Category Archives: A & B Lit News Plus

News of what’s happening literally in Antigua and Barbuda

Moments of Joy: a Wadadli Pen Update

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The Wadadli Pen finalists (all but one) have re-submitted their edited pieces and these have gone off to the judges for final review and ranking.

Amidst the back and forth, and the boring behind the scenes stuff, two responses from finalists stand out.

Can I share them?

“Not gonna lie I still cannot believe you actually read my poem. Thank you so much for everything. I am beyond excited.”


“Thanks for selecting me! I’m so excited.”

Sometimes I run in to the parents, too; like the mom who shared how her daughter sat working on her poem, sharing bits of her work in progress with her, and who when she critiqued its lack of rhyme told her, “mom, poems don’t have to rhyme.” I loved this tale of a baby-poet claiming her voice.

Every time I begin to question why we do all this – seriously the work behind the scenes can make it seem like a full time job with sucky benefits and no relief from the tedium – the writers who have put their work, with trepidation, in our hands, and have had, for some, their first breakthrough on their writing journey, or find in the process some kind of affirmation, remind us why. Their joy is infectious.

For more on Wadadli Pen see links below:
Wadadli Pen 2017 Challenge Long List
Wadadli Pen 2017 Challenge Patrons
Wadadli Pen 2017
About Wadadli Pen

(Image at the top – moments of Joy from Wadadli Pen through the years).

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, and With Grace; also a freelance writer, editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator). Excerpting, reblogging, linking etc. is fine, but PLEASE do not lift ANY content (images or text) wholesale from this site without asking first and crediting the creator of that work and/or copyright holder. All Rights Reserved. If you like the content here follow or recommend the blog, also, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. Thank you.


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A & B Arts Round-up March 22nd 2017 –>

Saturday 13th May, 2017 – Wadadli Stories Book Fair – 10am to 8pm, St. John’s City. N.B. the results of the 2017 Wadadli Pen Challenge will be announced at this event and the winners awarded.

April 8th 2017 – Antigua Barbuda Horticultural Society 8th Annual Flower and Garden Show will be held at the Agave Gardens, Friars Hill Road.

March 24th 2017 – TOSTEM ’emancipation stories’ Museum Project fundraiser: BOX HAN TICKET Dishes from Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon, e.g. Ndole, Roast Fish,Ayamase, Mbongo Chobi, Jollof Rice, Moinmoin AND MORE….. TICKETS: AT THE MUSEUM Long Street, CAROLYN PERRY Community Development, ALTHEA CARTY, ABIGAIL TEAGUE, CHANTELLE TOMLINSON, MARIA BRADSHAW, JOY LAWRENCE, SEKOU LUKE, OR FROM Edith Oladele  AT THE EXHIBITION AT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY 3RD FLOORPRINCE KLAAS EXHIBITION Programme cover. TEL: 771959 OR 7827707 (include image)


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Wadadli Pen Challenge 2017 – the Long List

The judges have finished the first round of judging and have culled the submissions to a long list of 9 – three per age category. As we do, the stories/poems have been returned to the long listed writers for editing before the final round of judging to determine the top three. We return the top entries to the writers with edit notes from the judges so that said entries go through at least one round of the kind of editing they would go through before publishing, if submitted to a journal, anthology, or imprint for publishing. We do this because Wadadli Pen is developmental in intent. Writers, please do take advantage of the opportunity to improve your entries.

