Tag Archives: Honourable Mention

Sub-theme ‘2020’ + Main Prize – Honourable Mention (Wadadli Pen 2021) – Sheniqua Greaves

Sheniqua Maria Greaves, 19, F, ‘The Juxtaposed Reprieve’ (fiction)

About the Author – Sheniqua Greaves is a recent graduate of Antigua State College. She loves reading and has a fondness for writing. She, also, enjoys watching animated movies, shows; and listening to music in her spare time.

About ‘A Juxtaposed Reprieve’: The story gives a glimpse into the daily struggles of two best friends during the height of the pandemic lockdown. Greaves said, “This story is inspired by my experience of boredom during the pandemic. As well as the notion of missing out, when in reality things will occur in the intended time.”


‘A Juxtaposed Reprieve’

Weary eyes gazed at the orange tinted glare of the computer screen. Shamia Anderson lazily scrolled through her social media feed for prospective job opportunities. Sure, times were hard, but there haven’t been any new job updates for two days and she was feeling antsy.

Deciding to refresh her page one last time, a candy-colored image came into view. “HELP WANTED,” it boosted. Quickly skimming for the requirements, her demeanor soured. More graphic designers? Really?

Tension was high, pandemic fatigue was in the air and she’d caught a bad case. Especially frustrating was the deviation from her plan. It was simple, graduate, get employed and raise money to pay for her degree.

Not sitting idly by while her family struggled to keep the lights on. Sure, it was hard to get a job in Antigua even pre-pandemic, but still… She was-

Ms. Anderson, “the smart one”, she was supposed to wow the interviewers with her personality, not stalk her rarely used Facebook profile like a scavenger.

Damn it. Her frustration and bitter tears welled up to the surface.

Then she let out a weary sigh, a reminder of the time. Wiping away her damp cheeks, she decided to get some sleep.

Declining her family’s request for a round of domino, and ignoring the 50+ messages from Andrea (poor girl, she had her own problems). She flopped on her bed, springs of the weary mattress protesting at her weight. Checking her phone, she scrolled aimlessly through her feed as the blue lights lulled her into a heavy sleep.


The sweet tunes of pan music in the live band blended effortlessly with the other instruments, blanketing her, from the cold of the beachside restaurant, in nostalgic tunes. To the front of her, couples swayed in time with the music.

Yet Shamia, ever the introvert, sat off to the side, sipping on a virgin sunrise. It was well deserved after a hard day’s work, after all.

A tap on her shoulder notified her of Andrea, who took the seat next to her, attired in a blue oxford miniskirt and plain white kimono top. They started the most enthralling conversation about why the formation of the letter “G” was just so peculiar.

When taking another sip, some drizzled onto her pants suit, embarrassed, she looked down only to see that her business attire had been swapped for a multicolored halter-dress, accompanied by a crimson hibiscus in her teased-coily hair.

Something wasn’t right here. She didn’t have the confidence to pull this look off, meaning…

She startled awake, sharply inhaling. The dark, silence of her shared bedroom stood out even more than usual after that vibrant scene.

Despite living in a small house with four occupants, she’d never felt lonely. It wasn’t real.

What even was the purpose?

What joy is there to find that fictitious scene? It must’ve been a particularly emotional night, as tears surfaced again. They were as silent and isolating as ever.


Andrea Scholar didn’t live up to her namesake.

Sure, she finished Jennings Secondary with a whooping seven subjects.

Still, she found it hard to find anything outside of her current supermarket cashier gig. Yet, she was thankful for it. She was deemed essential, which was rare for anyone outside of Shamia or her mom to think. At least she didn’t work in the tourism industry, she internally shuddered at the prospect.

Hopping off the company bus, she tugged her mask down marginally. Allowing herself the luxury of some fresh air as she strolled to her humble, single-bedroom abode.

After walking in, she hip-checked the door, unintentionally slamming it.

“Idiot!” She internally berated herself. She proceeded to step lightly in an effort to keep quiet. Yet, any groan of the creaking floorboard was nothing compared to the groan of her awakened ailing mother.

“Andrea, is that you?” she croaked.

“Yes, mama,” Andrea answered, making sure to keep her distance. After a few exchanged words, she allowed her mother to get some more rest and herself, a shower.

After dressing in some fresh clothes, she gently plopped onto the couch. She rummaged in her bag and pulled out her envelope of cash.

