Tag Archives: THE CARIBBEAN WRITER

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid July 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)

Remembering

Bunny Wailer (1947-2021) died earlier this year and though I am late in marking this seismic moment in music, I couldn’t let the transitioning of the last of the iconic Wailers, which included legends Bob Marley (1945-1981) and Peter Tosh (1944-1987), go by just so. (Source – JR Lee email)

News

Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters out of the Virgin Islands have teamed up with Syllble Inc out of the US (its founder is out of Haiti) to stimulate the writing and boosting of Caribbean speculative fiction. “The story bible founders will design an overview of the fictional universe. As short stories get written the story bible is expected to grow. The best short stories will be short listed for Moko’s consideration.” Read more in this press release. (Source – Syllble email)

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Plans advance for an African Slavery Museum in Antigua and Barbuda.

It is to be constructed at Tomlinson’s Estate and is spearheaded by the African Slavery Memorial Society founded by Edith Oladele to preserve African heritage and memory in Antigua and Barbuda. Details of the planned museum can be read here:

(Source – ASMS email)

Events

The publishers of The Caribbean Writer Vol. 35 have announced an after reading dinner affair reader response discussion series for July 15th 2021, 6 to 8 p.m. They will be discussing the poems in tribute to the late Kamau Brathwaite published in volume 35. RSVP here and order volume 35 here. (Source – TCW email)

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I’ll be reading at the Medellin World Poetry Festival in August. Read about my recent test and watch a preview in my latest reading journal. (Source – Jhohadli)

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July 12th 2021 is Caribbean Literature Day. This started last year (I believe) and I’m not sure what activities are planned (will update as able) but let us know how you’ll be celebrating. (Source – N/A email)

Accolades

It’s become hard to keep up with the awards and award nominations scooped up by Antiguan and Barbudan Shabier Kirchner for his cinematography on Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ – hereafter known as one of the most egregiously snubbed anthology series of the 2021 Emmys season. Kirchner who previously picked up nominations and/or awards for Small Axe from the New York Film Critics Circle (win), the National Society of Film Critics Awards, the Lost Angeles Film Critics Awards, (win), International Online Cinema Awards, International Cinephile Society Awards, Florida Film Critics Circle, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, British Society of Cinematographers, Boston Society of Film Critics, among others, added to his haul with a trophy from the BAFTA TV Craft awards for Photography and Lighting: Fiction. He was also a 2021 Independent Spirit Award nominee for best cinematography for ‘Bull’. Talk about a year and a career on the rise. (Source – various)

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Late on this one but St. Lucia’s Canisia Lubrin (Poetry) and Trinidad and Tobago’s Dionne Brand (fiction), both Canada-based were announced among the eight recipients of the Windham-Campbell Prize, one of the richest international literary prizes with its US$165,000 purse to each writer. The money is strings-free, allowing them to focus on their work without the pressure of financial commitments. (Source – JR Lee email)

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The winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize has been announced. It is Sri Lankan author Kanya D’Almeida. Her story ‘I cleaned the – ‘ can be read here. The regional winner for the Caribbean is Jamaican writer Roland Watson-Grant. You can read his story, ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Dell’, here. (Source – Commonwealth Writers email)

Roland

Opportunities

Also see Opportunities Too for pending deadlines.

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The UNESCO-sponsored cultural/creative industries mapping project is requesting the participation of artists in Antigua and Barbuda in its data collection phase before October 31st 2021.

Cultural advisor with the Creative Industries Minister Dr. Hazra Medica advises us that data gathered during this phase and the resultant reports will serve as “the most important advocacy tool in our lobby arsenal–both inside and outside of Antigua and Barbuda– for our cultural/creative industries.” They have framed it as a help us help you scenario for local artists and cultural practitioners, and while we have been asked to register before, Dr. Medica insists that this time is different. The goal, she indicated, is to move beyond talk. I have talked more with Medica on this and hope to say more about it in a future edition of my CREATIVE SPACE column (subscribe to Jhohadli) to make sure you don’t miss it. Meanwhile, here’s where you can complete the data collection form. (Source – Dr. Medica email)

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The Bocas Lit Fest has adjusted the criteria for its first ever children’s book prize which is open for entries to July 30th 2021. The word count is now 1,500 words (down from 6,000) and the books no longer need to be structured as chapter books to be eligible. The books must still be appropriate for children 7 to 12 years old, and must have been published between January 1st 2020 and July 31st 2021. Self-published books are eligible and the author and/or publisher do not need to be Caribbean based. Details on the Bocas site & below:

(Source – Bocas email)

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 AmazonWordPress, 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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Carib Lit Plus Early to Mid October 2020

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.

Farewell

We’ve reported before on the passing of writer and art collector (also politician but that’s not what we’re here for) Sir Selvyn Walter. Sir Selvyn received an official funeral on October 12th 2020. Per the Daily Observer, “he was the founder of the Halcyon Steel Orchestra, along with Sam and Penod Kirby and Melvin Simon in 1972.” He authored the Daily Observer series Not a Drum was Heard and the book Bank Alley Tales – both capturing the life and times and forgotten culture and people of Antigua and Barbuda. Reportedly, the refurbished art gallery at Government House will be renamed for him. Observer writes, “We have lost one of our finest thinkers and historians – a curator of that which made us who we are.”

Congrats are in Order

For winners of the Catapult Caribbean Arts Grant Stay Home Artist Residency; including familiar (to the Wadadli Pen blog) names like Trinidad and Tobago’s Lisa Allen-Agostini and Shivanee Ramlochan, and the Bahamas’ Sonia Farmer. The residency enables 24 cultural practitioners from the English, Spanish, French, and Dutch Caribbean to be supported to the tune of US$3,000 each while continuing work from home over a two month period.

The Stay at Home Artist Residency is only one of the initiatives supporting Caribbean Creatives during 2020 under the Catapult: Caribbean Artists Grants. It is managed and funded through Kingston Creative, Barbados’ Fresh Milk, and American Friends of Jamaica. Through six initiatives they are supporting the work of Caribbean artists in a year that has sent the entire world in to a tailspin thanks to COVID-19. “These funding opportunities will increase the visibility of over 1,000 Caribbean-based artists, creatives and cultural practitioners to global audiences, provide much needed financial support, and develop the creative skills of our artists.” (Fresh Milk) In addition to the Stay Home Artist Residency (above), there is the Caribbean Artist Showcase, Caribbean Creative Online, Digital Creative Training, Consultancy Vouchers, and Lockdown Virtual Salon – the recipients of which are
“The CATAPULT Lockdown Virtual Salon programme aims to mitigate isolation, especially heightened during the current pandemic, by creating virtual platforms for cultural practitioners to engage in discourse about and explore their evolving practices. These one-hour artist talks from their homes or studios will be live-streamed via the Fresh Milk YouTube channel at 1PM and 4PM AST, every Tuesday and Friday between September 29th & November 20th, 2020.” (Fresh Milk)

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This year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature has been named: she is American poet and Yale professor Louise Glück. Here’s a sample of her poetry: Per this BBC article, she is amazingly only the 16th woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature since it was first awarded in 1901. Another woman who was trending as the Nobel announcement drew near was Antigua and Barbuda’s Jamaica Kincaid who was reportedly in top contention. Trinidad-American blogger Keishel Williams wrote after the announcement, in a piece headlined Waiting for Jamaica Kincaid’s Nobel Prize, “Unlike in previous years, I was particularly nervous about this year’s prize. The last time WE won a Noble Prize in Literature was almost twenty years ago and WE have only won this prestigious prize twice in its history – Derek Walcott in 1992 and V.S. Naipaul in 2001. Suffice to say, when Antiguan-born novelist, essayist, and short story writer Jamaica Kincaid was tipped as a top contender for the prize this year, I was over the moon.” The article ended, “WE will another Noble Prize in Literature and I will be there waiting, patiently, when it is awarded to Jamaica Kincaid.” Literature gods willing.

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Jamaican writer Diana McCaulay, recently interviewed for a series on publishing here on Wadadli Pen, later adapted for an article in Publishler’s Weekly, has been announced as part of the judging panel for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story prize. An environmental activist and award winning novelist whose books include Dog Heart, Gone to Drift, Huracan, White Liver Gal, and Daylight Soon Come is also a past winner of the prize. The Commonwealth Short Story prize has one judge from each Commonwealth territory. McCaulay is this cycle’s Caribbean judge alongside A. Igoni Barrett (Africa), Khademul Islam (Asia), Keith Jarrett (Canada and Europe), Tina Makereti/(Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Rangatahi) (Pacific), and chair South African writer Zoë Wicomb. For information on submitting to the Commonwealth Short Stories Prize and other opportunities, see Opportunities Too here on the blog for details.

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Diana again for the release this month of her Peepal Tree book Daylight Come, a Burt award winning title.

Congrats to her.

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Monique Roffey, award winning Trinidadian author, has had her latest book, The Mermaid of Black Conch, shortlisted for Goldsmith’s Prize recognizing the best in experimental fiction. The prize is worth 10,000 pounds. Re Roffey’s book, ‘Judge Sarah Ladipo Manyika said: “This is one of those rare gems of a novel that can be read and enjoyed on many levels—it’s a whimsical love story, a history of the Caribbean and its indigenous peoples, an ode to Mother Earth, and an allegory for our times.”’ (quoted here). The winner will be announced on November 11th 2020.

Book Recs

St. Lucian poet John Robert Lee recommends the latest from Ghanian-Jamaican writer Kwame Dawes and UK based Peepal Tree, Natural Mysticism. He describes it as a “page-turner” which isn’t something you often hear of books of this type. I personally remember really liking a previous reggae-themed book of Dawes Bob Marley Lyrical Genius for his breakdown and contextualizing of the universally familiar lyrics.

