Photo by Celia Sorhaindo/Dominica/2012
“I find she has this really cool way of bringing Antigua to life through the written word.” – reader, on facebook
Can I just say how thankful I am to tout monde sam and baggai who’ve taken the time to read and share their thoughts re anything I’ve written; it’s more than this little girl from Ottos, Antigua dared hope. Thankfully the feedback has been more positive than negative, but even negative reviews (into each writing life a few, and hopefully only a few, must fall) serve their purpose. Sometimes they leave you winded, sure; but then so do the reviews that feel like a virtual hug. It’s all an opportunity to grow and learn, and to feel the impact words written in solitude are having somewhere out there in the world. Here I share what readers, bloggers, and professional reviewers have had to say about my writing with links to the appropriate pages. Mostly, I hope that if anyone stumbles in here who’s never heard of Joanne C. Hillhouse or my books, he or she will find something among the thoughts of other readers that prompts them to buy my books, read and share, read and share.
“Beautiful, well thought, and meaningful…Hillhouse blends traditional elements of the fairytale with her own Caribbean sensitivity to create an unforgettable story about human frailty and the power of love.” – Mario Picayo, children’s book author, A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to Z) (2016)
“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.” – judges, Burt Award for teen/YA Caribbean literature (2014)
FISH OUTTA WATER
“Hillhouse’s authorial voice is lyrical and descriptive. The interactions of this extended and blended family, along with their respective communities in Antigua and the United States provide a range of interesting perspectives that are expressed in characteristic dialogue of their regions. The universe of this novel is not only populated with intergenerational and multi-cultural characters but also with connections to ancestors and newborns. Compellingly, the complexity and depth of Oh Gad! is well disguised as easy beach reading with the usual soap opera formula of romance, political intrigue, family feuds, and the like. In this way, Hillhouse masterfully transports us back and forth from our modernity into the mythic yet real seat of Antiguan culture. What we find there is fascinating.” – Leah Creque-Harris in Caribbean Vistas (2014)
“Joanne Hillhouse deserves to be better known…I believe that as the word spreads, she will be widely recognized as an important Caribbean writer doing distinctive work…in Oh Gad! (she) makes vivid a wide range of Antiguan residents: rich, poor, black, white, brown, educated, old, young; characters who feel compelled to emigrate, some who are committed to the place, and some who returned, uncertainly. The novel is largely about negotiations of identity; and it raises, inter alia, issues of family, class, history, ecology and politics…There are skilful descriptions of people, place events, traditions, and nicely managed dialogue that captures personality and mood.” – Mervyn Morris, poet and professor emeritus at the University of the West Indies (2012)
“In her novel Oh Gad, Joanne Hillhouse braves the challenge of writing about the complexity of dual identity by showing how one person reconciles those pieces of themselves through fight , family, and forgiveness….I loved your character Nikki. I really identified with her identity struggles and how she came to terms with her past and present.” – Kara at the Frugal Feminista
Photo by Randy Taylor/St. Kitts/2013
“And I believe Ms. Hillhouse has developed her written talents vastly from her earlier novels both of which I own in my selective library of books for keeps. They however were lightweight in comparison to Oh Gad! ( Dancing Nude in The Moonlight & The Boy from Willow Bend).” READ ROAD TO WADI HALFA AUTHOR CLAUDIA RUTH FRANCIS’ FULL REVIEW OF OH GAD!
THE BOY FROM WILLOW BEND
“The musicality of the authentic, Antiguan language resonates like wind dipping in and out of multicolored bottle trees…Vere’s story may take place in Antigua, but the problems he experiences are universal. The book is a great resource to
discuss those experiences in the classroom and learn about different cultures and language.”
“For its thoughtful rendering of complex issues such as gender, class, migration and death, for the swiftness of Hillhouse’s prose, and especially for the captivating personality with which she endows the title character, readers will be instantly drawn to this narrative.”
“…a well written, engaging, quick read, with a fleshy, well-rounded main character…Young and older adults can identify with the stages and emotions Vere experiences.” READ MORE REVIEWS OF THE BOY FROM WILLOW BEND
DANCING NUDE IN THE MOONLIGHT
“Dancing Nude in the Moonlight is lyrical, sensual and gentle…(it) provide(s) a valuable glimpse of the Caribbean female.”
“A narrative that is rich in issues, values, intercultural conflict and gender relations as they present themselves in Antigua today… (the) love story is sensitive, sensuous, well nuanced…” READ MORE REVIEWS OF DANCING NUDE IN THE MOONLIGHT
OTHER WRITING REVIEWS
“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 of Literature and Cultural Studies, University of the West Indies (2012)
“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.” (re After Glow now available in So the Nailhead Bend So the Story End)
“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.” READ MORE REVIEWS OF OTHER WRITING
REVIEWS OF WORK AS EDITOR, WRITING COACH, WORKSHOP FACILITATOR ETC.
“(She) made me feel like I was a speaking to a person who, not only knew her craft, but genuinely cared or was interested about mine.” – participant in the Just Write Writers Retreat
” I can honestly say that my writing has improved from this experience and because of it I’m sure I will get better. Highlight of my summer.” – participant in the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project
“Joanne’s coaching has been practical, resourceful and supportive. The feedback she gives is amazing in the way that she makes strong suggestions while allowing me to maintain my voice. As a writing newbie, working with Joanne has been a great boost to my confidence and she challenges me to explore styles and perspective that I would never have tackled on my own. She is also very flexible with my schedule to keep me on track.” – private client
Looking for interviews and other coverage, go here.