Category Archives: Wadadli Pen 2021

Main Prize (Wadadli Pen 2021) – Second Placed Ashley-Whitney Joshua

Ashley-Whitney Joshua, 19, F, ‘Hiraeth’ (Fiction)

About the Author – Ashley-Whitney, 19, spent her entire childhood devouring book after book. She still reads a lot, but now, writes just as much, using anything and everything as a prompt. She previously submitted to Wadadli Pen at 15, in 2017. She attended the Antigua Girls High School and has since completed an associates degree in culinary arts. She is currently working towards becoming a dietician and/or kinesiologist (whichever comes first).

About ‘Hiraeth’: Ashley-Whitney’s story is about a young woman escaping a less than ideal situation and ending up far from home in a place she never would have expected, then finding herself feeling regret for the home she lost. She explains, “The title ‘Hiraeth’ means, The feeling of longing for a home that no longer exists, or never was. In terms of inspiration, I had just finished raiding my Nana’s bookshelf when I received a call from my irate Godmother demanding to know why I haven’t entered this competition. After not giving a very valid excuse, I was sent the necessary information, and was told to ‘start writing’. I didn’t really need a prompt for this story, thinking back. All I needed was a name for the main character, then the words began to spill out and before I knew it, I was well past 1000 words.” Ashley-Whitney also wrote on her entry form at the time of submission how much she enjoyed writing the story, and requested feedback to improve her writing even if the story didn’t qualify for a prize. Well, it has and she has also earned spots in a couple of workshops to continue to work on her writing.



Emilia opened her eyes and looked around, confused for a minute, as was her routine, every day, since she packed her bags 6 months ago and fled Antigua. Mind blank, she sat up and thought, “what is that incessant beeping?” Looking around groggily, trying to pinpoint the sound, her eyes fell upon her source of annoyance. “My alarm,” she thought while rolling her eyes then froze, suddenly the beeping became insignificant as the events of the previous months flooded her memory. “Well, there goes my moments of ignorant bliss,” Em thought, while dragging herself out of bed and turning off the noise. As she walked passed her window towards her bathroom, she caught a glimpse of the sky outside. It was just 6 minutes past 7 and while she could hear the world waking up and coming to life outside, the sky was still very dark. Yet another stark difference between Antigua and Vancouver. The sun would have been shining in all its Caribbean glory by 6:30 despite being in the middle of January. Here, the sun, when it made the decision to show its face, was simply a decoration; especially at this time of year. Standing in front of the sink, she looked in the mirror, her eyes tracing the now fading scars that scattered her upper body and shuddered. She closed her eyes tightly and chased away the imaginary heat that had settled itself on her shoulders, stretched heartily and began her day.

Donning her mask and stepping out of her apartment building, she made her way down the icy sidewalk to the neighbourhood coffee shop, ‘Nani’s’ in anticipation of what the barista had in store for her today. “Nani’s,” she laughed to herself, “if someone back home only heard th-” she quickly cut herself off, “it wasn’t home anymore,” she reminded herself. Walking in, the upbeat old lady that reminded her of her Grandmother already had a steaming cup with her name on it waiting on the counter. Since she came in a few months ago and asked the lady to ‘surprise her,’ Nani, as she was known, has had a new flavor waiting for her every single day without fail. Today, it was a mango and ‘feevagrass’ latte, the scent making her think of home again. After paying and thanking Nani, she sipped and walked the rest of the way to the dance studio where she worked as a Cultural Dance instructor and began to prepare for her first class. Today, she was teaching African folk, so she tied on her waist wrap, pulled up her drum playlist and waited for her students to arrive. In the middle of teaching her class, she paused to drink some water as her throat was beginning to ache. “These white women have no damn sense of rhythm!” she exclaimed in her head. It was hard enough getting them to keep their distance and loosen up in the beginning but getting them to move in time with the music was an entire nightmare! Looking around at her students, her class mainly consisted of wealthy housewives who either had nothing better to do or wanted to, somehow, regain the attention of their disinterested husbands. “A disinterested husband,” she thought, “must be nice.” Without wanting to remember what drove her to leave her home, she continued her classes throughout the day, still, by the time she got home, the memories replayed in her head like a movie until, after a long hot shower, she laid in bed and allowed herself to remember…

