Category Archives: Wadadli Pen 2014

To submit or not…why is this even a question?

Fact, Antigua and Barbuda has a lot of literary talent – look at the sheer number of writers these 170 square mile twin-small-islands continue to produce. Fact, there is literary enthusiasm (just peep the eager, so when do we start, comments re the 2016/2017 season of the Expressions Open Mic over on their facebook page). Fact, relative to facts one and two, we under-submit to journals, anthologies, and contests (can’t say we don’t know when we have an Opportunities and Opportunities Too (the one with pending deadlines) page, plus facebook pages like Just Write  to keep us in the loop). What’s that you say? The claim of under-submission is opinion, not fact? Over-statement considering our size? Maybe, I mean I don’t know the submission levels for every small island but…

Case in point, the Commonwealth Short Story competition’s submissions from Antigua and Barbuda after 2012 (when my story Amelia at Devil’s Bridge, also shortlisted for the Small Axe fiction prize and taught in two college/university courses, one in NY and the other in Belize, that I’m aware of, was one of the prize also-rans included in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the CaribbeanPepperpot1-524x800):

2013 – 4 submissions
2014-8 submissions
2015-3 submissions
2016-9 submissions

I don’t have numbers for earlier but if I’m recollecting my conversations with the Commonwealth rep overseeing the comp correctly, it was consistently less. And these uneven numbers though they reflect an improvement seem a trickle to me (even though we’re a combined 100,000 people if you want to stretch the truth a little), relative to facts one and two.

Is it the ‘unattractive’ prizes?£2,500 for regional winners,  £5,000 overall plus a bump of recognition that can lift any emerging writer’s stock.

Is it the tight submission window? I mean sure it’s every year at the same time (November 1st – Independence Day in Antigua and Barbuda) but who can remember?…oh that’s right I remind you months in advance on Opportunities Too.

Is it the prohibitive no entry fee?

Is it that our mangoes will never get a fair shot against them apples? Except the Caribbean is its own region – remember the dark days when we were linked with Canada; and from this region, our writers – like Trinidad’s Sharon Millar have claimed the main prize.

What is it then?

I have an inkling.

It’s scary.

As someone who’s been submitting to this prize for more years than I care to think of, I understand the intimidation factor and the soul crushing power of rejection – it’s hard putting your stuff out there and being told it’s not good enough. But you know why I keep submitting (well, apart from the obvious masochistic streak that keeps me getting up like a fighter that doesn’t know when she’s been beat)? Because I have stories I need to tell and I’m not about to let anybody tell me that those stories aren’t worth telling – my characters won’t have it. Because I know that sometimes these things are less about the quality of the work and more about how something clicks in a particular moment in time – I know (because some of you’ve told me ) that you have read winning stories and gone …but, but, but how? Don’t matter, it was that story’s turn and frankly, they’ve been good choices, the ones I’ve read (and I do try to read them for the enjoyment factor but also to learn and grow). Because if I’m being honest with myself my story probably did need some work and I’d rather work to get better because I know that talent is such a small part of what makes a writer – we’ve got to be committed to the journey and the work. Because I am a writer and this is the rhythm of the writing life, and you need to develop the resilience to survive and game it (and give yourself permission to cry when it’s too much but DON’T GIVE UP). Because I am good enough dammit (repeat that three times!) and some day they’ll have to admit it – yes, the part of me that grew up hearing  Solo affirm in song We bigger dan dem, will not allow size to limit her. A mix of positive affirmation, drive, and badmindedness (harnessed for good) – because, whatever it takes, for me to pick myself up off the ground and try again.

And so as I look at the trickle of submissions relative to the literary activity and enthusiasm for the literary arts here, I want to encourage you to find your whatever it takes, keep working on your craft (inquire re what didn’t work with your story if there’s an avenue to do so), keep growing, and keep submitting. Now you may say, I don’t write for that and that’s fine, if you don’t…but if you do want to take your shot and you’re talking yourself out of it, tell yourself to get out of your way and go through. And no, this isn’t the first time I’ve come here to urge you (and myself) to go for it…don’t think of me as a broken record, think of me as your favourite song on repeat, and get up and dance.

