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!
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.
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.
Who 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.