The Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project: A Space for Young Antiguans and Barbudans to Get Creative

Talked a bit about the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project on Observer Radio ( @Observer Media ) this week. Thanks to Darren Matthew Ward and Amar Spencer.

I’ll add only that I’m here situated in Antigua, a writer and a media person, interested in working with young writers or with young people (and adults, my adult writing workshops, like Ah-nuld, will be back) in general who want to improve their literary skills or just carve a space in their lives to flex/exercise their literary muscles. We are all works in progress and I continue to work on my own as well, participating in writing workshops and retreats when I’m able. You don’t realize how draining life can be on your creativity until you’re in a space, if only for an hour that is just about the creativity.

Darren asked me during our interview about the future of the arts (in Antigua and Barbuda) and (despite the intimations by some that I am effectively in a dying industry and the sense, certainly in our space where it is not prioritized) all I can say is go back to earliest civilization, there has been a creative spark, through all the changes over millennia, there has been a creative spark, on the plantations where oppressors worked overtime to stamp out my ancestors’ humanity, there was a creative spark, there will be as long as there are humans trying to interact with or make sense of their world, as long as there is a living, breathing soul inside of us, a creative spark. We create because we are.

As a freelance writer, in a space with limited (very limited) support for the creative arts, I try to find ways to not only do what I do, share my own work but work with others. When I started Wadadli Pen, best known as an annual arts Challenge it aspired and aspires to be more than a competition. As a voluntary project with zero resources of its own, the Challenge is primarily what I’ve been able to do with it. But one thing the challenge reveals each year is the spark of potential in so many of our young people and young writers, there only to be stoked and encouraged.

Through the Jhohadli Writing Project, my own professional writing services, I hope to play a more developmental role, allowing people to pay where they can and/or businesses and individuals to support someone else in the journey, where they are able and willing. It’s not something I can do for free, but I do want it to be accessible which is one of the reasons that I invite sponsorship so that I can offer spaces to promising writers who don’t have the ability to pay. That’s where I am with this.

Appreciated the opportunity to share more.

And as usual thinking about a million other things I should have said (such as the obvious connection between this arts programme and the kind of programme the kids in #MusicalYouth were involved with). Musical Youth is my latest book and my publisher CaribbeanReads will probably want to ring my ear for not plugging it…or Best of Books which was so gracious for spotlighting the book as its teen summer read. Glad I got to get a word in on the reading challenge put on by my two primary voluntary projects the Cushion Club and Wadadli Pen (supported with book discounts by Best of Books and Cindy’s Bookstore…shout out as well to Map Shop which helped us compile the reading list).

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,  Fish Outta Water, Oh Gad!, and Musical Youth). 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 and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. And using any creative work without crediting the creator will open you up to legal action. Respect copyright.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS

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