The Best of Books Wadadli Pen Challenge 2011 has launched. “We’ve invited young writers to create content for young readers and we continue to invite businesses to support and reward those efforts,” said Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, and author Joanne C. Hillhouse (The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight). She is in the process of soliciting prizes for this year’s competition.
ABI insurance is the latest sponsor to come on board. “We were looking for various youth community involvement programmes,” explained Senior PR and Marketing representative Sherie-ann Brazier. Specifically, she continued, having concentrated their outreach efforts on the primary schools, they were keen to do something with secondary school students.
Wadadli Pen is open to primary and secondary school students, and young adults up to age 35. Winners will be selected in three age categories – 12 and under, 13 to 17, and 18 to 35; a top three overall will also be selected.
With so many prizes to give out, the organizers are thankful for the companies who’ve so far come on board. These include Seven Seas via local distributor Frank B. Armstrong, the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival, the International Women’s Club of Antigua and Barbuda, African American author of Ninth Ward Jewell Parker Rhodes, and Through a Window Antiguan author Floree Williams; also Antiguanice.com which is hosting a Wadadli Pen page on its site.
“We always want to help with anything that is educational,” said Margo Mason, marketing representative for Frank B. Armstrong/Seven Seas, which is also known for its annual sponsorship of the Rotaract Spelling Bee. “We want to continue with the development of the literary arts in the country. It’s the first time (we’re investing in Wadadli Pen) but hopefully won’t be the last.”
K.C. Nash, speaking for the IWC, which annually provides scholarships to young women among other programmes, said, “Most of what we do as far as fundraising is in terms of education so we encourage programmes that are in the educational vein, especially with young people; we try to support them as much as we can.”
While Hillhouse continues to reach out to other businesses behind the scenes, she is, also, reaching out publicly to other businesses and individuals to give what they can to encourage the literary arts and literacy in Antigua and Barbuda. Since launching in 2004, the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize has been able to give prizes big and small from computers to books, trips to pens. “We are extremely grateful for the generosity shown over the years,” said Hillhouse, noting that who gave what can still be seen at https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com
Her other appeal is to teachers, parents, and youth workers generally to help spread the word to creative young people who may have a story to tell, and can do so in 600 words or less. This year they’re targeting stories written with young readers in mind – 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 usual we want them to have a Caribbean sensibility,” Hillhouse said. The deadline is March 31st. For guidelines and writing tips, check the website.
To contact the coordinator, email email@example.com