Reviews and Endorsements – Other

This page is for critical and reader response to other writing (i.e. shorter pieces of non-fictionfiction and poetry by Joanne C. Hillhouse). This page does not include reviews of my publications and projects, found here, nor books, found on my main reviews page. It may include reader response to articles or other professional services not on the performance reviews page. Reviews are organized general first, followed by stories or poems from most recent publication date backwards, and ending with article reader response.


“I am energized as I write this recommendation on behalf of one of my distinguished former students. I am delighted that Ms. Hillhouse has so compellingly demonstrated that living and writing in the Caribbean impose no limitations of sensibility. All writers are ‘local’ and it is out of this very locatedness that they create distinctive fictions.” (Carolyn Cooper, Professor emeritus, University of the West Indies, and author of books like Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large)

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[above With Grace cover and Carolyn reading With Grace]

“Antigua’s Joanne C. Hillhouse is a powerful, honest voice in the genre of West Indian fiction…There is integrity to Joanne’s work. Obvious is the ‘writer’s ear’ for effective characterization and narrative that stays true to Caribbean island experience.” (Barbara Jacobs-Small, editor, Island Where magazine, 2004)  

“Hillhouse is a prolific writer who experiments on various genres, as you will see directly. While she writes on various issues, I have identified four themes that recur in her works.  These themes are as follows:
1. Culture and tradition
2. Family and identity
3. Environmental concerns
4. Rite of passage…Hillhouse’s pen documents the cultural tapestries of a society that is evolving and simultaneously experiencing the concomitant issues relating to change that are associated with evolution.” (“Joanne Hillhouse’s Iconic Stance on Culture and Youth in Her Works” presented at the 2017 Antigua Conference by Valerie Combie, University of the Virgin Islands professor, and author of books like Voices from Behind the Scenes: Teachers Experiences in the Classroom expressed through Poetry and Prose)

“Joanne Hillhouse is making a name for herself as one of Antigua’s finest young writers; her two novels The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight have shown that she is a writer not afraid to hold a mirror up to her community and tell the stories.” (Brenda Lee Browne in The Sunday Scoop, 2004)

[Image above is from a book club gathering hosted by Brenda Lee Browne, right]

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)


“She writes the kind of literature I love to read and that I attempt to write.” (instagram)

“I am so thankful that you have gifted me three (3) of your awesome books after I won the Observer Radio Reading Project Diorama Competition in July 30, 2020. The Books Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure (My favorite), Musical Youth and With Grace (My mommy’s favorite favorite…she LOVES MANGOES). We still sing the song…gimme likkle, gimme likkle…Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!” – (Rheikecia, contest winner who received a gift of books from and by Joanne C. Hillhouse)

“I love the imagery conjured by your prose. Just spectacular.” (wordpress comment)


…in response to short story, “Lucille and Clifton” published here on the Jhohadli blog, 2022:

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)

“I was all caught up in every line. I felt that I was right there myself…I felt everything that Lucille felt and by the end I realized that I was holding my breath.” (personal note)


…in response to short story, “Ixie and Izzy” published in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters, 2021:

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)

“I love it.” (facebook)

“This is quite an engaging short story from start to finish. Love it.🥰🥰🥰… very poetically written.” (facebook)

“I just read Ixie and Izzy! Wow. You are such an evocative writer.” (personal note)


…in response to a story published as “It was rape…”, The Crier, 2016, and “Carnival Hangover”,, 2020:

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“This is brilliant. On point, thought provoking, tugging at different emotions … and telling a story that needs to be told.” (facebook)


…in response to poems (“Grandmother and Child”, “Weather Patterns”, “Waste Not”) in Skin Deep,  2020:

“I absolutely loved reading your pieces – I especially enjoyed the pacing and subtle moments of suspense and tension you create in your writing.” (editor note)


…in response to performance of “Ode to the Pan Man” and reading from Musical Youth at Antigua and Barbuda’s Fu Arwe Ting literary showcase, 2018:

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)

Fu Arwe Ting

“awesome” (facebook)


…in response to “Zombie Island” in Interviewing the Caribbean 2016, 2017:

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“I enjoyed your ‘Zombie Island’ piece, I liked the perspective and use of humour.” (wordpress comment)

“This had me totally creeped out…I was running with that child through the bush in my head…” (wordpress comment)


…in response to “Little Prissy Palmer” in The Machinery, 2017:

