About WADADLI PEN

 

Joanne C. Hillhouse with 2012 Wadadli Pen finalists during the awards ceremony hosted by the Best of Books.

YEAR LAUNCHED 2004

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Wadadli Pen 2016 Challenge winners in the 12 and younger age category Frank B. Armstrong rep Akeilah Hillhouse.

GENESIS  In 2003, Joanne C. Hillhouse, who had just published her first novella The Boy from Willow Bend, hatched the idea of a literary prize for Antigua and Barbuda. She was motivated by the lack of systems in her community to encourage and support her during her journey as a writer-becoming, the fact that such systems still did not exist, and a need to provide such support for other young writers-becoming. Though there has since been an intermittent Independence literary arts competition, state-driven systems focused on nurturing and showcasing the literary arts, as an end and a cultural driver, in and of itself, still do not exist (at this writing in 2016) – though the efforts of volunteer/non-profit programmes like the Just Write Writers Retreat and the Expressions Open Mic must be acknowledged.

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Joanne C. Hillhouse, seated far left, with Ruel Johnson, next to her, throwing up signs, and other writers from across the Caribbean at an editing workshop and reading in Guyana. 2016.

Hillhouse was also inspired by a 2003 presentation at the Caribbean Canadian Literary Expo by Guyanese writer Ruel Johnson vis-à-vis the lack of nurseries for writers in the Caribbean. She pitched her idea – for a Caribbean-centric fiction writing contest targeting teens and younger in Antigua and Barbuda – to the Young Explorer, a youth publication, and author (Considering Venus)/screenwriter (The Sweetest Mango, No Seed) D. Gisele Isaac. Both immediately came on board. And though neither remain active partners in the project, their collaboration at the outset made it viable. Credit must also go to the late Alstyne Allen (1973-2015), for whom the Best of Books-sponsored Challenge plaque has been named as of 2016, as she was a key volunteer in the early years.

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To the right is the now retired Challenge plaque; the left is the brand new Challenge plaque. All the names of the winners through the years have been re-located and the plaque has been (re)named the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque for a past volunteer member of the Wadadli Pen family (and a good friend) who died in 2015.Wadadli Pen is happy to remember her and her contribution in this way as it really couldn’t have gotten through those early years without her help.

SUMMARY    Wadadli Pen’s flagship project has been an annual writing Challenge, guiding young Creatives toward culturally relevant literary expression, and nurturing and showcasing their best efforts. In time, the Challenge expanded from fiction to other genres, and other prizes have been added including at one time a Lead by Example Teachers Prize and art prizes. Other activities have included workshops, recording and broadcasting of winning works, the Wadadli Pen website promoting not just the programme but the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda  , the Caribbean, and beyond.

2005 Wadadli Pen finalists flanked by then Youth Minister (guest speaker at the awards ceremony) Winston Williams and co-founder and then chief WP judge D. Gisele Isaac.

2005 Wadadli Pen finalists flanked by then Youth Minister (guest speaker at the awards ceremony) Winston Williams and co-founder and then chief WP judge D. Gisele Isaac. The Challenge awards was held that year at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda.

GOAL To Nurture and showcase the literary (all, but especially the literary) arts in Antigua and Barbuda

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Winner 12 and younger, Chammaiah, with Akeilah of Frank B. Armstrong.

AIMS
-To promote a love of the written word among young people in and of Antigua and Barbuda
-To provide opportunity for fledgling writers in and of Antigua and Barbuda
-To channel youthful energies in and of Antigua and Barbuda into creative endeavours
-To promote the works of young writers in and of Antigua and Barbuda
-To give young writers  in and of Antigua and Barbuda a chance to see the works of their peers
-To create a lasting impact by preserving the literary endeavours of young Antiguans and Barbudans (and residents thereof) and putting them to use – for instance, in promoting future contests or storytelling generally
ETA -To celebrate all Antiguan and Barbudan art and culture – to engage with arts from the wider Caribbean and other parts of the world

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2011 Wadadli Pen Challenge judge Brenda Lee Browne speaking at the awards ceremony, held that year at the University Centre as part of the Best of Books 10 anniversary celebrations

IMPACT

…it’s in the effort and the pay off…

“Writing for the Wadadli Pen Challenge this year wasn’t easy: and that is precisely why it’s so beneficial, year in and year out. It is only through effort that we can grow, and only through difficulty can we triumph. We had a number of young persons enter the Wadadli Pen Challenge in 2016, and I believe that the process of writing a cohesive story or poem in 600 words or less, tailoring each word and each sentence for maximum impact, has allowed these young persons to increase their writing ability just a little bit more.” (Daryl George, 2016 winner, in open letter)

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Daryl George collecting his prize as an honourable mention in 2012 from guest speaker and master artist/photographer Mali A. Olatunji.

