Category Archives: Wadadli Pen News

Wadadli Pen competition, open mic, workshops (and related) notices

Congratulations, Moondancer

This just popped in to my social media newsfeed so I had to pause to big up Floree Williams Whyte who now has her own publishing imprint, Moondancer.


Floree Williams Whyte is part of the Wadadli Pen team: she’s been a judge since 2012 and, in 2016, became a part of the core advisory and action team as we move toward becoming a formal non-profit and solidifying the foundation we’ve been building since we launched in 2004. Floree with Kaeiron2So, we had to take a moment to shout her out and big her up for this major milestone on her publishing journey.

Per Moondancer’s facebook page: Moondancer Books is a small press, publishing Caribbean based books. This ever expanding brand, owned by Floree Williams Whyte, encompasses anything that is creative, inspiring and literary.

She’s also announced on the page that this book is coming soon: Yohan book

Per us: Floree is a talented writer who first hit the market with Pink Teacups and Blue Dressesfloreebookcover, a book of sometimes quirky and always authentic vignettes of growing up, Antiguan. Her second book was Through the Window.Floree book launch

While Floree has self-published before (Through the Window), setting up an imprint is a different level (a level at which you’re a business woman with an independent publishing house). Kudos to her for taking that step.

And you can be sure we’ll be trying to grab her for a  guest post or Q & A about this new step here on Wadadli Pen soon.

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). 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 Writings in Journals and Contests (N – Z)

This page has grown fairly quickly, so I’m breaking it up in to two pages. For A – M, go here. For books, go here. This is exclusively for creative pieces by Antiguans and Barbudans accepted to established literary journals, festivals (and other notable literary platforms), and contests (not pieces posted only to personal blogs) as I discover (and in some cases, re-discover) them. Primarily, the focus is on pieces accessible online (i.e. linkable) because those are easiest to find; but it is not limited to these. It is intended as a record of our publications and presentation of creative works beyond sole authored books. Naturally, I’ll miss some things. You can recommend (in fact, I welcome your recommendations), but, as with all areas of the site, additions/subtractions are at the discretion of the admin.

PHILLIPS, ROWAN RICARDO – reading at Poets Out Loud – 2011

PHILLIPS, ROWAN RICARDOReverse Eurydice and Apollo: Season Three – Granta – 2010.

PHILLIPS, ROWAN RICARDO – Closing Night’s Nocturne – The New Republic – 2005

RICHARDS, ROSALIESmitten – Tongues of the Ocean – 2014

ROMEO-MARK, ALTHEA – Runners in the Marathon of Time – Womanspeak: A Journal of Art and Writing by Caribbean Women Volume 8 – 2016

ROMEO-MARK, ALTHEA – Camp – Moko: Caribbean Arts & Letters – 2016

Excerpt: “We read menacing messages in the scowls
 of passers-by. Some circle around,
 mark the territory with treads of footprints,
 count down days to our departure.”

ROMEO-MARK, ALTHEASmall Island Deprivations Unwanted Visitors –Tongues of the Ocean – 2014

ROMEO-MARK, ALTHEA – Neighbour’s in the Wood Shack, Desiree’s Revenge, Flawless, Play-Mamas, and A Kind of Refuge/Living in Limbo – Womanspeak: A Journal of Writing and Art by Caribbean Women, Volume 7 – 2013

ROMEO-MARK, ALTHEAThe Haunt of Alma Negron in St. Somewhere – 2013

ROMEO-MARK, ALTHEA – Burdened (which is quoted below along with six others) – Published in KRITYA Poetry Journal, Fall 2012 (

Excerpt: “Everything is on her head.

She trudges forward.

A straw mat tops the aluminum basin

filled with rescued essentials.

Her face, veiled in dust,

masks the fear beating her breast.

Her feet, swollen from endless trooping,

take her where others go.

Carrying memories of death,

she follows a long trek to nowhere,

and pauses only to suckle the child

strapped to her back.”

