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 – credit and link back if you use).
The passing of Gordon Rohlehr was noted in the last Carib Lit Plus. This tribute is by Patrick Anthony of St. Lucia.
(Source – JR Lee email)
Local historian and writer Ivor Ford has died. Ford worked in the public service and in retirement was vocal – primarily on radio – on national issues. He is considered to be someone who has done considerable research in to Antiguan and Barbudan history, and worked on a number of publications in this lane, e.g. a 1984 commemorative magazine on the teacher for whom the T N Kirnon school is now named, and compiling and editing the 2004 posthumous edition of Novelle Richards’ The Struggle and The Conquest. A number of personal dedications to Ford’s life online alerted me to his passing beginning with this one from Senator Shawn Nicholas (a co-editor on The Struggle and The Conquest):
“Today, I lost one of my proudest and loudest cheerleaders, Ivor Bernard Ford. So much I could say about this man. Though diminutive in frame, his stature was larger than life. Rest in peace, my friend.” (Source – Facebook)
The Dublin Literary Award longlist 2023 (culled from titles nominated by libraries across the world) has been published and I didn’t note any Caribbean titles (with the exception of An Unusual Grief by Yewande Omoto, listed as a Barbados/Nigeria/South Africa). So I decided to share it because there should be Caribbean titles – put forward even if they don’t make the cut, every time, and I am not convinced that there are. I am not confident that libraries across the Caribbean, including right here in Antigua and Barbuda, are combing through each year’s releases and putting up what they consider to be the best, and if my uncertainty is true then that’s a disservice to a literary community that already has so few opportunities to break through. If I am wrong, I hold that L but I don’t think I’ll have to. That said, congrats tot the titles that did make the list and good luck on March 28th and May 25th the days when the shortlist and winners, respectively, are announced. (Source – Word by Word)
Art and Culture
The Derek Walcott Library has been opened in the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College using a collection of pieces from the St. Lucian Nobel Laureate’s personal collection. The official opening formed part of the country’s Nobel Laureates annual week of activities. (Source – Nature Island Literary Festival on Facebook)
The Big Issues on Observer Radio Antigua and subsequently the Observer newspaper have been exploring the film development model for Antigua and Barbuda – incentives to international productions to use the islands as locale, investment in indigenous filmmaking, a hybrid model that uses the big Hollywood dollars to finance local film development (e.g. through location fees) – in the wake of reporting on a possible Citizen by Investment backed joint venture initiative between French filmmaker Philippe Martinez and Canada-founded APEX Capital Partners, an advisory firm for CIPs?
‘Howard and Mitzi Allen, alongside Dr Lisa Tomlinson and Dr Alvin Edwards, sat down with host Barbara Arrindell to discuss the film culture in Antigua and Barbuda.
Mitzi Allen, who is best known as the co-founder of HaMa Films, and co-producer of the film ‘The Sweetest Mango,’ said that while it is important for foreign investment, she noted that there was a lack of interest in the development of local filmmakers in the country.
She argued that “bringing in international productions, absolutely yes, but it is not sustainable if we do not have the training on the ground, we do not have a film industry.
“So, when I hear that there is going to be employment for as many as 200 people, I would like to know who those people are, and where they exist, because we are on movie number five and we have had to go outside of Antigua in order to raise the bar in the productions that we do.”
Mitzi Allen argued that a fund needs to be set up to develop the local creative industries for a more sustainable employment market.
Howard Allen also reiterated the need for a local film industry, noting that the jobs the government is touting would be created, once the international filmmaker leaves, many of the locals employed would be again returned to their regular jobs.
“If we really want to build a viable film industry, the government has to take the lead on that, and throughout the islands, the politicians really do not see the value of our stories, and so their real interest is just bringing in international productions here,” he said.
Dr Lisa Tomlinson, who is a lecturer at the UWI Mona Campus in the Institute of Caribbean Studies, teaching Caribbean and African Diaspora Film courses and documentary narratives, spoke about what the region could learn from Jamaica, where the government has invested in developing youth filmmakers.
“We have the JAMPRO…and through that, they have a branch called the [Propella Initiative by the Jamaica Film and Television Association] where they take local filmmakers and go through a process of training and developing their films, and once they are finished, they enter national and international film festivals and competitions,” Dr Tomlinson said, although she did note that it was still not to the level of economic sustainability compared to other industries like music.’ – read the article in full. (Source – various)
Black Panther star Letitia Wright paid a visit to her homeland, Guyana, where she engaged in a number of activities, including urging peace and love while addressing parliament. It was the British actress’ first trip home in 20 years. In addition to playing Shuri, little sister of T’Challa (played by the late Chadwick Boseman, RIP), Letitia has recently appeared in and co-produced Silent Twins, about a pair of sisters of Barbados origin who were institutionalized in Britain after years of silence and teenage rebellion, among other films. (Source – The Daily Observer Newspaper by Newsco)
Books and Other Reading Material
Jamaican writer Alecia McKenzie’s acclaimed A Million Aunties has a new paperback edition with a new cover.
