Bajan Debtors (Should) Have Rights Too!

I wrote this 6 months ago. Not sure why I didn’t publish it then. Some references may be dated (the ocean off the south coast is no longer brown!) however the article remains relevant. Enjoy!

December, 2018

I’ve written this because it is not only the nation that is in severe fiscal straits. Some individuals – honest hardworking Bajans are drowning in debt. I know – and I’m sure we all know – people who have lost their businesses because of the fiscal mismanagement of the last administration. Some who have also lost homes. Others who have lost their vehicles because they could either pay the car insurance or repair the pot-hole-damaged car but not both. Or who lost health insurance policies because they could either pay the premiums or pay the doctor, but not both.

And as if their situations weren’t bad enough, they were aggravated by the voracious attitudes of debt collectors who, though, just doing their jobs, were inordinately aggressive towards these ordinary citizens who had fallen harder than others upon hard times.

I trust this helps.

July, 2018

Hard times hit yuh!

Tings browner than the ocean off the south coast!

You’ve been working so hard to put food on the table and keep the lights on and the water running (Forget about the phone bill, you will rely on your mobile!) that you’ve fallen behind in your hire purchase/mortgage/car loan payments.

The situation has deteriorated to the point that the bailiff is now calling/knocking on your door/visiting your workplace/threatening repossession/talking about sending you to court.

And you don’t know what to do.

Read on!

I will add here that if you are a criminal, this advice isn’t for you. You’re going to get caught. No matter what you read here.

Signing a contract, committing to a financial obligation, while knowing that you cannot or will not make the payments is immoral and illegal. You’re going to get caught.

You are part of the reason decent people are sometimes confronted by indecent behaviour from debt collectors. They mistake the decent folk for people like you and treat them with the same treatment you may need. You are going to get caught!

This article is not for you! Seriously, though! You are going to get caught!

This article is for honest people who have fallen into arrears with a creditor and need advice.

From my research, there’s no such thing as debtors’ rights in Barbados. Bailiffs, on the other hand, once licensed and registered to “levy any distress” on a debtor, have many powers. Unfortunately, the ways many of them wield them are, at best, unsavoury, at worst, abusive.

“Bailiffs are bullies,” according to one bailiff interviewed for this article. “It is the way they operate to get what they want. It is not right, but that is the way they operate. Not all, but most of them.” He added that he has learned in his 3+ decades in the business that aggression “serves no useful purpose at the end of the day”, although he is always prepared to defend himself from physical and verbal attacks.

If your financial affairs have fallen into arrears, while you’re legally in the wrong (you have, after all, reneged on your payment contract) you do not have to tolerate abuse at the hands of a debt collector. Here are a few things you should know:

  • You can go to your creditor and explain your situation. Don’t call. Go meet face to face. Try to renegotiate the terms of your payment and ask to have the bailiff desist from his/her abusive behaviour. This tactic may not work as your creditor has no obligation to grant either of your requests. Bear in mind that it is your creditor that sent your account to the debt collector in the first place.
  • Document the instances of the bailiff’s harassment and write a letter of complaint to your creditor. Include the number of visits or calls, the dates and times; the name of the person you spoke to and what was said to you each time. You may also include copies of correspondence sent to you and statements from neighbours, family members or workmates who witnessed the abuse. Most businesses take customer complaints seriously and will act on your letter.
  • If a bailiff presents himself to you in person, ask him to present his licence. According to Barbadian law, it is illegal for someone to act as a bailiff without the appropriate authorisation. Bailiffs must hold a certificate, authorised by a magistrate, in order to collect debt. Note that the document will state the jurisdiction in which the collector’s powers extend so check to make sure he is operating within his jurisdiction. It is illegal for him to act outside of it.
  • There are international standards by which bailiffs ought to operate, though few here in Barbados seem to know it. For example, in Britain, if you are disabled or seriously ill, over 65 or don’t speak English well, you might be considered vulnerable. You might also be considered vulnerable if you suffered recent stress such as sudden unemployment or death in the family.

In the UK, once you’ve informed the bailiff of your vulnerability, s/he must follow protocol which includes:  never visiting your home if you’re the only person there; giving you extra time to make a payment offer to stop them visiting; never taking or threatening to take any health related items and ensuring that you are able to communicate with them – for example bringing a sign language interpreter or a translator when they visit.