…It never rained that much in Antigua. It was supposed to be ‘isle of sand, sun and sea,’ so when Emilia, left home without an umbrella (as usual!) she never would have guessed that she’d end up under a bus shed, nearly knee deep in dirty flood water. She only needed to get to her car which was parked at least two minutes away, but the rain, traffic and rising water ‘looked at her and laughed.’ Fuming, she only noticed the car that pulled up in front of her when she heard its horn. Looking through the rolled down window, she noticed the handsome familiar face of the customer that visited the small bakery she worked at earlier today and smiled. Thinking back on it now, she should have swam through the flood waters instead of getting into his car that night. And after bringing her home that night and taking her to her car the next morning, it set into motion the events that would shape the next two years of her life: A whirlwind of dates, trips, meeting each other’s families, then a proposal that came not long after. Thinking about it, she cursed herself for her naiveté, because who was even THAT perfect? So, she married him, with her mother’s insistence, and all she wanted, was to be the perfect housewife to the perfect husband and that she was, until he began to change. It started with heated interrogations after she ran simple errands, then he was screaming at her over simple things. “He’s stressed at work,” she remembers telling her best friend Jazz. But her friend wasn’t convinced; no, not when her husband’s “stress” had to be hidden with heavy concealer and eye makeup. He soon put an end to their friendship though, especially after her second miscarriage; and instead of blaming his fists, both he and her mother blamed her and stupidly she believed it. A while after, it was as though he had beaten the sense into her because the next day, she was on a plane to Vancouver with as much of his money that she could carry. Why there? No clue. It wasn’t the tropical paradise she’d known and it was a far cry from where she thought she’d be. “But I’m not a victim anymore” she said to herself. And with that, she closed her eyes and for the first time in ages, as she drifted to sleep, she smiled.

This story was edited by the author, post-judging, prior to posting. It is one of the winning entries in the 2021 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. Please respect each writer’s copyright.

Click here for the full prize break down and remember to support our patrons as they support the arts.

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Sub-theme ‘2020’ + Main Prize – Honourable Mention (Wadadli Pen 2021) – Sheniqua Greaves

Sheniqua Maria Greaves, 19, F, ‘The Juxtaposed Reprieve’ (fiction)

About the Author – Sheniqua Greaves is a recent graduate of Antigua State College. She loves reading and has a fondness for writing. She, also, enjoys watching animated movies, shows; and listening to music in her spare time.

About ‘A Juxtaposed Reprieve’: The story gives a glimpse into the daily struggles of two best friends during the height of the pandemic lockdown. Greaves said, “This story is inspired by my experience of boredom during the pandemic. As well as the notion of missing out, when in reality things will occur in the intended time.”


‘A Juxtaposed Reprieve’

Weary eyes gazed at the orange tinted glare of the computer screen. Shamia Anderson lazily scrolled through her social media feed for prospective job opportunities. Sure, times were hard, but there haven’t been any new job updates for two days and she was feeling antsy.

Deciding to refresh her page one last time, a candy-colored image came into view. “HELP WANTED,” it boosted. Quickly skimming for the requirements, her demeanor soured. More graphic designers? Really?

Tension was high, pandemic fatigue was in the air and she’d caught a bad case. Especially frustrating was the deviation from her plan. It was simple, graduate, get employed and raise money to pay for her degree.

Not sitting idly by while her family struggled to keep the lights on. Sure, it was hard to get a job in Antigua even pre-pandemic, but still… She was-

Ms. Anderson, “the smart one”, she was supposed to wow the interviewers with her personality, not stalk her rarely used Facebook profile like a scavenger.

Damn it. Her frustration and bitter tears welled up to the surface.

Then she let out a weary sigh, a reminder of the time. Wiping away her damp cheeks, she decided to get some sleep.

Declining her family’s request for a round of domino, and ignoring the 50+ messages from Andrea (poor girl, she had her own problems). She flopped on her bed, springs of the weary mattress protesting at her weight. Checking her phone, she scrolled aimlessly through her feed as the blue lights lulled her into a heavy sleep.


The sweet tunes of pan music in the live band blended effortlessly with the other instruments, blanketing her, from the cold of the beachside restaurant, in nostalgic tunes. To the front of her, couples swayed in time with the music.

Yet Shamia, ever the introvert, sat off to the side, sipping on a virgin sunrise. It was well deserved after a hard day’s work, after all.