Carry these facts with you for some inspiration.

Diana McCaulay of Jamaica was the regional winner in 2012 for her story the Dolphin Catcher. That story was the root of her manuscript Gone to DriftGone to Drift which was the first runner-up for the 2015 Burt Award for teen/YA Caribbean fiction and has since been published to critical acclaim by Papillote Press. Diana, before and since the Commonwealth short story comp, has published several books, and won or been short listed for several regional and international prizes. She and her publisher are also past donors (2013, 2016) to the prize package for the annual Wadadli Youth Pen Prize challenge and we’ve reviewed her book here on the site as well (teaser: we loved it).

Sharon Millar of Trinidad & Tobago was the regional and overall winner in 2013 for her story The Whale House. She’s since gone on to publish her first book The Whale House and Other Stories to critical acclaim including right here on Wadadli Pen . It was also longlisted for the 2016 Bocas prize.

Maggie Harris, originally of Guyana, many years resident in the UK, was the regional winner in 2014 for her story Sending for Chantal. Maggie already had a long list of credits when she won the prize and she hasn’t missed a step, winning the Guyana (Poetry) Prize in 2015 for 60 years of loving. She’s also a 2014 prize donor to the annual Wadadli Youth Pen Prize challenge.

K. Jared Hosein of Trinidad & Tobago was the regional winner in 2015 for his story the King of Settlement 4. An earlier story of his had also made the cut in the aforementioned 2012 Pepperpot collection and he had self-published Littletown Secrets (check blogger on books for this site’s review). He has since published to acclaim The Repenters with Peepal Tree Press. And, with his permission, I’ve used both an earlier and the final draft of King of Settlement 4 in workshops, as an illustration of the tweaks that happen to make a story better as it goes through the editing process.

Lance Dowrich, a school principal in Trinidad and Tobago, won the regional prize in 2016 for Ethelbert and the Free Cheese. I’m not as familiar with his work, but given the trajectory of the other writers on this list, I have no doubt we all will be in time.

It’s worth noting, in case you’re feeling big-island intimidation that Antiguans and Barbudans have registered in this competition before. And no, I’m not talking about Pepperpot. Mary Quinn’s story Joe was highly commended in the 2002 Commonwealth short story competition as was Hazra Medica’s Banana Stains in the 2008 competition – in the years before the literary prizes out of the Commonwealth was restructured.

Keeping it real, I’d like to see Antigua and Barbuda make the short list and even win, and I believe we can, and so I submit every year. How about you?

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, and Oh Gad!) – still a writer journeying.

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HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD BECOME SUCCESSFUL

I dug this from the 2014 Wadadli Pen submission files recently and thought it was worth sharing. It’s an article by Karen James, a teacher at St. John’s Catholic Primary and contender for the Lead by Example Teachers Prize. The first round judge assessed it “interesting, well researched, but not relevant for the purposes of the competition.” Keep in mind that the Teachers Prize Challenge was about producing a creative piece they could share with students as a model of what they themselves can do. There was also an issue with the length of the piece. That said, it definitely seemed like the kind of knowledge that should be passed on to other teachers and parents as well, which the judge also said. So, I thank Ms. James for giving permission to post it. In giving such permission, she said, “the research has paid off  and my son is now doing really well in secondary school”; and expressed the hope that it would be helpful to others as well. Each one teach one, we say, as we pass it on.
 

For some time now, I have been struggling to lead my child, a student in primary school, to a place of total success. Misspelt words, writing ‘b’ for ‘d’, copying wrong information and acquiring low grades in other subjects because of wrong spelling have become very depressing and tiring. The quest was on. I was determined to find out how to bring my child to a place of success. Through interviews, research, observations and discussion, I was surprised to find out that school attendance is not the only determinant for a child’s success but there are other surprising contributory factors.

A child’s attitude or perspective towards life can determine his success. According to the view point of the school, this originates in the home. Parental and family attitude about learning is one of the most significant factors that influence a child’s ability to succeed in school and society. When children know that their parents expect them to attend school consistently, earn good grades and complete their homework, they frequently live up to those expectations. However, children without those familial expectations do not tend to see the importance of education and are more likely to skip school, ignore homework and perform poorly. Families can create a culture of high academic expectations by ensuring that their child has adequate time and space to do his homework, and by regularly discussing the topics he is learning in school (www.livestrong.com/article).