  • Whether you’re considered vulnerable or not, international debt collection standards (and in some countries, laws) dictate that bailiffs should never:
  • contact you several times a day, or early in the morning or late at night
  • pursue you on social media
  • pressure you to pay all the money, or, if paying in instalments, to pay more than you can afford
  • threaten you physically or verbally (having written this I must add that you should not be physically or verbally abusive. If you approach most people [bailiff or not] aggressively, you will get the same in return. Remember, bailiffs are human and Barbadian bailiffs face physical and verbal abuse daily. Multiple times daily. It’s become the norm for them. Some of them travel legally armed because of it.)
  • try or threaten to embarrass you in public
  • tell someone else about your debts or use a third party to relay messages
  • imply that legal action can be taken when it can’t
  • give the impression that legal action has been taken against you when it hasn’t.

Though these standards do not seem to have been formally adopted by Barbados, they constitute fair practice and consumers here can demand that merchants and service providers operate accordingly.

Of course, if you’re unable to pay the debt, and the matter ends up in court you can always “tell it to the judge”. Be sure to tell him/her also of the abuse you suffered at the hands of the Bailiff (See number 1 above). And feel free to quote this article! Especially number 5.

Also note that Section 6(3) of Barbados’s District Auctioneers Act (which describes the functions of bailiffs) speaks to “misconduct”:

Any person who holds a certificate and is proved to the satisfaction of a magistrate to have been guilty of any extortion or other misconduct in the discharge of his functions as a bailiff shall be liable to have his certificate summarily cancelled by the magistrate.

Abuse and harassment constitute misconduct.

Unfortunately, the ambit of Barbados’s Fair Trading Commission does not include fair practice as it relates to the collection of debt (as do FTCs in other countries), and, apparently, there is no watchdog or other type of agency to protect the rights of citizens against the bullying tactics of debt collectors, so individuals seem pretty much on their own.

Perhaps the new Mia Mottley-led administration will fill the gap with a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

These rebuilding times call for it!

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Guyana & Me

Pre Preface…. February 2018

I set the following to be published here last September and have no idea why it didn’t appear. Now, I’m writing about my experience as co-editor of So Many Islands Stories from the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian and Pacific Oceans and discover the post in my “drafts” file.

Third time lucky?

PS: It’s 2018 and I’m still not up to a blog post per month! *sighs*

 Preface…. September 2017

I wrote the following in February 2016. I have no idea why I didn’t complete it or publish it. And no idea what I was going to say in conclusion.

What I can say now, more than a year later, is that attending that workshop was one of the best career opportunities that has ever come my way.

Since then, I’ve expanded my editing, writing and publishing network as well as  participated in regional events (such as Bocas Lit Fest) which might otherwise have eluded me.

The effect has been so significant that I feel the need to publish this essay albeit way after the fact of the event….

 

Back in Dcember 2015 I promised myself that 2016 would be different for me, blog-wise.

In ’16 I would commit to posting at least once per month, myself told myself.

By January 31st, it became clear that wasn’t going to happen.

So I’ve reset my goal and will double up with two posts this month…..

I was going to write one of my mini-book review blogs where I offer some pithy and hopefully witty reasons why you should read whatever I’ve recently read… and I may still write that since I actually found time to read quite a few books over the Xmas holidays and am eager to turn you on to them.

First, however, I must write about my recent trip to Guyana. I visited Georgetown for a week, attending the CaribLit/Commonwealth Writers Fiction Editing Workshop facilitated by publishers Jeremy Poynting of Peepal Tree Press and Johnny Temple of Akashic Books.

The workshop was intensive. Both gentlemen managed to condense a wealth of information into the five days. As well as teaching practical aspects of the business of book publishing, Jeremy and Johnny offered invaluable insights by sharing their personal experiences in the wide, wild world of publishing.

Kudos to CaribLit for conceptualising, organising and executing the event and to Commonwealth Writers for supporting it.

The workshop offered me an excellent opportunity to meet other Caribbean writers as it brought together scribes from nine territories: Belize, Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua & Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Guyana, St. Lucia, Jamaica and Barbados.

Joanne C. Hillhouse (Antigua) gives an excellent account of the workshop here.

