Damarae by Rosie Pickering (Wadadli Pen Honourable Mention, 2018)

Rosie Pickering

I am not afraid.
The Zemis and my father will protect us
For he is the Cacique,
Ruler of all Arawaks

In the Bohio I cook,
In the hamaka I rest but
Today we celebrate the life of Mama
She will visit Coyaba
To dance and feast forever

While we munch away
On baked geese and cassava
I hear a rustle in the bush
Father demands the women and children inside
Men are near
But I am Damarae
I have no fear.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosie Pickering, 14, is a student at St. Anthony’s Secondary School. She was born in England and came of age in Antigua, after sailing here with her family  across the Atlantic when she was one year old. She has lived here ever since.


Rosie collecting her prize from Wadadli Pen patron and London Rocks author Brenda Lee Browne.



“I decided to write a poem about some of the history of Antigua, using a teenage Arawak girl to kind of depict what a typical day in her village was. I have researched on this time period and have used some words and phrases that maybe the Arawaks would have used back then.” – Rosie

PRIZES WON: As with all the honourable mentions, Rosie received a training session (Presenting: Telling Your Story Orally) from Barbara Arrindell & Associates, and books and a certificate from the Best of Books.

ABOUT WADADLI PEN 2018: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 14 years later. The project was launched by Joanne C. Hillhouse with D. Gisele Isaac and the Young Explorer publication. Today, its core team is Hillhouse with past finalists Devra Thomas and Margaret Irish, and writers and long time patrons and partners Floree Whyte and Barbara Arrindell. The name of each winner is emblazoned on the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque, named for one of the project’s earliest volunteers (and sister-friend of founder, Joanne C. Hillhouse) who died in 2015. The Challenge is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. The Challenge has encouraged young writers in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to write on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. It doesn’t often prescribe other limitations, but this year it did request specifically historical fiction/poetry. Normally, prizes are broken down by age categories but this year it’s winner take all with only one winner and a handful of honourable mentions (Andre Warner, Rosie Pickering, Andrecia Lewis, Chloe Martin, and Ava Ralph). Congratulations to them all. Thanks to the patrons and to partners – Floree Whyte, Barbara Arrindell, Devra Thomas, and Margaret Irish. To find out how you can continue to support the work of Wadadli Pen contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

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,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. 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, Wadadli Pen 2018, Wadadli Pen News

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