Lee said of Natural Mysticism, “Others no doubt have written of this seminal, water-shed period of Caribbean life and experience, from the mid- sixties to the mid-eighties (in my reckoning), but for the first time I was studying a closely- observed record of the lives and times and music and ideas that had so moved me and all the companions and lovers and artists among whom I lived in those heady days. Marley and the Wailers, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Jimmy Cliff, Culture, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse … But not only was Kwame Dawes writing a fascinating social and cultural history…but he was making a very bold assertion: that reggae and its spiritual heart of Rastafari, provided an aesthetic that could shape the arts and literature of the new Caribbean already taking shape around us.”

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For Coloured Girls. No, not the Tyler Perry movie; the play (“for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf “) by Ntozake Shange, who died in 2018, leaving an indelible mark, in the captured stories of various women’s inner lives. Seven women, including talent and director Wendy ‘Motion’ Brathwaite, who is Antigua-descended, staged a virtual reading of some of the play/book’s classic monologues in an event called For Colored Girls: A RemiX. The reading – consistent with the choreopoem’s use of word, sound, movement, and drama – can be viewed on the Band Gallery channel.

Watching it is reminding me how much I thought Anika Noni Rose was overlooked in Oscars conversation because whatever you thought of the linear framing of the narrative or of Perry’s direction, there were several standout performances, and for me Rose’s, and Loretta Devine’s, were among them. Watch the video, and revisit the book while you’re at it.

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Shivanee Ramlochan over at Caribbean Beat, a literary star in her own right, recs three books already on my TBR which should be on yours (either that or your AR – already read): Epiphaneia by Richard Georges (“Here are poems that reward several concentrated readings to mine their full, harrowing flavour”); Black Rain Falling by Jacob Ross, second in his fictional crime series that began with The Bone Readers (“Move over, Agatha Christie — Jacob Ross is in charge”), and Ingrid Persaud’s Love After Love. And Shivanee’s reviews are an art form in themselves. Read this about Love After Love: “Ingrid Persaud steers the world of her novel with a merciless kind of sensitivity, turning the very notion of a tiny existence on its clichéd head, rattling every cupboard in this narrative home for loose change, deep confessions, and dalliances sweeter than Demerara sugar.” So feel free to check out her Forward Prize nominated Everyone Knows I am Haunting which incidentally debuted in October (Happy Anniversary Month, Shivanee) back in 2017.

Events

Perhaps not unexpectedly, regional arts and culture showcase CARIFESTA 2021, scheduled for Antigua and Barbuda, has been pushed back to (August 11-21) 2022. This is according to a report in the Daily Observer newspaper of Friday 9th October 2020.

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You can revisit the 2020 virtual Bocas Lit Fest now on their YouTube channel. With over 80 writers, performers, events over three days, there’s a lot to see.

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The Caribbean Writer has announced an after-dinner reading affair, part of its Reader Response Discussion Series, for October 15th 2020, 7 to 9 p.m. The will be discussing four pieces from the recently published Volume 34, themed ‘Dignity, Power, and Place in the Caribbean Space’. Here are the details:

ZOOM LOGIN INFORMATION

https://zoom.us/j/96011298073?pwd=SHJJQzlacUVzZ09HV1VPRE5tUE0wUT09

Meeting ID: 960 1129 8073

Passcode: 521956

NOTE: If you would like a digital copy of volume 34, order here.

Pay it Forward

I remember Antiguan-Barbudan reggae singer Causion paying it forward for years in the 2000s with his concerts on an open field in his home community of St. Paul’s, cost of entry a canned nonperishable to be dropped in to a barrel for later delivery to those who need it. Now it’s the community’s turn to help him. Observer newspaper reporters that the singer is battling stage 3 colon cancer. Details of his fundraising mission for himself and others in the Daily Observer. Also here’s a direct link to the thankyoumission.com

All things considered, this one seems appropriate

Causion, born Gregory Bailey, performing Put Your Trust in Jah roughly 10 years ago.

New and Forthcoming Books

This is an August 2020 released but I’m not sure I mentioned it – Trinidad and Tobago writer Andre Bagoo’s poetry collection The Undiscovered Country. ‘The Undiscovered Country discovers many things, but one thing for sure: Andre Bagoo is a fearless, brilliant mind. He can take us from the formal critical perspective to new futurist “visual essay”, to verse essay, to sweeping historical account that is unafraid to go as far in time as Columbus and as urgently-of-our moment as Brexit—all of it with precision and attentiveness to detail that is as brilliant as it is startling.’ (Peepal Tree Press)

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Scholastic UK has acquired and will be publishing this October the previously self-published Windrush book by Kandace Chimbiri. The Story of the Windrush celebrates the Windrush pioneers who first arrived in London in June 1948. With a mix of historical fact and voices from that generation, the children’s book not only tells the story but underscores its importance in the formation of modern Britain. Chimbiri is a descendent of the generations of Black Caribbean people who travelled that route to make a life for themselves in the UK. She was born in London, England in 1968 to parents from Barbados. The Story of the Windrush was initially published through her Golden Destiny Ltd. independent publishing house, founded in 2009. This info comes via a release put out by Scholastic and reaching us via Barbados’ National Cultural Foundation. In that release, Chimbiri is quoted as saying, “I noticed a lack of diversity in books for children especially in the non-fiction genre. I began by self-publishing my work and am really excited now about working with a publisher who is going to make stories like these available to a much wider audience. I feel that Scholastic understands what I want to achieve. They can see the importance of books like The Story of the Windrush and why they are needed in the world right now.”

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Collins (UK) is preparing a rollout of a number of Caribbean titles for its Big Cat series of children’s books. They include non fiction titles Sea Turtles and How to become a Calysonian, and fictional works Turtle Beach, The Jungle Outside, Wygenia and the Wonder of the World Leaf, Finny and the Fairy Fish, and The Lost Sketch Book. Authors and illustrators include Jamaica’s Diana McCaulay, Guyana’s Imam Baksh, St. Kitts-Nevis Carol Mitchell, and others including several from Antigua and Barbuda. Get the run down here on the Wadadli Pen site – and see which Wadadli Pen team members are involved with this series.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, 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/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on 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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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 (Mid to Late July 2020)

Acclaim

A couple of Caribbean writers have been named among the Hurston Wright Award nominees for 2020. I spot among the Fiction nominees Jamaican writers Nicole Dennis-Benn (Patsy) and Curdella Forbes (A Tall History of Sugar). Read the full list here.

Book News

Not book news but screenplays are the books of the film world and the last CREATIVE SPACE focused on Antiguan and Barbudan films available online. The series runs every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer and on my blog.

Caribbean Literary Heritage used the inaugural Caribbean Literature Day as an opportunity to kick off its Caribbean A – Z of lesser known books series. A is for Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie, Gwen, Lilly, Pam, and Tulip (1983) is presented by Keja Valens @kvalens, who writes, “Kincaid’s story narrates a moment of first contact between Caribbean natives and conquistadors, from the point of view of the Caribbean natives who are also constituted by the history that will result from that meeting. It features the stylistics, themes, and even characters for which Kincaid is well known: a deceptive simplicity, a deep concern with the colonial and post-colonial experience of Caribbean girls and women, and Annie and Gwen.” They’ll be doing the whole alphabet – including an F entry by me, so check them out by clicking on the page name above.

NDOA-cover_PB-768x1023

Myriad Publishing in the UK has lots of news re the global anthology New Daughters of Africa, featuring more than 200 Black women writers from around the world, and edited by Margaret Busby. First, the recipient of the Margaret Busby New Daughters of Africa award, made possible because all participating authors waived their fee, went to Iza Luhumyo of Mombasa. Additionally, 500 copies of New Daughters have been donated to schools in the United Kingdom via The Black Curriculum, a social enterprise that campaigns for black British histories to be taught from reception through to A Levels. Myriad’s publishing director Candida Lacey said, “It feels more urgent now than ever to improve the way we educate our children and young adults and to share with them the richness, range and diversity of African women’s voices and across a wealth of genres.” The paperback edition of New Daughters will be out in September.

Caribbean Reads Publishing has announced that it is actively seeking #ownvoices manuscripts for middle grade readers, roughly 8 to 13 years, with a Caribbean setting. There’s no published cut off date but don’t sleep on it. Go here for submission details. Caribbean Reads has also recently released a reading guide for its Burt Award winning title Musical Youth. Download it for free here.

A reminder that Caribbean Reads publishing is accepting middle grade manuscripts. “What’s a middle-grade novel? These are books for readers in the last years of primary school and early years of high school. These readers are beyond picture books and early chapter books but not ready for the themes in YA novels. Age range of readers: 8-13 years. This is a large range and will include simpler, shorter books for the 8-10 range and slightly longer, more involved ones for the 11-13 year olds. Length: 15,000 – 50,000 words. This is a guide. There are longer middle-grade books. Character ages: 10-14 years old. Generally children like to read up, so the protagonists should be slightly older than the children in your target age range. They can’t be too old or the concerns that are most realistic for your characters will be too advanced for your readers. General features: The story must have a compelling plot line and at least one sub-plot (this is one of the features that distinguishes the middle-grade novel from the earlier books).
Adults should have minor roles. They should never step in to solve the children’s problem. The book should show a clear understanding of the protagonist’s point-of-view and concerns as a child. The books may be one of a variety of sub-genres: realistic, fantasy, historical, humorous, etc.” For more, go here.

The Voice of the People’s reading of Keithlyn and Fernando Smith’s To Shoot Hard Labour continues all July (July 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st). Don’t forget the youth tie-ins.

