Antiguan and Barbudan Joanne C. Hillhouse is the author of Musical Youth (CaribbeanReads) - a 2014 Burt Award for Young Adult Caribbean fiction, Oh Gad! (Strebor/Atria/Simon & Schuster) - a 2014 recommendation on NPR's Weekend Reads, The Boy from Willow Bend (Macmillan/Hansib), Fish Outta Water (Pearson), and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight (a new 10th anniversary edition of which was published by Insomniac in 2014). Her fiction also appears in the anthologies Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean (Peekash), So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End: An Anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing (A Different Publisher), In the Black: New African Canadian Literature (Insomniac Press) and For Women: In Tribute to Nina Simone (Black Classic Press/MZWrightNow Publications). She is included in the African American Literary Awards winning collection A Letter for My Mother (Strebor/Atria/Simon & Schuster). Her fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous journals including Artemis, Womanspeak: A Journal of Literature and Art by Caribbean Women, Tongues of the Ocean, Mythium: the Journal of Contemporary Literature, The Missing Slate, Ma Comère: Journal of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars, The Caribbean Writer, Calabash: A Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters, Sea Breeze Journal of Contemporary Liberian Writings,SX Salon: A Small Axe Literary Platform, Poui: the Cave Hill Literary Annual, Womanspeak, and more. Hillhouse's awards include Breadloaf, Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute, and Callaloo fellowships, the David Hough Literary Prize, and a UNESCO Honour Award for contribution to literacy and the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. In 2014, she placed second for the inaugural Burt Award for Young Adult Caribbean Literature; with her manuscript Musical Youth. She's founder and co-ordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize - http://wadadlipen.wordpress.com - promoting the literary arts among young people in Antigua and Barbuda. She works as a freelance writer and editor. Like her at http://www.facebook.com/JoanneCHillhouse Also check out http://jhohadli.wordpress.com
Reviews for Musical Youth:
"Although the novel is set on the Caribbean island of Antigua, the themes of alienation, colour consciousness, loneliness and communication transcend Caribbean culture and appeal to any teenager who deals with the challenges of being between childhood and adulthood. It is a sensual novel that is age-appropriate." - Debbie Jacob, Trinidad Guardian http://www.guardian.co.tt/arts/2015-01-17/new-caribbean-young-adult-novel-rocks
Reviews for Hillhouse's Oh Gad!:
"There's such an authenticity to her story. I immediately knew the people, the characters she wrote about. " - Elizabeth Nunez on NPR http://www.npr.org/2014/08/03/337126642/oh-gad-presents-a-compelling-slice-of-caribbean-life
"Hillhouse's authorial voice is lyrical and descriptive.... 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, Caribbean Vistas
"The novel is largely about negotiations of identity; and it raises, inter alia, issues of family, class, history, ecology and politics...There are skillful descriptions of people, place events, traditions, and nicely managed dialogue that captures personality and mood."- Mervyn Morris, Jamaican poet
“Oh Gad! is a major artistic triumph of which all Antiguans and Barbudans can be justly proud. I certainly am delighted by this publication of this novel and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. As a work of fiction, it is beautifully written and flows like a river on its way to the sea. The conversations between the characters are well crafted dialogues, often very sharp, with verbal darts that pierce the thick armors of several of the characters.
Along with being very well written, this is a very Antiguan and Barbudan novel. Hillhouse’s fiction bears and reflects the cultural marks and tensions in our society, its patterns of in and out migration and its dependence on metropolitan cities like New York. Oh Gad! very artfully encodes in its characters and plot lines rich slices of the culture of Antigua and Barbuda…we encounter very directly the cultural values, proverbs, practices, and everyday crises that make up life in our twin-island state. Many of the difficulties that challenge her characters, Hillhouse links to slave past and the matri-focal family structure that it has left us. Thus, among the major achievements of this novel is the extent to which the social and cultural life of our society gets woven into its most basic fabric.
In spite of its carefully embedded cultural riches, Oh Gad! is a character driven novel. Its characters are very well developed, clearly delineated, and very artfully kept alive by Hillhouse.” – Badminded Nikki: A Review of Joanne Hillhouse’s Oh Gad! by Paget Henry, editor of the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books and professor of sociology and Africana studies at Brown university, where he also holds the title of department chair.
More reviews and more at http://jhohadli.wordpress.com
Reviews for Hillhouse's The Boy from Willow Bend:
"The coming of age story is well crafted, lively and absolutely believable" - Daily Observer, Antigua
"...a story of the triumph of spirit over situation." - She Caribbean, St. Lucia
"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