Antiguan (An-tee-gan) Aid To Dominica (Dom-in-eee-ka) Post-Erika: How You Can Help

The diaspora in Antigua & Barbuda is co-ordinating the relief effort to assist Dominica following the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Erika.

Images from the Antigua Dominica Relief Fund facebook page.

Images from the Antigua Dominica Relief Fund facebook page.


(268) 481-1609/723-4877

Go here for more.


11951387_825743644212095_1632440706139693233_nJCI Antigua has recognized the unpredictable devastation that the Commonwealth of Dominica has suffered as a result of Tropical Storm Erika.

The organization is mobilizing a national relief effort in partnership with DJ Jime Hunte to assist our neighbouring island in this great time of need.

The success of Project Aide Dominica is dependent on the support of all relevant stakeholders in Antigua & Barbuda and in that regard we sincerely hope that you can join us in our efforts in giving a helping hand.

Items needed:

– Basic medical supplies ( crepe bandages 7.5 cm, sterile absorbent cotton and gauze, sterile dressing packs, plaster for wound dressings, water purification tablets, sterile gloves [7, 7.5, 8, 8.5], non sterile gloves

– Non perishable food items

– Diapers (for babies & senior citizens)

– Baby formula & juice

– Baby wipes

– Hand Sanitizer

– Hygiene & First Aid kits

– Feminine care products

– Toiletries

– School supplies

– Water

– Undergarments

– Clothes

– Shoes

If unable to donate tangible items Project Aide Dominica will also accept financial donations via our Antigua Commercial Bank Account #100000064 with account name JCI Antigua.

Drop off point is Christian and Associates office on Redcliffe Street….more will be added shortly to ensure the process is easy and seamless for the general public.

JCI Antigua can be contacted at 774-5145/ 776-0653 / 778 3880 / 720 3900 / 782 2744

Let us do whatever we can to help Dominica in their time of need. We are one Caribbean.

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Also, remember this.

On the Hustle – the Mary Robinette Kowal project


Sharing this again to add this podcast link in which Mary discusses the making of the book: Of Noble Family in which I was involved as a consulting editor (which is the best way I can think to categorize my role on a project very unlike any project I’ve worked on before as an editor). It’s a very interesting discussion especially for those interested in the process of world building in fiction and for those interested in approaching another culture or history (outside of their known and/or comfort zone) in a real and respectful way. Your girl gets a shout out for her work on the project (was odd and interesting to hear Mary describe our exchanges). Here’s the link:

Originally posted on jhohadli:

“So, when I decided to set a book with a lot of action in Antigua, I knew that I wanted to represent the Antiguan Creole English. I also knew, from having watched people mangle the Southern American English, that understanding the nuances was going to be really, really important and really, really hard.” – American author Mary Robinette Kowal.

When I saw MRK’s social media posting seeking someone to assist with research for the Antiguan sections of her book, I reached out with suggestions, and also to let her know about the types of services I provide. Turns out she wanted not so much a researcher but an editorial consultant with an intimate understanding of Antiguan culture – someone who could review her book with an eye for language issues and cultural nuances, and, though this was not the primary role, provide edit notes as necessary. It was a departure from the…

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Hurricane Erika Disaster Relief Fund for Dominica

Originally posted on Repeating Islands:

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 11.22.33 AM

We rarely posts any appeals for donations, but I am posting this one after seeing photos and film of the devastation in Petite Savanne, Dominica, after Erika.

The people of Petite Savanne–many of whom either work at the Jungle Bay Resort or provide the resort with the locally produced fruits, vegetables, natural oils, and rum that make  it such a community-based enterprise–are among the most generous and caring people I know. I count many of them as dear friends.

The images of the devastation of their community are heartbreaking.

Please help if you can, as any amount, however small, could bring great relief to the community.

You can contribute here:

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Survivor’s Remorse: the Pre-Season

I had hoped to place this elsewhere but the clock has run out so I’m going to go ahead and post it here, and tempt Murphy. It’s my attempt at a TV review (or maybe more of a recap? or something in between). I’ve watched enough TV over the course of my life; it was bound to happen. Much like my testing of the waters and myself writing about movies.  There’ll no doubt be more to come.

There’s a moment near the end of the first episode of Survivor’s Remorse where the stakes become really, really clear.
Not the moment where a payout is made to halt the release of a VHS that would undoubtedly damage the newly bright future of the basketball star carrying his family on his back. Not the moment where one of the guys doing the shakedown threatens to shoot said star’s manager and cousin, to maim not to kill. Not the lighter moment where they reminisce about days in the old neighborhood; a contrast to the private jet flying, Aston Martin driving high life they’re currently living.