ROMEO-MARK, ALTHEA – Love at first Sound – Published in Off the Coast, Maine’s International Literary Journal, Winter ( – 2011.

Excerpt: “She loved the rhythm
of their singing
and the music of letters
spun off tongues,
that whirled in her ears.”

ROMEO-MARK, ALTHEALiberian Curfew at Tongues of the Ocean – 2010.

ROMEO-MARK, ALTHEAThe Nation Builders – at Medellin Poetry Festival – 2010.


“…condemned as job snatchers

Pounced on by immigration

They are herded into vans

Shackled like cattle…”

ROMEO-MARK, ALTHEAWaking the Obeah Within Us  a series including the poems Jumbi Eyes, Clippings, Turn the Broomstick Up, FRAID, Web Weaving at Women Writers- 2008

ROMEO-MARK, ALTHEARevolution and Reggae published in Calabash – 2007.

ROMEO-MARK, ALTHEAEaster Sunday – published in The Caribbean Writer – Volume 10 1996

Excerpt: “They say if you come back they goin’ block the entrance to the church.”

“For what? What I do to them?”

“They say you make the man leave his wife of twenty years to marry you.”

“But, that’s their business?”

“They don’t see how Joseph could leave his wife to marry you. You know what they call you?”


“Black, ugly, long mouth. . .”

ROMEO-MARK, ALTHEANager Man, Poverty, No Teeth Nana, Cha-Cha Town’s Blackbird – published in Palaver – Downtown Poet’s Co-op, New York, 1978.


“Bokrah man
lashing whip ‘pon back.
Nager man
lashing whip ‘pon back
when slavery

done gone long time.”


SIMON, MONIQUE S. Color of Love – published in Calabash Volume 3 Number 2 Fall/Winter 2005

SIMON, MONIQUE S.NIGHT LIGHT (Ode to Bolans Village, Antigua –‘Home’) – published in Calabash Volume 3 Number 2 Fall/Winter 2005

Excerpt: “It was night, so it was light
Island light
Home for the night light
Man whispering to woman light
Child teasing child ‘bout daytime, schoolyard game light
Extension chord attached to hanging bulb over old wood tables with dominoes, cards,
and checkerboards light
Bob Marley, Short Shirt, King Obstinate, Charlie Pride, old-time calypso light
Home from ‘de week doing live-in maid job light

It was night, so it was light carried like electric current throughout the night in the small

Tonight, Saturday night
Bolans was dark but it was light, real light”

SIMON, MONIQUE S. – Raven in my Arms – published in Calabash Volume 3 Number 2 Fall/Winter 2005

SPENCER, CHARLENE – Stranger – published (p. 31) in The Caribbean Writer Volume 28 Volume_28__2014__5433ea290b7cf_150x225–  2014

THOMAS, DEVRAHer Missing Fingers – Tongues of the Ocean – 2014

 WILLIAMS (NOW WHYTE), FLOREEYohan! – published in Anansesem

WILLIAMS, ZION EBONYThe Night I went to Cricket – in Tongues of the Ocean – 2014

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, Musical Youth, Fish Outta Water, Oh Gad!, 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, my books, and my freelance writing-editing-coaching-workshop services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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#WeNeedDiverseBooks Author Re-Writes the Fairytale

That’s the headline of a piece published to Wandering Educators (thanks, Dr. Jessica Voigts) about my last picture book With Grace. It begins…

Once I realized that With Grace was turning out to be a fairytale, I did not resist it…but I did do my best to subvert the tropes of the genre.

Why didn’t I resist, though not strictly speaking a children’s writer (I had only one previous children’s book among five to my credit)? Because as a writer, I enjoy wrestling with genres I’ve never attempted before – even if that cage match is to be within the deceptively simple and straightforward world of ‘once upon a time’ where they ‘all lived happily ever after’. Also, as a long time dreamer and reader, it was joyful to revisit the genre that helped me fall in love with stories in the first place.

