Category Archives: Wadadli Pen News

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

Lit News (Whaaaat!)

I got an invite to the Miami Book Fair. Big up to Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure Lost Cover Front 4which landed me a spot on the ReadCaribbean Presents Adventures for Kids panel. Grateful for the opportunities #TheWritingLife affords me now and again to go somewhere and talk about my books and share the worlds and characters I’ve ‘created’. Plus my life (both my actual life and my writing life) could use this little reprieve right about now; so I look forward to being there.

There is Children’s Alley at the Miami Book Fair on November 18th at 4 p.m. I’ll be sharing the stage with Trini-American Marjuan Canady (Callaloo: The Trickster and the Magic Quilt), Jamaican Paula-Anne Porter Jones (Sandy, Tosh and the Moo Cow), and Haitian-American Francie Latour (Auntie Luce’s Talking Paintings).

My book is, of course, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure. If you’re in the Miami area (and especially if you hail from Antigua and Barbuda), I’ll be looking out for you.

Shout out to Caribbean Reads Publishing, the Caribbean/US indie which has published not only Lost! but Musical Youth. And shout out to the organizers of the MBF; looking forward to it.


Also, be sure to check out Antigua and Barbuda’s own Asher Otto jamming with international star Joss Stone on a beach. I write all about it (my love of Joss’ series and Asha’s music) in CREATIVE SPACE 11 – be sure to check it out – and anyone out there wanting to sponsor a future CREATIVE SPACE post, contact me at jhohadli at gmail dot com

Annnd shout out to Kimolisa Mings on her new book Into the Black Widow’s Web.41688072_10155549848492633_5636677081694732288_n I’ll be adding it to the Antigua and Barbuda bibliography here on the site as soon as I can. Meanwhile don’t sleep on it. Still forthcoming, I believe, is another book, this one, The Flowers in her Hair, by Linisa George39861953_691690201194663_8050367295236603904_n; so keep an eye  out for that. Already here, shout out to the Barbudan sister, is Asha Frank’s Dreamland Barbuda. Asha was scheduled to be a panelist at the Brooklyn Book Fair (a panel called Force of Nature – Writing a Hurricane) earlier in September and her book is on local bookshelvesAsha; check it out. Also a New Daughters of Africa is cominguntitled…and I have some news about that but for now that’s all the tease you get.

Finally, a reminder to check out the updates in Reading Room 30, Opportunities Too, Antiguan and Barbudan Writing, and Writing Antigua Barbuda ; and remember Support the Arts and, it should go without saying but sadly needs to be said, PAY ARTISTS!

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!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth 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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Just Letting You Know

Look up.

The far right of the banner has been updated to Wadadli Pen 2019.

Nothing to report re the next year’s Challenge – a staple of Wadadli Pen since its inception in 2004 – except that I have informed my partners that I am on a time out for the next season as I try to focus or re-focus my energies on some real life issues. I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this but it’s September when planning should begin and I don’t have the mental space or time to give to it right now. So, I’m taking a step back.

If the rest of the team (having worked with me over the past two seasons) decide to proceed without me, I’ll let you know – as I will still be blogging.

I will also check the mailbox as often as I can. The latter is important because one of the things I do want to mention is that Wadadli Pen if it is to become a non-profit needs money and it needs legal help. I’ve spent the last year (and on and off before that) trying to wrap my head around what needs to be done, reaching out to institutions that I thought could assist with the process but the process requires money and the legalese and the navigation of the legal maze requires translation and guidance – at least for my non-legal brain. I honestly don’t have the time to give to it anymore but I also don’t think time is the only issue – I think the project needs a lawyer who has experience working with non-profits who can say here’s what you need to do, and just guide us through it. I wish I had the money to pay such a lawyer because not even legal aid is free (I’ve checked) but I don’t and Wadadli Pen as it is not a legal entity does not have a bank account nor funds of its own. So if there is a lawyer with non-profit experience and the resources to offer pro bono assistance to a community project like ours, reach out via wadadlipen at gmail dot com

