UPDATE! WITH GRACE NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE – REMEMBER TO ALSO ASK FOR IT AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE; ENCOURAGE THEM TO CARRY IT (AND ANY/ALL OF MY BOOKS) IF THEY AREN’T ALREADY. PUBLISHER LINKS BELOW.
Divided into two categories – sole authored above, co authored below; and listed in descending order from newest (including re-issues) to oldest.
To source the books, order online or ask at your local bookstore. If your book store doesn’t carry it, please recommend it to them and direct them to the publisher and/or distributor links below. If you’re a retailer, ditto, check out the links below. For reviews, go here. Thank you for your interest.
Oh, one more thing, this goes without saying but support writers like me by not supporting piracy of our books (i.e. receiving and/or sharing free downloads offered by scammers) because we put a lot of time, effort, years, emotional and physical energy into writing said books and have earned those royalties…such as they are.
Grace leads a carefree life in Grace’s Peak, and looks down upon the rest of the villagers who are not as fortunate as she, but when a young girl comes in search of assistance, both lives are forever changed as truths about love, family and community are unearthed.
Sample Review :
“With Grace combines feelings of love, hate, greed and generosity to weave a powerful narrative that is magical in spirit and human in character. Hillhouse is an accomplished writer and her elegant prose shines through in this story.” (judges statement, 2014, Desi Writers Lounge short story contest)
‘And as Grace is about to open her mouth to tell the girl that, in life, you can’t expect things to be just handed to you, the girl surprises her by saying, “May I pick and sell some of your mangoes to get money for what I need? I’ll give you one mango for each five I pick.”
Imagine! “You’ll give me one of my own mangoes, will you?” Grace scoffs.’
Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings. Publisher: Insomniac Press (Canada) Genre: Fiction (short novel, novella; plus short stories and poetry) Year of Release: 2014 ISBN-10: 1554831407/ISBN-13: 978-1554831401
Young Dominican single mother Selena Cruz is trying to make a new life for herself in Antigua, dealing with prejudice, poverty, and her interfering sister. When she meets handsome cricket coach Michael Lindo, her world is turned upside down. The course of true love is never smooth, and Michael and Selena’s story is no exception as they try to bridge the gap between their two cultures and their personal expectations of love. Romantic and delightful, this novella by Joanne C. Hillhouse looks at immigration and cross-cultural relationships in a warm and very human way. Dancing Nude in the Moonlight was first published in 2004, and it is reissued here along with selected poems and stories from Joanne C. Hillhouse’s wide collection of work. She has been published in Caribbean, North American, and African literary journals.
Sample Critic Review: “Dancing Nude in the Moonlight also explores themes of racial and ethnic intolerance, however, the spirit of this narrative is more in the nature of a true love story. Hillhouse cleverly crafts the tale through the eyes of Selena and Michael, alternating each chapter between these two characters…This style provides the reader with both a male and female perspective highlighting how the genders can perceive the same situation so differently…Michael is presented as a determined but sensitive man struggling with the vulnerabilities life has dealt him. This is a rare opportunity for the reader to be exposed to raw Caribbean emotions and feelings…Dancing Nude in the Moonlight is lyrical, sensual and gentle…(it) provide(s) a valuable glimpse of the Caribbean female.”- The Caribbean Writer
Sample Reader Review: “It is an honest depiction of attitudes toward cultural mixing and interracial dating.”
“…I know how love, if it’s love, can eat you up. Somehow, it don’t ever seem to eat up the men, you know. It can make a woman bitter.”
A feeling of melancholy had settled over her, and he pulled her in close, still leaning against the railing. He kissed her lips lightly, put on a teasing smile. “I wish I could say I identify. But till now, I never been in love. And I have to tell you: it not nothing but sweet.”
And she found herself smiling in return.
First edition published by Macmillan in 2004.
(Copies of the Macmillan edition are available at Best of Books in Antigua)
Musical Youth – 2014 Burt Award for Young Adult Caribbean Literature — 2nd place: (via Burt Award organizers CODE). Publisher: CaribbeanReads. Genre: Teen/YA Fiction. Year of Release: 2014. ISBN-10:0989930513/ISBN-13: 978-0989930512
First Page: MUSICAL YOUTH
Music, Discovery, Love. Can one summer make the difference of a lifetime? Zahara is a loner. She’s brilliant on the guitar but in everyday life she doesn’t really fit in. Then she meets Shaka, himself a musical genius and the first boy who really gets her. They discover that they share a special bond, their passion for music, and Zahara finds herself a part, not just of Shaka’s life, but also that of his boys, the Lion Crew. When they all get roles in a summer musical, Zahara, Shaka, and the rest of the Lion Crew use the opportunity to work on a secret project. But the Crew gets much more than they bargained for when they uncover a dark secret linking Shaka and Zahara’s families and they’re forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about class, colour, and relationships on the Caribbean island of Antigua. Musical Youth placed second in the 2014 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.
