Michaela Harris, a past Wadadli Pen finalist (shortlisted in 2012, 2nd runner up in the 13 to 17 age category in 2013), is the programme’s first youth intern (2017) – or any-age of intern. the internship programme is part volunteerism, part professional development. Michaela is a student at the Antigua State College, and made a very compelling case in her application letter to the programme. Her excitement was undimmed when I met with her for her orientation session.
One of her first duties was to pen a blog piece on writing, Wadadli Pen, and why you should start writing. Here it is.
by Michaela Harris
Creative writing has held my interest for a very long time. As a child, I had dreams of becoming a famous author or poet alongside another career choice. Though timid is not particularly an adjective I would associate with my younger self, I often wrote pieces and kept them as my own tiny treasures. However, over time, I longed to share my work with others, as this would help me to grow as a writer and an individual. It was also my desire to inspire other young people like myself to express themselves.
When I learned of the Wadadli Pen Competition, I decided that this would be my “take off”. My first attempt (Ah Tired Warn Yuh) was short listed – a great accomplishment for me. After listening to amazing pieces by other young Antiguans as well as feeling the warmth of welcome by the facilitators, I was driven to enter again. With my second attempt (Secret of de Mango Tree), I was second runner up. I was simply ecstatic. As such, now a college student, having learned of the internship being offered under this initiative, I was more than willing.
Wadadli Pen provides a platform for individuals to combine talent and skill to produce unique pieces. Being a part of this competition exposes young writers to different styles; it can, also, help you to take and mix those different writing styles, creating your very own. It also teaches and cultivates versatility as it encourages writers to take a different approach to exploring familiar themes. This initiative also actively involves youths in doing something positive and developmental, while stimulating their minds. Without doubt I whole heartedly encourage eligible individuals to participate, as they would become a part of a network of positive, influential, and inspiring people.
Participate. Write before you lose passion in something you love. Write before you think you’re too busy in life. Write, share your views, express yourself, share your talent. In all of this, only great things can be achieved.
The 2017 Wadadli Pen Challenge season launches soon. So, if you’re a young Antiguan and Barbudan 35 or younger, I hope you’re writing. If you’re a potential patron (someone who wants to contribute to supporting the development of both youth and the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda) contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org