Tag Archives: 2014

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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Young Writer Pulls Off Back to Back Wadadli Pen Win

Asha Graham is the 2014 winner of the Wadadli Pen writing Challenge, the first writer to two-peat in 10 years of Wadadli Pen.

Asha Graham, @ 16 going on 17, Antigua State College student

Asha Graham, @ 16 going on 17, Antigua State College student

Graham, 16, a student at the Antigua State College, won for her story Lajabless, favoured by the judges and described by one as having “a wonderfully distinctive narrative style” with dialogue that “flows impressively and rings true”, “brilliantly done” plotting, and writing that is “tight and finely crafted.” Runners-up for the main prize were Kohlyah Piper, author of Hallowed Ground, and Ariel Dunnah, previously a 2012 finalist and in the top three overall this year for her poem La Diablesse. Piper and Dunnah were, also, the winner and first runner up, respectively, in the 18 to 35 age category; Graham was tops among teens 13 to 17.

Margaret (The Skipping Rope) Irish, a teacher at ABIIT who also runs an after school programme, is the winner of the Teachers Lead by Example Prize.

Margaret Irish - winner inaugural Lead by Example Teachers Prize - Wadadli Pen 2014 Challenge

Margaret Irish – winner inaugural Lead by Example Teachers Prize – Wadadli Pen 2014 Challenge

“I wrote The Skipping Rope, because it is one of two powerful memories I have of my mother, who died when I was 8-years old. Actually, she died shortly after the events recounted in this story. The Skipping Rope is therefore a memorial of my mother and a tribute to her strengths as an individual,” Irish explained; adding “Crafting such an emotionally intense experience into a story for children was challenging, but the judges’ comments were extremely helpful.” She’s referring here to the fact that once it has a short list, Wadadli Pen, returns the stories/poems to the writers with edit notes to guide the writer towards improving the story and quite possibly improving its ranking in the competition. The intent is skill building and writers have the option of declining to make changes to their entries.

In Wadadli Pen’s 10th year, there were a record 24 writers on the short list. Four artists were short listed, meanwhile, from among those who submitted to the cover design Wadadli Pen Art Challenge. The winner is musician and art teacher Alvin Livingstone with his design for the poem Last Cry – mindful that cover design is not just about art but marketing, communication and a bit of mystery, he said, “I believe I was able to effectively capture the feel of the poem while leaving some of the interpretation up to the viewer.”

Cover design by Alvin Livingstone

Cover design by Alvin Livingstone

Emile Hill placed second with his cover design for The Knock on My Door and Shaziane placed third with her cover design for Delinquent Development. Past winner Shem Alexander was awarded an honourable mention for his design for The Cold Truth.

Swinging back to the literary prizes, first time contender, T N Kirnon, was the school with the most submissions and one of its teachers Paula (The Big Fight and Two Can Play at That Game) Russell-Peters was second and third placed for the Teachers Prize. Russell-Peters explained that she uses her storytelling as a way of illustrating to her students what they can do. One of her students, Daniel (One Scary Night) Ince, 10, was an honourable mention in the 12 and younger age category.

12 and younger (2)

Clockwise from top left Vega, Chammaiah, Christopher, Mjolnir, Terry, Zoe, Zion, Daniel.

Former finalist Vega (Forbidden) Armstrong, now 13, of St. Anthony’s won the category with a historical romance, with another former finalist Chammaiah (The Great Cycle) Ambrose, 9, of Sunnyside placing second. Chammaiah’s entry serves as a reminder that inspiration is all around us – “My poem resulted from a class science project,” Chammaiah explained. “The huge caterpillars are usually on my neighbour’s tree and as I said, I have never seen the butterflies laying eggs but the tree is always filled with the caterpillars.” Christopher (The Knock on My Door) Gittens, 11, of St. John’s Catholic Primary and Mjolnir (Searching for a Treasure) Messiah, 10, of Minoah Magnet tied for third in this category. Daniel, Zoe Lewis, Zion Williams and Terry Benjamin Jr. were Honourable Mentions in this age category.

Among 13 to 17s, Antigua State College student Kelvin (Delinquent Development) Juwon, 17, placed second and Irene B. Williams student Suzette (The Day I saved a Friend) Emanuel, 14,  placed third. Winner of the category, Graham said this about her story Lajabless: “Caribbean folklore had always enthralled me … The real challenge was mainly how to capture her in a modern sense, and still have her (remain) true.”

