I’ve been adding to the Thank You wall little by little but the generous 2014 Patrons and Partners deserve their own pages. So as we prepare for the official launch of our 2014 season in just about a month, I’m taking a minute to tell them publicly big up and thank you.
A is for all the folks (listed and unlisted) who support Wadadli Pen.
Barbara Arrindell is the manager at the Best of Books, so she’s key to Best of Books’ support of our project; but she’s also making an author contribution as the author of two books – Antigua My Antigua and The Legend of Bat’s Cave and other Antiguan Stories. Barbara is a rock both with her calm and with her reliability when it comes to making a way out of no way and always supporting the literary arts. Her books are good keepsakes as well for anyone of any age interested in Antiguan and Barbudan culture.
Art at the Ridge is a gallery on the south west side of the island, on the Sugar Ridge property to be specific. It is one of the Top Ten Galleries in the Caribbean according to Culture Trip, a global website that showcases art and culture in 200 countries worldwide. It has a wide selection and runs developmental programmes like its juried exhibition and annual Christmas card competition. It contributed to our art prize in 2013 and will do so again in 2014, various gifts including items from the gallery and a mentorship session with artist-in-residence Jane Seagull – sure to be coveted by any budding artist. Owner Joy James will also be part of the judging team of the art component of the Wadadli Pen Prize.
Pam Arthurton is the boss at Carib World Travel and the co-founder with her sister of the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival, not the first but among the earlier literary festivals in the region.
It’s been on extended hiatus for a minute but we hope it will return, that it won’t be another Antigua and Barbudan arts initiative that floundered due to lack of resources while other islands not only made it work but made it bigger. Pam hasn’t let the shelving of ABILF stop her from supporting the arts; once again she is making her contribution to the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize and this with other activities like the ABILF backed film festival earlier this year marks her as a friend of the creative arts.
Barbuda Express is a ferry service between Antigua and Barbuda. Barbuda is, of course, our incomparably beautiful sister island.
If you’re Antiguan and you haven’t hopped over as yet, come on now, what are you waiting for? It’s an experience you should have at least once in your lifetime. Barbuda Express has more than a couple of times ensured that we can offer it at least once a year to a few of our finalists, and though we’re disappointed to learn that some have not (yet) taken up the opportunity, and we are grateful for that.
The Best of Books bookstore is located on St. Mary’s Street with perhaps the most varied and international collection on island. It is a popular hub for literary activities in Antigua, including the monthly Wadadli Pen Open Mic. It has given to Wadadli Pen from the beginning and has done more than give since 2010, assisting with lots behind the scenes, especially the awards preparation and hosting. It’s been a HUGE help and their contribution to our prize package has enabled us to give even more. They also do the Wadadli Pen Challenge plaque on which the names of all our winners are emblazoned.
Brenda Lee Browne has been working and volunteering on behalf of the literary arts for a long time now. Her Just Write Writers Retreat is only the latest manifestation of that.
We have supported each others’ projects over the years and I am grateful that she continues to be a part of the Wadadli Pen family. She has offered spots to Wadadli Pen finalists (2) for the first and second year of the programme in addition to serving as Wadadli Pen’s chief judge between 2010 and 2013. For the 2014 season, she’s offered not only a spot in Just Write but also a cash contribution. I am grateful for the contribution but also for her being a true believer in what we’re trying to do with this programme and in the untapped, unrealized, unsupported potential of the literary and all the arts in Antigua and Barbuda.
Caribbean Reads Publishing is the publisher of the Caribbean Adventure Series (featuring Chee Chee the capuchin monkey) and also a patron of Wadadli Pen and main sponsor of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize, a new addition to the programme. The author of the Caribbean Adventure series and the woman behind Caribbean Reads Publishing, by the way, is Carol Mitchell
who has given to the Wadadli Pen Programme in the past but who has significantly increased her contribution (in cash and kind) with this 2014 pledge.
Community First Cooperative Credit Union – Formerly the Teachers’ Cooperative Credit Union, founding in 1959, and an Antiguan institution, CFCCU is technically a returning donor having given to Wadadli Pen many years ago. We are delighted to have them back on board with a generous gift to one of our junior winners, a gift which will set them on the road to saving.
The Cushion Club’s founder will shoot me if I mention his name but he really does deserve mad props because whereas some other volunteers (points to self) are in and out, he is there week in week out and has been for years – before I even knew what the Cushion Club was and I’ve been volunteering about 10 years now. That’s serious commitment. Some of the kids that have come through are grown now and it’s always a bit unsettling to meet them and see through them how much time has passed; unsettling and yet rewarding for whatever small part the Cushion Club played in their becoming.
That would be enough but *oops almost said his name* always wants to do more. The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize is part of that more because we can always count on a little something from the Cushion Club – really from his pocket in the Cushion Club’s name – to add to our prize offerings.
