Category Archives: Wadadli Pen Year by Year

This is where you’ll find the winners and winning stories, and info about each year of competition.

Wadadli Pen Challenge 2021 Update

The Best of Books sponsored Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque is one of two plaques. The other, added this year, in memory of Zuri Holder will be emblazoned with the names of the 12 and younger winners.

After a lengthy period of processing, the entries are now off to the judges. If you submitted, we request your patience as the entries are vetted. The short list will be posted once the first round of judging is completed.

We can report that there are 73 submissions – all passing eligibility. Our About Wadadli Pen page is updated with this information and a bit of 2021 trivia. Here’s a bit more trivia, this is the highest single year submission since 2017.

Books contributed by Sekou Luke.

We want to thank and acknowledge, once again, all of our 2021 patrons, especially the ones who have been confirmed since our previous releases – NIA Comms (EC$500), Sekou Luke (a cache of books), Ten Pages bookstore (confirmed before but have since dropped off their books), Barbara Arrindell (who delivered a number of workshops leading up to the submission deadline), Bocas Lit Fest which has clarified the development opportunities on offer through workshops and memberships to some of our finalists – it’s great to have such a vibrant Caribbean partner on board, helping us to fulfill our promise to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

We have received Jamaican writer and new poet laureate Olive Senior’s contribution toward gift certificate for books, and the contributions by Daryl George and Rilys Adams, both former Wadadli Pen finalists. How great is that full circle moment.

As great as it will be to raise up another budding writer (or two, or three, or more). I for one am looking forward to reading these entries – that’s right, as I am also selecting participants for upcoming Garfield Linton sponsored Jhohadli Writing Project script development workshops, I have signed on as one of the 2021 judges. We will as usual have three judges (the others are expected to be regular judge and author Floree Williams Whyte and past finalist Devra Thomas – both Wadadli Pen team members) round 1, blind (or semi-blind in my case); and will bring on board a Kamala Harris (i.e. a high profile tiebreaking judge) if needed for a round 2. Watch this space and good luck to all entrants.

If you would like to support the work of Wadadli Pen, email wadadlipen@gmail.com

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). 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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PRESS RELEASE: WORKSHOP WRAPS, DEADLINE IS HERE, NEW PATRONS ON BOARD

March 25th 2021

“It caused participants to see more creative ways to approach creative writing,” said Barbara Arrindell, who this week completed a series of pre-deadline workshops she volunteered to offer to people interested in submitting to the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. “For me, as the facilitator, if it causes one more person to become more excited about reading and writing, it was time well spent.” The submission deadline is March 26th 2021; submission form and details at wadadlipen.wordpress.com.

More development opportunities will be forthcoming for winning participants. One, via new patron, the Bocas Literary Arts Festival out of Trinidad and Tobago. They are offering a spot in one of their developmental workshops for several finalists, and a membership subscription to the overall winner giving them access to a number of Bocas facilities including workshops and events.

Glen Toussaint, owner of Ten Pages Bookstore.

Another new patron is also one of the newest bookstores in Antigua and Barbuda, Ten Pages bookstore, owned by an old friend of Wadadli Pen, Glen Toussaint. He has offered to gift a cache of books for young readers. These will be added to books already received from Harper Collins (UK), and books promised by award winning Jamaican author Diana McCaulay and her publisher Peepal Tree Press, and local author Patricia Tully. The winner of the Zuri Holder Achievement Award for writers 12 and younger will also receive a gift certificate toward the purchase of books; while Commonwealth and Bocas award winning author Olive Senior, recently announced as Jamaica’s third poet laureate, has already contributed EC$520 toward the purchase of books.

There is also cash, over EC$1000, to be won thanks to contributions from the likes of past finalists Rilys Adams and Daryl George, and longtime patrons Frank B. Armstrong and Juneth Webson. These are among the number of generous patrons already announced including day 1 patron The Best of Books, also Moondancer Books, and US based Jamaican Garfield Linton. Wadadli Pen extends thanks to all patrons and media like antiguanice.com which sponsors a page on its platform for Wadadli Pen and the various media – Observer, ABS, and others – who have hosted representatives for interviews, and print and online media for amplifying the message.

There is lots to win, including, and most vitally, Wadadli Pen believes, the opportunity to express yourself. As a reminder, especially because they look forward to receiving many entries, if you want your entry to be considered for the 2020 prize, please say so explicitly on the submission form and please be reminded that the submission form, completed and submitted electronically to the email address wadadlipen@gmail.com, is necessary for processing of entries.

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Press Release – Wadadli Pen Workshop, Additional Patrons Announced as Submission Deadline Approaches

March 16th 2021

Wadadli Pen team member Barbara Arrindell, an author and bookseller, will be offering a free workshop on March 18th 2021 ahead of the March 26th 2021 submission deadline for the annual lit arts challenge. The workshop is expected to cover creative writing, using local history in your writing, and bringing inanimate objects to life in your stories. The workshop will be offered via zoom and pre-registration is necessary. To register for the zoom link-up, email barbaraarrindell@yahoo.com or send a message to the ‘Free Creative Writing Workshop to get you ready to participate in the Wadadli Pen Challenge’ event page on facebook. Arrindell, who is also a trainer by profession, has volunteered her time for this extra activity, and anyone interested in submitting to Wadadli Pen is encouraged to take advantage of it.

The Wadadli Pen team is also happy to announce that a number of new patrons have been confirmed since previous announcements. These include Frank B. Armstrong, a contributor for the past 10 years, and Junie Webson, a US based Antigua-Barbuda businesswoman, who has been a patron since 2014 – both have pledged their usual EC$500 to Wadadli Pen 2021. “We don’t take any of these gifts for granted,” said Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, “especially in this hard guava crop season.”

Hillhouse announced as well that Garfield Linton, a Jamaican based in America, with whom she has been in talks re arts funding for a while, has committed to underwriting her delivery of two workshops in the Wadadli Pen post-season. She hopes to select up to 10 writers from the Wadadli Pen entrants to offer a spot in these workshops. A long term goal, she indicated, is development of their stories and writing skills, and if additional funding can be sourced adaptation of one or more of the stories for print and/or film format. “My goal with Wadadli Pen has always been, as our tagline says, ‘nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda’,” she said. “The competition, or challenge, as we call it, has been our flagship project along with the Wadadli Pen website, and to a lesser degree workshops and showcases we have delivered in the past, but it was never the end goal. Our goal is to be sustainable and ultimately self-sustaining as a non-profit supporting the arts in various ways, and the literary arts in particular. It has been little little full basket since 2004 but we continue the work and hope for growth and expansion.”

