This is 2018 in pictures with some commentary. Images were selected randomly, and are posted in random order.
This was my view for about a week in summer 2018 while in Barbados for a writers’ workshop. It’s the most relaxed and at the same time the most stimulated I’ve felt all year. Can you hear those waves?
The workshop, sponsored by Commonwealth Writers and facilitated by Jacob Ross and Karen Lord, brought together a handful of writers from across the region for a bit of professional development and, as it turned out, a public showcase, some hiking, some dancing, and considerable conversation and bonding. Out of this workshop, I sold a piece ripped from the
headlines workshop to the Commonwealth Writers website and gained a mentor, who, domino effect, facilitated an introduction that resulted in me submitting to and being accepted for inclusion in the New Daughters of Africa. Dominoes are still falling.
But those waves though, can you hear them?
The Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series, like the CREATIVE SPACE series here on the blog, ran all year and though it never got the numbers I’d hoped for, it was a good experience for me and (if their performance reviews are to be believed) the participants, and I’ll have to think through if/how/when to offer it in 2019.
I’ve been offering workshops for several years but this year I kept it going in four week cycles as long as there was even one person showing up (and sometimes it was just that). The Jhohadli Writing Project as a moniker through which my workshops were offered dates back to 2013 when I offered the first Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, though my actual experience facilitating workshops goes back further. This year, for the first time, I also tried to include off-island participants (or participant, if we’re being technical). There is room for improvement in that area.
Another year, another Wadadli Youth Pen Prize. The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize exists to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda; my books aside, it’s the project I am most involved with and most satisfied with, and most drained by. But no matter how drained I am, the awards ceremony is always a delight.
I first began planning the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize in 2003 and launched the first annual challenge, its signature but not its only project in 2004, inviting young Antiguans and Barbudans to write (as a challenge to themselves, re-imagining and writing their Caribbean). In some ways I can’t believe it’s still here.
The Wadadli Pen Challenge will not be there in 2018 but Wadadli Pen, which has never been about just the annual competition, itself has not gone dormant. In fact, while the break is being taken to catch our breaths, we have, perhaps counterintuitively, taken on other projects and activities, some behind the scenes. And some like the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda Readers Choice Antigua and Barbuda initiative very much in the public view and requiring public participation. All genres are represented but pictured are the children’s picture books in the running, including one of my own.
A highlight of my year was finally getting an invite to participate in the Miami Book Fair. I’ve been hoping for this since Oh Gad!, an adult novel, came out in 2012. It took a little picture book named Lost! A Caribbean Sea adventure to win myself a seat at this particular table. It was a delightful experience and provided opportunity to not only reconnect with authors I’ve met along my travels but to meet authors I’ve only connected with via social media such as Geoffrey Philp, author of Garvey’s Ghost, pictured.
This is a personal one. It’s early in the year too, since my birthday is in very early January. It’s me just back from a night of dancing (as evidenced by my pink arm band). One of my best birthdays in recent memory.
And one final personal one, the final night of 2018. I was eager to celebrate this Old Year’s Night, as we call it in Antigua, not just because of the drinks, fireworks, and opportunity to get out and dance barefoot on the beach, though all of that was fun, but because 2018 has been perhaps my most challenging year (one of certainly) and I may not be out of the woods…but I’m still standing, yeah yeah yeah.