Results from a research done by a group of teachers from the Teacher Training Department, Antigua, showed that children whose parents model good behaviour and reinforce positive attitudes in them tend to be successful in life. In addition, they are better individuals to associate with in society.   On the other hand, children whose parents model bad behaviour such as negative language towards life and their children, disrespectful attitudes and poor problem solving skills (e.g. fights and arguments) tend to be unsuccessful in life. Hence, parents should therefore ensure that they model good behaviour and problem solving skills, reinforce the rules given and give suitable punishments or rein forcers to guide students. These will help to mould or shape students’ attitude into a positive one, thereby allowing them to have a positive outlook on life and fulfil positive goals.

Society believes that in terms of socializing, the influence a child’s peers have on him and his reactions to such influence are vital in determining his success. Psychologists have recently studied the powerful role of ‘peer cultures’ in children’s success. These are a shared set of activities or routines, values, concerns, and attitudes that children produce and share in interaction with peers. In other words, they are a set of rules that groups of students live by. These rules can be positive or negative and have proven to have powerful impact on children’s success.

During a five-year enrolment in a secondary school in Antigua, it was observed that there were different groups of students who would socialize all of the time. The groups had the following basic commonalities: eating together, walking home from school together, mostly associating only among themselves and doing a lot of other things together. However, what set the groups apart was their decision to do or be part of negative or positive activities.

In terms of negative activities, these included vandalism, bullying, stealing, inappropriate dress code and use of indecent language. Before the end of the five-year period, the majority of the members in the negative group (“the ring leaders”) were expelled from school due to their lack of progress. The members from that group who were given a second chance joined positive groups and graduated with distinction. Twenty years later, they can be seen in different business places contributing positively to society. The others, who were expelled, are either in jail, addicted to drugs or basically live on the street.

On the other hand, some of the positive activities included studying together, respecting each other and each other’s property, getting involved in educational clubs, and volunteering in community projects. All of the members in this group graduated within the five-year period and went on to pursue higher studies. Twenty years later, all of them can be seen in different work places contributing significantly to society.

This therefore shows that in order for students to succeed, they should ensure that the norms in their groups are positive and support achievement in school and everyday life. Parents should also ensure that their children are interacting within positive peer cultures since they are more powerful in defining issues of style, socializing and motivation.

Similar to attitude, the school and society think that motivation originates in the home. Positive motivation, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, plays a vital role in a child’s success. Motivation is usually defined as an internal state that arouses, directs, and maintains behaviour. A child needs to be motivated daily in every aspect of his life. This will promote his interest, energize him to work harder and enhance behaviour. Studies show that when motivation is present at home, children are more successful in life.

Parents can motivate their children in many different ways and thereby enhance their success. Accomplishing a task, receiving good grades, and portraying good behaviour are some of the actions that children can be rewarded for in order to enhance their motivation.   They could be allowed to take their favourite snack, watch their television show or game, or have ‘free time’. Parents could praise their efforts, give them an allowance or even give them special privileges or responsibilities like choosing what will be for dinner.   Parents have observed that children enjoy being rewarded and when this is done on a regular basis the children have a desire to succeed and will succeed.

Additionally, society believes that time is another important factor to becoming successful from an early age. On a whole, society operates on time and in order for anyone to cope in society and be successful, he should be able to manage time properly. Research has shown that a child whose parents have good time management skills and therefore model it, grow up being able to do the same. They are high achievers in different aspects of their life. However, a child whose parents struggle with maintaining time schedules, or basically have poor time management skills, become under achievers. They tend to fail at different points in their life. The school also joins with society in support of this point.   Teachers suggest that parents should teach their children the importance of time management, make a time schedule of their child’s daily activities and most importantly model time management. This modelling is done by getting them to school on time, being on time for their appointments, completing assignments on time and any other activities which involve the child.

