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BCLF Cocoa Pod Profile

BCLF Cocoa Pod

English, Arts, 1 season, 39 episodes, 13 hours, 59 minutes
BCLF Cocoa Pod is a Caribbean storytelling experience in which writers of Caribbean heritage narrate their own stories. Each story is a seed, a nugget of an original work of fiction, rich with the rhythm, pitch and intonation of the one who wrote it. It is Caribbean storytelling told in the best way possible - in the voice of the place(s) that inspired it, imbued with the magic and accents of the region. BCLF Cocoa Pod is an original production of the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival (BCLF)Follow the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival on IG and FB @bklyncbeanlitfestVisit
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Episode 38 | To Be A Cheetah - Joanne C. Hillhouse (Antigua)

Bio - Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse is a self-described #gyalfromOttosAntigua She is the founder and president of Wadadli Pen Inc. a non-profit committed to nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. More at Joanne has authored several books of fiction including the novel Oh Gad!, novellas The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, teen/young adult novel Musical Youth, and children's picture books With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and To be a Cheetah. Her fiction has also been published in anthologies like New Daughters of Africa and the abridged German anthology Neue Töchter Afrikas, and Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean; and journals like Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters and The Caribbean Writer, among others. She also publishes poetry and non-fiction as a freelance features writer, columnist (CREATIVE SPACE art and culture column), essayist, and content creator. Joanne is the 2023 Anthony N. Sabga Awards - Caribbean Excellence laureate. More on her and her services (as writer, editor, presenter) on Book synopsis - Books included in this reading are Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure (in which an Arctic seal stranded in the Caribbean sea tries to find his way home), With Grace (a Caribbean faerie tale with a mango tree faerie), The Jungle Outside (in which Tanti and Dante literally touch grass), and To be a Cheetah (a bedtime story in which a boy dreams of running like a cheetah fast like Usain Bolt across imagined African savannas).
6/27/202315 minutes, 32 seconds
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Episode 37 | The Galaxy Game - Karen Lord (Barbados)

On the verge of adulthood, Rafi attends the Lyceum, a school for the psionically gifted. Rafi possesses mental abilities that might benefit people . . . or control them. Some wish to help Rafi wield his powers responsibly; others see him as a threat to be contained. Rafi’s only freedom at the Lyceum is Wallrunning: a game of speed and agility played on vast vertical surfaces riddled with variable gravity fields.Serendipity and Ntenman are also students at the Lyceum, but unlike Rafi, they come from communities where such abilities are valued. Serendipity finds the Lyceum as much a prison as a school, and she yearns for a meaningful life beyond its gates. Ntenman, with his quick tongue, quicker mind, and a willingness to bend if not break the rules, has no problem fitting in. But he too has his reasons for wanting to escape.Now the three friends are about to experience a moment of violent change as seething tensions between rival star-faring civilizations come to a head. For Serendipity, this change will challenge her ideas of community and self. For Ntenman, it will open new opportunities and new dangers. And for Rafi, given a chance to train with some of the best Wallrunners in the galaxy, it will lead to the discovery that there is more to Wallrunning than he ever suspected . . . and more to himself than he ever dreamed.Barbadian writer Karen Lord is the award-winning author of Redemption in Indigo, The Best of All Possible Worlds, and The Galaxy Game, and the editor of the anthology New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean. Her latest book, The Blue, Beautiful World, will be published in August 2023.
6/15/202316 minutes, 49 seconds
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Episode 36 | Nightmare Island - Shakirah Bourne (Barbados)

Nightmare Island Twelve year-old Serenity Noah has never told anyone about her recurring nightmares -- the haunting images of silver butterflies whose flapping wings drive away all sound, leaving only suffocating silence in their wake. Her parents already favor her "perfect" younger brother, Peace, and she doesn't want to be seen as the "problem" child. Instead, Serenity's found a productive way to channel her fears: creating a horror movie as scary as her nightmares.When Peace suddenly becomes afraid of the dark and refuses to sleep alone, their parents take him away for "treatment" on Duppy Island. Serenity has a very bad feeling about the mysterious island and the facility's creepy leader, Dr. Whisper. And when she sees a silver butterfly from her nightmares in the forbidden forest she realizes that something is seriously, dangerously awry.But nothing could've prepared Serenity for the truth: the island is home to douens -- faceless children with backward feet who are trapped in limbo between the world of the living and the land of the dead. And unless Serenity acts soon, her brother is going to join their ranks... Shakirah Bourne is a Bajan author and filmmaker. She once shot a movie scene in a cave with bats during an earthquake, but is too scared to watch horror movies. She is a recipient of the Governor General Award for Excellence in Literary Fiction for her short fiction collection, IN TIME OF NEED. Her first children's book, JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA, received starred reviews in Kirkus and Booklist, was a SLJ Best Book of 2021, A Black Caucus of the ALA Best Book of 2021 and an Ignyte Award Finalist for Best Middle Grade Novel.She was also the co-editor of YA non-fiction anthology, ALLIES: Real Talk About Growing Up, Screwing Up and Trying Again (DK/PRH, 2021), which was a World Book Day Selection in the UK. Her upcoming middle grade horror, NIGHTMARE ISLAND, a tale based on Caribbean folklore, will be published by Scholastic in June 2023.
6/7/202315 minutes, 38 seconds
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Always Lit Swap: The God of Good Looks: Readings & Convo between Breanne McIvor & Vanessa Williams