I do believe that it continues to hurt us that we are a project and not a legal non-profit. For instance, things that I could have applied for in terms of technical support and funding to solidify and/or expand our operations if our status was different than it was (they were very specific about the legal non-profit part); and people who’ve reached out – people in academic institutions regional and further afield who approached me about working with the project for their academic reasons – which I haven’t felt able to say yes to because those kind of collaborations require time and mental space that I don’t have just now. Even our internship programme of two Challenge seasons ago. It was a good thing and I’d like to be able to do it again and expand it but in order not to shortchange the intern, to properly mentor and guide said intern, to manage and oversee their progress, to properly delegate and supervise, you need time and mental space and other resources; and as we’re not a non-profit with anything resembling a staff, it is what it is for now. And right now I do need to reduce my involvement because the time I put in to Wadadli Pen and have since 2004, much as it matters to me (as much as or maybe more than any book I’ve written), and hopefully to the community, isn’t valued as currency, so I’ve got to put more time, focus, and energy in to the hustle. And hopefully, because I do have several of my own writing projects as well, have some me left over for my own creative growth. For now, coordinating (planning and managing the moving parts of a) Wadadli Pen Challenge season, is part of the sacrifice.

But Wadadli Pen will, I hope, be around for a long time beyond me and that’s why I put a team in place a couple of years ago. I ran in to one of those team members just this week and I’ll admit her contribution has not been at the level either of us would have liked because like me she has to work and pay her bills and manage her life, but her commitment to the project remains. That remains. To quote Puffy we ain’t going nowhere.giphy So keep sending us your positive energy and whatever support you can in the specific areas that we need, we receive it with thanks, and I will keep you informed re whatever the team decides to do re Wadadli Pen Challenge season 2019.

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!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth 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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Wadadli Pen – Some Behind the Scenes Stuff in the In-Between

One of my projects since the last Wadadli Pen Challenge season earlier this year has been the cleaning up and organizing of our mailing list, and uploading one by one by one the names on that list to our wadadlipen at gmail dot com mailbox so that life with respect to mailings to media, sponsors, participants etc. can be easier in future. This is one of the I’ll get to it I’ll get to it hoping our intern (that time we had an intern) would get to it things, but there was always other things that needed to be done. And there still is but I decided to just try to tackle it little by little. I’m not done but I’ve started.

One of my reflections during the phase of building the list of sponsors past and present was amazement and gratitude at the many individuals and businesses that have given to the project over the years. I count 85 so far, since 2004. This list may not include any patrons we engaged with only by phone, by mail, or in person. This applies especially to patrons in the early years when I would type up and deliver the letters, and the late Alstyne Allen, for whom our Challenge plaque, sponsored by the Best of Books, is named, would make the follow up phone calls, and then I would collect the prizes. These days, email has made the system much more efficient, which is one reason to clean up the mailing list. The list also would not include inactive email addresses or businesses that no longer exist. It makes me sad that so many of the businesses who supported our journey no longer exist. Some of these businesses – like the Map Shop and Stephen B. Shoul – were institutions. It makes me sad because I like to believe that people and businesses who support their community thrive, because if we are not creating an environment that stimulates and encourages local enterprise to thrive, especially those that make it their business to give to their community, then what are we doing?

I am also moved to reflect on how much of that support would have been an act of faith especially in that first year (2004, technical 2003 which is when they would have been approached). I mean sure I was a published writer, barely, and a journalist by that point but still there was no way to be sure, was there, that my cause was legit. One of the things I did – still do – to allay any fears is ask for pledges with the gifts being delivered (cheques made out to prize recipients, not me) just in time for the Wadadli Pen Challenge awards ceremony. But still…ah who me, ah way me come from, right? Another person asking them to give. So, looking at the list, I am thankful to the ones that did.

I come across Gisele’s name – that’s D. Gisele Isaac, the Wadadli Pen project’s first partner, partner for the first three and a half years of the project. I remember that she and Alstyne were the first two people I floated this idea of a project to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, and that she encouraged me and signed on to the project, I remember her working with me on the launch press release, I remember her judging the prize (and then volunteering her sister, also a writer, in 2010 when she could no longer judge), I remember her securing the pledge of a computer as easily our first major gift, for the winner. Every year, including after she’d given up active involvement in the project, Gisele always contributed cash to the prize package; she did this every year up to and including 2014. It wasn’t always smooth sailing but we sailed.

alvin livingstone with d gisele isaac

D. Gisele Isaac making a presentation to our art winner in 2014.

Gisele has been experiencing some challenges of late and 2014 was the last time she had a presence in Wadadli Pen – that was out 10th anniversary year and I insisted she come out to the awards, and put her to work giving out prizes. I gave a token, contributed by Photogenesis, to Gisele and a handful of others without whom Wadadli Pen would not be. So, while working on this mailing list, Gisele, the work she has done so that Wadadli Pen could even be here over the years, was one of the things on my mind.