Another important factor influencing a child’s success, according to the school and society, is socioeconomic status (SES). This is a measure of a family’s relative position in a community, determined by a combination of parents’ income, occupation and level of education.   It is important that a child should generally be in good health to aid in his success. Most children are very active in life and need to maintain good health in order to succeed. SES influences success through basic growth needs such as nutrition and medical care. A lack of either can contribute to health problems, which in turn hamper their achievement. Parents with high SES are more likely to take their children to the doctor and dentist regularly than parents with low SES (Eggen, P. and Kauchak, D. (1992). Educational Psychology: Classroom Connections. New York: Merrill).

At a primary school recently, teachers were allowed to meet with parents whose children were underachievers to determine the reason. After individual and group discussions, the finding showed that 25 out of 30 students came to school each day without breakfast and went through the day without any thing wholesome or nutritious to eat.   It also showed that the same number of students had not visited the doctor or dentist in over three years. Further investigation showed that 20 of the 30 parents had low SES. Teachers suggested that students receive a balanced meal daily, eat healthy snacks and receive vitamin supplements.   A plan was put into action to ensure that this was done. The teachers also suggested that the parents take students to visit the doctor and dentist regularly. When students are in good health, they tend to be more successful in life.

In the view of parents, the availability of educational resources at home and school will aid in a child’s success. From a recently held Parents Workshop, which was conducted to inform parents of strategies they could use to enhance their child’s performance and their integration into the school system, parents observed and experienced the importance of using different manipulatives to solve problems in and out of the classroom. The idea was supported by all present and they pledged to use these manipulatives at home and also provide those needed for school.   Experienced resource individuals speaking at the workshop stated that students who used different resources such as additional workbooks, hands-on materials, or visited resource centres such as a museum, are more successful in life that those who do not use them.

Educational programmes or extended learning programmes have a similar impact on a child’s success. The school and society believe that enrolling a child into different educational programmes can enhance his success. Some of these programmes are the library, summer camps, sports clubs, reading clubs, or even extra classes in one or more subjects. Parents should observe their child’s weaknesses, strengths, likes or dislikes and discuss it with them, then select the right programme which will enhance their performance. Educational Programmes can be used to strengthen a child’s weakness, provide hands-on experiences, teach them a lifelong skill, form lifelong relationships with other children in these programmes and, most importantly, they contribute significantly to their success in life. According to Ohio’s Resources for Extended Learning Opportunities, a good extended learning program will help students improve self-confidence, reduce harmful behaviours including alcohol and drug abuse, and improve reading and math test scores. Extended learning opportunities may be school-based or community-based and provide fun, constructive activities after school, on weekends and during summer breaks (http://www.livestrong.com/video/2994-prepare-child-school/). It has further shown that students who grow up to succeed greatly in life have been a part of some sort of educational programme. Parents are therefore urged to reap the benefits of these programmes by enrolling their children.

Every parent’s dream is to have a successful child. Every child’s dream, no matter how low his achievement rate might be, is to do better or be successful in life. The key or secret to children’s success is not only the school they are enrolled in but the incorporation of beneficial factors which have been questioned, researched and tested. The integration of these factors will help to create or mould a child to become successful in life and they will be able to contribute greatly to society.

IF YOU LIKED THIS ARTICLE, you might also be interested in reading ‘One Model of Effective Parenting’.

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,  Fish Outta Water, Oh Gad! and, forthcoming, Burt Award finalist Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. 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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Do our children lack the abilty to imagine?

I was asked to present at the public library camp over the summer, as I did last summer.DSC_0346Couldn’t do it. But it provided the opportunity to introduce the children to the writing of one of our Wadadli Pen Challenge winners (or so I hoped).

Margaret Irish - winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize collects her gifts courtesy Caribbean Reads Publishing and plaque sponsored by Joy Lawrence.

Margaret Irish – winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize collects her gifts courtesy Caribbean Reads Publishing and plaque sponsored by Joy Lawrence.