Okay, so first she had to make sure funds were put aside so her mother’s medication was paid for. Next the rent, bills, and groceries…

The excess $50 stared at her.

She really was hoping the reconnected the Wi-Fi or at least the cable, so her mom could get some entertainment when she wasn’t home, but it’ll have to wait.

Sigh. She’ll deal with this tomorrow. She just needed some rest, then she’ll start at some dinner for them. Lying on the couch, she stared listlessly at her roof. She hoped Shamia would eventually answer her texts. Poor thing was always so anxious.

Eyelids drooping, the sound of crickets lulled her to sleep.

Andrea sat upright on her couch as she sipped on a tequila sunset.

The sounds of Vivaldi spring and Shamia, busing herself in the kitchen, was a welcome deviation from the silence that usually permeated her house.

Shamia bustled as she prepared her specialty of roti and curry. Next to her, mother sat, looking better than she did in ages, enjoying her own cocktail. The designated chief grinned as she was quizzed on her method.

Deciding to help, Andrea got up from her seat and waltzed over.

Only for Shamia, to gently her away.

“Sit, sit. You’ve been working so hard.” She scolded.

“You really have dear.” Her mother added.

“I’m such a bad host,” Andrea protested, a sheepish grin on her face.

The three women broke out laughing at that comment. It really wasn’t that funny…

Gently she roused from her slumber. The muffled sounds of her mother’s coughs served to rouse her awareness.

Smiling to herself as she went to make some chicken soup. Her only hope is that her dream wouldn’t be the last of its kind, and maybe if she was really lucky, it’d even come true.

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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12 and Younger (Wadadli Pen 2021)- Honourable Mention Eunike Caesar

Eunike Caesar, 9, F, ‘The Blackboard’ (fiction)

About the Author – Nine year old Eunike enjoys reading and playing. She hopes to one day become a teacher and a famous YouTuber. Eunike first submitted to Wadadli Pen at 5 years old in 2017 and continued submitting in subsequent Challenges (2018, 2020) before making the short list in 2021. Eunike is a student at the Baptist Academy of Antigua.

About ‘The Blackboard’: The story is about a blackboard, which lived in the “Non-Living Things” world. The blackboard was accused of having the corona after it sneezed while being written upon. Eunike said, “After being a part of a short workshop by Ms. Arrindell, as well as a story my mother wrote, I was inspired to write this story.”


‘The Blackboard’

‘Achoo!’ sneezed the Blackboard while the teacher Ms. Jakes wrote a math equation on her.

For a second, the class was as quiet as the St. John’s cemetery.

Then Flora, the girl with the long braids, all the way to her bottom shouted ‘Corona!’ and suddenly everyone, including Ms. Jakes, was rushing out of the classroom. All you could see was a bundle of bodies, trying to squeeze through the door, above which was a sign entitled ‘Come in with questions. Leave with knowledge.’

Everyone scrambled down the corridor and almost ran out of the school yard. Thank God, Ms. Jakes remembered that she was a teacher. Breathing heavily, she said, ‘Hold on…stop…strain yourselves …tell Principal Crump’ and she dragged herself to the office.

“Mrs. Crrrrrrrrump. I.. neeeeeed to teeeelllll yooou soooomething!”

“What is it, did someone get hurt, was Rakeem sleeping in class again, is my daughter Chandria okay?” asked Mrs. Crump. “Here, drink some water and calm down.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Crump. I get my breath back. Blackboard sneezed. It has Corona! Call in the health inspectors quickly and we all need to go on quarantine. This is serious Mrs. Crump. This is serious.”

“Please take the children to Bathroom and let them clean up in case Blackboard got any saliva on them when it sneezed.” said Mrs. Crump, “This Non-Living Things Corona Virus is dangerous and we need to get this under control. God forbid that it should spread to humans.”

Mrs. Crump poked her head through the door and shouted “Miss Jenkins? Did you sanitize Bathroom?’

‘Yes, ma’am. You can eat off Bathroom floor.”

In five minutes, the inspectors drove into the school yard in Ambulance.

“Please, tell them to come back, I don’t have corona. I forgot to tell them that I have the flu.” Don’t they remember that it’s the flu season? I already got tested for the corona and my test came back negative. Please, please, please, don’t take me away to the Non-Living Things Hospital,” cried Blackboard. “I am so ashamed!