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“I really love this story. I think it is so moving and shows that each of just needs to be loved. Even if we are wild dogs.” (reader comment at The Machinery)

“The Machinery: Fauna in print Open book #amazingwriters. 2 of my favs “Magpies”-Kenneth P. Gurney and “Little Prissy Palmer”-Joanne C. Hillhouse” (twitter)


…in response to “The Other Daughter” on Adda (a website published by the  Commonwealth Writers organization), 2016:

Included in the Written Exam Evaluation 2019 English STX / HF (STX = upper secondary examination and HF = higher preparatory examination) by the Denmark Ministry of Education exam q


“great opening” (Commonwealth short story award winning writer Diana McCaulay on twitter)


“beautifully written…highly recommend” (Hannah Sandoval, author of Arcamira on twitter)

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“Ok seriously, if you don’t read this you do yourself an injustice.” (facebook)

“Your characters are always so strong, so resolute. Such a powerful short story! Thoroughly enjoyed this.” (facebook)

“Beautifully written story, Joanne!” (facebook)

“Really loved this short story from my talented, old school friend, Joanne C. Hillhouse. For me, a story of inequality and the weight and mistreatment of social structures. And small places… But mostly the tenacity of women! Looking forward to more.” (facebook)

“Love this story.” (facebook)

“A good read… The language was so full of life and colorful; made me feel like I was in that story.” (facebook)

“#captivated.” (facebook)

“I’ve read it and I’m having all these feelings.” (facebook)

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“beautiful piece” (twitter)

“Quite impressive!! The language is so titillating! It arouses all your senses from beginning to end. You can’t help but see, smell, taste, touch and feel every sensation as the heroine of the story experiences it.” (facebook)

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“fabulous” (twitter)

“Great read!!” (facebook)

“Just Amazing …I felt it in my chest as I read.” (facebook)

“Touching and powerful – love the analogy to a hurricane force five” (facebook)

“This piece is phenomenal. As I read it I saw it and lived it. Thank you for your talent, your brilliance, your honesty. This is what happens when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to the words on the page.” (facebook)

“The first few sentences were devastating!…it has whet my appetite for something (more) from you. Love it.” (personal note)

“One word…..WOW! Okay another word…..MORE!” (facebook)

“That was brilliant and so unapologetically Caribbean. Loved it!” (facebook)


…in response to “What’s in a Name”, in BIM, 2015:

“I was entranced from the first sentence. Immensely powerful sense of character, pov, setting. I want to imagine that Matthew Henry Luke, somewhere down the line, lifts his feet and runs to bowl a cricket ball at 100mph with the same accuracy that won him a marbles championship and that Cheri becomes his cherie. Coming of age stories of a time in the Caribbean have got to be bitter-sweet to reward the reader for enduring the pain of it, so I’m holding on to the promise of, ‘though he didn’t yet know what chess was’, ‘it wasn’t weakness but strategic retreat’, and his owning of the grand name Matthew Henry Luke (two scribal apostles packed in there). 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.” (Barbara Jenkins, author of Sic Transit Wagon and Other Stories, Caribbean Literary Salon)

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“great characterization, good pacing; believable psychologically and socially. Good writing” (personal note)


…in response to “Genevieve” in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, 2014:

“…a notable short story.” – (Broken Pencil)


…in response to “Amelia at Devil’s Bridge” in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean, 2014:


“I was immediately struck not only by Miss Hillhouse’s exceptional story telling skills but also by the urgency of the story’s themes and their relevance to Caribbean social discourse.  …As a reader from Belize, a small Anglo-Caribbean country much like Antigua and Barbuda, I was impressed by the manner in which Hillhouse has been able to capture an essential Caribbeanness through both her themes and the use of Antiguan Creole. In fact, as a lecturer in the English Department at the University of Belize, I felt compelled to introduce my students to Hillhouse’s writings last semester. My Women in Literature class studied ‘Amelia’ and wrote some wonderful essays from a variety of critical perspectives.”  (Ivory Kelly, lecturer, University of Belize and author of books like Point of Order)

“Amelia at Devil’s Bridge” is excerpted in Harper Collins’ Concise Revision Course – English A – a Concise Revision Course for CSEC published in the UK in 2017, 2021.

This story has also been taught at the college/university level in Belize and the BVI.