The work continues.

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!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth 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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rosesI ran in to Barbara Mason this week. Does that name ring a bell? Barbara Mason was the steelband coordinator at the Culture Department  of Antigua and Barbuda for a period that intersected with some of my most active reporting on culture and the arts. So we interacted a fair amount and I bore witness in my reporting to her pushing pan in the schools, drawing talent into the Culture Department in terms of pan resource people and young people with potential – initiatives like the national youth pan orchestra and even an attempt at a national pan orchestra (as I remember it) happened on her watch. Talking to her briefly as we passed in the street, me looking the harassed writer, I’m sure, and Barbara looking content in her retirement, I couldn’t help thinking about how much of an example she is of how valuable it is to have a motivated advocate for an artistic discipline on the inside of state institutions like the Culture Department (I wonder often who is advocating on the inside for the literary arts and come up empty as far as an answer is concerned). I’ve never worked at the Culture Department so I can’t speak to the ins and outs but I know when I was reporting Barbara was doing the work; in addition to her development role, pushing pan in to the media spotlight however she could. As I was always hungry to cover culture and the arts, it’s hard to remember who called who more but we were in touch a lot back then. She was doing this when pan was at an all time low, and look how vibrant pan is today and how many young people are involved. There are lots of factors – props to programmes like Gemonites School of Pan, and the schools of pan that followed, and Gemonites Moods of Pan – especially its 5 Alive competition; props to Le Chateau d’Or for all of the young people it has trained over the years; hell, props to the longest uninterrupted pan orchestra in the world, Hell’s Gate, for being uninterrupted when it might have been easier to go do something else. But Barbara was an advocate when pan needed it and, as I said to her when I saw her, when I see the seed bearing fruit as it is today (pan after a drought having over these last several years regained its place of prominence in the Carnival),  I know this is partly because of Barbara Mason’s labour. So props to her; people need to be given their roses when they do the work.


This brings me to another person, someone, like Barbara, I knew only through the work they did in culture and the arts. I was surprised to learn of the recent passing of Jerome Bleau (1947-2018), former head of the Antigua Calypsonians’ Association, though I am told that he had been ill for some time. Bleau was active as well in the Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Committee which annually holds programmes to keep the journalist and commentator’s legacy alive and salute those who are emblematic of that legacy. When I reached out to a member of the LTHMC for confirmation of Bleau’s death, he responded, “our friend, our comrade and our historian in all things political, social and cultural, Jerome was also our go-to person for topical events – local, regional and international. He has left a massive void, and he will be painfully missed.”

My own interactions with Bleau are defined by two projects. He asked me to speak at a Calypso Association conference back in 2007 (an activity he described as only one of his planned activities “to preserve the craft” (of calypso)) and, obviously, I said, why me. I didn’t see myself as a speaker, talker, thought leader, commentator, none of that (still don’t, really) – I was a writer (still am). Any calypsonian in the room could have been forgiven for thinking…huh?  But Bleau thought (and managed to convince me) that I could have something to say as a writer that might be useful in a forum of calypsonians and calypso enthusiasts. They might beg to differ but (though calypso had always been a point of reference for me in life and on the page) preparing for that talk challenged me to assess my relationship with calypso and how the calypso of my youth helped shape my voice as a writer. What I did was literary analysis of some calypsos. As I remember in the Q & A, there was more interest in the panelists who’d talked about judging and I could happily retreat in to the background. But what I wrote then was refined in to an article (What Calypso Taught Me About Writing) I subsequently published  several times and calypsos have become a part of the creative writing workshops I facilitate. I have to credit Bleau with opening that door. Bleau also hired me to oversee production of the Calypso Association’s 50th anniversary magazine – an arts-driven project that I both enjoyed and learned from (which for the freelancer is really the best of all worlds). He was the kind of ‘boss’ who served as an invaluable resource/guide given his clear vision for the publication and deep knowledge of the history of the art form (given his age and love of the art form, but also his scholarship related to the art form, having formerly written for publications like Calypso Talk), but who also signed off on my vision for the project and let me do my thing. I don’t know what battles there may have been behind the scenes – Bleau being my point of contact – but he never let me feel like he didn’t have my back. I have shared some of the articles I wrote for that publication on this site – articles on Calypso Jim, Calypso Joe, Bottle, Franco, King ZacariScorpion, the Monarch King Short ShirtSwallow, King Onyan, Ivena etc. The Calypso pages on this site – notably the Songwriters Data Base and Lyrics Data Base may not have existed without my involvement in that project – it wasn’t the only factor to be sure, but I believe it was a factor (one domino knocking over the other).  The Calypso Association commemorative magazine wasn’t my first magazine project of this type and it wouldn’t be my last but it was a growth opportunity. I’m sorry that my memorializing of Bleau strikes such a personal note but I don’t have a lot else to go on (and those long ago projects notwithstanding, we didn’t have a lot of interaction) – but the conference and the magazine speaks to stewardship of an artform with an eye on development and recording of the legacy of said art form. Props to him for that. And RIP.