And the live trivia, prizes for which include copies of books by local authors

ETA: I’ve uploaded week 1 of the reading club discussion to my AntiguanWriter youtube channel

Carnival 

What’s there to say? Carnival is cancelled. Or is it? As we settle in to this new normal the news that Carnival has been cancelled has morphed in to some aspects of Carnival is going online. There will be a t-shirt mas via zoom and a party monarch with a $15,000 purse. Registration is ongoing at this writing. I’m going to link the Antigua Carnival page though I was not able to find, with a little digging around, info on these announced events – it is a (too) busy page though so I maybe missed it; either that or it’s not updated yet which would be confounding considering it’s already been in the news. But here’s the page– otherwise, google.

Black Lives Matter

Yes, here in the Caribbean too. A recent addition to the conversation – the part of it having to do with the dismantling of racist iconography – is an op-ed by writer-publisher Mario Picayo, who resides in the VI and in the US.

with-grace-cover

Mario Picayo’s Little Bell Caribbean published my book With Grace, which centres a dark-skinned Black girl in her own faerie tale.

Entitled Healing the Present by Owning the Past, it was published in the St. Thomas Source and took shots at things in public spaces named for slaver-pirate Francis Drake, colonialist ruler King Christian IX of Denmark, and other things European (and American).

‘Francis Drake was a pirate for the English Crown, and an early slave trader. Together with merchant John Hawkins, a relative, Drake made several trips to Africa between 1561 and 1567 and participated in the triangular trade. During their first trip they reported capturing “at the least” 300 Africans in Sierra Leone through a campaign of destruction and violence. As late as the 1580’s Drake enslaved people during his trips through the Caribbean. In one instance he took “300 Indians from Cartagena, mostly women” as well as “200 negroes.” In Marin County, California, Drake’s statue will be removed and the name Francis Drake Boulevard will be changed.’

Antigua and Barbuda actually has some experience with this – the changeover of European names to one of more local significance, more generally, but the changeover of things named for Drake and Hawkins specifically as well. When I was a child there were streets named for them. Post-Independence, King Obstinate did a song, ‘Sons of the Soil/True Heroes’ that as a child and still I believe changed attitudes and policy regarding some of the things named for European colonists and enslavers. There are still many things named for them, of course, but gone were Drake and Hawkins streets, and two other parallel streets in St. John’s City, and in their place were streets named for legendary cricketers Sirs Vivian Richards and Andy Roberts, and future national heroes King Court and Nellie Robinson. Still no Short Shirt Village nor Swallow Town though.

Read Mario’s full article here.

RIP

Dame Edris Bird (born 1929), former resident tutor of the University of the West Indies Open Campus (Antigua and Barbuda)/University Centre, has died. She has been offered an official funeral “in celebration of (her) selfless contribution to nation building”. In an obit I recommend reading in full, the Daily Observer newspaper speaks of her considerable (and little known to those of us who came after) arts advocacy (for example for the details of the time she stood up to then Prime Minister and Father of the Nation and her brother in law Papa Bird in defense of free expression on the nation’s station).  “The University of the West Indies under her leadership was a mecca for education, the arts, cultural expression, and exploration of self-awareness and self-fulfillment. She encouraged theatrical performances (see RULER IN HIROONA and CEREMONIES IN DARK OLD MEN), and nurtured great playwrights and actors like Dorbrene O’Marde, Edson Buntin, Eugene ‘Rats’ Edwards, Irving Lee, Dr. Glen Edwards, and the cast of Harambee Open Air Theatre. Pan blossomed and flourished, as did African drumming and creative and contemporary dancing. Public speaking and debating thrived; poetry and prose performances all found room for expression at the University Centre. It is without fear of contradiction that we declare that the University Centre under Dame Edris Bird was the cultural and educational hub in Antigua and Barbuda.”

Lit Events

ETA The read2Me_TT bedtime readings are ongoing. Happy to have been included  sure to check out their channel.

Intersect is a Caribbean gender justice advocacy group out of Antigua and Barbuda which recently invited me to participate in a discussion on colourism and more in my Burt award winning teen/young adult novel Musical Youth. Here’s the full instagram live video.

ETA: Weekes is part of the faculty of the new Faculty of Culture, Creative and Performing Arts on the UWI Cave Hill campus. It launches online August 1st 2020 at 6 p.m. our time with performances and speaches. Here’s a link.

 

ETA – this event has come and gone; here’s a report. ETA: And here now is the uploaded video of day one of the event – subscribe to the page for notifications re day 2 and more going forward. View my reading during the event on my page AntiguanWriter which you are invited to subscribe to as well

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, 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/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on 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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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business

CARIB Lit Plus (Early – Mid July 2020)

A Note from the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Team

Recently, an eagle-eyed reader of this blog brought an incident of plagiarism related to a 2016 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge entry to our attention. While it is four years too late to retrieve the prizes this entry would have received, we have removed it from public view and corrected the record, we will be informing the recipient, and will be more diligent in future to ensure that plagiarized entries are not rewarded. The development of young people, the encouragement of original creativity, and the integrity of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize are important to us. We wish to thank Mary (the reader’s name) for bringing the offence to our attention and we apologize to the author of the original piece which was plagiarized. It is not in keeping with our mission and our standards to steal from another writer. We will do our best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Awards

Britain based, Jamaican born dub poetry pioneer Linton Kwesi Johnson is the 2020 recipient of the PEN Pinter Award. The award is meant to defend freedom of expression and celebrate literature. Read details of his win at The Guardian.

Book News

FINAL-Obeah-Race-and-Racism-Invitation-page-001-232x300 British Virgin Islands writer Eugenia O’Neal’s latest book investigates Obeah, Race and Racism: Caribbean Witchcraft in the English Imagination. Her book is being published by UWI Press. A virtual launch is set for April July 17th 2020 11 a.m. Register here. Her previous books include the pirate adventure Dido’s Prize, reviewed on this blog. She’s also been previously interviewed here on the blog about Publishing.

crCaribbean Reads Publishing has announced that it is actively seeking #ownvoices manuscripts for middle grade readers, roughly 8 to 13 years, with a Caribbean setting.  There’s no published cut off date but don’t sleep on it. Go here for submission details.

The Bookseller reported that Hamish Hamilton has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, Doubleday the US rights, and Bond Street Books the Canadian rights to Ayanna Gillian Lloyd’s The Gatekeepers. A ghost story and a love story set in modern Trinidad, Lloyd’s homeland,  it has been described (per Hamish Hamilton) as “mythic and timeless” and at the same time “sharply contemporary”. The book is set to debut in 2022 with a second novel Dark Eye Place to follow in 2024. Now, that’s how you do it!

Reading Recs

Bocas Curated Reading

Bocas has been very active this COVID-19 season with a lot of online content including an arts survival kit that includes readings of works by Bocas prize winning poet Richard Georges, former Commonwealth Short Story prize winner Ingrid Persaud, Andre Bagoo, Anu Lakhan, a tribute to Kamau Brathwaite, and more. Find it online here.

You can also find up to 40 renowned Caribbean and other writers reading Brathwaite’s work on YouTube at the Kamau Brathwaite Remix Engine.

Home Home

The US edition of Home Home (Delacorte Press) by Trinidadian writer Lisa Allen-Agostini dropped somewhat quietly during quarantine but it’s been getting some big reviews. The Burt Award winning title, initially issued with Papillote Press, was written up in Publishers’ Weekly, which said: “Allen-Agostini (The Chalice Project) uses clear, concise prose to break down the daunting reality of depression and anxiety. Strong interpersonal dynamics balance hard themes, including homophobia, suicidal ideation, troubled parent relationships, and the minimization of depression, resulting in a quietly optimistic story.”

You can also catch Allen-Agostini in conversation with Diana McCaulay, Shakirah Bourne, and me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) in Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights right here on the Wadadli Pen blog.

Lit Events 

Antigua and Barbuda Conference Cancellation

The annual joint conference of the University of the West Indies (Antigua and Barbuda Open Campus) and the Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association, usually held in August, has been cancelled. The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books which typically launches at the conference will be out in the Fall.

Caribbean Literature Day 

July 12, 2020 has been proposed by St. Martin’s House of Nehesi Publishers as Caribbean Literature Day. The call was made a the closing of the 2020 St. Martin Book Fair, its 18th.  Writers, aspiring writers, literary festivals, book clubs, journals, creative writing programs, and all creative artists, institutions, and media of the Caribbean region; all Caribbean peoples; and all lovers of Caribbean writings, authors, and books, from everywhere in the world have been asked to participate. How? Per a press release, “by reading the works of your favorite Caribbean authors; buying Caribbean books, published in the Caribbean and beyond, and by Caribbean authors; and presenting Caribbean books as gifts. Celebrate the day with books, recitals, and with discussions about books, of poetry, fiction, drama, art, music, and all the other genres by Caribbean writers.” Here’s the full press release: OES News 20_Statement_Caribbean Literature Day

ETA (09/07/20) The Institute of Gender and Development Studies Regional Coordinating Office (IGDS-RCO), out of the University of the West Indies’ Jamaica campus, has announced that it will be teaming up with House of Nehesi Publishers to celebrate Caribbean Literature Day. It will host two Zoom webinars under the theme: The Gendered Word on July 12, from 12 noon to 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Poets, writers and teachers of literature in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean are invited to read their work and the works of other Caribbean writers or comment on Caribbean literature. Those who wish to participate may email their interest at: igdsrco@gmail.com.

