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Press Release – Wadadli Pen, New Prize Pays Tribute

A Wadadi Pen Release, the second after the release announcing the launch of the Wadadli Pen 2021 season, was disseminated to the media on March 10th 2021. Thanks to media like the Daily Observer, and many others – including longtime patron Antiguanice.com. The text is copied below.

Press Release

Wadadli Pen, New Prize Pays Tribute


March 10th 2021

On the heels of launching the 2021 season of the Wadadli Pen Challenge with a March 26th submission deadline, the organizers announce several additional and very meaningful patronages.

Cedric Holder, father of Zuri Holder, who died tragically in a road accident in January, has requested inclusion of a plaque to honor his memory. The Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award, inclusive of a gift certificate toward the purchase of books, will be awarded to a writer 12 years or younger. Cedric is a long time Wadadli Pen patron, his gifts typically made in the name of the Cushion Club Reading Club for Children, with which he is chief volunteer and of which Zuri was a member. Zuri also had history with Wadadli Pen – 2nd place in the 12 and younger category in 2011 and 3rd place overall and winner of the 12 and younger age category in 2013.

Zuri with his two prize certificates from the 2013 Wadadli Pen awards ceremony.

“His passing remains a huge personal loss to his family, friends, and all the communities he belonged to,” said Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, who also volunteered with the Cushion Club and knew Zuri for many years as a result. “We welcome Cedric’s desire to keep his name alive in this way, while contributing meaningfully to the development of other young people.”

Wadadli Pen also welcomes a cash contribution (EC$300) from award winning author Rilzy Adams, pen name of local lawyer Rilys Adams. Rilys, author of almost 20 self-published books, recently collected an international romance industry award for her novel Go Deep, only her latest accolade. Rilys is also a former Wadadli Pen finalist (2nd place in 2005 and 2006) – one of two former finalists who are 2021 patrons. The other is Daryl George who has contributed EC$250. “It feels good to see that Wadadli Pen has not only survived these 17 years, since it first launched in 2004, but that the people who’ve come through the programme have gone on to do great things, of which we are only a small part,” Hillhouse said, “and that they’ve looked back.” The Wadadli Pen core team also includes two former finalists.

Though focused on nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, Wadadli Pen is networked with Caribbean literary entities and one, Diana McCaulay and her publisher Peepal Tree Press have pledged her latest award winning book Daylight Come to the Prize Package.

More than 80 books including Big Cat Caribbean titles have already been received from Harper Collins (UK). Other announced 2021 patrons, so far, are the Best of Books, Moondancer Books, award winning Jamaican author Olive Senior, and new local author Patricia Tully.

Wadadli Pen is still hoping to attract more patronage for both the Wadadli Pen Challenge and the #readAntiguaBarbuda readers’ choice book of the year initiative. To support the work, email wadadlipen@gmail.com To create and submit to the Wadadli Pen Challenge download the submission form at the Wadadli Pen 2021 tab on wadadlipen.wordpress.com There, too, you’ll find the link to vote for your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan book of the year.

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Finally! Wadadli Pen Challenge Launches

PRESS RELEASE


THE WADADLI PEN 2021 CHALLNGE INVITES REFLECTION ON ‘2020’


February 26th 2021

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize returns with its latest challenge to writers and artists in Antigua and Barbuda. As in the past, the 1000 word (maximum) entries – of any literary genre or sub-genre – should be Caribbean in spirit. Entrants can write about anything but there is, also, an optional themed challenge.

The arts often flourish in difficult times as a way of channeling and expressing, also escaping, the turmoil and complexities of that time. For that reason, and the cathartic relief it can offer, Wadadli Pen looks back to ‘2020’, a year which has become a euphemism for struggle and uncertainty, as an optional sub-theme of the 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge, with a reminder to reflect, imagine, and make it Caribbean. Both written and art-text combos (i.e. storytelling using both written and visual art) are welcome.