The patrons announced in this release join previously announced patrons Rilys Adams, the Best of Books bookstore, Daryl George, Harper Collins (UK) publishers, Cedric Holder, Diana McCaulay and Peepal Tree Press, Moondancer Books, Olive Senior, and Patricia Tully. Anyone interested in supporting the work of Wadadli Pen is encouraged to contact wadadlipen@gmail.com Anyone hoping to participate in Wadadli Pen is reminded to read the guidelines and download the submission form at wadadlipen.wordpress.com Remember to also vote for your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan book and help a local school win.

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Wadadli Pen 2021 Patrons

NEWEST! NIA COMMS

Thanks to the media and other platforms that have helped amplify our message including Antiguanice.com (which has for many years included a Wadadli Pen page on its platform in addition to sharing each new release), the Observer Media Group, ABS TV and Radio, and ZDK Radio (all of which have extended invitations to be interviewed in addition to disseminating our information across their audio-visual and print/online platforms), and the various online platforms which have shared our press releases.

Patrons who have specifically supported the 2021 season of Wadadli Pen are in alphabetical order:

RILYS ADAMS – The author, who writes as Rilzy Adams, recently won a Ripped Bodice Award for Excellence in Romance Fiction (for her book Go Deep), and has been a finalist in the Rebel Women Lit readers choice awards (for Birthday Shot) and the Swoon Awards (for Go Deep and Birthday Shot), and a nominee for a Black Girls Who Write prize (for Go Deep). She is currently a contender for the #readAntiguaBarbuda2021 readers choice book of the year prize (for several books). Rilys has contributed EC$300 to the Wadadli Pen 2021.

Rilys Adams (right) collecting her 2nd place Challenge prize from then Culture Director Heather Doram (left) at the 2005 Wadadli Pen awards.

Remember to #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda as your vote will boost a local author and ensure a gift in that author’s name to a local school. In addition to Rilys, other Wadadli Pen team members in the running for book of the year are Barbara Arrindell, Joanne C. Hillhouse, and Margaret Irish. This is just FYI; vote in the comments below the relevant post for your favourite from the complete list. You do not have to have read all the books to vote.

BARBARA ARRINDELL – The bookseller, author, playwright, HR and public speaking trainer, amateur historian, community activist, and Wadadli Pen team member has offered to run zoom sessions (what I’m calling zoom-shops) offering tips for (1) creative writing (2) using local history in your writing (3) bringing inanimate objects to life in your stories for people interested in participating in the Wadadli Pen challenge. The workshop is scheduled for March 18th 2021; see link with info here. As a reminder, the Wadadli Pen 2021 Challenge submission deadline is March 26th 2021. Submission guidelines, here.

Barbara Arrindell (right) at the 2013 Wadadli Pen awards ceremony with that year’s winner Asha Graham (left).

THE BEST OF BOOKS BOOKSTORE – The St. Mary’s Street bookstore is a local institution and has been a Wadadli Pen patron consistently from the very beginning, its contributions ranging from gifts of books and other concessions to hosting the annual awards to sponsoring the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque which bears the name of each winner. Through a similar mix of support, it remains a patron in 2021.

The old (right) and new (left) versions of the Challenge plaque.

THE BOCAS LIT FEST – The Trinidad and Tobago based festival has become an appointment destination for Caribbean literature even with having to go virtual in both 2020 and 2021. It hosts the region’s major literary awards and rolls out development programmes quite often as well. We are, therefore, happy to report that they have offered spots to 2021 Wadadli Pen category winners in a future Bocas workshop (virtually) and free membership access (valued up to US$50) for up to a year to the main prize winner – including discounts on merchandise, events, workshops, and access to event archives. These prizes will be a growth opportunity for anyone serious about the craft of writing.

FRANK B. ARMSTRONG – the leading wholesale distributor has contributed to Wadadli Pen for the past 10 years and continues to be one of our most generous patronages with its usual contribution of EC$500.

2020’s winner Andre Warner (right) collecting his cash prize from Frank B. Armstrong.

DARYL GEORGE – this past Wadadli Pen finalist (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016) was one of the first to step up, proactively, to offer to contribute a gift (EC$250) to Wadadli Pen 2021.

Daryl George (right) last competed – and won – in 2016. Here he is alongside Douglas Allen, (left) holding the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque named for the latter’s late sister.

HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS – 84 books – 12 each of Collins Caribbean School Dictionary, Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell w/illustrator Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay w/illustrator Stacey Byer, The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse w/illustrator Danielle Boodoo Fortune, and six each of You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen, Social Studies Atlas for the Caribbean and Social Studies Atlas for the Caribbean Workbook

Collins book contributions.

CEDRIC HOLDER – plaque in the memory of his son Zuri Holder who, at the age of 20, was tragically the first road fatality of 2021 in Antigua and Barbuda. Zuri was a Wadadli Pen finalist in 2011 and 2013 in the 12 and younger category – the category set to benefit from the prize. The plaque will be called the Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award and will be accompanied by a gift certificate. Cedric is the chief volunteer with the Cushion Club, which he has made a contribution on behalf of since 2004, the very beginning of Wadadli Pen, and has also volunteered in the past as a Wadadli Pen judge in 2016.

Zuri and Cedric during a 2008 Cushion Club activity.

GARFIELD LINTON – This Jamaican, US based individual, keen on supporting literary arts development in the region in some way, has signed on to contribute two payments of US$500 to cover Wadadli Pen founder-coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, who offers workshops through her Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, facilitating workshops (facilitator fee and expenses). At present, the plan is to select up to 10 of the most promising writers (finalists and non-finalists), 16 and older, and offer them the opportunity to participate in two workshop sessions (virtual or in person depending on what’s safe/practical) between pre-summer and late 2021. One goal is the development of a piece of writing through intensive workshopping, covering writing tips and practice, and story development through to self-editing and peer evaluation.