‘That’s where you have to go. You want US to catch the virus?”

Blackboard cried rivers of chalky tears, while the inspectors unhooked it from the wall.

The children ran behind Ambulance as it drove through the gate with Blackboard lying in the back. They began to sing, “It’s been a long day without you my friend, and we’ll tell you about it when we see you again”.

“Wa, wa, wa, wa,” was the sound which filled the air and disappeared as Ambulance went further and further away with Blackboard.”

This 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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Main Prize (Wadadli Pen 2021) – Honourable Mention Andre Warner

Andre Warner, 23, M, ‘The Brave One’ (fiction)

About the Author – Andre is an aspiring writer, chess player, and youth leader. He was a Wadadli Pen runner up in 2018 and winner in 2020. He said, “I love the arts of literature and (am) a fan of physical activities.”

About ‘The Brave One’: The story of a young boy caught up in the woes of the pandemic, viewing the virus as a monster and experiencing events from his perspective as he does his part to fight the ‘monster’.


‘The Brave One’

“Bwoy just go back inna ya room on the zoom and sit down! Me cannot help you Javon, me tired ah’ 6pm”. Javon ran to his room in tears, his dad never shouted at him like this before. The unshaven red eyed man, absorbed into his laptop that he saw barely resembled his dad anymore, only six months ago he was a happy go lucky guy with a wonderful smile. It was all that thing’s fault, why his dad was not happy, why he couldn’t see his friends, and why mommy wasn’t here anymore. It was all that monster’s fault; it took everything but today he would take it back!

Javon looked at himself in the mirror: six years old, three and a half feet of determination. He began psyching himself up by thinking of the last six months. It all started when the news said something was out there, lurking. His mom told him not to worry it was all the way in China; “corona by the chiney man, we all the way in Antigua” she said. A few weeks later he heard more news, it reached to America and other places. Overhearing his dad talking with his friends about how they should close the ports to stop the virus from coming to Antigua; he started to question what would happen to his cousins that lived there? The same answer was given, not to worry. Then it came, Javon vividly remembered seeing his parents glued to the T.V, watching the man who he saw in social studies, the prime minister. Never had he seen his parents so silent or nervous, after the show they lectured him about safety protocols to follow. That was the beginning of the weirdest times he ever had.

It was so fun at first! Javon got to wear a mask and play ninja with his friends every single day. Everyone washed their hands; he hated sticky hands from candy and ice pops. Lastly, he got his own cubicle at school, just like his daddy had in his office at the hotel. But the fun stopped there, at home everything changed, his parents looked tired and sad every day. Javon always wondered why a virus you couldn’t see bothered his parents so much they were the: brave knights of Couchlandia in the land of living room, and the cut-throat pirates of the Bathtub Sea. Then he figured it out there was no virus, it must be a vicious monster spreading plagues. The signs were all there, a curfew? Only the evilest monsters hunt at night, so obviously no one would be allowed outside. Then, came the lockdown, only strong monsters roamed in the day. Javon’s mom was a nurse, and she was now ‘essential’ it was obviously to help wounded soldiers who fought the monster. His dad now stayed home as extra security, Javon did not believe his dad’s excuse of how the hotel job closed, how could the big world run out of tourists? None of that mattered to him now he had a mission, it was time to slay the monster.

To defeat his enemy Javon decided to learn where its nest was, creeping out of his room to grab an important tool: his mom’s phone. He immediately called the ‘Covid’ hotline that was advertised, and every call went unanswered. Javon decided he would have to investigate himself; he needed all the clues he could to find this monster. He put on his detective glasses to crack this case; online he found how the monster arrived by plane, attacking a college student then slowly spreading over the nation, what made him mad was the monster even had a green scoreboard for all its victims. Now was the time he could act the curfew was on, the hours where the monster prowled around had begun. With the trail hot Javon snuck into the bathroom and hopped out the low window; armed with ninja stars, a cork gun and a lightsaber the hunt began. Reaching to the monster’s den was a perilous journey; every shadow jumped at him, dogs barked, and cars zoomed past him. After three hours he arrived: Mount Saint John’s Hospital, the belly of the beast. With a deep breath Javon entered. Back in Piggott’s Javon’s father, after discovering his son’s absence and his intended destination, bravely broke the curfew restrictions and hopped into his car racing for the hospital not knowing what he would find.

