Kerry Belgrave 2016 Frank Collymore Literary Award Winner

ArtsEtc Editor and 2nd-place Colly winner Linda M. Deane with top awardee Kerry Belgrave. Between them is then Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados DeLisle Worrell. Photo Copyright © 2017 The Barbados Advocate.

 

THERE WERE some repeat performances for the 2016 Frank Collymore Literary Awards.

The three winners had all taken first place in previous years, but this time Kerry Belgrave came out on top with his poetry collection @bb.now/tek culture?.

He took home the coveted prize—and $10,000—for his latest effort.

The Revolution Is Definitely Being Televised (But who will be watching?)

President-elect Donald Trump (left) and outgoing President Barack Obama shake hands in the Oval Office post-US elections.  Much will need to be forgiven for their country to heal its rifts, though not forgotten.  Photo by Michael Reynolds/EPA. Copyright © 2016.

 

A Review of Island Wings: A Memoir

During the 50s and 60s—after the Second World War, before independence—hundreds of Barbadians left their island home for countries like England, the United States, Canada. They left in search of a better life they felt they could not or would not achieve if they stayed in Barbados.

Some of these expatriates succeeded brilliantly in their quests, distinguishing their country of birth (Barbados broke away peacefully from Britain in 1966) as much as themselves. Others were less fortunate. All faced hardships: racism, joblessness, the cold comforts of an alien environment.

Lawrence Scott’s Heart of Exile

Trinidadian author Lawrence Scott.  Photo Copyright © by Ryan Durgasingh.

 

“If crab don’t walk, he won’t get fat.”  Old Bajan Proverb

AND HOW TRUE this is.  In April last year, I attended the 4è Congrès des Ecrivains de la Caraïbe in Guadeloupe.  It was my first time at this gathering of regional writers, and I eagerly reviewed information online about the congrès, its events and mission, and those attending.  There were a number of writers I had never met, let alone heard of.  One of them was Lawrence Scott. 

Guess who’s still not coming to dinner, Or How Barbadians talk when they talk about race

Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, and Katharine Houghton (backing) in the 1967 movie that first asked us to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.  Photo Copyright © 2013 by the Everett Collection.    

 

Maps and the Bajan Writer

American-born writer Paule Marshall, whose themes about the Barbadian Diaspora in her 1959 novel Brown Girl, Brownstones still speak to readers today.  But are Bajans listening?  Photo Copyright © 2014 by Art Sanctuary. 

 

ALL CLEAR FOR PRODUCTION

CLIVE WAGNER CHECKS the light levels in the carpenter’s workshop while Matt Gray adjusts the tracks for his dolly.

Sound engineer Robert Green stands by, listening, and Jacqui Doughty, the producer, looks on, a black pen and a red plastic folder in hand.

Lights and camera are in position.  Kamau Brathwaite, Barbados’ leading poet, is expected to arrive any minute.

The BBC crew flew into Barbados Sunday on BWIA just for this.

Not for a first ministers’ meeting or a major sporting event or a big concert.

Doing the best we can for 2015

Whether in Bridgetown or New York, we all just do the best we can in bad times, don’t we?  Here, a woman buys a case of water in preparation for a large winter storm in NYC January 26.  Photo Copyright © 2015 by Andrew Kelly/EPA.

 

“We didn't start the fire.  It was always burning, since the world’s been turning.”  Billy Joel, “We Didn’t Start the Fire”

I am not George Lamming

She’s not George Lamming, either, but Aprille Thomas won the Kamau Brathwaite Award for her poetry at NIFCA 2014.

 

Two of my most pleasant discoveries during the 2012 National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) were Mark Ramsay and Aprille Thomas.  I heard them both read for the first time at the Goddard Enterprises NIFCA Literary Arts Gala held that year.

The gas attendant who thought he was A. Hitler

Barbadian writer Timothy Callender (1946-1989) knew something about bad men.  Photo from timothycallender.com, Copyright 2014.

 

Good help is hard to find in Barbados, said the Jamaican service station supervisor.  So, too, apparently, is good sense.

A friend and colleague of mine, the late, great animation critic, historian and independent scholar Emru Townsend, once said, “Common sense is usually neither.”  He was right, God rest him.  He preferred to talk about good sense.

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