Margaret Irish is the winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize 2014, and, from the beginning, the idea behind that was encouraging teachers to write, and getting them to get creative in a way that could inspire their students to do the same, inspire them to share their own stories. The teachers were Challenged to submit entries that they could share with their students. Margaret’s The Skipping Rope is a good example of this and that’s why I thought she’d be a good match for the library programme. She readily agreed to do it (thanks to her for doing that) but as she informed me in a subsequent email (shared with permission) she didn’t share her story after all. Instead, she said, “I took them through an exercise in learning to use their imagination” I’m still disappointed she didn’t share her story but adjusting to the circumstances in the field is perfectly reasonable; matter of fact, absolutely essential. Her adjustment was driven by her observation that “students are unable to write creatively, simply because they cannot, they have not developed their imagination.”

As I write this, I remember one of the judges making a similar comment in her review of the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge submissions (a comment that echoed the 2005 judges’ report, in which the judge commented about the writers playing it safe, if I’m remembering correctly). The 2014 judge wrote: “The talent is there but I think they need to be taught a few techniques in story writing. I think they suffer from writing too many structured school stories. It is as though they don’t know they can use their imagination.”

This judge’s comment also has me considering another part of Margaret’s email. When she asked the 80 or so students (campers) how many of them liked writing compositions, only five or six raised their hands; when asked how many hated writing compositions “you should have seen the frustrated looks and defiant hands. It was sad.”

Sad indeed.

Possibly, part the problem is in the phrasing. One of the participants in my summer media training workshop at the Department of Youth Affairs comes to mind. She was distracted and disruptive throughout, but, as our rap sessions revealed, sharp as a tack and quite articulate and opinionated. Like most of them she resisted settling down to the work. I remember when she was required to present her review of the first film we’d watched. She hadn’t written a thing and I know she expected me to skip her but I told her she was still expected to present. And she did; she winged it. Interestingly, she did a pretty good job, there was good recall and clear insights in her ramblings and I couldn’t help thinking she’d have had a pretty good presentation if she’d taken the time to even organize her thoughts into bullet points if she didn’t want to write. I remember my one on one with her to discuss the article that each participant was required to produce at the end of the two weeks. She identified her topic, one of the topics we’d discussed earlier in the week but as I pressed re her action plan, trying to get her to focus and to draw on the tools and techniques I’d been sharing with them, it was clear she had no interest in the assignment or the topic. The assignment I dug in my heels on – I was determined that each person would at least try – but why would you pick a topic you had no interest in? So I threw it out and opened up a conversation with her about her genuine interests; it was a bit like pulling teeth at first but eventually I got her talking about one of her biggest interests and suggested to her how that could be a story. She hadn’t finished by the end of the week, and, frankly, I was doubtful she would, but she’d started. When she showed me her progress, it was primarily structured as responses to the questions I’d thrown out to guide her and I realized she’d need more time learning to structure them into prose. But I counted the baby step of getting her started on something as a win. The connection I’m seeing between that story and Margaret’s observation and the judges’ comments is the way we sometimes get locked into this square way of thinking, everything inside the box. One of the reasons I do Wadadli Pen is to awaken that idea that the stories are right there in their own backyard, in their own lives, not remote from their reality. Sometimes it’s enough to get them thinking and talking about the stuff they actually want to think and talk about, a little difficult to do in a one-off session with 80 people (with anything over, say, 15 – 20 really). Sometimes you have to jump start the conversation with films or songs or really whatever works. And, as I tried to do with the breaks and journaling activities at the DYA workshop, sometimes you need time to just be still within yourself, idle even, let your brain just float.

Because the imagination is key to everything: without the imagination there  is no writing, without the imagination there is no creativity, without the imagination there is no visioning, no seeing beyond where you are to the impossible. This is not just about writing now because seeing beyond where we are is something we need as individuals, period, and as a nation; it is this imagining that guides our feet, and lifts a song of promise and possibility in our souls, staving off stagnation and cynicism. So what is it about our environment that has them so uninspired and how can this be addressed not by way of one-off sessions but consistently?

Questions to ponder. Because it’s not that our kids lack imagination. As author Andre Dubois lll said, “We’re all born with an imagination. Everybody gets one.” And it is the font from which writing flows, and not just writing but everything that’s magical in the world.

During her session at the camp, Margaret read C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, instead of her own story (and I still, all said, have some issues with that decision because why not do both). She chose that story though I think to reinforce the idea that “when using one’s imagination, the events do not have to make sense.” It opened up the opportunity for her to engage them in an active exercise in which they would make up a story on what one could find on entering a wardrobe. And I’m pretty sure she wasn’t looking for shoes…maybe unless they were ruby red slippers which, clicked three times…conjured up a magic carpet that spirited you away to…Wonderland???

