Anansesem Ezine: The Power of Community Moving Forward

The upcoming month of May will mark the 2 year anniversary of Anansesem, the Caribbean ezine for and by children. When we launched Anansesem back in May 2010, we had some idea of the challenges that lay ahead. There is always an element of risk with any new venture, but we were confident that we could make Anansesem work. We thought (and still do) that this ezine had a chance because so many people saw the need for it. We were very modest about what we were trying to do and yet we had no idea where it could go. In that sense, we were like adventurers, hoping to discover new territory and strike gold. Now, we have six solid issues of the ezine behind us and we’re asking ourselves, “What’s next?”

The Internet is an amazing tool. Facebook and Twitter have been good to us. So far we’ve gained over 700 fans across both applications and our fans have been amazing. You (yes fans, we are talking to you) have helped us spread the word about Anansesem (and submission calls) and we’ve always appreciated your comments, reposts, retweets and other forms of engagement. You’ve also supported the writers and illustrators featured in the ezine by leaving feedback on their work. For all of that, you deserve recognition for your commitment to something which, still in its humble beginnings, needed your support and approval to even make sense. In its first light, Anansesem could never have succeeded without you and that remains the case as we move forward to develop the ezine even more.

Now we are once more relying on the power of the Caribbean community. As we approach the submission deadline (April 25th) for our May issue, we're finding that submissions have dwindled from what they were in the run-up to past issues. We get it. Despite what anyone says, Caribbean folks are busy. Right now, children are dealing with the rigors of the exam cycle and parents and teachers, you too are bearing the brunt of the school term. The serious folks involved in artistic creation in our region are also busy. Yet at the same time, I know from many personal accounts, that many Caribbean artists and writers are struggling to find niches for their work and to uphold the artistic life in a game-changing climate/economy. This is especially true for children’s writers and illustrators in the region.

We want you to know that we feel your pain and we sympathize with you! At the same time, we want to extend a challenge to Caribbean illustrators and writers― and parents and teachers of course― to keep pressing on. Keep making time for creativity, especially when it comes to the needs and fostering of our children. And importantly, make time for celebration, because it’s when we celebrate what we have made, and what our children have made, that we endow it with meaning and give it the chance to shine, communicate a message and affect others.

Opportunities to create, use and celebrate writing and art with and for children are plentiful. The May 2012 issue of Anansesem is one such opportunity (and the September and December issues later on this year.) Whether you are an aspiring children’s writer or illustrator, the parent of an artistically-inclined/literarily-inclined child, or a teacher working with children in a literacy center or arts program, our platform continues to be open to you and we invite you to see it as resource made especially for you, which in fact it is. Publication in Anansesem can be a valuable goal for young writers and artists, and if you have a group of such young writers or artists in your care, we’d like to work with you (Please send us an email.)

Whether you are an individual or a group, a child, teenager or adult, everything you need to know about getting published in Anansesem is in the Submission Guidelines section of our site (children’s guidelines and adult guidelines). Remember, it’s only April; we invite you to use the rest of the year to bring that spark of an idea for a children’s story or illustrated work to life. The creative process is challenging, as much with children’s literature as with any other artform, but we’re rooting for you. We know you can do it, and we’re looking forward to receiving your submission!

If you are a reader/supporter, we are counting on you too. Your feedback and involvement is invaluable to the evolution of Anansesem and to the advancement of Caribbean children’s literature in general. We are very grateful for your ideas and input and the excitement your readership brings to the Caribbean children’s literature community.

On behalf of the Anansesem team,

Summer Edward

Managing Editor/Kids Editor

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About Anansesem

Anansesem is an online magazine of Caribbean children's and young adult literature by adults and children. We strive to bring you the best in news, reviews and creative content from the world of Caribbean children's publishing.
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  1. Thanks for the encouragement Summer. Hope you and the team continue to forge ahead...there is not only a space for Anansesem, but a need for more in this genre. I know that voluntary work for the love of something is not always easy or rewarding..but keep on keeping on.

  2. I will join the cause and try to see if I can recruits some colleagues and former students. This is an important project and so much needed.

  3. Thanks Antonia and Carmen. We're in the process of organizing a weekly online chat. Please stay tuned!

  4. Keep up the great work Summer. You and your team will get the rewards eventually.

  5. Thanks Beth, your comment is much appreciated!



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