A tap on her shoulder notified her of Andrea, who took the seat next to her, attired in a blue oxford miniskirt and plain white kimono top. They started the most enthralling conversation about why the formation of the letter “G” was just so peculiar.

When taking another sip, some drizzled onto her pants suit, embarrassed, she looked down only to see that her business attire had been swapped for a multicolored halter-dress, accompanied by a crimson hibiscus in her teased-coily hair.

Something wasn’t right here. She didn’t have the confidence to pull this look off, meaning…

She startled awake, sharply inhaling. The dark, silence of her shared bedroom stood out even more than usual after that vibrant scene.

Despite living in a small house with four occupants, she’d never felt lonely. It wasn’t real.

What even was the purpose?

What joy is there to find that fictitious scene? It must’ve been a particularly emotional night, as tears surfaced again. They were as silent and isolating as ever.


Andrea Scholar didn’t live up to her namesake.

Sure, she finished Jennings Secondary with a whooping seven subjects.

Still, she found it hard to find anything outside of her current supermarket cashier gig. Yet, she was thankful for it. She was deemed essential, which was rare for anyone outside of Shamia or her mom to think. At least she didn’t work in the tourism industry, she internally shuddered at the prospect.

Hopping off the company bus, she tugged her mask down marginally. Allowing herself the luxury of some fresh air as she strolled to her humble, single-bedroom abode.

After walking in, she hip-checked the door, unintentionally slamming it.

“Idiot!” She internally berated herself. She proceeded to step lightly in an effort to keep quiet. Yet, any groan of the creaking floorboard was nothing compared to the groan of her awakened ailing mother.

“Andrea, is that you?” she croaked.

“Yes, mama,” Andrea answered, making sure to keep her distance. After a few exchanged words, she allowed her mother to get some more rest and herself, a shower.

After dressing in some fresh clothes, she gently plopped onto the couch. She rummaged in her bag and pulled out her envelope of cash.

Okay, so first she had to make sure funds were put aside so her mother’s medication was paid for. Next the rent, bills, and groceries…

The excess $50 stared at her.

She really was hoping the reconnected the Wi-Fi or at least the cable, so her mom could get some entertainment when she wasn’t home, but it’ll have to wait.

Sigh. She’ll deal with this tomorrow. She just needed some rest, then she’ll start at some dinner for them. Lying on the couch, she stared listlessly at her roof. She hoped Shamia would eventually answer her texts. Poor thing was always so anxious.

Eyelids drooping, the sound of crickets lulled her to sleep.

Andrea sat upright on her couch as she sipped on a tequila sunset.

The sounds of Vivaldi spring and Shamia, busing herself in the kitchen, was a welcome deviation from the silence that usually permeated her house.

Shamia bustled as she prepared her specialty of roti and curry. Next to her, mother sat, looking better than she did in ages, enjoying her own cocktail. The designated chief grinned as she was quizzed on her method.

Deciding to help, Andrea got up from her seat and waltzed over.

Only for Shamia, to gently her away.

“Sit, sit. You’ve been working so hard.” She scolded.

“You really have dear.” Her mother added.

“I’m such a bad host,” Andrea protested, a sheepish grin on her face.

The three women broke out laughing at that comment. It really wasn’t that funny…

Gently she roused from her slumber. The muffled sounds of her mother’s coughs served to rouse her awareness.

Smiling to herself as she went to make some chicken soup. Her only hope is that her dream wouldn’t be the last of its kind, and maybe if she was really lucky, it’d even come true.

This story was edited by the author, post-judging, prior to posting. It is one of the winning entries in the 2021 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. Please respect each writer’s copyright.

Click here for the full prize break down and remember to support our patrons as they support the arts.

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12 and Younger (Wadadli Pen 2021)- Honourable Mention Eunike Caesar

Eunike Caesar, 9, F, ‘The Blackboard’ (fiction)

About the Author – Nine year old Eunike enjoys reading and playing. She hopes to one day become a teacher and a famous YouTuber. Eunike first submitted to Wadadli Pen at 5 years old in 2017 and continued submitting in subsequent Challenges (2018, 2020) before making the short list in 2021. Eunike is a student at the Baptist Academy of Antigua.

About ‘The Blackboard’: The story is about a blackboard, which lived in the “Non-Living Things” world. The blackboard was accused of having the corona after it sneezed while being written upon. Eunike said, “After being a part of a short workshop by Ms. Arrindell, as well as a story my mother wrote, I was inspired to write this story.”