Each year, the winning writer’s name is emblazoned on to the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque sponsored by the Best of Books. Additional pledged prizes so far this season have been confirmed from the Best of Books, Harper Collins (UK), International award winning Jamaican author Olive Senior, Patricia L. Tully of Antigua and Barbuda who has recently published her first book, and past Wadadli Pen winner Daryl George.

2021 Wadadli Pen Patron Daryl George’s name is on the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque as a past winner. Pictured with George (right) is Douglas Allen (left), a Wadadli Pen founding partner and brother of the late volunteer for whom the plaque, sponsored by the Best of Books, is named.

Wadadli Pen is launching later than usual this year and without the usual prize confirmations but determined to press on. To support the work by sponsoring a prize or volunteering, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Wadadli Pen is open in 2021 to entries from anyone of any age resident in Antigua and Barbuda; but reserves the right to single out youth entries for commendation. As usual, Wadadli Pen will also recognize the school with the most submissions.

For full submission details and entry form, visit the Wadadli Pen 2021 tab.

Consistent with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary and other artists in Antigua and Barbuda, the Wadadli Pen team is, also, once again inviting reader participation in its #readAntiguaBarbuda readers choice book of the year initiative. Vote.

This is the first time the organizers have done the challenge and the readers choice book of the year initiative at the same time; the organizers encourage full participation in this ongoing effort to boost the literary arts.
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Submissions due by March 26th 2021.

Submission form:

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Oh, Beach That I Once Loved

by Sethson Burton, 19, American University of Antigua

Waves running towards the shore as the pleasant sea air blesses one’s nose.
Young men playing cricket as the scorching sand clings between their toes.
The sun in the sky beaming with triumphant glory,
With radiance so splendid that it dare not be mimicked.
Roaming the sandy plains and the crystal-clear sea allow us to mingle.
Not with those who are forced to stand tall on their two majestic feet,
But with those who crawl and use shells to mask their decency;
And with the studded stars of heaven God placed on the ocean floor.
This is the beach that I once loved.

With nature’s wealth bestowed unto us, the expectation is gratitude.
The expectation is to honour Mother Nature with reverence to the greatest magnitude.
This expectation, humanity never met;
And ultimate disrespect was given out like a cheque.
Fossil fuels burn, and the earth feels the heat.
Cutting down trees causes its life to deplete.
Heartbroken by this treacherous display
Mother Nature has a scheme underway.
Harnessing rage like that of a bull, she charges forward with retribution.
I hope nothing happens to the beach that I once loved.
Now, the crashing waves run marathons and do not slow down.
The once seductive infinite shore is becoming no more.
The games of cricket might soon be obsolete,
Because of the sand’s decision to retreat.
The once glorious sun has suddenly become cold,
And shows no mercy on the residents this earth beholds.
The crawling friends once found on the beach, have now passed on.
Was it the torturous hurricanes or the raging heat?
It matters not, because now they have departed to a greater place.
With a sunken heart I sympathize with the beach that I once loved.

ABOUT the poem: The poem is set in the future, in which the narrator recalls from his memory, how growing up on the beach was this wonderful place. However, because of human disruption, climate change had changed his once beloved beach for the worst. This poem placed third in the 18 to 35 age category of the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2020.

Burton

ABOUT the author: Sethson Burton studies medicine. His hobbies include playing, and watching, football and cricket and also writing. From a young age he enjoyed many forms of writing including songs, poetry, essays and short stories. Even with a hectic schedule, because of his studies, he expects to continue his passion for writing in his spare time.

