(from research originally compiled by Joanne C. Hillhouse for Antigua and Barbuda’s
2005 literary arts exhibition at the national Museum)
Name: Sylvanus Barnes
One of Antigua’s best-known poets Sylvanus Barnes’ works are heard often on Observer
Radio and at readings around the island. The Barnes Hill resident is a married father of
two and works as a sewing machine technician at the Ministry of Education. Barnes
particularly enjoys writing humour. He regularly participates as judge in the Antigua
State College/UNESCO poetry competition and is a recipient of a UNESCO prize for
contribution to literacy and the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.
Riotous Rhymes ‘N Remedies. 2000.
Barney’s Wit ‘n Wisdom. 2005.
“I’ve never been to heaven/an angel’s harp to hear/but when I hear a steel pan/I feel that I
am there.” [from A Harp of Gold in Barney’s Wit ‘n Wisdom]
“His genius continues to redefine and enrich our local literary landscape.”
– J. Lenore Henry, Acting Chief Education Officer.
Name: Irene Browne-Bowen
A career teacher, Browne-Bowen has taught at All Saints Primary, Mary E. Piggott,
Sunnyside Tutorial, and was principal at Buckley’s Primary. Browne-Bowen is a
UNESCO awardee for her contribution to literacy and the literary arts.
Literary Collection No. I. 1995.
Literary Collection No. II. 1997.
** ** **
Name: Veronica Evanson Bernard
Pineapple Rhymes [w/illustrations by Eddie Granderson]. 1989. Blackwood Press.
“History’s not about great kings and wars/and empires and countries and things beyond
our shores./History’s, too, what people do, common people like me and you/and that’s
the real meaning of songs by Quarkoo.” [Coconut Walk]
Name: Dr. Jose Humphreys
A doctor of natural medicine, the proprietor of Optimum Medical Clinic is also a health columnist
in the Daily Observer. He has written two books of poetry and short stories. He’s a UNESCO
awardee for his contribution to the literary arts.
A Passion for Words 1.
A Passion for Words 2.
Name: Dotsie Isaac-Gellizeau
Dotsie debuted at Open Mike at Blackout and later turned up at Traffic Night Club and
various other venues. A wife and mother of two, she is executive assistant to the Minister
of Labour and a founding member of Essential magazine.
Ab-SOUL-utely Dotsie. 2004.
“The almighty one breathed life into her plan/made me in her image/and called me
[from My Name is Woman on ab-SOUL-uteley Dotsie]
“eloquent, succinct, [and] simply brilliant.” – Dr. Jacqui Quinn-Leandro, speaking at the
launch of ‘ab-SOUL-utely Dotsie’.
Name: Tameka Jarvis
One of the original ‘Angels of the Morning’ on Observer Radio, Tameka Jarvis has
published two books of poetry. She was awarded a book publishing contract by
www.poetry.com at the poetry convention in August 2001. Of the raw, personal nature of
her poetry, the poet told the Daily Observer in 2003, “I can only write what I know.”
Thoughts from the Pharcyde. 1999. Hidden Brook Press.
I am that I am. 2000. Watermark Press. MD.
I am. 2005. Hidden Brook Press.
“When this trip is over/I’ll beg for another hit of you/your addictive love/the love that
continues to make and break me.”
[from Junkie in Thoughts from the Pharcyde]
“…a compelling read.”
- Calvin Holder, English teacher, Antigua State College
Name: Clifton Joseph
Born in Antigua, Clifton Joseph migrated to Canada in 1973. A dub poet and journalist living,
he’s authored a book of poetry, produced an album of poetry, a video poem, and appeared in a
number of anthologies. A founding member of the Dub Poets Collective, he is a two-time winner
of the Best Dub Poet Award and recipient of the Peter Tosh Memorial Award.
Metropolitan Blues. 1983. Domestic Bliss. Toronto.
“in dis here
COLD/COLD/COLD NORTHERN CLIME
TIME WILL COME AROUND
WHEN CHUCKIE'S DISGRUNTLED FROWNS
WILL SEND SKYSCRAPERS/ON/FIRE
TUMBLING DOWN” [from Chuckie Prophesy in Metropolitan Blues]
“He’s “a be-bop wailer & hollerin’ ghost,” to quote Larry Neal, and a jazzman and organizer,
too.” – Bob Holman.
Name: Sheryl Inigo Joseph
Poetry and Reality.
*** ********** ******
Name: Joy Lawrence
One of Antigua’s most prolific poets and literary arts activists, Lawrence, senior lecturer in the
Commercial Department, at the Antigua State College where she coordinates the annual
ASC/UNESCO poetry competition. Secretary of the UNESCO literary arts committee, she has
also been awarded by same for her contribution to the literary arts.
Island Spice. 1996. 1997.
The Way We Talk and Other Antiguan Folkways. 2002, 2003.
Colours and Rhythms of Selected Caribbean Creoles. 2003.
Excerpt: “Pregnant clouds darkened with labour pains/gave birth/replenishing the earth with new
life.” [from Showers in Island Spice]
Review: “Ms. Lawrence’s fine little book on our island’s lore will be of interest to residents and
visitors alike.” – Desmond V. Nicholson, historian [of The Way We Talk and Other Antiguan
Name: Vivian Michael
Formerly a member of Chrysalis, a band of young poets pursuing the revival of the
literary arts in the late 1990’s with activities like poetry night at the Hub, Vivian Michael
is now the force behind the Daily Observer’s Writers Block.
Words Left Unsaid and My Inspiration in Collective Soul Volume One. 1998. Chrysalis.
“each poem is a part of me/old memories, new feelings, dreams and nightmares…” [from
My Inspiration in Collective Soul]
Motion [Wendy Brathwaite] is a Canadian spoken word poet and hip hop recording artist
of Antiguan descent.
Motion in Poetry. 2002. Women’s Press. Canada.