Sample reviews: “Musical Youth is a beautifully crafted novel with the leitmotiv of music running throughout it. This is a powerful and credible story of young love between two likeable heroes. The characters’ gradual exploration and growing knowledge of each other is reminiscent of the way a novice would learn how to play a new musical instrument and slowly get better at it with practice. The use of musical images and the regular musical rhythm that reverberates throughout the text will delight young adult readers.” —CODE, Sponsors of the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.
“A very exciting book…very interesting narrative with music running throughout it…” – one of the judges speaking on my forthcoming book Musical Youth during the Burt award panel at the Bocas Literary Festival, 2014.
“Her fingers itched for her guitar as she waited for the show to start. The auditorium was loud and busy, bodies moving around, girls in groups, guys edging up to girls. Quiet in the midst of it all, she felt …”
Synopsis: Meet Dolphin, the Arctic seal. Dolphin loves hearing tales of the Caribbean, but how will he fare when he finds himself on his very own Caribbean adventure? Will he finally get to meet a real dolphin?
“Where am I?” Dolphin asks. Wherever he is, the water is warm – warmer than he’s used to. And everything is different. So many colours, so much light, so many things he can’t name. Dolphin whirls and twirls trying to see it all at once.”
*currently out of print but a deal has been inked with another publisher for its re-issue. More information will be shared as it becomes available.
First Page: OH GAD!
A stirring novel about a woman facing cross-cultural odds and redefining everything she understands about her family, herself, and the country she’s never really been able to call home.Nikki Baltimore was born in Antigua but grew up with her dad in the United States. With each year, she’s grown further apart from her mother and maternal siblings, potters in rural Antigua.Her mother’s funeral brings Nikki back to the island, and, at a professional and personal crossroads, she makes the impulsive decision to stay after being offered a job by the ruling government. Soon, Nikki is embroiled in a hurricane of an existence which includes a political hot potato, confusion in her romantic life, and deepening involvement in the lives of the family she left behind. Will Nikki eventually find her place in the chaos and begin to plant the roots that have escaped her all her life?
Sample Critic Review: “Lastly and by no means least are the references to real life issues in modern day Antigua which inevitably must reflect the past. Land Issues, work ethics, bribery, corruption, the perceived power of wealth and the expectations or lack of them depending on one’s socio economic position in society. The implications of raising such questions in a contemporary book are interesting. Ms. Hillhouse is brave and I applaud her talent.” – Claudia Elizabeth Ruth Francis (author of the international thriller The Road to Wadi Halfa) in the Daily Observer.
Sample Reader Review: “It’s not often that I read a book twice. I could hardly put it down the first time wanting to know how it would end. And now, as I read it more slowly, I find myself caught up again in the complexity of the characters, in a fascination with a world with layers of languages I hardly know, with its sense of community.” – @ Amazon
“His laughter became brassier, trombone-like in pitch. This, for the first time, marked him as one of the village; made him fit finally with the people eating and drinking, chatting and laughing as twilight settled around them. This laughter was real, open and rich. It recalled rare instances of her mother, laughing – tied head thrown back, body rocking with unexpected and unaccustomed glee, dress riding up, and the muddy between her parted legs briefly forgotten. “Read more.
First Page: THE BOY FROM WILLOW BEND
The Boy from Willow Bend tells the story of Vere, an Antiguan youth, with an irrepressible spirit which is tested as he comes of age amid poverty, loss, and hard knocks. The women in his life – his absent mother, longsuffering tanty, rebellious June, first crushes Kim and Makeba, and first girlfriend Elizabeth – help shape him; so, too, his abrasive grandfather and others. In the end, though, he grows into his own person; bright, talented, a survivor.
Sample Critic Review: “This brilliant ninety-five page novel, set on the island of Antigua, exposes the small brutal world in which the central character, an adolescent named, Vere, exists. It also delves into themes of abandonment, economic migration, parent surrogacy, abuse and the coming of age.” – Althea Romeo Mark (author of If Only the Dust would Settle)
Sample Reader Review: “What a wonderful read! Joanne C. Hillhouse has used her skills in economy to create this ninety-five page gem. It is quite relatable if you have Caribbean roots. But issues such as love, struggles, poverty, abuse and redemption are universal–hence The Boy from Willow Bend also has an international appeal. Ms Hillhouse’s work is a significant contribution to the literary arts in the Caribbean and it also helps in the preservation of West Indian history and folk lore. You will shed a tear or a few and you will have lots to laugh and think about.” – @ Amazon
“It come at midnight. Big an’ fat an’ looking for likkle children to eat. So it can get fatter. Suck dem right out of their house if they happen to look out wrong time.
