A black, female writer’s story: Lisa Allen-Agostini

Repeating Islands

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An essay by Lisa Allen-Agostini for Trinidad’s Newsday.

LAST Sunday a new Caribbean writing journal, Pree, debuted online. Its crown jewel was an essay by Jamaican poet Kei Miller, The White Women and the Language of Bees. In it he recounted conversations between him and various white Caribbean women about their right to be called Caribbean writers. It reprised a vicious war of words in print and online in 2014 between Trinidadian-UK author Monique Roffey and St Lucian poet Vladimir Lucien.

Miller has since withdrawn the essay from Pree. He posted to Facebook on May 29 that he stood by the essay and had withdrawn it out of respect for the Bocas Lit Fest, which was being disrupted by the polarised arguments over the essay. Roffey’s Facebook profile is no longer visible.

I cried with one of the women alluded to in the piece when I saw her at…

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Site Updates

This is an update re site updates.

Jhohadli

In the pages section there are two new reads in the CREATIVE SPACE series.

“The National Tennis Centre was abuzz with activity on Labour Day weekend 2018 –  the squeak-squeak of sneakers, the chatter of onlookers, the smell of barbeque (there must always be food right?), the exclamation of a player who has managed to one up another, the thwack of ball hitting court in the back and forth of a match engaged. Amidst the rituals of the game, the fist pumps and the tears, because there must be winners and losers and where passions run high there may be tears, I couldn’t help but reflect for a moment on the impressive transformation of the courts located at the area known as Campsite. It was my first time attending an event there since the 2016 opening. What a transformation!” – from CREATIVE SPACE #4 of 2018 (uploaded May 12th 2018) – It’s Game, Set, and…Win for Tennis Antigua-Barbuda

“The vibe at open mics varies – the venue and the host have something to do with this. Heads up, Barbara, the host of the Tannins open mic, dubbed Rhythm and Rhyme is big on audience participation. So amidst the planned readings by special guest London Rocks author Brenda Lee Browne and another scheduled performance – more on that in a minute – Barbara was prompting people hanging out to participate. A couple of jokes from one, impromptu speaking by another, a group chain writing exercise – by which I mean random strangers stringing a story together just because.  The story went something like this. Carnival, a churchy but rebellious teen, the revelry and excitement, an angry dad, and just when things were about to come to a head – or, literally, blows – Carnival worked its magic…and the gathered laughed their belly full. That is to say there was a fairly loose, near weekend, after work vibe about the whole affair.” – from CREATIVE SPACE #5 of 2018 (uploaded May 12th 2018) Opening the Mic

As a reminder to local businesses, the CREATIVE SPACE series which is also syndicated on Antigua Nice – one of Antigua and Barbuda’s earliest and biggest online platforms – for wider reach, features sponsored posts; an opportunity to boost your brand while boosting local arts and culture.

I also did some tweaking to the Blogger on Books pages – I hadn’t realized that all weren’t open for comments, which discourages engagement; that’s been fixed so feel free to engage at Blogger on Books lV, Blogger on Books V, and Blogger on Books Vl.

Blogger on Books Vl has a new book review. Yes, I’ve finished Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings (whew!). Here’s an excerpt:

“The immersive nature of the novel – plus the fact that it jumps around in time, between its multitude upon multitude of characters, vivid action to quiet contemplation, shocking violence to quiet beauty, straight up reportage to dreamlike effect… forever keeping the reader off guard – can have a disorienting effect. When it was intense it was powerfully so, but, if I’m being honest, there are times when I felt like I was slogging through seaweed. But it is overall an impressive literary feat and I completely understand how it copped the Man Booker prize and many other major literary prizes.” And go here to read the whole thing.

Finally, a reminder about the Barbara Arrindell & Associates new workshops starting next week. I’ll be doing the written communication sessions. Still time to register.

#ifslaverywasachoice

“Slaves who openly defied their masters received the harshest punishment. But one act of resistance ran the greatest risk of all. Escape from slavery was extremely difficult and the penalty for being caught could be mutilation or death. In spite of such risks about 50,000 slaves ran away each year but paddy rollers were well rewarded for capturing escaped slaves and very few runaways succeeded.”

