Catapult, Bocas, Author Support, and that Glow

Don’t worry, I re-located to dodge the back lighting but I kinda like the ethereal glow of it all.

This is me getting ready to go live, April 28th 2022 for a networking meet-up of Catapult Caribbean arts grant recipients from across the region – as one of the artists invited to speak on myself, my art, and the value of grants programmes to the arts community. The only grant programme of its kind (that I’m aware of) for artists in the Caribbean, sparked during COVID and supporting the creation and sharing of art for art’s sake. This year was the second round of grant disbursements. Catapult received hundreds of applications, selecting roughly 300 from, per one of the jurors, “unique and diverse” applicants, and dispensing, so far, roughly half a million US dollars in cash grants averaging US$500 each (with variations, especially in the first rollout). I received a grant in 2020 to share my work online and in 2022, a second no strings grant. I reiterated that artists need space and time, ergo money, to create and “just be” – which helps the blossoming of the arts to the benefit of society as a whole. I don’t have video of my roughly 3-minute presentation but I think it’s okay to share the under-a-minute feedback video grantees were asked to upload during the feedback process. It’s more or less what I said during the mixer.

And this is the backdrop I ended up using for the actual event.

I did mention my books (at least the latest of these), freelancing, and CREATIVE SPACE column, and regret the things I neglected to mention like the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize non-profit I founded and my Jhohadli Writing Project workshops; but this is not about regrets. I really enjoyed hearing about the selection process and other initiatives to come (e.g. the Caribbean Creative Network database to continue the process of dissolving barriers), and especially hearing how all of the other artists (specifically other invited speakers Ayanna John of Barbados who invested in her music, Christena Williams of Jamaica, Kevon Foderingham, arts facilitator, of Trinidad and Tobago, and Tajha Winkle of Jamaica) have thrived in challenging times – the ways in which their own drive bolstered by the grant pushed them to continue, validated them in the work they’ve been doing, or empowered them to pass it on.

Perhaps this twitter quote from Andrea Dempster Chung, co-founder of Kingston Creative, one of the administrators of the grant, best sums it up: “so powerful to hear them speak about how important this grant was to them. From producing art, to paying bills to helping other artists in their network to just the validation, being seen and respected.”

Veerle Poupeye hopped on the zoom to tease another initiative – the Caribbean Culture Fund which I will keeping an eye on and likely other Caribbean creatives will as well.

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April 28th 2022 was also the start of the 2022 Bocas Lit Fest. I haven’t caught everything – it’s a stacked programme – but I did sight me during the festival’s first day opening reel (how jarringly unexpected!)

This is from the workshop I was invited to facilitate in 2021 and this seems like a good time remind anyone who’s looking for a creative writing workshop, especially anyone with works-in-progress to check out my Jhohadli Writing Project workshop schedule.

I caught some of the pavement poets, some of the session on Guyanese activist Andaiye, Opal Palmer Adisa’s introduction of her latest publication as editor 100 + Voices for Miss Lou, some of the Stand and Deliver readings from across the region and the session on the difference a word makes featuring newly commissioned pieces, some of the backchat session celebrating Caribbean lgbtqi+ stories, some of Merle Hodge’s reading and new author (When We were Birds) Ayanna Lloyd’s discussion with Shivanee Ramlochan, and Saturday was, of course, the occasion of the announcement of the winner of the Bocas prize. Go to the latest Carib Lit Plus on the Wadadli Pen blog for that news. There’s one more day of Bocas at this writing (it ends May 1st) and hopefully things will slow down enough for me to catch more of it.

One last Bocas news, I was just linked this video of Danielle Boodoo-Fortune, illustrator of my book The Jungle Outside, facilitating a guided art session inspired by the book on their new Bocas storytime children’s channel in its #Bocas2022 playlist.

Be sure to check out the whole playlist and like and subscribe.

Remember, you can support authors in myriad ways and it doesn’t have to cost you a thing.

One thought on “Catapult, Bocas, Author Support, and that Glow

  1. Pingback: Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid May 2022) | Wadadli Pen

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