‘The Blackboard’

‘Achoo!’ sneezed the Blackboard while the teacher Ms. Jakes wrote a math equation on her.

For a second, the class was as quiet as the St. John’s cemetery.

Then Flora, the girl with the long braids, all the way to her bottom shouted ‘Corona!’ and suddenly everyone, including Ms. Jakes, was rushing out of the classroom. All you could see was a bundle of bodies, trying to squeeze through the door, above which was a sign entitled ‘Come in with questions. Leave with knowledge.’

Everyone scrambled down the corridor and almost ran out of the school yard. Thank God, Ms. Jakes remembered that she was a teacher. Breathing heavily, she said, ‘Hold on…stop…strain yourselves …tell Principal Crump’ and she dragged herself to the office.

“Mrs. Crrrrrrrrump. I.. neeeeeed to teeeelllll yooou soooomething!”

“What is it, did someone get hurt, was Rakeem sleeping in class again, is my daughter Chandria okay?” asked Mrs. Crump. “Here, drink some water and calm down.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Crump. I get my breath back. Blackboard sneezed. It has Corona! Call in the health inspectors quickly and we all need to go on quarantine. This is serious Mrs. Crump. This is serious.”

“Please take the children to Bathroom and let them clean up in case Blackboard got any saliva on them when it sneezed.” said Mrs. Crump, “This Non-Living Things Corona Virus is dangerous and we need to get this under control. God forbid that it should spread to humans.”

Mrs. Crump poked her head through the door and shouted “Miss Jenkins? Did you sanitize Bathroom?’

‘Yes, ma’am. You can eat off Bathroom floor.”

In five minutes, the inspectors drove into the school yard in Ambulance.

“Please, tell them to come back, I don’t have corona. I forgot to tell them that I have the flu.” Don’t they remember that it’s the flu season? I already got tested for the corona and my test came back negative. Please, please, please, don’t take me away to the Non-Living Things Hospital,” cried Blackboard. “I am so ashamed!

‘That’s where you have to go. You want US to catch the virus?”

Blackboard cried rivers of chalky tears, while the inspectors unhooked it from the wall.

The children ran behind Ambulance as it drove through the gate with Blackboard lying in the back. They began to sing, “It’s been a long day without you my friend, and we’ll tell you about it when we see you again”.

“Wa, wa, wa, wa,” was the sound which filled the air and disappeared as Ambulance went further and further away with Blackboard.”

This is one of the winning entries in the 2021 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. Please respect each writer’s copyright.

Click here for the full prize break down and remember to support our patrons as they support the arts.

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Main Prize (Wadadli Pen 2021) – Honourable Mention Andre Warner

Andre Warner, 23, M, ‘The Brave One’ (fiction)

About the Author – Andre is an aspiring writer, chess player, and youth leader. He was a Wadadli Pen runner up in 2018 and winner in 2020. He said, “I love the arts of literature and (am) a fan of physical activities.”

About ‘The Brave One’: The story of a young boy caught up in the woes of the pandemic, viewing the virus as a monster and experiencing events from his perspective as he does his part to fight the ‘monster’.


‘The Brave One’

“Bwoy just go back inna ya room on the zoom and sit down! Me cannot help you Javon, me tired ah’ 6pm”. Javon ran to his room in tears, his dad never shouted at him like this before. The unshaven red eyed man, absorbed into his laptop that he saw barely resembled his dad anymore, only six months ago he was a happy go lucky guy with a wonderful smile. It was all that thing’s fault, why his dad was not happy, why he couldn’t see his friends, and why mommy wasn’t here anymore. It was all that monster’s fault; it took everything but today he would take it back!

Javon looked at himself in the mirror: six years old, three and a half feet of determination. He began psyching himself up by thinking of the last six months. It all started when the news said something was out there, lurking. His mom told him not to worry it was all the way in China; “corona by the chiney man, we all the way in Antigua” she said. A few weeks later he heard more news, it reached to America and other places. Overhearing his dad talking with his friends about how they should close the ports to stop the virus from coming to Antigua; he started to question what would happen to his cousins that lived there? The same answer was given, not to worry. Then it came, Javon vividly remembered seeing his parents glued to the T.V, watching the man who he saw in social studies, the prime minister. Never had he seen his parents so silent or nervous, after the show they lectured him about safety protocols to follow. That was the beginning of the weirdest times he ever had.

