Category Archives: Wadadli Pen 2004

About the 2004 Wadadli Pen competition

Merry Christmas

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It’s here, people (almost), the most wonderful time of the year…or so the song says. Whether your 2017 has so far been good, bad, or, more like, the rollercoaster ride of a bumpy Antiguan road or a deceptively smooth one (you know the one, where a pot hole as deep as the Grand Canyon suddenly drops in out of nowhere), here’s hoping 2018 is better.

A reminder to check out our most popular posts of 2017.
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A reminder to vote for your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan book of 2017.

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A reminder that I have a new creative writing workshop series starting in 2018 and that you don’t have to be in Antigua or Barbuda to participate.
Promo Flyer corrected

And if you’re wondering about the Wadadli Pen 2018 Challenge season, bear with me, it’s been a challenging stretch, decisions are being made; will update as soon as something has been finalized. Meantime, always feel free to flashback to the winning stories of years past and see the work and the writers we’ve helped shepherd  into the public space in 13 years of existence.
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Thanks for taking this journey with us and here’s hoping your Christmas is indeed Merry.

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!, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, 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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Why I like doing this blog

This was originally published in 2010 (at a site that shall remain ghosted until they pay me what they owe me for unrelated freelance work, and again re-published with some subtle variation at Summer Edward’s blog), shortly after I started blogging.

I’ve been drawn time and again these past weeks to the new Wadadli Pen blog (https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com) I’ve not long started; a tweak here, a twitch there. Time consuming as it can be, as much as it challenges my limited technical knowledge, I feel energized by this as I don’t much else right now. Maybe it’s the pure pleasure I experience reading the creative efforts of our young writers through the years; the way their storytelling prods at relevant social issues and reveals, in some instances, a literary maturity I didn’t necessarily have at their age.

Mired in things, it’s sometimes hard to feel the heft and texture of them; and in the first three years of this competition, 2004 to 2006, I was a bit of a headless chicken trying to make sure everything ran just so.

I read the stories, sure; appreciated them. But as I edit and post, I feel like I’m reading them for the first time. So it was, for instance, that I was seeing, with a certain clarity, the parallels between Gemma George’s Stray Dog Prepares for the Storm and Damani Tabor’s Irate Beggar, one with a dog and the other with a human at their centre but both really speaking to the way society recoils from its responsibility to the less fortunate.

And when at the Best of Books Open Mic after my reading of Kemal Nicholson’s Ma Belle, one listener commented on his effective use of irony, I felt collectively proud of these youngsters. They’ve proven that not only is Antigua a reading public, s/he’s also a writing public. It strengthened my resolve to bring this competition back, to keep it alive, wherever my personal fortunes may lie – notwithstanding my abhorrence of going cap in hand to businesses for patronage knowing the cause may be good but the reception not always pleasant, nor polite.

Interestingly, as I prepped the author notes to accompany the story postings, I realized that none of these, to the best of my knowledge, were beelining towards a literary career; but I felt fairly certain of two things – they’ll continue writing nonetheless in some way/shape/form, and their ability to express themselves in this way will be an asset in the courtroom or wherever they find themselves.

The other thing that I think draws me to this project is the growing number of publications and/or recordings by Antiguan and Barbudan writers, which I have taken it upon myself to catalogue these several years. I’ve begun posting these lists on the site and find that they are never done. No sooner have I ironed out a crease there, than someone will email to point out another crease an omission or such and I have to tend to that as well.

Far from making me feel hassled, it’s made me a little proud that here on this 108 square miles, we’ve produced such a wealth of publications (the vast majority books of non-fiction and poetry, with fiction a distant third and children’s fiction bringing up the rear); defiantly, persistently finding our way through the tiny cracks of a global publishing industry that really has little interest in who we are and what we have to say. Never mind, we seem to say, we’ll find a way.

Hence, the sheer number of publications, and the list, I fear/hope/dread/believe has only just begun to grow. There might be a lot more work ahead.

I’m thrilled to discover, as I have, that people are using the list, that people are being directed to it to discover who’s published what.

This list is particularly an eye opener – going back to that adage about how much we do or do not read – because growing up I really wasn’t exposed to/aware of much of what we had created, literally, and, frankly, the output then was paltry compared to the level of activity in the past decade or so. And for a long time, I don’t think I felt confident enough to believe in this pie in the sky dream of being a writer.

Even now, that that resolve is too often tested. And it felt then that there were no models, outside of the rich calypsos and Anansi storytelling, as I’ve said before, until I discovered Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John. Well, I feel fairly confident that young Antiguans and Barbudans with that secret dream in their heart can go to this list and I find inspiration.