In the 18 to 35 age category, Arizé (The Cold Truth) Lee, placed third behind Piper and Dunnah.  Piper’s poem grew out of a moment of gratitude: she said, “as a people we sometimes live as if our history and its value has no bearing on our lives today, and sometimes we take the opportunities that we have, however little,  around us for granted … (but) our evolution from being ‘the owned’ to ‘owners’, from ignorance to education, from dreaming to realizing ought to be reverenced through the actions we take in nation building, defining our progression instead of digression.”

Given that the bulk of submissions came from the 18 to 35 age category, it’s no surprise that they had the bulk of writers on the short list, though the closeness of the ratings among these entries is a credit to the tightness of the race; so kudos to Dunnah, Daryl George, Letisha Faracho, Kaylee Meyer, Alexaandra Spence, Angelica O’Donoghue, and Liscia Lawrence.   There were two honourable mentions in the teaching category, Carmen Ambrose and Damian De Silva.

The judges had a tough time zeroing in on the overall winners and praised the quality of the competition. They did see room for improvement in terms of the expansiveness of the themes and the approach to story telling – i.e. there was room to think outside of the box. Workshops to build on the evident skills of writers and artists is something Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse would like to pursue further, though she stated that community and corporate patronage would be needed to make it happen.

She expressed thanks for those who supported the 2014 season of Wadadli Pen as well as the work of Wadadli Pen through the years. In the 10th anniversary year, such support came from Barbara Arrindell,  Linisa George, Art at the Ridge, Pam Arthurton, Barbuda Express, Best of Books, Brenda Lee Browne, Carol Mitchell and Caribbean Reads Publishing, Karib Cable, Community First Cooperative Credit Union,  Lia Nicholson, Cushion Club, Frank B. Armstrong, Angelica O’Donoghue, Danielle George-John and Sweet Dreams, Karen and Koren Norton, D. Gisele Isaac, Devra Thomas, Ruel Johnson – two time winner of the Guyana Prize for Literature, Guyanese born writer Maggie Harris, Trinidadian writer Danielle Boodoo Fortune and her Wildflower Studio, Joy Lawrence, the Map Shop, Pearson, Latisha Walker-Jacobs, Photogenesis, Raw Island Products, Jane Seagull, Elaine Spires, Juneth Webson, Floree Williams, and, of course, the Media.

For the prize breakdown and more, visit the online home of Wadadli Pen https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com

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Wadadli Pen 2014 Challenge – the Art Post

Cover design by Alvin Livingstone

Cover design by Alvin Livingstone

Winner – Alvin Livingstone for his cover of Letisha Carrington Faracho’s Last Cry – “Great artwork, a kind of montage/collage, depicts the words/poem very well emotionally etc, the black/white effect is relevant/great too”*.

About the artist: Musician at heart (vocal, pan, composer); visual art teacher and teacher training student.

Artist Statement:”To approach this piece, I opted to spend some time reading to get a feel for it while making sketches that could interpret what was being read. After the initial sketches, I took a break for a few days then revisited the sketches to see if they brought back sentiments from the poem. I evaluated the various images that were sketched and experimented with their size and arrangement to determine which would be the best fit. I opted for black and white to highlight the racial aspects associated with the theme in addition to providing a base for the seamless blending of the various images being depicted. Overall, I believe I was able to effectively capture the feel of the poem while leaving some of the interpretation up to the viewer.”

Story/poem excerpt: “…a river of blood flows at my feet/And corpse of slaughtered bodies/Lie in heaps…” READ MORE

Cover design by Emile Hill.
Cover design by Emile Hill.

Second Placed – Emile Hill for his cover of Christopher Gittens’ story The Knock on My Door which the judging team thought created a sense of mystery that would make readers curious about the story inside, something you want in any cover.

About the artist: Emile is a painter, graphic designer, photographer and art teacher. He uses every opportunity to express his passion and love for the arts through any available medium.

Artist statement: “After reading the story,  I honestly went with the first thing that came to my head and that was of a hulking shadow dominating a door. There are few things that can give a sense of foreboding quite like a shadow. Shadows imply so much while remaining so relatively simple. And it is this simplicity that allows the viewer’s imagination to run wild. It seemed like the perfect choice for me.” – Emile

Story/poem excerpt: “…It had a long pointed nose, beady eyes, four hairy arms and two legs. On its back were four tentacles, but worst of all it had sharp, long, ugly claws and teeth!” READ MORE

Cover design by Shaziane.

