Tag Archives: Antigua and Barbuda

Dawn of a New Day by Rupert ‘Swallow’ Philo

Sung by Rupert ‘Swallow’ Philo
Written by Rupert ‘Swallow’ Philo

See also our song lyrics data base; and our song writers’ data base. All lyrics are transcribed from the song recording. Errors and omissions are my own; feel free to help me correct or fill in the blanks. – JCH, blogger

An uprising nation could never be a nation
When undoubtedly, it’s heading in the wrong direction
We need cooperation just to solve the problems
Or otherwise, things will remain the same
If we let frustration and hopelessness prevail
By all means, the nation is going to fail
With a little practical ???
??????? action
We will overcome our whole division
We need a sense of purpose
A sense of community
And a welcome hope of sincerity
?????
that blocks the flow of progress
I’m positively sure we must gain success
cause tug-o-war wouldn’t take us to our goal
is cooperation I’m sure
to bring the problems under control

Cho.
Only when we start to see eye to eye
We will move to higher heights by and by
Only when we stop all the back biting
We will have a true country progressing
When we work together
through the stormy weather
When we file our motion
Into one direction
We will definitely be
Open up our eyes to see
That dawn, beautiful dawn
of a new day

Hatred and suspicion
Vice, poverty, and crime
Would only put this place in plenty turmoil
A little time and patience
good public relations
bound to uplift the character of this nation
If we to determine nation’s future
We must fight to get conditions better
Success must come either by force of by will
???? plenty room for improving still
We can’t let this country’s plans lay in ruin
Because all of us will end up suffering
It’s a long, long way ???
But we should all be willing and able
You can’t let this country wake by day
and sleep by night without goal
??? third world

Cho.

Some people real heartless
Heartless in every way
They do nothing else
But paint this country black every day
Their efforts are fruitless
??? production
They do not believe in
righting the country’s wrongs
The past wouldn’t make the future impossible
If we would decide to fight that struggle
Although mother nature turns against us sometimes
this country nevertheless should be all sublime
We need that love that comes from deep within
If we should see this place improving
???? country will rise or fall
Or else is a good chance for survival
Self-respect and pride along the way
is ??? I say
to see the dawn of a rising day

Cho.

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#ThrowbackThursday Antiguan-Barbudan Artists on Swedish Programme Popreel (2015)

I shared this back in 2015 but just retrieved the video link and felt like sharing again. It’s from Season 2 of the Swedish programme Popreel. Producer Pamela Taivassalo Wikholm came here and interviewed a number of local artistes.

Including yours truly.

The globe trotting programme explores different cultures and is even used in schools in Sweden.

Episode one of season 2 includes pan players from the Antigua Girls High School with a number of the players explaining where pan fits in to their school, life, and culture. “It’s really electric and it makes you want to dance,” one (Ken-Nyse Lynch) said.

Episode two spotlights some of the opportunities opened up for young sailors in Antigua and Barbuda via the sailing academy. “After I’ve finished being a dinghy instructor here I’m going to try to get on a boat…something on the ocean where you could just go round, see the world; that’s what I really want to do, travel the world,” one (Janeild Smith) said.

I am in episode 3. I shared a reading from my novel Musical Youth and talked about how my history and culture and “this pepperpot of language” informs my work.

Episode 4 spotlighted visual artist Mark Brown and per the show’s teaser “a naked, pregnant nun” from his Angel in Crisis series. “The main aim of the Angel in Crisis series was to bring a sort of humanness …to the people who have to bear the burden of conforming to what society thinks of them,” Mark said.

Episode 5 begins with soca star Tian Winter who spoke about wanting to sing and about his hopes that soca and calypso will someday be as big as other global art forms. “If you have a dream, don’t let anybody, not your mother, not your brother, kill your vibe.”

Can’t argue with that.

Watch all the episodes of season 2 of Popreel here.

As with all content 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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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NaPoWriMo Poetry Challenge Day 25: “Lady Wadadli” — chattinatti

For #napowrimo poetry challenge day 25, my challenge is to write a poem that recounts a dream or vision, and in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area in which I’m from.

