Guardian Spotlight

I want to say thanks to the Antigua Guardian for spotlighting me in its November 24th issue. In case you’re keeping track, this was the Monday after the launch of Musical Youth and somehow they have pictures from the launch. first page of articleNow that’s hustle. Of course, I’m late to this party, because I only just-just-just saw the issue and read it while walking home from the grocery store – I multi-task like that. In all seriousness, I must say I don’t remember being terribly coherent during this phone interview – I was kind of crazed prepping for the workshop and the launch, and dealing with couriers about books and just aaargh – but kudos to Dotsie Isaac-Gellizeau, I sound sane. I can’t link you the entire thing – I don’t think the Antigua Guardian issues are online –but I’ll share some excerpts:

“When I asked Joanne Hillhouse if she writes because she has to or because she has to, she understood and instantly responded, ‘Both.’ She explained that the journalist in her writes to pay her mortgage and put food in the refrigerator…As for the creative side, ‘I write because it’s just in me. The writing happens instinctively. I’m engaging with the world through my writing.’

“Hillhouse said that growing up in Antigua and ‘telling yourself you want to be a writer is a dream you have to tell yourself to wake up from.’ Her dream has become reality, though, and she said there is a lot of other talent on island. ‘Joanne Hillhouse isn’t the only writer in Antigua.’… we have our own stories. So many things to say.’

“Her part in youth development continues with Wadadli Pen. Ten years ago, as a young writer, Joanne launched the Pen, a project that encourages young writers through workshops and writing competitions. She said she really didn’t know what she was getting into, but it has turned out ot be one of the most fulfilling experience. ‘It’s hard to tell what the impact is,’ she said. ‘But I’m happy with the fact that I’m still here. People wrote and grew through it. I can’t let go because it means something to somebody.’

“According to her she went into binge writing, forfeiting sleep, and wrote Musical Youth in two weeks, barely making the deadline submission.

“‘This whole idea that we don’t have time to write is procrastination and excuse [sidebar: I think what I meant is sometimes it’s procrastination and excuse but…],’ she said. Joanne said she wrote it while doing everything else. ‘I was having so much fun hanging out with these kids that I didn’t notice…’

“Being a [Burt] finalist meant that her book was going to be published. ‘I was in the unusual position of having publishers bidding to publish it,’ she shared.

“Acceptance doesn’t come easy. Joanne shared that the rejection she still receives still hurts. ‘You feel good about something, and then you get a million rejections; but you don’t give up because you never know,’ she said.

“Her novel Dancing Nude in the Moonlight will be picked up for publishing by a Canadian publisher for its 10-year anniversary.

“‘I love music, lyrics, rhythm, and melody….’

“Little wonder Musical Youth came knocking at her door.”

second page of article

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