It sounds like she did it as a chain writing exercise, which I do too, as it’s a great way to get everyone involved and a good way to get out of the safe zone as you never know what the person before you is going to add to the story so you can’t over think it, you just have to go with it. Which reminds me of another quote (for you writers still reading this) from the Dubois article: “I love that line from E.L. Doctorow: ‘Writing a novel is like driving at night. You can only see as far as your headlights—‘ but you keep going until you get there. I’ve learned over the years to just report back anything that I see in front of the headlights: Are they yellow stripes or white? What’s on the side of the road? Is there vegetation? What kind? What’s the weather? What are the sounds? If I capture the experience all along the way, the structure starts to reveal itself. My guiding force and principle for shaping the story is to just follow the headlights.” It’s a good way to get out of that zone of what writing is supposed to be and just letting it be, a good way of just imagining where the story could go. It sometimes takes them a minute to warm up to it, to embrace the freedom inherent in the idea that everything doesn’t have to make sense. At least not the first time around; that’s what revisions are for.

To answer the question headlining this piece, no they don’t lack the ability to imagine, though it sometimes needs to be nudged awake, even as we put to sleep this idea that writing is this daunting, insurmountable, dead, and deadly boring thing.

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Jamaica, Antigua, Jamaica Named Burt Award Inaugural Top Three

Bocas Photo of finalists at Burt award panel by Marlon James.

Bocas Photo of finalists at Burt award panel by Marlon James.

The first winners of a unique literary award that will provide thousands of youth across the Caribbean region with access to exciting new titles were announced on April 25, 2014. The inaugural gala for CODE’s Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, recognizing outstanding literary works for young adults written by Caribbean authors, was held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, as part of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest. A-dZiko Gegele received the first prize of $10,000 CAD for All Over Again (published by Blouse and Skirts Books), Joanne Hillhouse, from Antigua and Barbuda, won the second prize of $7,000 CAD for her soon to be published manuscript Musical Youth, while the third prize of $5,000 CAD went to Colleen Smith-Dennis of Jamaica for Inner City Girl (published by LMH Publishing.) The finalists were selected by a jury administered by The Bocas Lit Fest and made up of writers, literacy experts and academics from the Caribbean and Canada. – See more at: http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/2014/04/burt-award-for-caribbean-literature-winners-announced/#sthash.Hqvi815F.dpuf

UPDATE! I am thrilled, thrilled I tell you, to be in the top three and here’s a link to our panel discussion at Bocas.

and look forward to seeing my book Musical Youth in print. Here are some related links:

Bocas Literary Festival

Bocas Festival Sessions

Caribbean Children’s Literature Diane Browne

CODE

Global Voices Online

House of the Arts

The Jamaica Gleaner

Susumba

Trinidad Express

 

 

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The Paula Show

the paula show by eef

Well, I missed this, the recording of it anyway but was back on island in time to catch as much of it as I could from the pounding in my head through the flu. They talked about books and reading mostly from what I saw, about Jamaica Kincaid and Jean Rhys and about encouraging young people to read just by making it fun again, not tethered to anything, just for fun; and the participants (overall 2014 winner and 13 to 17 winner Asha Graham, winning teacher Margaret Irish, and winner 12 and younger Vega Armstrong accompanied by Glen Toussaint of the Best of Books) did get the opportunity to read from their winning stories. Media coverage has not been at the desired levels this 2014 season so we are thankful for the interest shown by Paula Show host and proud of the way our writers articulated their love of the literary arts reinforcing that far from a chore it’s a pleasure, a life affirming, life enriching pleasure.

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, and Oh Gad!), founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize. All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Participant Response (2014)

Just excerpts from a couple of post event emails…

“Thank you so very much for the opportunity, she had a great time putting the piece together and has vowed to continue writing.” – from the mother of one of our junior participants.

“If it wasn’t for this competition, late-starters like me would not have any access to the literary world.” – from one of our older participants.