Cover design by Shaziane.

Third Placed – Shaziane for her cover of Kelvin Juwon Miller’s Delinquent Development – “Great modern/contemporary artwork for a very contemporary tale, clean lines, good colours”*.

About the artist:  “I began dabbling in abstract art in 2007 and I’ve now moved on to studying for an Associate’s Degree in grahic design. In addition, I coordinated Happy Days Street Art Events in 2013 as a way of pulling interest to visual art.”

Artist statement: “To create the cover art, illustration was chosen with enough detail to give a sense of realness. The theme which stood out was relationship and its effect on our life-path. At first I intended to include all the major aspects but they were too much, and omitted those which revealed more than was neccessary. The home was the source of the theme, and the thing which made the protagonist feel small, so it was supersized and made the main focus as it was for the character. I wanted to make the reader curious while revealing a bit of the plot, and it feels about right.” – Shaziane

Story/poem excerpt: “Tried going home but mama won’t let me in this time/The streets is all I know now, I don’t know any better/I’m being labeled as a delinquent but I don’t know how to live any better/I have to rob a shop at night just to eat dinner” READ MORE

Cover design by Shem Alexander.

Cover design by Shem Alexander.

Honourable Mention – Shem Alexander for his cover of Arizé Lee’s The Cold Truth – “nice piece of art work, ‘simple’ and clean…depicts the words/poem well too”*.

About the artist: Shem Alexander is an emerging young visual artist,  born on the 13th November 1992.  From an early age he had a strong passion for art, following in the footsteps of his older brothers.  He is a graduate of the Antigua Grammar School and the Antigua State College.  He paints portraits and figures  in oils and acrylics on textured surfaces, inspired by the traditional Antiguan way of life. Shem won the Wadadli Pen Art Challenge in 2010.

Artist statement: “It was a bit difficult coming up with an idea for the theme.  I had many sketches and it took me a while to choose the final idea. I wanted a contradicting image to go along with the poem.  It is an image of a sugar mill  made of ice blocks on a beach with the sun setting, where there are foot prints leading to the light filled entrance of the sugar mill.  I wanted to symbolize entering a different world or environment”. – Shem

Excerpt from the story/poem: “I walk about entrapped by fabrics,/For fear that I may freeze./I traded in the blesséd tropics,/For a bitter blizzard breeze.” READ MORE

*asterisked comments by chief art judge Joy James, curator and owner of Art at the Ridge gallery.

We want to congratulate all participating artists and in particular the finalists showcased in this post.

Copyright of all the art work on this page belongs to the respective artists, some are working artists, some future artists – support their work, support their development, support the arts; and no stealing.

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WADADLI PEN 2014 FAQs

I’m going to be using this space for questions that come to me about the 2014 Wadadli Pen season, at least until the January 31st 2014 submission (for writers) and registration (for artists) deadline. I figure if one person has the question, others might, but might not ask. So here goes:

What’s the website address?

wadadlipenlogo

https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com … though, if you’re here, you already know that. But here’s a more specific link https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/wadadli-pen-2014 and an even more specific link https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/wadadli-pen-challenge-2014-guidelines-literary-and-visual-arts

Is the writer required to submit three stories?

No but he or she can submit up to three stories. So 1, 2, or 3, any of those numbers will do.

In 2013, Asha Challenger had two submissions and thanks to that earned three spots in the finals including the overall win. (Photo courtesy AntiguaChronicle.net)

In 2013, Asha Challenger had two submissions and thanks to that earned three spots in the finals including the overall win. (Photo courtesy AntiguaChronicle.net)

Do stories have to be Caribbean based?

It’s not that the story has to be set in the Caribbean but it should clearly come from a Caribbean imagination…i.e. not be a soulless generic story or a story that feels North American or British as opposed to Caribbean…for instance, you can write fairy tales and fantasies which obviously wouldn’t be set specifically in the Caribbean (or a Caribbean reality as we know it) but when we read them shouldn’t feel like a Harry Potter knock off.  On the flipside, be original and authentic, and try to avoid weighing down your story with Caribbean clichés.

A chicken going on an adventure toward a destination he would have been horrified to anticipate, a creation fable that begins underground, two stories of women who might or might not be what they seem, horror in your own home, and a boy finally beginning to understand his father...these are some of the ground covered by 2006 stories by the finalists pictured here.