N.B. One longer term goal (pending funding) is publication (possibly, given the 2020 sub-theme, a reflection on 2020) and/or short film development of one or more of these pieces (If you would like to support/finance the latter effort, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com). We also continue to work on finalizing the non-profit status of Wadadli Pen and ideally this publication/film development aspect could potentially benefit from crowd sourcing and, in addition to showcasing local literary talent, assist with Wadadli Pen fundraising. This is shared in the interest of transparency (and speaking possibilities in to reality) but be mindful that these are ideas in development, not fixed.

SEKOU LUKE – a private individual who one day dropped off some books for Wadadli Pen which we are grateful to receive.

DIANA MCCAULAY (via PEEPAL TREE PRESS) – The Jamaican author has gotten her publisher to pledge a copy of her book – Daylight Come. They’re in the UK and it should be en route; so, fingers crossed.

Really looking forward to reading this Burt award winning book. The premise is both of our times and a nightmarish possible future if we don’t get a handle on climate change.

MOONDANCER BOOKS – Wadadli Pen team member Floree Williams Whyte is the owner of this independent publishing imprint which is creating and sponsoring ads for the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2021 season.

NIA COMMS – Founder Marcella Andre reached out to offer EC$500 and we receive it with thanks as we welcome her on board as a first time patron.

OLIVE SENIOR – the Commonwealth and Bocas prize winning Jamaican author is a much respected and still high producing member of the literary canon – delighted with her offer to contribute US$200 to the prize.

This image is from the social media of Olive Senior (right), a few years ago when she reconnected with Joanne C. Hillhouse (left) who had participated as an aspiring writer in her workshop in 1995.

TEN PAGES BOOKSTORE – The latest bookstore on the scene – launched in 2020 as a local, online bookstore whose mission is to connect people to good books – is owned by Glen Toussaint who is a part of the Wadadli Pen family as a past judge and, for several years, master of ceremonies at our awards ceremony (and all around advocate for the literary arts, including organizing activities like the Wadadli Pen Open Mic). We are delighted that he has offered to contribute (and we already have in our possession) children’s books (favourites like Hardy Boys #6: The Shore Road Mystery, Nancy Drew #4: The Mystery at the Lilac Inn, Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham, plus Barron’s SAT Premium Study Guide 2020 – 2021) to our prize package.

PATRICIA L TULLY – This first time author stepped forward to contribute a copy of Pioneers of the Caribbean written by Ingrid V Lambie and Patricia L Tully

Patricia Tully’s book is also in the running for the #readAntiguaBarbuda readers’ choice book of the year prize.

JUNETH WEBSON – This business woman, Anitguan-Barbudan, based in the US, has been a patron since 2014, contributing in cash and kind towards the annual challenge and the building of Wadadli Pen. In 2021, her cash contribution to the prize will be EC$600.

Juneth Webson (left) in addition to cash contributions has made a habit of shopping for gifts for the prize. She is pictured in 2016 delivering her gifts to Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (right).

For all news relevant to the Wadadli Pen 2021, see this link.

If you would like to support the work of Wadadli Pen, email wadadlipen@gmail.com

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). 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 Pen Update – Workshop

We want you to win.

One of the ways team member (author of Turtle Beach, The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories, and even more stories) Barbara A. Arrindell is trying to help you win is with an announced March 18th 2021 workshop. This series of short workshops will provide you with tips that may help you to select your topic, develop your characters, allow your creativity to flow, utilize local sites and folklore, and much more. You must pre-register. Do this by sending a message via the link above or via email to barbaraarrindell@yahoo.com. The zoom link and additional information will then be sent to you. Register early to secure your spot. This year Wadadli Pen is accepting entries from children and adults.

The submission deadline for the 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge is March 26th 2021. I just posted videos (one to my AntiguanWriter YouTube Channel and one to the Wadadli Pen YouTube Channel – both which you should rush over and subscribe to by the way) of a recent interview I did breaking things down re both the Challenge and the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda readers choice book of the year initiative.

Re FAQs

A recent commenter here on the blog asked about the submission form. “Would it be possible to fill out the application form electronically please? I do not have access to a printer right now and it would be very useful if alternative methods could be made available. Thank you!” – A. It’s a fair point; we should look in to uploading directly via submittable or other platform, but to be clear you do not need to print the form and you are submitting electronically. What you need to do is download and fill out the form electronically and submit said form via email as an attachment along with your entry, also as an attachment, to wadadlipen@gmail.com

A questioner to my DMs wondered if there was a penalty for going over the word count. – A. We’ve actually extended the word count from 750 to 1000 words in recent years. Since doing so we’ve gotten fairly strict about the word count. Challenge yourself to tell your story with precision – after all, you already have 250 extra words to play with.

We also had a request to direct mail the submission form; obviously it’s not practical for us to do so for everyone. We simply don’t have the time nor the numbers. But I’ve doublechecked that the form is downloadable and can be filled out electronically; so please act accordingly. Find the form and submission guidelines above at Wadadli Pen 2021.

ICYMI

In case you missed it, we’ve followed up our launch announcement with a second press release shouting out the latest patrons to come on board. The news you may be particularly interested in from that is that, while the Challenge is open to all ages this year, we will have a special prize for 12 and younger aged writers, sponsored by Cedric Holder, who is doing so in the name of his son Zuri, a former Wadadli Pen finalist who died tragically in the first road fatality of 2021. Also team member Floree Williams Whyte’s Moondancer Books has sponsored the ad below.

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Press Release – Wadadli Pen, New Prize Pays Tribute

A Wadadi Pen Release, the second after the release announcing the launch of the Wadadli Pen 2021 season, was disseminated to the media on March 10th 2021. Thanks to media like the Daily Observer, and many others – including longtime patron Antiguanice.com. The text is copied below.

Press Release

Wadadli Pen, New Prize Pays Tribute


March 10th 2021

On the heels of launching the 2021 season of the Wadadli Pen Challenge with a March 26th submission deadline, the organizers announce several additional and very meaningful patronages.

Cedric Holder, father of Zuri Holder, who died tragically in a road accident in January, has requested inclusion of a plaque to honor his memory. The Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award, inclusive of a gift certificate toward the purchase of books, will be awarded to a writer 12 years or younger. Cedric is a long time Wadadli Pen patron, his gifts typically made in the name of the Cushion Club Reading Club for Children, with which he is chief volunteer and of which Zuri was a member. Zuri also had history with Wadadli Pen – 2nd place in the 12 and younger category in 2011 and 3rd place overall and winner of the 12 and younger age category in 2013.