Frank B. Armstrong is a company that has proven its commitment to youth several times over as a lead sponsor of the annual Rotaract Spelling Bee. We are happy to have them back as a Wadadli Pen patron as well.
Danielle George-John is a cake designer. She has something special in store for our anniversary celebrations this year. Can hardly wait.
Maggie Harris is a Guyanese born, UK based writer. She’ll be contributing a copy of her book Kiskadee Girl.
D. Gisele Isaac is, among many other POWAful things, the author of Considering Venus – a good read. She is also one of the founding partners of Wadadli Pen –she, me and Young Explorer back in 2004. She hasn’t been a judge since 2010 but her support of the programme has never wavered.
Ruel Johnson is a two time winner of the Guyana Prize for Literature and as of 2013 also winner of the Small Axe Prize for fiction. I’ve told this story before but it was while listening to a presentation by the Guyanese writer in Canada that I began formulating the Wadadli Pen programme, a response to his observation that the Caribbean lacked nurseries for budding writers, a charge that resonated with me as a young and floundering writer. Wadadli Pen was intended, therefore, to be more than another competition, and more than a programme using the literary arts as a means to an end – you know, the write-to-this-theme competitions. Writing and nurturing Caribbean writers would be the point of Wadadli Pen. We continue to work to live up to that idea; and are grateful to have Johnson offer his award winning books (Ariadne and Other Stories, Fictions) toward our prize package.
Karib Cable – has come on board with a gift that will benefit at least two (maybe more) of our finalists. Thanks to the cable provider for their generosity.
Joy Lawrence is an Antiguan folk historian and poet. During the latter part of 2013, she has also served as schools ambassador, taking our message to every school on the island, you read that right, every school.
That’s some serious miles and some serious dedication. She didn’t need to do anything else but she is, she’s also contributing to our prize package including one special addition to the Teachers Prize.
When you think of the Map Shop ,you think especially of children’s books, texts and reference material, and Caribbean books; that’s not all they carry but I think it’s fair to say that can be considered their niche. They are a cornerstone Antiguan and Barbudan business now located on Redcliffe Street. They were one of the first businesses to support Wadadli Pen and they are back as one of our patrons in 2014.
MEDIA because we are mindful of the fact that it costs to do what you do to help us get the word out special thanks to online media partners who maintain Wadadli Pen pages – antiguanice.com and 365antigua.com – also Antigua Chronicle, Observer especially Auntie Debbie, ABS TV with a special shout out to management and the team at Good Morning Antigua Barbuda, ZDK, Crusader especially the team at X-press Yourself.
Karen and Koren Norton – Koren specifically has been the kind of person to reach out and say, are you okay-what do you need? She did so again this year and with her sister Karen is coming through. Much appreciated.
Pearson is a UK based publishing house – the publisher of my first children’s picture book Fish Outta Water.
They are giving copies of more than 40 books (not just Fish Outta Water, a range of books from the fun to the educational to the literary) plus art supplies in support of our efforts; and will be giving more. We welcome their enthusiasm and generousity.
Photogenesis is a photo studio offering services from in studio and event photography to signage and promotional material. They’ve contributed to Wadadli Pen once in the past, in the early years and will do so again for the 2014 season. Thanks, Joe.
Raw Island Products surprised us last year with a gift basket brought to the awards ceremony to be added to our prize package. It was like our birthday! This just in – they’re offering to give again, and we are happy to say, yes, please and thank you. Raw Island Products is an Antigua-based enterprise that provides raw organic honey, coconut oil, coconut cream, coconut butter, coconut flour coconut wedges, coconut ice creams and coconut shavings. Its mission is to provide healthful raw natural foods from available local resources and its tag line is “health with a Caribbean flavor”.
Jane Seagull is an artist, in fact she is artist-in-residence at Art at the Ridge. Last year, she designed and created a journal for our winning writer. We’ve asked her to do so again and she has graciously agreed.
Elaine Spires is an actress and writer from the UK. She has a home here on Antigua and has become quite active in the arts, staging productions of her own and participating in local productions. She is the author of several books and has gifted them to Wadadli Pen finalists in the past. This time around she is giving the gift of time having agreed to provide a mentorship session to one of our finalists. I’m happy for this as this is something I’ve been wanting to offer from the jump – an opportunity to learn from a writer already doing, ask your questions and gain some insights. It’s something I try to do and B with the spots she offers to Just Write as well, but it’s nice to have another avenue where a young aspirant can through Wadadli Pen connect with a working writer and learn a little something something.
Juneth Webson is an Antiguan resident overseas who reached out and offered to contribute to our effort; her cash contribution and the gifts she has promised as well will be most welcomed.
Wildflower Studio is the banner under which Trinidad and Tobagonian artist Danielle Boodoo-Fortune markets the art she creates – some of which she’ll be contributing to our 2014 prize package.
Floree Williams is the author of two books. This will be her third year with Wadadli Pen as a judge as well. I love that she’s always enthusiastic, offering before you even ask as she did with her contribution to this year’s prize package.
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