NaPoWriMo Poetry Challenge Day 25: “Lady Wadadli” — chattinatti

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#ThrowbackThursday Antigua Barbuda International Literary Festival

Just a little throwback to when Antigua and Barbuda was ahead of the curve with this literary festival – first held in 2006 – that attracted some of the biggest names in literature (especially from the Black diaspora). It’s not a thing anymore and that’s a shame. That’s me in green between, far left, Linda Duggins, who was at the time director of publicity for the Hatchette Book Group, acclaimed author Elizabeth Nunez, and, on my right, Eric Jerome Dickey. Yeah, my imposter syndrome was itching like a rash that day – though to be honest, there was some external reinforcement of it (something said) but also affirmation (something else said). The something else was from Eric Jerome Dickey who affirmed my place at the table; the late New York Times bestselling author also opened the door to me landing an agent and endorsed me on his social media when my novel came out. Eric died last year and things like this that he did grow bigger in my mind. He was just a real, generous dude. The lady to my left, Elizabeth, while continuing to write acclaimed books, has also done things to boost my writing and that of others – including reccing my novel Oh Gad! on NPR. Blessings to her for that; she didn’t have to do that – and because of how no-nonsense she is, I know she wouldn’t have picked it (nor add it to her course list) if she didn’t think it was good. I remember Linda as having a warm presence and this was reaffirmed when I ran in to her in the crowd at the Miami Book Fair and she greeted me like we had seen each other just yesterday – when I was sure she wouldn’t remember me at all – it was 11 years later, after all. Yeah, I’m pretty sure this was 2007 because one of the things I remember about this event was I met the head of the Friends of Antigua Public Library, Beverly George, on the lawn of Anchorage Inn at this event, and she right away invited me to New York where I went that December as the FOAPL’s first Author in Residence and FOAPL would host me again in 2012 when Oh Gad! came out.

What I like about the flashback memes sometimes is it can be a reminder of how far you’ve moved when it feels like you’re stagnating or maybe even moving backwards, or maybe are just too busy working to pay attention to those movements at all.

Anyway just a pic and a reminder to self and whoever needs to hear it to keep moving.

As with all content 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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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You should read…

I mentioned it before and I have skimmed it previously, but I am finally taking some time to read through the Daily Observer Independence 2021 issue (I know, I know).

For any non-Antiguans-&-Barbudans here our 40th anniversary Independence commemoration was November 1st.

The first 15 or so pages of the anniversary issue are taken up with the obligatory messages (read if you like that sort of thing but really, skip). Beginning on page 16, though, take the time to scroll through ‘The History of Antigua and Barbuda’ which begins “before 9000 BC” and comes forward to the present. It includes this image I’ve never seen before (wish the article had included something of its provenance) of an auction of enslaved people at Redcliffe Quay (bit of trivia: the barracoon where enslaved people were held is still there just above Redcliffe Quay, one of St. John’s City’s two major tourist shopping centres, on lower Nevis Street – and I hope the powers that be do whatever needs to be done to preserve it).

An interesting (little known) detail in this history is that when Antigua was captured by the French in 1666, the English retreated to Ottos hill (or Ottos Mount as the article calls it – I’m not sure if they mean Mount St. John where the hospital is or Ottos hill, part of my childhood stomping grounds as a #gyalfromOttosAntigua) leaving the enslaved people behind as the invaders rampaged and burned; but (and this is the interesting part) the Kalinago (called Caribs in the article) assisted the enslaved in escaping and they fled to the Shekerly Hills where they lived for many years (I learned about the free community at Boggy Peak/Mount Obama well into adulthood – in school we learned that there weren’t maroon communities in Antigua because the terrain didn’t allow for it). So that was interesting to me. Oh, the French only held the island to 1667 – which is why Antigua remains pretty firmly in the English-speaking column.

The article also goes in to detail about the fate of the two main leaders of the 1736 rebellion (King Court and Tomboy – interesting to me because we don’t hear nearly enough about Tomboy, who received “35 strokes with a large iron bar” before his execution).

And for those of us who grew up not knowing, the article touches on some of the other rebellions – 1831, 1858, 1918.

There’s a Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau poem which has this line that I love, “I love Antigua like a lover” – but which is not so blinded by love that it does not challenge us to be better.

I liked some of the fresh (?) details about the national symbols – like the Antigua Black pineapple being originally introduced by the Arawakan speaking people (the fruit also gets a whole article elsewhere in the publication), and being used for making twine and cloth, and for healing purposes, or the whitewood tree’s alternate name being Black Gregory.