Zuri with his two prize certificates from the 2013 Wadadli Pen awards ceremony.

“His passing remains a huge personal loss to his family, friends, and all the communities he belonged to,” said Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, who also volunteered with the Cushion Club and knew Zuri for many years as a result. “We welcome Cedric’s desire to keep his name alive in this way, while contributing meaningfully to the development of other young people.”

Wadadli Pen also welcomes a cash contribution (EC$300) from award winning author Rilzy Adams, pen name of local lawyer Rilys Adams. Rilys, author of almost 20 self-published books, recently collected an international romance industry award for her novel Go Deep, only her latest accolade. Rilys is also a former Wadadli Pen finalist (2nd place in 2005 and 2006) – one of two former finalists who are 2021 patrons. The other is Daryl George who has contributed EC$250. “It feels good to see that Wadadli Pen has not only survived these 17 years, since it first launched in 2004, but that the people who’ve come through the programme have gone on to do great things, of which we are only a small part,” Hillhouse said, “and that they’ve looked back.” The Wadadli Pen core team also includes two former finalists.

Though focused on nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, Wadadli Pen is networked with Caribbean literary entities and one, Diana McCaulay and her publisher Peepal Tree Press have pledged her latest award winning book Daylight Come to the Prize Package.

More than 80 books including Big Cat Caribbean titles have already been received from Harper Collins (UK). Other announced 2021 patrons, so far, are the Best of Books, Moondancer Books, award winning Jamaican author Olive Senior, and new local author Patricia Tully.

Wadadli Pen is still hoping to attract more patronage for both the Wadadli Pen Challenge and the #readAntiguaBarbuda readers’ choice book of the year initiative. To support the work, email wadadlipen@gmail.com To create and submit to the Wadadli Pen Challenge download the submission form at the Wadadli Pen 2021 tab on wadadlipen.wordpress.com There, too, you’ll find the link to vote for your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan book of the year.

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid March 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here)

Misc.

While Antigua and Barbuda is not specifically named, Antiguan and Barbudan writer Jamaica Kincaid is on this USA Today list of 100 Black novelists and fiction writers you should read… (that includes other Caribbean writers like Marlon James of Jamaica and Edwidge Dandicat of Haiti). Read the full list.

Thanks

The Wadadli Pen patrons list continues to grow in spite of challenging times – the latest pledges come from former Wadadli Pen finalist cum award winning writer Rilys Adams, Cedric Holder of the Cushion Club, and Diana McCaulay with her publisher Peepal Tree Press. They join celebrated Jamaican author Olive Senior, another past Wadadli Pen finalist Daryl George, new local writer Patricia Tully; plus Moondancer Books and the Best of Books. Additional books have also arrived from the year biggest donor to date Harper Collins UK. The Wadadli Pen Challenge gives writers and artists in Antigua and Barbuda until March 26th 2021 to respond to the Challenge to reflect and create. Readers also have to this time to #readAntiguaBarbuda and vote for their favourite books. Details here.

For more opportunities with pending deadlines check this link, and, because I’ve recently received requests for information re publishing, here too are links to the main Opportunities and Resources pages.

Reflection

I wrote about the death in December 2020 of Belizean writer Zee Edgell in the first Carib Lit Plus of the year. I’m revisiting her life to share a link to the review I posted in February of her book The Festival of San Joaquin which was one of my picks for my Black History Month #abookaday project.

I want to thank Trinidad filmmaker (Banyan Ltd.) Christopher Laid for giving permission to share the following Zee Edgell interview from the Second Conference of Caribbean Women Writers (1990). Access it by clicking the image below and using the password ‘zee’.

I also wanted to share an announcement from her daughter Holly, received via email from St. Lucian writer John Robert Lee (excerpted): ‘ST. LOUIS, Missouri — Zee Edgell, Belize’s foremost author of fiction, has died at the age of 80. She passed away on December 20, in her home after a battle with cancer. Born in Belize City, British Honduras in 1940, Mrs. Edgell was the daughter of the late Clive Tucker and Veronica Tucker (nee Walker). She was married to the late Alvin Edgell for 52 years. Together they raised two children: journalist Holly Edgell, 51, and physician Randall Edgell, 45. …Mrs. Edgell authored four novels and five short stories set in Belize, the only Belizean writer of fiction to do so. Her first book, Beka Lamb (Heineman 1982), is beloved in Belize and throughout the Caribbean. It has been part of school and examination curricula in the region and in other parts of the world since its publication. Mrs. Edgell received an honorary doctorate in literature from the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, Barbados in 2009. She holds a Master of Liberal Studies degree from Kent State University and earned a diploma in journalism from Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster). In 2007, she received an MBE from Queen Elizabeth II, for her services to literature and the community. Among Mrs. Edgell’s many services to Belize was her founding of the “The Reporter” newspaper in 1967. In addition, she served as director of the Women’s Bureau (later the Women’s Department) under the People’s United Party and the United Democratic Party in the 1980s. Later, she was a lecturer at the University College of Belize (now the University of Belize). …After retiring from Kent State University as a tenured English professor in 2009, Mrs. Edgell moved to St. Louis, Missouri with her husband.’ (Source – re additional content – John Robert Lee via email)

New Books

The Caribbean Literature in Transition series from Cambridge University Press has dropped – electronically in December 2020 and hard copy in January 2021. Its authors are:

Evelyn O’Callaghan, professor of West Indian Literature, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, and author of writings on women’s writing, early Caribbean narratives and more recently, ecocritical readings of Caribbean landscapes in visual and scribal texts. She has edited early Caribbean novels such as Antiguan and Barbudan writer Frieda Cassin’s With Silent Tread. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of West Indian Literature.

Curdella Forbes, professor of Caribbean Literature at Howard University and award winning fiction and non-fiction writer. She serves on the editorial advisory board of JWIL and Anthurium. Her most recent work of fiction is A Tall History of Sugar (Akashic 2019, Canongate 2020).

Tim Watson, professor of English at the University of Miami and author of several books on Caribbean culture and writing.

Raphael Dalleo, professor of English at Bucknell University whose most recent book, American Imperialism’s Undead: The Occupation of Haiti and the Rise of Caribbean Anticolonialism (2016), won the Caribbean Studies Association’s 2017 Gordon K. and Sibyl Lewis Award for best book about the Caribbean. He serves on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of West Indian Literature.

