Joanne Hillhouse to participate in Dominica’s literary festival
July 24, 2012 9:55 A.M
St John's Antigua (TDN) -- One of the many writers participating in Dominica’s literary festival and book fair scheduled for August 10 to 12, 2012 is Joanne Hillhouse author of Oh Gad.
A stirring novel about a woman facing cross-cultural odds and redefining everything she understands about her family, herself, and the country she’s never really been able to call home.
Oh Gad the novel.
Nikki Baltimore was born in Antigua but grew up with her dad in the United States. With each year, she’s grown further apart from her mother and maternal siblings, potters in rural Antigua.
Her mother’s funeral brings Nikki back to the island, and, at a professional and personal crossroads, she makes the impulsive decision to stay after being offered a job by the ruling government. Soon, Nikki is embroiled in a hurricane of an existence which includes a political hot potato, confusion in her romantic life, and deepening involvement in the lives of the family she left behind.
Will Nikki eventually find her place in the chaos and begin to plant the roots or continue to blow in the wind?
Joanne C. Hillhouse’s writing has been described as “honest”, “real”, “poetic”, and “lyrical”. Her Antiguan culture is at the heart of her writing: “Obvious is the ‘writer’s ear’ for effective characterization and narrative that stays true to Caribbean island experience” (Island Where, St. Lucia).
She’s the author of The Boy from Willow Bend, which is on the Antigua and Barbuda schools reading list, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and 2012 release Oh Gad!
A University of the West Indies graduate, she has participated in the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute (University of Miami), Breadloaf Writers Conference (Middlebury College, Vermont), and Texas A & M’s Callaloo Writers Workshop. Her awards and fellowships include the Michael and Marilee Fairbanks International Fellowship to attend Breadloaf in 2008, the David Hough Literary Prize from the Caribbean Writer in 2011, recognition by JCI West Indies in 2011 as one of Ten Outstanding Young Persons in the region, and a 2004 UNESCO Honour Award for her contribution to literacy and the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.
Her involvement in nurturing and advocating for the arts include the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize and the Cushion Club, literary showcases (Word Up! and others), and literary workshops and competitions (A &B’s Independence literary competition etc.).
Joanne has read at Brown University, University of Miami, Middlebury College, University of Toronto, and at the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars conference in Suriname. She was keynote speaker when University of Puerto Rico held its annual Islands in-Between conference at the Antigua State College; the inaugural author in New York at the Meet the Author series hosted by the Friends of Antigua Public Library, which also hosted the New York launch of Oh Gad!; and part of a panel of esteemed Caribbean authors at the BIM symposium Celebrating Caribbean Women Writers.
Author Joanne C Hillhouse (Photo courtesy Emile Hill).
She was sponsored by the Commonwealth with a small group of Antiguan and Barbudan writers to attend the Calabash Literary Festival in Jamaica; and has also been a part over the years of the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival.
She has published poetry and fiction in Caribbean, African, and American journals including The Caribbean Writer, Small Axe, Calabash, Mythium, Sea Breeze, Tongues of the Ocean, Poui and others. In 2008, a Moonlight street festival celebrating her book Dancing Nude in the Moonlight capped off an “official summer read” campaign organized by the Best of Books bookstore and the ABILF.
As a freelance journalist and writer, Joanne has received health and environmental awards; published feature articles in Américas, Caribbean Beat, CLR James Journal, Zing plus. She’s worked in local television/film – including as associate producer of Antigua’s first feature length film The Sweetest Mango and production manager on its second, No Seed.
She’s consulted on campaigns by the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation, Environmental Awareness Group (Antigua), the Commonwealth Youth Programme, the Antigua and Barbuda Waste Recycling Corporation, and others; as well as corporate, book, and anthology projects.
Writing and reading have remained her twin passions, however: “I was influenced to write by my desire to tell stories, to impact readers in the way that my favourite stories impacted me…I’m just a sucker for a good story.”