Tag Archives: The Hart Sisters

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid May 2022)

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).


Remember to check the Opportunities Too page for even more opportunities.

Keir Alekseii of Trinidad and Tobago is an associate literary agent with the Azantian Literary Agency and is open for queries. She is seeking YA & Adult SFF and YA contemporary. She is ONLY open to receiving queries from writers who identify as belonging to a marginalized or underrepresented group such as (but not limited to) BIPOC, LGBTQ+, immigrants, ND, folks who speak English as a second language, and DIS people. (Source – Culture246 Literary Arts emails)


The 2022 Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Short Fiction Story Contest has been announced. There is no theme. A US$1750 cash prize is attached, plus a bespoke trophy from Safa Iman woodworks, a recording on the BCLF Cocoa Pod podcast, books courtesy of Akashic Books, circulation of story in several partner literary magazines and publications, press opportunities, and BCLF merch. The contest has two streams with Katia D. Ulysses and Ifeona Fulani juding the prize for Caribbean-American Writer’s and Tanya Batson-Savage and Ayesha Gibson judging the prize for Writers in the Caribbean. Submit by July 1st 2022. Details here. & read about other opportunities for writers and other artists here on Wadadli Pen. (Source – BCLF instagram)


These are some images from the third installment of Stamp 268, May 14th 2022. It is “a buy local family-friendly event” – according to a facebook post by the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Culture. I chose these two images as a reminder that food is culture. Each one of the named items (raspberry jam, tamarind stew, guava cheese, and especially ashum, i.e. parched corn crushed to dust) were treats, along with tamarind balls, fudge, sugar cake (made of burnt grated coconut), suckabubby – more popular than imported American treats – for children of my generation (i.e. those of us who came of age in the 70s and 80s). The tray women, found around schools and along sidewalks in St. John’s city, would have one or all of these – plus children raided any trees loaded with guava, tamarind, raspberry etc used to make them. How could we ever go hungry? (Source – Khan Cordice, culture director, on Facebook)


Professor Alison Donnell delivered the 15th Edward Baugh Lecture on May 9th 2022 at University of the West Indies (Mona). Her focus: The Missing Mid Century West Indian Woman Writer and Another Quarrel with History. Donnell is head of the school for literature, drama, and creative writing at East Anglia. She referenced specifically Jamaica’s Ada Quayle – nee Kathleen Woods (The Mistress), Guyana’s Edwina Melville (his is the Rupununi: A Simple Story Book of the Savannah Lands of the Rupununi District, British Guiana & various short stories), and Grenada-born and Barbados-raised Monica Skeete (Time Out) among the forgotten writers of the period under study. (Source – YouTube)


The Antigua Sailing Week committee has reported that “the fans came out in their numbers to dance and sing along under the stars in historic dockyard” for the return after a long absence (due to COVID-19 protocols) of Reggae in the Park.

Reported local bookings for the event were Ibis the Livest, Exorcist International Sound System, The Strays, Anu Collective, Kenne Blessin and Arlen Seaton, and the headliner was Romain Virgo out of Jamaica. Yes, we reported in a previous Carib Lit Plus update that local singer Tian Winter, best known for soca but adept at other genres, would headline but that quickly unraveled thereafter. Both sides (ASW and Tian Winter’s camp) have publicly acknowledged communication misfires resulting in Winter seemingly withdrawing from the event. That (in particular concerns about the treatment of local v. imported talent) and the venue (also changed from the previous announcement from Shirley’s Heights Lookout to Nelson’s Dockyard proper) stirred online chatter. But, per the ASW release, all’s well that ends well and ASW itself was set to wrap (at this writing) with the last of the week’s race’s on May 6th 2022. The curtain comes down, May 7th, Dockyard Day. (Source – ASW press release)


The Media Institute of the Caribbean and the Association of Caribbean Media Workers have teamed up for the Caribbean Media Summit Inaugural Launch. Date: May 5th 2022 in commemoration of World Press Freedom Day 2022. Theme: Journalism Under Digital Siege. If you’re here before the event, register here. If not, and you’re still interested, here’s the MIC webpage and facebook page. (Source – email)


Tangle is the first poetry collection by Rochelle Ward (Faizah Tabasamu). It was released late in 2021 by House of Nehesi Publishers in St. Martin. Ward’s poetry has previously appeared in Where I See the Sun – Contemporary Poetry in St. Martin. (Source – N/A)


The latest edition of My CREATIVE SPACE art and culture column, which runs every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer newspaper (extended edition with Extras on my Jhohadli blog), spotlighted visual artist and award winning commercial director Lawson Lewis.