“Queen Nzinga looks on as we swing our small axes/through the forests of fearsome
shadows that mean us no good.” [from Black Woman Rage in Motion in Poetry]
“She’s the Queen of the Real, the Empress of the Truth.” – George Elliot Clarke, award
** ** **
Name: Dr. Elaine Olaoye
Elaine Olaoye holds a Ph.D in Psychology and has taught at Brookdale Community College, NY,
for more than 20 years. Specializing in stress management, she conducts stress management
workshops using poetry.
Passions of the Soul. Second Edition, 2002. Northwind Publishers. New Jersey.
“Let a dying civilization bury its dead. You have survived its most sinister dread.” [from On
Becoming an Afro American in Passions of the Soul]
Review: “Passions of the Soul challenges, reassures and probes the complexities of African
people in the diaspora.” – Dr. Patrick Lewis, ambassador.
** ** **
Name: J. Nerissa Percival
Butterflies in the Moonlight. 2006.
*** *** ****
Name: Sislyn Peters
A Souvenir of Antigua in Poetry.
Name: Dr. Rowan Ricardo Philips
A native New Yorker of Antiguan decent, Rowan Ricardo Phillips is a poet-critic and Assistant
Professor of English at SUNY, Stony Brook. He received his Ph.D. at Brown University. He is a
Mellon Fellow and winner of the Louis Untermyeter Fellowship for Poetry. His work has
appeared or is forthcoming in the Harvard Review, The Kenyon Review, Seneca Review and
I keep returning to blackness and blackness, time and time./Blackness with blackness, then time.
From disinterested rhyme/to obsessed.” [from On Bard and Balladry in Robert Hayden An Essay
in Verse in the Kenyon Review]
“Considered a rising star among young experimental poets…” – Swarthmore College
Name: Dr. Conrad Powell-Clarke
A senior lecturer at the Antigua State College for six years, Conrad Powell-Clarke is also a
musician, songwriter and visual artist. He is a founding member and former president of the
Antigua and Barbuda Writers Guild. Holder of a doctorate in metaphysical science, Powell-
Clarke is, also, UNESCO awardee for his contribution to the literary arts.
Triskaidekaiphobia. Not yet released.
Name: Mary Geo Quinn
Highly Commended by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association for her 2002
submission to the Commonwealth short story competition, ‘Joe’ and awarded by
UNESCO for her contribution to the literary arts, Mary Geo Quinn is often referred to as
the Grand Dame of Poetry. Her first story, ‘By Hook or By Crook’ won a 1961
competition organized by the Venzuelan Embassy in Barbados. She has been awarded the
King of Redonda prize for eastern Caribbean writers, for ‘Recollections’, a memoir,
which she has plans to publish.
All of the Women of the Bible. 1976.
Sugar Mill Gems. 1993.
Lest We Forget – Patriotic Poems. 1993.
Heart to Heart
A Stormy Tale
Winthorpean Echoes: A Collection of Poems
"A wonderful piece of writing, which is not only rich in Caribbean history and culture,
but is also a beautifully crafted account of childhood…”
– Nicola Redway, Bequia journalist and King of Redonda prize judge,
commenting on Quinn’s submission, Recollections.
“Lest we forget, tell us again and again
About our forefathers strong
Who toiled for their captors in sun and in rain
And lived to triumph over this great wrong”
[Lest we forget]
Name: Althea Romeo-Mark
Born in Antigua in 1948, Althea Romeo-Mark grew up in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin
Islands. Her father was from the Dominican Republic and her mother from St. Croix. She
has been writing and publishing since the 1970’s. Mark is married to a Grenadian and
teaches English as a second language in Switzerland. Her poems have been published in
the U.S., the Caribbean, Liberia, West Africa, Germany and England.
Selected Works [due to number]:
The Silent Dancing Spirit. 1974.
Palaver: West Indian Poems. 1978.
Two Faces; Two Phases. 1984.
Beyond Dream: The Ritual Dancer. 1989.
“ah never see a man/so brazen an' bol'/he forget how he ol'/dancin' to de steelband/twistin'
up he waist/can hardly keep de pace/can hardly keep de pace.” [from Carnival Stray in
The Caribbean Writer Volume 10]
Name: Beverly Watkins
The late Beverly Watkins was mother of six, a dress designer, preacher and
manager/producer of El Shaddai Promotions.
In our Path. 1997.
Inna Me Twang. 1998.
“We inch circuitously in your queue/For an hour or more, though we are few./Then,
when we reach the top of the line/you put up your sign/with your bantering smile/saying,
‘Next Teller Please.’” [from You Bank in Inna Me Twang]
Reviews: “You Bank will have you angry and laughing all the way.” – Edith Oladelé
** ** **
Name: LCH Wescott
A UNESCO award recipient, L C H Wescott was born in 1929 in Antigua. His love for
poetry and English began at the Convent High School, where he was encouraged by his
mentor, Mother Mary Ambrosine. He subsequently published three books of poetry, two
of which are no longer available. He is currently engaged in writing his biography.
The Garden of Life. 1999.
** ** **
Name: Tamo Zakela – The High Priest of Poetry
Winner of a UNESCO prize for his work, his revolutionary poems include ‘The Power of
Poetry’ and ‘What Poetry Means to Me’.
“There are too many stories to tell.”
“A Fine Antiguan poet.” – Tim Hector
“Yuh bad, man! Yuh Bad!” – audience member at Heritage Fest 2004 in Jamaica [from
the Jamaica Gleaner]
** ** **
Some other Poetry Publications
James H. Richmond [Reflections of Today. 1993]
Sylvester Itoyah [She Stood Naked. 1996]
Sislyn Peters [A Souvenir of Antigua in Poetry]
Kamau Ode Lasana [Roadside Prophet & Other Poems]
N. Erna Mae Francis [It’s Time for a Change. 1996]
Joseph Jermaine [Creative Thoughts. 2002]
Franklin Michael [published in Out of the Stars 2. 1976]
Dr. Bille Dyer [As Man Ascends]
Lauchland Lake [Touch Me Inside. 1974]
Name: Brenda Lee Browne
Freelance writer Brenda Lee Browne was born in England to Antiguan parents. She has a
Masters in Creative Writing from Sheffield Hallam University, and passes on her
knowledge via the various creative writing workshops she’s conducted with young
people. Browne has twice participated in the Hurston Wright writers’ workshop at
Howard University, and was featured in an anthology put out by the organizers. She’s,
also, a recipient of the East Midland Arts Writers Award in England. Browne, a
journalist, was also recently elected to the Antigua and Barbuda Media Congress
Diary from the Wet Side of the Moon [excerpt] in New Writing: Poetry and Prose. 2001.