Using ninja skills Javon crept through the quiet corridors and up the stairs to the upper floors after overhearing a nurse saying “all corona up in the top floor”. Facing the restricted glass doors, Javon heard machine beeps and people gasping for air. Reaching a hand forward he noticed that it was shaking, in fact his whole body was shaking! Just beyond those doors lay the monster. That is when Javon realized it terrified him; the monster that took his mom, broke his dad, terrorized the world and destroyed his life scared him. Once those doors opened there was no turning back, the reality of what he was doing sank in, driving him to tears. But he brushed them away, pushing his hands forward again he had to do it, someone had to be the brave one! Before his hand touched the door it was grabbed by a larger hand. Panicking thinking of the monster Javon struggled as he was pulled into a tight embrace. Recognizing the familiar scent and embrace of his father, he leaned even deeper into the hug bawling his eyes out. Through his sobs Javon explained what he was doing for everyone’s sake, feeling his father’s chest shake he thought him angry. Looking up through tear-stained eyes he saw to his confusion that his dad was, laughing? Turning to leave and take him home, his dad cheerfully apologized, and said “don’t worry son you don’t have to be afraid anymore, from now on I will be the brave one.”

This story was edited by the author, post-judging, prior to posting. This 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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Fummestory Herstory History by Ava Ralph (Wadadli Pen Honourable Mention, 2018)


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



“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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Lost and Found! by Denejah Browne

Honourable Mention in the 12 and younger age category – Wadadli Pen Challenge 2016

Author’s comment about the story: “Lost and Found! is about Life in the Caribbean in the old days included taking care of animals and crops. Modern comforts have changed our lifestyle, however, we must not forget our Caribbean Life.”

Judge’s comments (positives only*): “Could be a good little story; there is a setting and theme and a happy ending.”

Note: *While only the positives are being shared with the public, in keeping with the development goals of Wadadli Pen, all long listed entries are returned to the author with the judge’s note  – both positives and negatives – for revision. Congrats to Denejah for being singled out for honourable mention and for taking the opportunity to review and revise her story. Keep working on your craft; keep valuing your voice and your art. – JCH

Denejah Browne

Denejah Browne.


Here now is Lost and Found! by Denejah Browne, 11, who loves to read and play music, especially pan, and who is a student at Christ the King High School:

Long ago in a small village on a Caribbean Island, lived a farmer and his family.  His wife Silvia spent her day attending to the crops in the field and cooking for her family.  Their children Luke and Sally were eleven and twelve years old and spent their days looking after the goats and chickens.  Their father took care of the cows and planting the fields.  They lived in a three bedroom house with dirt floors and a thatched roof.  The family lived on a big piece of land and made money from selling milk, eggs and crops which were, corn, sweet potato, peas and carrots.

Their day started at 5:00 AM when they got up to take care of the animals. Luke and Sally were in charge of the goats and chickens, who needed fresh grass and water and to be taken to a new grazing area often. They had 10 adult goats and 5 kiddie goats.  Luke and Sally loved the kiddies and would play with them for hours.  In the evening they would go back and lock them in their pens for the night.  One night Luke and Sally were in a hurry to eat dinner and forgot to lock the kiddies goat pen door.  During the night they got out and wandered into the fields.  The next morning, Luke and Sally were surprised and worried when they saw the kiddies were gone and ran quickly to tell mom and dad what had happened.

The search for the kiddies began as the family headed out to the grazing fields.  They searched for hours and could not find the kiddies.  Mom returned home to take care of the other animals that were forgotten due to the search.  Luke and Sally were now in tears because the kiddies were lost.  Dad stated that it was almost dinner time and they must go back home.    On their way back home Sally saw a white tail hiding in the bushes.  As they went closer they saw the five kiddie goats looking scared and hungry.  They were so happy that they found their kiddie goats.  Dad helped them to take the kiddies home safely and they made sure to lock the door securely.


For earning honourable mention in her age category, Denejah received:
Gifts contributed by Juneth Webson and Frank B. Armstrong, a gift certificate for EC$25 from the Cushion Club, and a certificate sponsored by the Best of Books.

Thanks to all partners and patrons for making the Wadadli Pen 2016 Challenge possible. Here at Wadadli Pen, we encourage you to support the businesses and individuals who support the arts.