Read the extended edition with Extras of CREATIVE SPACE: CRAFTING WINNING COMMERCIAL ART and catch up on previous installments of the series while you’re there. (Source – Me)


Research Librarian at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda Myra Piper receives a copy of The Colour Box from Dan Waite,  written by his mother Barbara Waite. The book is  fictional  with historical facts, surrounding the lives of Anne and Elizabeth Hart in Antigua. It has been added to the Antiguan and Barbudan Writings and Antiguan and Barbudan Fiction databases. (Source – Facebook)

New Music

Antigua and Barbuda’s Asher Otto released a new EP (Before It’s Too Late) earlier this year. It has six tracks. Preview here.


New music is forthcoming from Canadian pannist of Antiguan-Barbudan descent Joy Lapps.

‘Sharifa The Great’ is the first single from Joy’s forthcoming Album: Girl In The Yard set to drop on July 8th, 2022. Joy, a tenor steel pan player, composed all the songs on the album which is funded in part by the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts and The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings. “Sharifa is my big sister’s middle name and she’s slender and she’s small but she’s like a force to be reckoned with,” said Joy, explaining the inspiration for the pre-release track. (Source – YouTube)


Bocas’ storytime children’s channel (referenced below) also features How to be a Calypsonian by Antigua-based writer Desryn Collins. This reading by children of Trinidad and Tobago. (Source – YouTube)


New podcast – Know Your Caribbean. This first episode focussed on Gangsta Stories or stories of rebellion, including the 1736 revolt planned by King Court/Prince Klaas. (Source – KYC on Instagram)


Bocas Lit Fest has been running April 28th to May 1st (if you missed it, you can go to the Bocas channel on YouTube to catch up). But this update is about the Bocas Storytime children’s channel launched during the same period. It includes content for and by children including this video of a guided art session with illustrator of my book The Jungle Outside Danielle Boodoo Fortune of Trinidad and Tobago, home of Bocas.

Remember to like the video and subscribe to the channel. ETA: Antiguan and Barbudan writer Barbara A. Arrindell was one of among several writers from across the reason selected to present excerpts from written works – published or unpublished. She presented an excerpt from an unpublished work entitled ‘Scholarship Child’.

(Source – Bocas Lit Fest)


The Virgin Islands has mourned the passing of Eugene ‘Doc’ Peterson, described as a cultural icon. A veterinarian by trade, he also was reported to be, among other things, a vocalist and musician, author, and radio talk show host. (Source – writer Apple Gidley’s email and blog)


Katie McConnachie, a Los Angeles native who moved to Antigua in 1985, after a career that involved painting special effects for Hanna Barbera Productions in Hollywood (her dad John Stephenson was the original voice actor of the Mr. Slate character on Flinstones got her an initial interview in 1978 and she would go on to work on popular shows like Scooby-doo and The Smurfs). She was known for wildlife, and especially marine, art – including prints and paintings, book illustrations (Shadow on the Moon and other books), and the Wyland marine mural on the island of Grenada. She was a member of the Ocean Artists Society. Through her Seahorse Studios, she provided for years graphic design services for businesses and the yachting community of which she was a part. She died of cancer in April. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)


I debated where to put this – opportunities, accolades, or maybe misc. – but went with accolades to celebrate the 300 recipients of the 2022 Catapult Caribbean Arts Grant. The awardees are currently being rolled out by the Catapult Arts page on instagram. I’ve written about my participation – as a grantee – in the mixer where recipients got to learn more about each other and, as importantly, each others’ arts. Andrea Dempster, co-founder of Kingston Creative, one of the administrators of the grant, explained, in this article, “The CATAPULT Covid-19 Relief Arts Grant, is now in its second year and since late 2020 it has delivered over half a million US dollars ($81 million JMD) to 1,535 artists from the Caribbean, in the form of cash grants or capacity-building support. …This year, by offering relief grants to 300 creatives of $500 USD each, CATAPULT helped a community of artists from 23 Caribbean islands to further their practice by completing stalled arts projects or purchasing equipment.” She noted the particular vulnerablity of Caribbean artists. “We operate in a region where many countries have neither a dedicated national Arts Fund nor the resources to provide adequate support for the arts community, especially in the event of a pandemic. Some of these Covid-19 relief grants were necessary to just cover living expenses, food and rent for talented artists who were in dire straits due to the impact of two years of lockdown and loss of income.” But it wasn’t just a hand out, it was a lift up for artists who often feel devalued and unseen. “Some artists expressed that the grant not only helped them financially, but also served as a symbol of validation for their artistic practice.” ETA: May 13th 2022 is #CATAPULTday, so be sure to search for it across your social media. (Source – Me)


