Allen-Agostini publishes her first novel, The Chalice Project
think thats what Im here for. Its something I
always wanted to do. I love journalism and continue to write but
I think that if I dont write books, I am never going to win
She does not watch television nor go out. What does Lisa Allen-Agostini
do with all that free time? Write, of course. The T&T Guardian
columnist recently published the Chalice Project.
Although already the co-editor and contributor to Trinidad Noir
by Akashic Books, the Chalice Project is her first novel. Part of
Macmillan Caribbeans new Island Fiction series, her book is
geared towards tween readers (ages ten-16).
Written in large bursts over a three month period, Lisas book
tells the story of Ada and Evan Brijlal. When these twin siblings
turn 12, they discover strange things about themselvesthey
can now run at super fast speeds and time travel. They begin to
realise their true identities and learn about the mother they never
knew. This coming of age story explores parenthood, science, even
Although she has a first class honours degree in English Literature,
Lisa really loves science. Her passion for science fiction literature
translates on the pages of the Chalice Project. Two of her favourite
books inspired itThe Time Travellers Wife by Audrey
Niffenegger and The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester.
The 34-year-old mother is accustomed to telling tales. She would
compose stories and poetry for daughters Ishara and Najja. When
Lisa needed help writing the Chalice Project, she and Ishara would
brainstorm, asking what if questions to explore different
plot scenarios. Her series editor Joanne Johnson also helped her
make the novels second draft more palatable for kids.
Lisa has been writing since she was eight. In 1996, she joined the
Trinidad Express and became editor of Vox, its popular youth magazine.
Two year later, she joined the T&T Guardian, working in almost
every department, eventually becoming associate features editor
and Internet editor. With 12 years journalism under her belt,
now she concentrates on writing fiction.
She says with a laugh, I think thats what Im here
for. Its something I always wanted to do. I love journalism
and continue to write but I think that if I dont write books,
I am never going to win the Nobel!
Lisa is now working on another young adult fiction manuscript as
well as another for the Island Fiction series. In January, she hopes
to start the next best West Indian novel.
Concerning the local publishing industry, she laments that although
there are many talented local writers, they remain at the mercy
of foreign publishers. She supports the idea of a Caricom
press, suggested at this years Carifesta celebrations. She
would also like to establish her own publishing firm some day.
Regarding exposure of local writing on the international market,
she typifies V S Naipauls House for Mr Biswas as the consummate
Trinidad novel which was acclaimed worldwide because it was
good. She frankly says, Every story is a local story. Its
just whether the audience is ready to buy into that location. Its
the ability to offer our experience with such skill, such craft,
such elegance that they must accept it.
Although she has not yet held a copy of the book in her bare hands,
she is pleased to contribute to Caribbean literature. She adds with
a wry smile, Its great to be able to say that I am an
author rather than a writer.
Her parting advice to aspiring writers- Write.
Chalice Project by Lisa Allen-Agostini will be in bookstores soon.
Also, check out the Reading Revolution on Facebook. The brain child
of Lisa and fellow Island Fiction author, Francis Escayg, hopes
to encourage more reading among tweens.