Shoe String Press. England.
Diary from the Wet Side of the Moon [excerpt] in The Hoot and Holler of the Owls: An
Anthology of Writers from Hurston-Wright Writers Week. 2003. USA.
“…I want to be a ‘Classic’ – with fluidity of movement, in ambition, achievements –
hard bound with crisp interior and words, meaningful and deliberate. A ‘Classic’ to be
taken up and not put down. Treasured but used, not negligently but in ‘love’. A ‘Classic’
with rules for living that are neither too archaic nor too abstract but proven, reliable.”
[from Living the Novel in Woman’s Place, 1990]
Name: Freida Cassin
Frieda Cassin lived in Antigua at the end of the nineteenth century. Her father was a
commission merchant and ship owner. Cassin was the editor of one of Antigua's first
literary journals The Carib.
With Silent Thread. 1890. G A Uphill. St. John’s. [Recently reissued by Macmillan as
part of its Caribbean Classics Series].
“First published in Antigua in the 1890s, With Silent Thread is a superbly understated
evocation of a claustrophobic island community struggling with the bitter legacies of
slavery.” – Macmillan, publisher.
Name: Clinton U. Benjamin
Born in Antigua, he published a story of a Caribbean girl and her transition to adulthood amidst a
Belinda. 2000. Pentland Press.
Name: Claudia Elizabeth Ruth Francis
Biographical Note: Of Barbudan and Canadian parentage, Claudia Francis was educated in
England and resided there for many years. Her first book was Island Issues, published by
Florida-based Backyard Publisher. She’s since published a sequel to this book.
Name: Omari Jeremiah
An African-American teenager, resident in New York, Jeremiah is of Antiguan descent. He is the
recipient of the ‘2005 Memphis Black Writers Conference Young Writer of Excellence’.
Paperboy [w/illustrator Bernie Rollins]. 2004. Morton Books. New Jersey.
Paperboy II: Overwhelming Odds w/illustrator Bernie Rollins]. 2005.
Excerpt: “All of LOEP vs. Paperboy. The odds were definitely not in his favour. However,
Michael did not have a choice. If he lost, all of the students would fall into the bullies’ hands. He
could not let this happen.” [from Paperboy]
Review: “Bronx school children are going Harry-Potter-nuts over a series of books about a new
kind of hero, “Paperboy”… the series is a legitimate Bronx hit.” – New York Times website.
Name: Jamaica Kincaid
Born in 1949 as Elaine Potter Richardson, the writer became Jamaica Kincaid in 1973
after migrating to the United States. The edgy and controversial scribe has written for
Ingenue, the Village Voice and the New Yorker – which she started writing for as a
featured Talk of the Town columnist in 1976. A critically acclaimed author, Kincaid has
been nominated for numerous awards including the Pen/Faulkner Award and the National
Book Award. She’s won various awards, including he won the Morton Dauwen Zabel
Award, the Anifield-Wolf Book Award and The Lila-Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund
Award. She is a professor of African and African American studies at Harvard
At the Bottom of the River. [originally published 1983]. 1992. Plume.
Annie John. 1985. Penguin Books. NY.
Annie, Gwen, Lilly, Pam and Tulip [w/Eric Fischl]. 1986. Knopf. NY.
A Small Place. 1988. Farrar Strauss Giroux. NY.
Lucy. 1991. Plume. NY.
The Best American Essays [ed. w/Robert Atwan]. 1995. Houghton Miflin.
The Autobiography of My Mother. 1996. Farrar Strauss Giroux. NY.
My Brother. 1997. Farrar Strauss Giroux. NY.
Generations of Women: In their own Words [ed. w/Marianna Cook] 1998. Chronicle
My Favourite Plant [ed.]. 1999. Vintage.
Poetics of Place. 1999. Aperture.
Talk Stories. 2000. Farrar Strauss Giroux. NY.
My Garden (Book). 2001. Farrar Strauss Giroux. NY.
Mr. Potter. 2002. Farrar Strauss Giroux. NY.
My Favourite Tool. 2005. Farrar Strauss Giroux. NY.
Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalayas. 2005. National Geographic Society.
"I felt myself being swallowed up in a large vapor of sadness...I became afraid that he
would die before I saw him again...It surprised me that I loved him; I could see that was
what I was feeling, love for him, and it surprised me because I did not know him at all."
[From My Brother]
"[Jamaica] Kincaid is probably the most important West Indian woman writing today"
Frank Birbalisingh in Contemporary African American Novelists
Name: Edgar O. Lake
Born in St. Kitts, Edgar O. Lake spent his youth in Antigua. He’s since gone on to numerous
adventures across the world as a military journalist during the Vietnam war and later as a TV
news and print journalist, film documentarian in the U.S. and Brazil, playwright, poet and more.
Selected Works [see full list at
The Devil’s Bridge. 2004. Athena Pr Pub Co.
Wake of the Empress. Forthcoming.
“The heavens flashed and thunder echoed across the open space, a peculiar light filled the canvas
with momentary shadows and figures frozen in a past time.” [from The Devil’s Bridge]
“The Devil’s Bridge is an evocative work that will establish itself as another classic of the
Caribbean and particularly Antiguan writing.” – Dr. Paget Henry.
Flax, Oliver & Clarke, Joy
Joy Clarke was the author of ‘De Trip’ and Oliver Flax, also a member of Little Theatre
and author of various other works, was the author of ‘Tantie Gertrude’, both published in
Macmillan’s 1973 book Backfire. This was a collection of seventeen Caribbean short
stories compiled for use in secondary schools. It embraced old and new West Indian
writing from the 1930’s up to the time of its publication.