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

Signed copy of Musical Youth 2nd edition (paperback) by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from  The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

 

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Wadadli Pen Diary – 2020 Season Reflections

When I started Wadadli Pen in 2004, it was purely fiction. The most obvious reason is that I am myself a fiction writer and I wanted to promote the art/craft of storytelling/creating fictions. It’s also possible that this is the genre in which I felt most comfortable. It’s possible as well that I observed that many when wading in to writing seemed to see poetry as more accessible, easier even. It isn’t.
Reading this article in Lit Hub about eco-fiction reminds me that my unspoken hope with the Imagine a Future climate change themed component of the 2020 Wadadli Pen Challenge was to get people telling stories – as in I was more interested in world building and what that world would look like if climate change beat us or if we beat it. I enjoy experimenting with short story and have been trying my hand at speculative fiction; so that interest may have been a factor. Plus I was curious – spurred by a blend of recent real world stories, from hurricane Irma and the ghosts of hurricanes past (which inspired my own as yet unpublished short story Frig It! and partially inspired The Night the World Ended, published in The Caribbean Writer) to teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg crossing the world in a wind-powered vessel to take the leaders of the world to task to the teen climate strike that she inspired to a story I read about a little boy very afraid of the future in a world where climate change is an already unraveling certainty. I wanted to give that little boy (and all the children of Barbuda so traumatized by Irma) an opportunity to tell his/their story, to Imagine a Future. That was my goal.

I haven’t read any of the entries – 57 of them – yet. But I have noted that poetry entries have edged out fiction 29 to 23 with 2 creative non-fiction and 2 genre unspecified entries, and 1 art entry. Only 5 of the 57 entries clearly indicated on their entry forms that they wished to be considered for the Imagine a Future prize – 3 of those poems, 1 the art entry, and only 1 fiction. Could be that there are more climate change themed entries in the lot – and I’ll leave identifying those to the judges’ discretion – but if I’m going by those numbers, I have literally one Imagine a Future fiction to read. And I’ll admit to being a little disappointed by that – I was looking forward to reading those futures. I’ve been wondering how I could have more enthusiastically communicated that (and should I have insisted that writers imagine a future without using those words to better emphasize that they were to lift the idea not the actual words). I don’t know.

I’m not disappointed with this year’s crop of submissions overall though – the total number is roughly our usual average, and is more than I thought we’d be getting when up to the submission deadline there were almost literally no submissions. Then they all came in at once (because why make our lives easier lol). It took a week with two of us on duty to get the entries processed and out to the judges. But they are out. And if you’re getting ready to ask when’s the awards ceremony, not for a minute. Wadadli Pen, you may remember, has two rounds of judging, roughly two-to-three weeks on each side – and the in-between is where we post the short list and get the short listed entries out to the writers/artists with the judges’ edit notes so that the writers can review, consider the edit notes if they wish, improve their pieces, and re-submit. We do this to satisfy our goal for Wadadli Pen to be developmental – helping budding writers become stronger writers, and to give some sense of what it is to work with an editor as one would if submitting a piece for publication. It’s an extra speed bump but though we do reach out to patrons to attract the best prizes we can, this was never meant to be just a competition.

So, there’s that. It’s inconvenient work – we’re all pretty stretched (understatement) – but necessary if we are to do what we set out to do fully, which is to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

We’re happy to see some returning writers (and past finalists) but especially happy that first time entrants dominated, that there was at least one collaboration – we haven’t had that since season 1 (and that was not a joint submission), that a number of schools that hadn’t shown up before in our listings responded this time, that a couple of church and youth groups worked with their young people to submit, that the young ones remain the MVPs on interesting takes on life. Their writing may not be as disciplined (?) as the older ones (who have a better sense of story structure and a more evolved sense of language) but they are almost always more interesting (less weighted by clichéd language and overly familiar tropes). Challenge dropped, older writers! Think the impossible and write that! Anyway, there is a lot to be happy about with this year’s response and always room for improvement.

(Past art winners – one by a child, one by an adult – just because; check out all past Wadadli Pen winners here – again, just because)

I’ll wait until the short list to tell you which schools are in the running for the prize with the most submissions but I will say that the entrants came from 18 primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions locally – and there was one off-island entry, though that institution isn’t eligible for the prize (sponsored by Caribbean Reads). We do appreciate the local educational institutions that stepped up and, as those that didn’t, we know we still have work to do. We have to figure out for instance why even with direct mailings to educators and connected people on our sister island, and a specially named prize Wa’oMani, and a unique story to tell we had, yet again, sigh, no Barbuda submissions. We’re not casting blame, it’s our challenge to figure out. Another challenge, how to get more boys writing! At last count, we were uncertain of the gender of 12 of our entrants, but among those who specified gender on the forms, we had only 12 submissions from males compared to 34 from females. Why? We’ve got to keep trying to motivate participation from all genders for all the reasons that self-expression and creative exploration can expand the inner and outer world of any person, and especially our young people. Writing, like reading, creating generally, is not just a girl thing.