Ronald Cummings, associate professor of Postcolonial Studies in the Department of English Language and Literature at Brock University. He is co-editor of the Literature Encyclopedia volume on Anglophone Writing and Culture of Central America and the Caribbean.

Alison Donnell, professor of Modern Literatures in English and Head of School of Literature, Creative Writing and Drama at the University of East Anglia, who has published widely on Caribbean and Black British writings, with a particular emphasis on challenging orthodox literary histories and recovering women’s voices. She is the author of Twentieth Century Caribbean Literature (2006) and Caribbean Queer: Creolized Sexualities and the Literary Imagination in the Anglo-Caribbean (2021), as well as co-editor (with Michael A. Bucknor) of The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature (2011). She leads a major project funded by the Leverhulme Trust: ‘Caribbean Literary Heritage: recovering the lost past and safeguarding the future’.

***

Some people got creative and busy during the pandemic; Jamaican writer Olive Senior got so busy and so creative she got a whole book of Pandemic Poems: First Wave out of it.

“Early in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Olive Senior began posting her series of Pandemic Poems on social media. The project was a way of bearing witness to the strangeness of it all and forging a reassuring connection with readers. Each poem is a riff on a word or phrase trending in the first wave of the pandemic – an A to Z of the lexicon newly coined or quickly repurposed for our historic moment. By presenting these words and phrases in sequence, Senior offers a timeline of the way events unfolded and how the language and preoccupations kept changing in response. In this accessible collection, Senior captures the zeitgeist of 2020.” (Repeating Islands) (Source – posting by another author on facebook)

p.s. Olive is a Wadadli Pen 2021 patron. So, buy her book!

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Visual artist Heather Doram has turned her talents to publishing with a new series of colouring books.

A variety of Heather Doram merch can also be found exclusively at her online store. (Source – Heather Doram, artist, on instagram and/or facebook)

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The latest release from Caribbean Reads, its first book of 2021, is The Talking Mango Tree by A. H. Benjamin of the UK with illustrator Daniel J. O’Brien of Trinidad. The mango tree, so says the plot, begins demanding a performance from each animals who wants its fruits and as one child reader reveals below Papa Bois is not happy.

This link includes various Caribbean booksellers that carry Caribbean Reads books but also see online and wherever books are sold. (Source – Caribbean Reads on instagram)

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Jacqueline

I previously posted this book in 2020 – not sure if pub was delayed or if I got the date wrong but I just learned that it was actually published this year, January 28th 2021, by Peepal Tree Press. So I did something I don’t normally do (deleted it from that 2020 Carib Plus Lit to re-post here). Shout out to Jacqueline Bishop whose The Gift of Music and Song: Interviews with Jamaican Women Writers has been described as a “beautiful collection of interviews, conducted by journalist, poet, novelist and artist Jacqueline Bishop, features insightful and entertaining conversations with many of Jamaica’s most significant writers including Olive Senior, Lorna Goodison, Marcia Douglas and many more.” A Peepal Tree press release, also, said, “Beginning at childhood, each interviewee narrates their fond memories of the Caribbean country with a nostalgia and yearning for a place that is complex and freighted with political, social and racial difficulties. The Gift of Music & Song is a space for these writers to talk deeply about writing back to their homeland; about being female voices from Jamaica, how one should represent the country, its rhythms and cadences, and what it means to be a female writer in the world today.” (Source – update via email from John Robert Lee)

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Observer Media Group (Antigua and Barbuda) reporter Shermain Bique-Charles has published a romance novel, Jasmine: Shedding My Skin. According to the Daily Observer newspaper, “the story follows the life of a young woman who is teased in school and considered to be unpopular. In a series of intriguing developments, a young man teams up with his friends planning to violate her. Instead he falls in love with her, putting aside all his wealth, pride and ego to gain her trust and love.” The veteran journalist is originally from Dominica. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Shedding My Skin is just outside the publication window for the #readAntiguaBarbuda 2021 initiative (which closed in January 2021) but remember to vote for your favourite among the books that are in contention. (Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

Congrats Due To…

Eric Barry of Trinidad and Tobago, regional winner of the International Playwriting Competition of 2020 with ‘Delisa Brings Home the Rainbow’. The full list of winners here.

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Richards Georges. Don’t remember if I mentioned this but, hey, it’s worth mentioning twice or thrice…Richard Georges is settling in to his role, announced late last year, as the first poet laureate of the Virgin Islands. Richard, who has Antiguan and Trinidadian roots, is a BVI author, most recently celebrated for his Bocas best book win. Speaking of Bocas, Georges is, at this writing, participating in a celebration of Black Britain that’s a collaboration between Bocas and Penguin Books UK. “Linking current voices with their past influencers, the partnership will criss-cross the Atlantic to celebrate the re-publication of six previously out-of-print works by Black British authors, including James’s fictional masterpiece, and newly-commissioned work by a younger generation of Black British poets and writers, including Malika Booker, Richard Georges, Keith Jarrett, Hannah Lowe, Maureen Roberts and Roger Robinson.” – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday (Source – email, various)

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Aishah Roberts on her appointment to director of film development – Europe & UK at Fandomodo Films. Aishah is from Antigua and is the daughter of another film vet Conrad Roberts. Sidebar – Conrad Roberts‘ name was familiar to me as someone growing up in Antigua and Barbuda in the 1980s as he was maybe the only local working in Hollywood (e.g. Mosquito Coast, Miami Vice) I was aware of at the time.

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Shabier Kirchner who has been collecting nominations and awards this season for his work as cinematographer on Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series. Read all about it in the latest installment of my CREATIVE SPACE series – Small Axe, Big Talent.

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Edward Baugh and Mervyn Morris, joint announced recipients of Bocas’ Henry Swanzy Award.

“Baugh and Morris are widely considered pioneers of the study of West Indian literature, over careers that each span half a century. …

The Award, established in 2013, is named for the late BBC radio producer Henry Swanzy. Irish by birth, Swanzy worked as producer of the influential Caribbean Voices radio programme — originally founded by Jamaican Una Marson — from 1946 to 1954, becoming an essential figure in the development of modern West Indian literature.

The Bocas Lit Fest founded the award to honour and celebrate the contributions of the editors, broadcasters, publishers, critics, and others who have shaped the evolution of Caribbean literature behind the scenes.” (Repeating Islands) Personal congrats to my former mentor, Mervyn Morris. Well deserved. (Source – Facebook)

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Sharma Taylor.