Happy Caribbean-American Heritage Month to our listeners in the United States and Canada.To those in the islands, Happy Read Caribbean Month celebrations!Today’s Cocoa Pod episode is a promo swap with Always Lit, the BCLF interview-based series, that keeps the festival in yuh pocket always!Enjoy today’s conversation between Miami-based Caribbean-American voiceover maverick, Vanessa James, and Trinidadian writer Breanne McIvor discussing her new novel, The God of Good Looks
6/4/202351 minutes, 12 seconds
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Episode 34 | Wild Fires - Sophie Jai (Trinidad & Tobago)

Grief is like an inside joke: you have to have been there to really get it.Everything Cassandra Rampersad knows about her family history has been overheard: whispered behind a closed door or written in a notebook stowed away. Cassandra has always been curious, and when a death in the family means she has to return home to Toronto, it seems like the perfect opportunity to finally discover what it is that no one else will talk about.But uncovering the past will never be easy when it has stayed hidden for so long. And with every new revelation, Cassandra realises that there is a reason that her family has never been good at grieving…A powerful meditation on memory and loss, Wild Fires is a beautifully crafted novel from a stunning new literary voice.Sophie Jai’s debut novel WILD FIRES was the winner of the 2019 Borough Press x The Good Literary Agency Prize. The novel is shortlisted for 2023 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and was longlisted for the 2019 Bridport Prize Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award. Jai has been a Writer-in-Residence & Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford and an Artist-in-Residence at Sangam House in India. She is an alumna of the Humber School for Writers where she studied under Olive Senior. She is currently working on her second novel of short stories at the University of Oxford. 
5/31/20238 minutes, 1 second
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Episode 33 | The God of Good Looks - Breanne Mc Ivor (Trinidad & Tobago)

Combining the honesty, warmth, and humour of Queenie and a modern-day Bridget Jones’s Diary, award-winning writer Breanne Mc Ivor’s entertaining, transportive, and luminous debut novel follows a young Trinidadian woman finding her voice and a new kind of happy ending. Bianca Bridge has always dreamt of becoming a writer. But Trinidadian society can be unforgiving, and having an affair with a married government official is a sure-fire way to ruin your prospects. So when Obadiah Cortland, a notoriously tyrannical entrepreneur in the island’s beauty scene, offers her a job, Bianca accepts, realizing that working on his magazine is the closest to her dreams she’ll get.Sharp-witted and fiercely fun, The God of Good Looks alternates between Bianca’s diary entries and Obadiah’s first-person narrative to portray modern Trinidad’s rigid class barriers and the fraught impact of beauty commodification in a patriarchal society. Boisterous, moving, and full of meaty, universally relatable questions, Mc Ivor’s sparkling debut is an open-hearted, awakening tale about prejudice and pride, the masks we wear, and what we can become if we dare to take them off.Breanne Mc Ivor is an award-winning writer with degrees in English from the universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh and a certificate in Advanced Professional Makeup Artistry; she lives in her home country of Trinidad and Tobago.________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of The God of Good Looks by Breanne McIvor from the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Bookshop here
5/17/202316 minutes, 10 seconds
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Episode 32 | A Million Aunties - Alecia McKenzie (Jamaica)

After a personal tragedy upends his world, American-born artist Chris travels to his mother's homeland in the Caribbean hoping to find some peace and tranquility. He plans to spend his time painting in solitude and coming to terms with his recent loss and his fractured relationship with his father. Instead, he discovers a new extended and complicated "family." The people he meets help him to heal, even as he supports them in unexpected ways. Told from different points of view, this is a compelling novel about unlikely love, friendship, and community, with surprises along the way.Alecia McKenzie is a Jamaican writer based in France. Her first collection of short stories, Satellite City, and her novel Sweetheart have both won Commonwealth literary prizes. Sweetheart has been translated into French (Trésor) and was awarded the Prix Carbet des lycéens in 2017. Her most recent novel is A Million Aunties - longlisted for the 2022 Dublin Literary Award. Her work has also appeared in a range of literary magazines and in anthologies such as Stories from Blue Latitudes, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories, Global Tales, Girls Night In, and To Exist is to Resist.Reading 1 -  Chapter 3, pages 52 to 54 (Chris)Background music by guitarist GVD.Reading 2 - Chapter 11, pages 148 - 150 (Miss Vera)Background music by guitarist Djavi D.________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of  A Million Aunties by Alecia McKenzie from the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Bookshop here
5/10/202310 minutes, 17 seconds
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Episode 31 | The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter - Soraya Palmer