Also, contact Lasana M. Sekou Projects Director Nehesi@sintmaarten.net

To Shoot Hard Labour

The seminal Antiguan and Barbudan retelling of the history of Antigua and Barbuda from the lived point of view of Samuel ‘Papa Sammy’ Smith is being celebrated all month long on Observer Radio 91.1 FM. The virtual summer reading project will air specifically Fridays (July 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st) on the popular Voice of the People programme which typically runs from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., later, I believe, on Fridays. It is being co-produced by Beverly Georges of the Friends of Antigua Public Library based in New York. Special guest presenters will include Dr. Natasha Lightfoot, Agnes Meeker, Paddy ‘the Griot’ Simon, children from The Cushion Club Reading Club for Children in Antigua and Barbuda, me (Joanne C. Hillhouse), and the co-author of To Shoot Hard Labour Keithlyn Smith. A number of activity tie-ins for young readers are planned. See flyer:  diorama

TSHL-Project2

Don’t forget to check Opportunities Too for more opportunities with pending deadlines.

TCW Webinar and Launch

The Caribbean Writer has announced that Volume 34 after COVID related delay launches its digital edition on July 7th 2020 and the print edition “on or about July 16th 2020”. The editor, Alscess Lewis-Brown (who has Antiguan and Barbudan roots by the way, though resident in the US Virgin Islands) has also announced a July 19th 2020 webinar. The six hour event, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., will be held under the theme ‘Interrogating the Past, Re-imagining the Future’. There will be presentations and an opportunity for contributors past and present to share for five minutes one of their published pieces. This is The Caribbean Writer’s facebook page; here’s the sign up link.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, 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/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on 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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Carib Plus Lit News (the First of 2020)

Happy New Year and let’s pray it is indeed a happy one. Here at Wadadli Pen, we’re gearing up for the 2020 season of the Wadadli Pen Challenge (keep checking back, ask to be added to the Wadadli Pen mailing list, or follow or subscribe for updates).  Meanwhile, here’s the first Carib Plus Lit News of  2020.

In Antigua and Barbuda, late physician, music producer, and HIV/AIDS activist Sir Dr. Prince Ramsey’s street in Paradise View has been renamed in his name.

(Photo of the Day at the Daily Observer on December 30th 2019 shows Sir Dr. Prince Ramsey’s family at the sign of the street name for him. Photo taken by Dotsie Isaac)

Dr. Ramsey died in 2019. You can find out more about him on this site in our obit here and our post on most influential Antiguans and Barbudans.

***

Antigua and Barbuda’s DJ Quest spun and scratched his way to second place in the Caribbean 3Style Championships in Panama City, Panama, a journey he described as “an emotional roller coaster” and the “most memorable performances of my career to date.” He said in the linked article, “2020 is the year of vision and mine is clear.”

***

Still in Antigua and Barbuda, the first edition of ApaNa magazine includes an article on my work with both the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize and Cushion Club Reading Club for Children.

You can read the full issue here. According to Deborah Hackshaw, the magazine’s founder in its launch release  “ApaNa provides an independent platform for communication and collaboration on sustainability and social responsibility challenges, developments and strategies for the Caribbean.  We leverage storytelling with articles on sustainability, business and marketing trends, social causes and community investment.  ApaNa shares the work that companies and partners are doing together.  We also offer executive perspectives to motivate and inspire organisations, people and communities in the region to take action.”

***

We typically do an individual top 10 new posts of the year here on the blog. Time didn’t allow for it at the end of 2019 but I thought I’d do a quick-ish mention here so that you can check them out if you missed them:

  1. Antigua Con Not Dampened By Saturday Showers
  2. Celebrating Dr. Prince Ramsey; RIP, Sir
  3. Farewell Grand Dame (Saying Goodbye to Mary Quinn)
  4. On Bill Burt, the Burt Award (for Caribbean Literature), and the 18 Teen/Young Adult Caribbean Fiction Titles It Produced
  5. Antiguan and Barbudan Authors at St. Martin Book Fair
  6. The Votes are in and… (announcing the outcome of the Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year Initiative)
  7. Book of the Year Presentation (Photo Gallery)
  8. PRESS RELEASE The Antigua and Barbuda Readers’ Choice Book of the Year Is…
  9. #Girlscan – A Tribute to Team Antigua Island Girls
  10. Antiguan and Barbudan Writers Talking CARIFESTA Inclusion (or Lack Thereof)

Those are the new topics that attracted the most interest in 2019. Among the older posts that were still attracting heavy viewership in 2019, the top five were:

  1. The home page
  2. #ReadAntiguaBarbuda #VoteAntiguaBarbuda (listing the books in the running for the Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year Initiative)
  3. Antiguan and Barbudan Writings (our main literary data base)
  4. About Wadadli Pen
  5. Opportunities Too

***

The Barbados Independent Film Festival is this January. Here’s the schedule.

Here’s a link to their social media.

***

From my author blog, the last of the 2019 run of the CREATIVE SPACE series focused on the return of the Vagina Monologues to the Antigua stage for the first time since 2012 (a run that started in 2008). Zahra Airall, one of the original directors of the Antigua run of the Eve Ensler play and its homegrown counterpart When a Woman Moans, with her third production of the year after The Long Walk and Derek Walcott’s Ti-Jean and His Brothers (with her Honey Bee Theatre) plus multi-award winning participation in the Caribbean Secondary Schools theatre competition, used the staging as an opportunity to re-launch her Sugar Apple Theatre.

***

Richard Georges of the BVI and Ann-Margaret Lim of Jamaica collaborated on a Caribbean Writers edition of Anomaly. Writers featured in the international literary journal include some names which should be familiar to you if you’re a regular reader of this blog: Summer Edward, Shivanee Ramlochan, Juleus Ghunta, Celia Sorhaindo, Ayanna Gillian Lloyd, among others.

***

The Caribbean Writer literary journal, a publication of the University of the Virgin Islands, published its annual lit prize winners for Volume 32. The Daily News Prize for an author resident in the U.S. Virgin Islands or the British Virgin Islands has been awarded to Virgin Islands author, poet, essayist Clement White for “Fia’bun An’ Dey Queen Dem—Re-Examination DWI Sits and History in Search of a V.I. Identity.”  This prize, awarded to a prose or fiction writer, is a longstanding prize sponsored for over two decades by the Virgin Islands Daily News. The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for best short fiction has been awarded to Trinidadian-Bahamian poet and fiction writer Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming for “Spider and the Butterfly.” This prize is made possible by the founder publisher of the St. Croix Avis, Rena Brodhurst. The Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize for a new or emerging writer has been awarded to Jody Rathgeb for “Uncle Jeep.” This prize is sponsored by Dasil Williams, wife of the late Marvin Williams, deceased editor of The Caribbean Writer. The Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize to a Caribbean author whose work best expresses the spirit of the Caribbean has gone to Jane Bryce for “When it Happened.” This prize is sponsored by former Governor John de Jongh, Jr. on behalf of his wife for her abiding support and interest in the literary life of the Virgin Islands and the region. The David Hough Literary Prize to an author residing in the Caribbean goes to Patricia Nelthropp Fagan for her story “Jewish Island Girl.” This is the final installment of this prize (a prize I, incidentally, won in 2011). The first Vincent Cooper Literary Prize to a Caribbean author for exemplary writing in Caribbean Nation Language has been awarded to Dionne Peart for her short story “‘Merica.” This prize is sponsored by University of the Virgin Islands Professor, Dr. Vincent Cooper, a longstanding member of The Caribbean Writer’s Board of Editors. A new prize has been announced for Volume 34. Read more about that here.

***

Bocas has announced  that Monique Roffey, the Trinidadian Orange prize nominated author of books like White Woman on a Green Bicycle will be holding workshop sessions, Beyond the First Draft: Literary Craft Studios. The given dates are January 18th, April 29th, and May 9th 2020. “This is a series of three unique sessions at The Writers Centre for advanced writers of novels and short stories,” according to the mailed announcement. Roffey, who is also a lecturer and editor for The Literary Consultancy in London, will discuss some of what a writer must think about when revising and polishing a work of fiction, so it’s ready for showing to an agent or for publication. The three 2-hour interactive sessions will include talks, discussion handouts, and ‘q and a’. Meanwhile, another well-known Trinidadian writer and critic Shivanee Ramlochan will be delivering a master class, entitled Poetry as Ferocity: Writing Your Truth with Radical Honesty, on January 12th and 19th 2020, also at the Writers Centre in Trinidad. For registration information, contact Bocas Lit Fest. The next Bocas Lit Fest, meanwhile, takes place May 1st – 3rd 2020.

***

As the author of Caribbean fairytale With Grace (coincidentally illustrated by Bajan artist Cherise Harris), I was interested to learn of Bajan artist Empress Zingha’s recently published fairytale Melissa Sunflower. According to LoopnewsBarbados.com, ‘Melissa Sunflower is Illustrated by Heshimu Akin-Yemi and is a Caribbean Fairy Tale story based in Fairy Valley in Christ Church. The main character Melissa Sunflower is a fairy with no wings and gets teased by her advisories (sic), “Sweet Cherry” and “Whatcha MuhCallit”. One day, a big challenge arrives throughout the land and Melissa finds the most potent magic of all.’ Asked why she wrote the book she says something that’ll sound familiar to you if you’ve read any of my posts about the need for diversity in publishing, and the need to tell our own stories, per the Wadadli Pen mission, “I created Melissa Sunflower because I wanted to see more representation for not only black girls, but Caribbean children’s books as well. Actually, I found out that black stories by black authors only make up about 2% of overall publishing globally. I figured, if I could just do my part, maybe it would inspire more writers. Also, I dedicated my book to Kamau Brathwaite, who is my favorite author. In his book, “History of the Voice” when I did my Masters and how important Nation Language and cultural identity was to one’s existence. I sent him the story for his birthday and he really loves it. Maybe one day I’ll get to meet him face to face.” If you’ve read With Grace, you’ll also here a thematic commonality when she says about the book’s takeaway, “To always believe in your magic. That all miracles start and end with love and are most potent and powerful when you believe in it and yourself.” Read her full interview here.

