Next, Cushion Club hosts Wadadli Pen Kids Writing Workshop
Reading should be as much fun as it is educational. That’s one of the points Stage One’s Kanika Simpson-Davis demonstrated to the 30 something youngsters gathered for the Cushion Club Black History Month special presentation on Saturday 2nd February. The youth theatre director’s show-and-tell was a mix of personal and collective history, with a healthy dollop of literary imagination. Through various tales, including Anansi and Mario Picayo’s A Caribbean Journey from A to Y, Simpson-Davis explored how stories can expand your world and your vocabulary while simultaneously reinforce culture and identity. Beyond that though, she showed the attentive and engaged members of the kids reading club how books and storytelling can spark creativity and inspire imagination.
With use of books for all ages and even puppets, dramatization and music, Simpson-Davis challenged them to explore beyond the classroom, beyond the page, and to take the initiative in doing so.
The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize picks up on this next Saturday 9th February with a kids writing workshop. Author Joanne C. Hillhouse is a long time volunteer with both programmes and will conduct the workshop. In keeping with Kanika Simpson-Davis’ sentiments about reading, Hillhouse sees writing as a natural extension of literary exploration. It’s an opportunity for young people to share what they’re discovering of themselves and the world and to have fun with words, and to begin to do the kind of storytelling that may one day yield books created by them and, even if it doesn’t, will enrich their ability to communicate their ideas with others.
The Wadadli Pen Challenge has a special set of prizes for children 12 and younger and 13 to 17, as well as prizes for the schools with the most submissions. The submission deadline is February 15th. Hillhouse is hoping that through Saturday’s kids writing workshop, those who’ve already started will get ideas that will help them polish up their submissions and those who are yet to begin will find the impetus they need to get going.
Young writers are therefore encouraged to come out at the usual Cushion Club time 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon, at the usual place, the University Centre, and to bring writing material – pencil or crayons and notebook or paper when coming.