In The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts, sisters Zora and Sasha Porter are drifting apart. Bearing witness to their father’s violence and their mother’s worsening illness, an unsettled Zora escapes into her journal, dreaming of being a writer, while Sasha discovers sex and chest binding, spending more time with her new girlfriend than at home. So far Publishers Weekly calls it a “moving debut”; Booklist says it’s “vivid and otherworldly.”Soraya Palmer is a Flatbush-born-and-raised writer and licensed social worker who advocates for survivors of gender-based violence who are facing criminal charges related to their abuse. She has been awarded a residency at Blue Mountain Center and interviewed for her work against police brutality, gentrification, and violence in The New York Times and BuzzFeed News. She lives in New York.________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of  The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter from the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Bookshop here
4/18/202314 minutes, 22 seconds
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Episode 30 | Paper White - Tricia Chin (Trinidad & Tobago)

Tricia Chin is an attorney-at-law who started writing short stories during the Covid19 pandemic in 2020. Her writing is based on the folklore of Trinidad and Tobago. She places her characters in local settings across Trinidad and during time periods that vary from the 1800s to present day. "For the Dead" is her third collection, released in 2022. She also released "Tabanca and Other Stories" in 2021 and "Parang the Wrong House " in 2021."
3/22/202314 minutes, 10 seconds
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Episode 29 | The Stranger Who Was Myself - Barbara Jenkins (Trinidad & Tobago)

Barbara Jenkins writes about the experiences of a personal and family-centred life in Trinidad with great psychological acuteness, expanding on the personal with a deep awareness of the economic, social and cultural contexts of that experience. She writes about a childhood and youth located in the colonial era and an adult life that began at the very point of Trinidad’s independent nationhood, a life begun in considerable poverty in a colonial city going through rapid change. It involves a family network that connects to just about every Trinidadian ethnicity and their respective mixtures. It is about a life that expanded in possibility through an access to an education not usually available to girls from such an economically fragile background. This schooling gave the young Barbara Jenkins the intense experience of being an outsider to Trinidad’s hierarchies of race and class. She writes about a life that has gender conflict at its heart, a household where her mother was subject to beatings and misogynist control, but also about strong matriarchal women. As for so many Caribbean people, opportunity appeared to exist only via migration, in her case to Wales in the 1960s. But there was a catch in the arrangement that the years in Wales had put to the back of her mind: the legally enforceable promise to the Trinidadian government that in return for their scholarship, she had to return. She did, and has lived the rest of her life to date in Trinidad, an experience that gives her writing an insider/outsider sharpness of perception.The following is a special quote form Ayanna LLoyd- Bravo, Author of When We Were Birds, on The Stranger Who Was Myself."From her childhood in colonial Port of Spain, to becoming a migrant student and young mother in Wales and then returning to Trinidad post-Independence, Jenkins tells her own life story with the emotional sensitivity of a natural storyteller, the insight of a philosopher, the scope of a historian and the good humour of a Trini. This beautifully written and moving memoir will feel achingly familiar to anyone who knows what it is like to navigate race, class and girlhood while growing up in the West Indies, anyone who has ever felt like an outsider."      
3/9/202314 minutes, 31 seconds
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Episode 28 | Hungry Ghosts - Kevin Jared Hosein (Trinidad & Tobago)

On a hill overlooking Bell Village sits the Changoor farm, where Dalton and Marlee Changoor live in luxury unrecognisable to those who reside in the farm's shadow. Down below is the barrack, a ramshackle building of wood and tin, divided into rooms occupied by whole families. Among these families are the Saroops - Hans, Shweta, and their son, Krishna, who live hard lives of backbreaking work, grinding poverty and devotion to faith.When Dalton Changoor goes missing and Marlee's safety is compromised, farmhand Hans is lured by the promise of a handsome stipend to move to the farm as watchman. But as the mystery of Dalton's disappearance unfolds their lives become hellishly entwined, and the small community altered forever.Hungry Ghosts is a mesmerising novel about violence, religion, family and class, rooted in the wild and pastoral landscape of colonial central Trinidad.Kevin Jared Hosein is an author born and based in Trinidad and Tobago, most known for winning the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and for his most recent novel, Hungry Ghosts.________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of  Hungry Ghosts from the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Bookshop here
2/15/202315 minutes, 16 seconds
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Episode 27 | When We Were Birds - Ayanna Lloyd-Banwo(Trinidad & Tobago)