I can’t mention that list without mentioning John Lee of St Lucia, whose similar listing of West Indian literature is also posted on the site. In fact, that’s an aspect of the site I’m excited about, the window I hope to open up not just to the Antiguan and Barbudan literary scene but to the wider Caribbean and the world really, as far as literary resources are concerned.

Wadadli Pen returned in 2010 and will be back in 2011, as my tanty would say, God spare life. With this time consuming blogging adventure, however, it’s kind of already here. I encourage readers to stop by and make use of it.

Joanne C. Hillhouse (http://www.jhohadli.com) is the author of The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight; and the founder/co-ordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize.

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!, Fish Outta Water, and Musical Youth). 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 an ah-fu-she-subben (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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WADADLI PEN WINNERS THROUGH THE YEARS – STORY LINKS

To see the winners through the years, you can click on the individual year in the drop down menu on the main page, and, of course, you can also use our search feature. But I thought it might be convenient (and appropriate) to have an easy and convenient listing of all the winners from a single space in the section on Antigua and Barbuda Writings as well. So, here goes.

2004

Verdanci Benta (Shirley’s New Roommate)

Gemma George (Stray Dog Prepares for the Storm)

Siena K. Margrie Hunt (A Nuclear Family Explosion)

Liscia Lawrence (The Day I saw Evil)

Lia Nicholson (Tekin’ Ahn Dey!)

Damani Tabor (The Irate Beggar)

2005

Rilys Adams (Fictional Reality)

Chatrisse Beazer (A Scary Night)

Verdanci Benta (Boysie’s Fixed Account)

Kennella Charles (Awaken to the Night)

Debesha S. A. Grant (Blue Mountain Hike)

Liscia Lawrence (Misinterpreted)

Sarah Ann Li (Lucky Dollar)

Sandrena Martin (The Torturer)

2006

Rilys Adams (Unheard)

Chatrisse Beazer (The Rescue)

Verdanci Benta (The Village Obeah Woman)

Ayoka [Angelica] O’Donoghue (Road Trip to Paradise)

Rosalie Amelia Richards (The Creation)

Kemal Osmel Nicholson (Ma Belle)

Blair A. Rose (The Day I became a Man)

2010

One of the top art entries from 2010.

One of the top art entries from 2010.

Terrikia Benjamin (Happy to be Black)

Shakeema Edwards (Skin Deep)

Hilesha S. Humphreys (Black and Beautiful)

2011

Art from the 2011 Challenge in which the writers had to write children's stories and the artists had to create illustrations for the top stories. This is one of two by that year's adult art winner Hudle Jennings.

Art from the 2011 Challenge in which the writers had to write children’s stories and the artists had to create illustrations for the top stories. This is one of two by that year’s adult art winner Hudle Jennings, an illustration for the story Sands and Butterflies.

Chatrisse Beazer (The Legend of Banana Boy)

SA Dixon (Cocos Nucifera)

Shakeema Edwards (The Curse of the Kumina)

Orique Gordon (The Lost Coin)

Zuri Holder (The Scary Night)

Ardis Lavelle (Pre School Days)

Keillia Mentor (Mongoose in a Hole)

Devra Thomas (Sands and Butterflies)

Latisha Walker-Jacobs (Market Day)

2012

Vega Armstrong (The Legend of the Sea Lords)

Naleka Beckford (Origin)

Akeile Benjamin (The Adventures of Mr. Coconut)

Ariel Dunnah (Angela’s Baby and Every Rose has its Thorn)

Darryl George (Snowcone Melancholia)

Aarati Jagdeo (The Yard and Thirty-Six Hundred)

Jordee Josiah (Let’s Dance)

Karenna Nicholson (The Caribbean Flavour)

Rosalie A. Richards (Smitten)

Tiffany Smith (The Colour Red and The Untitled)

2013

The challenge in 2013 was to create anansi characters - it was in fact an audition for  a possible assignment for a forthcoming book. Garvin Benjamin had the top art entries. This is his version of Ms. Anansi.

The challenge in 2013 was to create anansi characters – it was in fact an audition for a possible assignment for a forthcoming book. Garvin Benjamin had the top art entries. This is his version of Ms. Anansi.

Chammaiah Ambrose (How Tigers got Stripes)

Vega Armstrong (Hide and Seek)

Daryl George (Julie Drops and Ceramic Blues)

Asha Graham (Revelations Tonight and Remembrance)

Michaela Harris (Secret of de Mango Tree)

Zuri Holder (The Big Event)

Jamila Salankey (Her Blackest Sin)

2014

Cover design by Alvin Livingstone. Winner of the 2014 cover design Wadadli Pen art Challenge.