The highlights of my trip? Apart from the workshop (naturally!), in no particular order of preference…

  • Being in Georgetown – walking Robb Street; visiting Stabroek Market, The Sea Wall, The National Library.
  • Reading from my Crime Fiction novella To Protect & Serve during From the Green Antilles, the pan-Caribbean reading organised by CaribLit and having the opportunity to hear other writers perform some breath-taking work during the same reading.
  • Reuniting quite unexpectedly with my “long-lost” “baby” cousin
  • Dining at Oasis Café which, with its book room, cakes, coffee and divine cuisine, is superbly named
  • Meeting Members of CaribLit and learning more about the network. You can do that here.

Take a look at my pix here.

 

Nailah is founder of Caribbean Passion, the Caribbean’s premier Romance series. She is the author of the Romance novellas To Star, With LoveSomeone To Watch Over MeSecond Time AroundCruising to Love and her latest (the Rihanna-inspired!), Fantasy Fulfilled. She is also the author of the YA novellas Colourblind, available on Amazon and Smashwords, and Pick of the Crop.  She is currently working on the sequel to her first action/thriller novella To Protect & Serve.

To read more please visit: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/nailah

Posted in Barbados, Caribbean, editing, Guyana, publishing, Uncategorized, workshop, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carifesta XIII snapshots….

I promised you pictures! Click here to see them:  Nailah’s Carifesta XIII Album

Enjoy!

Posted in Bajan Bookshop, Bajan Literary Arts, Barbados, Books, CARIFESTA, Carifesta XIII, Children's books & authors, Literary Arts, Uncategorized, what I did this summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reflections on Carifesta XIII – Part 3

So Carifesta is chaos!

Like it or not, we must accept the statement as history supports its veracity.

Over and over again, during this ad/venture that was Carifesta XIII in Barbados, I found myself having to defend my country against criticism, which while perhaps not unwarranted, was not balanced.

How could I defend….

The poor attendance at performances?

The fact that patrons showed up for events to find venues shut down tighter than a Central Bank vault after hours?

The fact that performers showed up at call time only to be told their event had been postponed or cancelled?

The myriad other things that went wrong at Carifesta XIII?

Very simply! By citing my experiences at Carifesta in other islands!

Like the time The Barbados contingent was given keys to the Barbados booth on the day the Grand Market opened. I went in, with others, to set up our merchandise and came away wearing an apron of fresh green paint, having leaned against a wall.

Or the time we – 50+ of us dressed in black Barbados Ts – were kept broiling in the baking sun outside a venue right before the official opening ceremony because we could not be admitted without our accreditation badges with which we had not been issued although we had been on the ground for two days.

Or the time I showed up, as scheduled before leaving Barbados, to perform in a park and arrived to find a 3’ by 3’ platform with a metal chair, a mic and an amp. No host, no audience. (I performed anyway. And have pix to prove it!)

Or the time I witnessed a Carifesta volunteer grossly disrespect one of the region’s internationally celebrated authors because she had no idea to whom she was speaking so rudely, and, when informed, continued to be disrespectful and unhelpful because she didn’t care (or was too embarrassed to humble herself and apologise).

Or the time I showed up to conduct a workshop and, after finally finding the venue, discovered it was an abandoned school.

Or the time a colleague showed up to read and, after no audience arrived, was told, essentially, “Come back tomorruh!”.

Or the time…… need I go on? Really?

I say all of this to say…. Carifesta is chaos.

Having said this, I must say that Barbados did a good job of pulling off the festival it planned.

To describe the event schedule as anything other than over-ambitious is kind. Five hundred events in 10 days! What?!?!?!?! If 10% of those events came off successfully then we did well!

Considering that while the official passing of the baton took place in 2015, the official establishment of the secretariat did not occur until January 2017, we did well! (Although one wonders what took The Powers That Be so long?)

Considering that (as far as we, the public, know) planning for this event did not begin in earnest until February, 2017, we did well! (Although one wonders what took The Powers That Be so long?)

Considering that the actual implementation of some plans for this event began in June 2017, we did well! (Although one wonders what took The Powers That Be so long?)

Considering that certain necessary infrastructure could not be/was not in place until the end of Crop Over (August 7th) leaving seven working days for Carifesta infrastructure to be created – using some of the same materials, equipment and personnel deployed during Crop Over – we did damn well!

Having said ALL of that, I say: We could have done better! After all, one should not aspire to be better than the worst, but better than the best.

I’m not going to perform a post mortem of the Barbados organisational woes. First because that’s not my job. Leaving that for those paid far more than I so they can ponder such mysteries. Second, because it’s over. I had a good time! It’s over and, as good a time as I had, I’m glad it’s over!

