In 2003, Joanne C. Hillhouse (your Wadadli Pen blogger and author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!), came up with the idea for the competition and approached initial partners D. Gisele Isaac (author of Considering Venus, and the films The Sweetest Mango and No Seed), and the Young Explorer publication. Between 2004 and 2006, the competition’s initial run, it focused exclusively on fiction writing; welcoming submissions from Antiguans and Barbudans 18 years and younger with a special prize for those 12 and younger. Entries then and now were expected to have a Caribbean sensibility.
With corporate and individual support, Wadadli Pen has been able to encourage the most promising entries in each year: in addition to hosting writing workshops, publishing and producing audio recordings of the winning stories annually, providing opportunity for the winners to share their work with a live audience, and more. Both a page on Antiguanice.com and a previous website, which formed part of the French Alliance-funded OECS cultural portal, gave the winning writers, their stories, and the competition generally an online presence (albeit, in the latter case, short-lived). The featured competition logo was created during this time by then technical support Ken Shipley.
The competition went on hiatus after 2006, returning in 2010 and continuing with new partners including Challenge Plaque sponsor The Best of Books. The literary competition extended the upper limit in terms of age (from 18 to 35), split the categor and expanded the range of submissions (beyond fiction). An art component was added in 2010 and 2011.
Use the drop down menu on the main page to access particulars about each year and for all the stories see Wadadli Pen Through the Years.