As a reminder, the judges don’t  receive any names or other identifying information; they evaluate the entries blind, strictly on merit. And, of course, the judges’ decisions are final. If you’re not on the list, use the disappointment to fuel your motivation to come even better next year; if you are on the list, CONGRATULATIONS. Now, edit your entries and make them even stronger and get them back in on time to be considered for one of the top prizes. If you see your name on the list and you have not received your entry for editing, email us at

FINALLY, this is what you came here for…

From approximately 90 entries! (a single year record), here’s the long list (in alphabetical order):

Schools still in the running for the school prize for most submissions –

Island Academy

St. Andrew’s Primary School

Authors who are winners in their age category and still in the running for the main prize –

Emma Belizaire (St. Andrew’s Primary School, student) – entry ‘Cricket is my Life’

Ashley Francis (St. Andrew’s Primary School, student) – entry untitled

Fayola Jardine – entry ‘Mango Picking Interruption’

Lucia Murray (St. Anthony’s Secondary, student) – entry ‘Mr Duppy’

Ava C. Ralph (Antigua Girls High School, student) – entry ‘Non fiction?’

Kaeiron Saunders (St. Anthony’s Secondary School, lecturer) – entry ‘Not Another Island Story; as told by Aunty Gah’

Shadieal Simmons (Baptist Academy, student) – entry ‘Brave Eleven-year-old saved two months Baby’

Devon Wuilliez (Island Academy, student) – entry ‘The Great Big Dumz’

Francis Yankey (Antigua Grammar School, student) – entry ‘And She Sang Fire’

Once again, congrats to the finalists; and good luck!


Some thanks:

To the teachers, principals, parents, and others who helped students/young writers get their entries in. Processing posed some challenges for us because, frankly, everyone did not follow the submission guidelines (and that’s an understatement) but, though this has delayed final processing, we do appreciate the effort; and will work to make submitting more user-friendly.

To the team – including past winner Devra Thomas who’s helping deal with communication with patrons so that we can properly reward these writers; past finalist and our first ever intern Michaela Harris who has assisted with media and administrative tasks; returning chief judge and author (Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses, Through the Window) Floree Whyte and her team for doing the Difficult; and past winner Margaret Irish who did not know what she was walking in to when she offered to take processing of entries and communicating with entrants off of my hands (but I appreciate it).

You may have noticed, if you’ve followed our pattern over these 13 years of Wadadli Pen, that we are behind schedule-wise. Some of you have already started querying (what gives?). Well, what gives is that we have decided to open up the schedule and announce the winners during the May 13th Wadadli Stories Book Fair; call it circumstance, call it fortune but we think it’s a good blend of brands. Plus another team member Barbara Arrindell is involved with both projects – as is patron the Best of Books – so it just made sense. Though it means a longer wait for the final results. Be patient with us; we will do our best to make it worth your while.

Wadadli Stories logo

For more on the project, check:
About Wadadli Pen
Wadadli Pen 2017
Wadadli Pen 2017 Challenge Patrons

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, and With Grace; also a freelance writer, editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator). Excerpting, reblogging, linking etc. is fine, but PLEASE do not lift ANY content (images or text) wholesale from this site without asking first and crediting the creator of that work and/or copyright holder. All Rights Reserved. If you like the content here follow or recommend the blog, also, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. Thank you.


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Mailbox – Antigua-Barbudan Conference, Call for Papers

The details of this call for papers have already been shared in the Opportunities Too page – you can use the search feature to find that page and with it the Conference call for papers and other writerly, artistic, and scholarly deadlines (contests, markets etc.). But I’ll share the full letter from the office of conference organizer Dr. Paget Henry of Brown University, and, before that, Antigua.

Conference organizer, Brown University Professor, Paget Henry of Antigua.

Dr. Paget Henry, pictured here at a past conference at the Enlightenment Academy is one of the chief organizers of this annual August event.

The University of the West Indies Open Campus Antigua and Barbuda
The Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association
The Antigua and Barbuda Enlightenment Academy


Our 12th Annual Conference
Distinguished Lecture


The University of the West Indies Open Campus Antigua
August 10–11, 2017

Greetings All! Yes, it is indeed time for us to start planning for our 2017 meeting. So welcome to the call for papers for the 12th in the series of annual conferences on Antigua and Barbuda that have been jointly organized by the University of the West Indies Open Campus Antigua and Barbuda (UWI) and the Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association (ABSA).  Last year our theme was “Gender Equality in Antigua and Barbuda”. This year it will be new and rising trends in Antiguan/Caribbean thought and their implications for the new global order in which we are now living.  This focus on our traditions of thought and the new challenges confronting them was in part suggested by the interests and concerns of our keynote speaker, the distinguished Jamaican philosopher, Professor Lewis Gordon.

