The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize is back with a challenge for young Antiguan and Barbudan writers – can you write an engaging children’s story in 600 words or less? The competition dubbed the BEST OF BOOKS WADADLI PEN CHALLENGE 2011 is, as usual, open to writers 35 years and younger, resident or native to Antigua and Barbuda. Writing can be fiction, poetry or non-fiction, and can be in any genre, fantasy to comedy, but it must be written to appeal to younger readers. It must, in other words, be the kind of story a parent might read to a child or a young reader would pick up and read on his or her own. As has been the case since the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize was launched in 2004, the writing must reflect a Caribbean sensibility. We, therefore, expect the submitted pieces to be set in the Caribbean and/or in some way reflect the Caribbean experience. This can include the rough and tumble reality, the superstition and mythology, the history or the possibility. The world of children’s fiction should allow you to let your imagination fly as Thumbelina did on a lily pad, as Peter Pan and Wendy did simply by wishing it so, as Harry Potter did with a wave of his magic wand, as Dorothy did with three clicks of her ruby slippers. Dream, that’s what this year’s challenge is asking you to do and let’s create literature that can be read and enjoyed by the youngest among us and yet still appreciated by every young-at-heart adult.

There are a couple of opportunities to win; within your particular age category – 12 and under, 13 to 17, 18 to 35 – or as one of the top three writers overall, in which case it’s anyone’s contest.  With input from the judges/editors, each short listed writer will have the opportunity to edit and fine tune the work before final judging. Winning pieces will be posted to https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com and possibly via other sites promoting Caribbean literature, especially children’s literature. Also, Wadadli Pen reserves non-exclusive right to publish/record the winning works in other formats without restriction.

Attractive prizes are currently being solicited for the winning writers. Wadadli Pen is once again partnering with the Best of Books, celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2010, in this venture. Best of Books will sponsor the Challenge plaque displayed in their store with the name of the winning writer; as well as other prizes and certificates. They will also host the prize giving as a part of their anniversary activities in June 2011. Prize contributions and/or commitments, meanwhile, have also come from Seven Seas via local distributor Frank B. Armstrong, the International Women’s Club of Antigua and Barbuda,  the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival, African American author of Ninth Ward Jewell Parker Rhodes, Through a Window Antiguan author Floree Williams, and Antigua Nice.

More prizes/commitments will be announced as they come to hand; it promises to be an attractive compensation package for the winning writers, as usual. Each writer is allowed a maximum of three submissions. Submissions should be sent to wadadlipen@yahoo.com no later than March 31st 2011.

Prospective participants are reminded that they can try out works-in-progress at the Wadadli Pen Open Mic hosted once a month by the Best of Books Royal Palm branch. Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse will be present at the next Wadadli Pen open mic, February 12th at 7:30 p.m., and available to answer any questions in relation to this competition. See you there.


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