Midnight is when it come…”
He made a disgusting sucking noise, a noise only eight-year-old boys can make.
Silence as the story sank in. Silence as they felt the deepening darkness. Then Kim sucked her teeth, in a way only nine-year-old girls can, breaking the spell. Read more.
*First edition published 2002 by Macmillan Caribbean
Entry on Gwendolyn Tonge in Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography (edited by Franklyn W. Knight and Henry Louis Gates Jr.).
Publisher: Oxford University Press. Genre: non-fiction/biography (on commission)
Year of Release: 2016 ISBN-10: 0199935793/ISBN-13: 978-0199935796
Synopsis: The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography is a major biographical reference work covering the lives and legacies of notable Afro-descendants from the Caribbean and Latin American, men and women from all eras and walks of life. This groundbreaking resource provides unprecedented coverage of the region through the lives of its people.
Poem ‘Under Pressure‘ in A River of Stories (Volume 4 – Fire).
Publisher: Lift Education (New Zealand) for the Commonwealth Education Trust (London) Genre: Poetry (mixed anthology) Year of Release: 2016 ISBN-10: 0956929990/ISBN-13: 978-0956929990
Synopsis: From tiny island to vast territory, each of the member countries of the Commonwealth of Nations has a vibrant heritage of storytelling. With the central themes of fire, earth, water and air, this glorious 4-volume slipcase set brings together tales or poems from each of the fifty-three countries of the Commonwealth. Together, the four volumes comprise the classical elements recognized from ancient times across cultures.
Story ‘Breaking with Tradition’ in Round My Christmas Tree (edited by Carol Mitchell). Publisher: Caribbean Reads Publishing (St. Kitts/USA) Genre: Fiction (mixed anthology) Year of Release: 2014 ISBN-10: 0990865967 ISBN-13: 978-0990865964
Synopsis: What’s your favourite thing about Christmas in the Caribbean? Do you know what’s Anansi’s favourite Christmas treat? Have you ever tried stilt-walking? Eaten green carrot cake? Picked sorrel ’til your fingers turned red? In ‘Round My Christmas Tree you’ll find a little bit of everything that makes Christmas Christmas in the Caribbean. Stories, poems, recipes, and art that range from the sacred to irreverent and from heart-warming to just down-right funny. This collection of work features artists from many regions of the Caribbean, from seasoned authors such as Joanne C. Hillhouse of Antigua and Barbuda and newcomers such as Jamie Rangoo from Trinidad and Tobago.
Sample Critic Review: Not available.
Sample Reader Review: Not available.
Book Sample: “That was her mother, voice sharp. Brenda looked away from the doll that had had her hypnotized, and zigzagged through the crowd to her family’s side. She hadn’t realized she’d fallen so far behind.” (from Breaking with Tradition in Round My Christmas Tree)
Story ‘Amelia at Devil’s Bridge’ in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean Publisher: Peekash – a joint project of Askashic and Peepal Tree (USA/UK) Genre: Fiction (short stories) Year of Release: 2014 ISBN-10: 1617752711/ISBN-13: 978-1617752711
Shop Indie Bookstores
Synopsis: Consisting entirely of brand-new stories by authors living in the region (not simply authors from the region), this collection gathers the very best entries to the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, including a mix of established and up-and-coming writers from islands throughout the Caribbean. Featuring an introduction by Olive Senior and these brand-new stories: “The Whale House” by Sharon Millar (Trinidad & Tobago); “A Good Friday” by Barbara Jenkins (Trinidad & Tobago); “Reversal of Fortunes” by Kevin Baldeosingh (Trinidad & Tobago); “The Monkey Trap” by Kevin Hosein (Trinidad & Tobago); “The Science of Salvation” by Dwight Thompson (Jamaica); “Waywardness” by Ezekel Alan (Jamaica); “Berry” by Kimmisha Thomas (Jamaica); “Father, Father” by Garfield Ellis (Jamaica); “All the Secret Things No-One Ever Knows” by Sharon Leach (Jamaica); “This Thing We Call Love” by Ivory Kelly (Belize); “And the Virgin’s Name Was Leah” by Heather Barker (Barbados); “Amelia” by Joanne C. Hillhouse (Antigua & Barbuda); “Mango Summer” by Janice Lynn Mather (Bahamas); and others!
