My copies of the 10th Anniversary edition of Dancing Nude in the Moonlight are taking the scenic route here but today wasn’t a total bust mail wise. I picked up my contributor copy of BIM: Arts for the 21st Century Volume 7 and a review copy of Ann Morgan’s Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer (US edition: The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe).
BIM: Arts for the 21st Century is a literary journal out of Barbados dating back decades and boasting of publishing the early works of some of the Caribbean’s most venerated literary icons – Derek Walcott, George Lamming and the like. I’ve subscribed to and submitted to BIM since its revival about 7, 8 years ago – especially cotching a little spot on the BIM panel Celebrating Caribbean Women Writers in 2008.
Finally, I’m in with my short story ‘What’s in a Name’, a story I wrote a few years ago. I remember I was in church, at the christening of my friend’s youngest daughter when it started coming to me, so it’s a story almost four years in the making. I remember a while back posting an early draft for feedback at the Caribbean Literary Salon (we used to workshop and critique work there), and being encouraged by award winning story writer, T & T’s Barbara Jenkins’ response. She said, “Joanne, I was entranced from the first sentence. Immensely powerful sense of character, pov, setting…I want to be encouraged to imagine the new sense of personhood that I feel (or want to feel?) the story promises. I love MHL; thanks, Joanne, for creating him.”* I love him, too, and I am glad that he’s finally been picked because he didn’t have an easy start:
“Matthew Henry Luke was, at seven, an odd looking boy; small for his age, but with a man-sized head. From the look of him, there wouldn’t be much more growing either, not in his body anyway. The head looked like it was just getting started.” – from What’s in a Name
Also in this edition of BIM are Jamaica’s Poet Laureate Mervyn Morris, Bocas prize winning poets Loretta Collins Klobah and Kendel Hippolyte, Anthony Bogues, Velma Pollard, Esther Phillips, Ann-Margaret Lim, Vladimir Lucien, Mark McWatt, Carlyon Blackman, McDonald Dixon, Millicent Graham, Winsome Minott, Keith Ellis, Michael Foster, Christine Barrow, Tennyson S. D. Joseph, Dr. Raymond Maughan, Mark Ramsay, and Carl Moore.
Ann Morgan’s book, meanwhile, is the kind of book that can give all bloggers hope. I think a social media comment directed me to her blog in the first place. It was 2012, the year of the last Olympics – it was being held in her homeland, Britain, and she’d set herself the task of reading a book from every participating country during the course of that year (that’s 196 books in 365 days if you’re counting) and blogging about it. By the way, her Antigua and Barbuda pick was Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid. I interviewed her for my blog and we’ve been in touch on and off since. This particular blogging journey landed her a publishing deal, and, just today, landed an advance copy of her book Reading the World in my hands. I look forward to reading it.
*comment cut to avoid spoilers for when you pick up your copy of BIM. To subscribe or submit, contact editor Esther Phillips firstname.lastname@example.org