Right now I prefer to look forward. Carifesta XIV will be hosted by Trinidad & Tobago in 2019. From informal discussions with members of their delegation to this Carifesta I’ve learned that their committee is already in place and that they have already started planning their incarnation of the festival. This gives me hope that perhaps T&T can break the mould (and I use this word intentionally and ambiguously!) of chaos that shapes and suffocates Carifesta.

What would I like to see changed? Many things, but I will settle for the following:

Respect Your Artists!   

Increase your million dollar Carifesta budgets by a few more million so you can respect and honour the artists by paying them appropriately. Stop expecting us to operate for free or at significant cost to ourselves and families. Recognise that, to paraphrase one of my colleagues, National Duty is not Duty Free.

Listen more closely to and heed the advice given by those immersed in the fields. Do not plan your festival in such a way that the very community you claim to serve and celebrate is alienated by your exclusionary tactics.

See Carifesta as an opportunity to highlight the best your country has to offer artistically and culturally, not merely to espouse some bureaucrat’s vision of what the island’s arts and culture should look like. Rather than seeing the signal events as politicos’ personal cocktail parties, see them as opportunities to honour those who have spent decades building the artform in your territory. Ensure those practitioners are on your VIP lists, along with the ministers’ friends.

Create a Central Carifesta Organising Committee!

Please! It’s about time! After decades of this chaos, one would think someone would have come up with this simple solution by now (That no one appears to have done so raises the question: Who benefits from Carifesta chaos?). Create a committee which would conceptualise the template for Carifesta. Have that committee liaise with local Organising Committees in each territory to implement the protocols outlined in the template. It should lead to a much more efficient and expeditious implementation process.

Create Local and International Buy-In

I have always seen Carifesta as an opportunity to experience the entire Caribbean in one place for ten days. Why is it that the powers that be have not seen fit to promote it as such? Why are we not seeing journalists and visitors from all over the world visiting Carifesta in the same way they do the Edinburgh Festival?

Why did we not see Barbadians throng the Grand Market daily?

Perhaps partly because Bajans decided to boycott the $10 gate tax? Perhaps partly because the multi-million dollar budget didn’t provide for an adequate marketing strategy – one which would have seen Bajans buying into the concept of Carifesta in Barbados; owning “Carifesta in Barbados” and therefore unwittingly becoming ambassadors for the festival in their homes, workplaces, communities? (Notice I’m asking questions here. I really don’t know.)

In future, I would like to see Caribbean tourism organisations working together to invest in regional cultural industries by enticing visitors to come experience Carifesta. Offer them cheaper rates because… you know… hurricane season. And because they may spend some of those savings on art and craft and food and books while they’re here.

Greater Use of Social Media

Social media happens in real time. Changes in scheduling are easy to publicise via several platforms. The result is less frustration for patrons and artists, and perhaps a “thank you” or two for the information. I trust my Trinidadian friends will get this part of the process right in 2019

I live in hope.

Looking forward….

 

Nailah is founder of Caribbean Passion, the Caribbean’s premier Romance series. She is the author of the Romance novellas To Star, With LoveSomeone To Watch Over MeSecond Time AroundCruising to Love and her latest (the Rihanna-inspired!), Fantasy Fulfilled. She is also the author of the YA novellas Colourblind, available on Amazon and Smashwords, and Pick of the Crop.  She is currently working on the sequel to her first action/thriller novella To Protect & Serve.

To read more please visit: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/nailah

Posted in Barbados, CARIFESTA, Carifesta XIII, going with the flow, Uncategorized, what I did this summer | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reflections on Carifesta XIII – Part 2

Carifesta is chaos!

This is not a criticism. Certainly not a boast. Just fact.

Carifesta is chaos!

It shouldn’t be. But it is.

I have come to terms with this between my first active participation in Carifesta in St. Kitts in 2000 and last week, the end of Carifesta XIII in my homeland, Barbados.

Recently, a friend posited that as the Caribbean was born out of chaos and trauma, that which we produce will be fraught with the same chaos. That, to some, extent chaos (kin to spontaneity?) is we culture.

It is easy to accept this argument, and I have… at least 75% of the time. Suspension of disbelief is necessary if I am to enjoy what Carifesta is rather than focus on what it isn’t. This is, in effect, my coping mechanism: I don’t expect too much (by way of organisation) therefore I’m hardly ever disappointed. And sometimes overwhelmingly pleasantly surprised.

