Tag Archives: Finalists

Wadadli Pen Diary – The Short List

The first round of judging for the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2020 Season has wrapped. We have some familiar names and some first timers on the short list. And the judges (Floree Williams Whyte – local author/publisher and Wadadli Pen’s chief judge/judging coordinator w/local industry professional and writer Glenn Toussaint, and award winning regional writer and artist Danielle Boodoo Fortune) agree that their pieces are all “excellent”. Shout out to our judges for the efficiency and meticulousness (given that they also had to provide edit notes/feedback for review of the shortlisted pieces to the writers); deep appreciation for volunteering for the thankless task of wading through nearly 60 entries and coming up with this year’s top contenders. With the judges’ edit notes as guide, the short listed writers have been given a week to review, revise, and resubmit ahead of the final round of judging to determine ranking in each age category and winners overall. Still in the running are (in random order):

Cheyanne Darroux (Golden Grove Primary School); Tom, the Ninja Crab

Aria-Rose Browne (St. Anthony’s Secondary School); The Fabled Truth

Lehana Simon; Lead Me Lord

Zaniah Pigott (Island Academy); A Mermaid

Sienna Harney-Barnes (St. Nicholas Primary); A New World

Ciara Thomas (Sunnydale School); My Favourite Dish

Andre Warner; A Bright Future for Tomorrow

D’chaiya Emmanuel (Antigua Girls High School); Two Worlds Collide

William Henderson (St. Anthony’s Secondary School); The Beast of Barbados

Judah Christian (Antigua Grammar School); The John Bull Effect

Sethson Burton (American University of Antigua); Oh, Beach that I Once Loved


Schools in the running for the schools’ prize are:

Sunnydale Primary

Trinity Academy


Congratulations to everyone who submitted and to the finalists. At this writing, judges are still deliberating re special prizes like the Imagine a Future climate change prize. If any additional names emerge from that process they will be added to this list. – Joanne C. Hillhouse, Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator

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THE GREAT BIG DUMZ by Devon Wuilliez

Devon W for posting

The author says: “I enjoy writing poetry in English class. I deeply appreciate my teacher, Mrs.DiCocco for helping me enjoy English. My poem, ‘The Great Big Dumz’ is about how the Caribbean was brought together by a Dumz tree… (it) shows just how united the Caribbean islands are and gives a youthful spin on how the Dumz tree spread around the Caribbean.”

Judges’ verdict: “This hits all the right points, Rhyme and Rhythm, Caribbean flavor. It is simple yet immersive…and catchy enough that you could get beyond the whiff of cliché and enjoy the sweet familiarity.”

In the 2017 Wadadli Pen Annual Writing Challenge, the judges ranked Devon’s poem 1st in the 13 to 17 age category and 2nd Overall.


There was once a search for a very special tree
A tree so tall, and as bold as could be
The tree had fruit that was ever so sweet
For no other tree could even compete
The children would search, all across the land
They would climb through bush and dig deep in the sand
The trunk was ever so strong and thick
The fruit so plump, and ready to pick
For years they searched, but nothing was found
Some even assumed it was dug out of the ground
It was said that this tree could only be seen
Somewhere way down deep in the Caribbean
For it’s only here that such beauty can grow
The soil is soft and there isn’t any snow
It was on one exceptional Saturday
When some of the children had just come out to play
They had noticed a crack in the side of a cave
A small leaf poked out and suddenly waves
They began to move away rocks and that’s when they found
The Great Big Dumz tree with fruit so round
It had been asleep in the cave for as long as they knew
At last they discovered the tree with its outstanding green hue
After enjoying some fruit they sat down to think
They thought of a plan brought them together with the tree as their link
They decided to share this magnificent tree
By planting a seed in every Caribbean country


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

With thanks to our patrons, see this writer’s total prize haul below (and remember, support the businesses/individuals who support the arts):