Name: Joanne C. Hillhouse
A freelance writer for print and TV projects, Joanne C. Hillhouse is also a journalist and
producer. A UNESCO awardee for her contribution to the literary arts, she is also coordinator of
the Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and a founding partner of Essential magazine.
Storyteller, Hope Springs Eternal, Old People, and Bitter Memories [as jhohadli] in
Collective Soul Volume One. 1998. Chrysalis. Antigua.
Philly Ramblings 8 in Ma Comere Volume 3. 2000. The Association of Caribbean
Women Writers and Scholars/James Madison University. USA.
The Boy from Willow Bend. 2003. Macmillan. Oxford.
On Becoming [as jhohadli]. 2003.
Dancing Nude in the Moonlight. 2004. Macmillan. Oxford.
Martin, Dorie and Luis: A Love Story in Observer Literary Arts. 2004. Jamaica.
Ah Write and Rhythms in The Caribbean Writer 18. 2004. University of the Virgin
At Sea [and various poems, writing as] in The Daily Observer. 2006. Antigua.
“She knew she was beautiful. She had no arrogance about it, no interest in it really…It
didn’t make you strong or appreciated; only something to take, crush and suck dry like
sugar cane or a chicken bone.” [from Dancing Nude in the Moonlight]
“The characters in Hillhouse’s book feel real and best of all, they feel Caribbean, but the
story could have held up in any culture.” – Trinidad Guardian of The Boy from Willow
Name: Akilah A. Jardine
Biographical Note: Antigua’s youngest novelist, Antigua Girls High School student,
Akilah Jardine was born in 1991. Living Life the Way I Love It, written in 10 days to
fulfill her self-imposed summer vacation deadline, is the first of many planned
Living Life the Way I Love It. 2006. DMS Publications. Antigua.
About the Book:
Andrea is your typical modern day Caribbean teenage: she just want to enjoy the life
she’s living. This summer, she plans to do just that…
*** *************** ***
Name: Marie Elena John
Born and raised in Antigua, Marie Elena John wasn’t considering a writing career when
she enrolled at New York’s City College. CCNY’s first female valedictorian, she went
on to earn a Masters in culture and development in Africa at Columbia University, and to
a career working with various non-profits throughout Africa. She became best known in
her field for her pioneering work on women’s inheritance rights in Africa. She has
channeled her knowledge of, not only Africa, but America and the Caribbean into her
cross-cultural first book Unburnable.
Unburnable. 2006. Amistad. USA.
“Lillian's mother, Iris, was known throughout the island for a number of distinct
characteristics: the women would say that chief among them were her uncommon beauty,
the fact that her skin was reputed to actually glow in the dark, and the nasty cussing she
directed at anyone who crossed her path when she was drunk beyond a certain point.” –
“The diversity of the African diaspora is often overlooked in modern African American
literature, and this page-turner fills in some gaps.” – Booklist, American Library
*** ************* ****
Name: Althea Prince
Tim Hector, in his acclaimed ‘Fan the Flame’ column once described Althea Prince’s short
stories as being in “the top drawer of West Indian short stories”. While this is not light praise, the
Canadian-based writer is much more than a short story writer; journalist, academic advisor and
instructor at York University and University of Toronto, novelist, writer of children’s fiction,
essayist, editor, and sociologist.
Part of the artistic Prince family, which includes sibling musician Roland Prince and writer Ralph
Prince, Prince has resided in Canada since the mid-1960s.
How the East Pond got its Flowers. [writing as Althea Trotman] 1991. Sister Vision.
How the Starfish got to the Sea. [writing as Althea Trotman] 1992. Sister Vision.
Ladies of the Night and other stories. 1998. Sister Vision. Canada. [Reissued in 2005
by Insomniac Press]
Bein’ Black. 2001. Insomniac Press. Canada.
Loving this Man. 2001. Insomniac Press. Canada.
Feminisms and Womanisms: A Women’s Studies Reader [edited by Althea Prince
with Susan Silva-Wayne with assistance from Christian Vernon]. 2004. Women’s Press.
“I want everything to go out from me. There is no room for them in the bath pan under
my bed.” from Loving This Man
“You forget this is a novel and embrace the words in your head.”
– Natalie K. Taghaboni, reviewer, of Loving this Man
Name: Prince, Ralph
Ralph Prince lived in the U.K. for many years, working as a journalist for the BBC.
Later, while resident in Guyana, he edited ‘The Demba Digest’, a publication of the
Demba Bauxite Company. He later returned home, where his pursuits included
archeological research, before his death, of natural causes, in 1985. Throughout his
writing life, Prince, eldest brother of famed scribe Althea Prince, contributed to several
anthologies, a dictionary of Caribbean language, and a short story collection, Jewels of
the Sun. After his death, a literary journal, entitled ‘Prince Literary Journal’, was created
in his honour.
Jewels of the Sun. 1979.
** ** **
Name: Leon Chaku Symister
A writer – of fiction, poetry, plays and opinion pieces, Chaku is also an attorney,
chairperson of the United Progressive Party, and General Manager of the Antigua Public
Utilities Authority. Co-founder and artistic director of the Third World Theatre Group in
the 1970’s, Chaku Waca had the dubious distinction of having his 1977 play ‘Time
Bomb’ banned by the then government. He was also the founder of the New York-based,
Roots Cultural Connection.
From the Depths of My Naked Soul: Chaku Writes. 1999. Caribbean Diaspora Press
Under the Calabash Tree: Caribbean Short Stories. 2000. Caribbean Diaspora Press,
“The way she dressed gave all the signals of a woman ready to do battle. Those who used
to come to curse Teacher seemed to have a motto “come as you is”. Stumpy’s mother’s
head was tied with a piece of vest, partially hiding her uncombed hair, a low-cut dress
with the left brassiere strap showing. I don’t know why but every woman that ever came
to curse teacher always had the left brassiere strap showing.” [from School Call Ine in
Under the Calabash Tree]
“Mr. Symister takes the commonplace and makes it high drama.” – Gene Nanton of
Under the Calabash Tree.
“Chaku, as poet, enriches the power to transform.” -- Tim Hector, Fan the Flame.