The Independence baby article – featuring Sasha Stuart Young – was a bit (too) long but a good catch-up (p. 25-30).

The Barbuda article had a few touches beyond the usual cliches – I especially found endearing the details about the elderly going to the lagoon at 5 a.m. to “sap their knees” and ease arthritic ache, or about how that same lagoon feeds the people with lobster, conch, and fish – and keeps them independent. And, like a dark anti-chorus: “Today, after Independence, the lagoon has become an environmental collateral damaged site.” A reminder of the tensions between Antigua and Barbuda, the exploitation of the latter by the former. The author, Darlene Beazer-Parker also includes a poem that has a roll call of Barbudan people, “Bo Ram Bo, Boxer, Tomack, and Dada”, and places, “Hog Hole, Five Springs, Darby Cave, Ann Pass”, and a glossary of Barbudan expressions, like “tikka yah dome”, that reminds that Barbuda is not just a playground for tourists, or even Antiguans, but home to those who “smell the mud after the rain.” (another phrase I liked).

The article on recently deceased national hero Sir Lester Bird was an interesting read – especially his early athletic exploits – if sanitized as such things inevitably are. Speaking of, I like that the Paul Quinn op-ed touched on the tensions in the build-up to Independence, which was not a foregone conclusion (nor initially, the piece suggests, a popular one). Shout out to the ad for Antiguan Homemade Fudge in this section because e bang good.

I like the issue’s engagement with young Antiguans and Barbudans doing awesome things in a substantive way; such as former junior calypsonian A’shante and her multiple enterprises including Amplify Caribbean with other young Antiguans and Barbudans, and mental health advocate Chaneil, recently featured in my CREATIVE SPACE series.

Nice to see the nurses styling in their national dress fabric.

Now we just need to support them by doing everything we can to keep our COVID-19 numbers down.

I’ll admit to skipping through the sections on COVID (though I’m glad it’s in there) – and am all vaxxed and boostered up, wear my mask etc. That said, I liked the approach in the article by Dr. Cleon Athill, looking at the socio-economic vulnerabilities exposed by the virus on the national and individual level, and ending with call for dialogue on several key areas including the importance of critical thinking, the balance between personal and community rights, and the roles of various stakeholders in the event of a national crisis.

Space was made for the work of the diaspora – shout out to the Friends of Antigua Public Library in New York.

There was an article on our only living national hero accompanied by this picture.

…and of the first Antiguan and Barbudan to be called up to the West Indies Cricket Team (Andy Roberts). “Being the first Antiguan to play and the first to make the headlines, I realized that I cannot fail because this is opportunity for people to know there is a small island named Antigua.” He remarked how even in Jamaica they didn’t know Antigua and while Jamaicans knew the name Antigua by the time I studied there (thanks to cricketers like Viv and Andy) and there were already a lot of Jamaicans living in Antigua, I did get some questions that exposed the huge gaps in information and massive misconceptions about the “small islands” like mine. So I can relate.

It was nice to see the sports section make space for one of the greats off the field (Gravy), who for 12 years made entertainment of spectacle during cricket matches – and going deep in to his formative years, like the time he was clowning in front of the class and in retaliation the principal “beat everybody else all to me.” A reminder that growing up Caribbean could be brutal. But could also be charming, like the story about how he got his nickname the time he asked his mom to take back the meat and give him more gravy. Make no mistake, what Gravy did was performance art (his grand finale in a wedding dress for instance, as a bride walking down the aisle) and like any artist his chief regrets are related to the artistic expressions he either didn’t achieve or didn’t complete. “Up to now I am at home, I think about things I should have done on the Double Decker, from one end to the other end. There is a steel beam that runs across Double Decker from one end to the other end and I always see myself going up there and walking across the Double Decker stand in mid-air.” His wish, to the powers that be, take care of the disabled and less fortunate, and, to the public, “remember me”.

In the CREATIVE SPACE entry in the Independence issue, I remember some of my favourite Antiguan and Barbudan protest songs (my spin being that protest songs are some of the most patriotic). You can still listen to the playlist. You should also check out DJ/broadcaster Dave Lester Payne’s Independence top 10 in the Daily Observer Independence issue.

There is also…

An article on cryptocurrency chastising those of us lagging behind to catch up or, “delusional”, be left feeling like we’re in “a galaxy far, far away” – there is an explanation of the explosion of cryptocurrency but no crypto for dummies which some of us need.