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(Since the launch of the Wadadli Pen Challenge in 2004, there have been 2 male main prize winners, and 9 female main prize winners in 12 challenges)

Another point of reflection, I have been feeling feelings about the fact that youth is privileged in the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. It’s totally my doing. In fact, initially it was limited to age 16 and younger (using the school graduation age as our guide) before being expanded to 35 and younger (using the UN definition of youth). Over the years, this age-ism has come in for criticism but we had to be realistic about what we, a rag tag group of volunteers (a team with some solidness only since 2016; before that me and whomever I could corral for temporary duty), could reasonably take on – a national literary prize for the entire nation was not it. Even knowing that we are not the powers that be, whose duty literary arts development is, and are already stretched (such an understatement), I’ve been feeling bad about there not being a similar initiative for anyone over 35 in Antigua and Barbuda. As if your creativity dries up somewhere in your 30s. I know there are 48, 39, 69, and 98 year olds out there with their own stories to tell – where is their platform, right? Well, perhaps I shouldn’t have worried because the response from the older eligibles was loooow – like single digits low. Nine 18 to 35s; 15, maybe 16, 13 to 17 year olds; and (wowza!) 34 7 to 12 year olds…no 6 and younger, so maybe that was too ambitious (*shrug* it was a suggestion, we tried it).

Thanks for playing; we look forward to reading; and we’ll be back in time with the results. – Joanne C. Hillhouse, founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize

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Wadadli Pen Returns After A Year Hiatus With A Bigger Challenge

New sub-themes include Imagine a Future – an opportunity for a writer to create a climate change themed dystopia or futopia depending on which way the creative winds blow; the Wa’omani Prize exclusively for Barbudans; and a comic-strip art challenge. The age categories have also been re-set to 6 and younger, 7 to 12, 13 to 17, and 18 to 35. Launch announcement in this press release (WADADLI PEN LAUNCH RELEASE 2020). A submission form (2020 WADADLI YOUTH PEN PRIZE SUBMISSION FORM) is required. Full submission guidelines at Wadadli Pen 2020.

This photo shows 2006 Wadadli Pen finalists includes Verdanci Benta, Rosalie Richards, Blair Rose, prolific self-published author Rilys Adams, and former independent online newspaper publisher and editor Angelica O’Donoghue.

Wadadli Pen continues to create opportunities for writers and artists in Antigua and Barbuda, nurturing and showcasing the arts since 2004.

To contribute prizes so that we can reward all this effort, contact us at wadadlipen@gmail.com

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, 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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Just Letting You Know

Look up.

The far right of the banner has been updated to Wadadli Pen 2019.

Nothing to report re the next year’s Challenge – a staple of Wadadli Pen since its inception in 2004 – except that I have informed my partners that I am on a time out for the next season as I try to focus or re-focus my energies on some real life issues. I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this but it’s September when planning should begin and I don’t have the mental space or time to give to it right now. So, I’m taking a step back.

If the rest of the team (having worked with me over the past two seasons) decide to proceed without me, I’ll let you know – as I will still be blogging.