Cover design by Alvin Livingstone. Winner of the 2014 cover design Wadadli Pen art Challenge.

Carmen Ambrose (Welcome Back, Champ)

Chammaiah Ambrose (The Great Cycle)

Vega Armstrong (Forbidden)

Terry Benjamin Jr. (The Farm Thief)

Letisha Carrington Faracho (Last Cry)

Damian De Silva (Escape to Paradise)

Ariel Dunnah (La Diablesse and A Grain of Salt)

Zahra Emanuel (The Day I saved a Friend)

Daryl George (A Guilty Fragrance)

Christopher Gittens (The Knock on My Door)

Asha Graham (Lajabless)

Daniel Ince (One Scary Night)

Margaret Irish (The Skipping Rope)

Liscia Lawrence (Misguided Illusion)

Arize Lee (The Cold Truth)

Zoe Lewis (The Day I Almost Died)

Mjolnir Messiah (Searching for a Treasure)

Kaylee Meyer (This is Paradise)

Kelvin Juwon Miller (Delinquent Development)

Alexandra Nathaniel Spence (Why did I get punished?)

Angelica O’Donoghue (Loving the Skin I’m In)

Kohylah Piper (Hallowed Ground)

Paula Russell-Peters (The Big Fight and Two can play at That Game)

Zion Ebony Williams (The Night I went to Cricket)

2015

Ondrej Austin-McDonald (untitled)

Judah Christian (Judah and His Friends save the Day)

Margaret Irish (Justice)

Olsfred James (Get Set, Go… )

Melicia McCalmon (The First Time I went to St. John’s)

Avriel Walters (Teenagers)

2016

Chammaiah Ambrose (Guilty)

Denejah Browne (Lost and Found!)

Alyssa Charles (Faded Glory)

Judah Christian (My Worst Day Ever)

Rolanda Cuffy (The Caribbean)

Zahra Emanuel (My So-called Father)

Daryl George (Tropical Moonlight Sonata)

Canice James (Heroic Night)

Kya Matthew (Antigua and Barbuda – My Paradise)

Jemelia Pratt (Les Trajó Aquí)

Morgan Leah Simon (Antigua Experience)

Laila Tahir (Caribbean Experiences)

Avriel Walters (My Cousin)

Diamond Wayne (Granny for Sale)

Zion Ebony Williams (A Dinner to Remember)

2017

Emma Belizaire (Cricket is My Life)

Ashley Francis (Our Caribbean)

Fayola Jardine (Shakiyah and the Mango Hater)

Andrecia Lewis (Strange)

Lucia Murray (Mr. Duppy)

Ava C. Ralph (Non Fiction?)

Kaeiron Saunders (Not Another Island Story; As Told by Auntie Gah)

Shadiael Simmons (Brave 11-Year-old Saved Two Months Baby)

Zion Ebony Williams (Those who don’t hear, will feel)

Devon Wuilliez (The Great Big Dumz)

Francis Yankey (And She Sang Fire)

 

 

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Readers’ Choice Challenge

As you know, the 2014 season of Wadadli Pen is coming up, making it 10 years since the annual Challenge was first launched. Now I have a challenge for you. Of all the winning entries over the past 10 years, which is your favourite and why? State your favourite and the reason in the comments section of this post. The most favourited story will be the 10th anniversary Readers’ Choice. It’ll mean more recognition for the author and an opportunity for you to revisit the engaging stories and promising talent that this Challenge has and continues to spotlight. Here’s the link to the stories. So, which one’s your favourite?

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Who won in 2004?

Prize donors, Culture and Education officials with some of the 2004 winners (standing from left S. Hunte, L. Lawrence, G. George, L. Nicholson's mom, D. Tabor)

*In addition to prizes mentioned, all winners received a certificate from the YE WYPP team.

Honourable Mention – General:

Liscia Lawrence, 16, Clare Hall Secondary School, for her story The Day I Saw Evil.

Prize Package:

  • CD (Alicia Keys) – King Progress

Sienna K. Margrie Hunt, 13, CKHS, for her story Nuclear Family Explosion.

Prize Package:

  • $75 gift certificate – Exotic Antigua

Damani Tabor, 18, Hatton, for his story Irate Beggar.

Prize Package:

  • CD (Mario Winans) and poetry book – King Progress

Best Under-12 Writer:

Verdanci Benta, 11, Golden Grove Primary, for her story Shirley’s New Roommate.

