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Meet Caribbean Author Joanne C. Hillhouse

Joanne C. Hillhouse’s writing has been described as “lyrical”, “honest”, “poetic” and “real”: “Obvious is the ‘writer’s ear’ for effective characterization and narrative that stays true to Caribbean island experience” (Island Where, St. Lucia).


Grace, of Grace’s Peak, loves her hill, and her home above the village, above the whole island.

All her trees are lush and full of ripe fruits, except for the one at the far end of her orchard. She hates that tree. So when the smiling, barefoot, girl from the village asks Grace if she can pick fruits to sell at the market, it is from that sad, bare tree that Grace “generously” allows her to pick.

Little does Grace know that the young girl’s kind, generous heart and her sweet special song will make the impossible happen, and change life at Grace’s Peak forever.


Joanne’s latest book is the Caribbean faerie tale With Grace, her sixth book in a mixed bag that includes the novellas The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight – a coming of age story and a romance (the latter since re-issued as the collection Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings), adult literary fiction Oh Gad!, picture book Fish Outta Water, and teen/young adult novel Musical Youth – a finalist for the Burt Award for teen/YA Caribbean fiction.

From Ottos, Antigua, Joanne now has stories and books on readings lists not only in her home country but other parts of the Caribbean and the U.S. She has served on the regional Burt judging panel, conducted writing workshops in Antigua and elsewhere in the Caribbean, and has served on literary panels and/or read at festivals in various parts of the world – including festivals around the Caribbean, Aye Write! in Scotland and the PEN World Voices festival and Brooklyn book festival, both in New York. Her book Oh Gad! was a Weekend Reads recommendation on National Public Radio [NPR] in the U.S.

Joanne’s fiction and poetry has appeared in several Caribbean and international journals. Among these have been Artemis: Artists and Writers from the Blue Ridge and Beyond, Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters, the Columbia Review, the Caribbean Writer, Mythium: the Journal of Contemporary Literature, BIM: Arts for the 21st Century, Calabash: a Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters, The Missing Slate, Ma Comère: Journal of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars, Womanspeak: a Journal of Art and Writing by Caribbean Women, Akashic’s Mondays are Murder series, Poui, and Tongues of the Ocean (with which I’ve also served as guest editor). She has also been published in the following anthologies: Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography, A River of Stories, Round My Christmas Tree, Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean, African American Literary Award winning A Letter for My Mother, She Sex Prose and Poetry: Sex and the Caribbean Woman, In the Black: New African Canadian Literature, So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End: an Anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing, and For Women: In Tribute to Nina Simone.

She has collected the CW Flash Fiction Prize and the David Hough Literary Prize from the Caribbean Writer, which is a product of the University of the Virgin Islands; and been short listed for the Small Axe Fiction Prize, twice. With Grace attracted publisher interest after earning honorable mention in the Desi Writers’ Lounge fiction contest.

Joanne graduated with a degree in Mass Communications from University of the West Indies (Mona). She has since participated in writing workshops at the University of Miami, Middlebury College, Brown University, among others. Her awards and fellowships include the 2014 Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Award, the 2008 Michael and Marilee Fairbanks International Fellowship, and a 2004 UNESCO Honour Award for her contribution to literacy and the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

Joanne freelances as a writer, editing, writing coach, and workshop facilitator. She has been published in Essence, Writer’s Digest, Americas, Caribbean Beat, and other periodicals. Her main nonprofit activity is – nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

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