Congrats, Zahra – 2016 NYA Winner for Literary Arts

This year’s Literary Arts winner at the National Youth Awards is Zahra Airall. Airall is already a multiple NYA winner as she’s been involved in so many things over the years – from the Women of Antigua (When a Woman Moans, Vagina Monologues) and August Rush (Expressions), to Zee’s Youth Theatre and Sugar Apple Theatre (see our screenwriting and playwriting page for more). She’s produced and scripted (not only stage but) film/TV content and steps on stage (in numerous productions) and in front of the camera (on Keeping it Real). This past year her drama group out of Antigua Girls High School, where she teaches, won the Antigua and Barbuda Secondary Schools Drama festival, and also won some awards and critical acclaim when they took the play from the first year’s win to regional competition in Trinidad. Read her guest blog, exclusive to Wadadli Pen, here. What else? Oh, she’s a commercial and artistic photographer as well. And a mommy. She blogs here.

I’m sure I’m missing something but I think I’ve hit the highlights.

Bottom line, Zahra has been about it for a number of years and her work has often intersected with her gender and youth advocacy. Congrats, Zahra and keep making that art with purpose.


ETA: I just want to add that I have believed in and supported the idea of a National Youth Awards over the years. Every year, even if time is not on my side, I nominate someone – I usually try to nominate a few people across different categories. When I was writing for a local daily, it was easier to keep up with who was doing what and making what kind of impact. But even now that I’m currently out of the game, I try to pay attention and recognize. I also try to share so that other people will be encouraged to look around them and encourage the young people (defined as anyone 35 and younger) in their community doing amazing things. It’s about positive reinforcement. It’s about creating the kind of society we want to see, rewarding the qualities we want to encourage. I don’t know how the judges decide – what rubric they use – but it’s good to be a part of that process of drawing their attention to worthy young people (not that all people aren’t worthy just by being but, you get my point).

Past winners covered on this blog (not everyone only because we grab them as we learn about them and post as time allows, so we miss stuff) include – 2015’s media award winner Angelica O’Donoghue and literary arts award winner Asha Graham – both former Wadadli Pen winners; Glen Toussaint and Linisa George in 2013 – both won for the literary arts and now Glen is a 2016 Wadadli Pen judge while Linisa has judged in the past; in 2012 (Wadadli Pen finalist) Tiffany Smith for culture and the performing arts, Linisa George for literary arts and activism, and me for youth advocacy (yes, they have a few prizes for the over 35s as well).

As with all content (words, images, other) on, 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. Respect copyright.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

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