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

Leave a comment

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Les Trajó Aquí by Jemelia Pratt

Honourable Mention in the 18 to 35 age category – Wadadli Pen Challenge 2016

Author’s comment: “Life in the time of dictatorship.  In this creative non-fiction piece, a young boy speaks of Cuba during the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and the men who stopped it all.”

Judge’s comment (positives only*): “I liked the Spanish infusion and the style of writing. The short sentences gave it a punchy rhythm. …it was an interesting piece.”

Note: Though only the positives are highlighted here, in keeping with the development goals of Wadadli Pen, all long listed entries are returned to the author with the judge’s note  – both positives and negatives – for revision. Congrats to Jemelia. Keep working on your craft; keep valuing your voice and your art. And hope to see entries from your students next year as well. – JCH

Here now is Les Trajó Aquí by Jemelia Pratt, a teacher of Spanish and Accounts at McChesney George, and, our records suggest, the first finalist from our sister island Barbuda:

¡Para veinti-cinco años, les trajó aquí! For 25 years, he brought them here. That dictator, Fulgencio Batista, brought them to our home.

Mama said he showed promise.  He gave us schools, yes. Mama got work, fair work.  Life in the time of Fulgencio Batista was like a game of serpientes y escaleras, and we saw nowhere to go but up.  But then he left us. Señor Batista ran off to Florida in 1944, and our Cuba was never the same.

Oh, how mama rejoiced when he came back! But little did she know that Señor Batista had brought the snakes with him.  In 1948, he lied to mama.  He promised to make life even better, pero nos mentió.  ¡Les trajó aquí, los yumas!  He brought the foreigners here! And the new name of the game was Monopoly. They bought our lands. They gambled away their money. They lived like kings in our country, and Señor Batista joined them.

He forgot about us.  The country’s money never reached to us, but we could not speak about it.  That was the worst part.  We could not speak.  And trust me, there were many tried.  Mario Kuchilán: he talked and they got angry. Los soldados came for him in the dark of the night; they dragged him from his home.  They tortured him and bludgeoned him half to death.  That is the price he paid for breaking the silence. So no one else spoke.

La vida estaba dura. In other words, life was hard.  500,000 of us lived in miserable shacks.  Now Mama only worked four months a year and we starved for the remaining eight. With no water, no electricity, and the scarcity of kerosene oil, the darkness surrounded us and the darkness consumed us.  Each wretched day that we managed to survive, we had no more than 25 cents to buy food, clothing and shoes.  And as for the schools Señor Batista started, now only 44% could go.  La vida estaba dura.

We remained silent until those two men. Fidel Castro and Ché Guevara:  two men who spoke differently, and fought fearlessly.  They had a plan. Su deseo era poner fin a todo.  Their wish was to put an end to it all.  They fought in the name of political and economical freedom.

There were spies, eyes everywhere. Señor Batista trusted no one. But that did not stop our saviours. Señor Castro and the rebels attacked the Moncada army in 1953. They took prisoners, by the 20s, by the 50s; but then they were outnumbered and out-gunned.  The rebels tried to retreat, but Señor Batista captured them.  He was angry that his men died. He said, “Ten prisoners must be killed for each dead soldier”.  That diablo killed them! The walls were painted and the lawns were watered with their blood. Then, for many long hours their mangled corpses were left there, like animals!

They captured Señor Castro and sent him to jail for 15 years. Quince años!  In 1955 they exiled him to Mexico.  Our people suffered.

But then he returned, and with him he brought Ché, his brother and a boat load of people.  The rebellion was not easy.  Señor Batista did not make it easy. Within two years I saw it all.  They descended from the mountains like warriors. They fought, they conquered, and Señor Batista fled.  He ran to the Dominican Republic but I wanted him dead.

Oh, how things changed! Fidel Castro: that was the man’s name.  Ché Guevara: that was the man’s name. Patria o muerte, venceremos!

For earning honourable mention in her age category, Jemelia received:
 A certificate and book sponsored by the Best of Books.
EC$150 from Frank B. Armstrong
Anna In-Between by Elizabeth Nunez, Turn Thanks by Lorna Goodison – courtesy Pam Arthurton of Carib World Travel

Thanks to all partners and patrons for making the Wadadli Pen 2016 Challenge possible. Here at Wadadli Pen, we encourage you to support the businesses and individuals who support the arts.