Prof. Gordon, along with Professors Jane Gordon, Aaron Kamugisha and Neil Roberts, last year edited and published a collection of Paget Henry’s essays that is entitled, Journeys in Caribbean Thought: The Paget Henry Reader. This book, which was launched last year in New York, is the basis for the theme of this year’s conference. As we launch this year’s issue of The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books, we will also be doing an Antigua and Barbuda launch of this book. Further, serving as the guest editor for this year’s A &B Review of Books, Prof. Jane Gordon has collected many of the essays that were presented at the New York launch and will be joining us for the conference and the launch. Also gracing us with his presence will be the distinguished Ethiopian philosopher, Prof. Teodros Kiros. We hope that you will be interested in presenting a paper at this conference.

By making “Journeys in Antiguan/Caribbean Thought and Development” this year’s conference theme, we are hoping to bring out into the open the new thinking about our future that the changing world is calling forth from us. More specifically, we are hoping that the theme will elicit from you thoughts and concerns about the new paths and policies – economic, political, environmental and cultural – that we should be pursuing now that the era of neoliberal globalization is fast receding. What is likely to take its place? What can we do to shape this emerging order? Will it be better than the neoliberal order for Antigua and the wider Caribbean?

The era of neoliberal globalization, which started in the early 1980s, brought to an end a period of insurgent national development that began in in the late 1930s. This insurgent movement gave us a new collective identity to strive for, a new “We” that was regional and modern in orientation. In the area of culture, we re-affirmed our African heritage, re-valorized our blackness, and linked these cultural changes to the identity of our postcolonial state in the making. In sports, cricket soared to world-class levels as we entered the era of Andy Roberts and Vivian Richards. Calypso and steel band also soared to new heights as we moved to embrace our future.

However, by the late 1970s, this regional development project had entered a period that Guyanese economist, Clive Thomas referred to as one of “permanent crisis”. The regional frame of our nation was severely cracked in 1962, its economic foundations began to be de-stabilized by external events such as rises in oil prices, drops in the price of sugar, and recessions in the advanced Western societies, which were the major sources of demand in our economies. Debt levels began to rise, as well as unemployment, balance of payments and terms of trade problems. Insular party politics became more polarized – the red and the blue in Antigua and Barbuda – leading to rising levels of authoritarianism and corruption. These growing challenges led well-known Antiguan author and politician, Novelle Richards to label these “the locust years”.

The Caribbean and other developing countries had their own answers to these difficulties that were derailing their nationalist projects. These solutions were summed up in the package of reforms that came to be known as the New International Economic Order (NIEO). Then Deputy Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Lester Bird, was a strong supporter of the reforms of the NIEO. At the same time, the Western powers had their own solutions to these growing problems of the developing countries. They were summed up in a set of neoliberal reforms that came to be known as structural adjustment packages (SAPs) or the Washington Consensus.

With bargaining positions severely weakened by their economic difficulties, developing countries were in no position to fight for their NIEO solutions or to resist the imposition of the SAP solutions by the West. Thus by the early 1980s, over 70 developing countries were forced to implement SAPs, which included the opening local commodity and financial markets to international competition, cutting government spending, privatizing state assets, devaluing currencies, and ending of subsidies as conditions for the loans they needed to address debt and other problems.

In Antigua and other Caribbean territories, this neoliberal order not only ended the period of insurgent nationalist transformation, but forced major shifts in strategies of economic survival. Our industrial sectors collapsed, internet-gaming arose, and financial sectors liberalized and expanded, driven by off-shore banking. In Antigua and Barbuda, all of the economic possibilities and risks that came with this turn to finance and its global liberalization were embodied in the figure of Allen Stanford. He made exceptionally clear the type of investors that international capital markets were allocating to places like Antigua and Barbuda.

