Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 5th 2015 Contents Three T&T writers have been shortlisted
for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
The annual competition this year received
a record nearly 4,000 entries, and announced
its shortlist on March 31. Twenty-two stories
from 11 countries made the cut, including sto-
ries by Darren Doyle, Kevin Jared Hosein and
Doyle is a blogger with a journalism BA,
according to the bio-data on the Common-
wealth Writers Web site.
Hosein is a poet, writer and science
teacher, and the illustrator of Littletown
Secrets, a 2013 children's book. He has been
published in the anthologies Pepperpot and
Jewels of the Caribbean.
Ramesar is a writer and literature teacher,
and in 2005 won the Derek Walcott and UWI
Faculty of Humanities Prize for Poetry. He
was published in Six Trinidadian Poets and
the journal The Caribbean Writer.
The only other regional writer in the short
list is Alecia McKenzie, a Jamaican writer,
artist and journalist whose books include the
short story collections Satellite City and Stories
from Yard, and the novel Sweetheart.
The judging panel included Leila Aboulela,
Fred D'Aguiar, Marina Endicott, Witi Ihimaera,
Bina Shah and chair Romesh Gunesekera. The
five regional winners drawn from this shortlist
on April 28.
T&T writer Sharon Millar was joint winner
of the overall 2013 Commonwealth Short Story
April 5, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
T&T makes good showing
on Commonwealth Short Story shortlist
Writer Sharon Millar is the winner of the 2013
Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her
story, The Whale House. Millar's work is
centred around her homeland and focuses on
protagonists who struggle with moral issues,
crime, illness, loyalty and betrayal.
PHOTO: MARK LYNDERSAY
It is midnight, weekend, and the house,
the rum-shop flat, is empty, save for him and
He goes past the door where I lie in the
narrow bed facing the musty store room with
about a hundred empty rum bottles, refilled
with milk sometimes in the week and, on
Saturday evenings especially, with the six
bottle puncheon glass gallon with a neck
handle poured and mixed in an enamel pot
that makes seven. I use a dhal-spoon and a
little yellow or red or orange plastic funnel
to refill seven bottles, all equal at the neck,
crown tight and silver-shiny, the dog-eared
copy-book from Saturday evening that I car-
ried to the hammock back in the drawer in
Saturday evening is pay-day, the dozen
workmen men coming and going one at a
time from the bench under the upstairs house,
where Baap will later sit and talk with my
father, he in English, grandfather in Hindi
about truck and cane and logs and cows and
land and money.
The King of Settlement 4
Kevin Jared Hosein
I'm gon start this one off by telling you
that I was born and raise along a backroad
that always seemed slightly more Trinidadian
than the rest of the country. Settlement 4 is
that old-timey, grassy, care-free type of
Trinidad the illustrators adore. Open any
Caribbean primary school reading book and
you gon likely see it there.
We have it all.
We have the little black boys bathing by
the standpipe. We have the no-teeth man
who rock-hard gums could cut through
cucumber like butter. Take a walk down this
mucky stretch of asphalt and look to your
right. You'll see a young, pregnant Miss Lady
combing the lice out of the locks of she first-
born. To the left, you'll see a sun-burnt savan-
nah where children still fly mad bull kites
next to a posse of nomad goats. Walk further
down and you gon find a rusted sedan with
chipped bricks for wheels, and weeds growing
out of the glove compartment.
But then there's the features that we illus-
trators would omit. Features of boys like me
and Foster who had plans to spend the better
part of we teenage years sitting on a crate
and paintbucket. Makeshift lookout points,
you could say.
"You livin' aroun' here?" And suddenly
she was traversing the hills and valleys of the
local accent. She had captured and re-created
the rhythm and cadence, the lilting, sing-
song. The quick-fire, splice-and-elision deliv-
ery to come. It was important to maintain
the integrity of the accent.
A misstep and you might be mocked,
laughed at, looked at with gentle, turned
down smiles; unconvinced, unimpressed. He
watched the words out her mouth, they soared
through the air like a dart... And landed.
He imagined her flying between one coun-
try and the next, and half-way between the
two switching accents, an easy thing like
flicking a switch, no one the wiser where she
came from. The strange duality of it, like
babies born during international flights. What
nationality did they gave them beyond the
nationality of their parents?
Excerpts from shortlisted stories
A review by
It was all roots, rock, reggae at
the latest edition of New Fire, the
concert series that features the best
of T&T s vibrant musical under-
ground. It might have been the
crowd, the music, or just something
in the air, but the event was a suc-
cess and a memorable night for
The March 26 show, titled Fire,
Gold and Green, featured two bands:
the talented Mystic Elements, fea-
turing Kushite and Black Loyalty,
and local reggae stalwarts, Buzzrock.
They drew a large crowd, one of the
best for the series so far to De Nu
Pub, on the corner of French Street
and Ariapita Avenue, Port-of-Spain.
MC Attillah Springer introduced
Mystic Elements, who featured
Kushite first. The young, dreadlocked
singer rose from singing in her pri-
mary school choir to sharing the
stage with Tarrus Riley at Reggae on
the Beach in 2013. She said what a
privilege it was to perform on the
hallowed stage and greeted the musi-
cians in the audience "and I know
There were. Musicians in the
house included Nigel and Nicholas
Rojas of Orange Sky, Rapso innovator
Bro Resistance, Levi Myers, guitarist
Marva Newton, Nickolai Salcedo, as
well as members of bands Jus Now,
Bush Tea and Kin, among others.
There were plenty of other creative
folks as well: filmmakers, artists,
fashion designers, graphic designers,
as well as business people, profes-
sionals, activists, civil servants and
more. Not to mention a strong con-
tingent of reggae fans, dreadlocked
and devoted, vocal in their appre-
After Kushite charmed with con-
scious lyrics, sweet voice and gentle,
frank demeanour, Black Loyalty came
on and impressed the crowd with
his charismatic delivery.
The band was tight, the musicians
giving good support to the singers.
Members of Mystic Elements are
Anthony "Stoney" Grant (drums),
Dominic "Rebel" Gomes (bass),
David Joachim (lead guitar), Asim
"Potti" Pottinger (rhythm guitar),
Chris Sesalito Mc Coon (keyboard),
and Dominic Andrews (keyboard and
Buzzrock served up songs from
their three albums, Universal Blacks,
Iternal Ibration and Dub Choir. Fans
lapped it up, with some fans noting
a difference in their sound.
Band leader/bassist Beebo
explained why in a subsequent inter-
view: "We have begun stripping
some of the defining reggae char-
acteristics. We've opted to let the
keyboardist play on the down beat
instead of the tradition reggae strum
or skank, which is usually on the
second and fourth beat of every bar.
"We have also removed the
reggae 'bubble', which is the one-
eighth note counter-strum that
the organs play."
He said the change was about
keeping "a sense of newness" in
their sound, which he called "neo-
foundation," modern reggae music.
"We also wanted to add Afro-
beat, soul, jazz, blues and other ele-
The changes were well received
by a very enthusiastic audience.
Members of Buzzrock are: Niamke
Phillips (lead vocal, rhythm guitar),
Stephen Peterson (lead guitar), Can-
dace Moore (keyboards), Haile-Sion
Sam (drums), Kadeem Alleyne and
Jovanna (back-up vocals), and Lamar
"Beebo" Pollard (bass).
After the performances DJ
Matthew Charles stuck with the
theme and kept the vibes going.
The New Fire series continues in
April, featuring poets from the Verses
Poetry Slam, part of the annual NGC
Bocas Lit Fest.
Reggae night scores big at New Fire
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