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

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Caribbean Experiences by Laila Tahir

Honourable Mention in the 12 and younger age category – Wadadli Pen Challenge 2016

Author’s comment:  “I was inspired to write this poem entitled Caribbean Experience by Antigua’s beauty, culture and people which make up a part of the Caribbean.”

Note: In keeping with the development goals of Wadadli Pen, all long listed entries are returned to the author with the judge’s note  – both positives and negatives – for revision. Congrats to Laila for being singled out for honourable mention and for taking the opportunity to review and revise her entry. Keep working on your craft; keep valuing your voice and your art. – JCH

Laila Tahir.jpg

Here now is Caribbean Experiences by Laila Tahir, a 12 year old student at the Christ the King High School, who enjoys story writing and going to the beach, and who aspires to be a certified accountant:

The Caribbean, such total Paradise
Visit it once and you will always want a slice
Its people, culture and rich History
You would devour to learn its  more
Full of Music, Dance & Excitement
You must visit our shore

Music! the Caribbean love most
But when it comes to their very own origination
of soca and calypso it would perk you to explore more
the beat with its smooth rhythmic  Drums
will make u rumba, salsa & Hip Hop for so
so get up! to the Caribbean you must go

Dance! a form of expression,  joy, peace and serenity
Its intensifying power brings together everybody
If, you see, how the men and women roll their Hips and gyrate
their bodies to the rhythm  sounds of every music beat
it would simply set you on your dancing feet
oh! wow! this is a people I would surely love to meet
and I will visit there, I tell you the Caribbean is Paradise
you would come once but more than twice

Oh Caribbean a people full of flavor
The different accents is thrilling a must hear
You will want to listen it over and over, I swear
A confident people they are
You can tell by the way they dress
Vogue, trendy, and fancy tropical colours
As this combination reminds you of the warm sunlight, crystal blue waters
And cool refreshing breeze
I would visit there again anytime with ease
The Caribbean is completely nice
it was truly a taste of sugar and spice
A total gem of Paradise!

For earning honourable mention in her age category, Laila received:
Gifts contributed by Juneth Webson & Frank B. Armstrong, and a certificate sponsored by the Best of Books.

Thanks to all partners and patrons for making the Wadadli Pen 2016 Challenge possible. Here at Wadadli Pen, we encourage you to support the businesses and individuals who support the arts.

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

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Heroic Night by Canice James

Honourable Mention in the 13 to 17 age category – Wadadli Pen Challenge 2016 

Author’s comments: ‘”Heroic Night”, this fictional story is about a man struggling to muster up courage when he needs it. He is forced to aid in the defence of his kingdom against an unknown force. Those around him notice his internal struggle and try to bring the courage out of him.’

Judge’s comments (positives only*): “There was a certain quality to the narration and the light touch of dry humour that kept me reading to the end.”

Note: *While only the positives are being shared with the public, in keeping with the development goals of Wadadli Pen, all long listed entries are returned to the author with the judge’s note  – both positives and negatives – for revision. Congrats to Canice. Keep working on your craft; keep valuing your voice and your art. – JCH

Here now is Heroic Night by Canice James, a 16-year-old Antigua Grammar School student:

“Forward! We must hold them back until reinforcements arrive!”

My squad commander yelled orders with his course voice, but I failed to receive any additional energy through his spoken encouragement. The distance between us and the incoming enemies decreased. Sweat poured from my fatigued body as the rainy night grew more violent. I took a brief second to glance around myself…


I estimated the number of allies I had left standing. The mere fact that they were now able to be easily counted portrayed that our numbers had been thinned. I restrained myself from looking below out of the fear of the scene which may have laid there. On that gruesome night, which I had originally intended to spend with my children and loved wife, the kingdom had been under siege by an unknown force. Smoke clogged my vision and the scent of charred wood lingered irritatingly in my nostrils as the buildings around me continued in a blaze.

The outer wall had already been destroyed and breached.

(The first line of defense was also easily annihilated; will I meet the same pathetic demise?)

Anxiety was slowly filling me. The sword clenched between my gauntlets began to slip. The armor shielding my body began to feel heavier as my posture sagged.

“We will be okay. Further worrying will do no good.”

A voice released me from my trance. Glancing to my right, a figure approached while silhouetting in the distant flames. A moment later I finally recognized the voice which belonged to one of my closest friends.

“Calm down, we shall not be defeated easily.”

Amidst all the destruction, he remained unfazed and easily found the strength to continue bearing his fangs towards the oncoming wave. As the enemies grew closer, the squad commander strained his voice further.