It was so fun at first! Javon got to wear a mask and play ninja with his friends every single day. Everyone washed their hands; he hated sticky hands from candy and ice pops. Lastly, he got his own cubicle at school, just like his daddy had in his office at the hotel. But the fun stopped there, at home everything changed, his parents looked tired and sad every day. Javon always wondered why a virus you couldn’t see bothered his parents so much they were the: brave knights of Couchlandia in the land of living room, and the cut-throat pirates of the Bathtub Sea. Then he figured it out there was no virus, it must be a vicious monster spreading plagues. The signs were all there, a curfew? Only the evilest monsters hunt at night, so obviously no one would be allowed outside. Then, came the lockdown, only strong monsters roamed in the day. Javon’s mom was a nurse, and she was now ‘essential’ it was obviously to help wounded soldiers who fought the monster. His dad now stayed home as extra security, Javon did not believe his dad’s excuse of how the hotel job closed, how could the big world run out of tourists? None of that mattered to him now he had a mission, it was time to slay the monster.

To defeat his enemy Javon decided to learn where its nest was, creeping out of his room to grab an important tool: his mom’s phone. He immediately called the ‘Covid’ hotline that was advertised, and every call went unanswered. Javon decided he would have to investigate himself; he needed all the clues he could to find this monster. He put on his detective glasses to crack this case; online he found how the monster arrived by plane, attacking a college student then slowly spreading over the nation, what made him mad was the monster even had a green scoreboard for all its victims. Now was the time he could act the curfew was on, the hours where the monster prowled around had begun. With the trail hot Javon snuck into the bathroom and hopped out the low window; armed with ninja stars, a cork gun and a lightsaber the hunt began. Reaching to the monster’s den was a perilous journey; every shadow jumped at him, dogs barked, and cars zoomed past him. After three hours he arrived: Mount Saint John’s Hospital, the belly of the beast. With a deep breath Javon entered. Back in Piggott’s Javon’s father, after discovering his son’s absence and his intended destination, bravely broke the curfew restrictions and hopped into his car racing for the hospital not knowing what he would find.

Using ninja skills Javon crept through the quiet corridors and up the stairs to the upper floors after overhearing a nurse saying “all corona up in the top floor”. Facing the restricted glass doors, Javon heard machine beeps and people gasping for air. Reaching a hand forward he noticed that it was shaking, in fact his whole body was shaking! Just beyond those doors lay the monster. That is when Javon realized it terrified him; the monster that took his mom, broke his dad, terrorized the world and destroyed his life scared him. Once those doors opened there was no turning back, the reality of what he was doing sank in, driving him to tears. But he brushed them away, pushing his hands forward again he had to do it, someone had to be the brave one! Before his hand touched the door it was grabbed by a larger hand. Panicking thinking of the monster Javon struggled as he was pulled into a tight embrace. Recognizing the familiar scent and embrace of his father, he leaned even deeper into the hug bawling his eyes out. Through his sobs Javon explained what he was doing for everyone’s sake, feeling his father’s chest shake he thought him angry. Looking up through tear-stained eyes he saw to his confusion that his dad was, laughing? Turning to leave and take him home, his dad cheerfully apologized, and said “don’t worry son you don’t have to be afraid anymore, from now on I will be the brave one.”

This story was edited by the author, post-judging, prior to posting. This is one of the winning entries in the 2021 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. Please respect each writer’s copyright.

Click here for the full prize break down and remember to support our patrons as they support the arts.

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12 and Younger (Wadadli Pen 2021)- Winner Gazelle Goodwin

Gazelle Zauditu Menen Goodwin, 12, F, ‘Beautiful Disaster’ (poetry)

About the Author – Gazelle is a 12 year old grade 8 student of the Island Academy School, who has a passion for visual arts, music, natural sciences, information technology, and world affairs. She is the 10th of 11 children and says, “I believe that success depends heavily on one’s own intrinsic motivation so I always push myself to do the very best that I can.”

About ‘Beautiful Disaster’: The poet describes it as being “about the beauty and the tragedy that was brought about by the global Corona Virus Pandemic. Listening to and watching the news daily, I was disheartened by all the pain, the loss and the sense of hopelessness that prevailed. However, being an optimist, I chose as well to find the good that was beneath all the gloom and hence the title ‘Beautiful Disaster’ because even in this somewhat hopeless moment, there is still BEAUTY.”