Survivor's Remorse 2014
But the lingering shot, after the major players have exited the scene where the guy who, backed into a corner and brimming with pride/shame, had threatened to leak the tape in the first place stands alone, eyes bleak and watery. There but for the grace of God, or something, go Cam. Cam and his family are like George and Weezy, moving on up. Unlike George, Cam is wracked with survivor’s remorse, per the title.

What has he survived?

A war zone, if the communities populated by the urban poor and marked by gun violence, drugs, high dropout rates, and limited opportunity, can be defined as such. And to escape such concentrated desperation, the series suggests, takes unique focus, hard work, family cohesiveness, and on top of all that effort, the luck of the draw. At one point, Cam compares his position to that of Schindler, now in a position to save lives. And though his cousin/manager quickly points out to him that it’s a false equivalency, and that he’s not obligated to bankrupt himself trying to save everyone else, when we see the one left behind, we understand that this Lebron James executive produced Starz series isn’t just about the baller life – to reference a more recent, more buzzed about sports series. In showing Cam’s life of opulence and opportunity, Survivor’s Remorse is, at least in part, forcing the viewer to think about those bereft of such privileges and maybe question why it should be so.

In that regard, the show, at least in its first season, aspired, in spite of its humorous tone, to a level of gravitas amidst the glitz. The contrast between Cam’s past life and his present plays out in other ways, such as in a later episode where his mother’s use of corporal punishment, which she insists helped make him the man he is to day, butts up against mainstream sensibilities. It’s a clash of cultures to be sure (and props to the show for being bold and un-PC in wading into the deep end of some of the issues actual society is still dancing around).

Sometimes they are out of their depth, such as when the cousin brokers a sneaker deal that comes apart at the seams or proves too uncouth (he would say good-natured, the politically incorrect might say ghetto) for the country club life.


The clash of etiquettes make for good entertainment but the deeper meaning, the strength and struggles of family, the balance of hope against the hopelessness of the world left behind remind the viewer of what’s at stake. Survivor’s Remorse is a basketball series with none less than King James giving it the royal touch, but has yet to show a game or even a practice session because that’s not really the point. The show is about family and the contrast and tension between what this family has and what many others have not; it’s about learning to play the game of celebrity. This family’s learning curve, seeing if they’ll learn fast enough to hold on to the gains they’ve made, and what it could mean if they don’t is what it’s about. And it makes for an interesting view into a side of the game we rarely see.


Survivor’s Remorse has earned a second season on Starz and will return on August 22nd.

JSYWP 2.0: Bare Arms, Lizards, and Sea Lords

I got hit (again) by the Fashion Police in the form of a security guard when I arrived at the Public Library for my Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project 2.0 – a follow up to last week’s teen workshop in the same location. I have to say, like the writer of this letter re a similar dress code elsewhere in the Caribbean, I’m still not getting what’s inappropriate about bare arms in the tropics when going to the library…bare arms in a dress so long it was sweeping the ground, plus I had on this little sleeveless jacket-y thing over it. What was showing…my arms and a bit of my chest.

WIN_20150819_132452So, yeah, I don’t get it; and I’d hate to think that young people who genuinely want to make use of the library are being turned away over bare arms.

That said, I do appreciate being able to partner with the library (and donors Brenda Lee Browne and Aisha Ralph) to return for a session this week with the younger kids.

How’d it go?

connectedWell, my goals were simple – keep it simple, spark their interest and imagination, get them imagining.

My strategy was to bring stories of likely interest to that age group (12 and younger) and get them talking about those stories, building on them, creating their own. connected2The stories I chose were by past Wadadli Pen finalists in the 12 and younger age category because I wanted to show them examples of people in their age group writing stories, stories they could enjoy. There was Mongoose in a Hole written by then 10 year old Keillia Mentor, The Adventures of Mr. Coconut by another fifth grader Akeile Benjamin, and Legend of the Sea Lords by Vega Armstrong, also 10 at the time she wrote it. With the first, after reading and discussing, we tried telling the same story from the point of view of another character and drawing that character (and since the story hadn’t been very specific about what type of animal that character was, they got to get creative with that).

You can't tell from this image but one of them drew like a bird lizard - whether by accident or design that's a pretty cool premise for a fantasy.

You can’t tell from this image but one of them drew like a bird lizard – whether by accident or design that’s a pretty cool premise for a fantasy.