…it’s in the moments…

“I looked at the face of a young man as he heard his words being read on stage and it was like magic … ” (observer @ Wadadli Pen awards ceremony, personal note)

…it’s in getting even one writer to find his/her voice…

“Wadadli pen opened the door to my creativity, it inspired me to let go of my fears and speak out, and most of all it helped me to channel all the energy I had by simply putting pen to paper giving something a narrative shape and in so doing I began to believe in the shape of my life again, in beginnings, and middles, and endings.” (Liscia Lawrence, past finalist, 2014 open letter to Wadadli Pen about entering the Challenge for the first time in 2004 and how it affected her life. Read the full letter.)

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One of our first finalists in 2004, Liscia Lawrence, entered again in 2014, and emerged as an honourable mention in the annual Challenge. She’s pictured collecting her prize from D. Gisele Isaac, during the awards ceremony at the Best of Books.

…it’s in the way potential shines through…

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1st year, 1st 12 and younger winner. Verdanci Benta. Wadadli Pen, 2004.

“I write to express appreciation to you and your team for allowing young writers like [my son] to explore their writing potential. He was quite reluctant to enter at first, but warmed up to the challenge. Excited, elated and ecstatic are just a few of the words that could explain how he felt, by being able to share his story and be rewarded for his effort.” (letter from a mother)

etc.

ANNUAL CHALLENGE STATISTICS

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Joanne C. Hillhouse flanked by 2013, 13 to 17 Wadadli Pen Challenge winners.

Total Number of submissions over the years: 465 (2004 to 2016)
Average number of annual submissions over the years: 47 (to 2016)
Best year: 2014 (with 79 submissions total)

Rosalie Richards is an example of someone who has grown with Wadadli Pen. She first entered with her story The Creation in 2006, placing second runner up; in 2012, she submitted Smitten and won several prizes including the overall prize. The picture on the left is at the Museum where we held the awards ceremony in 2006; the picture on the right is at the Best of Books and Richards has in her hands her ABI sponsored plaque and the Best of Books sponsored annual Challenge trophy which hangs in the bookstore with the names of all the overall winners through the years.

Rosalie Richards is an example of someone who has grown with Wadadli Pen. She first entered with her story The Creation in 2006, placing second runner up; in 2012, she submitted Smitten and won several prizes including the overall prize. The picture on the left is at the Museum where we held the awards ceremony in 2006; the picture on the right is 2012 at the Best of Books and Richards has in her hands her ABI sponsored plaque and the Best of Books sponsored annual Challenge trophy which hangs in the bookstore with the names of all the overall winners through the years.

Year: 2004
Number of submissions: 45
Trivia: Fiction only; two main categories – overall winner plus a top three and best writer under 12
Winners

Joanne C. Hillhouse, right, with first Wadadli Pen winner, Gemma George left during the awards ceremony held in 2004 in the Heritage Hotel conference room. Her winning story was Stray Dog Prepares for the Storm.

Joanne C. Hillhouse, right, with first Wadadli Pen winner, Gemma George left during the awards ceremony held in 2004 in the Heritage Hotel conference room. Her winning story was Stray Dog Prepares for the Storm.

Year: 2005
Number of submissions: 63
Trivia: Prize added for school with the most submissions – Buckley’s Primary was the winner

Joanne C. Hillhouse conducting a story writing workshop at Buckley's Primary in the build-up to Wadadli Pen. Wadadli Pen realizes and with it could have more of this kind of direct contact and a thousand teachers like Ms. Leah Robinson who proactive encouraged her children to read and write, and who embraced Wadadli Pen and the Cushion Club which developed a partnership with the school - sponsoring an annual humanities prize - for many years.

Joanne C. Hillhouse conducting a story writing workshop at Buckley’s Primary in the build-up to Wadadli Pen. Wadadli Pen realizes it should have more of this kind of direct contact with students, but that will take funding. Email wadadlipen@gmail.com if you want to support more of this kind of activity. Credit as well to teachers like Ms. Leah Robinson who proactively encouraged her children to read and write, and who embraced Wadadli Pen and the Cushion Club which developed a partnership with the school – sponsoring an annual humanities prize – for several years.

