishing opportunities for those underserved by the industry. As for the Caribbean leg, I like that it’s leading to the production of new, or increased promotion and distribution of, books that are culturally relevant and whether historical, modern, or futuristic engaging to the teen/young adult reader. Having grown up reading so many books from overseas, it’s nice to know that today’s Caribbean teen has more options. I also like that it not only gives Caribbean independent presses an opportunity but insists on publishing with Caribbean publishers, which can only be good for the industry in the region. The books are distributed throughout the region – and, of course, a savvy publisher will also work to build the overseas readership as well. So, because of the opportunities it offers to Caribbean writers, teen/young adult readers, and publishing industry, I hope this programme has the resources to keep going. I mean, look at the literature that has come out of it already:

all over again - cover FAW 05JUN2013All Over Again by A-dZiko Simba Gegele (1st place, 2014) – author from: Jamaica; published by Blue Moon Publishing of Jamaica.

“All Over Again is a hilarious and enchanting coming of age story as a young boy goes through the trials and joys and puberty, battles with his 6-year-old sister who is the bane of his existences, worries about disappointing his mother and understanding his father…”

rosesThe Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Nunez (1st place, 2017) – author from: Puerto Rico; published by Papillote Press of Dominica/UK.

“It is 1957, in a quiet Havana suburb. Adela Santiago is 13 and lives in a small blue house with her family. But something is amiss…”

HoseinThe Beast of Kukuyo by Kevin Jared Hosein ( 2nd place, 2017) – author from: Trinidad and Tobago; published by Blue Banyan Books of Jamaica.

“You’re standing alongside Tiki and running next to Rune at the same time, looking for clues in the forest and admiring the beautiful Trinidadian landscape as you move through this adventurous tale…”

children of the spider 001Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh (1st place, 2015) – author from: Guyana; published by Blue Moon Publishing of Jamaica.

“Mayali is a fugitive from her home world of Zolpash, which is ruled by the Spider gods and their armies, who now have plans to invade Earth—it’s up to Mayali to thwart them…”

dancing in the rain 001Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph (3rd place, 2015) – author from: Trinidad and Tobago; published by Blue Moon Publishing of Jamaica.

“Set against the dazzling beauty of the Dominican Republic, Dancing in the Rain explores the impact of the tragic fall of the Twin Towers on two Caribbean families…”

Dreams-Beyond-the-Shore-front-lr-190x300Dreams Beyond the Shore by Tamika Gibson (1st place, 2016) – author from: Trinidad and Tobago; published by: Blue Banyan Books of Jamaica.

“Seventeen-year-old Chelsea Marchand was pretty satisfied with her life. Until recently. Willing to play the dutiful daughter as her father’s bid to become Prime Minister of their island home brings her family into intense public scrutiny, Chelsea is swept along by the strong tidal wave of politics and becomes increasingly disturbed by her father’s duplicity…”

Girlcott-cover-192x300Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell (2nd place, 2016) – author from Bermuda; published by Blue Banyan Books of Jamaica.

“A week ago, Desma Johnson had only two things on her mind – in exactly eight days, she would be sixteen years old and to top it off she was inline for a top scholarship, bringing her one step closer to her dreams. Life was perfect and nothing would get in the way of her birthday plans. But it’s 1959 and the secret Progressive Group has just announced a boycott of all cinemas in Bermuda in order to end racial segregation…”

Papillote_-_Gone_to_DriftGone to Drift by Diana McCaulay (2nd place, 2015)  – author from Jamaica; published by Papillote Press of Dominica/UK.

“The story of a 12-year-old Jamaican boy and his search for his beloved grandfather, a fisherman who is lost at sea…”

agostiniHome Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini (3rd place, 2017) – author from Trinidad and Tobago; published by Papillote Press of Dominica/UK.

“A coming-of-age tale with a twist: a clinically depressed Trinidadian teenager, who has attempted suicide, is banished by her mother to Canada to live with her aunt. She feels lonely and in exile. But…”

innerInner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis (3rd place, 2014) – author from Jamaica; published by LMH Publishing Company of Jamaica.

“Martina does the unthinkable: a poor girl from the inner city gains entry into one of the most prestigious high schools in the country. Milverton High, situated on a hill with its picturesque surroundings, students from the upper echelons of society and teachers who do not neccessarily understand, contrasts with the poverty, hunger and family problems which Martina encounters. But Martina is not about to succumb to ridicule, rejection, and poverty…”

Musical YouthMusical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse (2nd place, 2014) – author from Antigua and Barbuda; published by Caribbean Reads of St. Kitts-Nevis/USA.

“Zahara is a loner. She’s brilliant on the guitar but in everyday life she doesn’t really fit in. Then she meets Shaka, himself a musical genius and the first boy who really gets her. They discover that they share a special bond…”

Protectors-pledge-cover-187x300The Protectors’ Pledge by Daniel V. C. Mclean (3rd place, 2016) – author from Trinidad and Tobago; published by Caribbean Reads of St. Kitt’s-Nevis/USA

“Twelve-year-old JV can’t wait to spend his vacation exploring the Oscuros Forest. True, everyone in the village of Alcavere believes the Oscuros Forest is a place to be feared, inhabited by dangerous and magical beings. But JV is not afraid, even when his first trip into the forest brings him face-to-face with a mysterious creature…”

And now there are three more books to look forward to.