A chicken going on an adventure toward a destination he would have been horrified to anticipate, a creation fable that begins underground, two stories of women who might or might not be what they seem, horror in your own home, and a boy finally beginning to understand his father…these are some of the ground covered by 2006 stories by the finalists pictured here.

I have illustrations for my story; can I submit them with the story?

Akeile Benjamin submitted this image in 2012 with her story The Adventures of Mr. Coconut.

Akeile Benjamin submitted this image in 2012 with her story The Adventures of Mr. Coconut.

You can submit them but in a separate image file; the stories should be submitted in a Word file. The illustrations will not be judged but, if we like them, we may post them with your story if it makes the finals. If you are also an artist, remember you can register for the art Challenge in which registered artists will be challenged to create cover art for shortlisted stories. UPDATED to add, if you’re writing a story that’s intended as something in the genre of a graphic  novel, comic, or children’s picture book in which the images are essential to the storytelling still submit words and images separately but indicate in the story where the images fit. Also you would still have to register separately for the visual arts cover design prize.

Do I have to write something new or can I submit stories I already have?

As long as it’s original (as in originally yours) and previously unpublished (including online publishing), you can submit it. We do urge you to review it before submitting and make sure it’s your best effort…editing and redrafting are parts of the writing process.

One of our youngest finalists ever, 8 year old Chammaiah Ambrose's 2013 entry was her take on a well travelled folk tale - How Tigers Got Stripes.

One of our youngest finalists ever, 8 year old Chammaiah Ambrose’s 2013 entry was her take on a well travelled folk tale – How Tigers Got Stripes.

Why is the Challenge limited to Antiguans and Barbudans 35 years and younger?

The top three writers overall in 2013 hailed from three distinct age categories 12 and younger, 13 to 17, and 18 to 35.

The top three writers overall in 2013 hailed from three distinct age categories 12 and younger, 13 to 17, and 18 to 35.

When the programme started it was out of a desire to offer something that wasn’t there when I was a writer coming of age in Antigua and Barbuda. It was initially limited to young people 18 or younger. Clearly, the age cap has jumped in response to the need to encourage adult writers striving to come into their own (perhaps an encouragement to myself as well as I struggled to come into my own) while keeping with the focus on youth (by the UN definition of youth), and this year teachers of any age can participate …so who knows for the future.

Can a teacher can submit under the 35 and under category and enter again as a teacher, so in total, submitting 6 pieces? Same for visual arts and writing categories?

The maximum number of submissions per person is three in either visual or literary arts. But check out these scenarios:

If you’re a teacher, say, 25 or maybe 31 years old, you can submit those three pieces and in the accompanying bio indicate your age and that you’re a teacher and your entries will be considered in the general writing competition and also for the teachers’ prize – doubling your chance to win.

If you’re a teacher, say, 36 or maybe 56 years old, you can submit those three pieces and in the accompanying bio indicate your age and that you’re a teacher and your entries will be considered for the teachers’ prize – one chance to win.

The teachers prize is for writing entries only; so, for the visual arts prize, you do have to be 35 years or younger, teacher or not…and, as a reminder, for the visual arts prize, you’re not expected to submit art cold, rather you are being invited to register and will be given instructions to create cover art for shortlisted stories which will be posted with the stories when all is said and done.

If you’re a teacher 35 years and younger submitting three entries for the writing prize, and assigned three cover designs for the visual arts contest, that’s a scenario under which you could be making six submissions – and tripling your chances to win – as you’ll be contesting for the visual arts prize, the writing challenge prize, and the teachers prize. You could amp it up by encouraging your students to enter and nabbing the prize for most submissions for your school.

Students at Trinity Academy pictured with Joy Lawrence who took our message to the schools inviting entries...here's hoping it bears fruit in terms of strong response from both teachers and students.

Students at Trinity Academy pictured with Joy Lawrence who took our message to the schools inviting entries…here’s hoping it bears fruit in terms of strong response from both teachers and students.

I teach but not in school, am I still eligible for the teacher’s challenge?

If you are a teacher in a classroom setting, you are eligible. The person who raised this question teaches in teacher training and is very much eligible; whatever level you work at, early childhood to tertiary and beyond, if you’re a teacher, you’re eligible. The idea is to create a story that you could – and we would in fact encourage you to – share with your students or in some way use in the classroom in creative ways. Remember you can submit up to three entries.

This is not a FAQ but…

Please read, read, and re-read your entries and edit as  necessary then get someone else to give it a second eye for you…put your best foot forward.