Winners

Year: 2006
Number of submissions: 23
Winners

2006 winners: from left to right, Angelica O'Donoghue, Verdanci Benta, Rilys Adams, Rosalie Richards, and Blair A. Rose.

2006 winners: from left to right, Angelica O’Donoghue, Verdanci Benta, Rilys Adams, Rosalie Richards, and Blair A. Rose.

Year: 2010
Number of submissions: 23
Trivia: First year of the Wadadli Pen art Challenge; addition of other genres besides fiction (i.e. poetry and creative non fiction); first themed Challenge (Black and Beautiful); changed age categories to 12 and younger, 13 to 17, 18 to 35 and upped the overall age limit to 35; for the first (and to date only) time there was no overall literary winner
Winners

 

 

Year: 2011
Number of submissions: 40
Trivia: Specific challenge to write stories and create illustrations related to those stories for the children’s market

S A Dixon's illustration for Market Day by Latisha Walker-Jacobs.

S A Dixon’s illustration for Market Day by Latisha Walker-Jacobs.

Winners

Chatrisse Beazer has been a programme regular since the earliest years of Wadadli Pen while still a primary school student. In 2011, as a secondary school student she placed in the top 3.

Chatrisse Beazer has been a regular since the earliest years of Wadadli Pen while still a primary school student. In 2011, as a secondary school student she placed in the top 3.

Year: 2012
Number of submissions: 57
Trivia: Additional one time themed sub-categories Origins and Liberate Love; announcement of a shortlist ahead of the actual awards introduced; return of the prize for the school with the most submissions – prize went to the Antigua Wesleyan Junior Academy
Winners

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It’s worth noting that Wadadli Pen would not have been able to do all it has done over the years without the support of corporate and individual patrons – Joanne C. Hillhouse is pictured with Paula Lee, then corporate communications manager for then Cable & Wireless, at a prize handover for the 2005 Wadadli Pen Challenge.

Reader reviews (2012):
“Read and thought the poet was much older. She is quite a talent!” (facebook, re winning poem Smitten by Rosalie Richards)

“I loved the story! Vega is a very talented writer. Congratulations to Vega!”
“Wow! So impressed!”
“Very nice story. Vega is very talented.” (Anansesem, re Vega Armstrong’s Legend of the Sea Lords)

“This was epic!”
“…very interesting and entertaining…”
“I really do love this story. The voice that comes through is sweet, sincere and very special. I hope Akeile continues to write!”
“I too was impressed by Akeile’s story. She masters the simplicity and brevity that children’s authors aim for. All aspiring children’s authors can stand to learn a lot from reading children’s writing.”
“This story is so incredibly lovely, and the illustration accompanies it perfectly. I look forward to reading more by Akeile Benjamin in the future!” (Anansesem, re Akeile Benjamin’s Adventures of Mr. Coconut)

Jordee Josiah collecting her prize from guest speaker Mali Olatunji during the 2012 awards ceremony.

Jordee Josiah collecting her prize from guest speaker Mali Olatunji during the 2012 awards ceremony.

Year: 2013
Number of submissions: 55
Trivia: Anansi themed art prize and introduction of adult and junior category of art winners
Winners
Reviews:
“Congratulations on a very timely story Mr. George, one need not be a rocket scientist ‘to get it’. I hope it gets read by more than just the ‘usual suspects’…………………….” (Wadadli Pen comments section, re Ceramic Blues by Daryl George)

2013 winners from left Zuri Holder, Asha Graham, Daryl George.

2013 winners from left Zuri Holder, Asha Graham, Daryl George.

Year: 2014

As a token of appreciation for their support of and hard work on behalf of Wadadli Pen over the years these tokens, sponsored by Photogenesis, were presented to long time partners the Best of Books, D. Gisele Isaac, Alstyne Allen, and Brenda Lee Browne.

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary, 2014, as a token of appreciation for their support of and hard work on behalf of Wadadli Pen over the years, these gifts, sponsored by Photogenesis, were presented to long time partners the Best of Books, D. Gisele Isaac, Alstyne Allen, and Brenda Lee Browne.