A mythic love story set in Trinidad, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo's radiant debut is a masterwork of lush imagination and exuberant storytelling—a spellbinding and hopeful novel about inheritance, loss, and love's seismic power to heal.In the old house on a hill, where the city meets the rainforest, Yejide’s mother is dying. She is leaving behind a legacy that now passes to Yejide: one St Bernard woman in every generation has the power to shepherd the city’s souls into the afterlife. But after years of suffering her mother’s neglect and bitterness, Yejide is looking for a way out. Raised in the countryside by a devout Rastafarian mother, Darwin has always abided by the religious commandment not to interact with death. He has never been to a funeral, much less seen a dead body. But when the only job he can find is grave digging, he must betray the life his mother built for him in order to provide for them both. Newly shorn of his dreadlocks and his past, and determined to prove himself, Darwin finds himself adrift in a city electric with possibility and danger. Yejide and Darwin will meet inside the gates of Fidelis, an ancient and sprawling cemetery, where the dead lie uneasy in their graves and a reckoning with fate beckons them both.________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of  When We Were Birds from the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Bookshop here
2/9/202318 minutes, 50 seconds
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Episode 26 | River Sing Me Home - Eleanor Shearer (St Lucia / Barbados)

River Sing Me Home is a beautiful, page-turning and redemptive story of a mother’s gripping journey across the Caribbean to find her stolen children in the aftermath of slavery. A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK,  The Observer calls it a “celebration of motherhood and female resilience”. Eleanor Shearer is a mixed-race writer and the granddaughter of Windrush generation immigrants. She splits her time between London and Ramsgate on the English coast so that she never has to go too long without seeing the sea. For her Master's degree in Politics at the University of Oxford, Eleanor studied the legacy of slavery and the case for reparations, and her fieldwork in St. Lucia and Barbados helped inspire her first novel.________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of  River Sing Me Home from the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Bookshop here
2/1/202317 minutes, 30 seconds
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Episode 25 | Zo and the Forest of Secrets - Alake Pilgrim (Trinidad & Tobago) with Bonus Q&A by Kai Muhammad

When Zo decides to run away from home, she isn’t scared; she knows the forest like the back of her hand, after all. But, as she journeys through the once-familiar landscape, she encounters terrifying creatures and a warped version of the mythology of the island. With a beast on her heels, and a mysterious abandoned facility at the heart of the forest drawing her in, can Zo unravel the secrets of the forest before she is lost in them forever?In this episode we have  a bonus Q&A with Kai Muhammad & AlakeKai is an avid BCLF reader who lives in Brooklyn, New York. Zo and the Forest of Secrets is one of his favorite middle grade level Caribbean books. He was overjoyed for the opportunity to ask Alake, the book’s writer, some of the many burning questions he had about the thrilling adventures of her characters Listen now as Kai and Alake hold court to chop shop about the thrilling story and possible future plans for her brave and plucky characters.________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of  Zo and the Forest of Secrets with FREE SHIPPING in the US and other locations worldwide, from bookdepository.comThe audiobook, narrated by the actress who plays Nala in The Lion King London, is available on
12/21/202217 minutes, 9 seconds
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Episode 24 | Please Take One by Portia Subran (Trinidad & Tobago) Finalist 2022 BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean American Writer's Prize

‘Please Take One’ follows Lloyd, an elderly resident of Chaguanas, as he embarks on a series of desperate attempts to capture the attention of an aloof supermarket clerk. Please Take One by Portia Subran is the finalist for the 2022 BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean.Portia Subran is a writer and an artist from Trinidad & Tobago.
11/16/202211 minutes, 56 seconds
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Episode 23 | El Don by Amaris Castillo (Dominican Republic) Finalist 2022 BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writer’s Prize

'El Don' was a finalist for the 2022 BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writer's Prize. The short story follows Don Pedro, an elderly Dominican man and self-proclaimed sinvergüenza who makes objectifying women outside a bodega his job. He belongs to a trio of viejos who talk endlessly about politics, history, and women. On the day before Thanksgiving, through one encounter, an unsuspecting Don Pedro is confronted headon by his troubling history with women. 
11/4/202215 minutes, 24 seconds
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Episode 22 | The Fix by Alexia Tolas (Bahamas) Winner 2022 BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean

“The Fix” is a story of love, obsession, and obeah that follows a young woman as she seeks advice from an obeah practitioner. She has fallen in love with her neighbor, but rather than compete with his current lover directly, she looks to magic to steal him for herself. The obeah woman teachesthe young woman how to infuse her food with stronger and stronger spells until she fixes her man for good.Alexia Tolas is a Bahamian writer whose narratives explore the intricacies of small-island life, drawing heavily from local folktales and mythology. Her writing has been featured in literary journals including Womanspeak, Granta, Windrush, Adda, and in forthcoming issues of The Caribbean Writer. She won the Commonwealth Short Story Regional Award for the Caribbean in 2019, shortlisted for the 2020 Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award, and in 2022, she received the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival’s Elizabeth Nunez for Writer’s in the Caribbean. She is currently working on her first novel. 
10/26/202212 minutes, 8 seconds
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Episode 21 | BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest 2022 (Part1) | Nadege Goes Home - Yveka Pierre (Haiti)

'Nadege Goes Home' is the 2022 winner of the BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writer's Prize.  It tells the story of Nadege, a Haitian-American woman on a trip back to the South Florida town where she grew up after a long absence. Over the course of a weekend, Nadege reconnects with her brother, and together they face the question of “how do you put yourselves back together when life rips everything apart?”Yveka (Eve-kah) Pierre is a Haitian-American attorney and writer living and working in Brooklyn. Yveka was born in Haiti and moved to Florida at a young age where she first became introduced to telling stories through spoken word poetry, and then carried that passion by telling her client’s stories as a criminal defense attorney. Yveka is passionate about reading more, learning more and writing always.This year prize for unpublished Caribbean-American writers was judged by authors Katia D. Ulysse and Ifeona Fulani of Haitian and Jamaican ancestry respectively.  Katia and Ifeona both live, work and write from their homes in the United States.
10/12/202218 minutes, 48 seconds
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Episode 19 | Til The Well Runs Dry - Lauren Francis-Sharma (Trinidad & Tobago)

Enjoy this excerpt from an outstanding debut novel, rich with the lyrical beauty pf Trinidad and Tobago. In a seaside village in the north of Trinidad, young Marcia Garcia, a gifted and smart-mouthed sixteen-year-old seamstress, lives alone, raising two small boys and guarding a family secret. When she meets Farouk Karam, an ambitious young policeman (so taken with Marcia that he elicits help from a tea-brewing obeah woman to guarantee her ardor), the rewards and risks in Marcia's life amplify forever. 'Til the Well Runs Dry sees Marcia and Farouk from their sassy and passionate courtship through personal and historical events that threaten Marcia's secret, entangle the couple and their children in a tumultuous scandal, and put the future in doubt for all of them. With this deeply human novel, Lauren Francis-Sharma gives us an unforgettable story about a woman's love for a man, a mother's love for her children, and a people's love for an island rich with calypso and Carnival, cricket and salty air, sweet fruits and spicy stews-a story of grit, imperfection, steadfast love and of Trinidad that has never been told before.________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of Til The Well Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma here
9/7/202212 minutes, 15 seconds
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Episode 18 | The Book of the Little Axe - Lauren Francis-Sharma (Trinidad & Tobago)

Author Lauren Francis-Sharma reads an extract from her beautiful historically reimagined novel, set in 1796 Trinidad. The story begins with teenage Rosa Rendon quietly but purposefully rebelling against typical female roles and behavior. Bright, competitive, and opinionated, Rosa sees no reason she should learn to cook and keep house - it is obvious her talents lie in running the farm she expects to be her birthright, despite her two older siblings. But as her homeland goes from Spanish to British rule, it becomes increasingly unclear whether its free black property owners - Rosa's family among them - will be allowed to keep their assets, their land, and ultimately, their freedom.By 1830, Rosa is living among the Crow Nation in Bighorn, Wyoming, with her husband, Edward Rose and family. Her son Victor has reached the age where he should seek his vision and become a man. But his path is blocked by secrets Rosa has kept hidden from him. So Rosa sets out to take him on a journey to where his story began and, in turn, retraces her own roots, those of a girl who forged her own way from the middle of the ocean to the grassy hills of a faraway land.________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of Book of the Little Axe by Lauren Francis-Sharma here
8/31/202212 minutes, 3 seconds
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Episode 17 | The Dreaming - Andre Bagoo (Trinidad & Tobago)

Gay characters search for sex, adventure, pleasure, self-realisation, and love in Trinidad. Written with a highly enjoyable sharpness of perception and an engaging personal voice these stories find room for humour, tattoos, barbershops, and terrible poetry, but also acute fear in a society where gay men experience prejudice, discrimination, and homophobic violence. Bagoo's stories offer a witty and acutely drawn portrait of contemporary Trinidad in all its intersections of race, class, and gender politics. Not least, they share a strong sense of place--Bagoo's gay Woodbrook offers a fine sequel to V.S. Naipaul's Woodbrook stories in his classic Miguel Street.________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of The Dreaming by Andre Bagoo here
8/24/202218 minutes, 48 seconds
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Episode 16 | What A Mother's Love Don't Teach You - Sharma Taylor (Jamaica)

