Tag Archives: Young Adult

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

Burt-Award-winners-book-covers

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

The-Unmarked-Girl-Jeanelle-Frontin

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

Accepting Burt Award trophy

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me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) with the first runner up trophy for the inaugural Caribbean Code Burt award, for my then unpublished manuscript Musical Youth, at the 2014 Bocas literary festival in Trinidad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yay!!!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

my gift1.jpg

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

Gift to Library

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

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

MUSICAL_YOUTH_Cover_FRONT_Final

new edition released 2019

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

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

after a school presentation in St. Croix

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

Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis (Jamaica)

Bocas 5

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

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

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

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Small island writers encouraged to submit to Burt Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(from the Bocas Lit Fest)

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

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

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

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

See past Burt Award Winners.

Be inspired.

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Mailbox – Children, Teen/YA Caribbean Books Rec’d

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

Here it is.

 

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Mailbox – Burt Top Three Announced

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

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Burt Caribbean finalists 2014.

 

largephoto_burt_award_caribbean_2015_winners_0

Burt Caribbean finalists 2015.

 

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Burt Caribbean finalists 2016.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Burt Award Finalists

The leading Caribbean literary award for young adult literature, CODE’s Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, will go to one of three shortlisted writers from Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

The writers are in the running for valuable cash prizes and a publishing deal with a Caribbean publisher that will see 7,500 copies of their novels distributed to schools, libraries and community organizations across the region. The first place winner will receive $10,000CAD, the runners up will receive $7,500CAD and $5,000CAD each.

The top three titles (in alphabetical order) are: READ ON.

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Musical Youth launched…and some other stuff happened :-)

turnout

I launched my latest book Musical Youth with a reading, November 21st, at the Best of Books.

It was a treat for me to be able to include some of the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge finalists in that event, merging my literary activities with my literary advocacy. I enjoyed hearing them read. Here are some highlights:

Asha Graham, who took the main prize in both 2013 and 2014, read from her most recent winning piece LaJabless (use the search feature to the right to read it if you haven't yet and would like to).

Asha Graham, who took the main prize in both 2013 and 2014, read from her most recent winning piece LaJabless (use the search feature to the right to read it if you haven’t yet and would like to).

Alexandra Spence was an honourable mention in the 18 to 35 category of the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge. She read her story Why did I get Punished? At the launch, and received a copy of my book Musical Youth as a token of my thanks. (Read her story by using the search feature to the right).

Alexandra Spence was an honourable mention in the 18 to 35 category of the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge. She read her story Why did I get Punished? At the launch, and received a copy of my book Musical Youth as a token of my thanks. (Read her story by using the search feature to the right).

CODE, publisher Caribbean Reads, and me contributed copies of Musical Youth to the Public Library; here I am presenting those copies to the library representative.

CODE, publisher Caribbean Reads, and me contributed copies of Musical Youth to the Public Library; here I am presenting those copies to the library representative.

Here I am reading…so cool to have this image of me reading from my latest book Musical Youth while standing under a banner of one of my other books Oh Gad!

Here I am reading…so cool to have this image of me reading from my latest book Musical Youth while standing under a banner of one of my other books Oh Gad!

And here I am signing copies for readers like local attorney E. Ann Henry.

And here I am signing copies for readers like local attorney E. Ann Henry.

All in all, it was a wet but good night…big thanks to all who came out.

All in all, it was a wet but good night…big thanks to all who came out.

I want to say thanks to the Best of Books, the Public Library, and audience members like Kimolisa Mings for the pictures; thanks to Best of Books for hosting, Glen Toussaint for MC-ing and Wadadli Pen alums Margaret Irish, Asha Graham, and Alexandra Spence for participating. I want to say thanks to everyone who came out…was especially happy to see my Cushion Club folks and to give them and the library copies of the book…and floored by a personal written thank you from one of my former Cushion Club kids, not a kid anymore, now a young lady striding toward her dreams and giving me way too much credit for any part in that (though I am happy if I’ve had any sort of positive influence on her journey).

With my Cushion Club folks. The Cushion Club reading club for kids meets Saturdays at the University Centre between 10:30 a.m. and 12 noon.

With my Cushion Club folks. The Cushion Club reading club for kids meets Saturdays at the University Centre between 10:30 a.m. and 12 noon.

I just want to add that the night before the launch I was awarded the 2014 Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Award. And the day after the launch I had the opportunity to lead two days of CODE sponsored workshop; perfect bookends to a literary highlight. I didn’t see the award coming and the workshop went better than I’d dared hope. I am thankful for both. And I am so thrilled at the release of this book which placed second earlier this year for the inaugural BURT award for Young Adult Caribbean Literature, a prize sponsored by CODE which is a Canadian non-profit. Musical Youth – which begs the question “Can one summer make the difference of a lifetime?” – is published by CaribbeanReads Publishing. CaribbeanReads has also just released Round My Christmas Tree, a seasonal anthology, featuring writers from around the region including, from Antigua, me and Carel Hodge. Give T’anks.