“Here they come! If those before us have already lost, then we simply seize their lost opportunity and become the heroes in this battle.”

Honestly, he’s such an idealist that it’s sickening, but that restless heroism within his heart was exactly what was needed to sway our spirit into continuing the fight. If we failed here many more others will be put in danger. They’re depending on us to secure their survival! Especially my family that’s waiting patiently and praying for my return.

“We must stop them here!!”

Gaining another reason to stand, I forced a smile and raised my sword…




The forced smile quickly faded. The many swords that were raised, the swords that once embodied the spirit of bravery, were unable to move. This was due to the fact that armed men holding them instead preoccupied themselves with the task of interpreting what stood before them. As the enemies approached, they too slowed to a stop, allowing us to inspect them further.

“W-what… what the hell…”

My words were cut off by my need to decipher the monsters further. I approximated only about a dozen of them but the black dusty mist that surrounded the group clearly carried the statement that they were not to be underestimated. The creatures appeared human but a demonic presence encased them.

The commander, the ecstatic figure that he is, was the first one to break the silence.

“What are you waiting for dazed fools? Do you not see your enemy awaiting their own slaughter? Why must they wait for their own defeat?”

We greatly outnumbered them while being heavily equipped with swords, spears, shields and armor. The beasts before us carried rags…

But we were clearly outmatched.

For earning honourable mention in her age category, Canice received:
A certificate sponsored by the Best of Books
EC$50 (courtesy Dr. Hazra Medica)
All over Again by A-dZiko Gegele (courtesy CODE)

Thanks to all partners and patrons for making the Wadadli Pen 2016 Challenge possible. Here at Wadadli Pen, we encourage you to support the businesses and individuals who support the arts.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Wadadli Pen 2016, Wadadli Pen News

My So Called Father by Zahra Emanuel

Honourable Mention in the 13 to 17 age category – Wadadli Pen Challenge 2016

Author’s comments: “I was inspired to write this story because of curiousity; to see how well I can expand my thoughts about any situation.”

Judge’s comments (positives only*): “Really interesting story, plot, and subject matter …”

Note: *While only the positives are being shared with the public, in keeping with the development goals of Wadadli Pen, all long listed entries are returned to the author with the judge’s note  – both positives and negatives – for revision. Congrats to Zahra for doing as well as she did in the Challenge – considering the length of the story, a fact that prevented it from placing though it impressed the section judge enough to earn an honourable mention. Keep working on your craft; keep valuing your voice and your art. – JCH


Zahra Emanuel.

Here now is My So Called Father by Irene B. Williams student Zahra Emanuel, who was third placed for the 13 to 17 prize in 2014, and who describes herself as a “sixteen year old girl who enjoys writing short stories in her leisure time and loves doing Craft! Creativity is her style.”:

It has been years since I’ve worn good clothes. Mommy hasn’t been working a stable job lately, but when she does she tries her best to save a little money.       Sometimes my sister and I would be home alone, until very late in the night.  I      would put my little sister to bed by 8:00p.m but I wouldn’t go to sleep until          mommy came home. Sometimes the hands of the clock would be at 12:00 a.m. and I still see no sign of my mother,

‘This hotel work is a slave job.’ I would think to myself.

Most of the times when mommy reaches home, I would be asleep. She        would wake me up and send me to bed.  Sometimes, I would sit up and watch her, she always looked tired.  My mother was a slim woman with short, coarse hair and her skin was like a Hershey’s Chocolate.  I always wondered why her skin was so dark and her parents both had a clear complexion.  I, on the other hand, was an      exact replica of my father, tall with a light complexion and small black eyes just   waiting to roll out of my head. The only difference between my father and I was     the behavior; my father was ignorant and stubborn and I was a quiet little boy who was willing to help others. The first time I could remember meeting my so called   father, was when I was three. I remember my mother walking up to the Pre-School with a man, he was young back then. On that day she said to me Te’Koy, this is     your father. The so called father lifted me up as the three of us walked home. I       don’t recall seeing that man until months later. He was hardly in my memory. Now I am getting older I begin to understand the only reason why he stopped by was    because he would want to sleep with my mother. She always gave him what he     wanted; I think he just deserves to die.