Sharma Taylor whose debut novel, What a Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You, has been acquired Virago at auction, part of a two-book deal. Via this March 1st 2021 article on thebookseller.com, ‘Described as “a powerful story of belonging, identity and inheritance”, the novel brings together a host of voices to evoke 80s Jamaica’s ghetto, dance halls, criminal underworld and corrupt politics, and at its heart, a mother’s unshakeable love for her son.’ About the book: “At 18 years old, Dinah, a Jamaican maid, gave away her baby son to the rich American couple she worked for before they left Jamaica. They never returned. She never forgot him. Eighteen years later, a young man comes from the US to Kingston. From the moment she sees him, Dinah never doubts—this is her son. What happens next will make everyone question what they know and where they belong.” The first of Taylor’s books are to be published in July 2022. Use the search feature to find the other times Sharma Taylor has shown up here on the blog (and there’s this exclusive interview on my other blog); it’s a lot as she’s been having breakthrough after breakthrough in recent years. I first met the Jamaica-born, Barbados-resident lawyer and writer when she participated in a 2016 workshop I co-facilitated at the BIM Literary Festival (we were co-participants in a 2018 Commonwealth workshop in Barbados). In the time I’ve known her, it’s been a meteoric rise including being shortlisted twice for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (in 2018 and 2020) and winning the 2020 Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Prize and 2019 Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize for emerging writers. Her short story “How You Make Jamaican Coconut Oil” won the 2020 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize. In 2020, ‘The Story of Stony’ (which I wrote the author was “heartbreaking”) was longlisted for the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean. An earlier version of What a Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You was awarded second prize in the 2020 First Novel Competition (organized by Daniel Goldsmith Associates). “I wrote this book to showcase Jamaican culture and to explore the relationship between mothers and their children. I was captivated by Dinah’s voice the moment she came to me in the kitchen of my apartment in Barbados.” (via email and social media – from the author)

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From left, Jamilla Kirwan, Marcella Andre, and NIA Mentor inaugural winner Nissa Butler.

Nissa Butler emerged winner of the first NIA Mentor Award. The initiative, launched and funded by NIA Comms founder Marcella Andre and media relations specialist at the Ayre Group Jamilla Kirwan, is intended to invest in and boost an Antiguan and Barbudan female entrepreneur – providing her money ($7,000) and mentorship (from seven women in business) for a year. Nissa’s business is Butler Inscriptions and Butler Graveside Concierge service. Novel (and creative) ideas to be sure. In her publicly posted thank you, Nissa pledged to do just what the NIA Mentor Award is poised to do for her. “I will continue my efforts to pay it forward and I await, with pleasure, the bringing about positive development and opportunities for my personal growth, business and for you, my fellow female entrepreneurs.” We share this because we recognize and applaud creativity and in an environment starved for opportunity, Marcella got creative. (Source – Observer newspaper, Antigua and further research via facebook)

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). 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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Finally! Wadadli Pen Challenge Launches

PRESS RELEASE


THE WADADLI PEN 2021 CHALLNGE INVITES REFLECTION ON ‘2020’


February 26th 2021

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize returns with its latest challenge to writers and artists in Antigua and Barbuda. As in the past, the 1000 word (maximum) entries – of any literary genre or sub-genre – should be Caribbean in spirit. Entrants can write about anything but there is, also, an optional themed challenge.

The arts often flourish in difficult times as a way of channeling and expressing, also escaping, the turmoil and complexities of that time. For that reason, and the cathartic relief it can offer, Wadadli Pen looks back to ‘2020’, a year which has become a euphemism for struggle and uncertainty, as an optional sub-theme of the 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge, with a reminder to reflect, imagine, and make it Caribbean. Both written and art-text combos (i.e. storytelling using both written and visual art) are welcome.

Each year, the winning writer’s name is emblazoned on to the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque sponsored by the Best of Books. Additional pledged prizes so far this season have been confirmed from the Best of Books, Harper Collins (UK), International award winning Jamaican author Olive Senior, Patricia L. Tully of Antigua and Barbuda who has recently published her first book, and past Wadadli Pen winner Daryl George.

2021 Wadadli Pen Patron Daryl George’s name is on the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque as a past winner. Pictured with George (right) is Douglas Allen (left), a Wadadli Pen founding partner and brother of the late volunteer for whom the plaque, sponsored by the Best of Books, is named.

Wadadli Pen is launching later than usual this year and without the usual prize confirmations but determined to press on. To support the work by sponsoring a prize or volunteering, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Wadadli Pen is open in 2021 to entries from anyone of any age resident in Antigua and Barbuda; but reserves the right to single out youth entries for commendation. As usual, Wadadli Pen will also recognize the school with the most submissions.

For full submission details and entry form, visit the Wadadli Pen 2021 tab.

Consistent with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary and other artists in Antigua and Barbuda, the Wadadli Pen team is, also, once again inviting reader participation in its #readAntiguaBarbuda readers choice book of the year initiative. Vote.

This is the first time the organizers have done the challenge and the readers choice book of the year initiative at the same time; the organizers encourage full participation in this ongoing effort to boost the literary arts.
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Submissions due by March 26th 2021.

Submission form:

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late January 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information)

Appointments

Richards Georges, an award winning BVI writer with Trinidad and Antiguan roots, has been named the first ever Virgin Islands Poet Laureate. Per the image below, he was actually appointed back in November – I’m just tardy in posting.

As explained at the programme, the Poet Laureate is selected from among the territory’s most accomplished poets and must serve for three years. Nomination and appointment is based on the subject matter of their written work which should speak to the unique experience of the virgin islands and the volume, quantity, and quality of their work as evident by literary awards and other achievements. The laureate programme was established by the Minister of Culture. Richard who has specific duties under the laureate programme but who sets the intention of making time to write every day, said, ” ‘Writing isn’t just the physical act of writing, it’s researching, it’s reading, it’s thinking actively about a particular project.” You can find Richard’s books listed in the Antiguan and Barbudan poetry page. (Source – Social Media – Facebook; with additional links via email from House of Nehesi and John Robert Lee)

Accolades

Instagrammer shows love for two Antiguan and Barbudan books.