Clearly this festival isn’t perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but in the midst of the chaos that is Carifesta, I always find moments to cherish:

My Carifesta XIII highlights:

  • Dancing through Broad Street as part of the official Parade! Waving at crowds interested enough to get out of their armchairs and come watch us on a hot Sunday afternoon.
  • Jumping joyously with my friends, DJ, Keisha, Ayesha, Linda, Kerry to Peter Ram’s All Ah We during the Opening Ceremony.
  • Meeting my new Carifesta friends including: Donna, Chenzira, Korey, Denise Harris (Yes! Wilson’s daughter, herself a writer of note!), Bernadine, Cyndy, Kelly, Shawn…
  • Selling Bajan Books at the National Cultural Foundation’s Book Booth
  • Rousingly singing the St. Michael School song with a group of alumni (all of us strangers to each other until that moment) who happened to show up at the NCF Book Booth at the same time. (Guess whose idea that was!)
  • Experiencing the Country Nights in the Grand Market – Jamaica, Barbados and Haiti stand out in my memory.
  • Selling Bajan Books at the National Cultural Foundation’s Book Booth
  • Reconnecting with friends from former Carifestas and other regional events – Ruel Johnson of Guyana, Felene of Belize and Kim Dismont-Robinson from Bermuda.
  • Reconnecting with Lorna Callender, my former biology teacher and widow of Timothy Callender, one of Barbados’s literary icons. Thanking her for all she taught me.
  • Selling Bajan Books at the National Cultural Foundation’s Book Booth
  • Watching the look of surprise spread across some people’s faces as I informed them that all of the books in our booth were written by Barbadian writers, and this was a small sample of this island’s literary talent.
  • Selling Bajan Books at the National Cultural Foundation’s Book Booth
  • Voicing my views on the importance of Carifesta, art and Caribbean culture during appearances on CBC/Carifesta TV and radio.
  • Reconnecting with friends from former lives: Mount Allison University – Allison; St. Michael School – Heather, Michelle, Marietta, Lois.
  • The food! (Btw, the people from Naniki can cook! When you go, tell Julie that Nailah wants to know if she’s started the cookbook yet!)
  • Spending quality time with my Carifesta Sister, Michelle Hinkson-Cox.
  • Selling Bajan Books at the National Cultural Foundation’s Book Booth.

My Carifesta was confined to the world of the Grand Market and Buyers’ Mall, due to my schedule. I knew this would be the case going in, so no disappointment there, although there were several visual art exhibits I would have loved to experience first-hand.

I was there, primarily, to sell books. And sell books we (I and my team of teenagers: Izora Devonish, Ocean Campbell and Thomas King) did! More than 200 books in those eight days! We all enjoyed the experience tremendously.

That Carifesta XIII overall had its problems cannot be denied but, at the end of the day, this Carifesta was no different, in that regard, than any other I’ve attended or heard about.

Carifesta is, after all, chaos.

Is acknowledging and accepting that chaos part of the problem or the solution? More on that in my next post….

 

Nailah is founder of Caribbean Passion, the Caribbean’s premier Romance series. She is the author of the Romance novellas To Star, With LoveSomeone To Watch Over MeSecond Time AroundCruising to Love and her latest (the Rihanna-inspired!), Fantasy Fulfilled. She is also the author of the YA novellas Colourblind, available on Amazon and Smashwords, and Pick of the Crop.  She is currently working on the sequel to her first action/thriller novella To Protect & Serve.

To read more please visit: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/nailah

Posted in Bajan Literary Arts, Barbados, Books, CARIFESTA, Carifesta XIII, Literary Arts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reflections on Carifesta XIII – Part 1

Just because I like bacchanal

I gine leh you just tek advantage of me

Go and tek advantage of me.

  • L’il Rick, Advantage of Me (Crop Over 2017)

Those who encountered me during the first four days of Carifesta XIII would have heard me humming this to myself over and over again.

And it’s not just because L’il Rick is my favourite soca artiste.

It’s because the lyrics touched me far deeper than, I’m sure, the artiste intended.

You see, I love Carifesta!

I love Carifesta more than I love Crop Over! More than I love Carnival!

How can that be? You may ask.