Originally published in 2020 with Akashic in the US and Blue Banyan/Blouse and Skirt in the Caribbean, it has been described as “a compelling novel about unlikely love, friendship, and community, with several surprises along the way. The story takes place against the backdrop of rural Jamaica, New York City, and Paris, France.” It has been shortlisted for the 2020 Caribbean Readers’ Awards (Best Adult Novel) and longlisted for the 2022 DUBLIN Literary Award. This paperback edition released February 2023 is with Berlin based Dialogue books. (Source – Alecia McKenzie on linkedin)
Hands across the Sea, a non-profit out of the US, and former Wadadli Pen patron, continues to gift books to schools in the sub-region, including a recent cache to students in Antigua and Barbuda. Read about it here. (Source – Daily Observer Antigua by Newsco)
Kittitian-British writer Caryl Phillips’s Radio Plays, anthologized and contextualized by Bénédicte Ledent, consists of his collection of plays broadcast by the BBC between 1984 and 2016 including: “The Wasted Years”; “Crossing the River”; “The Prince of Africa”; “Writing Fiction”; “A Kind of Home: James Baldwin in Paris”; “Hotel Cristobel”; “A Long Way from Home”; “Dinner in the Village”; and “Somewhere in England.” Contextualized by a scholarly introduction by Bénédicte Ledent, this volume introduces these works in the published form for the first time, allowing readers a better grasp of Phillips’s narrative techniques, offering fascinating vistas into his imaginary world, which ranges from the history of the African diaspora to the predicament of displaced individuals the world over. (Source – JR Lee email)
John Robert Lee of St. Lucia writes about two book of essays on Derek Walcott published in 2022. Between Fury and Peace: The Many Arts of Derek Walcott and Tributes to Derek Walcott, 1930-2017: In Various Light are, per John, “among the first reflective reviews of the man and his work since his death in St. Lucia in 2017…They will make valuable additions to libraries and the collections of those who want to better understand the substantial contribution of this Caribbean poet to world literature.” (Source – JRLee email)
Since the first CREATIVE SPACE of the year, CULTURAL CONNECTION, linkedin the first Carib Lit Plus of the year, there have been two more installments: PARTY DONE: MUSINGS ON THE ART OF CAMPAIGNING and ART HOP; four if you count the digital exclusive The Right to Bare Arms Redux (CREATIVE SPACE Coda).
Also, as teased in the Antiguan Writer Poll post, on the Jhohadli blog this month is a Black History Month one minute reads of journaled stories (28 days, 28 stories). The stories are also saved as audio in a playlist on my Antiguan Writer YouTube channel. (Source – JCH)
Peepal Tree Press (UK) in January released a poetry collection, Not Quite Without A Moon by Trinbagonian-Guyanese writer with Antiguan roots Ian McDonald.
McDonald, who now resides in Canada, is the author of the classic The Hummingbird Tree. (Source – Peepal Tree Press on Facebook)
The Antigua Dance Academy hosted a student exhibition and bélé launch on Saturday 4th February and it was dope (I was there). The Daily Observer newspaper coverage (written by Orville Williams) agrees. He noted that the presentation “displayed the tenacity, confidence and undeniable talent of the dancers who featured, as well as Yearwood’s brilliant artistic vision.” This was ADA’s first production since before the pandemic “but there was no sign of rust or nerves,” Williams reported.
For more on ADA, see this 2016 post on their milestone anniversary here on Wadadli Pen and, on my Jhohadli blog, CREATIVE SPACE #8 of 2019 – ADA: It’s about Storytelling. (Source – various)
Bright Hill Press begins a new season of Word on February 23rd 2023 with British Virgin Islands poet laureate Richard Georges and St. Lucian poet MacDonald Dixon. The zoom starts at 7 p.m. Watch live on Zoom or Facebook.
(Source – Nature Island Literary Festival on Facebook)
The Antigua Girls High School’s Honey Bee Theatre is staging a revival of its award-winning play Whispers in Wallings”, February 11th 2023 at the Dean William Lake Cultural Centre. Per the playwrights and screenwriters page here on the blog, Whispers in Wallings, written and directed by Zahra Airall won eight prizes at the 2015 national secondary schools drama festival. For tickets and information re the February staging, check Woods Pharmacy, the Best of Books bookstore, or contact 779-6634 for more info. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper by Newsco)
St. Lucia launched its Nobel Laureate Festival in January 2023 –
Activities will continue in to February with the February 7th performance of Kendel Hippolyte’s play Cashpandora, the February 9th National Awards of Excellence, a Night of Poetry on February 11th, and a February 21st Independence Quiz. (Source – Jako Productions 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, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.