Sample Critic Review: “This wonderful anthology of fresh voices from the Caribbean . . . includes writers from Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. The diverse textures of the stories by 13 established and new authors weave a tapestry of the islands, water, sand, ocean breeze, and rum. Vivid settings serve as backdrops for a dazzling display of personalities.”
Sample Reader Review: “There is a mixture of everything to make an afternoon of reading exciting and fun. A few of my favorites are
REVERSAL OF FORTUNES by Kevin Baldeosingh (Trinidad & Tobago)…ALL THE SECRET THINGS NO-ONE EVER KNOWS by Sharon Leach (Jamaica) …AMELIA by Joanne C. Hillhouse (Antigua & Barbuda) …FATHER, FATHER by Garfield Ellis (Jamaica)…Pepperpot is an eclectic mix of adventure, humor, the spirit world, family relationships, and other subject matters which gives you something to think about.” (Amazon customer review)
Book Sample: (from Amelia) “She tracks them, all the way up to where the path ends and the land flattens out into giant slabs of bleached and jagged rock, and patches of thin grass. She watches as they unpack kites, of all things, and a cooler, from the pick-up, and turn up the stereo – reggae blasts to wake up the morning.” (from Amelia in Pepperpot)
‘A Saint in Everyday Clothes’ in A letter for My Mother (edited by Nina Foxx). Publisher: Strebor/Atria/Simon & Schuster (USA) Genre: Non Fiction Year of Release: 2014 ISBN-10: 1593095325/ISBN-13: 978-1593095321
Synopsis: Thirty-five female writers share their essays and letters—hilarious, heart wrenching, and everything in between—in this wise and poignant collection about mother-daughter relationships. Whether they’re from the US, Caribbean, India, or the UK, all of the contributors to Letter for My Mother share one thing in common: thoughts that have been left unsaid to their mothers and mother figures—until now. In this moving book, thirty-five women reveal the stories, reflections, confessions, and revelations they’ve kept to themselves for years and have finally put into words. Written through tears and pain, as well as joy and laughter, each offering presents the mother-daughter bond in a different light. Heartfelt and deeply meaningful, Letter for My Mother will inspire you to admire and cherish that special relationship that shapes every woman. NOMINATED FOR A 2014 African American Literary Award.
Sample Critic Review: Not yet available. BUT I can now report that the book is a 2014 African American Literary Award winner.
Sample Reader Review: “I will keep this book forever and give it to my daughter when she is older. A Letter for My Mother documents the lives of women and their relationships with their mothers, from all over the world and all different cultures. I love how the book details negative mother/daughter relationships as well as ALL relationships with our mothers are something to learn and grow from.” – @Amazon
Book Sample: “There’s an old African proverb, ‘no one truly dies until no one remembers you’. If this is true, almost thirty years on from her death, at this writing, Tanty is still very much alive.” (from A Saint in Everyday Clothes in Letter for My Mother)
Poems “One” and “A Religious Experience” in She Sex, Prose and Poetry, SEX and the Caribbean Woman edited by Paula Obe and Carol N. Hosein. Publisher: Bamboo Talk Press (Trinidad and Tobago). Genre: Fiction and Poetry. Year of Release: 2013. ISBN: 9789769561007
Synopsis: ”She Sex is an important gathering of women’s voices. On one hand the writing is a celebration of sexual fulfillment and curiosity ranging from Atiya’s poem, “Differentology”, about sex with a lover who transitions from a male to a female, to Zahra I. Airall’s story, “Over the Hill and Through the Wood” about an older woman finding sexual gratification for the first time*\. But the anthology does not shy away from the ways that sex is used as a weapon against women. Both Delesse Francis and Shakirah Bourne write stories of intimacy and emotion about ways that sexual power can be used as a primary tool to control women and seed self-doubt in girls. I hope young women around the Caribbean get a chance to read this book and have heated discussions about the beauty of sexual pleasure and vulnerability of that very beauty. The collection also does important work by introducing some writers to a wider audience.” – Tiphanie Yanique, author of How to Escape from a Leper Colony
Sample Critic Review: “She Sex, the first anthology by Bamboo Talk Press was launched recently at the National Library (Nalis) in Port of Spain and features intimate, emotionally explicit, yet accessible poetry, representing new voices as well as some revered contemporary female poets from the Caribbean, who freely revealed their sexual connection and expression in an engaging and entertaining book.”
