Tag Archives: 2016

Wadadli Pen: What Trended in 2016

Happy New Year in Advance! We made it! 2017 here we come!

Just one more bit of 2016 business.

It’s always interesting to see what people engaged with over the course of a year. Wadadli Pen has existed as an online platform in this space for six years. In that time, it has provided a window to Wadadli Pen (who we are, the work that we do); to the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda; to Antigua and Barbuda and not just to the literary arts, and I have enjoyed the journey and the growth. I enjoy blogging in this space and appreciate you reading and engaging and sharing. So, let’s see what you’ve been reading, engaging with, and sharing the most, shall we? Scroll to see the top posts of the year according to YOU!


Wadadli Pen Logo
The Wadadli Pen 2016 challenge: the long list

This makes sense. The long list is the first chance people who’ve submitted to the annual Challenge have to see how things are shaking out. So, they check in, and I can feel the excitement and, on the flipside of that, the disappointment; as a writer myself, I am intimately familiar with that emotional seesaw, and I don’t take any bit of that processing of their submissions and unveiling of the cut lightly. And, as seen in this year’s posting, in keeping with Wadadli Pen’s development agenda, I don’t hesitate to make it a learning and growth opportunity for the writers. Remind yourself who made the 2016 long list by clicking here.


Gone to Drift

Reflecting on Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay

My relationship with this book goes back to me serving on the 2015 Burt Award judging panel, a year after I was a finalist myself. I loved it from the first time I read it, in fact I loved it before it was a book when McCaulay won recognition from the Commonwealth Short Story competition for a story I realize looking back was the genesis of this book. We actually spoke about that story, in 2012, during Diana’s first interview here on the site. Diana is technically part of the Wadadli Pen family having donated copies of her books to our awards programme, and, in 2016, thanks to her publisher, we were able to gift Gone to Drift as well. This post is my musing on the book, which I still love and continue to share whenever I get the chance. I feel it picked up some traffic from being shared on sites like Repeating Islands and passed on by the author and publisher as well. So, I appreciate that…and I appreciate this book. Read the post and feel free to share as well.


new-plaqueWho Won in 2016

No surprise here; the who won and who won what in the annual Wadadli Pen Challenge is always one of the biggest posts of the year – which is good for our winners, our patrons, and Wadadli Pen. Take a second look at the 2016 crowd.


Books for 1735: this is a picture post


Students of CHSS donate books and hug an inmate of 1735, Antigua and Barbuda’s prison.


Ayanna Shadrach, a teacher at Clare Hall Secondary rallied her students to give back; specifically they collected and donated books to the prison. I was happy to not only contribute to this act of goodwill but help amplify it. It took some time for her to be able to deliver the books to the prison, in part because of a contagion outbreak, but it’s finally done. See the pictures of the delivery.


roland prince - Copy (1)

Remembering Roland Prince

2016 was a car crash of a year as far as music is concerned – so many greats gone so quickly and some so unexpectedly: Merle Haggard (a loss to country music), Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest (a loss to hip hop), Maurice White (a loss to Earth Wind and Fire fans…and who isn’t), Leonard Cohen (“Hallelujah”), Glenn Frey (Eagles’ co-founder and co-lead), Rod Temperton (you might not know the name but if you’ve ever listened to Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall or Thriller or watched The Colour Purple, for instance, you know his songs), Prince (the loss of the Purple one still hurts), Vanity (one of Prince’s protégés), David Bowie (an icon), George Michael (“Father Figure”), and for us here in Antigua and Barbuda and the world of jazz internationally Roland Prince – at one time dubbed the best in the world by people who know more about these things than I do. Re-read what I wrote on his passing.


zahra 08

Zahra performing in a local production of The Vagina Monologues which she co-produced and co-directed.

Congrats, Zahra – 2016 NYA Winner for Literary Arts

Zahra Airall won the literary arts award at the National Youth Award, and as we always cheer our artistes – especially our literary artistes – this was our big up to one of the hardest working women in Antiguan and Barbudan arts. Read it here.


Time to Talk

One of the books I blogged in 2016


Blogger on Books lll

I work hard to keep Wadadlli Pen and me separate (especially with the moves I’m now making to solidify it as a legit non-profit); though as I am founder-coordinator and chief blogger here at Wadadli Pen, there’s inevitably overlap. From so many of the site-relevant pictures and articles I have written in my journalistic life ending up here on the blog to my blogger on books series which is really just my opinion about books which found a home on what’s essentially a literary blog. Well, the series has relocated to my personal blog and this was its last installment here–> Check it out.


Claytine Nisbett Walking into Walls standing next to a piece by Xhyphensaphair King

Claytine Nisbett, a former Wadadli Pen volunteer, and founder of Walking in to Walls (an online advocacy project), alongside art work by X-Saphair King. This was at a Directorate of Gender Affairs event in which King and several other local artists showcased their work, at the intersection of arts and advocacy.

Remembering the Artist: X-Saphair King

The blog’s other big obit of the year was X-Saphair King, and I take no joy in saying that.

“Joanne, I am deeply saddened to read this news. I did not know him as a person, obviously, but X-Saphair’s work was stunning. What a loss to Antigua and Barbuda, and to the Caribbean as a whole. My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.” – Nicolette Bethel, editor of Tongues of the Ocean in which X-Sapphair’s art work had been featured, commenting below the post about his passing.


Conference organizer, Brown University Professor, Paget Henry of Antigua.

Dr. Paget Henry, pictured here at a past conference at the Enlightenment Academy is one of the chief organizers of this annual August event.

Gender Equality in Antigua and Barbuda: Call for Papers

I can’t really account for the popularity of this one (it’s really just a call for papers for the 2016 Antigua conference) – though, obviously, I’m happy if it played a role in or reflects a heightening of the profile of the more than 10 years old Conference. Maybe using buzzwords like “gender” in the tags had something to do with its attraction. I did note some new faces among the panelists and attendees at this year’s Conference – so, good.



ADA drummers, 2006..

Antigua Dance Academy marks a Milestone, is ignored

This one attracted a lot of shares and comments quickly; I hope it leads to deeper appreciation and action not just with respect to ADA but the arts as a whole with all its potential to be transformative and revelatory in and for and to Antigua and Barbuda. If only we knew the power of this thing we take for granted.

Some comments in response to the article/blog:

“So thrilled (and disappointed) to read this today. THRILLED for ADA… I’ve had the pleasure of attending their performances in the past and was impressed with their professionalism, skill and commitment to being culture preservers with little to no support…what, really and truly, will it take for us to get bored with giving lip service to support of the Arts (in it’s many forms) in Antigua & Barbuda?!”

“I encourage you all to keep up the great and important work you have been doing in the cultural arts. We are on the precipice of a culture and arts renaissance.”

“Congratulations to Veronica Yearwood and the Antigua Dance Academy for your hard work and dedication that enabled you to reach this great Milestone.Veronica I feel your pain, having been there myself in our early days of dance in Antigua and the struggles we all experienced. You must not give up. Stay strong, you are doing a marvelous job with the young ones… Do let me know if I can be of assistance in anyway.”

Veronica and ADA, whatever resources they lack, have a lot of goodwill in the community, as evidenced by how quickly this post jumped to the top of the year’s rankings. Read it here.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Fish Outta Water, and, forthcoming, With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Please note that the images also belong to us and ask first if you wish to use them for any purpose. Thanks.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Wadadli Pen 2016, Wadadli Pen News

Youth Worker wins Youth Writing Prize

Youth worker Daryl George is the winner of the main prize in the 2016 Wadadli Pen Challenge, a writing contest first launched in 2004. The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize was started by local author Joanne C. Hillhouse, to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. Over the years she’s been working with various partners and patrons to do just that.


From left, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Douglas Allen (brother of the late Alstyne Allen), Chammaiah Ambrose, Daryl George (holding the Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge plaque), patron Dr. Hazra Medica, and patron representative Frank B. Armstrong’s Akeilah  Hillhouse.


George -the first male winner of the overall literary prize – was the judges’ unanimous choice for his win in the 18 to 35 age category and for the main prize for a story, Tropical Moonlight Sonata, described as a “a beautifully written piece” – simple, but with vivid descriptions and great depth. In it, a character named Jamal discovers or rediscovers a baby grand piano in a pawn shop far from home and…

“For a split second the cobblestone floors turned into ceramic tiles, and the cold air warmed into the humid tropical heat. The musty air filled with the smell of hundreds of books chock-full of mildewing pages of notes, time signatures, and middle and bass clefs before fading back to the dimly lit pawn shop.”

You can read the full story, and, in fact, all the winning stories online right here at Wadadli Pen (use the search feature to the right or just click the linked story).

George’s name has joined former winners on the Challenge plaque which is sponsored by and hangs in the Best of Books bookstore on St. Mary’s Street. The plaque has been (re)named the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque in memory of a recently deceased member of the Wadadli Pen family – Allen volunteered with the project during the critical first years 2004 to 2006. Douglas Allen, Allen’s brother and publisher of Young Explorer, a partner in the project’s early years, was on hand to assist with the prize giving.

Other winning entries include 13 to 17 winner and second placed overall Alyssa Charles’ Faded Glory, a story in which the 17-year-old Antigua State College student tackles young love and touch choices; and 12 and younger winner and third placed overall Chammaiah Ambrose’ Guilty, a poem in which the 11-year-old Antigua Girls High School student empathizes with the fish she catches. Both Ambrose and George are repeat Wadadli Pen finalists.

The winners’ circle was a mix of repeaters and first timers. Repeaters included past finalists 16-year-old Irene B. Williams student Zahra Emanuel, honourable mention in the 13 to 17 age category for her story My So Called Father; nine-year-old Judah Christian, a Sunnyside Student; and 10-year-old Zion Ebony Williams, a Baptist Academy student, second and third placed in the 12 and younger category, respectively, for their stories My Worst Day Ever and A Dinner to Remember; and 11-year-old Avriel Walters, honourable mention in the latter category for her story My Cousin. First timers included Barbuda teacher Jemelia Pratt, who was honourable mention in the 18 to 35 age category for her story of the Cuban revolution Les Trajó Aquí; 15-year-old Glanvilles Secondary student Diamond Wayne, runner up in the 13 to 17 age category for her poem Granny for Sale; 16-year-old Antigua Grammar School student Canice James, honourable mention in the same category for his story Heroic Night, and the 12 and younger honourable mentions – Denejah Browne, Rolanda Cuffy, Kya Matthew, Morgan Leah Simon, and Laila Tahir, all Christ the King High School students. Christ the King was rewarded as the school with the most submissions.

The prize haul was roughly EC$4,000, give or take, thanks to contributions of gifts and cash from individuals (Juneth Webson, Dr. Hazra Medica, Pamela Arthurton), businesses (Frank B. Armstrong, CaribbeanReads Publishing, Papillotte Press, Paperclips, Barbuda Express, Raw Island Products, and the Best of Books), and even other community projects (Cushion Club, CODE, the Just Write Writers’ Retreat).  Hillhouse kicked in copies of her books Musical Youth and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings as well. Hillhouse thanked the patrons and partners – which included this year’s judges Floree Whyte, Cedric Holder, and Glen Toussaint, Wadadli Pen media/school ambassador Margaret Irish, advisor Barbara Arrindell – without whom another successful year of the Wadadli Pen Challenge would not have been achieved.

Hillhouse expressed hope of sourcing funding to take writing workshops to schools in Antigua and Barbuda beginning with the winning school, where she could provide instruction in crafting stronger stories.

She maintains that the point of Wadadli Pen, completely voluntary over the years, is to help writers and non-writers alike develop confidence with and appreciation for the written word. As usual, she commends those who took the Challenge for daring.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2016, Wadadli Pen News

My Worst Day Ever by Judah Christian

2nd placed/1st runner up in the 12 and younger age category – Wadadli Pen Challenge 2016

Author’s comment about the story: “My Worst Day Ever shows how a student’s day moves from a bright sunny day, to one filled with mishaps.”

Judge’s comments (positives only*): “Very concise, well formed, and detailed …bold (vocabulary)… Most Caribbean school children can probably relate to this story…Somehow, it made me think of the pressure on children- from an early age – to pass an exam.”

Note: *While only the positives are being shared with the public, in keeping with the development goals of Wadadli Pen, all long listed entries are returned to the author with the judge’s note – both positives and negatives – for revision. Congrats to Judah for being so close to the main prize. Keep working on your craft; keep valuing your voice and your art. – JCH

Judah Christian

Judah Christian.


Here now is My Worst Day Ever by Judah Christian, a Best of Books Promising Writer selection in Wadadli Pen’s 2015 Flash Fiction Challenge, a grade 4 Sunnyside Tutorial student, who enjoys football and basketball and dreams of becoming either a mathematician or professional football player:


The day started out with the sun shining brightly. I ate some of my favourite cornflakes, Honey Nut Cheerios, and got ready for school. When I got to the classroom, early as usual, I put my homework on Ms. Mention’s table.

I went back to my desk and studied for my Mathematics test. It was the first test of the day. It was so short and easy that I was sure that I had passed with an A+. To my horror, when teacher returned the papers just before lunch, I got a really low mark, a B-. I started questioning myself about how I got such a low grade. I was both shocked and disappointed. What was I going to tell my mother?

The bell rang so loudly that it surprised me. I opened my lunch bag, and forgot all about the test when I saw the bacon cheeseburger that I had made for the first time. As I was about to take my first bite, Ronald the Wild Indian slapped it out of my hand. I felt angry and sad at the same time. It had looked so delicious, now it was vitiated- just like my math grade.

Ronald was just too wild.

When my mother came for me at the end of the day, I showed her the test paper. She gave me an austere look and then berated me saying:

“How come you get such a low grade pan you Maths tess?”

“I really studied hard, Mom.” I answered quickly, but quietly.

“You know wah, when you go home, don’t even touch me TV!” ordered my mother.

To think that I was planning to watch the Phineas and Ferb marathon.

This is definitely my worst day ever!

For earning second place/1st runner up in his age category, Judah received:
 EC$175 sponsored by CaribbeanReads Publishing, an EC$35 gift certificates for books sponsored by the Cushion Club, Burt Award winning title All Over Again by A-dZiko Gelege sponsored by CODE, gifts from Frank B. Armstrong, and a game, book, and certificate sponsored by the Best of Books.

Thanks to all partners and patrons for making the Wadadli Pen 2016 Challenge possible. Here at Wadadli Pen, we encourage you to support the businesses and individuals who support the arts.

Please respect the writer’s copyright. And while we welcome feedback, please be constructive.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Wadadli Pen 2016, Wadadli Pen News