How can that be when every single Carifesta appears (from the inside especially) to be fraught with inefficiencies and deficiencies?

How can that be when, despite each territory having two or more years to plan the events, so many things go wrong?

How can that be when Carifesta appears to be the one Caribbean festival that singularly fails to reach its global potential year after year after year?

How can that be when year after year after year artists and artistes are often reduced to mere props in some political charade during this – the region’s premiere cultural event – designed to celebrate us?

How can that be? Because despite its many flaws, I am still able to see Carifesta in its purest form. When I look at this festival, I am able to see what it SHOULD be as well as what it is. And it is in the conditional that I find hope.

Admittedly, that hope is fading fast…. I mean, if after so many years, we as a region, have failed to get this right, what hope is there, realistically, that such will occur in my lifetime?

So why do I love Carifesta? What does it mean to me? First and foremost, it’s an opportunity to connect and reconnect face to face with writers, artists and artistes that I might never get to meet and re-meet.

It’s a time to demonstrate Barbadian literary talent via reading my own work and that of others to a wider audience.

It’s a time to put paid to that persistent, annoying myth that, beyond Kamau and Lamming, Barbados has no writers of note.

It’s a time to experience and celebrate the cultures of our immediate neighbours…. Cultures so similar and yet in many ways so different.

It’s a time to nyam some good Caribbean cuisine – a different island each day.

But it’s also a time to participate in a mind-blowing, back-breaking endeavour, at personal financial and physical cost, for which few will thank you later.

This year, many artists stayed away from the festival – not participating in performances, not entering work for sale or exhibit; not staging fringe events – because they simply couldn’t afford to spend time and money helping to make Carifesta happen.

The money that came out of my pocket over the course of the eleven days I spent at Grand Market (including set-up of the NCF’s booth) came to approximately half of the money I was paid during the three months for which I was contracted.

So why did I do it?

Because I love Carifesta! I believe in the essence of the festival – that concept of unity in diversity. And because I love it, I will let “you” take advantage of me.

In admitting this, I am admitting that I am part of the problem we Caribbean artists face: as long as there are artists willing to be exploited, artists as a whole will not be given their due – money or respect.

As long as there are artists like me who will fuel ourselves with the call of ‘national duty’ and pull our own pockets to ensure that our nation looks good and that the public is given a good show, artists as a whole will not be given their due – money or respect.

Carifesta XIII was a bittersweet experience for me – far sweeter than it was bitter, but there was that lingering acrid aftertaste – because so many artists that I respect spoke out publicly (chief among them Nala and Akyem) and privately of their disillusionment with government, with Carifesta, with the exploitation. Everything they said was true. We as artists are, in essence, paying for the privilege of working; of practising and showcasing our art.

We are locked into a system that does not value us except in the dollars and cents it can rake in at our expense; a system that touts cultural industries as the sector that will save Barbados economically, yet does not wish to invest in or even pay its artists and artisans fairly (if at all!); a system which does not understand the essential role of art and artists: creating a civil and civilised society.

While I have some awesome Carifesta XIII memories, I’m aware that all is not well with Carifesta generally. Still, if given the opportunity to attend Carifesta IV in Trinidad in 2019, I will be there!

Why, despite all I’ve said?

Simply put: Just because I love bacchanal!

 

 

Nailah is founder of Caribbean Passion, the Caribbean’s premier Romance series. She is the author of the Romance novellas To Star, With LoveSomeone To Watch Over MeSecond Time AroundCruising to Love and her latest (the Rihanna-inspired!), Fantasy Fulfilled. She is also the author of the YA novellas Colourblind, available on Amazon and Smashwords, and Pick of the Crop.  She is currently working on the sequel to her first action/thriller novella To Protect & Serve.

To read more please visit: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/nailah

Posted in Bajan Literary Arts, Barbados, CARIFESTA, Carifesta XIII, Literary Arts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Catching Up…….

It’s been a long, long time since last I posted here.

I’ve been quite busy teaching, writing, editing, acting (yes! For real!), living life….. I have been spending more time writing and posting on other platforms, so if you’re interested in reading about some of  what I’ve been up to go to: Nailah’s Notes.

Most recently, I was part of the Barbados contingent to Carifesta XIII held here in Barbados (August 17th-27th, 2017), so I’ll be posting my reflections on this site, along with a few pix, soonest.

Stay tuned!