Calypso Association conference report in the CA commemorative magazine

This site is primarily about the literary arts but engages with all the arts and has from time to time memorialized the people who helped to build our art and culture (e.g. Roland Prince, Franco, Marcus Christopher, Latumba, and others)  – giving virtual roses, where we can, to those who have passed and those still with us.

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, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad! ). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me 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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At the Half Year

I usually do a year-end top posts of the year post on my blogs. But I’m in the mood for a half-year assessment just now so here’s the top ten so far for 2018.

Seat of Power

#1 – the most viewed post of the year so far – Art ‘Revelations’ (Antigua-Barbuda) – This art show, located at the Antigua Girls High School, featured the work of a handful of local art teachers and was an opportunity to check a pulse point of local visual arts evolution. The success of this post is also, to my mind, an indicator of interest in this type of content, and is one of the drivers behind launching/reviving the CREATIVE SPACE series on my author/writer services blog. – The post actually ties for second most shared on the blog so far this year and though it’s only received one comment, it’s a good one “Enjoyed the exhibit, and appreciate the writing of (it) … Gives a feel of the busyness and buzz in the room. As an artist it was quite refreshing to see the heavy weights of the industry within our 268 take front stage.” (pictured is one of the images from the show, Seat of Power by Bernard Peters)

Rilzy 2Yohan book

#2 – this was an interesting one – Vote for Your Favourite Antiguan and Barbudan Book of the Year – posted in December 2017,  and inspired by a similar poll in Trindad and Tobago, it got a lot of looks and tied with the #1 post for second most shares but had next to no response, not enough even to hit the minimum number of votes to select a winner; hell, not even the writers voted. Maybe it’s not a thing anyone wants, maybe they hadn’t read even one of the books yet, maybe I just launched it too late, maybe it didn’t run long enough, maybe all of these maybes but because I think it’s a good way to push not just an author but the literary culture in Antigua and Barbuda, I’m inclined to do it again (maybe in sync with the Wadadli Pen Challenge season) – but then I’ve been wrong before. In case we do try this again, and if you want to get a jump on the 2018 poll, the A & B releases (limited to books/literary CDs where Antiguans and Barbudans are the main or primary author and/or editor) for 2018 so far, according to the blog’s records are: The Plantations of Antigua, the Sweet Success of Sugar, Volume I (w/Donald Dery). AuthorHouse. USA.(Agnes Meeker); Learning Bible Verses: the Bow, the Wow, the Now. (Elloy DeFreitas); Milo’s First Winter (Milo’s Adventures). Amazon Digital Services. (Juneth Webson); The Nakedness of New. CreateSpace Independent Publish Platform North/South Carolina, USA. (Althea Romeo Mark); Fu You Tongue Heavy Lakka 56. USA. (Iyaba Ibo Mandingo); The Royal Wedding. Antigua. (Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau). (pictured are the 2017 books by Antiguan and Barbudan authors that tied for most votes)


#3 – Creak by Kyle Christian (Wadadli Pen Winning Story, 2018) – the winning story in the 2018 Wadadli Pen Challenge got a lot of views and a lot of shares  – it’s typical for one of the winning stories (if not always the winning story, as in 2017 for example) to make the top 10. The reviews for Creak have been positive if few: “Excellent!”; “Brilliant, bold and witty, delivered with passion; drawing attention to (a) hidden history”. (pictured, Kyle Christian)

Rosie Pickering

#4 – Damarae by Rosie Pickering – this was an honourable mention in the estimation of the judge of the Wadadli Pen Challenge. It was a win for the readers as the fourth most viewed and first most shared post so far of the half-year. (pictured, Rosie Pickering)


#5 – Shout out to Caribbean Actors in Black Panther – well, duh. (pictured, Wakanda forever!)