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, and Oh Gad!).  All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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CODE SPONSORED TEEN AND ADULT WORKSHOPS SET FOR ANTIGUA IN NOVEMBER

Get on it quick. Registration deadline is November 11th 2014.

Here are the details re the teen workshop:

The workshop is offered as part of CODE’s Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, which aims to provide Caribbean youth with access to books they will enjoy and want to read. Through the Award’s book purchase and distribution program, a minimum of 1,200 copies of each winning title is donated every year to Caribbean youth through schools, libraries and community organizations. Workshop participants will have the option of adding their school to the distribution list for free copies of the 2014 winners.

DETAILS OF TEEN WORKSHOP: Caribbean workshops_Nov2014_teens

Here are the details of the workshop targeted at adults…interested in writing teen content:

Offered as part of CODE’s Burt Award for Caribbean Literature — which aims to provide Caribbean youth with access to books they will enjoy and want to read — the workshops are intended to help emerging or established writers of books for teens or young adults develop their skills, deepen their understanding of writing strategies appropriate for this age group, and encourage them to submit their work for consideration for the Award.

DETAILS OF ADULT WORKSHOP: Caribbean workshops_Nov2014_adults

I’ve been lobbying CODE to locate one of these workshops in Antigua and Barbuda since I first learned about them so, yay, for this. And looking forward to the opportunity to facilitate. In other me and CODE news, my book – you know the one that placed second for the Burt Award – Musical Youth – yeah, that one, it’s dropping soon. And I couldn’t be happier. I’m planning a reading event with CODE for the Friday before the workshops so you’ll be able to get a teaser of the book. Looking forward to all of it. Here’s the cover,  with art work by Antigua and Barbuda’s own Glenroy Aaron. Sweet, right?

MUSICAL_YOUTH_Nov1

 

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Burt Award: You Can Now Submit Your Books

Submissions are now being accepted for the second round of the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature until October 24th, 2014.

Established by CODE with the generous support of Canadian philanthropist William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation, in partnership with Bocas Lit Fest, the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature is an annual Award given to three English-language literary works for Young Adults (aged 12 through 18) written by Caribbean authors. 

A First Prize of $10,000 CAD, a Second Prize of $7,000 CADand a Third Prize of $5,000 CADwill be awarded to the winning authors this year.  

Publishers of winning titles will be awarded a guaranteed purchase of up to 2,500 copies. Published books and self-published books published between 1 October 2012 and 23 October 2014, as well as unpublished manuscripts, are eligible for the award. All submissions must be received by the Bocas Lit Fest by 24 October 2014. The winners will be announced at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad and Tobago in April 2015. 

To consult the guidelines and access the entry forms, please visit: www.bocaslitfest.com/burt-award-for-caribbean-literature

For additional information, please contact Catherine Belshaw, CODE’s Literary Awards Officer, at cbelshaw@codecan.orgor Bocas Lit Fest at burtaward@bocaslitfest.com    

Post note: re Burt Award YA for Caribbean Literature, Year 1 – winner and third placed writer were A-dZiko Gegele and Colleen Smith-Dennis (both of Jamaica) and Joanne C. Hillhouse (Antigua) placed second. Yes, that’s me; I encourage all Antiguan and Barbudan writers to get writing and submit. Readers, look out for my book Musical Youth which was submitted in manuscript form and will shortly be in the hands of teen and young adult Caribbean readers thanks to this prize.

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Finalists for Inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature Announced!

We are proud to announce the finalists of the inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. The Burt Award for Caribbean Literature was established by CODE – a Canadian charitable organization that has been advancing literacy and learning for 55 years – in collaboration with William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation. The Award is the result of a close collaboration with CODE’s local partners in the Caribbean, The Bocas Lit Fest and CaribLit.
The shortlisted titles are:
·       Island Princess in Brooklyn by Diane Browne, Jamaica (published by Carlong)

·       All Over Again by A-dZiko Simba Gegele, Jamaica (published by Blouse & Skirt Books)
·       Barrel Girl by Glynis Guevara, Trinidad and Tobago (manuscript to be published)
·       Musical Youth by Joanne [C] Hillhouse, Antigua and Barbuda (manuscript to be published)
·       Abraham’s Treasure by Joanne Skerrett, Dominica (published by Papillotte Press)
·       Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith Dennis, Jamaica (published by LMH Publishing)
Congratulations to the finalists! And thank you to all writers who participated in the inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. The first, second and third place winners will be announced on Friday 25 April during the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain.

Read the attached press release for all the details, or click here.

Regards,

The Bocas Lit Fest team

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