An article on cha-cha dumpling, ostensibly, but really on the cut and contrive nature of the Caribbean culinary experience – and a hint of the enterprise necessitated by the pandemic (subject Caesar is a taxi driver but…the pandemic).

An article on popular Antiguan sayings (only fair as we had some Barbudan ones earlier). I will admit though that I’ve never heard “you lip shine lakka dog seed” (gross).

An article on children’s games, primarily from a boy’s point of view so lots of street cricket and marble lore, but not a deep dive on hand games, ring games (with the exceptions of Ring-a-rosie and Brown Girl in the Ring), and especially jump rope games (this was one of the popular past times when I was a girl. I don’t remember us doing double dutch though; that was more of an African American skipping style). I liked the article but I’m now thinking I need to do that deep dive on Caribbean jump rope games – maybe for a future CREATIVE SPACE.

A flour feature. Like flour day which I recently found out about, this feels like an odd thing to boost given certain lifestyle diseases that have likely ‘helped’ the ballooning health bills (referenced elsewhere in the publication) but flour is not without cultural context (it is one of the foods that has sustained us – droppers to ducana). Interesting choice to include cornmeal here, which I don’t think of as flour but, I guess. It is referred to as corn flour which on technicality allows for the inclusion of cornmeal pap and national dish (or half of) fungee.

An article on superstitions which was a resonant retelling of the folklore I grew up on or heard about growing up – jackolantern, soucouyant, jabless/diablesse, jumbie (the article also says duppy but that was terminology I only read about in stories set in Jamaica) with mention of obeah (not a connection I instinctively make but…okay).

What’s left? Fashion of course and I guess we can officially call Amya’s the queen of Independence, with the label’s independence accessories getting a whole feature. Nice.

This issue is triggering memories as I’ve interviewed a lot of the people featured over my journalism career – Goldsmitty which has a jewellery feature based on the bread and cheese bush (again, interesting) and Amya whom I first interviewed many years ago and most recently included in a piece in CREATIVE SPACE among them; been cussed out by a couple of them too (not Hans or Louise though) in the course of my reporting.

Among the standard fair (articles on governance, patriotic songs, nostalgia pictures) in the closing pages, a highlight for me was the picture of my primary school alma mater at the youth rally – seeing us (well not me, I didn’t march, but us) was dope (especially since people, including Catholics, hardly seem to remember we existed).

Verdict: definitely worth a read.

As with all content 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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, 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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New Banner Salutes Jamaica Kincaid

If you’re a regular here, you know I update our blog banner every quarter with covers of books by Antiguan and Barbudan authors. Usually it’s a mix of authors and covers, selected randomly. In the 3rd quarter of 2021, I decided to tribute Althea Prince by using some of her covers. That was a just-because #womancrushWednesday. But, this time around, in commemoration of Jamaica Kincaid being the 2021 Langston Hughes Festival honoree – and conversations during that ceremony that prompted me to reflect on her relationship to Antigua and Barbuda in my subsequent CREATIVE SPACE art and culture column, entitled Antigua and Barbuda’s Jamaica…

I decided to tribute her here as well.

ETA: video of my presentation.

Specifically, the banner uploaded in the fourth quarter, specifically on November 27th 2021, features just some of the covers of her first novel Annie John (my first and still one of my top 3 Kincaid books) – and let me tell you, any writer would be chuffed to have so many editions of a single one of their books.

Kincaid had too many covers of this book to fit in our banner, and she has been no one hit wonder. We salute you, ma’am.

As with all content 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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, 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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Reading Journal (and Sunday Post) 05-09-21 — jhohadli

My last reading update was August 23rd and at that time I was up to page 120 of the just over 200 pages of Ruby’s Dream by Ronan Matthew. I did a Reading Journal (and Sunday Post) just a day earlier in which I mentioned other books in progress (The Mermaid of Black Conch, New […]

Reading Journal (and Sunday Post) 05-09-21 — jhohadli

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Wadadli Pen 2021 – Photo Gallery

As with last year, we weren’t able to have in-person awards this year. Thanks to Best of Books, management and staff, for capturing some of these images as winners came in to collect their prizes and, of course, the winning plaques that will hang in the store. Thanks as well to Frank B. Armstrong for these first two photographs.

The Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque bears the name of every winner since the Wadadli Pen Challenge was first held in 2004. It is sponsored by the Best of Books bookstore, where it hangs year round.
Long listed writer Latisha Walker-Jacobs with her signed copy of Musical Youth (from her facebook).

Second placed writer Ashley-Whitney Joshua, author of ‘Hiraeth‘ with prizes that include gifts from Rotary Club of Antigua, books contributed by Sekou Luke, cash contributed by Rilys Adams, and a spot in a future Bocas workshop.

12 and Younger honourable mention (for the story ‘The Blackboard‘) Eunike Caesar collecting her prizes which include books from Harper Collins and Barbara Arrindell, gift certificate from Juneth Webson, and gift certificates and other prizes from Rotary Club of Antigua.

Sheniqua Greaves’ ‘The Juxtaposed Reprieve‘ earned honourable mention in both the ‘2020’ subtheme and main categories, and she earned prizes from Bocas (workshop), Peepal Tree Press (Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay), Juneth Webson (gift certificate), Rotary Club of Antigua (various), and Devra Thomas (cash).

Gazelle Goodwin is the first time winner of the Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award given to the top 12 and younger writer. Her poem was ‘Beautiful Disaster‘.

Andre Warner – honourable mention for ‘The Brave One‘ collecting his prize.
Gazelle Goodwin holding the Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award which now bears her name. Gazelle is 12 and younger winner for ‘Beautiful Disaster‘.
Aunjelique Liddie collecting her prizes for placing third with ‘The Beach‘.
Main prize winner Kevin Liddie for ‘Mildred, You No Easy‘ with the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque.
Collecting contribution to the Public Library.
These Collins Big Cat books are at the library. Go get them.
Main prize honourable mention for ‘Vixen‘, Razonique Looby.
Principal of St. Anthony’s Joanne Boulous-Callias collecting her school’s prize.

Click below for:

About Wadadli Pen

Wadadli Pen 2021 press release announcing this year’s winners

Who Won What in 2021

Wadadli Pen 2021 Playlist on YouTube

Wadadli Pen Winners through the Years – Story Links

Thanks to our Patrons

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PRESS RELEASE – WADADLI PEN FIRST: FATHER AND DAUGHTER WIN

A Wadadli Pen first – father and daughter in the top 3.

Kevin Liddie’s name has been added to the Alstyne Allen Memorial Plaque, sponsored by the Best of Books, as winner of the 2021 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. The writer of ‘Mildred, You No Easy’, benefiting from the opening up of the usually youth-focused Prize, finds himself in company with his 13-year-old daughter Antigua Girls High School student Aunjelique, third placed with her poem ‘The Beach’. Teen, Ashley-Whitney Joshua, author of ‘Hiraeth’, ranks second. Wadadli Pen congratulates them for emerging victorious from among 72 entries. The announcement of winners was made on May 30th 2021, in the second year of virtual awards.

This virtual shift is not the only way ‘2020’ impacted Wadadli Pen; ‘2020’ was also a subtheme. The subtheme winner is Jason Gilead, whose story ‘The Great Old Woodslave’ is also an honourable mention for the Wadadli Pen 2021 main prize. Sheniqua Greaves, ‘The Juxtaposed Reprieve’, is honourable mention for both the ‘2020’ subtheme prize and the main prize.

Other main prize honourable mentions are last year’s winner Andre Warner, ‘The Brave One’, and 15-year-old Christ the King High School student Razonique Looby, ‘Vixen’.

The other special prize in 2021 is the 12 and younger prize. Gazelle Goodwin, a 12-year-old Island Academy student and writer of the poem ‘Beautiful Disaster’, will be the first name on the Zuri Holder Achievement Award – a new plaque memorializing the former Wadadli Pen 12 and younger finalist who died in a road accident earlier this year. The prize is sponsored by his family.  Nine-year-old Baptist Academy student, ‘The Blackboard’ author Eunike Caesar, is honourable mention in the 12 and younger age category.

The school with the most submissions was St. Anthony’s Secondary School and a couple of their students Aria-Rose Browne, also a finalist last year, and Naeem DeSouza are on the Wadadli Pen 2021 long list.

Reportedly, the school has incorporated Wadadli Pen in to its curriculum. “We are going to do so much better next year,” said teacher Margaret Irish during the awards. “I dare any other school in this country to try to beat us.”