Two finals thoughts. If you have a teen in your life, there’s got to be something on this list that appeals to them and if you’re a writer, embrace this opportunity to put your name and your country on this list, and potentially put your book in the hands of readers across the Caribbean and beyond.

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, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). 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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Mailbox – Children, Teen/YA Caribbean Books Rec’d

Summer Edward, a specialist in the area of children’s books specific to the Caribbean region, recently did a list for Caribbean American Heritage Month in Horn magazine. She shared the link and I thought I’d share with you for your kids’ summer reading adventures, Caribbean or not.

Here it is.

 

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Mailbox – Burt Top Three Announced

Administered by the Bocas Lit Fest and sponsored by CODE, the Burt Award has the specific target of unearthing and/or boosting teen/young adult Caribbean literature (CODE sponsors a similar prize among indigenous communities in Canada and in Africa). Since 2014, when the Caribbean Burt Award launched, this has included books like Diana McCaulay’s Gone to Drift, which recently sold US rights to a major publisher after being critically acclaimed in the region, AdZiko Gegele’s All Over Again, the first winning title, Imam Baksh’s genre-bending Children of the Spider, my own Musical Youth, which is now finding its way on to school reading lists, and other titles. The newest list includes some names familiar around these parts including the founder of the Allen Prize, a Trinidad project not unlike Wadadli Pen, and a 2017 Bocas finalist – talk about a BIG year – who recently broke down publishing in the region for the uninitiated. Here are the details as sent out by the Bocas team (not including featured images which are from previous Burt Award ceremonies at the Bocas Lit Fest, official author photos and screen caps, and book covers).

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Burt Caribbean finalists 2014.

 

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Burt Caribbean finalists 2015.

 

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Burt Caribbean finalists 2016.

 

We’re excited to announce the finalists for CODE’s Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, which recognizes outstanding writing for young adults by Caribbean authors!

Three finalists were selected from among submissions of both published books and unpublished manuscripts. The 2017 finalists are:

LisaAllen-Agostini_0Lisa Allen-Agostini (Trinidad & Tobago), Waiting on the Bus – manuscript

KJ  Kevin Jared Hosein (Trinidad & Tobago), The Beast of Kukuyo –  manuscript

Viviana Prado-Nunez (Puerto Rico/USA), The Art of White Roses – self-published book

The finalists were selected by an independent jury made up of writing, publishing, and educational professionals with expertise in young adult literature.

“We saw a wide range of submissions, from a photographic art book to an erotic novel, all with one very strong element in common: a love for place and culture, a celebration of Caribbean life, which was a wonderful thing to read in all its variations.” — chief judge Barry Goldblatt.

Up to $22,000 CAD in prize money will be awarded to a maximum of three winners, who will be announced on April 26th at the opening night celebration of the 2017 NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

To support the development of high quality, culturally relevant books, CODE will facilitate the publication of the winning titles by Caribbean publishers. CODE will also purchase and distribute up to 2500 copies of each winning title, which will be donated to schools, libraries, and community organizations across the region through CODE’s network of local partners.
Read the full press release here.

PAST BURT TITLES WHICH SHOULD BE ON THE BOOK SHELF OR IN THE E-READER OF ANY TEEN IN YOUR LIFE:

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, and With Grace; also a freelance writer, editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator). Excerpting, reblogging, linking etc. is fine, but PLEASE do not lift ANY content (images or text) wholesale from this site without asking first and crediting the creator of that work and/or copyright holder. All Rights Reserved. If you like the content here follow or recommend the blog, also, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. Thank you.

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Scouting Teen Bloggers

I’ve been thinking it’d be cool to have some teens review my new teen/young adult novel Musical Youth. MUSICAL_YOUTH_Nov1Makes sense, right? So if you’re an Antiguan and Barbudan or wider Caribbean teen who likes to read and is active on social media, post below with your name and a link to your blog or other social media page (if you’re not on social media but have reviewed books on like goodreads or amazon, share that link instead) and I may contact you about the possibility of providing a copy of my new book for your review. Oh and if you’re not a teen and you’re reading this and you know a teen who might be good for this little experiment, please share with them.

Meanwhile, teens and everyone else, check out this line up of the week’s activities.

Thanks for the continued support.

Joanne (Wadadli Pen founder-coordinator wearing her author-book-promotion hat)

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

Antiguan Author Releases Award-Winning Novel, Musical Youth

“The book, which placed second in the 2014 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, follows one eventful summer in the life of a group of Antiguan teenagers. According to the book’s blurb, guitarist Zahara and Shaka, a musical genius find love and challenges as they take part in a musical that they must get right by the end of the summer. Readers will be drawn in by the book’s cast of interesting characters and will love the musical thread that runs through the story.”

MUSICAL_YOUTH_Nov1

READ THE FULL RELEASE RE THE RELEASE OF MY NEW BOOK MUSICAL YOUTH.

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FYI – BEST OF BOOKS SUMMER READING AND WRITING PROGRAMMES

 

Spreading the word re another writing and reading opportunity, an alternative to my own Jhohadli Writing Programme, this one via the Best of Books.

summer camp primary 2014 Best of Books Teen Writing Camp 2014

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