“I was looking for short stories by Caribbean writers, recently, and I stumbled upon this collection…There are thirteen stories in the book. I enjoyed reading all of them. Some of my favourites are these…(listed third after “The Whale House” by Sharon Millar and “A Good Friday” by Barbara Jenkins)  I loved Joanna (correction: Joanne) C. Hillhouse’s novel ‘Musical Youth‘ and so was excited to read this. A young woman finds herself in the rocky shore of the sea and she is naked. She doesn’t know how she got there. What happens next and the truth when it is revealed is unexpected and heartbreaking.” (Vishy’s Blog)

“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.” (Booklist)

Pepperpot echoes not with one prescribed identity, but with a marketplace of tongues through which the authentic Caribbean might be told. …Strong contributions from Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados make the collection a regionally consistent showing in nascent talent.” (Caribbean Beat)

“…a story that will make you shiver…” (The Opinionated Reader)

“This story felt so light and read so smoothly. Hillhouse captured nuance in such a beautiful way. … It’s a layered, mysterious tale that explores Amelia’s family life.” (African Book Addict)

“The drama and humour are heightened by robust and often very inventive language. At their best, the writers use their imagery not only to illuminate the experiences of their characters but also to share specific details about their worlds. So, for example, we read in Ivory Kelly’s ‘This Thing We Call Love’ of conversations that ‘were like boil-up, with plantains and cassava and other kinds of ground food and salted meat thrown into a pot of water, in no particular order, and boiled until the pot is a steaming, bubbling, savoury cuisine’, or in Joanne C. Hillhouse’s own ‘Amelia at Devil’s Bridge’ about rocks that ‘are sharper than a coconut vendor’s cutlass’.” (Ann Morgan, A Year of Reading the World)

“Readers want consequential characters in diverse roles and authenticity of everyday life. Good writing that sets stories off with compelling plots and rewarding insights make or break any collection of short fiction, no matter how inclusive. Most stories in Pepperpot: Best New Stories From the Caribbean make it. Readers will enjoy the characters’ interesting awareness of dialect and ways the writers use their Antillean setting.  …One character [Amelia in “Amelia at Devil’s Bridge”] laments how completely a father can disappear on a small island. Another gets insulted for being called an up island snob. Anarchy arisen from gang-dominance makes up the daily fabric of some neighborhoods of walled-in homes.” (La Bloga)

“I also liked ‘Amelia at Devil’s Bridge’ and ‘The Monkey Trap’. If you really enjoy short story collections or are interested in checkin’ out writing from a new region/area, I don’t think you’d regret perusing these stories. This was a quick read and some of the writing is quite remarkable.” (

Pepperpot is a collection of short stories written by authors of the Caribbean. 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 …I recommend this collection of short stories to readers who enjoy a mixture of subject matter in a single sitting.” (Ski-wee’s Book Corner)

“This short story collection was exactly what I have been craving. I needed to read and connect with Caribbean narratives. The vivid images of the islands represented and the music of the varied island dialects was a real delight to read and experience.
My favourite Pepperpot stories were:
‘Amelia at Devil’s Bridge’ by Joanne C. Hillhouse from Antigua and Barbuda
‘Mango Summer’ by Janice Lynn Mather from the Bahamas
‘Berry’ by Kimmisha Thomas from Jamaica” (myjamaicanvignettes)

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“Unexpected and heartbreaking” (goodreads)

“Picked this up as was interested in reading more from Caribbean writers, and was so pleasantly surprised at the breadth and depth of this collection! So many different styles of story are represented here, and all so good. Standout favourites were ‘Cheque Mate’ by Kevin Baldeosingh (so sexy!), ‘The Whale House’ by Sharon Millar (I cried), ‘The Monkey Trap’, ‘Father Father’, ‘Amelia at Devils Bridge’, ‘All the Secret Things No One Ever Knows’… so basically loved the entire collection.” (goodreads)

“I read “Amelia at Devil’s Bridge” by Joanne C Hillhouse and it was absolutely amazing! it had the mixture of dark and spooky but just enough that it would not give me nightmares in the end of the day. The story itself gave me goosebumps and I wanted to know more about this girl and why she went to devil’s bridge if she was only a little girl. The imagery in the short story was so breathtaking that every time i read the short story I thought of that little girl, Amelia, at devil’s bridge washed up. Miss. Hillhouse is an amazing writer. I would highly recommend her short story! I would love to read other writings of her!” (amazon)

“Love your story in Pepperpot! You’re an amazing storyteller!” (facebook)

“I really like ‘Amelia at Devil’s Bridge’… Well written short story, with a splash of spookiness to it, as author (you) merged two worlds: that of the living and the dead! Beautifully written.” (personal note)