In spite of economic life being subjected more firmly to the logic and profit imperatives of capital markets, this was a period that saw significant developments in our cultural life. There were profound changes in gender relations as Antiguan and Barbudan women became more energized and organized. Antiguan and Barbudan writing soared to new heights with the works of Jamaica Kincaid, Edgar Lake and Joanne C. Hillhouse. At the same time significant advances were being made in the localizing of church music. But in spite of these important developments in the cultural arena, that earlier sense of an emerging nationalist “We” continued to fragment as centrifugal and divisive forces continued to overwhelm centripetal and unifying forces.

Then, in surprising and spectacular fashion, the neoliberal order with its SAPs and self-regulating markets came crashing down in the financial hurricane of 2008. As the developing countries watched the Western countries spend trillions of dollars and trillions of Euros rescuing their economies and not the SAPs they prescribed for us, the legitimacy of the neoliberal order began to dissolve. It place has been taken by a confusing and disturbing dissensus, as far Right voices have moved to the centers of Western political life. The new leader of the United States is a type of person that Antiguans and Barbudans should know very well after living through the spectacular rise and fall of our financial sector. The similarities between the personality of Donald Trump and that of Allen Stanford are inescapable. Their approaches to both wealth and power are very similar, and provide us with valuable clues for understanding the world that we are now in.

The primary purpose of our conference is to assess where we are today with this “permanent crisis” which has overtaken our nationalist project since the late 1970s. Thus we need to examine carefully the impact of the neoliberal era on those “years that the locust hath eaten”. Has the SAPs of this era been food or antidote for the locusts of debt, unemployment and rising levels of state authoritarianism? Where are we with the rescuing of our financial sector after its major collapse? After the record of investors allocated to us by international capital markets – Robert Vesco, Stanley Siegal, Bruce Rappaport, Dato Tan, and Allen Stanford, isn’t it time for a new approach to meeting our investments needs? Where are we with the long-standing locusts of party polarization, patronage, and political victimization? What of gender relations? Race relations? What is going on in our worlds of sports and culture? Are we on the rise or decline? What is the likely impact of the Donald Trump presidency on these long-standing issues? Will it make the next few years a time of plenty or years of lean? Given these issues and concerns, some of the topics you should consider for your presentation are the following:
What is the present state of our nationalist project, that project of building a new postcolonial collective “We” after our first 36 years of independence?

How are we doing with our knowledge using and producing sectors? Are they growing or contracting? How connected are they to the main engines our economy?

What are the prospects for our main engine of economic growth, the tourist sector? Is progress being made by our government on proposals that have been made for programs in edu-tourism? That is, mutually beneficial linkages between our educational and tourist sectors.

What can or what have our tertiary institutions been doing to establish or expand programs in edu-tourism?

Is Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s pursuit of a Yida deal different from deals with Stanford, Dato Tan, Bruce Rappaport and others?

After our very mixed record of attracting quality foreign capitalists, what can we do to strengthen our local entrepreneurs, improve the local capital market, and so reduce our dependence on foreign capital imports?

Are foreign capitalist likely to be even more of the rapacious, profiting without producing type in the Trump era?

With the collapse of neoliberal economics, where or to whom should we, in ABSA and our local policy establishment, turn for economic guidance? Where shall we look for guidance in political theory and the practice of re-organizing states?

We survived the neoliberal era by moving our Labour Parties closer to the Center as Tony Blair did with the British Labour Party. Is it time to return to the Black democratic socialist roots of our nationalist movement and rethink them in our own image and interests?

As we observe China, the U.S., Latin America, and now Africa begin to pull themselves out of the financial collapse of 2008 by various strategies, what should be the strategy by which we navigate our way back to economic growth?

What are the prospects for the Antiguan and Barbudan working class in the years ahead? What are the prospects for race relations?