#6 – Barbados, Guyana, Bermuda Finalists for the Burt Award – this post title is actually something of a misnomer as it begins with news of the 2018 finalists but gives the full listing of all the books that either exist or have had a bigger reach because of this prize – as a reminder, submissions are invited for the 2019 prize – and you (and your teen) are encouraged to read all the books. (pictured are some of the winning books through the years)

winners2b#7 – Who Won What in 2018? – another regular in the top 10 because there’s always a high level of interest in the outcome of the annual Challenge which is good for both our patrons and participating writers/artists, both of which we always need more. (pictured are winners from 2018 and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, holding the Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge plaque, sponsored by the Best of Books, at the awards ceremony)

Aye Write April 2014

#8 – Literary Arts in Antigua and Barbuda: a Reflection – I have been recently reminded that when you share the journey (the good and the bad), people read and sometimes mis-read the full accounting of your life. Rest assured that my full life will never be shared on social media (so be careful how deeply you read) but my journey in writing and my frustrations with and love for Antigua and Barbuda, and Antigua and Barbuda in relation to the arts, and the literary arts in particular, that I have shared to a fair degree. In order to vent sometimes, yes, but also in order to inform understanding about the journey and about the challenges artists face, celebrate the victories, and underscore that they are often hard-won. I try to pass on what knowledge I can – resources, to opportunities, to my own hard-earned lessons, stumbles, breakthroughs, and triumphs. What an upside down world we live in when the people who create are pitied for doing what they were put here to do, for continuing to work against the odds to explore, interrogate, and affirm our existence for a time in this space called life. Well, this post is about what some of our literary artists (not just me, have been doing in our space and time). (this picture is actually from 2014, a Commonwealth panel in Scotland which I was invited to be a part of after my story Amelia at Devil’s Bridge, submitted to the Commonwealth short story competition and losing, was selected for inclusion in the collection Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean – which included the winning Commonwealth short story and the best of the also-rans to the best of my understanding. Amelia is now one of my most travelled stories and is a reminder to me that on the writing journey the road may be potholed but keep moving, you never know where you might end up…and, if you’re lucky, your art will travel further than you do and sometimes take you along for the ride)

Wadadli Pen Logo

#9 – Kyle Christian Wins Wadadli Pen – This was the announcement press release re the Challenge – so no surprises about this being in the top 10 – the Challenge is our main project; it attracts submissions from young writers in Antigua and Barbuda who are typically eager to hear how things turned out for them and in the Challenge as a whole. (pictured, the Wadadli Pen logo which was created by Ken Shipley)

author books#10 – Writers Shoutout, Diversity Discussion – you know I had someone hit me up on social media recently to push back on all this diversity talk and all I’ve got is a hit dog will holler. Diversity isn’t about taking anyone’s place (it’s about making space for other voices) nor is it about tokenism (funny how people go there as if the hushed voices are inherently inferior), it is about all the interesting landscapes, voices, stories, perspectives that the world is missing out on (it is about making the world a richer place). This popular piece is just one part of the discussion. (pictured, books by Yolanda T. Marshall which were the jump-off for the most recent diversity post)

With thanks to anyone who engages with any thing I write or share in this space – keep reading and sharing; like and comment more (what’s up), and let’s see if these favourites hold up to the end of the year.

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!, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure; 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 WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. Thank you.

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A Love Letter from Linisa

Linisa GeorgeI’m calling this a love letter because love isn’t only romantic. In the note that follows, you’ll hear loud and clear Linisa Geroge’s boundless love for her sister in art, Zahra Airall, and the complicated love artists have to the journey, as well as passion (a kind of love) for the art that flows through her. I want to share the love as I felt it reading this, and so, with Linisa’s permission (from her social media):

“I’m feeling a bit emotional right now, so please allow me this moment to share something. As most of you know Zahra and I have partnered over the years to do quite a bit of creative projects in Antigua. Last year we made the very difficult and frustrating decision to take a year off from Poetry In The Pub. Many of you were sad and while we understood your emotions, we needed to step back and work on individual projects that needed our attention. There were things that we wanted to do that kept haunting us because we were not putting the time needed into getting them off the ground.