2021 BCLF Short Fiction story finalist, Sharma Taylor, is the author of this powerful and evocative debut novel set in Jamaica. At eighteen years old, Dinah gave away her baby son to the rich couple she worked for before they left Jamaica. They never returned. She never forgot him.Eighteen years later, a young man comes from the US to Kingston. From the moment she sees him, Dinah never doubts - this is her son. What happens next will make everyone question what they know and where they belong.A powerful story of belonging, identity and inheritance, What a Mother's Love Don't Teach You brings together a blazing chorus of voices to evoke Jamaica's ghetto, dance halls, criminal underworld and corrupt politics, at the beating heart of which is a mother's unshakeable love for her son.________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of What A Mother's Love Don't Teach You by Sharma Taylor here
8/4/202225 minutes
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Episode 15 | Pleasantview - Celeste Mohammed (Trinidad & Tobago)

Coconut trees. Carnival. Rum and coke. To many outsiders, these idyllic images represent the supposed easy life in Caribbean nations such as Trinidad and Tobago. However, the reality is far different for those who live there—a society where poverty and patriarchy savagely rule, and where love and revenge often go hand in hand. Celeste Mohammed’s Pleasantview, set in a fictional town, reveals the dark side of the Caribbean dream.________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary FestivalContact to buy a copy of Pleasantview by Celeste Mohammed
6/9/202240 minutes, 37 seconds
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Episode 14 | Neruda on the Park - Cleyvis Natera (Dominican Republic)

The Guerreros have lived in Nothar Park, a predominantly Dominican part of New York City, for twenty years. When demolition begins on a neighboring tenement, Eusebia, an elder of the community, takes matters into her own hands by devising an increasingly dangerous series of schemes to stop construction of the luxury condos. Meanwhile Eusebia’s daughter, Luz, a rising associate at a top Manhattan law firm who strives to live the bougie lifestyle her parents worked hard to give her, becomes distracted by a sweltering romance with the handsome white developer of the company her mother so vehemently opposes.As Luz’s father, Vladimir, secretly designs their retirement home in the Dominican Republic, mother and daughter collide, ramping up tensions in Nothar Park, racing towards a near fatal climax.A beautifully layered portrait of family, friendship, and ambition, Neruda on the Park weaves a rich and vivid tapestry of community as well as the sacrifices we make to protect what we love most, announcing Cleyvis Natera as an electrifying new voice.________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of  Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera  here
5/18/202210 minutes, 22 seconds
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Episode 13 | BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest 2019 (Part 3) | Summer's End - Lisa J. La Touche

 In my writing I explore realistic themes, grounded in Caribbean life, culture and folklore. I am interested in relationships  - familial, romantic or platonic - my stories lean towards relationships among women, mostly. I explore relationships with our people's history and I like giving a voice to our rich landscape, as if nature is a character. Summer's End examines the relationship of a little girl with her grandmother, family and place. It is told from the little girl's POV.
5/13/202212 minutes, 8 seconds
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Episode 13 | BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest 2019 (Part 2) | Cashew Heist - Stephanie Ramlogan (Trinidad & Tobago)

‘Cashew Heist’ by Stephanie Ramlogan edged its way to the front of the 2019 shortlist for the BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writer's Prize. If there was a story that was flawless, Stephanie’s was as close to ideal as it comes. Witty and rife with the authenticity of a Trinidadian English creole voice, readers of all cultures, ages or backgrounds, could easily commiserate, if not empathise, with the inner-workings of her prepubescent protagonists’ minds. Cashew Heist is a mischievous story about two siblings' attempt to smuggle snacks during one of their seeming endless afternoons at their mother's workplace.While Stephanie leverages all that is unique and colourful about her Caribbean/Indo-Trinidadian identity and culture to inform her writing, it is her broad worldview that makes her a writer of universal quality - something that is often difficult for writers of a particular distinction to achieve. In an era that is rapidly embracing indigenous voices, identities and diversity as global currency, Stephanie is a prime example of what happens when all people, especially women (moreso women of colour) are given the opportunity to tell their stories.
5/11/202210 minutes, 43 seconds
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Episode 13 | BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest 2020 (Part 1) | Vizay - Hadassah K. Williams (Trinidad & Tobago)