How will our working class survive the new rounds of automation that are on their way, and the coming shifts in the geography of industrialization as China changes its developmental strategies?

What are the prospects for gender relations? Will women continue to be energized and organized, while men continue to underperform and stay disorganized?

Are sports less effective creative outlets for young men or are they in need of better and more effective organization?

What is our literature or our music saying about all or some of these issues?

What new books on Antigua/Caribbean have come out lately that you would like to write about?

If you are interested in presenting a paper at this 2017 conference, please send us a brief abstract that includes your title, your name, and a brief description of the theme of your paper. These abstracts must be received by May 20, 2017. They will enable us to put you on the right panel. Your abstract, in a word document, should be emailed to: and to

Paget Henry

Ian Benn
UWI (Antigua)

Janet Lofgren
Editorial Assistant
A&B Review of Books

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Antiguan and Barbudan Plays/Screenplays

N.B. This is specific to items written for the stage or screen which have been published in book form. It’s short but I decided to share it anyway. The list of produced plays and films is longer (though still comparatively short). Use the search feature to find it. This list is also cross-posted to the main list of Antiguan and Barbudan writing which I started building in 2005 for the Independence Literary Arts exhibition at the National Museum. Use the search feature to find that. For other genre specific listings , search for fiction, non fiction, poets, children’s literature, songwriters, or whatever else. This list is all books all the time, but you can also search this site for publications by Antiguans and Barbudans in journals, contest wins, and performances. Chances are it’s somewhere here on the site. If you’re looking for Wadadli Pen winners, use the drop down menu on the right or search Wadadli Pen by year, name, story or other feature. Do your own research re the quality of any books posted here (we even have some reviews posted to the site) and if you share, credit. Hope you find what you’re looking for.


Name: Zahra Airall


Over the Hill and Through the Wood in She SEX – Prose and Poetry: SEX and the Caribbean Woman. Bamboo Talk Press. Trinidad. 2013.

About the Book:

Sex, Prose and Poetry, SEX and the Caribbean Woman has been described as “an important gathering of women’s voices” (Tiphanie Yanique, author of How to Survive a Leper Colony). Airall’s story, “Over the Hill and Through the Wood” is about an older woman finding sexual gratification for the first time.

About the Author:

Zahra is an educator, photographer, spoken word artist, poet, and stage and TV writer, director, and producer. She is a part of the following teams: Women of Antigua (which brought The Vagina Monologues and When a Woman Moans to the Antiguan stage), August Rush (which produces the Expressions Poetry series), and the team that brought the first TEDx event to Antigua.


Name: Edson Buntin


Anu Bantu: Treasure Island and Haunted Park. Antigua Printing and Publishing. Antigua. 2007.

About the Book:

“The format of this book is that of both a novel and a play rolled into one”–p.324.

About the Author:

Edson Buntin was a dramatist and an instructor in French at the Antigua State College. His contributions to theatre were both onstage and off, as an actor including serving as a cast member in the 1979 production of Dorbrene O’Marde’s Tangled Web and as founder of the Scaramouche Theatre and overseeing several productions at the College, such as Conjugal Bliss. Plays written by Buntin include Con Man Sun Sun, Mr. Valentine, and Wedlock. He has also acted in local films such as Once in an Island.


Name: David Edgecombe


Book-Front-Cover-Lady-of-Parham-300dpi-184x300Lady of Parham. Caribbean Reads Publishing (second edition). St. Kitts. 2014.

About the Book:

Lady of Parham, set in Antigua, introduces the audience to five revelers who have come together to form a Carnival troupe but settle for dramatizing the tale of the Parham ghost. In the telling of the ghost legend, Justin, Tulip, Sauna, Kyle, and Mabel must confront the demons that threaten to derail their lives. Lady of Parham is based on a local Antiguan legend. The play has been staged, including an eight night run at the Little Theatre, University of the Virgin Islands.