All long listed writers – including former finalist Latisha Walker-Jacobs, Linita Simon, Anastatia Mayers, Jai Francis, Annachiara Bazzoni, Kadisha Valerie, Rosemond Dinard-Gordon, and Noleen Azille – will have the opportunity to participate in development workshops sponsored by US based Jamaican Garfield Linton and facilitated by Wadadli Pen founder-coordinator-patron and Antiguan and Barbudan author Joanne C. Hillhouse.

Rotary Club of Antigua was a first-time major patron in 2021. RCA member Kevin Silston, who attended the virtual awards, explained, “Rotary usually supports the spelling bee (and reading) competition and this year in particular because of the COVID related challenges, we were unable to do that. More broadly, this year, our theme has been opening opportunities by supporting youth development and healthy lifestyle choices. …Us coming on board to be able to provide some support allows us to execute our mandate while at the same time supporting a worthy cause.”

Other prizes have been contributed by past Wadadli Pen finalists Rilys Adams, Daryl George, and Devra Thomas; new patrons the Trinidad and Tobago’s Bocas Lit Fest, Harper Collins UK, Peepal Tree Press (UK), Jamacia’s Poet Laureate Olive Senior, Ten Pages Book Store, Sekou Luke and new local writer Patricia Tully; and long time patrons Frank B. Armstrong, Juneth Webson, and Barbara Arrindell.

Marcella Andre, owner of another first time patron NIA Comms, which ran its own NIA Mentor Award earlier this year, said, “Wadadli Pen is something that inspires creativity and I think that is something that’s very important…I want to support people who want to get their thoughts out in to the world.”

For Awards clips go to the Wadadli Pen YouTube   and to read the stories visit the Wadadli Pen blog. The team members – Barbara Arrindell, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Margaret Irish, Devra Thomas, and Floree Williams Whyte – thank all patrons, media, partners, past and present for bringing the project from 2004 to the present, nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

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Sub-theme ‘2020’- Winner, and Main Prize – Honourable Mention (Wadadli Pen 2021) – Jason Gilead

Jason Gilead, M, ‘The Great Old Woodslave’ (fiction)

About the Author – Jason declared, “I am not a writer by any stretch of the imagination.  I enjoy travelling, meeting people, eating great food and gaining new experiences.  I have a vivid imagination, but most times the things I imagine remain just there, in my imagination.

About ‘The Great Old Woodslave’: Jason is a member of a social club, and, for a recent club activity, was challenged to write a story about how any object around their home would view the COVID-19 pandemic. He said, “A few nights before that activity I had what can only be classified as an all-out war with a woodslave I found in my living room (I admittedly have a mild phobia of anything that looks like a lizard). I therefore chose to write my short story from the eyes of that woodslave. The members enjoyed the story very much and challenged me to enter the piece. I never expected anything to come of the submission.” Jason is outside of the usual age range of Wadadli Pen and his is the kind of story that makes us feel good about opening up the Challenge to all ages in 2021.

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‘The Great Old Woodslave’

I didn’t trouble him na! Most times he doesn’t even know I am here. We have lived together, co-existed for years; I don’t bother him, he doesn’t bother me. I stay in the eaves of the house and simply observe.

Oh how life has changed over the past year. He used to be gone all day and back only at night. I had the lay of the land all to myself. I would roam, enjoy the quiet serenity and snack on my favorite morsels that pass my way. I would retire to my spot, before he got home or dart at the sound of the rustle of his keys, so he would not have the chance to see me. But of late, he has been present way too often……always sitting at the table banging away at and talking into that black box with lights….lights that hurt my skin. Oh, and that box seems to be filled with other humans….males, females, with all sorts of accents and they talk incessantly!!! Oh how I miss my serenity!

One day, my curiosity got the better of me. I ought to have known better but what was going on in that black box, the one with buttons and the lights and the many voices…it wrestled my attention. As the human retired to that room in which I am seemingly not welcomed, I came out from my hiding place to investigate.

I don’t know which of the humans in the box told him I was out, but the next thing I knew, I was on the receiving end of a broom. Whap! Whap!. The licks left me so dazed and confused. I scurried back to my hiding place to catch my breath. It was then I realized I had lost my tail in the melee.

Had it not been for this pandemic, I would not have captivated by that box…by those wretched people inside that box, nor would my curiosity have gotten the better of me.

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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