Closed for Carnival

..not us but as a visiting writer from the US anxious to get involved in the local literary scene recently discovered, everything kind of stops for summer and Carnival in Antigua and Barbuda. Notably Expressions is on hold (not sure of the return date but sometime in September no doubt); and the Best of Books Wadadli Pen Open Mic is on hold until September 14th. Even the Cushion Club is on break. As I told our literary traveler, the next summer spark that I’m aware of literarily is the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project. That’s my baby. My second baby after Wadadli Pen (don’t get jealous, Wadadli Pen). Jhohadli is me (that’s a pen name of mine bestowed on me by a Trini-block-mate during my UWI days and happily claimed by me as my literary alter ego (so no stealing); Summer is when it is (specifically August 12th to 16th); Youth is who it’s targeting (I can confirm 10 successful applicants between the ages of 8 and19; with  four others still to be confirmed); Writing (that’s what it’s about; we’ll be reading and writing and exploring to feed the writing because it’s a hungry beast); Project (I call it a project because that’s what it became when I decided to take it from the idea phase. And the idea grew out of this urge to do more than an annual challenge but needing to find a way to make it self sustaining and targeted at those who need and want it whether they have the money to access it or not).

As I wrote in another post APUA does not accept thank yous and as a working writer I had to find a way to cover my time and material costs, so I asked several businesses to sponsor tuition for participants. Those who agreed to do so are:

Brenda Lee Browne
Townhouse Mega Store
Caribbean Water Treatment
Dr. Jillia Bird (couldn’t find a link to her business so this is a link to her major activist cause)
Shirley Heights Lookout

with the Best of Books, Koren Norton, Silston’s Library, and St. John Cooperative Credit Union kicking in support as well.

I am happy with the response though I have more participants than sponsors. I had some rough patches, some misunderstandings, some bad feelings, some I don’t need this @#$&! moments but I also enjoyed receiving the application letters and preparing the programme of activities. So I’m doing this, and hoping for the best and encouraged by the enthusiasm of the applicants…

Snippets from some JSYWP application letters, pulled at random

“I’ve always desired to be tutored and mentored by a published author and the fact that you are an local author makes it much more appealing.”

“When I write I write from my heart. I express the way I feel, think and my emotion spills over into my writing.”

“My other hobbies are drawing, writing stories and I am now working on a comic …hoping it would become a cartoon one day.”

“I want to learn more about the art of writing so that my compositions can improve.”

“This opportunity will give me the chance to take my writing to another level and put to paper the many thoughts that constantly invade my imagination.”

“In my spare time, I enjoy reading books by Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and Lemony Snicket. I enjoy reading books in general.”

“I am a thirteen year old Antiguan poet.  I have been writing poetry for a year and a half… In my spare time I like to read mystery books.”

“I have never attended a workshop like this and I am not sure what to expect.  One of my favorite things to do to pass time is read.”

“When I first began to write, my poems were scribbles at the back of all my school exercise books.”

“I am extremely interested in taking part in the jhohadli summer youth writing project, as I am very passionate about creative writing…”

“The thrill that I get when a new idea pops into my head coupled with my vigorous imagination are key factors that I believe that such a programme like this could benefit me tremendously.”

As with all content on, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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