I will also check the mailbox as often as I can. The latter is important because one of the things I do want to mention is that Wadadli Pen if it is to become a non-profit needs money and it needs legal help. I’ve spent the last year (and on and off before that) trying to wrap my head around what needs to be done, reaching out to institutions that I thought could assist with the process but the process requires money and the legalese and the navigation of the legal maze requires translation and guidance – at least for my non-legal brain. I honestly don’t have the time to give to it anymore but I also don’t think time is the only issue – I think the project needs a lawyer who has experience working with non-profits who can say here’s what you need to do, and just guide us through it. I wish I had the money to pay such a lawyer because not even legal aid is free (I’ve checked) but I don’t and Wadadli Pen as it is not a legal entity does not have a bank account nor funds of its own. So if there is a lawyer with non-profit experience and the resources to offer pro bono assistance to a community project like ours, reach out via wadadlipen at gmail dot com

I do believe that it continues to hurt us that we are a project and not a legal non-profit. For instance, things that I could have applied for in terms of technical support and funding to solidify and/or expand our operations if our status was different than it was (they were very specific about the legal non-profit part); and people who’ve reached out – people in academic institutions regional and further afield who approached me about working with the project for their academic reasons – which I haven’t felt able to say yes to because those kind of collaborations require time and mental space that I don’t have just now. Even our internship programme of two Challenge seasons ago. It was a good thing and I’d like to be able to do it again and expand it but in order not to shortchange the intern, to properly mentor and guide said intern, to manage and oversee their progress, to properly delegate and supervise, you need time and mental space and other resources; and as we’re not a non-profit with anything resembling a staff, it is what it is for now. And right now I do need to reduce my involvement because the time I put in to Wadadli Pen and have since 2004, much as it matters to me (as much as or maybe more than any book I’ve written), and hopefully to the community, isn’t valued as currency, so I’ve got to put more time, focus, and energy in to the hustle. And hopefully, because I do have several of my own writing projects as well, have some me left over for my own creative growth. For now, coordinating (planning and managing the moving parts of a) Wadadli Pen Challenge season, is part of the sacrifice.

But Wadadli Pen will, I hope, be around for a long time beyond me and that’s why I put a team in place a couple of years ago. I ran in to one of those team members just this week and I’ll admit her contribution has not been at the level either of us would have liked because like me she has to work and pay her bills and manage her life, but her commitment to the project remains. That remains. To quote Puffy we ain’t going nowhere.giphy So keep sending us your positive energy and whatever support you can in the specific areas that we need, we receive it with thanks, and I will keep you informed re whatever the team decides to do re Wadadli Pen Challenge season 2019.

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, Oh Gad!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). 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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Fummestory Herstory History by Ava Ralph (Wadadli Pen Honourable Mention, 2018)

Ava

Fummestory Herstory History

You think you are funny
But your jokes are not even original
Knock knock
I am knocked up
Fed up
Angry to the bone
First, my freedom was taken
Now my daughter too
All those gods and what did they do
They watched us leave
In silver chains
Skin polished
But where is my altar
Now I’m souled out
The whimp who walks with the whip
Wonders about
How sweet does blood and sweat taste
How melodic are my screams
I am a human sacrifice
But my god, where are you

You are not clever
You are not even original
My husband has been running for years
Dis race a one relay
Or maybe it is a ring game
Cause it seems to be going in circles
I still know his name
I always see his face
All the faces look the same
Except for the cracker who always pulls out
He is two faced
One  haunts me in my sleep the other one hangs behind my back

You are not smart
My grandmother told me the stories
Brer Anansi was a trickster but Brer Tiger  wore the stripes
I am a collection of dances and of screams
I am a collection of dances and of screams
Face the music
I am a stutter and fluent in lies
I am a s-stutter and fluent in lies
My eyes are brown like the soil my great, great, great, great legendary grandmother was taken from
My ringlets are the circles her husband ran in
I will not hang my head because my skin is pale
I will not be a punch-line because you screwed my mom over
History, learn how to speak  because this mixed kid will not be repeating herself

I am fair skinned but my blood boils
For like my non bastard brother life is not fair
You are a terrible story teller, History
I can study you so I will
And yuh know wah else
You lack imagination too
But I create my dreams

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ava Ralph, 17, writes “to stay sane and I thank God for that and everything else because God is cool. He is the ultimate author so ultimate he never gets writer’s block.” Ava’s poem Non-Fiction? placed second in the 13 to 17 age category of the Wadadli Pen Challenge in 2017.