Name: D. Gisele Isaac
“While I believe my writing reflects my Caribbean heritage with its inherent prides and
prejudices and my characters are predominantly black, I try to portray a sensibility that is,
above all, female,” D. Gisele Isaac was once quoted as saying. Nowhere is this more
evident than in her first work Considering Venus, a story of love between two women.
She has since gone on to pen Antigua’s first and second feature films, The Sweetest
Mango and No Seed. Teacher, editor, executive secretary Board of Education, calypso
lover, critic, Speaker of the House, Isaac, a UNESCO awardee for the literary arts, is a
founding partner in the Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize and Essential
Published in Young Antiguans Write, a collection of prize winning selections in poetry
and prose from annual schools creative writing competition between 1968 and 1978.
1979. Ministry of Education and Culture [compiled by Lucilla Benjamin]. Antigua.
Considering Venus.1998. Seaburn Publishing. NY.
The Sweetest Mango. 2001. HAMA Productions.
No Seed. 2002. HAMA Productions.
Love: “I thought you said it was God’s country?”
Judah: “God’s country but is man run it.” [from The Sweetest Mango]
“A bold new novel…read Considering Venus and watch yourself emerge from a closet
that you never thought existed…” – Sam Chekwas, Paedeia Reviews, NY.
Name: Ashley Bryan
Ashley Bryan was born in a rough section of New York City in 1923, one of six children
born to West Indian immigrants from Antigua. The author and illustrator has more than
30 children’s books to his credit and is a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award and
the Arbuthnot Prize, an international achievement award.
The Ox of the Wonderful Horns: And Other African Folktales. 1993. Reissue ed.
Atheneum, 1993; 1971. Atheneum.
The Dancing Granny. Rep ed. Aladdin, 1987; 1st Aladdin ed., 1980; Atheneum, 1977.
Turtle Knows Your Name. Aladdin, 1993; Atheneum, 1989.
Ashley Bryan’s African Tales, Uh-Huh. 1998. Atheneum; 1st edition.
Beautiful Blackbird (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner). 2003.
Atheneum; 1st edition.
"Upsilimana Tumpalerado, / That's my name. / I took my time to learn it, / Won't you do
the same?" [from Turtle Knows Your Name]
“The handsome and loving black grandmother and her grandson inhabit a radiant,
tropical world and should bring delight to young children and storytellers, who will
recognize their proud and loving spirits…” – Marilyn Iarusso, New York Public Library
on Turtle Knows Your Name.
Name: Jolyon Byerly
Not originally from Antigua, he’s lived here approximately 50 years, give or take, and is
a fixture in the yachting sector. In 2002, he became the second recipient of the "Jan
Santos Perpetual Trophy for Exceptional service to Antigua Sailing Week"
Shadows on the Moon: A Lizard and Bungle Adventure [w/Katie Shears]. 1998.
“Enchantingly written and beautifully illustrated, this Lizard and Bungle adventure will
delight children and adults alike.” – the publisher
Name: S E James
Born in Dominica to Antiguan parents, James worked for many years as a Human
Resource Development Manager before venturing into children’s fiction. She wrote three
‘Jamie’ books in quick succession beginning with the tale of a boy growing up in the
shadow of a volcano. Her writing, she indicated, stems from her love of reading. “As a
child, it was a thing for me,” James said in the Daily Observer in 2002. “I read and read
Tragedy on Emerald Island [w/illustrations by Lyndel Benjamin]. 2002. Sharon
A Narrow Escape [w/illustrations by Lyndel Benjamin]. 2003. Sharon Publications.
Kidnapped at the Beach [w/illustrations by Lyndel Benjamin]. 2003. Sharon
“The wind rushed in and started to tear up the little house. I caught sight of Uncle Fred
hobbling to his bedroom without the aid of his walking stick, so I followed, only to see
him hop into his clothes closet leaving me to fend for myself.” [from Tragedy on
“In the true tradition of serial writers, James leaves the reader, cliffhanger like,
anticipating the next chapter.” – The Daily Observer, 2003.
THE CUSHION CLUB
Operating out of the Senior Citizens Centre at Elms Drive, the Cushion Club is led by
Cedric Holder. With books supplied by Best of Books, the club introduces children of all
ages to fun and interesting reading activities with the help of volunteer readers.
A spin-off of an earlier reading club led by the then First Editions book shop and
continued by Barbara Arrindell, now manager at Best of Books, the club is a labour of
love. “To me, reading is the next best thing to travel,” Holder said. “My grandmother
used to read to me a lot, and I used to have to read to her.
“… I think if we can broaden our base by reading about us, we might be able to recognize
that responsibility that we have to ourselves.”
The Cushion Club, despite being completely voluntary and non-profit, has
contributed to the arts via prizes donated by Holder to the Young Explorer Wadadli
Youth Pen Prize since its inception; and via plans, currently in development, to establish
an arts prize within one of the island’s primary schools.
Name: Lester Bird
Lester Bird served two terms as prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda having
succeeded his father V.C. Bird Sr. in the role.
Antigua Vision – Caribbean Reality: Perspectives of Prime Minister Lester Bryant Bird.
2002. Hansib. London.
“It covers, therefore, his perceptions and events over a period of time, of 25 years, when
he was the longest serving deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in
Antigua with an unbroken 20 years in the only independent government of Antigua and
Barbuda, in which he was deputy Prime Minister, or Prime Minister, for nearly all of the
time. It is therefore an important book.” – Tim Hector.
*** ********** ***
Name: Brian Dyde
Born in Warsall in the West Midlands, Brian Dyde lived in Antigua between 1979 and
1987; and in Montserrat between 1987 and 1995. Dyde, who now lives in Wales, has
written six books for Macmillan Publishers in the UK since 1986.
A History of Antigua, The Unsuspected Isle. 2000. Macmillan.
Antigua and Barbuda: The Heart of the Caribbean. Macmillan.