***

Jamaican Poet Laureate Lorna Goodison received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2019 on the basis of her body of work. It was established in 1933 by King George V. Past recipients include W. H. Auden, Derek Walcott, and John Agard, the latter two also of the Caribbean, St. Lucia and Guyana, respectively, among others. Details here.

***

 Interviewing the Caribbean journal, which has been recently acquired by the University of the West Indies Press, is preparing to launch its winter 2019 issue which is focused on Caribbean Children’s literature and the challenges and hopes of children in the region. One of our own, 2018 Wadadli Pen finalist Rosie Pickering’s poem ‘Damarae’ is included along with an interview with the teenage writer; I was invited to contribute an article on children’s and teen/young adult books she’s read recently and would recommend, and that article is also in this issue. Follow the UWI Press so that you can be in line when the issue drops this January. Bookstores et al, order here.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, 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/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on 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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Carib Plus Lit News (Late September 2019)

The Caribbean Writer has announced its Volume 32 prize winnersTCW-Cover-VOL-32-2

Prizes include The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize of $400 for best short fiction; The Daily News Prize of $500 to a resident of the U.S. Virgin Islands or the British Virgin Islands; The Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize of $500 to a new or emerging writer; The Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize of $500 to a Caribbean author whose work best expresses the spirit of the Caribbean; The Vincent Cooper Literary Prize of $300 to a Caribbean author for exemplary writing in Caribbean Nation Language; and The Boyce Literary Prize of $500 to a Caribbean author for a work that best expresses the changing social dynamics of regional life. Not listed is the David Hough Literary Prize which is awarded this year for the final time. See who won. Congrats to the various winners.

Bahamas Post-Dorian; Let’s Talk Climate Change

The Bahamas still needs our help. As we know, it took a pounding from hurricane Dorian

The concern for us in the Caribbean is more than the immediate storms and the aftermath – devastating as that all is – but the ever-rising climate change impacts. Climate change is real – we who feel it know it – and the time for denial is over. Hurricanes have always been with us so believe us when we say (from 2017 on when Irma and Maria laid waste to the region including our own Barbuda) this is different – the frequency, the ferocity, the relentlessness, the heat, the storms, this isn’t normal – or if we don’t act, this will be our new normal and we won’t all survive it.

“We Bahamians listen to climate deniers in rich countries who are oblivious or indifferent to those who bear the weight for their wonderful lives. Meanwhile, the water rises from the ground in our yards because the water table is so high during high tide, and plants we once depended upon no longer grow. We experience too much rain or too little rain, and fresh water supplies are increasingly contaminated by rising sea levels.” Read more of  Hurricane Dorian Makes Bahamians the Latest Climate-Crisis Victims 

The article might make you cry as it gives you a visceral sense of the experience of those trapped on islands besieged by Dorian (another name retired from future Caribbean baby registries), but it also prescribes action and that’s what I wanted to share:

“So we mobilize. We call on the United States to pass the Green New Deal. We donate to groups like Head Knowles*. We consider how to gather volunteers and Bahamian mental health workers to deploy in the coming days. But we need everyone’s help and kindness. We need tarps, tents, sleeping bags, batteries, flashlights, heavy equipment, generators, chain saws, electrical workers and people capable of rebuilding communication towers and homes. We need nonperishable food, wipes, adult and children’s diapers, bug spray.

We need lots of things, but please — no tossed paper towels. This is not funny. Though gracious, Bahamians may toss them back to you.”

Through the Caribbean writers network, I have been informed that the Head Knowles Foundation is a women’s run community organization with hundreds on the ground and a track record – the message provided information on their South Florida drop-off point for those in the area:

Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport:
Headknowles Foundation c/o
Tropix Express
5610 NW 12th Avenue
Suite 203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
info@tropixshipping.com

The Foundation also has a Go Fund Me for money to assist with the relocation of people who have lost their homes, rescue planes, boats, and cars, and for teams who need to go back and forth from Abaco/Grand Bahama to Nassau to safety. The foundation can supply information about their 501c status etc. if you are a “big donor”.

Caribbean Books Online

Anansesem, the online Caribbean children’s lit magazine, has revamped its online bookstore. It is organized by country (here’s Antigua and Barbuda) Founder Summer Edward wrote on The Brown Bookshelf about the process.

“The most distinctive thing, however, about the new Anansesem Online Bookstore is that it carries only ‘own voices’ books. You may be unfamiliar with the term ‘own voices.’ Coined by Dutch YA author Corinne Duyvis in 2015, it’s a term that’s now widely used in the publishing world to refer to books for which the protagonist and the author share a historically marginalized racial or cultural identity. The need for the term ‘own voices’ as a distinguishing marker arose due to the long history, in traditional publishing, of majority-group authors being given free rein to write books depicting minority group characters, and the equally long history of minority-group writers not being given the same kind of access to tell their own stories…Indeed, there are drawbacks to searching/shopping for Caribbean children’s and YA books directly on websites like Amazon.com. Amazon.com doesn’t tell you which Caribbean CYA books displayed on its search results pages are own voices books. Also, Amazon’s search engine isn’t optimized for finding CYA books from specific Caribbean countries; for example, if you search for ‘Jamaican children’s books’ on Amazon.com, you’ll get a lot of irrelevant results including (for some reason) textbooks (lots of them) and cookbooks. Likewise, if you search for ‘Caribbean children’s books’ directly on Amazon’s website, their search results will show you a lot of CYA books from South and Central America, which while wonderful to know about, aren’t Caribbean books, and thus aren’t what you’re looking for.”

I’ve added the bookstore to the Caribbean Literary Resources page here on the blog. Thanks to Summer for this Wadadli Pen shout out in her article: “Anansesem contributor Joanne C. Hillhouse’s comprehensive blog, Wadadli Pen, was an extremely helpful resource for confirming the nationalities of authors of CYA books related to Antigua and Barbuda.”

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, its Spanish language edition Perdida! , and Oh Gad! ). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me 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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The Caribbean Writer: New Issue, New Call for Submissions

The Caribbean Writer is a 32 year old literary peer-reviewed literary journal out of the University of the Virgin Islands. I’ve always felt that the journal is a good resource for people interested in new Caribbean literature – as every year it presents new voices and fresh writing from not so new voices; its selection process is rigorous (which bodes well for the quality of the writing); and it covers a wide swath of the Caribbean. I’ve always remarked on how many years it took me to get in to The Caribbean Writer – submitting being rejected, rinse spit repeat from at least 1998 – but doing so felt like an essential initiation into the canon of Caribbean writing. I’m happy to be here again (having been published in Volume 18/2004, Volume 24/2010, Volume 26/2012, Volume 27/2013, Volume 29/2015; and having won two prizes 2011 and 2015).

TCW-Cover-VOL-32-2.jpg

Remarkably, the call for submissions for volume 32 went out not long after the Virgin Islands had been knocked about by hurricane Irma, while  the islands were  in the early stages of recovery. They announced as their theme Rough Tides, Rough Times: Reflections and Transitions. And as my own Antigua and Barbuda was in the throes of its own post-Irma rough times, I found inspiration and in a rush of writing produced something – The Night the World Ended – that found favour with the editors.

The other Antiguan and Barbudan in the issue is Paget Henry who heads the line-up with a tribute to the late Guyanese literary giant Wilson Harris.

Read the full rundown here and listen out for the launch of the issue.

While we’re here, Volume 33 is now open for submissions and will be up to January 31st 2019. The theme is Musings and Metaphors: Evolution and Devolution. You can find more information here. It will also be listed on the Opportunities Too page which you should also check out…and submit!

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!, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure; also a freelance writer, editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator). 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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TCW: It took a hit, but it’s not out

The Caribbean Writer, the annual peer-reviewed literary journal which has brought the best of the best of new Caribbean literature to the fore more than 30 years, is produced out of the University of the Virgin Islands. Given that the VI is one of many hard-hit Caribbean communities still trying to pick itself up after the most traumatic hurricane season in my memory, just for the sheer relentlessness and size of the storms (each one historic, each one coming one after the other after the other) and the span of its impact (easier to count those who were unaffected than the masses who were), it was good to receive news that the publication is undeterred. So, two bits of news.

1, the new issue is dropping soon. Here’s a preview:

tcwtcw2

The issue is dedicated to the late Caribbean-born Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott.

2, TCW is also now accepting submissions for Volume 32, between now and December 31st 2017. The theme is Rough Tides, Tough Times: Reflections and Transitions. Submit to thecaribbeanwriter@uvi.edu

I have a feeling creatives in the region will find tackling these topics quite cathartic.

So, write.

Oh and those who can, especially you folks outside the Caribbean, support relief efforts how you can.

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.

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Blogger on Books III

UPDATE! (October 4th 2016) I’ll be moving the Blogger on Books series (really just my take on books I’ve read and liked enough to write something about) to Jhohadli (my personal blog) with the next book. This archive will remain here on the Wadadli Pen blog. It’s the second major move for this series which began on my Myspace – remember that?

This is the third installment of Blogger on Books where I talk about books I’ve read and have something to say about. Usually if I’m posting about a book, I either liked it or liked something about it. You can read Blogger on Books l and Blogger on Books ll here.