No, this isn’t a sports site (though it’s hardly the first time we’ve shared sports news – sports can be artful) but in this case, I’m sharing because I looked at this picture and thought, LEGENDS. You don’t have to be a cricket buff, to know the man on the left, Sir Vivian Richards, who was named one of the top 5 cricketers of the 20th century. He was the second Antiguan called up to the West Indies Cricket Team and would go on to be a fierce batsman and, as leader, the only captain never to have lost a test series. He was for a long time Antigua and Barbuda’s only living national hero and the national stadium is named for him. To the right, is another man who needs no introduction, the first Antiguan to be called up to the WINDIES team and a deadly fast bowler, Sir Andy Roberts. Want to know more about these men, read books like Hilary McD. Beckles’ A Spirit of Dominance: Cricket and Nationalism in the West Indies and watch documentaries like director Stevan Riley’s Fire in Babylon about the 70s and 80s period when WINDIES dominated international game. Since those days, there’ve been dashed hopes and frustrations both in terms of the team’s performance and in terms of the ascendance (or the unfair non-ascendance) of Antiguans and Barbudans to the team. The man in the middle, Rahkeem Cornwall, is an example, in the eyes of Antiguans and Barbudans of frustrated opportunity as he fought to jump through and over hoops and hurdles to earn a spot – his weight (or what ESPNcricinfo.com describes as his “uncommon” bulk) was the official reason (per the same ESPN profile, he needed a dietician and extra attention before he could be considered for the senior WINDIES side). But he has performed since being called up to the team in 2019 (being named Domestic Cricketer of the Year by Cricket West Indies that same month) and, per the local T-20 tournament from which this photo is taken, continues his winning ways. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)


Cuban born academic Ada Ferrer has been awarded a 2022 Pulitzer Prize in history for Cuba: An American History. Her third book, it is previously the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History.

(Source – Twitter)


Winners at the Island Innovation Awards ceremony were announced and among them several individuals and projects from the Caribbean. Some we think will be of interest to our readership. Such as winner of the Future Island Leader Award, Life in Leggings founder Ronelle King of Barbados – “In 2016, i founded a movement…a cyber feminist campaign…a space for Caribbean women to speak about their experiences of sexual violence and raise awareness about the pervasive rape culture in the region…the hashtag then evolved in to a grassroots organization…I invite you to learn more about our work by visiting our website.” Such as master ceramist at Wine to Water, creator (15-years ago) of the ceramic water filter, which filters out water bourne diseases while saving money and positively impacting the environment, Redhames Carela of the Dominican Republic, winner of the Island Innovator Award. Scaling Smart, Solar, Energy Access Microgrids in Haiti won Sustainable Energy Initiative of the Year, Cayman’s Gina Ebanks-Petrie director of the department of environment there won the Women #SDG Leadership Award, Island Green Living of St. John in the US Virgin Islands was named Sustainable Company of the Year, Reach Within: Getting to the Root of Childhood Trauma of Grenada won the COVID-19 Response Award, and the Barbados-based CARICOM Development Fund won the Green Finance and Investment Award. Barbudan GO in Antigua’s sister island was a finalist for the Resilient Island Award. You can watch the full awards announcement below.

(Source – Island Innovation email)


The UK-based Society of Author Awards has announced the shortlists for its various prizes and there are a couple of Caribbean writers in the mix. Jamaican Roland Watson-Grant is short listed for the Tom-Gallon Trust award given for a single published short story, ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Dell‘, which you’ll remember was regional winner of the 2021 Commonwealth short story prize. Trinidad and Tobago’s Celeste Mohammed continues to have a breakout year – after winning both the Rebel Women Lit’s readers’ award and the Bocas prize – with her short listing for the McKitterick Prize given to a first time novelist over 40. Her novel Pleasantview is published by Jacaranda, itself a prize winner back in 2020 for small press of the year at the British Book Awards. (Source – Commonwealth Writers twitter post)


Celeste Mohammed, lawyer turned writer of Trinidad and Tobago, has collected the coveted Bocas Prize, essentially the Caribbean book of the year prize for her novel Pleasantview.