This was in a series breaking down the bookstagrammer’s favourite reads of the year. And since part of what we do here is amp up Antiguan and Barbudan books, I thought I’d share some of what she said:

Re Brand New – “I’m a fan of Rilzy Adams. She also writes about Antigua. “Brand New” is a spin-off from the Love on The Rock universe she created to tell the stories of ordinary Caribbean millennials looking for love in Antigua. I loved it because of the lead man (a teacher with dreadlocks…) but mostly because of the 90s party atmosphere.” She named Brand New named one of her top five #readCaribbean novels of 2020.

Re Dancing Nude in the Moonlight (10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings) – “I’m a fan of Joanne C. Hillhouse. Her writing (highlights) the issues of Caribbean societies. Here she tells the love story between a man from Antigua and an immigrant woman from the (Dominican) Republic. Colorism and xenophobia (complicate) a relationship that at its core seems doomed. I don’t put it higher in my ranking because (it’s) not a feel good romance. And I think the book is more about showing how one person tries to figure out which path to take in that actual romance. It is realistic and anchored in our present. …Although it was written more than 15 years ago.”

(Source – instagram/bookstagram)

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Rilzy Adams (pen name of Rilys Adams, Antiguan and Barbudan romance writer and past Wadadli Pen finalist) is in the running for her book Go Deep for the Black Girls Who Write 2020 Award (an awards initiative targeted at Black romance writers and their readers, for Best Black Erotica – vote here). (Source – the author’s social media/facebook)

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ETA: Roffey goes on to win the Costa Book of the Year Award for The Mermaid of Black Conch, of which BBC arts correspondent Rebecca Jones said: “At first, the novel might sound a bit odd. Set on a Caribbean island in the 1970s, it is a bittersweet love story between a beautiful young woman cursed to live as a mermaid and a fisherman.” Read all about it at BBC.com (Source – social media/facebook)

Trinis Ingrid Persaud and Monique Roffey were Costa Book Awards winners – first novel and novel, respectively.

(Source – Social Media – Facebook author announcement and other sources)

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A portrait of late Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite hangs in Pembroke College in the UK. Jamaica-born Errol Lloyd was commissioned by the College to paint this first portrait of a BME Fellow to go on permanent display. “It is a great honour for us to be able to place Kamau amongst our other distinguished alumni, here in our Hall”, said the Master, Lord Smith. “He was a hugely distinguished, major international literary figure. He put Caribbean literature very firmly on the literary map.” – More at the College website. (Source – Email from St. Lucian poet John Robert Lee)

New Books

UK-Jamaican author Leone Ross’ latest This One Sky Day landed on January 15th 2021. It is published by the prestigious Faber & Faber, and, in the US, Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux. And promoting it, the author landed herself on the cover of Bookseller.

In the article, she said, of the gap between her las novel and this third work – 20 years (not counting her 2017 short story collection Come Let Us Sing Anyway) – ‘“It felt, for reasons I don’t quite understand, that everything went to sleep a little bit,” she says. “I think probably because I needed to hustle more, probably because I needed a different agent, we could say all kinds of things… I don’t know what I needed to do. But I do know that at the end of Orange Laughter I was exhausted emotionally. It had taken a lot to write those two novels over a very short period of time.” It felt, she says now, as though nobody was waiting for book number three, not that anyone should have been, she adds hastily. “I didn’t feel entitled, but also I didn’t get very much support. So I kind of thought, ‘Oh, that’s the end of that’.”’ As someone who first heard Ross read in Guadeloupe in 2013, becoming immediately intrigued, and as a fan of stories of hers like The Woman who lived in a Restaurant and The Mullerian Eminence in Peepal Tree collection Closure – both out in 2015, I believe – I have been waiting, and can’t wait to read. (Source – Leone Ross’ social media)

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Two Caribbean specific Collins (UK) Big Cat books hit the UK market on January 7th 2021 – The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse (me) and Turtle Beach by Wadadli Pen team member and bookseller Barbara A. Arrindell, illustrated, respectively by Danielle Boodoo Fortune of Trinidad and Tobago and Zavian Archibald of Antigua and Barbuda. Per this post on The Spectator’s facebook page, Barbara’s book, though “a story set in the Caribbean, … goes beyond the Caribbean and highlights environmental issues of interest to everyone. Barbara’s hobby for swimming and love of beaches are strong influences this children’s book.” She noted the influence my mother and nephew had on my story, and, I would add, that it is, too, in its way a pro-environment story of potential appeal to young readers everywhere. Both will be rolled out in other markets in coming months. (Source – Petra Williams, The Spectator)

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Trinidad and Tobago author Lisa Allen-Agostini (you may remember her from this interview here on the blog) is preparing to launch her latest book, The Bread The Devil Knead, her third overall and her first for adults, and first book since the award winning Home Home.

Cover art by Brianna McCarthy.

Launch day is in May 2021, ahead of which Lisa did this January 19th 2021 live special with TTT News on facebook. (Source – Lisa Allen-Agostini’s social media – facebook and instagram)

Showcase

Dominica/UK’s Papillote Press has launched a video series spotlighting its book titles. The series started with readings from teen/young adult titles Home Home by Trinidad and Tobago’s Lisa Allen-Agostini, Gone to Drift by Jamaica’s Diana McCaulay, The Art of White Roses by Puerto Rico’s Viviana Prado-Núñez, and Abraham’s Treasure by Dominica’s Joanne Skerrett; and continued with Riff: the Shake Keane Story, a biography of the poet and jazz musician, by Philip Nanton. Publisher Polly Pattullo, who introduces the readings with a personal note about each title, says, “Even though the pandemic has kept us apart it has also brought the Caribbean literary community together online. These readings in En Papillote are a way of bringing our authors and their important writing to readers everywhere.” The series will continue with other books across other genres and sub-genres in the Papillote catalogue. (Source – Papillote press release)

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On January 20th 2021 (yes, that January 20th 2021), I was the virtual guest of the National Public Library, the first of the year for their Local Author of the Month series.

Next up is Shawn Maile, author of How to work Six Jobs on an Island, on February 17th 2021. (Source – Me)

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The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize channel, launched late in 2020, continues to add content – lately dramatized readers of past winners. Check them out and remember to like, comment, share, subscribe, and hit the notification bell.

Image and story from the first Wadadli Pen Challenge Awards in 2004. Go to YouTube for the full playlist of stories recorded between 2004-2005.