The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books Volume 9 Number 1 Fall 2016
The Bibliography of St. Lucian Creative Writing    Poetry, Prose, Drama by St. Lucian Writers   1948-2013 with related supporting material compiled and edited by John Robert Lee with assistance from Anna Weekes
The Boy who loved Batman: the True Story of How a Comics-Obsessed Kid conquered Hollywood to Bring the Dark Knight to the Silver Screen by Michael Uslan
Broo ‘Nansi and the Tar Baby (a US Virgin Islands Story) collected and written by Dr. Lois Hassell-Habtes Story as told by Ector Roebuck
Brown Pelicans (Caribbean Natural History Series) by Mario Picayo
The Caribbean Writer Volume 29
Do You Know Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay
Littletown Secrets by K. Jared Hosein
Point of Order: Poetry and Prose by Ivory Kelly (foreword by Zee Edgell)
A River of Stories: Tales and Poems from Across the Commonwealth, Natural Elements Series, Volume 4 – Fire (compiled by Alice Curry)
Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden
Susumba’s Book Bag (the erotic edition)

Time to Talk by Curtly Ambrose with Richard Sydenham

I felt bereft when Bernice McFadden’s Sugar ended. I’m still trying to decide if the ending was unsatisfying storywise or if the story was so successful that the leaving was inevitably melancholic. Either way, it’s certainly a reminder that as much as we’ve been conditioned by fairytales, we very (very) rarely get the endings we want. There’s no denying though that Sugar was a compelling read anchored both by a compelling title character and a convincing if unlikely bond between two women that was the heart of the story. I’m talking about church going elder Pearl, who’s been grieving the violent death of her daughter for 15 years, and Sugar, who the short answer would say is a whore, given her profession, but who on closer examination of her very complex life, is really a woman who never got a fair shot – not since her mother abandoned her without a name, not since she was raised in a whore house, not since her every attempt to break with the trade goes fubar. Sugar at times seems like her own worst enemy, her survival armor so thick, nothing, not even well meaning efforts, can penetrate, and certainly her own heart can’t break out. Except it does, thanks to Pearl – seriously, their relationship is easily my favourite part of this book – and she does let something like love in, but she doesn’t trust it, doesn’t trust herself, and the pattern that’s marked her life to that point re-asserts itself. You’ll root for Sugar and your heart will break for her, you’ll be warmed by the bonds she forges with her substitute mothers especially Pearl and realize that she’s hungry for that most essential of relationships. And I suppose my frustration in the end is I wanted that for her too. In the ways that she makes me care, in her detailed and layered characterizations of her essential characters, in the way she colours in the world of the story and roots it in its time and place, in the descriptions and the mood and atmosphere that she crafts so well, McFadden has rendered one of those books that you could see transferring really well to film because it paints pictures in your mind and makes an impression on your soul. But there are things about the plot that feel improbable to me and in fact there are time when the clues dropped about Sugar’s history kind of leave me floundering so that certain essential connections are not made (in my mind) and certain other connections when they are made feel…unlikely…like what are the odds. It didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book which had some emotionally powerful moments not in an overwrought way but in simple, simple gestures that pack a punch.top

Broo ‘Nansi and the Tar Baby like Brown Pelicans below is from Little Bell Caribbean. As with that one, I had the boy read it aloud; this time instead of asking him to write a review, I just asked his opinion. Here’s what he said: “That was a nice story.” Actually that first part was spontaneous and then I asked what did you like about it, to which he responded: “I like the part with the song. I like when the part with tar baby and when Bro Tukuma say ‘Brer Nancy les go’ and Brer Nancy say ‘I’m not finished yet’. I just don’t understand; he not listening. Why doesn’t  he listen?…I like the end; it rhymes.” After further consideration, he added spontaneously: “So, basically, this is just about two spiders, a tarbaby, and brer nansi almost being killed.” I should add that after the main story, there’s an explanation of who Anansi is and his place in African and diasporic lore; when I tried to add to the explanation he held up his hand (wait, wait, wait) and continued reading. So, I’d say it’s a good book to grab and hold even the interest of a reluctant (and boy is he reluctant) reader.top

Brown Pelicans (Caribbean Natural History Series) by Mario Picayo – this glossy book seems a good blend of nice visuals, history (the bit on Caribbean monk seals and why they became extinct, for instance), geography (maps), art (there’s some pelican inspired poetry), and science (all the pelican facts). But as I did with Pippi Longstocking (scroll down for that), I’m deferring to my nine-year-old on this one since this is more for his age group and reading it aloud to me and then writing what he thought was part of my strategy to pull him away from his ipad for five seconds. Here’s what he wrote: “The title is Brown Pelicans. I like the story because pelicans are my favourite birds and how they catch fish. I don’t like the story because they didn’t say why their feathers are oily and why they have webbed feet and why their beak is long. I know that pelicans are big, they can measure water depth and circle in the air to stop fish. The author is Mario Picayo. I like them because of their big beaks, oily feathers and webbed feet.” Okay, then.top

The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books (Volume 9 Number 1) very little space to the purpose suggested in its title, reviewing Antiguan and Barbudan books. The bulk of the volume publishes papers from the 2015 conference and some papers from a couple of decades ago – all, or mostly, with an economic theme. For people who understand that talk, those articles will be of interest and maybe in another platform they would be for me too …but when I crack the Review of Books, I really want to read book reviews and, Lord knows, there are more than enough books by Antiguans and Barbudans that have not been given critical treatment. So, that’s my gripe with this edition. That said, of the non-book-related articles, the one I found of particular interest was Juno Samuel’s The Making of the University of Antigua and Barbuda, because the re-purposing of a new secondary school into a university is very topical, controversially so, in Antigua and Barbuda right now (Fall 2016). Samuel’s piece reminds us of Antigua and Barbuda’s long tradition as a leader in education and that this university business is not a new idea, nor the opposition to it a new issue, but what his careful accounting of the work that’s been done and the thought that went in to the work by the original committee underscores is that it takes more work than simply re-purposing a building; and given the work already done, one has to wonder where’s the continuity. If this is an issue you are concerned about, you ought to read Samuel’s article which basically moots that a university is not only doable but necessary…but not this way. The unasked (and perhaps rhetorical) question as ever is can we (ever) look past the politics on such things? The actual reviews now get only pages 181 to 230 of the Review but they make for compelling reading. Natasha Lightfoot’s Troubling Freedom is on my to-read list and Review editor Paget Henry’s review has me even more convinced that this is a rendering of an unexamined area of our Antiguan history with a fresh approach to the reading of that history. Beyond that, there are three reviews, one by me, of Mali Olatunji and Paget Henry’s The Art of Mali Olatunji, each with a different angle on what each review agrees is a significant contribution to the Caribbean artistic, philosophical, and literary canon. I liked Jane Lofgren’s artistic insights on the book but then I also found intriguing associations Ashmita Khasnabish makes to Indian mysticism. So my request to the editor is more reviews, please.top

Time to Talk by Curtly Ambrose with Richard Sydenham – Curtly Ambrose, for the uninitiated, is a knighted former West Indies fast bowler from Swetes, Antigua. He first played for Windies in 1986 – there for the latter part of its days of dominance; his grit providing sparks of brilliance and hope during the team’s tumble from the top. Read the full reviewtop

>A River of Stories: Tales and Poems from Across the Commonwealth, Natural Elements Series, Volume 4 – Fire compiled by Alice Curry . Some entries feel out of place in this and, honestly, I’d count my poem Under Pressure among them. In fact, I’d say, in general, that this type of collection favours the folk tale. As a collection of writing from around the Commonwealth, it is at its best when it is sharing folk tales that tap in to the soul of the culture – you feel like you’re learning something about the people from whom the story came, about what informs the way they approach life. That said even among these, some of these tales end abruptly while others do a better job of coming to a point (and perhaps making a point). I found it a fascinating read overall. I like the idea of it and the execution, apart from whatever nitpicks I’m making here, was pretty good as well. I wasn’t in love with the art work and I did wish there was a bit more on the countries and the individual writers – a couple of lines. But I do appreciate the colossal amount of work that would have gone in to this; and I largely enjoyed engaging with so many different countries in a way I don’t get to do outside of an Olympics opening ceremony. Some standouts for me: Son of the Sun from Tonga, About a Chief and his Beautiful Wife from Botswana, The Beginning of Smoke from Brunei Darussalam, The Land Crab in the Kitchen from Maldives, The Gifts of Months from Malta, How to Share Five Cakes from Sri Lanka, The Tricky Invitation from Malawi (sidebar: I found an interesting Anansi oral/video/animation version of this that I used in one of my workshops alongside this version – a workshop focused on giving teachers tools and inspiration for bringing creativity into the classroom), Compere Lapin pays a Price from St. Lucia, Bhadazela and Mningi from South Africa, the Glass Knight from the United Kingdom, The Spear that Brought Fire from Zambia, the Burning Heads of the Susua Hills from the United Republic of Tanzania, and A Ball of Fire from Trinidad and Tobago. I don’t want to sound like I didn’t like the poetry, some of it just didn’t seem a good fit for a collection of this type but some did the job well – e.g. Fire from Namibia, War Song from Papa New Guinea, Creole Woman from Belize, and because, of course, it’s Paul Keens Douglas and his poems are always tales of the folk – Banza from Grenada.top

Do You Know Pippi Longstocking? by Astrid Lindgren – This is a children’s book so though I read it first, after my second to last nephew read it, I asked what he thought of it with the intention of sharing his review instead. It’s succinct: “I’m surprised she is a little girl and so strong. I really liked it.” Yes, I realize we have some work to do regarding his conditioning already at such a young age re what girls cannot do…especially since no one, girl or boy, could lift a horse like Pippi does in this story.top