She had previously been shortlisted as the fiction winner alongside non-fiction winner Kei Miller (Things I have Withheld) and Jason Allen-Paisant (Thinking with Trees), both of Jamaica. Her win was announced Saturday 30th April 2022 during the Bocas Literary Festival, every second of which can be viewed online. This past February, I reported in CREATIVE SPACE that she had been voted as the readers choice winner in the Rebel Women Lit awards – that’s right, this means that her debut book is both a popular win and a criticial win/awards darling, which is the writer’s (any writer’s) dream. (Source – Twitter)

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. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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The Beginnings of Education for Black People in the British West Indies – Historical Notes (Antigua and Barbuda)

These are historical notes written and shared by Wadadli Pen team member and amateur historian/historical storyteller Barbara Arrindell via the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda’s and other social media with her encouragement that the knowledge be passed on. The was first shared in 2017 and resurfaced in May 2021 due to the interest around the observance of the first ever Vigo Blake Day. I am now getting around to posting it in 2022. Not through lack of priority but time; the good thing is this information is timeless. It is still of community interest for Antiguans and Barbudans but is also information worth knowing for Caribbean and other history buffs. Particularly those with interest in the evolution of education as a form of protest and society building in the Caribbean. Especially since the school in Bethesda is heralded by the keepers of its flame as the start of education for Black people in the British West Indies.


Image taken from a video by Petra Williams and The Spectator which also chronicles local culture and history.

In late 1812, Mr. & Mrs. Thwaites were visiting Lyon’s estate to worship there. After the service ended they heard children singing hymns. Following the sound they found an old man with a number of the estate children gathered around him. He was teaching them hymns and what he knew of the catechism.  This recognition that enslaved black adults could know enough of the teachings of the church  to pass it on to others led to a slight shift in the way the HART sisters expected education of the masses to unfold in Antigua.

[You can read a previous article by Barbara Arrindell on the Hart sister here]

The Thwaites spread the word. They wanted all enslaved black children and free black and white children in the vicinity who were being instructed by fellow slaves or free black men to gather with their teachers at Lyon’s on 13th February 1813. (204 years ago) More than 500 children turned up. Many of the teachers could not read but they taught whatever they knew.  They had memorised poetry and bible verses and even the alphabet. The Hart sisters wanted the children and adults to learn more.  Every other Sunday they gathered for reading and writing classes and the number of students grew. One Sunday afternoon as the Thwaites made their way from Lyon’s to their home in English Harbour they again noticed a peaceful rising with only grass and a few trees which seemed perfect for their dream school and possibly their home.

Vigo Blake, the head man (head slave) at Blake’s Estate, encouraged them to speak to those in charge and seek permission to use the land. He promised that if permission was granted he would get some of his fellow enslaved men to construct the schoolhouse for them in their spare time. Permission was sought and granted.  Vigo and his men started work and were instantly joined by men, women, and children from other estates who devoted their evening hours and early morning hours to building. In six weeks the 44ft. by 16ft. building with its roof made of the trash of sugar cane was ready.

On May 29th 1813, the first schoolroom built for the purpose of educating slaves [enslaved people] in the West Indies opened its doors. Many of the day students were enslaved people who were maimed or too old and fragile to contribute significantly to the wealth of the estate, Many were allowed to roam with little restriction. They were taught, so that they could teach others. In the evenings however,  two to three hundred people would make their way to the building called Bethesda. 

The earthen floor led to a challenge with chigoes for students and teachers. At the end of each night they painstakingly tried to remove all chigoes to prevent them from burying themselves into their skin and causing bigger problems. A few years later, at Hope Estate, not far away, another school room was constructed. A hurricane claimed that one but in 1821 a larger, stronger structure was built. This time it was financed by the Church Missionary Society. 


[This is a separate Barbara Arrindell posting which I have decided to share as an addendum to the article above. It too is part of the liberation education conversation]

Pictured are participants in my Jhohadli Writing Project/Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project on a field trip to the public statue commemorating the life of Prince Klass/King Court/Kwaku Takyi. The statue is the work of Sir Reginald Samuel.