(Source – Me)

Press

Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine picked up news of the Caribbean Reader’s Awards in an article headlined ‘The 7 Best Caribbean Books for Your 2021 Reading List, According to Rebel Women Lit’s Readers’ Awards’. From the article: ‘The Caribbean Readers’ Awards are like the Goodreads’ Choice Awards in that they are completely reader-led. While it may be smaller in scale, the response was even greater than (co-founder Jherane) Patmore expected, with some readers already suggesting candidates for the 2021 awards. “I’m excited for new people to discover different genres and to have this space to celebrate literature that has been pushed aside or ignored,” Patmore tells OprahMag.com.’ Read the full article by Hearst magazines SEO manager Stephanie Castillo. (Source – Social Media in general)

As with all content on this site, unless otherwise noted, this is prepared by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, Joanne C. Hillhouse. As we try to do, credit if sharing.

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Wadadli Pen 2020 – What Popped, What Flopped

Season’s Greetings.

Just doing my annual check-in to see what people responded (and didn’t respond) to on the blog this year. It’s an important part of building engagement and community – or so the experts say. Let’s dive in.

The Most Popular Post or Page apart from the Home Page (obvs) was the post on Most Influential Antiguans and Barbudans. This started out as an ask on a friend’s facebook page that I decided to archive here on the site. Listed are some of the people we lost in 2020 like Edris Bird, Swallow, Joseph ‘Calypso Joe’ Hunte If 2020 has taught us anything this year it’s how fragile everything is, life, reality, our sense of what tomorrow will bring. I always believe it’s important to recognize the people who put in the work and helped shape and define our culture; this year just underscored and put that in bold.

Andre Warner, pictured with the Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge Plaque, sponsored by the Best of Books, was co-winner of the Wadadli Pen challenge 2020 with youngest winner to date 11-year-old Cheyanne Darroux.

The Second Most Popular Post or Page was Wadadli Pen 2020 (which, God willing, will be flipping to Wadadli Pen 2021 soon) and the Fourth Most Popular was Who Won What in 2020? (referring to our annual writing challenge), while About Wadadli Pen (summarizing our work 2004 to date) was our Fifth Most Popular. The work we do at Wadadli Pen being this blog’s reason for being, I”d, of course, be happier if either of these was number one but I get it. Every year we’re able to keep this thing going even as our lives get more stretched is a miracle, but our passion endures. We had several people asking about the Challenge after it wrapped this year, by the way. So we invite you, while you’re, here give the blog a follow to give us a boost and ensure that you never miss any of our content again.

The Third Most Popular Post or Page was Antiguan and Barbudan Writings which I am personally happy to see because we work hard on keeping the records updated and, frankly, the new publications are coming so fast and furious these days, it isn’t easy. That said, if you are releasing new books, email us (wadadlipen@gmail.com) the details per the page’s format, so that we can keep the reading public informed and enter you in to the ‘official’ Antiguan and Barbudan canon. #fortherecord Oh and look up, I rotate covers randomly in the site banner at least quarterly as an extra way of giving our authors a boost.

Our calypso/music posts were also popular this year (likely for research purposes) and so our Sixth (Short Shirt’s Top 100), Seventh (Antiguan and Barbudan song writers), Eighth (Nobody Go Run Me (lyrics)), and Ninth (Antiguan and Barbudan Cultural Icon – Paul King Obstinate Richards) Most Popular posts were all about the calypso music.

From the Harper Collins catalogue images of Big Cat books including Turtle Beach by Antiguan and Barbudan author and Wadadli Pen team member Barbara Arrindell.

And I’m glad to see that something new (and publishing related) made the top Ten as the Tenth Most Popular post is Collins Readies Rollout of #OwnVoices Caribbean Children’s Books. Hopefully that means lots of sales. You can pre-order now.

As usual, we give a boost to the least viewed/least popular posts of the year as well. There are a bunch of them at basically the same level, so I’ll just put 10 I like at random (blogger’s privilege). Meeting Ashley Bryan – about my introduction to the famed award winning children’s writer who happens to have Antiguan and Barbudan roots, You and Your Wiki Caribbean Writers edition – in which I spoke about the need for us to create wikis for our Caribbean talent (not a cause=effect but I subsequently got, through no involvement of my own, my own wiki), Culture must be Free – Latumba (one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite calypsonians and the project to transcribe as many of our lyrics as we can continues), After Reading In the Black this is a book edited by Althea Prince and for those looking to read the Black experience in this year of Black Lives Matter worth revisiting right now, A Barbuda Adventure – the sister island’s been on my mind a lot lately and in this piece a prize recipient (actually someone who accompanied one of our recipients of a prize from Barbuda Express) reminds us of what’s so beautiful and precious about it (what should be preserved not crushed and run over by capitalist blindness), Wadadli Stories Q & A – this is 2017 event is last of our community literary festivals and that’s kind of a shame,
(image of Wadadli Pen prize recipients at the 2017 book fair – photo by Linisa George of Art. Culture. Antigua.)

Tell the People the Truth (lyrics) – another addition to our lyrics project and a reminder that you can help by submitting lyrics and credits, verified, for our data bases, You Feel Dat – from the Wadadli Pen open mic series, Re Resources, Opportunities, and More – telling you about some of the other work of the blog, and Read Beyond – because we all should be reading beyond our comfort zone.

Jamaican author Diana McCaulay is one of the Caribban authors interviewed in one of the blog’s most popular new postings of the year.

ETA: I should probably clarify that, unlike previous best ofs, this post wasn’t specific to posts or pages made in the year of popularity. That list takes considerably more time, usually, to pull together; so some of these posts and pages are years old. But I decided to do a quick scan of the insights to see if I could at least pull out which 2020 posts landed well. The who won what in 2020 and Collins posts already listed above are the top ones, followed by the 2020 Wadadli Pen short list announcement, and winning 2020 Challenge entries Two Worlds Collide, A New World, The Fabled Truth, Tom, the Ninja Crab, and The Beast of Barbados. At about number 5 most popular was the first post in the series of exclusive interviews with Caribbean writers on publishing – lessons, breakthroughs, and rights. Also making the top 10 of popular posts posted this year is the 2020 challenge patrons post (which is important in attracting future patronage, so thanks).

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. Seriously, a lot of time, energy, love and frustration goes in to researching and creating content for this site; please don’t just take it up just so without even a please, thank you or credit. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on 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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