Littletown Secrets reminds me of, those sort of fantastical children’s books from back in the day, books like Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series – you know what I mean, those books about normal children interacting with the abnormal world in a way that to our childish brains seems totally plausible and fun. Like, of course, there’s a talking rabbit who’s in a hurry and a giant, magical tree. Of course. Some of us never quite outgrow that and for us magical realism and, really, the many branches of speculative fiction exists (big up to all the adults who never lose sight of their inner child). Anyway, the point is, I really enjoyed Littletown Secrets – and my nephew enjoyed Littletown Secrets. In fact, he read it first, in 2014 after I bought it at Bocas. Yes, it’s that kind of book – the kind of book to lure a reluctant reader, a boy no less, and apparently they’re the archetype of reluctant reader, into the magical world of storytelling. The story is set in a small indeterminate town in Trinidad – I’m not sure they say that specifically; but the author K. Jared Hosein is a Trini and the book does mention the Savannah (which admittedly is located in the capital but) as a community space where kids play cricket and old friends re-connect. The organizing principle of the book is that the central narrator is the town’s secret keeper – which he becomes when instead of a lemonade stand, he sets up a Secret Keeper stand as his summer hustle – and each chapter is a different secret, each reflective of the ‘deadly sin’ that introduces it. The author uses the known deadly sins but gives his own definitions. Wrath, for instance, is the “the trait of setting oneself on fire and colliding in to others”. The redefinition of the sins sets up its own set of expectations – a darkly humorous tone and an entertaining and instructive tale in which lessons are learned, though maybe not always by the participants in the tale – and it delivers. It is totally invested in the madness it sets up – the world under the well, the magic mirror, the ghosts in the clock tower, mechanical bats…why not. And it invests you, the reader, in that world and in the lives of the characters – rooting for the good guys, hoping that the lazy and badminded get their comeuppance or learn the error of their ways, hoping that the good guys win. And they do, for the most part, this is the realm of they all lived happily ever after after all. Except this is not a fairytale and so we meet the keeper of tales as an adult – emotionally restless – who gets the opportunity to have his dreams of becoming a writer come true, if he would just give up his secrets. This sets up an opportunity to show how you can take life and make story without betraying life. That exchange at the end between the secret keeper/storyteller and one of his former clients tickled the storyteller in me. And I think the book as a whole will peak the interest of the young reader in your life – boy, girl, reluctant, avid – and may call to the child in the adults in your life, too…even if that adult is you. I can safely say that I’ve never read another Caribbean book QUITE like this one and now that I have I’m even more eager to read his second book, The Repenters.top

The Bibliography of St. Lucian Creative Writing    Poetry, Prose, Drama by St. Lucian Writers   1948-2013 with related supporting material compiled and edited by John Robert Lee with assistance from Anna Weekes – this is not something you read cover to cover, though I did flip through it; it’s a resource – a valuable one. And in this digital age a resource that works best with a companion digital version that is readily updatable. The print version can become dated very quickly – which is the case here as I read, for instance, Vladimir Lucien’s single entry in the Poetry section (Fathoms of Sunset and Other Poems, 2009) knowing that he’s since gone on to win the Bocas prize for Sounding Ground. But such is the limitation of print in an era where just about any information you can think of is at your fingertips. But recordings like this are still absolutely necessary for the record, and there’s no denying the work and the patience involved in putting this together especially as the author said “many publication, even those produced by reputable local printing houses, lacked basic bibliographic information. Many carried no date of publication. I found a publication with no author’s name, no title, no date!”  If I was to do something like this for Antigua – which I guess I sort of have been doing with the bibliography (and its sub-lists) of Antiguan and Barbudan writing – I would take the approach of having a print version covering a particular time period, as this did, with a plan to update it every five years or so with a readily accessible and steadily updated digital version as companion. All of this takes time and money, of course, so all a researcher can do really is what they can. I’ve done fiction, poetry, non-fiction, children’s fiction, screenplays/plays, songwriting, short stories/poems, awards, blog, and review lists on this site (slower than I’d like and investing more time than I have to give because nobody’s paying me to do this), and even I’m impressed with the breakdowns this author takes the time to do – there are primary lists broken down by genre, then an extensive list of supporting material, then author indexes broken down by genre, selected articles, index of literary periodicals, international anthologies with St. Lucian writers, dissertations etc. background readings – plus an appendix of Caribbean blogs (Wadadli Pen even gets a shout-out). As comprehensive as I’ve tried to be here on the site, the inclusion of unpublished and oral pieces would be a step too far for my individual resources; not for Lee though and he needs to be applauded for his meticulousness. I hope the St. Lucian arts community and government and people appreciate what he’s pulled together here (and support both the digitization and periodical updating of the print version). As for why this matters, think only to that proverb re the lion and the hunter and the importance of having a record of our lives in our words.top

The Boy who loved Batman: the True Story of How a Comics-Obsessed Kid conquered Hollywood to Bring the Dark Knight to the Silver Screen by Michael Uslan – the site I won this book from doesn’t exist anymore; that’s how long it’s been since I’ve had it. I’m a bit of a fangirl so I’m fairly sure that’s why I threw my hat in the ring but I had no idea what to expect when I opened it. It has been a good read for the most part – part memoir, part inspirational, part how-they did-it, part fanboy/fangirl fantasy. It is, as the title said, the story of the boy who loved and revived The Batman – specifically Michael Uslan is the one who brought my era Batman (Michael Keaton) to the screen but, yeah, he also executive produced your Batman (Christian Bale) too. Essentially, the dark, tortured Bruce Wayne who has eclipsed the sort of pop art ’60s era version of Batman is all his doing. And in this book he tells how he did it. It began with his love of (read: obsession with) comics as a kid, with teachers who encouraged his creativity and rebel spirit, with parents who supported even if they didn’t always understand, with mentors, with doubters and self-doubt and setbacks and despair and compromises, and luck and preparation meeting opportunity and all that jazz. For a writer, an artiste, like me I was especially keen on tracking how he held on to his dream of creating something while circumstances conspired to stick him in life’s cubicle. The how-he-did-it part in the end was the bit I obsessed about as I looked for clues to my own journey. I gained some insights but I also learned there’s no magic to it, just holding to your dream even if life does necessitate some detours and pauses. An interesting read for the movie buff, the comic obsessed, Batman lovers, and just anyone whose ever held a dream they felt impassioned by in spite of the odds – and as I am all those things, I quite enjoyed it.top

Point of Order by Ivory Kelly is an easy read. Which is not to say it’s a shallow read – quite the contrary. What I mean is that it’s a pleasurable read but it can be like that unexpectedly steep drop into the deep end at the beach. Only the drop here is into matters of politics, gender, and identity. Neatly organized into poetry and prose with sub-categories of the former, the collection opens strong with WMD – and, on reflection, was fair warning that a collection that references a leader (Dubbya?) “spending soldiers like loose change” wasn’t here to make nice on serious issues. From Crayons in which a mother commits to a quiet rebellion to reverse her daughter’s rejection of self (conjuring the doll test); to Heart of a Dragon in which she tries to get beneath the hard scales to the heart of the dragon, stand in for police and more specifically police overreach, really insisting that the dragon look at himself; and beyond what quickly becomes clear to me is the running theme of tension between opposites – things as they are, things as the poet would like them to be, each sandbox-tree-like dig a rejection of the way things are. It’s there in pieces like Contradictions (the warring opposites threaded together with irony as it comes hard at the community’s ongoing battle to reconcile itself with itself); in Writer’s Block (where the warring impulses are within the writer, and specifically the feminine writer who wonders “how can I write this poem/with all those voices in my head?” except she is writing the poem, making the act of writing an act of rebellion, a feminist act); in Perspectives and Schoolbooks (where the tensions/contradictions are cultural); in Time and the Sittee River (where nature and wo/man war); in Public Service (where it’s the frustrating push and pull between the Public and the ones it claims to serve, all evidence to the contrary). It also needs to be said that though very, very Belize specific, much of what Kelly writes is Caribbean relatable (there are even a few “jacks” in there – thought that was an Antiguan thing) and, now and again, thematically universal. I liked almost everything in part one; in the second poetry section, my likes were a bit more spread out (Vocabulary Lesson, Unshackled, Fences, Civil Disobedience – a sharp reminder that the pen is mightier than the sword with its pointed line “some braved Jeffries’ gun/Threw missiles at policemen/Me? I drew my pen.”). Coming from that it was a bit hard to switch gears to the third section of poetry – which dealt with affairs of the heart but Mr. Write did make me laugh out loud on the bus – try that without getting funny looks. Did I mention the humour built in to the situations is part of the book’s appeal? Far from being abstract, a lot of the poetry is rooted in specifics, situations, that help give the reader a sense of connection. My favourite poem in the fourth and final section of poetry for instance was A Bouquet of Pencils, which, with this very specific line “No more half pencil/(the good half for your brother)”, stirred memories of having to share mangoes with my sister – how she would get the seed and I would get the sides – and spoke to a time where you didn’t have a lot, but you had enough.

On to the stories. I had already had a taste of Ivory’s storytelling skills thanks to her story in Pepperpot and the opportunity to hear her read from it in 2014 when we both participated in a session at the Aye Write! festival in Scotland– that’s how long this book has been sitting on my shelf and me too shame though there are just more books than time (there are books that have been waiting longer – read me! read me!). I liked all the stories – tout monde sam and baggai. The first ‘If You kyaa ketch Harry…’ will resonate with any adult Caribbean person who has been through at least one election cycle, ‘Andrew’ will strike a familiar note for anyone who has been to school in the Caribbean – though its tensions are very Belize specific; and ‘Family Tree’ might throw you for a curve until you consider the non-nuclear family model with all its stray branches pervasive throughout the Caribbean (you’ll not only find its not that far-fetched, you might be moved to wonder why it doesn’t happen more). ‘The Real Sin’ was the weakest of the stories in my view simply for being a little too-heavy-handed with its messaging, but even so it had some strong moments – the quiet moment of two friends laid out side by side not looking at each other, absorbing life changing  news was one such moment, the infuriating meeting to discuss that life changing news with administrators who have more sanctimony than empathy was another well executed scene.