IP2 cropped

So, why subvert? Because for all the ways it helped open up my imaginative pathways, the fairytales of my childhood did their share of inadvertent damage, as well. While every race and culture has its own fairytales, as a black girl coming of age in the Caribbean, in the retellings that were popular in my part of the world, I was never a part of the story nor was anyone who looked like me. Also, unlike the women I saw in real life, the girls in the fairytales were invariably in need of rescuing, usually by a Prince (or the Prince was in some way the pathway to happiness). I’m not going to do a deep dive in to feminist and racial and cultural and problematic in many other ways readings of Western fairytales, but I will say that as With Grace, my own Caribbean faerie tale, revealed itself to me, I wanted to tell a different story. I say revealed because, let me be clear, it was never my intention to be heavy-handed; whatever rebellion was to happen had to happen naturally. My primary goal was to tell a good and engaging children’s story. I hope I’ve done that. But a writer can have secondary goals.

READ the full thing here.

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#TBT Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival


The date stamp on this picture is November 5th 2010. The occasion is the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival which launched in 2006 as the Caribbean International Literary Festival before re-branding the following year. It was a post-Independence annual event, one of the first of its kind in the region; since eclipsed. The ABILF puttered to a quiet end – the last installment that I’m aware of was 2013 after a big start and uneven run (and while there were subsequent whispers of its return, they seem to have been just that, whispers).

Not the first (or last) time our little island has executed ambitious ideas (speaking specifically of arts initiatives) only to then run behind. Should we count it as a miracle then that Antigua’s Carnival is this year celebrating its 60th anniversary? Or maybe a template given the clear commitment across all sectors?

From the beginning, the ABILF attracted marquee Caribbean and international writers, so the line-up wasn’t the issue. In 2010, I remember Eric Jerome Dickey was there, Althea Prince, Lorna Goodison, Anthony Winkler, Elizabeth Nunez, Zee Edgell (I may be mixing up years but these are some of the names that come immediately to mind from that year). Pictured are renowned Guyanese poet and children’s author John Agard (at the mic), and seated at the head table (right to left) one of my favourites Guyanese poet Grace Nichols, and Barbadian poet Esther Phillips – who went on to launch the BIM Literary Festival and Book Fair in 2014. The location is the grounds of the Anchorage Inn, one of three locations the festival had during its run – beginning at Jolly Beach and ending at Jolly Harbour, with some events also taking place, I believe, at Halcyon Resort.

I don’t know the ins and outs of why this didn’t last, but from what I do know I’m going to say – money (with a side of lack of vision to see the potential). As with many things art in Antigua and Barbuda, private citizens led the way on this – specifically travel and media entrepreneurs, sisters Pamela Arthurton (a Wadadli Pen patron) and Joy Bramble. I can’t speak to what level of state support they received; I just wish someone with access to state resources had had the vision to keep this going before we got left behind.

It’s something that a group of private citizens launched a new literary national event, the Wadadli Stories Book Fair this year (2017). But this throwback photo reminds me of what once was and, if we hadn’t lost momentum, when you consider the spread of literary festivals as not only arts but tourism events across the Caribbean region (something I wrote about in Writer’s Digest), what could have been all now.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, 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, Fish Outta Water, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. Also find me at:


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Wadadli Pen 2017 Intern Michaela Harris Shares her Experience

(Images: left, Michaela as a 2013 Wadadli Pen Challenge finalist; right, Michaela as 2017 intern co-emceeing the Challenge awards ceremony)

To truly give an accurate account of my experience as a volunteer intern of the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2017, I must first state that I have participated twice in the past. I always thought that it was so difficult to get the right story, express one’s self in the right way, and paint the picture of your story so vividly that the readers experience it as if they were sitting with you, in your thoughts, as you wrote.  This year allowed me to understand that the people who “just had to read my story” also faced difficulties and in most cases, difficulties that were more than my own as a participant. For that I am deeply thankful.