“I feel the surge of
riches that rest
at your core” (from One in She Sex)
Story ‘After Glow’ in So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End: an Anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing
Anthology edited by Althea Prince
Publisher: A Different Publisher (Canada)
Genre: Fiction, Non Fiction, Poetry, Calypso
Year of Release: 2013
Synopsis: Contained in this collection are the voices of writers who are from the twin-island Caribbean State of Antigua & Barbuda, or are the offspring of Antiguans and Barbudans. The authors span three generations, and live in Antigua & Barbuda, Canada, the U.K., and the U.S.A. The diasporic and inter-generational breadth that they represent has resulted in an interesting
and fruitful collaboration.
Sample Reader Review: “This anthology is a veritable tour de force into the Antiguan and Barbudan culture, life and times. The works are pithy, salient, beautiful, moving and poignant. Through Antiguan daughter of the soil, Althea Prince, local writers speakespousing and exposing the intellectual creativity of a small nation with big ideas.” Jacqui Quinn-Leandro, PhD. Minister of Education, Antigua & Barbuda.
Book Sample: “But as he had, in all other areas of her life, Hector erased the shadowy memory determinedly. He sanded it down until it bore no resemblance to anything, really; and then changed its features to something more pleasant. There, in the shadow cast by the tree, she’d sat many a night, Hector’s scratchy fisherman’s hands moving up her thighs, his wide smile bright as day even in the dim light.” (From After Glow in So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End).
Story ‘Man of Her Dreams’ in In the Black Anthology edited by Althea Prince Publisher: Insomniac Press (Canada) Genre: Fiction and Poetry Year of Release: 2012 ISBN-10: 1554830850/ISBN-13: 978-1554830855
Shop Indie Bookstores
In a mix of short fiction, poetry, dub poetry and hip hop, some of Black Canada’s foremost writers from across generations explore history, community, love, and healing. The collection consists of writing from Catherine Bain, George Elliott Clarke, Gayle Gonsalves, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Clifton Joseph, Dwayne Morgan, Motion, Jelani Nias (J-Wyze), Djanet Sears, Mansa Trotman, and the editor, Althea Prince. Editor Althea Prince was born in Antigua, the Caribbean, and has lived in Canada, the U.S., and England. She has taught sociology, at York University, University of Toronto, and Ryerson University–The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, where she won the Kay Livingstone Faculty Award in 2011. Dr. Prince is known for her work as an essayist and a fiction writer. Her published works include The Politics of Black Women’s Hair (cultural studies), Being Black (cultural studies), Loving This Man (novel), Ladies of the Night (stories), Feminisms and Womanisms: A Women’s Studies Reader (co-editor),How the East Pond got its Flowers and How the Starfish Got to the Sea (children).
Sample Critic Review: “Joanne C. Hillhouse included her fascinating story The Man of Her Dreams. It describes a politician’s assistant falling in love with him, almost unknowingly, without realizing it until the day he marries one of her best friends. The scene where she blurts everything out at the wedding microphone is quite funny. A great lesson in not hiding true feelings, especially from yourself.”
Sample Reader Review: ““This is a collection of several African Canadian artists and in different styles. They are all diverse and I think it was a good selection…Among the short stories there were a few that stood out for me. The Man of Her Dreams by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Push by Althea Prince were especially great in bringing out emotions and used the language greatly to get one to picture it all.”
She’d felt herself sinking. Welcomed the fantasies even, felt like it had been forever since anyone had made her feel anything. So much so, she’d started to think that love only existed in movies and that maybe all she was meant for was numbers. “Violet, always with her head in a book,” everyone said. And in the 35-and-over danger zone, she’d told herself that that wasn’t so bad. (from Man of her Dreams in In the Black)
Story ‘Sexy Sadie’ in For Women: In Tribute to Nina Simone
Anthology edited by Debra Powell-Wright
Publisher: Black Classic Press & MZWrightNow Productions (USA)
Genre: Fiction, Non Fiction, and Poetry
Year of Release: 2012
For Women: in Tribute to Nina Simone offers a modern-day take on the issues addressed in Nina Simone’s 1966 Civil Rights era lyric, Four Women. The pieces are written by Black women from the United States, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe; and one African American male.
“Through producing this collection I have learned more than I had imagined—about love, about struggle, about lessons still to be learned.” (Debra Powell-Wright from the foreword)
“Come Saturday night, Sadie slipped into the sheath,
immediately feeling like a different woman.”(excerpt from Sexy Sadie in For Women: in Tribute to Nina Simone)
*out of print