Here she is, finally, after missing the awards on her big night, collecting her prizes at the Best of Books, later in the week. Ladies and Gentlemen, Wadadli Pen’s number one writer of 2012, Rosalie A. Richards:
I met Rosalie when she entered Wadadli Pen the first time around in 2006. I was not at all involved in the judging process that year, but her story The Creation remains one of my all time favourites of the eight year old competition. It begins:
It was a beautiful day. The dirt smelt freshly dug and the tunnels seemed like new.
She was a 12-year-old Christ the King High School student when she entered. She said it was a piece she had written for a class project. Did you hear that, teachers?
What struck me about it, apart from the language, was the inventiveness of the story itself. As the title plainly states it’s a creation story in which life begins in an underground community that was lost when a few adventuring souls went top-side to explore.
…and that is why when our dead die, we bury them so that they can find our lost underground city.
Rosalie has more going on in her life than writing. She swims, she paints, and I’m sure more things I don’t know about. So, Wadadli Pen didn’t attract her attention again until she was an 18-year-old Antigua State College student. The subject and language of her entry were proof of two things, Rosalie was all grown up, but she had not lost her way with words.She’s two for two. In fact, she upped the ante. Having placed third in 2006, she came back in 2012 with Smitten for the win in three categories including taking the overall prize. Though not part of the early rounds of judging, as one third of the final judging panel, I can report that with engaging imagery, a seductive flow, fun sense of surprise, and similes like this
bitter adrenaline speeding
through my veins like highway traffic
Smitten was the unanimous top pick in that final round.
Rosalie, please don’t wait so long to grace us with your pen again.