“I thought it was really moving.” (student at LaGuardia Community College who reached out to ask me some questions)


…in response to “To Market, Snapshot”, in Susumba’s Book Bag, 2014:

“Your writing is so tight and immediately engaging.” (Summer Edward, editor of Anansesem Caribbean children’s literary journal, Caribbean Literary Salon)


…in response to “With Grace” (now a children’s picture book), 2014:

[Author with With Grace]

“This story came ever so close to making it to the top three. 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 report re With Grace – named honourable mention in the 2014 Desi Writers Lounge short story contest)

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“…a beautiful, well thought, and meaningful story.” (personal notes)


…in response to “Carnival Blues” or “Something Wicked” (same story, different titles), published, respectively, in The Caribbean Writer and The Missing Slate, 2014:

“This is a piercing analysis of the darker side of paradise…what happens when ‘laid back debauchery, easy and available loving’ crosses a line and becomes something more violent…’s a great story, and I think it deserves as wide an audience as possible.” (editor, The Missing Slate; “Something Wicked” named Story of the Week)


…in response to “Feather in her Ear:” in Womanspeak: a Journal of Art and Writing by Caribbean Women Volume 7, 2013:


“…a declaration of self acceptance and love that challenges stereotypes of womanhood, beauty and Caribbbeanness in the poem ‘She Wears a Feather in Her Ear’” (Lynn Sweeting, editor, Womanspeak)


…in response to”The Cat has Claws” in Akashic’s Monday’s are Murder online series, 2013:

Trinidad and Tobago Guardian Sunday Arts 280216 review add and file.png

“Hillhouse keeps the secrecy taut in her storyline, baring just enough suggestion to hold her reader captive.” (Shivanee Ramlochan, Trinidad and Tobago Guardian Sunday Arts)

#Reader Reviews
“Got the shivers in spite of the heat.” (facebook)

“Enjoyed your story – it flowed really well. Also liked the way you wove in the sense of place.” (Bookertalk blog)

“You know how I know it was really good?, I want to know what happens next.” (facebook)


… in response to “Man of Her Dreams” in In the Black: New African Caribbean Writing edited by Althea Prince and published by Insomnia Press (Canada), 2012:

“Joanne C. Hillhouse included her fascinating story ‘The Man of Her Dreams’.” – (Philip K. Thompson, in Powerful Black Voices Speak to Everyone in Canada’s Herald Arts and Life)

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“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.” (goodreads)


…in response to “Teacher May”, in Poui, 2011:

“I absolutely loved your story ‘Teacher May’ in the POUI journal! I’m always looking at unconventional ways to tell a story, and I love the transitions in POV. I had to read the story twice! And will probably read it one more time tonight. The ending was so unexpected.” (Shakirah Bourne, author of My Fishy Stepmom/Josephine against The Sea, facebook)

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“Weird, creepy ..but not too much, thought provoking.” (facebook)


…in response to the poem (Ghosts Lament), S X Salon, 2011:

“The first two lines hooked me, and the rest of it just kept pulling… fantastic.” (Danielle Boodoo Fortune, author of Bocas prize winning Doe Songs, facebook)

“Ghosts’ Lament, how charged that is. What a shifting of the gears of the creative act. How well I can relate to that. How magical and how tragic. What a maker of art you are!” (Obediah Michael Smith, author of Wide Sargasso Sea and 62 Other Poems, on facebook)

‎“’Shadows slant in the setting sun,
as someone beats a pan;
a skanking Marley jam.’

Beautiful” (Geoffrey Philp, author of Dub Wise, facebook)

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“So very poignant. Thank you for writing this.” (twitter)

“Wonderful, crisp, highly symbolic, you have the ability to say so much in so few words. That’s what poetry is all about.” (former Chief Librarian of Antigua and Barbuda, Dorothea Nelson, facebook)

* response to “Country Club Kids” in The Caribbean Writer, 2010:

“The short story is fantastic. I became Rosada as I read. It is like that quiet voice took me over and I journeyed effortlessly with her to the end with that ‘kiss’ that might have a big impact on her life. It almost feels like it needs a follow up story. I think you are very good at seeing life through the eyes of adolescence. The voice you use is mesmerizing and you really draw the reader in. Once again, the story is not particularly Antiguan. It is a universal story of a child coming of age, facing and dealing with the complexities we call growing up. You are also good at showing relationships. I am thinking of the child and her grandmother. People show love in so many odd ways. They do not hug and squeeze you but they do show love.” – (personal note, Althea Romeo Mark, If Only the Dust would Settle)


