Antiguan author, Joanne C. Hillhouse, is about to launch her third book.
The novel, entitled Oh Gad! will be released internationally by US publisher Strebor/Atria/Simon & Schuster on April 17. In Antigua, a festive Midnight Launch party is scheduled for 11 pm on the night of April 16 at the Best of Books Village Walk branch on Friars Hill Road. Fans of the author will be able to get an autographed copy at three minutes past midnight.
“You have to be there to raise your glasses as the clock strikes midnight as Oh Gad! officially takes its place on bookshelves around the world,” a release announced.
Joanne is the author of two books of fiction; The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight. In 2008, The Boy from Willow Bend was added to the Antigua schools reading list. Oh Gad!is her first full-length novel and her first with an American publisher.
It’s about Nikki Baltimore, a woman who was born in Antigua but grew up in the US with her father, separated from her mother and maternal siblings living in a village back home in Antigua.
Her mother’s death causes her to return home to a family from whom she has been alienated for many years. While there she is offered a job by the ruling government. She makes an impulsive decision to accept it and stay in Antigua. She soon becomes embroiled in political intrigue and the emotional cross-currents of romance and her relationship with her family. In the midst of this turmoil she journey’s headlong into a quest of self discovery as she struggles to understand her family, her own feelings towards them and the country she has never really been able to call home.
Joanne C. Hillhouse is much admired in her native Antigua and other parts of the Caribbean, both as a writer and a creative-writing tutor. She has been a mentor to many youths, helping them develop their writing skills and encouraging them to develop a love for reading.
In 2004 she was presented with a UNESCO Honour Award for her contribution to literacy and the literary arts in Antigua & Barbuda. She’s also A 2008 Breadloaf fellow and a recipient of the 2011 David Hough Literary Prize from the Caribbean Writer. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in several journals, including Tongues of the Ocean, Mythium, Ma Comère, The Caribbean Writer, Calabash and Sea Breeze.
In 2011 JCI (Junior Chamber International) West Indies recognised her as one of “ten outstanding young persons” in the region for her humanitarian work in Antigua, and her involvement in writing and reading programmes like the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize which she founded in 2004. The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize is a writing competition for young aspiring Antiguan writers. It also helps them to hone their writing skills and provides the budding authors with opportunities to promote their work and share it with their peers. Over the years it has hosted writing workshops, and produced published audio recordings of winning stories. The winners have also gotten opportunities to share their work with live audiences.
Joanne is also an editorial consultant and an award-winning freelance journalist. She has published feature articles in Américas, Caribbean Beat, and CLR James Journal. She has also worked in television and film – including as associate producer of Antigua’s first feature length film, The Sweetest Mango.