Number of submissions: 79
Trivia: Introduction of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize; for visual artists there was a cover design Challenge in which they had to design covers for short listed stories
Winners
Review: “Very good piece. It’s good to see a young person coming up through the ranks who is talented and using that talent at such a young age. I guess they’re right when they say AGE is just a number….. Lovely story.” (
Wadadli Pen comments, re Asha Graham’s winning 2014 story Lajabless)

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We’ve had the most remarkable prizes over the years – some of the cuddly variety – like these giant teddies in 2005. Pictured are then Culture Director Heather Doram and 2005 winner Sandrena Martin.

 

Year: 2015
Number of submissions: 31
Trivia: Flash Fiction Challenge only – winner takes all

Margaret Irish, right, collecting certificates from a representative of sponsor, Flow, 2015. Margaret was the winner of the Flash prize.

Margaret Irish, right, collecting certificates from a representative of sponsor, Flow, 2015. Margaret was the winner of the Flash prize.

Winners
Review: ” Keep up the good work in bringing our budding talent to the fore. I enjoyed them all.” (from the Wadadli Pen comments section)

Year: 2016
Number of (eligible) submissions: 49

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Daryl George, 2016 winner, and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse pose with the Best of Books sponsored Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge plaque.

Winners

 

In 2011, Orique Gordon won the 12 and younger category and tied for second place overall.

In 2011, Orique Gordon won the 12 and younger category and tied for second place overall. He’s seen here collecting from E. M. Grimes-Graeme of Best of Books, which was having a special anniversary that year as well. The joint event was held at the University of the West Indies Open Campus (Antigua and Barbuda)

 

Number of appearances by schools in the winners’ circle in descending order (2004 to 2016):
Antigua State College (18)
Antigua Girls High (12) – also secondary school with the most submissions in 2013
Christ the King High (7) – also school with most submissions in 2016
St. John’s Catholic Primary (7) – also primary school with the most submissions in 2013
Sunnyside Tutorial (5)
Irene B. Williams (4)
Antigua Wesleyan Junior (3) – also school with the most submissions 2012
Antigua Grammar (2)
Baptist (2)
Clare Hall Secondary (2)
Mary E. Piggott (2)
Minoah Magnet (2)
St. Nicholas Primary (2)
Buckley’s Primary (1) – also school with most submissions in 2005
Foundation Mixed (1)
Glanville’s Secondary (1)
Golden Grove Primary (1)
Island Academy (1)
Ottos Comprehensive (1)
Princess Margaret (1)
St. Andrew’s Primary (1)
St. Anthony’s (1)
T. N. Kirnon (1) – also school with most submissions in 2014
Villa Primary (1)

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Pictured is Rilys Adams, then a student at the AGHS, getting ready to perform at 2006 Wadadli Pen fundraiser and literary showcase Word Up! at the Museum.

Recordings and Publications:

Poet Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau is seen in this Laura Hall photo participating in a joint Wadadli Pen-Museum fundraiser (Word Up!) in 2006. Gellizeau has also served as a judge (2011) and as a special guest at the awards ceremony (2015).

Poet Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau is seen in this Laura Hall photo participating in a joint Wadadli Pen-Museum fundraiser (Word Up!) in 2006. Gellizeau has also served as a judge (2011) and as a special guest at the awards ceremony (2015).

2004 – 2006 Winning stories were published by then partner – Young Explorer
2004 Winning stories were recorded by ABS Radio (as read by the writers)
2005 Winning stories were  recorded by HAMA Productions (as performed by the Optimist Club of St. John’s Youth Drama Club) – recordings were distributed for broadcast on radio – now uploaded to you tube
2011 Select winning pieces through the years featured in a Special Wadadli Pen Issue of Anansesem: the online Caribbean Children’s Literary Journal called the Best of Wadadli Pen
2012
  Akeile Benjamin’s The Adventures of Mr. Coconut and Vega Armstrong’s Legend of the Sea Lords published in Anansesem
2014 The Night I went to Cricket by Zion Ebony Williams, Legend of the Sea Lords by Vega Armstrong, and Smitten by Rosalie Richards published in a special Antigua and Barbuda issue of Tongues of the Ocean
Variously over the years winning stories have also been published in Antigua and Barbuda’s main daily, the Daily Observer.

Recognition – for nominations made by Wadadli Pen or received in connection with achievements under Wadadli Pen:

2005 Wadadli Pen finalists Sandrena Martin, Rilys Adams, Liscia Lawrence, and Sarah Ann Li received literary certificates from the Optimist Club of St. John’s for their contribution to the literary arts

From left Rilys, Sarah Ann Li, and Sandrena accepting their Optimist awards

From left Rilys, Sarah Ann Li, and Sandrena accepting their Optimist awards, 2011, for excellence in the literary arts. Rilys was a finalist, Sarah Ann won the youth category, and Sandrena was the overall winner.

 2015 Asha Graham who won Wadadli Pen back to back in 2013 and 2014 was awarded the Literary prize during the National Youth Awards for her achievements

Development:
2005, 2013  Wadadli Pen writing workshop

2005 workshop at the then Cushion Club meeting place, the senior centre in lower Gamles

2005 workshop at the then Cushion Club meeting place, the senior centre in lower Gambles.

(additionally Wadadli Pen finalists have participated in other workshops organized and/or facilitated by Joanne C. Hillhouse including her 2013’s Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project ,

Asha and Michaela by Joanne C Hillhouse

Asha and Michaela, two Wadadli Pen finalists, participating in the 2013 Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project

judge Brenda Lee Browne’s Just Write Writers Retreat which has for several years offered a spot to the winner and the CODE sponsored workshop for teen/YA fiction between 2012 and 2014)

Other notable developments:
2006 Word Up! Showcase and fundraiser held in partnership with the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda – Wadadli Pen finalists Rilys Adams and Sandrena Martin given the opportunity to participate in this showcase alongside seasoned Antiguan and Barbudan writers
word upThis is a cut from the press coverage of Word Up! Read the full article: Word up
2007-2009 Wadadli Pen was on hiatus
2010 Launched this website anchoring our presence on the web but props have to be given to Antigua Nice for keeping us online from the earliest seasons to this point even while the programme was on hiatus; there was a previous site (2005 – 2006) built as part of the OECS Cultural Network Project sponsored by Alliance Francaise – The Wadadli Pen logo was designed during this period by technical advisor on that project Ken Shipley – Wadadli Pen did not have the independent funding to keep the website going beyond the project’s run
2010 The Best of Books sought and received approval to begin using the name for a new open mic series, the monthly Wadadli Pen Open Mic hosted by Glen Toussaint, a writer in his own right, who would also later serve as a Wadadli Pen judge
2014 Wadadli Pen celebrated 10 years of existence
2015 Wadadli Pen teamed up with the Cushion Club Reading Club for Kids to launch a Summer Reading Challenge

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Olsfred James, a Best of Books pick in 2015, seen here collecting his prize from Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau has since published two collections as part of the arts collective Spilling Ink.

You can read the winning stories through the years here.
2016 Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, having put together a plan for the future of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize as a year-round development programme with a strong foundation, began the process of moving it from a project and labour of love to a non-profit that she hopes will endure as an arts development institution well in to the future. She pulled a team (effectively a Wadadli Pen advisory and action board) together. This team consists of past and current Wadadli Pen annual Challenge partners Floree Whyte (who has worked with the programme as a judge since 2102) and Barbara Arrindell (who, as manager of the Best of Books, has effectively supported the programme from the beginning and more actively beyond being a patron since Best of Books started hosting the awards ceremony in 2011), and past Wadadli Pen winners Devra Thomas (who won in 2011) and Margaret Irish (who won the Teachers’ Prize in 2014 and the main/flash fiction prize in 2015). The work continues.

MEDIA

wadadli-pen-in-the-obserever-newspaperIn addition to local coverage of annual Challenge activities (much thanks to the local media), Wadadli Pen has picked up some regional and even international notice as well. Samples…

Best of Books manager Barbara Arrindell with 2013 top junior writers Vega Armstrong, left, and Chammaiah Ambrose, right. Vega was an honourable mention in 2012; Vega was second and Chammaiah third 12 and younger in 2013; Vega won the category in 2014 and Chammaiah was again her runner up. Chammaiah, like other past finalists (Orique Gordon, Asha Challenger, Michaela Harris, Verdanci Benta and more have participated in writing workshops led by Joanne C. Hillhouse, most recently the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project)

Best of Books manager Barbara Arrindell with 2013 top junior writers Vega Armstrong, left, and Chammaiah Ambrose, right. Vega was an honourable mention in 2012; Vega was second and Chammaiah third 12 and younger in 2013; Vega won the category in 2014 and Chammaiah was again her runner up. Chammaiah, like other past finalists (Orique Gordon, Asha Challenger, Michaela Harris, Verdanci Benta and more) have participated in writing workshops led by Joanne C. Hillhouse, such as the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project.