“This is the first comprehensive history of Antigua since the 19th century. It tells the
story of the island from the earliest human settlement, through nearly 500 years of often
disputed European possession, to the achievement of independence in 1981.” –
Name: Dr. Gregson Davis
Described by the late Tim Hector as being in the “top drawer” among literary critics,
Davis earned notice in Time magazine while still a student at Harvard University. Dean
of Humanities, Professor of Classical Studies and Literature and Andrew W. Mellon
Professor of the Humanities at Duke University, Davis also holds a PhD in Comparative
Literature from the University of California at Berkeley.
Antigua Black: Portrait of an Island People [w/Margo Davis]. 1973. Scrimshaw
Press. San Francisco.
The Death of Procris: "Amor" and the Hunt in Ovid's Metamorphoses. 1983.
Edizioni dell' Ateneo. Rome, Italy.
Non-Vicious Circle: Twenty Poems of Aimé Césaire. 1984. Stanford University
Press. Stanford, Ca.
Polyhymnia: The Rhetoric of Horatian Lyric Discourse. 1991. University of
California Press. Berkeley/Los Angeles/ Oxford.
Aimé Césaire. 1997. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.
“A quiet, self-effacing young man, from two tiny dots of a twin island state, in the
Caribbean Sea, called Antigua-Barbuda had scaled the highest heights of classical
scholarship. The humanising project had taken a great leap forward”. – Tim Hector.
*** ********** ***
Name: Melanie Etherington
Melanie Etherington lives on Antigua and has written for, produced and published many
The Antigua and Barbuda Companion. 2002. Macmillan.
“Exhaustively researched and compiled, this detailed, comprehensive and fascinating book is the
result of two years work by Melanie Etherington, a long-term resident and devotee of the twin-
islands of Antigua and Barbuda.” – Macmillan, publisher.
Name: Tim Hector
Biographical Note: Born in 1942, the late Leonard Tim Hector was many things;
teacher; politician and activist – notably with the African Caribbean Liberation
Movement; journalist and newspaper editor – of the Trumpet, Antigua Star and the
Outlet; social and cultural critic; sports administrator and commentator; and more. He’s
perhaps most respected for his ‘Fan the Flame’ column, which critically analyzed all
aspect of Caribbean development including the literary arts. He’s credited with bucking
the colonial education by introducing his students to new ideas and thinkers. Among
Caribbean thinkers, Tim was most influenced by political activist C L R James.He’s
credited as well with his relentless battle for press freedom. Tim died in 2002 at age 59.
Fan the Flame CD collection. 2003.
“Literacy is not for reading, as the absence of public libraries proves. And without either,
the development of the human personality, incorporating into itself the past progressive
history of humankind, is stymied.”
[Hector, writing in Fan the Flame]
“In his writings, published over many years in the Outlet, Hector critiqued, informed,
reported on, analyzed and contributed to Caribbean life and thought in a manner in which
there is simply no other parallel in the region.”
– CLR James Institute.
Name: Dr. Paget Henry
A PhD in Sociology from Cornell University, Paget Henry is a Professor of Sociology
and Africana Studies at Brown University. He’s published more than 50 essays, articles
and reviews in various journals and magazines. He is the editor of the CLR James Journal
and co-editor of the Routledge series Africana Thought. Henry is the recipient of various
awards and has edited three volumes on Caribbean philosophy.
New Caribbean: Decolonization, Democracy and Development [co-ed]. 1983.
Institute for the Study of Human Issues.
Peripheral Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Antigua. 1985. Transaction Books.
CLR James’ Caribbean [co-ed w/Paul Buhle]. 1992. Duke University Press. USA.
Caliban’s Reason: Introducing Afro-Caribbean Philosophy. 2000. Routledge. USA.
"The philosophical contributions of our African heritage are not engaged."
“What emerges, as Henry takes the reader through Caliban’s Reason, is the determination
of the oppressed consciousness, Caliban’s, to create freedom reconstitute identity,
transform history, and constitute a new world in response to the tragedy of slavery and
colonialism.” – Leslie R. James, DePauw University.
*** ********** ***
Name: Basil C. Hill
Biographical Note: Frustrated with the lack of understanding of spiritual matters after
twenty years of digging, the writer visited a Benny Hinn crusade as a cynical reporter and
skeptic. An unusual supernatural experience, a trip to Israel, and an encounter similar to
what Saul experienced on the road to Damascus brought the sought-after answers and
The Golden Fleece Found. Trafford Publishing. www.trafford.com catalogue #04-2126;
Book Description: Book of Wisdom, Prophecy and Deliverance! Do-it-yourself,
Marriage Fix-it Manual. Ancient Prophecies for Muslim seed of Abraham Revealed!
Prophecies of Birth and Entire History of Christianity Revealed! Missing Church History
Found! Prophecies of Nations Revealed!
Review: “The Golden Fleece Found! is one of the most informative and clever books
written in years.” – T. Oakley ‘Oakie’, Gateway To Wisdom Research Centre,
*** ********* ***
Name: Lanaghan, Mrs.
Born in Ireland, Mrs. Lanaghan married an Antiguan and came to live on the island. Her
two volume set is a, partly anecdotal, look at Antiguan history up to the post-
Antigua and the Antiguans Vols. I & II. 1844 [Reissued 1991, Macmillan].
”A necessary addition to the many indepth books not only about Antigua but also about
Caribbean history.” – a reader review.
*** ********** ***
Name: Margaret G. Lockett
Margaret G. Locket came to Antigua at nine months and sent most of the next 23 years of
her life here.
Antigua Then: Scenes from a West Indian Childhood.
“By the time we arrived in Antigua in 1920 the slaves had long been emancipated, but the
“In this book Margaret Lockett assiduously records her memoirs, memories of her life in
Antigua between 1920 and 1943. This is of its time and importantly from a woman’s
“It is an incredible story. It is perhaps not even racist. It is worse than that. It is white.
The only way ordinary white people can view the world, their place in it, and the servile
place of every other race, especially Blacks.” – Tim Hector, Fan the Flame.
