WADADLI PEN 2014 FAQs

I’m going to be using this space for questions that come to me about the 2014 Wadadli Pen season, at least until the January 31st 2014 submission (for writers) and registration (for artists) deadline. I figure if one person has the question, others might, but might not ask. So here goes:

What’s the website address?

wadadlipenlogo

https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com … though, if you’re here, you already know that. But here’s a more specific link https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/wadadli-pen-2014 and an even more specific link https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/wadadli-pen-challenge-2014-guidelines-literary-and-visual-arts

Is the writer required to submit three stories?

No but he or she can submit up to three stories. So 1, 2, or 3, any of those numbers will do.

In 2013, Asha Challenger had two submissions and thanks to that earned three spots in the finals including the overall win. (Photo courtesy AntiguaChronicle.net)

In 2013, Asha Challenger had two submissions and thanks to that earned three spots in the finals including the overall win. (Photo courtesy AntiguaChronicle.net)

Do stories have to be Caribbean based?

It’s not that the story has to be set in the Caribbean but it should clearly come from a Caribbean imagination…i.e. not be a soulless generic story or a story that feels North American or British as opposed to Caribbean…for instance, you can write fairy tales and fantasies which obviously wouldn’t be set specifically in the Caribbean (or a Caribbean reality as we know it) but when we read them shouldn’t feel like a Harry Potter knock off.  On the flipside, be original and authentic, and try to avoid weighing down your story with Caribbean clichés.

A chicken going on an adventure toward a destination he would have been horrified to anticipate, a creation fable that begins underground, two stories of women who might or might not be what they seem, horror in your own home, and a boy finally beginning to understand his father...these are some of the ground covered by 2006 stories by the finalists pictured here.

A chicken going on an adventure toward a destination he would have been horrified to anticipate, a creation fable that begins underground, two stories of women who might or might not be what they seem, horror in your own home, and a boy finally beginning to understand his father…these are some of the ground covered by 2006 stories by the finalists pictured here.

I have illustrations for my story; can I submit them with the story?

Akeile Benjamin submitted this image in 2012 with her story The Adventures of Mr. Coconut.

Akeile Benjamin submitted this image in 2012 with her story The Adventures of Mr. Coconut.

You can submit them but in a separate image file; the stories should be submitted in a Word file. The illustrations will not be judged but, if we like them, we may post them with your story if it makes the finals. If you are also an artist, remember you can register for the art Challenge in which registered artists will be challenged to create cover art for shortlisted stories. UPDATED to add, if you’re writing a story that’s intended as something in the genre of a graphic  novel, comic, or children’s picture book in which the images are essential to the storytelling still submit words and images separately but indicate in the story where the images fit. Also you would still have to register separately for the visual arts cover design prize.

Do I have to write something new or can I submit stories I already have?

As long as it’s original (as in originally yours) and previously unpublished (including online publishing), you can submit it. We do urge you to review it before submitting and make sure it’s your best effort…editing and redrafting are parts of the writing process.

One of our youngest finalists ever, 8 year old Chammaiah Ambrose's 2013 entry was her take on a well travelled folk tale - How Tigers Got Stripes.

One of our youngest finalists ever, 8 year old Chammaiah Ambrose’s 2013 entry was her take on a well travelled folk tale – How Tigers Got Stripes.

Why is the Challenge limited to Antiguans and Barbudans 35 years and younger?

The top three writers overall in 2013 hailed from three distinct age categories 12 and younger, 13 to 17, and 18 to 35.

The top three writers overall in 2013 hailed from three distinct age categories 12 and younger, 13 to 17, and 18 to 35.

When the programme started it was out of a desire to offer something that wasn’t there when I was a writer coming of age in Antigua and Barbuda. It was initially limited to young people 18 or younger. Clearly, the age cap has jumped in response to the need to encourage adult writers striving to come into their own (perhaps an encouragement to myself as well as I struggled to come into my own) while keeping with the focus on youth (by the UN definition of youth), and this year teachers of any age can participate …so who knows for the future.

Can a teacher can submit under the 35 and under category and enter again as a teacher, so in total, submitting 6 pieces? Same for visual arts and writing categories?

The maximum number of submissions per person is three in either visual or literary arts. But check out these scenarios:

If you’re a teacher, say, 25 or maybe 31 years old, you can submit those three pieces and in the accompanying bio indicate your age and that you’re a teacher and your entries will be considered in the general writing competition and also for the teachers’ prize – doubling your chance to win.

If you’re a teacher, say, 36 or maybe 56 years old, you can submit those three pieces and in the accompanying bio indicate your age and that you’re a teacher and your entries will be considered for the teachers’ prize – one chance to win.

The teachers prize is for writing entries only; so, for the visual arts prize, you do have to be 35 years or younger, teacher or not…and, as a reminder, for the visual arts prize, you’re not expected to submit art cold, rather you are being invited to register and will be given instructions to create cover art for shortlisted stories which will be posted with the stories when all is said and done.

If you’re a teacher 35 years and younger submitting three entries for the writing prize, and assigned three cover designs for the visual arts contest, that’s a scenario under which you could be making six submissions – and tripling your chances to win – as you’ll be contesting for the visual arts prize, the writing challenge prize, and the teachers prize. You could amp it up by encouraging your students to enter and nabbing the prize for most submissions for your school.