Ava

Ava receiving her prize from patron and London Rocks author Brenda Lee Browne.

 

ABOUT THE POEM:

“The anger and imagery, and pov, are compelling; some of the word and rhyme/rhythm choices are cliché …but then it veers in to something fresh and particular.” – j

Fummestory Herstory History is about challenging perspectives because, as the writer puts it, we get too comfortable in our zones of experience and history. The poem has two perspectives; one from the girl’s great great great great grandmother and the other from her granddaughter. Just like her grandmother she is not pleased with her current state, she does not want to be ashamed for being mixed even if it wasn’t planned so in this piece she calls history out.

PRIZES WON: As with all the honourable mentions, Ava received a training session (Presenting: Telling Your Story Orally) from Barbara Arrindell & Associates, and books and a certificate from the Best of Books.

ABOUT WADADLI PEN 2018: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 14 years later. The project was launched by Joanne C. Hillhouse with D. Gisele Isaac and the Young Explorer publication. Today, its core team is Hillhouse with past finalists Devra Thomas and Margaret Irish, and writers and long time patrons and partners Floree Whyte and Barbara Arrindell. The name of each winner is emblazoned on the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque, named for one of the project’s earliest volunteers (and sister-friend of founder, Joanne C. Hillhouse) who died in 2015. The Challenge is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. The Challenge has encouraged young writers in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to write on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. It doesn’t often prescribe other limitations, but this year it did request specifically historical fiction/poetry. Normally, prizes are broken down by age categories but this year it’s winner take all with only one winner and a handful of honourable mentions (Andre Warner, Rosie Pickering, Andrecia Lewis, Chloe Martin, and Ava Ralph). Congratulations to them all. Thanks to the patrons and to partners – Floree Whyte, Barbara Arrindell, Devra Thomas, and Margaret Irish. To find out how you can continue to support the work of Wadadli Pen contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

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,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). 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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The Oldest Native by Andre Warner (Wadadli Pen Honourable Mention, 2018)

Andre pic

The oldest native

The dead leaves crunched under his gnarled, old feet the sun beat upon his back as a slave driver. Thirty kilometers left to walk was certainly a feat. But relentlessly he pressed on to complete his mission.

As a lie was told and he had to deliver the truth, as when reading the newsletter he found a lie.

In the headline: “Antigua mourns nation’s oldest citizen ‘Paul Green’ dead at one hundred and ten”.

Now this must be a lie as he was still alive, he had witnessed Paul’s birth with his very eyes!

“How could they” he thought, “Spread such inept deceit?” He held the title of the oldest citizen.

“I Sheldon Redfoot am the oldest there is, as my eyes witnessed the history of the island itself!” he proudly proclaimed as he continued upon his quest for truth, and began his tirade.

“How could they forget he whom contributed to history himself. I may only be a tortoise but I have walked this land so long that I am the only true citizen!”

“I was there when the Europeans landed” he proclaimed “On my back, Columbus himself rested his foot at my behest. I was there when the Caribs fought the invaders man Englishmen tripped over me and when the battle was lost and Caribs were slain, I was the first one to mark their graves. I was there when the first African came as slaves to the white man, the first to carve an escape trail; I led them through the winding brush to the hills of safety away from their master’s whip. I was the one who incited the first rebellion! I boldly bit Massa’s foot who dared to step on my lettuce and it was on my back that the crier stood and declared emancipation. I inspired the first steel pan with the pattern on my back to make such melody.

I created the first coal pot, as it was just old hardened clay tossed from my shell that made the first mold. I was the cornerstone of St. John’s Cathedral; it took me three hours to escape that mortar. My very own beautiful yellow orange and red colors inspired the first festive colors of carnival. His temper soon cooled as he realized, he could not remember when he started his quest or how far to the end.