‘Beautiful Disaster’

On a sombre day in December
When the world was busy playing
There upon descended Corona
A silent killer, all betraying.

The cries were loud, deafening was the clamour
The hopelessness it bred, seemed to last forever
But, in the midst of it all, there was a beautiful disaster
For we all had the chance to focus on the things that matter.

Like family, and the togetherness we’d lost
Like mother earth, and how she had been suffering because of us
Like slowing down, reflecting and re-evaluating our pace
And taking time to cherish, whatever time we had left in this place.

So yes it was, a beautiful disaster indeed
Covid 19 or Corona, out of ugliness beauty breeds
Our world has changed, humanity perhaps better for it
A beautiful disaster, if ever nature saw fit.

This is one of the winning entries in the 2021 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. Please respect each writer’s copyright.

Click here for the full prize break down and remember to support our patrons as they support the arts.

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A Preview Post + ICYMI

Today is Awards Day for the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. This is our period of peak activity, the climax of our year of activities. Right after the Awards, things will be getting busy on the site as I upload the winning stories, prize breakdown, and related news. Things may get lost in the shuffle as things do which is why you should get subscribed so you don’t miss anything. I also hope to upload the Awards video to our YouTube channel, so follow us over there as well.

Meanwhile, some ICYMIs

Our Wadadli Pen season launch back in February and our updated About Wadadli Pen page (in case you’re wondering what Awards I’m on about)

Our World Book Day post with links to the various lit activities around this day

We update our banner about once every quarter or so with books by Antiguans and Barbudans, so look up; currently listed are Oration and The Pleasure is Mine by Kimolisa Mings, Oh Gad! and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings by Joanne C. Hillhouse, and Palaver and If Only the Dust would settle by Althea Romeo-Mark. Check them out.

Updates to the Mixed Anthology data base; Updates to the playwrights and screenwriters database; Updates to the Antiguan and Barbudan database of non-fiction writing; Updates to the overarching Antiguan and Barbudan data base; Updates to the Reading Room and Gallery which is a salon of curated arts and arts related content from around the world; Updates to the database of journalled Antiguan and Barbudan lit and art – part 1 and part 2, plus Antiguans and Barbudans discussing art

A post revisiting the treatment of arts and artists in Antigua and Barbuda

Updates to the Opportunities page which is where you’ll find markets, funding opportunities, opportunities to pay it forward, a listing of publishers of Caribbean fiction, and more information of use to writers; Updates to the Opportunities Too page where deadlines are posted; Updates to the Resources page with even more resources for writers; Updates to the Antiguans and Barbudans Awarded page; Updates to the Song Lyrics Database which is ever a work in progress; Updates to the latest Antiguan and Barbudan works reviewed wherein I track critical reviews of works by Antiguans and Barbudans

The Carib Lit Plus series is how I’ve been sharing the arts and culture news from the region that drops in my inbox (usurping the spotty from my inbox series) and on my radar via personal connections, news articles, social media, or other means. During 2020, it became regularized to twice a month – the first half and the back half. You may have missed some like Mid to Late February 2021, Mid to Late March 2021, Early to Mid April 2021, Mid to Late April 2021, Mid to Late May 2021

And this one is definitely a throwback, the obit I did back in 2016 after the loss of musical giant Roland Prince, at one time proclaimed the best jazz guitarist in the world…yes, the whole world

You should be mostly caught up now and then some. Thanks for coming by, for the support, and, here we go.

As with all content on, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). 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 personal page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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A & B Arts Round Up – May 29th 2021 –>

June 2nd 2021 – author, Joan Underwood, will be hosting an IG live featuring tips and strategies from her book Manager’s First Aid kit. 7 p.m. AST @joan.h.underwood

May 30th 2021 – the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Awards via zoom – come back here Sunday night for the results.

2020 winner Andre J P Warner with the Wadadli Pen Challenge plaque. Andre went on to win the Rebel Women Lit Caribbean Readers Choice of 2020 for best short fiction for his story ‘Bright Future for Tomorrow’.

May 29th 2021 – informal Vigo Blake Day – Bethesda Primary School anniversary activity on the school site – in memory of the first school in the Caribbean region for Black people. A community group works to make sure the history of the school is known.