intern orientation 2

(Image: Internship orientation – Michaela, right, with Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, author Joanne C. Hillhouse)

My internship began in December 2016 and came to an end in May of this year. My tasks were, but not limited to, administrative and promotional work. I became a youth media ambassador, making media appearances promoting the programme on youth friendly traditional media platforms & recommending and targeting youth social media platforms. I also assisted with flyer distribution.  Additionally, I checked the group’s email, responding to requests or concerns, and relaying  urgent information to my boss, Ms. (Joanne) Hillhouse.

Initially, I thought that the tasks listed were going to be a walk in the park but I soon learned otherwise. For the duration of this internship, I was also attending the Antigua State College as well as managing the youth arm of a community service organization, Junior Chamber Youth under JCI Antigua. I quickly developed a rhythm of doing things; check the Wadadli Pen inbox every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, do college assignments on a Saturday, and plan the meetings for the Youth organization on Sundays. At first it worked, but the unpredictable nature of life soon took things for a spin. Assignments that were due in the same week could not be done on a Saturday. Time also had to be allotted to studying for upcoming tests. Making time for activities with family and friends was also a factor I hadn’t considered initially because I never thought it would be too difficult. I am proud to say that I never gave up even on the days when it all became quite frustrating, and I owe that to not only the support of loved ones around me but to the facilitators of this challenge. Ms. Hillhouse would always encourage me, in a short but effective email, to keep pushing and allow myself to develop from this learning experience. However, as this was not a suicide mission, I was always encouraged to express when it was too much for me to handle. Short visits to see Wadadli Pen volunteer and partner Barbara Arrindell at the Best of Books were also very motivating. She would always share kind words with me and smile that could brighten anyone’s day.

Michaela and GlennP_20170519_151707_vHDR_Auto

(Images: post-awards, Michaela stopped in at the Best of Books again to collect her certificate for successful completion of her internship and to assist with the prize giving to one of the winners, Ava Ralph, who did not make the awards ceremony)

The ways in which I developed from this internship are numerous. I first and most importantly was challenged to learn better time management skills as a young adult. My writing, whether in emails or for my previously submitted blog post was soundly critiqued by Ms. Hillhouse to encourage better writing each time. An immense level of professionalism was cultivated as I was entrusted with access to the email account which held confidential information. I also gained experience with both the prep and appearance for a radio interview at Observer Radio Station.  My final task was to co-host the Wadadli Pen awards at the first Best of Books book fair this year alongside Ms. Hillhouse and Ms. Arrindell. It was truly a pleasure.

At the end of my time with the Wadadli Pen team, I realized the great deal of work put in by all members of the team to make this initiative a success. The judges who had to read 93 [Blogger’s note: actually 96 eligible submissions at final count] pieces this year and be able to select the top three in each category, those who were responsible for soliciting and accumulating prizes for the worthy young writers, the set-up of the event itself, and the task Ms. Hillhouse held of overseeing all of these activities and more were mind blowing. As a participant in the past I only knew of attending the well put together ceremony not knowing the effort and dedication necessary to allow that seemingly small event. I therefore take this opportunity to express a heartfelt thank you to all who assisted me along this journey. A special and certainly deserving thank you to Ms. Joanne Hillhouse for the opportunity she gave to me. I hope to continue to learn from her and that many others will grasp the opportunity to do so in the future.  Wadadli Pen is only getting bigger and better each year, let us continue to encourage our young people to do positive things with their lives.

at Art Culture Antigua

My name is Michaela Harris, and I encourage you to start writing!