Students at Trinity Academy pictured with Joy Lawrence who took our message to the schools inviting entries...here's hoping it bears fruit in terms of strong response from both teachers and students.

Students at Trinity Academy pictured with Joy Lawrence who took our message to the schools inviting entries…here’s hoping it bears fruit in terms of strong response from both teachers and students.

I teach but not in school, am I still eligible for the teacher’s challenge?

If you are a teacher in a classroom setting, you are eligible. The person who raised this question teaches in teacher training and is very much eligible; whatever level you work at, early childhood to tertiary and beyond, if you’re a teacher, you’re eligible. The idea is to create a story that you could – and we would in fact encourage you to – share with your students or in some way use in the classroom in creative ways. Remember you can submit up to three entries.

This is not a FAQ but…

Please read, read, and re-read your entries and edit as  necessary then get someone else to give it a second eye for you…put your best foot forward.

Good luck.

UPDATED! TO ADD…

You say any genre…does that include erotica? As you said individuals can let their imaginations run wild.

Well, this question caught me because it’s not something I had considered. But the correct answer is that, by the stated rules of the contest, erotica (New Latin, from Greek erōtika, neuter plural of erōtikos, meaning literary or artistic works exploring sexual themes) is very much eligible…and there are perhaps adult writers who might want to explore the genre…no judgment…though if it is among the finalists, I’ll probably need to configure some kind of parental advisory before posting since neither Wadadli Pen nor the site itself is adults only. As with all writing, whatever the genre, literary merit will be the critical factor in making the short list. One proviso: if you are a teacher, this will be considered for the main prize but not the teachers prize as we do want the teachers prize to be something that you can share with your students – one reason we’ve dubbed it the Lead by Example Teachers Prize.

Is it okay for a person to enter both the regular and teacher categories?

With rare exceptions (see genre question) teachers are automatically entered for both the general and teachers prize. Three entries maximum.

I’m a little mixed up. Is it that one who is a teacher has the opportunity to enter in TWO categories? If so, does it mean two sets of a maximum of THREE pieces being submitted?

Everyone can submit a maximum of three pieces ONLY…if you indicate that you’re a teacher, your entries (one, or two or three stories or poems) will automatically be considered for the teachers’ prize PLUS they will be eligible for the main prize (you would need to indicate age so that they can be entered into the appropriate age category). So it’s one set of three maximum and those same three stories will be considered for the main and teachers prize.

When’s the submission deadline?

January 31st

N.B. the submission deadline for the Writing Challenge and the registration deadline for the Art Challenge are the same – January 31st 2014.

What’s the desired length for each entry?

600 words or less.

600 words? That’s a lot for little children.

They are not expected to write 600 words. Their entry can be any length (50 words, 100 words…) but they should not go over 600 words.

I’ve allowed my students to pretend to be a character from an existing work or write an alternative ending. Are these eligible for the prize?

This would be okay if what they’ve written is not identical to the original i.e. if they’re using it for inspiration but not plagiarizing it.

What is the procedure for sending in students’ work? Some of them do not have a computer or internet access and I would have to submit them. Should they all be attached to one email and, if they are, what would be the title for the email?

It’s possible for teachers to submit all entries on behalf of their students. You can send as one email or as a series of emails; use your name and the name of the school in the subject line. Also provide your contact details for when we need to follow up. Please note, this still has to be done via email as we do not have the volunteer personnel to type up multiple entries and the entries do have to be typed for submission to the judges. Submit the writers’ complete information per the guidelines but, as much as possible, make sure their names don’t appear on the actual entry as the judges need to read the entries blind. If, under the circumstances, you need more time, please let us know and we will give consideration as long as is reasonable within our timeline. Please don’t let the hindrances stop you from submitting. The guidelines are to aid us in processing the entries as efficiently and completely as possible but we don’t want  a promising writer to be discouraged by the bureaucracy or by any technological limitations.

How does one register for the literary Challenge?

The visual arts Challenge requires registration. Do so by submitting your name, contact info, and a bit about yourself to wadadlipen@yahoo.com The literary Challenge does not require registration; to participate in the literary Challenge…you need to write and submit a story or poem, 600 words or less towadadlipen@yahoo.com… guidelines for both literary and visual arts challenge can be found here – https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/wadadli-pen-challenge-2014-guidelines-literary-and-visual-arts/

I’ll add something else that’s come up; two things actually…you do need to be 35 and younger to participate, so you need to indicate your age. If you fail to indicate your age, your entry may be disqualified. If you are a teacher, though you can be any age to enter, please indicate your age as well for our records and for proper classification of those of you who are teachers and still eligible for the main prize.

Also entries must be emailed to wadadlipen@yahoo.com Hard copy entries dropped off somewhere for pick up may not be considered – except with rare exception and specific permission – as there are cost and procedural concerns (translation: we don’t want to discourage anyone from submitting but we simply don’t have the womanpower to type up entries mailed or dropped off somewhere – yes, we used to do this in the past because we didn’t want anyone to not submit because they didn’t have access to a computer but honestly we can’t keep up and we’re hoping that with a lot more access to computers now as opposed to 10 years ago, you can get creative and get those entries in..if push comes to shove and you can’t, let us know and we’ll try to work with you…but meantime, try and work with us, nuh. Thanks.)

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, 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!), founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize.  All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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