By now, I’ve read (and/or skimmed) all the 2017 Wadadli Pen Challenge entries. Keep in mind I’m not a judge though. That task fell to communications and advertising professional and author Floree Whyte; who had the support of her chosen team Wadadli Pen open mic coordinator, poet and storyteller, bookstore supervisor and avid reader Glen Toussaint; and Sharifa George, who studied creative arts at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination at the UWI Cave Hill campus before pursuing a degree in journalism, an avid reader and communications professional. They did the heavy lifting on this one and I can’t thank them enough.
What follows are some of the thoughts (only the positive thoughts) I jutted as I read the entries, long after all rounds of judging had been completed; so, it affects nothing and influenced nothing. Though it worked out that the judges’ picks were, for the most part, among some of my favourites, too, though I wish I could put on some kind of workshop for authors of all my favourites just to guide them a bit on how they could have strengthened their pieces. Baby steps.
I won’t name the particular entry each of my thoughts relates to, nor put them in order (no spoilers). The entries themselves will go live after the awards, scheduled for May 13th 2017 at the Wadadli Stories Book Fair, so consider this a teaser as you’ll have the opportunity to read the entries and judge for yourself shortly.
“the writing is vivid and suspenseful”
“Well put together, built suspense, with a twist”
“An exuberant love of subject comes through…rhythmic without an over-reliance on rhyme. Grounded in specific examples so that it doesn’t feel generic”
“Well executed … good pacing and tension”
“pretty good …benefits from being polished. The approach is clever …It has depth and cultural touchstones are not used in a clichéd way …The writer’s pov is clear”
“Action packed, tightly constructed”
“feels natural… funny in parts and moves at a good pace”
“the descriptions do a good job of establishing the particular context/setting of this story…I like that the writer is experimenting … a good job in rendering the setting, atmosphere, and mood of the piece”
“well-structured and clearly edited… interesting use of symbolism”
“… points where something genuinely engaging …comes through”