“It is possibly the best testimony to the value of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize that one of its past winners is now a member of the organising team…” Lisa Allen-Agostini writing in Caribbean Beat in a piece headlined Budding Pens: the Wadadli Pen Writing Competition

Article by Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse in Bookbird: a Journal of International Children’s Literature – headlined Wadadli Pen and Young Writers in the Caribbean

This mention “Wadadli Youth Pen Prize (Antigua and Barbuda) and the Allen Prize for Young Writers (T&T) both incorporate workshop sessions into their organisational structure, resulting in rich dividends for fledgling youth scribes” by Shivanee Ramlochan in the Trinidad Guardian

Social Media (samples)
 (video by Floree Whyte)

Wadadli Pen named to Andrew Blackman’s list of Top 20 Caribbean blogs (circa 2012) – Wadadli Pen is #7 on the list

“I have had occasion to see work from this group, some from young people under 15, and was very impressed…” Diane Browne, Jamaican children’s author, writing on her blog

Repeating Islands

Guest post by Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse on the blog of Summer Edward, founder of Anansesem – headlined Nurturing Another Generation of Antiguan and Barbudan writers

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2004 winners (standing) and patrons (seated); then Culture Director and artist Heather Doram, seated, centre.

A feature in the 2016-2017 edition of Simply Antigua and Barbuda – which referenced the history and purpose of the project, and also pointed to the work we’ve been doing here on the website to build a data base of books by Antiguans and Barbudans
simply-antigua-and-barbuda

PARTNERS

Joanne C. Hillhouse (founder, coordinator, 2004 – ongoing)
Young Explorer (partner publication, 2004 – 2006)
D. Gisele Isaac (judge, 2004 – 2006, 2010)
Alstyne Allen (volunteer via Young Explorer, 2004 – 2006)
Charmaine Thomas (volunteer, 2006)
Mark Brown (art challenge coordinator and judge, 2010)
Renee Philip (art judge, 2010 – 2011)
Brenda Lee Browne (judge, 2010 – 2014)
Barbara Arrindell (manager of the Best of Books which has contributed every year since 2004 but took a more active role, particularly as relates to the awards ceremony, 2011 – 2016, member of the Wadadli Pen advisory and action board 2016 – ongoing)
Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau (judge, 2011)
Claytine Nisbett (volunteer, 2012)
Devra Thomas (Wadadli Pen 2011 winner-cum-volunteer, 2012 – 2014, member of the Wadadli Pen advisory and action board 2016 – ongoing)
Floree (Williams) Whyte (judge, 2012 – 2016, member of the Wadadli Pen advisory and action board 2016 – ongoing)
Linisa George (judge, 2013 – 2015)
Joy Lawrence (volunteer, 2014)
Carol Ottley-Mitchell (judge, 2014 – 2015)
Lia Nicholson (Wadadli Pen 2004 finalist-media ambassador, 2014)
Latisha Walker-Jacobs (2011 and 2013 Wadadli Pen finalist-media ambassador, 2014)
Joy James (art judge, 2014)
Angelica O’Donoghue (2006 winner and 2014 Wadadli Pen finalist-media ambassador, 2014)
Danielle Boodoo-Fortune (judge, 2014 – 2015)
Monica Matthew (judge, 2015)
Glen Toussaint (judge, 2016)
Cedric Holder (judge, 2016)
Margaret Irish (Wadadli Pen winner teachers prize, 2014, and flash prize, 2015 – volunteer, 2016; , member of the Wadadli Pen advisory and action board 2016 – ongoing)