…in response to “How to Make Cassava Bread and Other Musings on Culture“, Antigua Stories, 2010-ish:

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“Absolutely wonderful and informative. I love it!” (Antigua Stories)


…in response to “After Glow“, Tongues of the Ocean, 2009 & So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End, 2012:

“Joanne Hillhouse’s ‘After Glow’ and Juan Rulfo’s ‘Luvina’ are other examples of prose which depict strong memorable imagery.” (Althea Romeo Mark, If Only the Dust Would Settle, Caribbean Literary Salon)

“How poetic your prose is…It is intricately made. It is so well woven.” (Obediah Michael Smith, Discovery Daze-72 Poems, facebook)

“The writing is so seductive that I came to realize that it really mattered not to me what happened to and with the protagonists. I was just happy so long as you continued to draw me into the centre of this woman and the man she is missing; and the son who is her first love…and for as long as she decided to reveal things to me.” (Althea Prince, Loving This Man, Tongues of the Ocean)

“I love the flow of this piece. I was drawn in and wanted to read more.” (Floree Williams, Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses, Tongues of the Ocean)

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“Beautifully written and though it works well as a standalone it would make a wonderful novel, the characters have great depth. I’ve been trying to learn more about Antiguan life for something I’ve written and I haven’t found anything that feels as emotionally genuine as this.” (Tongues of the Ocean)

“This story poetically paints a picture of a slice of Antigua’s life that remains indelibly in the readers’ mind. The central character comes to life in such an unforgettable way that we take her away with us.” (Althea Romeo Mark, author of If Only the Dust Would Settle, Tongues of the Ocean)


…in response to “Friday Night Fish Fry“, Sea Breeze, 2008:

“…an absolutely beautiful piece of prose. The characters are so patiently and vividly and sympathetically wrought.” (personal note, Austin Smith, Flyover Country: Poems)

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“The imagery is so vivid in this story.” (facebook)


…in response to “Prospero’s Education“, “Da’s Calypso“, and “The Arrival“, Calabash, 2008:

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“Congrats on making it into Calabash and the poems are beautifully written.” (my space)


…in response to other/unknown, June 2011:

“Joanne, I read your article in Geoffrey Philp’s blog. It was superbly written. You have reached inside my core and pulled a part of me out. How is it that your light has been so dim in Antigua? We seem to have an ability to not appreciate our own. Hats off to you girl” (Dorothea Nelson, former Antigua and Barbuda Chief Librarian, facebook)


…in response to various articles or essays (non-creative):


“Also, the Creative Space section of @antiguaobserver is a brilliant space for thoughtful analysis of local releases.” – Laikan, music artist on instagram


“interesting interview…fantastic conversation” (designer Miranda Askie after she was featured in “CREATIVE SPACE: Not Cookie Cutter“, instagram)

“Excellent review, Joanne. My grad students recently read Home Home. I will share your review with them as a model of how to write a review. ” (Loretta Collins Klobah, professor and author, in response to a posted review of the book Home Home, facebook)

“Good op ed by Joanne Hillhouse, a fellow Antiguan writer, on the climate change crisis and Barbuda’s uncertain future a year after hurricane Irma.” (Natasha Lightfoot re “Barbuda’s Hurricane Irma Story is about Devastation and Resilience on Huffington Post, twitter)

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“… delightful essay on the perils of Caribbean rain, What an enjoyable read!” + “I.Love.This.POST!! And how you write!” (reader comments, re “How to Predict Rain in the Caribbean”, blogged at Women Who Live on Rocks)

“A wonderful article.  I think you captured the spirit of the enterprise so beautifully and managed to weave in the other issues so naturally that it all fitted together.  I loved the story of Andrea planting the feet of her 1 year old in the sands of GBI and contrasting the fact that she was 28 before she ever visited the island –  that says so many things!” (Environmental Awareness Group executive member in response to the Caribbean Beat article “It Started with a Snake“)

+ “My name is Courtney Boyd, I am the person that runs the film production group “Wadadli Plus” I just saw the article in the Observer newspaper and I must say on behalf of all our group members.  Thank you!, …I must say we are truly honored that you have liked our content and have showcased it.” (personal note, re  “CREATIVE SPACE: It’s Not all about Netflix“)


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