This went out to the media a couple of days ago and with tomorrow, February 7th, being National Reading Day (in Antigua and Barbuda), it seems timely to share it hear as we encourage schools to encourage students to embrace the literary arts, to not only read but to begin to tell their own stories.
Wadadli Pen announces the return of a school prize for the school with the most submissions, a prize last offered in 2005 – not surprisingly the competition’s best year in terms of number of submissions. The gift will be something of benefit not just to the individual but to the wider school community. The organizers of the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2012 being held in cooperation with the Best of Books urge language and literary arts teachers, especially, to embrace this as an opportunity to challenge their students. Depending on the commitment from sponsors, the organizers also hope to provide a reward for the school of the competition’s top student.
The idea though is not to produce voluminous amounts of writing or to focus on the prize as the ultimate reward. These are merely additional incentives to encourage creative expression. What the organizers would like to see is young writers telling their stories in interesting ways, teachers and parents encouraging that expression, and the wider community getting a chance to receive it and celebrate them. These are the roots of building a culture of writing, self expression, imaginative thinking and independent thought. The organizers of The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize remains committed to nurturing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, but remind that this isn’t a contest only for future writers as the ability to communicate your ideas creatively and convincingly isn’t a skill only writers need to cultivate. But for writers, if there is a young writer in your midst, it is especially important that they be encouraged to challenge themselves, and realize that as The Help star, actress Viola Davis said it’s okay – in fact, essential – to dream big, and dream fierce.
For those who say, but I don’t know what to write about, we hope you can find inspiration in our post at https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com that addresses that very question. It says, among other things to write about what electrifies you, to write something fresh and original, and to make sure whatever you write, it comes from a place that’s true. We hope that the young people to whom this competition reaches out will look within their own environment and within themselves and be inspired; and we hope you will give them the gentle coaxing they need to be reminded what potential lies within them.
Consider this: one of last year’s top writers, Chatrisse Beazer, almost didn’t enter because she was not accustomed to writing children’s literature which was the 2011 Challenge. After encouragement from her mom, she wrote the story the Legend of Banana Boy which not only won the top spot in its age category, it placed in the top three, and remains one of the most read stories on the Wadadli Pen website.
We hope all young writers will be similarly inspired and all parents and teachers will be similarly encouraging. We also hope that corporate Antigua and Barbuda and individuals with the means to do so will be as supportive – by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org and volunteering to make a contribution – as our 2012 sponsors to date ABI Insurance, Conrad Luke, Ondeck, Frank B. Armstrong, Adventure Antigua, Antigua Rainforest Canopy Tour, Keyonna Beach Hotel, Nana Ekua Brew Hammond, Floree Williams, Barbara Arrindell, Claytine Nisbett, and, of course, the Best of Books. The more you give, the greater the reward we will be able to give to our young writers.
As for you, young writers, keep in mind that there’s a February 17th deadline and that entries must be emailed to email@example.com For full submission guidelines, please visit https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com