Barbuda ferry tour voucher x2 (courtesy Barbuda Express)
EC$300 (contributed by Frank B. Armstrong)
EC$225 (contributed by the International Women’s Club of Antigua & Barbuda)
Painting (contributed by the artist Jennifer Meranto)
One on One Coaching session (courtesy author Joanne C. Hillhouse)
Books – Jeremiah, Devil of the Woods by Martina Altman, Twilight: Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer, + Dragon’s Oath: A House of Night novella by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast  (contributed by the Best of Books)
Inspirational card (from a line created and contributed by Monique S. Simon’s Caribbean Folklore Project
Certificate x2 
(sponsored by the Best of Books)

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Mailbox – Burt Top Three Announced

Administered by the Bocas Lit Fest and sponsored by CODE, the Burt Award has the specific target of unearthing and/or boosting teen/young adult Caribbean literature (CODE sponsors a similar prize among indigenous communities in Canada and in Africa). Since 2014, when the Caribbean Burt Award launched, this has included books like Diana McCaulay’s Gone to Drift, which recently sold US rights to a major publisher after being critically acclaimed in the region, AdZiko Gegele’s All Over Again, the first winning title, Imam Baksh’s genre-bending Children of the Spider, my own Musical Youth, which is now finding its way on to school reading lists, and other titles. The newest list includes some names familiar around these parts including the founder of the Allen Prize, a Trinidad project not unlike Wadadli Pen, and a 2017 Bocas finalist – talk about a BIG year – who recently broke down publishing in the region for the uninitiated. Here are the details as sent out by the Bocas team (not including featured images which are from previous Burt Award ceremonies at the Bocas Lit Fest, official author photos and screen caps, and book covers).


Burt Caribbean finalists 2014.



Burt Caribbean finalists 2015.



Burt Caribbean finalists 2016.


We’re excited to announce the finalists for CODE’s Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, which recognizes outstanding writing for young adults by Caribbean authors!

Three finalists were selected from among submissions of both published books and unpublished manuscripts. The 2017 finalists are:

LisaAllen-Agostini_0Lisa Allen-Agostini (Trinidad & Tobago), Waiting on the Bus – manuscript

KJ  Kevin Jared Hosein (Trinidad & Tobago), The Beast of Kukuyo –  manuscript

Viviana Prado-Nunez (Puerto Rico/USA), The Art of White Roses – self-published book

The finalists were selected by an independent jury made up of writing, publishing, and educational professionals with expertise in young adult literature.

“We saw a wide range of submissions, from a photographic art book to an erotic novel, all with one very strong element in common: a love for place and culture, a celebration of Caribbean life, which was a wonderful thing to read in all its variations.” — chief judge Barry Goldblatt.

Up to $22,000 CAD in prize money will be awarded to a maximum of three winners, who will be announced on April 26th at the opening night celebration of the 2017 NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

To support the development of high quality, culturally relevant books, CODE will facilitate the publication of the winning titles by Caribbean publishers. CODE will also purchase and distribute up to 2500 copies of each winning title, which will be donated to schools, libraries, and community organizations across the region through CODE’s network of local partners.
Read the full press release here.


As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, and With Grace; also a freelance writer, editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator). Excerpting, reblogging, linking etc. is fine, but PLEASE do not lift ANY content (images or text) wholesale from this site without asking first and crediting the creator of that work and/or copyright holder. All Rights Reserved. If you like the content here follow or recommend the blog, also, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. Thank you.

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Commonwealth Writers Short List

I hope lots of Antiguan and Barbudan writers submitted to the Commonwealth short story contest and I hope lots of us will continue trying. As I discovered when my story Amelia was subsequently picked for Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean, there is sometimes a second act….and there is always room to keep working and grow as writers. These let downs are part of the process but not the final chapter.

Big up, meanwhile, to the three Caribbean writers who did make the cut among the 19 finalists from all parts of the Commonwealth – effectively all parts of the globe.

Those Caribbean finalists include 2014 Wadadli Pen Patron Guyanese writer Maggie Harris, Trini Charmaine Rousseau who I am acquainted with through social media, and Bahamas writer Helen Klonaris. Read the full run down on these and other finalists here.


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, and Oh Gad!), founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize. 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. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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