And from the comments section right here on the Wadadli Pen site…

“I am feeling absolutely elated to have made it this far in this competition. It is a greater feeling to see my poem reflected so impressively in Alvin Livingstone’s cover design. Congratulations to him and all the other winners!” – finalist Letisha Carrington

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A Mammoth Picture Post – *You Have Been Warned

The awards ceremony for the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge was on Sunday 30th March; here finally are the pictures with thanks to Glen Toussaint of the Best of Books bookstore, St. Mary’s Street, Antigua. – usually I’d say respect copyright and don’t use the pictures but I’ll break with form and say share by all means, as an encouragement for the young writers and artists; and a thank you to all the patrons and partons. Speaking of patrons, the full list of who got what from among the contributed prizes can be found here. Follow the links to read the stories or see the art work.

Cake designed and made by Danielle George-John of Sweet Dreams.

Cake designed and made by Danielle George-John of Sweet Dreams.

Danielle presenting the cake.

Danielle presenting the cake.

The photo call: (front row, from left) Joanne C. Hillhouse - Wadadli Pen coordinator, Emile Hill - second placed in the art challenge, Daryl George - 18 to 35 honourable mention, Daniel Ince - 12 and younger honourable mention, Christopher Gittens and Mjonir Messiah - tied for third place in the 12 and younger category, and Vega Armstrong - winner 12 and younger. Back row from left - special guest, donor and Wadadli Pen co-founder D. Gisele Isaac, Zahra Emanuel - 3rd placed 13 to 17, Paula Russell-Peters - 2nd and 3rd placed for the Lead by Example Teachers' Prize, and Margaret Irish - winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize.

The photo call: (front row, from left) Joanne C. Hillhouse – Wadadli Pen coordinator, Emile Hill – second placed in the art challenge, Daryl George – 18 to 35 honourable mention, Daniel Ince – 12 and younger honourable mention, Christopher Gittens and Mjonir Messiah – tied for third place in the 12 and younger category, and Vega Armstrong – winner 12 and younger. Back row from left – special guest, donor and Wadadli Pen co-founder D. Gisele Isaac, Zahra Emanuel – 3rd placed 13 to 17, Paula Russell-Peters – 2nd and 3rd placed for the Lead by Example Teachers’ Prize, and Margaret Irish – winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize.

...okay so picking up where the first image left off, that's Zion Williams next to Vega, and Chammaiah Ambrose next to her, and behind them, that's Zoe Lewis - they're all 12 and younger finalists - and behind her that's second placed writer overall and winner of the 18 to 35 category Kohylah Piper.

…okay so picking up where the first image left off, that’s Zion Williams next to Vega, and Chammaiah Ambrose next to her, and behind them, that’s Zoe Lewis – they’re all 12 and younger finalists – and behind her that’s second placed writer overall and winner of the 18 to 35 category Kohylah Piper.

Art winner Alvin Livingstone collects his prizes from D. Gisele Isaac. That image on top is an original Edison Liburd and was contributed by Art at the Ridge.

Art winner Alvin Livingstone, who did cover art for the Last Cry, collects his prizes from D. Gisele Isaac. That image on top is an original Edison Liburd and was contributed by Art at the Ridge.

Emile Hill collects his second placed art prize.

Emile Hill collects his second placed art prize.

with Shem Alexander - 2010 art winner and 2014 art honourable mention.

with Shem Alexander – 2010 art winner and 2014 art honourable mention.

Gisele presents to second placed writer 13 to 17 Kelvin Juwon Miller.

Gisele presents to second placed writer 13 to 17 Kelvin Juwon Miller.

Barbara presents to Paula Russell Peters, a T N Kirnon teacher who won both the second and third placed in the Lead by Example Teachers Prize. Her school also won a prize for having the most submissions.

Barbara Arrindell of the Best of Books bookstore presents to Paula Russell Peters, a T N Kirnon teacher who won both the second and third placed in the Lead by Example Teachers Prize. Her school also won a prize for having the most submissions.

Barbara Arrindell of the Best of Books presents to Damian De Silva, an honourable mention for the Lead by Example Teachers Prize.