CHALLENGES      Overall, the number of submissions could be higher but there still needs to be more awareness of the programme among teachers – more interaction with the schools which requires more time (which requires more money) – as this is a voluntary project, time has to be stolen (and depending on other obligations this is not always possible). There needs to be a budget to cover promotion and marketing; readings and presentations; the annual Challenge activity and other projects the founder would like to undertake (such as in-school workshops year round, and publication and production of film shorts based on the winning stories). The programme has no consistent independent financing; prizes are solicited annually (cap in hand) – a different approach is needed and for that the project ideally needs to be established as a legal non-profit so that it can set up an account, put a permanent team in place, and raise funds and run development activities year round. Proactive steps toward formalizing the Wadadli Pen foundation have been taken – as noted under ‘other notable developments’, 2016, above. Most significantly, a vision and plan has been drawn up, and a team – an advisory and action board – is in place as of 2016. We will work together to overcome the stated challenges and grow.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
WADADLI PEN Finalists
have gone on to achieve in the literary arts and other areas (N.B. Wadadli Pen does not take credit for their accomplishments; merely joins in celebrating them for continuing to strive and continuing to create)…
Rilys Adams, now an attorney, who released a spoken word CD Laid Bare (2009) and, writing as Rilzy Adams, the ebooks Sail with Me and Love Bites (2015)
Shem Alexander is an emerging visual artist (“recognized for his innovative and unique paintings on the West  Indian turpentine tree bark” – the Antiguan) who has participated in shows at Art at the Ridge and is also spotlighted in the Simply Antigua and Barbuda edition cited above
Vega Armstrong, as of 2015, at only 14, ventured into music as seen in this, her first music video
Terrikia Benjamin won other literary prizes such as the Antigua Public Library Short Story Competition (2010), the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association essay competition (2012), and was the top CSEC student from a Government School in 2014, 2016 Island Scholar
Ashley Clendenen continued to study art and has exhibited as a student in both Antigua and Barbados; she showed in a 2015 Orange Day Artivism event organized by the Directorate of Gender Affairs, Antigua.
Shakeema Edwards has excelled in other writing competitions (the Independence Literary Arts competition and others) including the Dancing Nude in the Moonlight next chapter contest with her winning poem and prose now included in the 10th anniversary edition of that book released in 2014; she has also published in Tongues of the Ocean; and, having graduated universityl continues on a career path in the field of writing and publishing in the US
Lia Nicholson, a Yale graduate, who said during a Wadadli Pen promotional interview in 2014 that she used her winning Wadadli Pen entry as her college entry essay, is as of 2015 a board member with the Environmental Awareness Group and was one of the speakers at the first ever TEDx event in the OECS, speaking on, what else, climate change ; in 2016, she was named as one of only 60 Queen’s Young Leaders from across the Commonwealth
Angelica O’Donoghue is the publisher and editor of Antigua Chronicle, an online newspaper; Angelica is a 2014-15 National Youth Award winner; named Woman of the Week in St. Lucian Voice
Kohylah Piper is still writing; here’s a link to her poetry blog, The Deafening Selah, started in 2015
Tiffany Smith won a National Youth Award for Culture and the Performing Arts in 2012
Damani Tabor is, as of 2014, an Antiguan and Barbudan Senator
Devra Thomas has since published in Tongues of the Ocean

Zoe Lewis, pictured with Joanne C. Hillhouse, was an honourable mention in the 12 and younger category in 2014.

Zoe Lewis, pictured with Joanne C. Hillhouse, was an honourable mention in the 12 and younger category in 2014.

Wadadli Pen has benefited greatly from the support of various businesses, writers, and other individuals; people who understand the value of philanthropy (giving back). Never doubt that you have had a hand in youth and art development in Antigua and Barbuda. To anyone who has supported us in anyway, we say thanks for your past and hopefully future support as we, knock on wood, continue to experiment and grow.

One of the first major patrons was Comnett (represented here by owner Gerard Shoul). He gifted inaugural winner Gemma George a computer.

One of the first major patrons was Comnett (represented here by owner Gerard Shoul). He gifted inaugural winner Gemma George a computer.

Teachers from St. John's Catholic Primary, 2013, collecting the prize for most submissions by a secondary school. The prize was US$500 worth of books towards a school library, sponsored by Hands across the Sea.

Teachers from St. John’s Catholic Primary, 2013, collecting the prize for most submissions by a secondary school. The prize was US$500 worth of books towards a school library, sponsored by Hands across the Sea.

Some of the 2014 winners with their prizes.

Some of the 2014 winners with their prizes.

Click on the links throughout this introduction and/or use the drop down menu to the right to access particulars about each year.

Margaret Irish, 2014 winner of the Lead by Example Teachers' Prize, collecting from D. Gisele Isaac. Irish went on to win the winner takes all flash fiction prize in 2015.

Margaret Irish, 2014 winner of the Lead by Example Teachers’ Prize, collecting from D. Gisele Isaac. Irish went on to win the winner takes all flash fiction prize in 2015.

 

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Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your support.

p.s. photographers include Colin James (2004), Laura Hall (Word Up! 2016), Angelica O’Donoghue for AntiguaChronicle.net (2013), the Best of Books, Joanne C. Hillhouse, and several proud parents. Thanks to anyone who has contributed to this project.

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