Blogger’s Note: Michaela’s internship completion letter from me as Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator read, in part, “(Michaela’s) experiences would have helped build her communication skills, her appreciation for the administrative tasks behind the scenes of any major project, her time management skills (as she had to manage the time on the project with her responsibilities as a student at ASC), and her sense of responsibility to the tasks she takes on (it’s worth noting that when the internship ended officially she offered to stay on to complete one of her major assignments). I found her to be enthusiastic and responsible, executing most of her tasks and taking direction and feedback well. It was our pleasure to have her on and are delighted to have served as a stepping stone toward her future goals.” This was our first time taking on an intern, my first time taking on an intern, so it was a learning experience for me as well, and we were fortunate that it was Michaela. We will do this again, I hope. Hopefully, an intern for each person on the team so that they can have more support while sharing their skillset and assisting with the development of a young person – Michaela’s critiques of her experience in the internship programme will assist with the shaping of these future relationships. Hopefully, we will be as fortunate in terms of the young people we attract as the programme moves forward.


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Art supporting Art

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Jane Seagull has gifted a custom made journal to our winning writer for the past several years, since her time as artist in residence at Art at the Ridge, which was also a Wadadli Pen patron at the time. We’re grateful that she’s still with us even though Art at the Ridge has closed its doors. Jane actually had a show on around the same time as the Wadadli Pen awards. The show is no more but she shared some of the pieces with me and (with her permission) I’m sharing them with you. Find her on facebook if you’re interested in purchasing her art or commissioning a piece.

And remember to support all our patrons – because arts patronage is rare and cherished especially here (not branding, not sponsorship, but just giving in the interest of boosting the arts because you realize that though not seen as an economic driver, art and creativity are essential…rare). The patrons for the 2017 season of Wadadli Pen (and really all information related to said season) can be found behind the Wadadli Pen 2017 tab above, see also About Wadadli Pen.


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Mailbox – Ujima

Claytine Nisbett is a former Wadadli Pen volunteer – she was with us for the 2012 season 

powder necklace

Claytine, right, making a book presentation to one of our 2012 winners.

– shout out to her on her new-ish business venture Finders Keepers in Montserrat and on the recent publication of her first book, Life as Josephine .Life as Josephine


This post concerns the revival of another of her projects, Ujima, and her call for voluntary guest bloggers.

Per her email, the Caribbean-based, youth-focused, solution-oriented blog plans to expand when it begins posting on July 1st 2017, focusing not just on youth but on gender – an area of activism for Nisbett. Contributors do not have to live in the Caribbean but they should have Caribbean roots. And they should be between the ages of 16-39. Is that you?

Here are the details.JCH, Wadadli Pen founder/coordinator & blogger

Ujima Solutions Magazine is the Caribbean youth and Caribbean gender-focused blog whose mission is to not only discuss the problems but to present viable solutions to those problems so we can work on them collectively, leading to necessary change.

What sets us apart? The fact that we are not only talking about the problems but we are suggesting possible solutions to the socio-economic ills that are being faced by Caribbean youth, in addition to resolutions to gender-related matters such as domestic violence, limited access to jobs and job mobilization, human trafficking, improper healthcare systems, etc. Though we understand the fact that both men and women are affected by gender-related issues we cannot ignore the fact that women are disproportionately affected. However, we will not shy away from articles that discusses and presents solutions to the disadvantages that men face.

We also do not limit our articles to Caribbean persons only living in the Caribbean. We at Ujima Solutions do realize that we have Caribbean persons all around the globe who may live in an ethnic enclave of other Caribbean people or may be in constant interaction with other Caribbean persons. Those individuals may realize that there are disadvantages that are affecting Caribbean persons within that country and/or community. We welcome your input too! You are free to submit articles to Ujima Solutions Magazine.

Ujima (Swahili) –  To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.

We are always looking for guest bloggers so if you are interested please contact us at with your idea and/or article. Blogs must be Caribbean youth or Caribbean gender-focused and solution oriented. Subjects include but are not limited to:

Gender Equality

Youth Development




Youth Violence





Violence Against Women

Domestic Violence

Human Trafficking

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