October 20th should be a date known to all Antiguans and Barbudans for two reasons. On that day in 1736 a man was killed and on that day in 1818 a man was born. The first we believe was born a free man on the African continent ..the other was born when most Antiguan and Barbudan Black men were enslaved people. One, Kwaku Takyi, Prince Klass died trying to gain freedom for his people; The other, John Buckley, dedicated his life to emancipating his people from mental slavery. He at one time had more students enrolled in the school in Green Bay than the school presently accomodates. He and his wife also had 11 of their own to provide for at home. John Buckley was also the first Black Man, this man born during slavery on this island of Antigua, to be ordained as a Moravian Minister… the first in the world. It would be meaningful if our churches island wide (all denominations) could take a moment on Sunday 20th October to remember both of these freedom fighters. (Even just a moment of silence in their memory) It would be nice if all teachers would take a moment on Monday to tell their students about them. It would be even better if every citizen and resident would speak about these men on October 20th. Raise a toast to their memory at Sunday dinner. October 20th is a day for heroes. We will only know how great we can be if we remind each other of all that our ancestors have accomplished FOR US .. Will you fan the flame?

The copyright for the Vigo Blake article belongs to its author Barbara Arrindell who wrote: Please feel free to share this information. We learn so that we can teach others. This was first published on this Facebook page in Feb 20172021. The copyright for the addendum on Kwaku Tayki and John Buckley also belongs to its author Barbara Arrindell who wrote: Feel free to share this.

Minor edits only for punctuation – any notes from me in italics or square brackets.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Unearthing the ROOTS of the Antiguan and Barbudan System of Education

By Barbara Arrindell

“At an important historical gathering in 1813, Elizabeth Hart Thwaites and her husband met with teachers and five hundred children from neighbouring plantations on the estate belonging to the Lyon family and instituted a plan to teach the children to read.

Halfway between English Harbour, where the Thwaiteses lived, and the Lyons’ estate, slave volunteers built a schoolroom within six weeks to house this project. Elizabeth Hart Thwaites named it Bethesda and daily taught some two to three hundred children and adults there.” (Page 15, The Hart Sisters, Edited by Moira Ferguson, Published by University of Nebraska Press).

hart sisters
Long before the Antigua Grammar School was established. Long before attempts by the Roman Catholics to start their own system of education. There was Bethesda: a place of mercy.

Sketchy records suggest that one of Antigua’s early schoolrooms, certainly the first schoolroom built for the purpose of educating the masses, “the black population”, both free-blacks and slaves, was located in the area that we now refer to as Bethesda.

Constructed by volunteers, most of whom were enslaved Africans, the wooden schoolroom is said to have sat on a hillside near the old town of Bridgetown where the winds rolling off the waves of Willoughby Bay could keep the students cool and comfortable. The location appears to have been chosen as a half way point between Lyons’ Estate and English Harbour where the two Hart Sisters, the school mistresses, lived.

This schoolroom and its spin-offs afforded an unusually large portion of the slave population in Antigua the opportunity to receive some level of education. Some Historians believe that it might have been as a result of this more widespread education that full emancipation was granted in Antigua in 1834 compared to the partial emancipation that slaves in almost all other territories received.

Who were the Hart Sisters?

Ann Hart Gilbert and Elizabeth Hart Thwaites were referred to at that time as free “coloured” women. Their father, was among a handful of black plantation owners, and was himself an enslaver. He owned and operated Popeshead Estate not far from St. John’s.

Black massa Barry Conyers Hart was a poet who wrote for a newspaper in Antigua in the late 1700’s. He was considered to have been different: a humane slave master. This is in contrast to the typical black slave owners who were labelled as exceptionally cruel, perhaps as a way of stamping authority over ‘property’ whose faces so resembled theirs and their children’s.

Mr. Hart’s willingness to stand apart was apparently inherited by his eldest daughter Ann. She created quite a stir in all quarters of Antiguan society when she agreed to accept the proposal of Antiguan born John Gilbert. John Gilbert was white; she was not. Such a union was considered “illegal” or at least immoral. His family, though religious, opposed the marriage to the point of instructing every clergyman and all ship-captains not to perform the ceremony. In 1798, John and Ann left the island and returned as Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert. They found that the door to John’s place of business had been symbolically repainted, one half was painted white and the other was yellow.

There are no records to show how the Hart Sisters obtained their education, but, at that time and continuing into the early part of the 20th century, it was not uncommon for estate owners to employ a teacher to privately educate their children. Although their work touched the lives of people throughout Antigua, the sisters spent a great deal of their time in the English Harbour area, working under the banner of both the Methodists and Anglican churches. Both ladies, having prepared much of the slave population for emancipation and having agitated for it in many ways, died in 1833, a year before the educated slaves of Antigua became free educated men and women.

Post note: John Gilbert was the son or nephew of Nathaniel Gilbert, one of the founders of Methodism in Antigua and Barbuda.

As with every thing else printed here, do not reproduce in whole without permission nor re-post in part without linking and crediting.

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