EDITED April 4th 2016
Each year I try to track down the best prizes not as the reason for writing but as incentive and reward to top participants in the Wadadli Pen Challenge. This year we have prizes valued at upwards of EC$3000 (gifts, cash) overall thanks to the following. Big thanks to them again and again. I’ve
m just now processing the entries (may post on that separately) and shortly will begin begun collecting on these pledges and planning the climax of every Wadadli Pen season, the awards ceremony. A reminder re who’s pledged what:
Anonymous – Let me first hold this space for those who prefer not to be named. Their contribution is a gift in the truest sense of the word. This number one spot belongs to one gentleman in particular who has been giving EC$500 since 2012 with the assurance that as long as he has it to give, we can count on him. They don’t make many patrons like that.
Pamela Arthurton – owner of Caribworld Travel, Pamela Arthurton has been involved with the literary arts and Wadadli Pen before she even became an official patron, for the first time in 2013. This is her third time contributing the symbolic Wadadli Pen pen to the winner. As founder of the now defunct Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival, Arthurton has also contributed a number of book prizes to this years’ package.
Barbuda Express – this link by sea between Antigua and sister island Barbuda has been on board with Wadadli Pen for several years – its gifts, return tickets allowing our young people to discover or re-discover one of the most beautiful, and hopefully will remain pristine, oases in the Caribbean. One past beneficiary blogged the experience here. This year, Barbuda Express plans to make an island tour x2 (complete with ferry ride, lunch, and tour valued at $360 each) part of their pledge package to Wadadli Pen.
Best of Books – the St. Mary’s Street bookstore has been a Wadadli Pen ride or die pretty much from the beginning; not surprising when you consider that in many ways the book store operates as a community space as much as it does a business. It’s a space where bookish and non-bookish young people alike continue to find a haven – where from the book clubs to the open mics, to its sponsorship of select young people for workshops, to its support of literacy/literary projects, its enthusiasm for working with local authors, and on and on, it helps to bring vibrancy not just to the literary community but to the community, generally. Since about 2011, it has had an ever-expanding role in the fortunes of Wadadli Pen – hosting the awards, providing prizes – books for winners, winner’s plaque and other certificates, giving advice, encouragement, support.
CaribbeanReads Publishing – In recent years, this Caribbean imprint has been more than a business (publishing books like my own Musical Youth) but has also played a developmental role with respect to literary arts in the region. This independent publishing house’s contribution of money, gifts, and time to Wadadli Pen is only one small aspect of that.
Code – the Canada based non-profit is not strictly speaking a 2016 patron, but some of the books they contributed last year are holdovers for this year. The books are award winners from the Burt Award for teen/young adult Caribbean fiction.
Cushion Club – A EC
$50 EC$60 gift certificate for books (and offer of an additional two EC$30 EC$35 gift certificates as encouragement to two other young writers PLUS an additional incentive prize of EC$25 for one of the honourable mentions), a prize donated by Cedric Holder in the name of the Cushion Club (a reading club for kids which meets Saturdays at the University of the West Indies Open Campus) since the earliest days of Wadadli Pen is testimony to the fact that you don’t have to have a lot to give a little.
Frank B. Armstrong – This wholesaler represents several brands including Seven Seas; their commitment to youth and education has been evident with their involvement in programmes like the annual spelling bee and Wadadli Pen over the years. They’re contributing EC$500 plus branded gift items in 2016.
Joanne C. Hillhouse – Founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize and an author/freelance writer and editor, Hillhouse will be kicking in a copy her book Dancing Nude in the Moonlight.
Just Write Writers’ Retreat – The Brenda Lee Browne run annual weekend long retreat has provided a space for writers to create and to learn; Wadadli Pen Challenge winners have benefited in the past and thanks to Browne’s generousity and that of her sponsors, will benefit again. Browne, you may also remember, is a past Wadadli Pen judge. To book your spot at future retreats, stay plugged in.
Dr. Hazra Medica – one of Antigua and Barbuda’s most recent Ph.D’s (via Oxford University) and, I believe, the first to explore questions of identity (racial, gender, class, national and et cetera) in Antiguan and Barbudan literature – oral and written – in her research; an award winning writer in her own right (Commonwealth short story and Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest finalist), Medica, now cultural advisor to the Minister of Culture and Festivals Office, has reached out with her $500 pledge and offer to do more to support the programme, making her the newest friend of Wadadli Pen.
Paperclips – Thank you to them for the discount they gave on one of our purchased items.
Papillote Press –
will be donating has donated a hot-off-the-press copy of Gone to Drift by Jamaican writer Diana McCaulay (second placed for the 2015 Burt Award for teen/YA Caribbean literature) – described by author Pamela Mordecai as “realistic, often funny and deeply touching.” McCaulay, who donated copies of her earlier books (Dog-Heart, Huracan) in a past Wadadli Pen Challenge season, previously won the Regional Commonwealth writing prize among others. Her award winning young adult manuscript has been published by Papillote, which primarily publishes books out of Dominica, and thanks to sponsorship from CODE will be distributed to young readers across the Caribbean.
Raw Island Products – entrepreneur Eef Armstrong (whose daughter Vega, incidentally, was a Wadadli Pen finalist between 2012 and 2014) creates all natural products and for the past few years has offered to donate a basket of her specialty goods to the winner. We love donors who give before we even think to ask.
Juneth Webson – being based in the US hasn’t stopped this Antiguan from offering to give;
she has delivered before with cash and prizes valued at more than $500, and
pledges to do has done so again.