*** ********** ***
Name: Dr. H. Adlai Murdoch
Born in Antigua, H. Adlai Murdoch is Associate Professor of French and Francophone
Literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana. He holds a Ph.D. in Romance Studies
from Cornell University. His particular areas of scholarly interest are French Literature
and postcolonial studies, especially the narratives of the Francophone Caribbean. He has
been widely published and serves as co-editor of both The Journal of Caribbean
Literatures and the CLR James Journal. His first book, Creole Identity in the French
Caribbean Novel was nominated for several awards.
Selected Works [he has contributed chapters to several other books]:
Creole Identity in the French Caribbean Novel. 2001. University Press of Florida.
Post Colonial Theory and Francophone Literary Studies [co-editor with Anne
Donadey]. 2004. University Press of Florida. USA.
Decolonizing Representation: Caribbean Migratory Identities in Literature and Film.
"Murdoch exploits the postmodern theoretical vocabulary to provide perceptive readings
of a selection of French Caribbean novels within the framework of antillanité and
créolité."-- E. Anthony Hurley, State University of New York, Stony Brook
Name: Desmond Nicholson
Born in England, Desmond Nicholson arrived in the Caribbean aboard a 70ft schooner
and has lived in Antigua since 1949. He later started a yachting business and later still
was among the co-founders of Antigua Sailing Week. He has written numerous heritage
articles and books; and also co-founded, in 1985, the museum, becoming its director.
He’s received numerous awards over the years, including the national order of merit for
The Story of the Arawaks in Antigua and Barbuda.
Antigua and Barbuda: A Historical Sketch.
Antigua and Barbuda: Place Names.
Heritage Landmarks of Antigua and Barbuda.
The Archeology of Antigua and Barbuda.
The Story of English Harbour.
Antiguans to Africans.
Name: Timothy Payne
Photographer and newspaper man, Timothy Payne compiled his popular Village Life
tales, previously serialized in the Antigua Sun newspaper, with which he served as editor,
into a memoir of the one-time character of Antiguan life.
Village Life. Sun Printing and Publishing.
Name: Mary Prince
Mary Prince was not a writer. Her ‘History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave’,
therefore, better demonstrates Prince’s skill as orator than writer. But, written by Susanna
Strickland as “related by herself”, it is significant as the first slave narrative published by
a black woman in the Americas. Born in Bermuda in 1788, Prince came to Antigua in
1815 as the property of merchant John Wood. Mary met Thomas Pringle, the Methodist
secretary of the Anti-Slavery Society in England in 1827. Through this connection, Mary
met Susanna Strickland, transcriber of her narrative, in 1829/1830. Strickland noted that
she wrote the work from Mary’s own “dictation…adhering to her own simple story and
language without deviating to the paths of flourish or romance.”
The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself. 1831, London
“We don't mind hard work, if we had proper treatment, and proper wages like English
servants, and proper time given in the week to keep us from breaking the Sabbath. But
they won't give it: they will have work--work--work, night and day, sick or well, till we
are quite done up; and we must not speak up nor look amiss, however much we be
abused.” [The History of Mary Prince]
“Mary Prince’s narrative continues to emit a shock of the real.” – Fred D’Aguiar.
Name: Sir Novelle H. Richards
Author, statesman and politician, Novelle Richards was first elected to the Antigua
Legislative Council in 1951. He later became a member of the West Indies Federation
Parliament and, later still, the first president of the Antigua and Barbuda Senate.
Composer of the National Anthem, he also penned several publications before his death
Tropic Gems. 1974.
Twilight Hour. 1971.
Vines of Freedom.
The Struggle and the Conquest[Twenty Five Years of Social Democracy in Antigua].
1960. West Indies Federal Labour Party.
“God of Nations, let thy blessings/fall upon this land of ours…” [from the National
“An important history of the Antigua & Barbuda Caribbean island nation, its difficulty
with its trade unions and its efforts to achieve independence.” [www.bookgarden.com of
The Struggle and the Conquest]
Name: Keithlyn and Fernando C. Smith
Keithlyn B. Smith served, from 1970 to 2002, as Secretary General of the Antigua
Workers’ Union, of which he was a founding member. Smith, who served in the Senate
between 1976 and 1980 and again between 1989 and 1994, is also the author of 1994’s
No Easy Pushover. Symbol of Courage is slated to be his next book.
Fernando C. Smith, Antiguan by birth, resides in Toronto where he is a member of the
Antigua Barbuda Association of Toronto. He holds diplomas in accounting and business
studies, in addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree. He is editor of A Testimony of
Triumph, authored by James W. Sutton.
To Shoot Hard Labour The Life and Times of Samuel Smith, an Antiguan working
man 1877 – 1982. 1986. Edan’s Publisher’s. Canada.
To Shoot Hard Labour 2 The Life and Times of Samuel Smith an Antiguan working
man 1877 – 1982. 2003. Edan’s Publisher’s. Canada.
“My old ones used to tell me that the Antiguan slave massa seldom would sell man
slaves. Things would have to be pretty bad with them to sell a young man slave, or big
man for that matter. The man slave was to shoot hard labour for the master.”
"A vivid account of life in the plantation system just after slavery."
Lemuel W. Martin.
Name: Selvyn Walter
Politician, historian, writer, art collector, Selvyn Walter has worn many hats over the
years. He’s chronicled Antiguan life through his writings, including his ‘Not a Drum was
Heard’ series in the Daily Observer.
Bank Alley Tales.
“A historical and cultural feast of the pre-Independence era.” – school principal, speaking
of Bank Alley Tales.
Name: Leon Matthias
The Boy from Popeshead. 1995.
Tales from the Hill. 1997.
Name: Rosalyn Simon
God’s Remedies Around Us. 2005.
Name: Emeric Simonkovic and Mitzie Buckley
Who we Were – Fibrey: The Rope Walk. Siboney Publications. 2005.
Name: Ineta Skepple
Our Caribbean Heritage in Context: Stories about Hermitage and Hawkes Bill
*** ************* ****
Name: Martha Watkins-Gilkes
Originally from the United States of America, this adopted Antiguan has made the
environment her primary cause, agitating for humane treatment of dolphins and whales as
a main mouthpiece of the Antigua and Barbuda Independent Tourism Promotion
Corporation. Watkins-Gilkes is also an avid diver.