Prize Package:

  •  Three book gift set – S E James (author of Tragedy on Emerald Island, A Narrow Escape, Kidnapped at the Beach)
  • $50 voucher – Bailey’s Jewellery
  • Movie ticket – Deluxe
  • Gift certificate – Cushion Club

TOP THREE WRITERS

Third Place:

Verdanci Benta, 11, Golden Grove Primary, for her story Shirley’s New Roommate.

Prize Package:

  • EC $150 – Anicol
  • Three months free Internet – Cable & Wireless
  • Under the Calabash Tree – Leon ‘Chaku’ Symester (author)
  • Pendant – Antigua Jewellers
  • Two movie tickets – Deluxe
  • EC $100 – D. Gisele Isaac

Second Place:

Lia Nicholson, 15, Putney School, VT, USA – formerly of Sunnyside Tutorial, for her story Tekin’ ahn Dey.

Prize Package:

  •  Two Caribbean Star tickets
  • Three months free Internet – Cable and Wireless
  • $300 gift certificate – Benetton
  • Three book gift package – The Map Shop
  • Pen – Howell Jewellers
  •  Under the Calabash Tree (book) – King Progress
  •  Two movie tickets – Deluxe

Winner:

Gemma George, 18, Antigua State College student, for her story Stray Dog Prepares for the Storm.

Prize Package:

Gemma with Comnett owner Gerard Shoul collecting her prize.

  • Computer, printer, and other accessories – Comnett
  •  Two tickets to Costa Rica – BWIA
  • Engraved pen – Antigua Jewellers
  •  Three months free internet – Cable and Wireless
  • 1 Movie ticket – Deluxe
  •  Under the Calabash Tree – Leon ‘Chaku’ Symester (author)
  • $100 gift certificate – The Best of Books
  • Dancing Nude in the Moonlight – Joanne C. Hillhouse (author)

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Stray Dog Prepares for the Storm by Gemma George

Wadadli Pen inaugural winner Gemma George w/ coordinator @ the awards ceremony

[2004 Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize winner]

Mangy Dog woke up on a bright September morning in 1995 only to hear the chatter of doom and gloom among the people on the street of St. John’s. What he heard caused him great distress as he looked for a place to shelter.

“Oh lad, dis a de worse one yet. Dis one dem call hurricane Luis. A wey me go shelta now?! A inna times like these me wish Antigua min ha dog pound. At least me woulda only haffoo worry bout dem putting me to sleep.

“But come to think of it, me na tink me woulda want wan next human foo hole me, for a because a dem me inna dis situation. Just because me na min tun out foo be de pedigree dem min expec, dem kick me outta de yard an let me loose pan de street. Nebba me an humans again!”

Mangy Dog then remembered that he actually lived with humans – those on the streets of St. John’s.

“Na get me wrong, you know. Me have human friends. But dem dey worse off dan me. Even me, one ‘stray,’ does feel shame foo hear dem a beg dollar when de good book say by de sweat a you brow you should eat bread. No, me nr pretend foo be no God-fearing dog, but me ha me pride. In any case, me haffoo live, so pride go haffoo suffer cause ah live by tiefing and begging.”

Just then Mangy Dog saw a Guyanese restaurant.

“Dis look comfortable and warm. Come me go in.”

“Get you mangy, mongrel self outta me place!”

Whap!

“I, yi, yi, yi! Imagine he come inna foo me country and a come stone me out! An wha mek e worse, he open one a dem sore when de sodden min dey a heal up.”

Mangy dog then headed down to the market. He thought he could find more friendly faces there.

“Oh gawd Margaret, look at that dog! Get it away from me! I don’t want it near my baby. I am sure it has fleas.”

“arrhrhrr! Foo me fleas woulda nebba want foo touch da pickney dey. He a wha Jackie Chan woulda call Third World ugly. Me na lub black people tall! You know de difference between dem an white people?  White people na scorn me. At least dem pet me sometimes.”

As Mangy dog was thinking about a little human kindness, a man passed by with a Roti and went to sit on a bench nearby. Mangy Dog’s mouth started to water so he thought of a plan. He would put on a pitiful face and stretch out his paw. It worked. The man took one look at Mangy Dog and threw the Roti on the ground.

“Yap, yap, yap, mhmmm.”

Mangy Dog ate his heartiest meal of the day. This time he was glad he was in bad shape. The man looked at his watch and said out loud,

“Wait, a 3 o’clock already? A better go home and board up me house.”