Today is the 27th June 2018, and well look at the universe responding to our hardwork. I revealed on Monday that my first book will be available in August and I founded a collective that will focus on fostering collaborative work between all creatives. Zahra is presently in Turks and Caicos with her Honey Bee Theatre on tour with her play ‘Light In The Darkness’ sponsored by UN Women through the Directorate of Gender Affairs.

In order to grow and evolve you must make hard decisions. You must step away from certain things and people and seek clarity. You must go silent. You must bite the bullet and prioritize. You must some times strip everything down and start over. I won’t get into all the frustrating tears of weariness that we’ve shed, or the times we were so close to calling it quits on our haunting dreams. I just wanted to share with you what it looks like when you push through in spite of surmounting obstacles.

I’m usually a very private person but in the past year retreating and focusing on my health and personal and professional development has allowed me to unlock new levels of consciousness. I don’t have any answers to success or financial freedom, but I do know the joy and peace that come with owning your greatness and living out your passions. Art.Culture.Antigua will be back next week and the Black Girl In The Ring Foundation is slowly tying up all its loose ends. There are other things in motion that I won’t share just yet, but know that I’m putting in a shitload of work. I’ve sacrificed a lot, some very personal. I’ve messed up and had to check myself and do better. The losses are tough to understand sometimes, but I’ve learned from every last one.

Thank you all for being supportive, whether you know me personally or not. Thank you for your kind words and deeds when I needed it most. Thank you for challenging me to do and be better. Thank you for every criticism and pat on the back. Thank you for supporting the arts and for supporting Zahra and I and all our many many initiatives.

A special thank you to my close circle, who may not always understand my process and why I do certain things and make certain decisions, but show up to cheer me on without me even asking. You all are the real MVPs and you each know how much I cherish your unwavering love and support.

For who much is given, much is expected, so I felt it necessary to share this with you. I am supremely grateful. Everything is not right, but I am right where I am suppose to be. Give thanks ALL-ways.”

Linisa has announced a forthcoming project The Black Exhibit and her first book ‘The Flowers In Her Hair – an ode to Afro-Caribbean Womanhood’, both due this August 2018. Linisa  is a past Wadadli Pen Challenge judge and patron. Both Linisa and Zahra have built up a lot of goodwill in the arts community through the energies and time they’ve put in to local arts – on their projects and in support of projects by other artists. As their stagings of the Vagina Monologues and its local spin-off When a Woman Moans indicated they set the bar high.  In an environment where the art DOES NOT get the support, investment, attention, or boost it needs, Linisa and Zahra have invested time they could have been putting in to their own art in to building an arts community – Young Poets Society to Poetry in the Pub. Creating art, while making a living, while being an arts advocate, while life-ing is tiring – I know – so kudos to them for having the courage to step back to come forward. This is Linisa’s  Love Letter to Zahra and their journey as figurative twins (though not bound by blood they share the same birthday), but it speaks to me and my own journey (its trials and triumphs and, again, its trials) and I suspect it will you as well. We are, none of us, perfect, among the things Linisa testifies to above is that we are all flawed works in progress, but in many ways these sisters are #blackgirlmagic #repecttheirhustle #beinspired

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, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved.

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Media, Thanks

Thanks to the media houses who have run our press release or otherwise provided post-coverage of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2018 Challenge.

Thanks to Antigua Nice, Antigua Chronicle, and Daily Observer


-all three ran the press release which you can also read here.
-all are online editions – Antigua Nice and Antigua Chronicle are online only and Daily Observer only publishes a print paper on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – the Wadadli Pen release ran in their Saturday edition a week after the awards. So I still don’t have clippings for our scrapbook but I am thankful for any light shone on Wadadli Pen.

Daily Observer also invited a representative from Wadadli Pen (I suggested our winner Kyle Christian and he graciously agreed) to appear on their Saturday morning Marketplace show.


I wanted to do an extra post saying thanks because I’ve been known to call out institutions (like the media) – whaaaat? – for giving short thrift to the literary arts, and when they do the opposite I’ve got to eat that humble pie and ask for seconds. So, thank you…and, please, media can we have some more.

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!, Fish Outta Water, With Grace, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. Do not re-use content without permission and credit. 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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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2018, Wadadli Pen News