So all in all, big up to mi sistren from Belize; an easy read on uneasy issues.top

This edition of Susumba’s Book Bag is Rated R. Not actually but with its focus on the erotic, it’s fair to say it falls in to that category – even if it didn’t at once tickle your fancy and your Muse (and it does; both). My favourites are Sharon Leach’s Her and Him which counterbalances the coldness that has settled in to a 20 year marriage – “She thought about the morning after the last child, Astrid, her baby had left home for college, how they’d both sat staring at each other over breakfast at the dining table, two strangers with no words to say to each other.” – with the heat that’s stirring between the partners in the marriage and someone outside it. Who might surprise you. It didn’t me, the big reveal more a confirmation of what I had suspected. The titillating details aside, this is really  a feminist unpacking of a relationship in which the wife is lost and searching, and on the verge of claiming something for herself, and the husband is arrogant and clueless, and on the verge of being cuckholded (and I can’t feel a lick of sympathy for him in he arrogant, selfish self!). In poetry, I was moved by Gillian Moore’s Oya All Over, mythical and messy at the same time (“she’s never learned to say no to what she really wants”). If  you think this has feminist overtones, you need to read Peta-Gaye Williams’ If You Lead I Would Follow, the poetic voice’s assertion of dominance over her own pleasure, by extension her own life (a criticism, intentional or not, of the dominant point of view that the man is the head of all things womanly, the home, the marriage bed etc. that counter-argues you can be the head if you know how to head things right, and only then):

“And can you touch me?
Oh sure! But with conditionalities attached
Cause if you’re gonna touch me without reaction
It is better you just watch me…”

Love it!

Her other poem of note (for me) is Navigating my Vagina which deals with the awkwardness of early self-exploration. I would share something from it but
“I flip through the pages eager and keen” was the only PG quote I could find. Be warned, this book is hot (so kids, this one nuh fuh yuh).

“Miss, Miss, yuh fat.
Yuh fat bodder me.
Yuh fat bodder me bad.” – that’s from Walking on the Street in Liguanea by Loretta Collins Klobah. If you’ve been to the reading room, you know I’m drawn to her poetry, having shared quite a bit of it here. But this series (which includes In the Bank at UWI at Mona Campus, Walking Montego Bay, Walking Below Sovereign, and In a Taxi) taking on the erotic through the lens of street harassment or creative, heavy-handed flirtation depending on your point of view resonated with me – taking me back to the streets of Jamaica which really could be anystreet, Caribbean, any public space where a woman is sexualized and, frankly, doesn’t always know how she feels about it – embarrassed, flattered, disgusted, harassed, threatened, a mix-up of these?

I’ll say this, lots of people do the erotic – it’s taboo and risqué and fun – but not a lot of people do it right, and these writers, the ones that stirred a reaction in me reminded that it’s not just about how raw can you be but how real (and I don’t mean in a throw away keeping it real sense but in making the moment matter, in tying it in to character, in giving it significance beyond the meeting of body parts…while making it hot).top

Gone to Drift – Remove the sub-text about the larger environmental issues and you still have a pulse quickening drama, and a poignant social narrative, at the  heart of which is a boy you come to not only root for but love. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Lloydie managed at least twice to bring tears to my eyes. Read more.top

After reading The Caribbean Writer (Volume 29, the 2015 edition), which I read almost every year, I like to share the pieces I liked even if I didn’t love the issue. I think this year’s write-up falls in to that category. I didn’t love it cover to cover but I did like…
10 Reasons why My Brothers like White Girls …intriguing title right?…plus the poet Felene M. Cayetano, I’m now realizing after the fact, is someone I met this past January (2016) in Guyana…there’s a dry wit I recognized in her when I met her that comes through in this poem from its opening lines …there’s also a rootsiness, an earthiness that pervades the ironic lines, the contrasting impulses within the black body as detailed in this poem…
I, also, liked Dike Okoro’s stuff (After Edwidge Dandicat and Rituals) well enough as well…Althea Romeo-Mark’s Now Massa Loved Some Hunting, Aprille L. Thomas’ Silver Anniversary, Khalil Nieves’ Guantanamera: Se Fueron, Dario R. Beniquez’s Ode to a Platano, D’Yanirah Santiago’s Boy: A Futuristic Take on Kincaid’s ‘Girl’…that’s it in Poetry…
In Fiction…Her Story, My Regret by Bibi Sabrina Donaie…actually I feel fairly certain I liked Bibi’s other story The Bakers as well (though I can’t be sure without re-reading)…but Her Story, My Regret definitely, for me, made a stronger impression dealing as it does with the still too prominent reality of the monster in your home…Nena Callaghan’s A Hanging has me reflecting meanwhile on the region’s dalliances with totalitarianism (with Big Brother’s complicity) and stirs a vague prickling of concern at how easy, with each infringement on our freedoms, it would be for any of us to sink in to such a state…and she does it with powerful passages like this:

“I still remember when Trujillo was killed, the secret celebratory handshakes among the adults, amidst the fear of what was to come, and me jumping on the bed trying to smash Trujillo’s picture, a mandatory effigy that all Dominicans had to display in their homes as if its very presence would protect them from Trujillo’s wrath. Trujillo’s picture not only told Dominicans who was boss, but also served as a reminder to anyone who considered taking actions against his totalitarianism, that he not only ruled the nation, he ruled their homes from afar as well.”

The Right Hand of God by Justin Haynes was a sad account of receding memory amidst internalized trauma…and then there’s Mona George-Dill reflecting on the pains (such as whipping days) and pleasures (mangoes for days) of a Caribbean childhood in Stonin de Mango…I used Neala Bhagwansingh’s Jumbie Daddy in a workshop this past summer (2015)… Haitian Boy meets Mommy by Isnel Othello and almost a counterpoint to it Heirs by Jonathan Escoffery…another enjoyable tale from a child’s perspective was Twanda Rolle’s The Sunday School Teacher, God and a Little Girl, Tim W. Jackson’s When the Sea shall give up the Dead was an immersion for both reader and character… Robbery at Rendezvous Restaurant by Niala Maharaj was suspenseful…while still on the subject of crime Dwight Thompson’s Haitian Carpenter proved quite the rapscallion, shout out to Antiguan Tammi Browne-Bannister and her Wee Willie Winkle on winning the Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for short fiction …Christine Barrow’s Evelyn  was a subtle tale that lands hard in its exploration of class, privilege, and moral compromises…and also on the subject of class and privilege the less subtle The Lives of Kenneth and Ramesh by Vashti Bowlah was also an interesting read…though the little boy especially was well written…Highlow’s Cricket Bat by James Baisden was highly entertaining… The Exhibition by Darin Gibson was a favourite…in part because it sits in the world of art and the pretentions it elicits …and Crab Girl by Ashley-Ruth M. Bernier was relatable…
In non fiction, I like Blake Scott’s read on tourism in revolutionary Cuba – very topical, recent events considered…the Jamaica Kincaid and Tiphanie Yanique interviews were insightful reads…in book reviews, I was surprised that Bethany Jones Powell’s review of  Vybz Kartel’s  Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto made me want to read the book when I am not a fan of the artist…that’s about it…
Oh, my CW award winning Flash fiction When we Danced and my poem Election Season ll are in this issue, as well.top

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The Caribbean Writer Announces Its Volume 29 Prize Winners

The Caribbean Writer has announced its 2015 annual prize winners for Volume 29, which highlights contradictions and ambiguities in the Caribbean space.

Topping the list of prizes is The Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize ($500) for a new or emerging writer. This annual prize is donated by Marvin’s widow, Dasil Williams, in honor of her late husband who served as the editor of The Caribbean Writer from 2003 – 2008. This prize was awarded to Richard Georges, an up-and-coming Caribbean poet from the British Virgin Islands.

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BVI writer Richard Georges reading at a Carib Lit event in Guyana. Image sourced from the Bocas Lit Fest facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bocaslitfest)

The Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize ($500) was awarded to Shona V. Jamadi-Jabang, a Jamaican-born writer now living in the UK. This prize is awarded to an author whose work best expresses the spirit of the Caribbean. It is donated by former Gov. John P. de Jongh, Jr. in honor of Cecile de Jongh’s abiding commitment to literacy in the territory, especially among the young Virgin Islanders.

The David Hough Literary Prize was awarded to Breanne Mc Ivor, a writer who currently lives in Trinidad where she teaches English, history, drama and citizenship at Rosewood Girls. This $500 prize is awarded to an author who is a resident of the Caribbean. It is donated by Sonja Hough, owner of Sonja’s Designs, the handmade jewelry designer in Christiansted, St. Croix, in memory of her late husband.

The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for short fiction ($400) was awarded to Bibi Sabrina Donaie, a fiction writer born in Guyana, who currently resides on St. Croix, V.I.
The Charlotte and Isidor Paiewonsky Prize for first-time publication ($250) in The Caribbean Writer went to D’Yanirah Santiago, a writer from St. Croix, V.I.

The Marguerite Cobb-McKay Prize to an emerging Caribbean fiction writer ($200) went to Tammi Browne-Bannister, a writer from Barbados.

The biographies and photographs of these winners will be featured in the 30th anniversary issue of The Caribbean Writer.
For more information on The Caribbean Writer, visit www.thecaribbeanwriter.org

Sourced from: http://stthomassource.com/content/arts-entertainment/showcase/2016/01/21/caribbean-writer-announces-its-volume-29-prize-winner

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