Hadassah K. Williams is the recipient of the 1st BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean.Her winning submission ‘Vizay’, tugs at the center of the complex, emotional ordeal that is the US visitor’s visa application process in the Caribbean. Comedic in its delivery, Hadassah fashions for readers a story from a commonplace, highly recognisable experience especially to Caribbean residents. Her protagonist however, is an inversion of the typecast visa applicant. Instead of a down-on-his-luck-hapless fella looking towards America as a way out, her protagonist is a proud, gainfully-employed invited guest to a wedding. The story implicitly examines bias, power relations and attitudes between the United States and the small island worlds from which they do business, because to be certain, non-refundable application fees is big business. 'Vizay' is a plucky, irony-filled, tongue-in-cheek rejection of the idea that every Caribbean person is dying to visit America.  This story's event is action is neatly packed within a single visit to the American embassy and ends on a surprising high note.In an era that is rapidly embracing indigenous voices, identities and diversity as global currency, Hadassah is a prime example of what happens when all people, especially women (moreso Caribbean women) are given to opportunity to tell their stories._________________________________________Follow Hadassah's musings and career on Twitter @hkwriter
5/5/20229 minutes, 35 seconds
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Episode 12 | The Coming of Org - John R. Lee (St. Lucia)

The Coming of Org is a short story by the St. Lucian writer, John R. Lee. It highlights a St Lucian folk story with most of its dialogue in French Creole.In the story, Tison, the main character, is a popular radio DJ in Saint Lucia. He has grown up, like many others in his village, hearing of characters from ancient folklore passed down from generation to generation. He lives his life as a carefree womanizer, until the day he comes face to face with Org. At the climactic moment of his experience, the folk culture collides with his modern life and he “meets his Org”.
4/6/202225 minutes, 13 seconds
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Episode 11 | The Bread the Devil Knead - Lisa Allen-Agostini

The Bread the Devil Knead by veteran writer, Lisa Allen-Agostini, is a surprisingly funny, fast-paced and hopeful novel about a woman in an abusive relationship, told in her own Trinidad Creole voice.Its protagonist is Alethea Lopez, who is about to turn 40. Fashionable, feisty and fiercely independent, she manages a boutique in Port of Spain, but behind closed doors she’s covering up bruises from her abusive partner and seeking solace in an affair with her boss.Bringing us her truth in an arresting, unsparing Trinidadian voice, Alethea unravels memories repressed since childhood and begins to understand the person she has become. Her next step is to decide the woman she wants to be. ________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of  The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini here
3/9/202223 minutes, 30 seconds
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Episode 10 | I Never Heard Pappy Play the Hawaiian Guitar - Barbara Jenkins (Trinidad & Tobago)

Barbara Jenkins - I Never Heard Pappy Play the Hawaiian GuitarBarbara Jenkins, who is no stranger to the literary world, is a special example of there being no singular mould from which all writers emerge and that literary DNA flows through us all. After forging a prestigious career as a high school geography teacher, she found her penchant for the written arts after being convinced to participate in a post-retirement writers’ group.      She has won several prizes from the Bocas Lit Fest, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Caribbean Region) twice, the Guyana Prize for Caribbean Literature and the Bloody Scotland-Bocas Lit Fest Crime Writing Prize. This episode's reading, 'I Never Heard Pappy Play The Hawaiian Guitar', is a story from her award-winning debut collection, Sic Transit Wagon and Other Stories, which was published in 2013 by PeepalTree Press. Barbara's memoir, 'The Stranger Who Was Myself' is forthcoming from Peepal Tree in September, 2022_________________________________________________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of  Sic Transit Wagon: And Other Stories by Barbara Jenkins here
2/16/202224 minutes, 15 seconds
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Episode 9 | Cane Warriors - Alex Wheatle (Jamaica)

Cane Warriors’ by award-winning writer Alex Wheatle is the perfect introduction for young adult literature readers into the lives of our African ancestors. This historical account of Tacky's Rebellion, which took place in Jamaica in 1760, is viewed through the eyes of 14-year-old Moa, the youngest of the cane warriors who was determined to end the enslavement of his people. Moa's fears and motives takes you through a journey of family, loyalty, brotherhood and community.In this episode, Wheatle narrates a passage from his remarkable fiction text.___________________________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle here 
1/26/202215 minutes, 54 seconds
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Episode 8 | How The One Armed Sister Sweeps Her Home - Cherie Jones (Barbados)