His heart was soon marred with sadness as he remembered the darker days witnessed. The fear of hurricane Louis as he was rocked by the whirling winds that whipped against his shell and the agonizing wails of the unfortunate souls who were lost in the typhoon; The terrible quake of ‘74 akin to a bellowing behemoth rising from below, as if the devil himself had stubbed his toe. “I Sheldon carry knowledge more vast than any other islander!” he declared igniting his passion once again. “This shell has helped to shape the very culture of this nation albeit accidentally. I will not be forgotten!” As he gazed ahead he saw his destination the address was right but where should have been a thriving newspaper stood a decrepit building. The streets were unoccupied but the skies filled with wondrous vehicles flying in harmony. As a piece of history he was certainly slow. For his quest had taken him ninety years! And as he turned to leave mumbling his displeasure, he was tripped upon and a head was dashed upon a stone. As silence engulfed all he heard the cry “The dictator is dead!”  He walked away knowing he had earned yet another spot in history.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born on April 1998 Andre’ Warner attended the Christian Union Junior Academy. He developed a love for reading through which he was inspired to become a part-time writer. Throughout the years he continued to dominate the field of English at the Clare Hall Secondary School where he earned an numerous awards including a distinction in English A, and English B in CXC. He also earned the Yvette Samuel award for outstanding performance in the field of English. He would also go on to further his studies at the Antigua State College where he studied Literatures in English and proudly earned passes in both units and currently is aspiring to continue his studies further afield at a university level.

Andre

Andre receiving his prize from patron and London Rocks author Brenda Lee Browne.

 

ABOUT THE STORY: This short story is about a red footed tortoise native to Antigua whom upon realizing he is unrecognized as the oldest citizen sets out on a mission to report to the news editors that they have made a false report during his attempt to reach the newspaper he reminisces about roles he unwittingly played throughout history.

PRIZES WON: As with all the honourable mentions, Andre received a training session (Presenting: Telling Your Story Orally) from Barbara Arrindell & Associates, and books and a certificate from the Best of Books.

ABOUT WADADLI PEN 2018: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 14 years later. The project was launched by Joanne C. Hillhouse with D. Gisele Isaac and the Young Explorer publication. Today, its core team is Hillhouse with past finalists Devra Thomas and Margaret Irish, and writers and long time patrons and partners Floree Whyte and Barbara Arrindell. The name of each winner is emblazoned on the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque, named for one of the project’s earliest volunteers (and sister-friend of founder, Joanne C. Hillhouse) who died in 2015. The Challenge is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. The Challenge has encouraged young writers in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to write on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. It doesn’t often prescribe other limitations, but this year it did request specifically historical fiction/poetry. Normally, prizes are broken down by age categories but this year it’s winner take all with only one winner and a handful of honourable mentions (Andre Warner, Rosie Pickering, Andrecia Lewis, Chloe Martin, and Ava Ralph). Congratulations to them all. Thanks to the patrons and to partners – Floree Whyte, Barbara Arrindell, Devra Thomas, and Margaret Irish. To find out how you can continue to support the work of Wadadli Pen contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

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,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). 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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Kyle Christian Wins Wadadli Pen

winners2b

Kyle is pictured, back row standing, second from right, with five honourable mentions (Back, left to right: Rosie Pickering, Andre Warner, and Andrecia Lewis; and front, left to right: Chloe Martin and Ava Ralph) and Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse (back, centre) holding the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque. (photo by Glen Toussaint)

Kyle Christian, 28, author of ‘Creak’, is the winner of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Winner Take All Historical Fiction/Poetry 2018 Challenge. He’s pocketed almost EC$3000 – thanks to contributions from Art. Culture. Antigua, Carol Mitchell, Frank B. Armstrong, International Women’s Club of Antigua-Barbuda, Juneth Webson, Pam Arthurton, and one other donor who prefers not to be named. His takeaways, during the April 21st award ceremony at the Best of Books, also included gifts and gift certificates contributed by Barbara Arrindell, Brenda Lee Browne, Cedric Holder for the Cushion Club, Danz’s Sweet Dreams, Jane Seagull, Joanne C. Hillhouse and the Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series, and Monique S. Simon and the Caribbean Folklore Project.