About the Author:

Edgecombe’s inclusion on this list is due to the Antigua-specific nature of this play. He hails from neighbouring Montserrat where he was the founder of touring company, the Montserrat Theatre Group. He has written over a dozen plays which have been staged throughout the Caribbean, in Canada, and in Nigeria. He joined the faculty of the University of the Virgin Islands in 1990 to teach English and was artist-in-residence in 1991. He also taught Journalism, Speech Communication, and Theater before becoming Director of the Reichhold Center for the Arts. He went on to become a full-time professor in the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, University of the Virgin Islands. He has published several of his plays with Caribbean Reads Publishing; but, notably, Lady of Parham was shortlisted for the Guyana Prize for Literature Caribbean Award.

As with all content on, 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, Dancing Nude 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Fish Outta Water, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Mailbox – Advice to a Younger Writer

As I write this, the judges are reviewing the submissions to this year’s Wadadli Pen Challenge. This post is inspired by two emails from would-be Wadadli Pen contenders seeking to get better. Time does not allow me to give the desired response to every single message, but I did give some time to these two out of a desire to encourage their efforts to put in the work and improve.

The second emailer wanted to know how she could make her stories shorter. This is a struggle for her, she said, because she likes to include a lot of detail. This is a complaint I’ve heard before with the Wadadli Pen 600 word limit. I do wish that even those who think 600 words is too little would challenge themselves to try it anyway, and that’s the main reason I want to share my response (edited for length, flow, and to excise personal information).

Length does not necessarily translate to more detail. Often, there is a lot of unnecessary detail, or a bloated and meandering plot.

After writing, let it sit for a minute (an hour, a day, a week, a month…however long you need to come at it with fresh eyes). Then, ask yourself, what is the story? Re-read with an eye toward focusing on that – do we need all that backstory? do we need all those asides? what is the pivotal action? does this character really add anything to the telling?

With the short story, you don’t have a big canvas – you’re not telling the story of all the lives of all the people or even your central character’s entire life; just this one chapter in the much more expansive story of their life. You need to narrow (read: sharpen) your focus a bit more in the short story format but doing so is actually good practice for novel writing. Even with the bigger canvas that you have with a novel, you still have to tie off the loose plot threads, and hone in on the details that matter: details that help to reveal character, establish setting or context, enhance mood, or move the plot forward. Moving the plot forward should always be your goal.

In editing, you can see where your plot is stuck in quick sand and where there’s a limb you can use to dig yourself out.

If none of that makes any sense, remember this –

  • read a lot; read a lot of different types of stories, different lengths and genres and styles;
  • write a lot (some of it will not be fit for public consumption but that’s okay, you’re doing it to build your writing muscles);
  • allow yourself the freedom during the writing phase to write badly, to write unrestrictedly, to just write;
  • then learn to be honest with yourself so that you can be clear-eyed during the editing phase (get outside feedback if you can).

In time and with practice you will get better.

Write the stories only you can tell (the stories only you can imagine) – don’t be imitative. And don’t think (at this point) of writing a novel (etc.), think what are the stories I have dammed up in me that need to be told that only I can tell…tell those stories and zero in on why it is so essential that you tell them. That will help guide you.

reading and sharing by Kurne

Scene from my 2013 Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project.


Okay, I did that in under 600 words, so I still have time to add that if you want to be notified of future writing workshops, mine or, potentially, WadPen’s, say so in Comments with your email.

As with all content (words, images, other) on, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Fish Outta Water, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, and forthcoming With Grace). 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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Wadadli Stories – Teaser

Wadadli Stories logo

Mark your calendar – Saturday 13th May, 2017 from 10am to 8pm, St. John’s City.

Ways you can participate…

Volunteer to assist
Buy-in to help cover costs
Help spread the word
Come out to support

p.s. We know you’re waiting for the results of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2017 Challenge. Well, like we said at the top, mark your calendar…

For more on the Wadadli Stories book fair or to contact the organizers, visit
the Wadadli Stories facebook page


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