Diving Guide to the Eastern Caribbean. 1994. Hunter Pub Inc.
Shipwrecks of the Caribbean. 2002. Macmillan. UK.
Name: Warren Woodberry
Married to Yolanda Woodberry, an artist of Antigua and Barbudan ancestry, Warren
Woodberry operated Woodberry Park for many years, and contributed regularly to the
Daily Observer newspaper. They have since returned to the United States of America.
For We are Strangers. 2001.
‘‘BEFORE HAMA,, THERE WAS…MAYFIIELD’’
BEFORE HAMA THERE WAS…MAYF ELD
[Daily Observer headline, March 21st 2005]
Ronald ‘Mayfield’ Hosier didn’t work from a written script, but he was the creative force
behind Antigua and Barbuda’s, largely improvised, early ventures into filmmaking.
“Le we make a movie” [Mayfield, Daily Observer, 2005]
Fascinated by the “cowboy and Indian” films of his youth, Mayfield and his buddies had
long been experimenting with movie stunts, including jumping into moving vehicles.
After buying the first movie camera brought into the island from Y De Lima, as well as a
projector, Mayfield decided to make fantasy real. The year was 1972 and the short film
produced was The Fugitive.
Mayfield’s second completed film was 1978’s Midtown Robbers. “Everybody wanted
to be an actor in that time”, Mayfield said in the 2005 Daily Observer interview, so it was
“no problem” to get them to adli b a line or a scene here and there in this tale of crime
and passion in the spirit of the Hollywood urban dramas of the era.
“Me Roun’ People, Man.”
Rarely without his video camera, Mayfield has captured many historic moments. But he
stepped in front of the camera once again first for HAMA Production’s 2002 release No
Seed, in which he proved to be a scene stealer in the warri playing scenes, and later, more
centrally, as the demon fighting bartender in 2005 release Diablesse.
“It can be done in Antigua just like in Hollywood.”
‘‘Mango Riipe,, Mango Sweett’’
Mango R pe Mango Swee
[Antigua Nice headline, ahead of The Sweetest Mango 2001 premiere]
Omar Mathurin and Jermilla Kirwan were the names on the marquee of The Sweetest
Mango, Antigua’s first feature length production. They were supported by Julie Hewlett,
Janil Greenaway, Berni Isaac, Mervyn Richards and others. It was also a break out
moment for executive producers, Howard and Mitzi Allen, co-owners of Independent
production house HAMA. But months before the start of filming, even before the
production team started talent and location scouting, one individual tapped away at her
keyboard creating the story arc and inventing the dialogue that would eventually elicit
laughter, jolts of recognition, and empathy for the characters and situations. The writer
was D. Gisele Isaac. She would collaborate with HAMA once again on 2002’s No Seed,
a tale of political intrigue starring Heather Doram, Mervyn Richards, Berni Isaac, Norris
Morris Harris, Stephen Watt, Aisha Ralph and others.
‘‘II’’m Realllly Nott Someone Who Belliieves iin Jumbiies…
m Rea y No Someone Who Be eves n Jumb es…
so II deciided tto pllay wiitth iitt and make iitt whatt iitt iis tto me,, a ffunny sttorry..’’
so dec ded o p ay w h and make wha s o me a unny s o y
[Howard Allen in The Daily Observer, 2005]
Jermilla Kirwan and Howard Allen were the script collaborators on HAMA’s third film,
2005’s Diablesse. From all accounts, it was a fun experience. “Because I think that
Howard and I are like-minded when it comes to being funny,” Kirwan said. “We love to
laugh and we love to tell stories. We like to make people laugh. And he’s quite
imaginative as well.”
“The director hopes ‘Diablesse’ will spark a renewed interest in the tradition of
storytelling in Antigua and Barbuda. He is encouraging young writers to write the sequel
to his ‘Diablesse’ story.” [Diablesse promotional brochure]
Once upon a time, in the Caribbean nation of Wadadli, Theatre was king. It was a popular
art form, unsettling politicians, awakening the masses, generating excitement beforehand
and rumination afterwards. These days, theatre has lost its popular appeal, but as we pay
tribute to our writers, we single out some who once burnt the midnight oil to create
drama; we single out some who toil still. We raise the curtain on a handful of our
Edgar O. Lake [writer of numerous plays, including ‘Some Quiet Mornin’,’ ‘Matters of
Antiguan Conspiracy: 1736,’ ‘The Stone Circle,’ ‘The Killing of Arthur Sixteen’ and
Leon Chaku Symester co-founder and artistic director of the Third World Theatre
Group during the 70s produced plays such as ‘Voices of Protest’, ‘Time Bomb’, and
Eustace Simon of the Modern Theatre Group who wrote and staged ‘Crossroads’, ‘The
Awakening’, ‘Betty’s Hope’, and ‘Illusive Dreams’.
Glen Edwards [aka Dr. Alvin Edwards] of the Grammarians, now president of the
Performing Arts Society of Antigua and Barbuda.
Barbara Arrindell [author and director of ‘Dreams…Faces…Reality’]
Eleston ‘Nambalumbu Nambalala’ Adams [founder/playwright Rio Revealers]
Rick James [numerous productions here and abroad including the one man play
Name: Dorbrene O’Marde
Calypso writer, playwright, cultural and social commentator, Dorbrene O’Marde was the
founder of 1970’s theatre group, Harambee. “We attempted essentially a holistic
production of Caribbean life,” O”Marde explained. “…We were really involved in
finding ways of communicating with masses of people…about real things that were going
on around us…The objective for me was always strongly political. (It) was always about
putting ideas out there for discussion and education.”
O’Marde’s last play was ‘This World Spin One Way’ in 1998.
A calypso fan and critic, social commentator and cultural worker, O’Marde is a regular
voice on the airwaves. He’s also edited and published the Calypso Talk magazines.
“…Let me say at once, that "This World Spins One Way" is Dobrene's best written play,
and probably the best play written by an Antiguan.”
-Tim Hector in Fan the Flame