‘Creak’ which tells of a young local woman in a sexual ‘relationship’ with an officer from the US army base in Antigua in the early part of the 20th century was found to encompass the theme “perfectly” in addition to being “well written”.

Kyle, in his winners’ response during the awards, said he first entered the Challenge in 2004; this is his first trip to the finals though he noted that after the 2006 awards Wadadli Pen founder/coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse told him “I really enjoyed your story…keep on writing” and so he has.

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, started in 2004 to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, has always been about giving young people the opportunity to explore stories and ideas of interest to them, while telling tales from a specifically Caribbean space, and challenging them to grapple with the craft of writing as much as appreciating the art of it. Twenty eighteen, a year in which almost 70 entries were received, was a rare year for Wadadli Pen in that a specific sub-genre (historical fiction/poetry) was put in place and rather than winners/prizes broken down by age or other categories, it was ‘Winner Take All’.

That said, there were some honourable mentions – one very creative and singled out as the best example of creative fiction but edged out by the winner due to the quality of the writing, others thought to be thought-provoking, creative, or compelling but falling short due to clichés or other flaws. The honourable mentions received certificates and books from the Best of Books, and a two-hour training session (Presenting: Telling Your Story Orally) sponsored by Barbara Arrindell & Associates. The named honourable mentions were Andre Warner, 20, Rosie Pickering, 14, Andrecia Lewis, 18, Chloe Martin, 14, and Ava Ralph, 17 – a mix of past finalists (Ralph and Lewis) and totally new voices.

Wadadli Pen remains committed to unearthing those new voices and, as such, also gave a prize to St. Andrew’s Primary School for its efforts to encourage student participation and, as a result, having the most grouped submissions from any educational institution. Educator Marissa Walter accepted the prizes on behalf of the school. The prizes are books and other gifts contributed by authors Barbara Arrindell, Floree Whyte and Moondancer Books, and Joanne C. Hillhouse, and by the Best of Books bookstore.

The Best of Books also sponsored all certificates plus the emblazoning of the winner’s name on the Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge Plaque.

The Wadadli Pen team expressed thanks to all participants and patrons both of whom have made this Challenge possible for 14 years. For more on Wadadli Pen and to find out how you can support its efforts, visit https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com or contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

See also Who Won What in 2018? and Creak by Kyle Christian

This release has also been disseminated to Antiguan and Barbudan media.

Also, no timeline (or promises) but stories by the honourable mentions in the 2018 Challenge may be added; so check back.

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Wadadli Pen – Media

Media partners are critical to our efforts to promote each Wadadli Pen Challenge season. So I’ll be shouting out those who’ve been helping us get the word out this season. With a big thank you bow on top.

Art Culture Antigua

Notably, thanks to Art. Culture. Antigua for more reasons than one. To the Daily Observer which has been running our notice announcing the 2018 Challenge almost (if not) daily. And thanks to Antiguanice.com which continues to maintain a page for Wadadli Pen year round, and update it with our press releases and notices each Challenge season. Most recently:

Press Release – The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize has, since it first launched its annual Challenge for young writers in Antigua and Barbuda in 2004, depended on its friends – those individuals and businesses that step up to contribute to youth and arts development. This year, one of the first is Art. Culture. Antigua – the arts media online platform – which, shortly after the February 28th submission deadline, contacted us “to once again come on board and contribute to the Wadadli Pen prize packages”.  They first stepped forward with a cash contribution in 2017; and step up again, unasked, in 2018. Read full release at Antiguanice.com

And previously the Notice announcing the Challenge:

Write a story or poem, 600 words or fewer and submit by February 28th, 2018 to: wadadlipen@gmail.com. Open to Antiguan & Barbudans ages 35 and under.
Read the full notice at Antiguanice.com

Thanks to Daily Observer and Antiguanice.com and (these are the ones we’re aware of, but of course) any other media that has been helping us spread the word. We couldn’t do it without you.

Wadadli Pen Flyer 2018 2

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, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). 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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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2018, Wadadli Pen News