A Good Morning America Bookclub pick and translated into several languages, How The One Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones is a perfectly paced novel well-lit with characterisation and descriptiveness. This moderately-sized novel swells and grows to a point in the final chapters where at times it feels like the words are flying off the pages to the accelerated beating of your own heart. It is a story that twists and turns, through a single dominant plot - solving the murder of Peter Whalen; it is carried in the underbellies of the lives of all its characters with signposts of life in Barbados that we, regrettably, do not see more often. It is ripe and rife with metaphor. Barbados’ limestone topograghies become powerful allegories for the hidden secrets of personal and island histories, the vulnerabilities of human nature, relationships and the exploration of many types of love.Cherie Jones’ story unfolds through her characters. Entire chapters are named after them and are often written from the point of view of what does not happen. We meet each, flawed, in relentless pursuit of happiness and a higher self or away from an oppressive past. Each character we meet is hungry for liberation. Without being didactic, Jones treats with the other side of paradise, the human collateral, the physical, psychological and emotional damage on those whose lives are given to creating an idyllic paradise for others stretching all the way back from the Caribbean’s years as crown colonies to its present day SunSeaSand playground for the First World.___________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLF.BUY a copy of How The One Armed Sister Sweeps Her House from the BCLF Bookshop here
1/20/202212 minutes, 44 seconds
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Episode 7 | What Storm What Thunder - Myriam J. A. Chancy (Haiti)

Episode 7 | What Storm What Thunder - Myriam J. A. ChancyGuggenheim Fellow and decorated writer, Myriam J. A. Chancy  regales us with an excerpt of What Storm, What Thunder (WS, WT).  WS, WT is the recipient of an avalanche of praise, and has been described as "stunning" by Margaret Atwood.Publisher, TinHouse Books describes the novel as 'Brilliantly crafted, fiercely imagined, and deeply haunting, What Storm, What Thunder is a singular, stunning record, a reckoning of the heartbreaking trauma of disaster, and—at the same time—an unforgettable testimony to the tenacity of the human spirit.'___________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of What Storm, What Thunder from the BCLF Bookshop here
1/12/202240 minutes, 43 seconds
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Episode 6 | Olga Dies Dreaming - Xotchil Gonzalez

A blazing talent debuts with the tale of a status-driven wedding planner grappling with her social ambitions, absent mother, and Puerto Rican roots―all in the wake of Hurricane MariaSet against the backdrop of New York City in the months surrounding the most devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico’s history, Xochitl Gonzalez’s Olga Dies Dreaming is a story that examines political corruption, familial strife, and the very notion of the American dream―all while asking what it really means to weather a storm.The Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival is honoured to present author, Xochitl Gonzales reading an excerpt from Olga Dies Dreaming in commemoration of the book’s release._____________________________________SUPPORT Caribbean writers and the BCLFBUY a copy of Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez here
1/6/202234 minutes, 53 seconds
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Episode 5 | BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest 2021 (Part 5) - Singing With the Orphans - Diana McCaulay (Jamaica)

 ​‘Singing With The Orphans' addresses longstanding hierarchies of class and race, and their ​colonial and postcolonial intersections, from inside the world of a Roman Catholic ​orphanage, run by Sister Abigail, and the home of wealthy white patrons, the Stirlings. Deftly ​told and expertly crafted, we were impressed by the layers of subtle meaning in the depiction ​of adolescent heroine, Patrice, who possesses a rebellious will to self-fashion for herself a ​future of her own.’ - Faizal Deen (judge)Diana McCaulay is a Jamaican writer and environmental activist. She has receivedmany awards for her environmental work and was conferred with the Order ofDistinction (Officer Class) by the Jamaican government in 2016. She has written fivepublished novels, and numerous short stories and articles, often with anenvironmental focus. Her most recent novel, Daylight Come, was published byPeepal Tree Press in October 2020.________________SUPPORT Caribbean Writers and the BCLFBuy a copy of Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay here
12/24/202122 minutes, 47 seconds
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Episode 4 | BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest 2021 (Part 4) - Shelf - Brandon McIvor (Trinidad & Tobago)

RUM SHELF ‘Perhaps Selvonesque in its literary influence, achieving an intimacy through convincing, well-wrought dialogue, Rum Shelf pulls the heartstrings through its own themes of tender brotherhood-in-flux. In five memorable episodes, all taking place at Beharry’s rum shop, the voices of Marlon and Rocco, marking each occasion with a new selection from Beharry’s “rum shelf,” left an indelible mark on our memories.’ - Faizal Deen (judge)
12/22/202142 minutes, 38 seconds
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Episode 3 | BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest 2021 (Part 3) - Tea - Irvin J. Hunt III (Jamaica)

‘Proving that less is more, even within the already pared down form of the short story, Bitter Tea first struck us by its sophisticated brevity. Through crackling and compact language, we are introduced to a young man and his mother as they are being driven to the father’s wake by an aunt. Along the way, we encounter compelling flashes of memory, especially in the extended metaphor of the mother’s “bitter tea,” which reveal details of the family’s tragic past.’ - Faizal Deen (judge)
12/11/202154 minutes, 51 seconds