Mangy Dog was relieved and distressed at the same time. There was no school that day, therefore, no torment from Primary school children when they got out at 3 o’clock. Then again, he had to secure a place to pass the storm.

At about 5:30 that evening, Mangy Dog spotted an abandoned building. He entered it and saw a man curled up in a corner clutching a bottle of Cavalier Rum. He drew closer and closer until he was actually sniffing him. He sensed there was no danger. The dog lay quietly down beside the man who then put his arms around his sore-covered body as strong winds began to blow.

THE END

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION & TERMS OF USE
Copyright of the winning Wadadli Pen stories and/or art work featured on this site belongs to the creators of the individual works and are used here purely for promotional and educational purposes. Other blog content, except otherwise noted, is created and/or maintained by Joanne C. Hillhouse. Site content should not be copied, distributed, transmitted, used for commercial purposes, altered, transformed, or built upon without the consent of the copyright holders.

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Tekin’ ahn dey! by Lia Nicholson

[2004 Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Second Placed Writer]

The air is moist and heavy with the smell of roasted corn and Friday night
chicken – pure tropical. The streets of Antigua glow with houses
flamboyantly covered in Christmas lights. Tree frogs chirp like wound up
music boxes after a light evening shower.

Slowly my father presses his foot on the brake as we approach a speed
bump. My cousin Kelsey and I jolt slightly in the back of the ancient
pickup truck. As we draw closer to Cobbs Cross Corner, we begin to feel the
bass before it’s even possible to hear the music, suggesting the real
night life is just ahead.

My mother had sent us to go pick up my older brother for dinner, and I’d
eagerly agreed to go; I thirsted for my home culture after months of
boarding school.

We could hear the sound of music now; a song by Wayne Wonder and T.T.
Miss, one that I have to close my eyes and listen to for old time’s sake.

 ‘I don’t wanna talk about what I had be-fore, so what I wanna do right now,
is love you ever more, ba-by’.

 As we round the corner, a hiss rings through the air,

 “Pssssssssssssst!”

 I open my eyes abruptly; the sound is so familiar, yet so foreign. A group of boys are on the curb, some sitting, some standing, but all moving to the music. A car’s electric blue
headlights cast swimming shadows. A couple more hisses follow, accompanied
by an “ay, babey!”

‘Of course,’ I think, ‘white girls in a black country.’

I look away from them, tense and self-conscious. My actions remind me of
an English friend that visited. She loved the beaches as much as I do – as
much as every tourist does – though when hissed at, she’d blush furiously.
I felt her insecurity of wanting them to keep giving me attention mixed
with the embarrassment.

“I’d almost forgotten that sound,” I say to my cousin, though it sounds much more bitter than I’d intended. I also missed it.

“I wonder when the tradition started,” she replies.

“No idea.”

 “Ever hissed at them?” she asks, smiling cheekily.

“No.”

 “I dare you to when we pass back.” She winks at me.

I think about it for a minute, and then agree. “You’re on,” I say, winking
at her.

My brother hurries down the stairs, jumps in the cab, and slams the door.
The whole truck rattles; its years are numbered.

After we pull out onto the main road, the music slowly comes back into
hearing range. A different song is playing now, one I don’t know. I can
glimpse the lights from the Corner as it approaches. My heart is pounding
with anticipation of their reaction. Am I sure I don’t know any of the
people? After all, it is dark.

As we draw level with the group, I hiss at them long and loud without
hesitation. Their reaction is unexpected; a second of silence which is
quickly broken by an uproar of cheering and crazy hissing. Some comments
are thrown in as well: “Ay baby!” and “Where you goin’?” The English girl
would have been proud of me.

Night swallows them up as we fly out of sight, my dad speeding along. My
cousin laughs deep and I join in.

“Merass, yu tek ahn dey!!” She yells it out loud in dialect. You took them
on.

I remember the days when I had been the only white girl in my class, when
I possessed that child’s non-judgmental, accepting mind. As the ring of
our laughs join together, I realize that child in me would never die.
I lift my face to the sky, and inhale deeply. A sweet smell fills my
lungs. The scent of frangipani suggests there is one blooming nearby.

THE END

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION & TERMS OF USE
Copyright of the winning Wadadli Pen stories and/or art work featured on this site belongs to the creators of the individual works and are used here purely for promotional and educational purposes. Other blog content, except otherwise noted, is created and/or maintained by Joanne C. Hillhouse. Site content should not be copied, distributed, transmitted, used for commercial purposes, altered, transformed, or built upon without the consent of the copyright holders.

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