Barbara Arrindell of the Best of Books presents to Damian De Silva, an honourable mention for the Lead by Example Teachers Prize.

Carmen Ambrose, mother of one of the 12 and younger wins, and an honourable mention in her own right for the Lead by Example Teachers Prize.

Carmen Ambrose, mother of one of the 12 and younger wins, and an honourable mention in her own right for the Lead by Example Teachers Prize.

Margaret Irish - winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize collects her gifts courtesy Caribbean Reads Publishing and plaque sponsored by Joy Lawrence.

Margaret Irish – winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize collects her gifts courtesy Caribbean Reads Publishing and plaque sponsored by Joy Lawrence.

Liscia Lawrence, a two time past finalist and honourable mention in the 18 to 35 age category. 18 to 35...wow...she was 15 or 16 the first time she participated in Wadadli Pen.

Liscia Lawrence, a two time past finalist and honourable mention in the 18 to 35 age category. 18 to 35…wow…she was 15 or 16 the first time she participated in Wadadli Pen.

Daryl George was honourable mention in 2012, second overall in 2013, and is honourable mention this year in the 18 to 35 age category.

Daryl George was honourable mention in 2012, second overall in 2013, and is honourable mention this year in the 18 to 35 age category.

Alexandra Spence collects from the Cushion Club rep; she was an honourable mention in the 18 to 35 age category.

Alexandra Spence collects from the Cushion Club rep; she was an honourable mention in the 18 to 35 age category.

 

Letisha Carrington Faracho - another honourable mention 18 to 35.

Letisha Carrington Faracho – another honourable mention 18 to 35.

Arize Lee - 3rd placed in the 18 to 35 age category.

Arize Lee – 3rd placed in the 18 to 35 age category.

Kohlyah Piper collects her prizes - she was best writer 18 to 35 and second best overall.

Kohlyah Piper collects her prizes – she was best writer 18 to 35 and second best overall.

A finalist in 2012 and 2013, Vega Armstrong was the best writer in the 12 and younger category in 2014. She collects from D. Gisele Isaac.

A finalist in 2012 and 2013, Vega Armstrong was the best writer in the 12 and younger category in 2014. She collects from D. Gisele Isaac.

Mjolnir Messiah tied for third; he collects.

Mjolnir Messiah tied for third; he collects.

Zion Williams, 12 and younger honourable mention collects.

Zion Williams, 12 and younger honourable mention collects.

Christopher Gittens who also tied for third in the 12 and younger category.

Christopher Gittens who tied for third place in the 12 and younger category.

Chammaiah

Chammaiah Ambrose, second placed writer, 12 and younger, collects her prize.

Daniel Ince was an honourable mention - 12 and younger.

Daniel Ince was an honourable mention – 12 and younger.

Zoe Lewis accepts her prizes as a 12 and younger honourable mention.

Zoe Lewis accepts her prizes as a 12 and younger honourable mention.

Zahra Emanuel placed 3rdin the 13 to 17 age category; and collects.

Zahra Emanuel placed 3rdin the 13 to 17 age category; and collects.

Just a couple more…these were on facebook even before the event was over courtesy Eef Armstrong, mother of 12 and younger winner Vega and one of our 2013 and 2014 donors via her company Raw Island Products:

Vega collects from Gisele.

Vega collects from Gisele.

A cross section of the winners.

A cross section of the winners.

some of the winners 4 by eef

Because it's so sweet, behold The Cake.

Because it’s so sweet, behold The Cake.

Me with Vega.

Me with Vega.

One more, this one from Zoe’s mom by special request:

Zoe and me by request of her mom; with thanks to her mom for sharing.

Zoe and me by request of her mom; with thanks to her mom for sharing.

Finally, four tokens were contributed by Photogenesis for the specific purpose of presenting them to four of the longest serving Wadadli Pen volunteers – three (Barbara Arrindell, Alstyne Allen, and D. Gisele Isaac) were at the programme and received theirs; the other (Brenda Lee Browne) is off island and will receive hers at a later date. I wish I had one for all the volunteers through the years or the partners as I’ve come to think of them because they all help me do the heavy lifting, and I thank them for that… I also wish I had one of these to keep because aren’t they pretty: token

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