JHOHADLI WRITING PROJECT – what it means – Jhohadli (pen name, alter ego), Writing (my passion, what I do, what I teach), Project (an activity undertaken, with purpose). I offer workshops to various age groups including creative writing (with an emphasis on fiction; I have also worked with educators to bring creativity in to the classroom), communication (with an emphasis on written communication; I have designed and delivered courses for non-writing professionals toward improving confidence and competence with written communication in the workplace), media training (I have worked with young people for instance on analysis of media content, and researching and expressing their own ideas in a credible way), and more. Workshops are independently designed but can also be custom-made for group, company, or organization needs within my areas of services, training, and experience. UPDATE! The latest incarnation of the JWP creative writing workshop series (with an option for people not based in Antigua and Barbuda to participate) has been ongoing since January 2018 and is expected to continue as long as there’s interest; other workshops are offered periodically. Contact me to be put on the mailing list or follow the blog to keep up with updates. The Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project is also very much still alive – sponsor a young one, register, request information, or be added to the mailing list by contacting me.
I (Joanne C. Hillhouse) have critiqued, coached, and edited other writers, taught courses and presented workshops, and worked as a journalist and communicator. I am also a published author.
Between my first stint as a youth media workshop facilitator on commission from the Department of Youth Affairs in 2011 and my first Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, JSYWP (2013) – a summer writing camp for young people – I taught several communications courses (including stints at the American University of Antigua and the Antigua State College). The success of the JSYWP and of my interaction with the young people at the DYA taught me that I work well in small group, interactive, organic creative workshops. I have found these to be very satisfying growth experiences and the participant feedback has suggested that they have as well. Here are links to the blind written feedback provided by the participants in my first JSYWP: Part 1 (why did you apply), Part 2 (what did you gain), Part 3 (what was your favourite part), Part 4 (would you recommend it), Part 5 (a word to the sponsors).
Excerpts from Participant reviews – JSYWP 2013:
“I learned a lot from this camp. 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.”
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My WORKSHOPS draw on the breadth of my training, experience, and acquired knowledge; always leaving room for growth. Beyond being a writer, I was also a media practitioner, communicator, and mentor who, in time, went freelance, and progressively expanded said freelance activities to include not just writing but editing for and training others. I not only offer workshops/courses independently but on commission. These have included but are not limited to:
Best of Books’ summer camp – session on creative writing
BIM Lit Fest workshop – workshop on memory in fiction, co-facilitated with Bernice McFadden (Hurston Wright nominated writer of Sugar), at the Barbados-based literary festival
Excerpt from Participant Reviews – BIM Lit Fest Workshop (2016):
“I attended a writing workshop conducted by Joanne in Barbados a couple of years ago. I still remember the fresh and innovative way she taught and encouraged participants to approach storytelling. The exercises really caused our creative juices to flow. Joanne is an excellent teacher and facilitator and uses novel approaches.” – Sharma Taylor, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers short story prize, 2018
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CODE (Canadian non-profit which sponsors the Burt Award for teen/young adult Caribbean Fiction) workshop in Antigua – organized and facilitated intensive week-end long workshop involving tips and critiques of works in progress
Department of Youth Affairs (Antigua and Barbuda) Media Training workshop – twice – imparting critical thinking and media communication tools to young/teenage participants
Eddie Nias’ Great Young Minds – creative arts camp with writing among the activities
Independence Literary Arts post competition youth workshop – co-facilitated workshop for the young people who had excelled in the Independence literary arts competition with Brenda Lee Browne (founder of the Just Write Writers Retreat) and Althea Prince (award winning author of Ladies of the Night)
Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project – this is one of my projects and actually was the seed of the Jhohadli Writing Project. Held since 2013 as long as there’s funding and interest. The model for this workshop, targetted at teens, has been to seek corporate and community sponsorship to offer scholarships so that participation is determined by interest not finances. If you’d like to sponsor future camps, contact me
Jhohadli Writing Project – adult writing sessions which have been held at the National Youth Enlightenment Academy and since 2018 (a year in which the workshops have been and will continue to be offered on an ongoing basis as long as there’s interest) at the Best of Books Bookstore. You don’t have to be in Antigua and Barbuda to participate. If you’d like to be put on the mailing list for future offerings, contact me
Jhohadli Writing Project children’s workshop held at the Best of Books – this has only been a one-off session to date
Brenda Lee Browne’s Just Write Writers Retreat – co-facilitated interactive writing and editing sessions several times at the weekend writing retreat held at Mount Tabor in the Antiguan countryside
Ministry of Education (Antigua and Barbuda), Summer Institute – commissioned to design and provide weeklong teacher training re bringing creativity/creative writing in to the classroom
Wadadli Pen writing workshops – targeted at prospective participants in the annual Wadadli Pen Writing Challenge (which I first launched as a not for profit development activity in 2004)
Excerpts from participant reviews:
(Jhohadli Writing Project, 2018)
“I achieved the goal of refining just a little bit more the skill of writing compelling characters…I would recommend the workshop for amateur writers because we many times think we can just write. But the workshop presented different ways to think about writing.”
(Jhohadli Writing Project, pre-2018)
“Informative, interactive, educational and funny.”
(Ministry of Education’s Teachers Summer Institute, 2016)
“I wanted to learn new tips in assisting my students. I did.”
(Writing is Your Business with Barbara Arrindell & Associates, 2016)
“The overall training was good and I’ve learned how to structure my ideas.”
(Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, 2015)
“I gained insight into different techniques and styles of writing, and an appreciation for the technical ability required, as well as guidance in replicating these styles. I was also able to gain constructive criticism on several original pieces and works in progress.”
(Department of Youth Affairs’ Youth Media Workshop, 2014)
“After being reluctant to come, I actually learned a lot. My writing skills have improved.”
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Writing is Your Business w/Barbara Arrindell & Associates – a course on written communication for professionals (first offered in 2016) that looked primarily at:
Understanding factors contributing to and inhibiting communication
Common Grammatical and Punctuation Errors
Elements of effective business writing (including audience, tone, and more)
Formulating topic/main idea and linking to subsidiary ideas + writing outlines
Sequencing and transitioning
Evaluating and editing (peer-evaluation and self-evaluation)
Through this association with B A & A, in addition to offering evening classes, I have also offered in-company training (i.e. where the facilitator is brought in to the company to provide training over a set period of time) and am available to do so for any company seeking to build human resource capacity in the area of written communication. contact me so that I can design a programme to fit your company’s needs.
COACHING, EDITING ETC. – I have also, over the years, provided coaching, mentoring, critiquing, and editing services to other writer or to anyone, including professionals and students (of any discipline), seeking to improve in the area of writing. I actually started doing some of this because I was approached by individual writers or people seeking to improve their writing; and it has grown from there as I continue to grow.
My personal growth has included formal training (which, on the media front, took me from the newsrooms of Antigua and Barbuda to the campus of the University of the West Indies where I earned my degree in Mass Communication, to covering and collaborating on projects at home and in the wider Caribbean, to writing for publications like Essence magazine internationally); experience (both in media – print, TV, and online, as noted, in creative writing with each publication, and in messaging and communication generally through my job as environmental educator with a national statutory body, and after that freelancing as a writer, editor, and project manager for special publications for various clients); and participation in writing and editing workshops – including workshops offered by Middlebury College (Breadloaf), Texas A & M (Callaloo), CaribLit (facilitated by the publishers of successful independent presses, Akashic and Peepal Tree), the Commonwealth, and others; facilitated by authors like Ursula Hegi, Ravi Howard, Jacob Ross, and Mervyn Morris, who taught and mentored me at the University of the West Indies, and recommended me for my first international fiction writing workshop at the University of Miami.
(Above, I’m pictured at my first international fiction writing workshop in 1995, the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute at the University of Miami, and, to the right, in 2016, with the facilitator of that workshop, Commonwealth and other award winning Jamaican-Canadian author and mentor Olive Senior. In the second picture we were invited authors at the BIM Literary Festival at which she was leading a master class and I was co-facilitating a workshop with African American author Bernice McFadden)
Excerpts from participant reviews:
(independent authors re critiquing and/or editing services on books)
“Having your manuscript edited is a very scary event. The thought of someone reading an early draft of your work and giving feedback is nerve racking. Joanne handled our relationship professionally and also provided some very valuable advice in regards to publishing. The editing was done in a timely manner.”
“I will always appreciate her honesty, and the timely manner (in which) she got back to me, allowing me to not lose momentum with my project.”
“Joanne edited my novella, she was thorough, questioning and encouraging – she makes your work better and tighter.”
“Joanne is a great editor. She is thorough and delivers in a timely manner. Her notes are valuable.”
“I am pleased with the work you did on the manuscript. I have made good progress with my review…I appreciate your suggestions, ideas, and advice.”
“During the editing process Joanne handled my writing with respect not only to personal style but that the voice be authentic.”
(writers who benefited from one-on-one coaching)
“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 observed my process, what I spent too much focus on, and not enough focus on. 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.”
“She said many things in that brief meeting that resonated with me, but the most significant was the simple acknowledgement that I AM a writer.”
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WHO AM I TARGETING – You don’t have to have your sights set on being a professional writer to benefit from my workshops and/or courses. I target various age groups, and have found success with participants who have different skill levels. The workshops/courses have different purposes. Sometimes I partner with others and sometimes I fly solo; sometimes I work one-on-one, sometimes in group. As a coach, I have worked with people trying to ease in to writing to people trying to finish a writing project or two.
I will continue to build and offer courses and workshops in Antigua and Barbuda, and abroad. I am also available to come in to institutions – schools (creative writing), businesses (written communication) – and to partner with public, private, and non-profit agencies to bring media, business, and/or creative writing training to target groups in Antigua and Barbuda and beyond.
TO ACCESS MY SERVICES – A fee is attached. Fees vary according to the programme being offered. Fees are negotiable, within reason, but once agreed are non-refundable and non-transferable.
If you’re reading this and you’re interested in providing scholarships for an individual, group, project, or even so I can bring writing workshops in to schools, much like the patrons who sponsored someone for the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, contact me.
Group sizes are managed (to optimally benefit individual participants) which is why you need to register early when a workshop or course is advertised to secure your spot.
My ideas and, by extension, my programmes are evolving. If you’re seeking a course or workshop that’s not mentioned here, ask. If interested in any of the sessions, email me your questions or expression of interest. You can also be added to my mailing list for when I’m advertising future programmes.
If you’re not resident in Antigua and Barbuda, still email me ; you can participate in some workshop activities or access my coaching services, and my manuscript evaluation and/or editing services.
I want to say, finally, that I, too, am a student of writing. We’re all learning from each other. I’m doing this as a professional pursuit but also because I love writing, I love the literary arts, I have experience in creative/non-creative writing and media that can be of value to others, and I find fulfillment in seeing others blossom.
I look forward to hearing from you. — Joanne C. Hillhouse