Posted in Bajan Literary Arts, Barbados, CARIFESTA, going with the flow, Kamau Brathwaite Award for Literary Excellence in Poetry, Theatre Arts in Barbados, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lucien on Brathwaite at Bocas

Some thoughts via Caribbean writer Joanne C. Hillhouse on Barbados’s unofficial Poet Laureate Kamau Brathwaite. #CelebratingKamau #Kamau85

Wadadli Pen

Vladimir Lucien, Kamau Braithwaite…two poets currently making waves in Caribbean literature…Barbados born Brathwaite is, of course, the elder of the two and, in fact, ArtsEtc. and the Missing Slate both have tribute issues up at this writing in honour of his 85th birthday. Nailah Imojah introduces the man and his legacy over at ArtsEtc.

She speaks, among other things, of what he has passed on to us, all the writers following in his wake; lessons in “the use of and experimentation with rhythm; the need for complete honesty—a baring of the breastbone, so to speak—in one’s writing; and perhaps, most importantly, the need for a certain measure and type of fearlessness in creating one’s own literary landscapes.”

Click the link above to read the rest of it and the entire ArtsEtc tribute to the poet widely revered as a pioneer in “using ‘nation language’ as well as linguistic and typographic innovation”…

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The Best Gift Ever & Me

Last week I experienced one of my greatest moments as a writer. It was a moment that made me feel that if I never sold another book I would honestly feel satisfied in calling myself a successful writer. (Being honest, I will also admit that the part about not selling another book was quickly retracted but…. Still… I’m sure that as you read on you’ll understand how I felt.)
Before this point, I think the highlights of my writing career were: the first time I published; launching my own publishing Company, Homegrown Press, and its imprint Caribbean Passion; having my novel Pick of The Crop published by the internationally acclaimed publishing company Heinemann Publishing (now Pearson) and winning numerous local (Barbadian) awards including The Kamau Brathwaite Award for Literary Excellence in Poetry.
Last week, my daughter read, Colourblind, one of my novellas (winner of a third prize in Barbados’s prestigious Frank Collymore Literary Competition) and declared it “Awesome!”
This thrills me on two levels: 1) my daughter is already old enough to read one of my novellas Wasn’t she born just yesterday? Where did those eleven years go? 2) The story excited her. It excited her so much that she sometimes forgot that I wrote it and she’d come bounding into a room to tell me what had happened next, or what other snippet of information she’d learned about a character’s life.
Talk about gratification!
Her comments (“This boy is racist!!!” “You’ve got a big error here: It’s not Super Centre; it’s Massy Supermarket! I’m going to highlight it for you!” “That’s just horrible! Nasty! How could you write that, Mummy?!?!?” and “That’s so sad! I want to cry!” among my favourites) are priceless to me.
To watch her devour that book and then move on to another of my novellas, Someone To Watch Over Me (which resulted in my having to hide the Kindle since that was one of the racier romances in my repertoire), is one of the finest accolades I’ve ever received as a writer.
And don’t get me started on the discussions we’ve had since she read Colourblind! We’ve talked race, bullying, anti-bullying, self-defence, the wide, wild world of secondary school (which she will enter in September), friendship, death, spirituality, death of a loved one, grieving, heroism, bravery, creativity, inspiration, dreaming, ambition….
Her comments and queries show me that I have achieved my objective in writing Colourblind – to write a gripping story; they demonstrate that this reader (albeit 11 years old and my offspring) got it!
This has been every book-loving mother/teacher/writer/reader’s dream!

Nailah is founder of Caribbean Passion, the Caribbean’s premier Romance series. She is the author of the Romance novellas To Star, With Love, Someone To Watch Over Me, Second Time Around, Cruising to Love and her latest (the Rihanna-inspired!), Fantasy Fulfilled. She is also the author of the YA novellas Colourblind, available on Amazon and Smashwords, and Pick of the Crop.  She is currently working on the sequel to her first action/thriller novella To Protect & Serve.

To read more please visit: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/nailah

Posted in Bajan Literary Arts, Books, Frank Collymore Literary Competition, Kamau Brathwaite Award for Literary Excellence in Poetry, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Read An Ebook Week & Me (2015)

Sure I’m late out of the gate… but better to be late than to be THE late, as my dear mother often says!

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Visit me at www.smashwords.com/profile/view/nailah for details!

Posted in Bajan Literary Arts, free ebooks, read an ebook week, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment