Apart from blogging and funding applications, these last few months have been Wadadli Pen down time, a time in which a part of my brain has been pre-occupied with how to proceed with this project while the other half deliberately avoids thinking about that very question. It came front and centre for me, though, when I was contacted by Janie Conley-Johnson whose company produces several publications including the Food and Driink Guide, which like Wadadli Pen is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
“Wadadli Pen –Need the Lowdown!” was the subject line of a very enthusiastic email in which she declared, among other things, “I’d love for us to feature the Wadadli Pen competition…as something fresh, local and positive.”
I was divided, not entirely in that headspace. But I agreed to meet and I’m glad I did. Talking about Wadadli Pen always reinforces for me why I started this programme in the first place, what we’ve managed to achieve over the years, and what I still dream of doing – including some day being able to let it go knowing it will continue independent of me. Meantime, there’s a desire to do so much more than a once a year Challenge with the hope of continuing to kindle creative expression among young Antiguans and Barbudans.
Janie’s articulated goal is to do more to raise the profile of arts and culture in Antigua and Barbuda, and, in the case of Wadadli Pen, help with our goals by getting the word out about the project and hopefully helping to attract the kind of deep-pocketed and generous philanthropist a project like this needs. Not unlike what CODE has been able to do to promote YA Caribbean publications thanks to William Burt. Will it happen? Who knows. But the dream is real and the work continues.
And to mis-quote Eoyore from Pooh, Janie, “thanks for noticing us.”
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