Tuesdays –

A & B Arts Round Up – April 24th 2021 —> | Wadadli Pen

Be sure to check out the latest Carib Lit Plus (mid to late May 2021) for other arts events upcoming in Antigua and the region.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. 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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Wadadli Pen 2021 – The Short List

I (Joanne C. Hillhouse, author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator), zoomed today with my fellow judges, author, publisher, and veteran Wadadli Pen judge Floree Williams Whyte and past winner and first time judge Devra Thomas. After separately creating our own list of ranked entries (entries, not writers whom the judges didn’t know as they read) from among 72 entries, and an average ranking from that list, guided solely by numerical ranking, leading to the posting of a long list, we discussed the long list, revisited the entries, lobbied and debated, and ranked, and we have a short list. Congrats to everyone who entered for trying (that’s important in #TheWritingLife) and to those who made the short list. How that short list breaks down will be revealed at our Awards ceremony (which is our next project activity – details to come). But in the meantime, join us in congratulating writers short listed for the Wadadli Pen 2021 Challenge Prize.

The plaque bearing the main prize winners’ name, which hangs in the Best of Books bookstore, got an upgrade in 2016 and is now known as the Alstyne Allen Memorial Plaque.

Eunike Caesar – The Blackboard (fiction)
Jason Gilead – The Great Old Woodslave (fiction)
Gazelle Zauditu Menen Goodwin – Beautiful Disaster (poetry)
Sheniqua Maria Greaves – The Juxtaposed Reprieve (fiction)
Ashley-Whitney Joshua – Hiraeth (fiction)
Aunjelique Liddie – The Beach (poetry)
Kevin Liddie – Mildred, You No Easy (fiction)
Razonique Looby – Vixen (fiction)
Andre Warner – The Brave One (fiction)

Congrats as well to the writers who made the long list. Since we mentioned only the titles and not the names before, they were (in addition to the short listed writers above) – Noleen Azille (Mission: Covered, fiction); Annachiara Bazzoni (Maybe, poetry); Aria-Rose Browne (Spirit of the Flame, fiction); Rosemond Dinard-Gordon (Emerging, poetry); Naeem Desouza (The Goat in the Rainforest of Puerto Rico, fiction); Jai Francis (The Legend of the Snowy Egret, poetry); Anastatia K. Mayers (Home, poetry); Linita Simon (The Breeze, fiction); Kadisha Valerie (The Silence was So Loud, fiction); and Latisha Walker Jacobs (Nothing Like Me, poetry).

All long listed writers will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop facilitated by me post-season (thanks to sponsorship from one of our patrons) – other prizes will be announced at the awards ceremony. 

The winning school, i. e. the school with the most submissions, is St. Anthony’s Secondary School. Congrats to them and to teachers at all schools who had to rise to meet the challenges of a most extraordinary year.

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Wadadli Pen 2021 Challenge – The Long List

At this stage the individual rankings of the three-panel judges are in, cross-referenced on a master list, and then ranked by numbers only. The judges will meet to finalize the short list and positioning re the individual prizes, hopefully this week. In the meantime, based solely on the numerical ranking, names withheld until the judging is completed (to keep the process anonymous), here, in alphabetical order, is the long list of stories still in the running for the 2021 Wadadli Pen Prize. Putting it out in gratitude for your patience, all 72 of you who submitted.- JCH

The Beach
Beautiful Disaster
The Blackboard
The Brave One
The Breeze
The Goat in the Rainforest of Puerto Rico
The Great Old Woodslave
The Juxtaposed Reprieve
The Legend of the Snowy Egret
Mildred, You Na Easy
Mission: Covered
Nothing Like Me
The Silence was So Loud
Spirit of the Flame

The entire longlist will be eligible for a spot in a workshop to be facilitated by Joanne C. Hillhouse. The entire long list will be further shortened to a short list after judges’ deliberate. From that list we will have main prize winners, ‘2020’ themed prize winners, and 12 and younger winners. The main prize winner will be added to the Best of Books sponsored Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque while the 12 and younger winner will be the first name added to the Zuri Holder Achievement Award plaque. We also have various prizes for our finalists. This is all thanks to our various patrons. We can confirm, at this writing, that the winner of the schools prize, based on the number of submissions, will be St. Anthony’s Secondary School. Nine schools in all participated this year. Of course, we also had many entries with no school/institutional affiliation as entries were open to participants of all ages.

That’s the status at this writing. Bear with us a little longer; the finish line is in sight.

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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

As with all content (words, images, other) on, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, 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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