People across social media have many funny reactions bearing this hashtag because sometimes you just have to laugh, but I found this documentary re slave narratives and really just wanted to share it, so. Just as a reminder of the reality. Lest we forget.

You are also invited to check out this post on my other blog where I catalogued some of Antigua and Barbuda’s slavery history.

 

 

Oral and Written Communication Training for Antiguans and Barbudans

A reminder. Still time to register if in Antigua-Barbuda. Also help pass it on to individuals and companies in Antigua-Barbuda.

jhohadli

For anyone resident in Antigua and Barbuda interested in improving their oral and/or written communication skills, a new announcement from Barbara Arrindell & Associates (I’m an associate): Based on the requests made by potential participants our speaking and writing sessions will now begin in mid May after the cultural celebrations taking place in the earlier part of the month. This means that you still have time to register.

Here’s a copy of the registration form: 30725968_1942123662784021_8952227646196940800_n

And in case you’re wondering if this is for you, here’s what some have said in performance reviews about the written communication component which I facilitate:

“My general motivation for taking this class was to improve my writing skills on a personal and professional level. My specific goal was to be able to communicate more effectively through writing. My goal was accomplished; I am a more confident writer. ..I think another half an hour would help, since time…

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Writers – What Not To Say

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received, when nervously entering the media and publicity fray as a published writer, was from my friend Gisele Isaac (who never nervously did anything). She said (and, yes, she wasn’t the first to say this but right then I needed to hear it) just tell the truth, then you won’t have to remember what you said. And she was right. But I don’t think these were the truths she had in mind. My morning chuckle.

Evie Gaughan

celebration-3301738_1920 Top Tip: You can do a practice run with some old teddy bears

When you write books, people are gonna want to ask you stuff.  It is very important that you LIE when answering these questions.  Lie through your teeth and don’t ever let them find out the truth.  As a helpful resource, I’ve put together a mock interview, a mockterview if you will, to guide you through  it.

  • Do you have a writing routine?

Yes. I like to see how long I can spend not writing before the guilt kicks in.  Then I simply distract myself with the kind of housework I wouldn’t normally do if my life depended on it… like cleaning the oven, descaling the kettle, washing my make-up brushes or, worst of all, clearing out THE DRAWER OF NO RETURN.

  • Where do you get your ideas from?

Right at the back of THE DRAWER OF NO…

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Oral and Written Communication Training for Antiguans and Barbudans

For anyone resident in Antigua and Barbuda interested in improving their oral and/or written communication skills, a new announcement from Barbara Arrindell & Associates (I’m an associate): Based on the requests made by potential participants our speaking and writing sessions will now begin in mid May after the cultural celebrations taking place in the earlier part of the month. This means that you still have time to register.

Here’s a copy of the registration form: 30725968_1942123662784021_8952227646196940800_n

And in case you’re wondering if this is for you, here’s what some have said in performance reviews about the written communication component which I facilitate:

“My general motivation for taking this class was to improve my writing skills on a personal and professional level. My specific goal was to be able to communicate more effectively through writing. My goal was accomplished; I am a more confident writer. ..I think another half an hour would help, since time seems to fly by quickly. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who wants to work on their writing skills. I would like to say thanks to the facilitator. I have been pushed from my comfort zone and it feels great!”

“I would recommend this course to someone else because it is educational and our tutor is very knowledgeable and likes to be challenged.”

“I think I have improved. I now look at my weak areas when writing.”

“The overall training was good and I’ve learned how to structure my ideas.”

“I am feeling excited about writing now. I am also more aware of common mistakes…writing is fun and I could see it as a hobby in future.”

This course is open to anyone, but targeted especially at working people who may not be as confident about their skills or who simply want a refresher. I structure my sessions to cover written communication in the work environment, internally and externally.

If, however, you’re looking for information on my creative writing workshops, those are ongoing; contact me for information.