Good luck.

UPDATED! TO ADD…

You say any genre…does that include erotica? As you said individuals can let their imaginations run wild.

Well, this question caught me because it’s not something I had considered. But the correct answer is that, by the stated rules of the contest, erotica (New Latin, from Greek erōtika, neuter plural of erōtikos, meaning literary or artistic works exploring sexual themes) is very much eligible…and there are perhaps adult writers who might want to explore the genre…no judgment…though if it is among the finalists, I’ll probably need to configure some kind of parental advisory before posting since neither Wadadli Pen nor the site itself is adults only. As with all writing, whatever the genre, literary merit will be the critical factor in making the short list. One proviso: if you are a teacher, this will be considered for the main prize but not the teachers prize as we do want the teachers prize to be something that you can share with your students – one reason we’ve dubbed it the Lead by Example Teachers Prize.

Is it okay for a person to enter both the regular and teacher categories?

With rare exceptions (see genre question) teachers are automatically entered for both the general and teachers prize. Three entries maximum.

I’m a little mixed up. Is it that one who is a teacher has the opportunity to enter in TWO categories? If so, does it mean two sets of a maximum of THREE pieces being submitted?

Everyone can submit a maximum of three pieces ONLY…if you indicate that you’re a teacher, your entries (one, or two or three stories or poems) will automatically be considered for the teachers’ prize PLUS they will be eligible for the main prize (you would need to indicate age so that they can be entered into the appropriate age category). So it’s one set of three maximum and those same three stories will be considered for the main and teachers prize.

When’s the submission deadline?

January 31st

N.B. the submission deadline for the Writing Challenge and the registration deadline for the Art Challenge are the same – January 31st 2014.

What’s the desired length for each entry?

600 words or less.

600 words? That’s a lot for little children.

They are not expected to write 600 words. Their entry can be any length (50 words, 100 words…) but they should not go over 600 words.

I’ve allowed my students to pretend to be a character from an existing work or write an alternative ending. Are these eligible for the prize?

This would be okay if what they’ve written is not identical to the original i.e. if they’re using it for inspiration but not plagiarizing it.

What is the procedure for sending in students’ work? Some of them do not have a computer or internet access and I would have to submit them. Should they all be attached to one email and, if they are, what would be the title for the email?

It’s possible for teachers to submit all entries on behalf of their students. You can send as one email or as a series of emails; use your name and the name of the school in the subject line. Also provide your contact details for when we need to follow up. Please note, this still has to be done via email as we do not have the volunteer personnel to type up multiple entries and the entries do have to be typed for submission to the judges. Submit the writers’ complete information per the guidelines but, as much as possible, make sure their names don’t appear on the actual entry as the judges need to read the entries blind. If, under the circumstances, you need more time, please let us know and we will give consideration as long as is reasonable within our timeline. Please don’t let the hindrances stop you from submitting. The guidelines are to aid us in processing the entries as efficiently and completely as possible but we don’t want  a promising writer to be discouraged by the bureaucracy or by any technological limitations.

How does one register for the literary Challenge?

The visual arts Challenge requires registration. Do so by submitting your name, contact info, and a bit about yourself to wadadlipen@yahoo.com The literary Challenge does not require registration; to participate in the literary Challenge…you need to write and submit a story or poem, 600 words or less towadadlipen@yahoo.com… guidelines for both literary and visual arts challenge can be found here – https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/wadadli-pen-challenge-2014-guidelines-literary-and-visual-arts/

I’ll add something else that’s come up; two things actually…you do need to be 35 and younger to participate, so you need to indicate your age. If you fail to indicate your age, your entry may be disqualified. If you are a teacher, though you can be any age to enter, please indicate your age as well for our records and for proper classification of those of you who are teachers and still eligible for the main prize.

Also entries must be emailed to wadadlipen@yahoo.com Hard copy entries dropped off somewhere for pick up may not be considered – except with rare exception and specific permission – as there are cost and procedural concerns (translation: we don’t want to discourage anyone from submitting but we simply don’t have the womanpower to type up entries mailed or dropped off somewhere – yes, we used to do this in the past because we didn’t want anyone to not submit because they didn’t have access to a computer but honestly we can’t keep up and we’re hoping that with a lot more access to computers now as opposed to 10 years ago, you can get creative and get those entries in..if push comes to shove and you can’t, let us know and we’ll try to work with you…but meantime, try and work with us, nuh. Thanks.)

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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