The second story ended with Mr. Coconut back from his adventures and their challenge, and they chose to accept it, was to imagine how Mr. Coconut would get back home i.e. back up the tree – would he catapult, leap on a frog’s back, be assisted by his bird-friend, have a boy and girl finagle some kind of rope device to sling shot him up the tree, or simply climb. These were all ideas they came up with, the rules of physics be damned. We did a group writing exercise based on visual prompts…but that kind of fell apart when during the first group’s presentation of their story some of the boys couldn’t stop giggling over the name Bobby (which, spelled slightly differently, in the Antiguan vernacular, means something that makes children giggle). By the time we got to the Legend of the Sea Lords, I don’t mind telling you I was drained. Children will drain you, friend.

But they declared that they loved all the stories and hopefully something was sparked.

Shameless plug alert: Would I work with children so young again? Sure, but I’d take my vitamins first. I offer writing workshops for all age groups. Details here.

A Series of Literary Connections

Doing some ‘housecleaning’ (lol…not literally…but clearing out some files so I can get to some priority files…or something…anyway) the picture below popped up and before filing it away I thought I’d share it and share a bit of the connections not immediately obvious from the image.

The picture was taken at the Antigua Conference held last week (don’t blame me if you missed it, I urged and urged folks to go here and other places…seriously, I was a nag about it). This was the conference’s 10th anniversary. I remember the first one was 10 years ago and from that moment there have been so many ripples of personal significance.

I delivered (or attempted) an academic paper at that conference (I don’t do academic papers but there you have it) and that paper on media in Antigua after the change of government that had ended the 28 year run by the previous party was subsequently published in the CLR James Journal (yeah, me…yay, me). At that year’s conference, Edgar Lake delivered a presentation on Antigua and Barbuda’s literary tradition that sparked in part what would become the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books. Paget Henry, professor and chair of Africana Studies at Brown University, with whom I’ve formed a friendship over these past 10 years (wow), has been the driving force behind both the Conference and the Review, on both points, and an advocate for the University of Antigua, unwavering and optimistic on all counts. He wants to fill the void in terms of national critical self-examination left by the passing of Leonard Tim Hector and, through both these projects, he continues to do just that, albeit that the audience is perhaps a bit more niche-y (by circumstance not by choice) than Hector’s popular Fan the Flame newspaper series. Incidentally, several of those Flames are re-published in the 2015 edition of the Review. Email Henry ( subscribe.

The conference has moved around over the years. This year, one of its locations was the Youth Enlightenment Academy at Lightfoot where I’ve held some of my writing workshops as of 2015 (more to come). The Academy is a project of Lawrence Jardine, working with Mali Olatunji to create a space beyond standardized test for engagement with young people in different ways (e.g. I write so I do literary projects, Mali is a photographer, aesthetician, and footballer so he engages in those ways etc.). There’s a Leonard Tim Hector lecture hall at the YEA campus – sidebar: Jardine is part of the Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Committee, in 2014, I received the Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Award…so many connections.

And so we come to the ones in the picture. Brenda Lee Browne, the one looking like she’s just back from vacation on the far left, is a writer and an event coordinator and worker known for her work with sporting events at home and way, way abroad. At this point, my overlaps with Brenda Lee are too numerous to mention – suffice to say, we support each others’ projects (which over the years have included the Independence Literary Arts Award, Wadadli Pen, Just Write Writers Retreat, her prison writing programme, the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, and numerous other workshops and activities formal and informal too numerous to mention including performing in the first local staging of the Vagina Monologues by Women of Antigua), we’re both passionate about the literary arts, and donate way more time than we’re paid for in service to these passions and the inevitable social activism that comes with it, and we’re friends.

In the middle is Althea Romeo Mark. I didn’t make it to any other conference activity this year, but I made it to this panel and she was a big part of the reason why. Hers was the panel with Lake, and he was another good reason to be there – his sessions are always don’t miss. In the case of Althea, we’ve been ‘knowing’ each other online for a long minute – a few years now, we’ve reviewed each others books, published each other in literary journal projects, conversed back and forth on literary issues, and been a part of a literary community born of the fact that though resident in Switzerland, she is, like me, from Antigua. This was a homecoming of sorts for her as she hasn’t been back since about two years before I was born. Wow.

with Althea Romeo Mark and Brenda Lee Browne

So all of those things are mixed up in this picture – the where, the why, the when, the who…the how…well judging by my windswept hair and tired eyes, the how was, with some effort; judging by the smile, happy nonetheless that we were able to link up…however briefly.