One day, as I was walking to school with my sister, I heard what sounded     like two men arguing in the distance

“Pow Pow!” The shots reverberated against my eardrums. I covered my sister’s       trembling body to protect her. When I looked up I saw a man running out of           someone’s yard.

“That looks like the yard I would see my father coming out of”, I thought to myself.

“HELP ME, SOMEBODY HELP ME!” a wave of screams poured from the mouth of a woman nearby.

Since my sister was only five, I lifted her up and ran to help. When I got to the   spot, I saw what appeared to be my father lying in a pool of blood. I quickly took  off my uniform shirt and wrapped it around his right arm where the blood was        seeping from.  I looked up at the house and there was a lady by the window on the phone calling for an ambulance.

“He is losing a lot of blood.” she sobbed breathlessly into the mouthpiece     trembling uncontrollably

When she came off the phone, she came running over towards us.

“Who are you?” the lady asked me.

“How can you ask a question like that in a time like this?” I shouted wondering    who she was.

She just looked away wiping the blood with tissues and old clothes.

“The ambulance is on its way baby,” she said to my father wiping the sweat from  his forehead.

He couldn’t answer, his breathing slow and shallow. He now looked             unconscious.

“I’m his son.” I said to her feeling a bit guilty about my answer earlier.

“Son?” she asked, a shocked, startled look on her face like a dog caught in the       middle of oncoming traffic.

“Yes, please help me save my father.” I begged her.

I could hear an ambulance in the distance. When it finally reached, the         paramedics came out and told us to please move back so they could deal with him. I held my sister close as the ambulance sped off, sirens blaring with my father as     the passenger. I still wanted to know who that lady was but she had already left in     the ambulance.

Later that day, I went to the hospital to see how my so called father was       doing. They led me to a room where the same lady was standing by the door with  blood on her shirt.

“Hey boy.” she said smiling when she saw me.

“Where is he?” I asked her.

“He’s resting in this room.” she said holding my hand leading me into the     room.

“Your son is here to see you.” she told him.

“Hey son!” my so called father mumbled when he saw me.

He was hooked up to oxygen and drips. His hand sported a huge bandage and   he looked tired.

“How are you feeling?” I asked him pretending not to care.

He coughed then said “I’m good. I see you’ve met my wife.”

“Since when man like you want fu married?” I said my voice beginning to   get sharp.  I got upset.

His wife looked at me funny, then she asked “And how old are you supposed to be son?”

“And how that become you business?”, I asked her.

“You seem to be a stubborn child,” she said.

“A you so call husband me tek after, a wa you problem?” I asked her.

“Please don’t make this situation any worse.” she begged.

I thought about what she said for a moment and then I apologized for my          behaviour.

“Now, how old are you sweetheart?”, she asked me in a calm tone of voice.

“I’m twelve years old.” I responded.

“Twelve!” She said as she covered her mouth in disbelief.

“And what seems to be the problem?” I asked her.

“Your father and I have been married for fifteen years.”

“You see, I tell you he is a stubborn man, but you nar listen. So tell me miss, so this mean he cheat on you?” I responded wanting to laugh.

“I guess.”, she said looking at my so call father as he slept.

“My name is Mary Sebastian and I guess I’m your step mother”, she said.

“Me nah have no step mother, only one mother me have and she home. Not because you married me father, besides if he min love you I wouldn’t exist.” I told her.

“I think it is time for you to leave.”, her voice became flat and very angry. “We’ll sort this out when your father gets better.”

I left not wanting to cause any trouble; I could already see that this lady and I   were going to be enemies. I couldn’t wait to get home and ask my mother about     this Mary Sebastian. She must be telling the truth I thought because we both have   the same surname.

When I got home, I asked my mother about this lady I had met. She told me that Mary was living in England for five years and that is why my father began to see  her, my mother.

“Is barren she barren Te’Koy.” my mother told me. “That is another reason why you father have you, he want children and she can’t have any.”

“So am I the only child outside of his marriage?” I asked.

“Nah man, you father is a sharp man, he have bout two or three more            children. I think all of you should be around the same age.” mom had this angry,   hurt way of laughing when she talked about my father. Sometimes I wondered if    she noticed.

“It nah seem as if this so called wife of his know bout he children.” I said to my mom.

“She nah know bout not one of you. She hear things and nah want believe,    especially how she always to and from England.”, my mother told me.

Mom had a sad look on her face then she apologized for not telling me about     this sooner. My sister came out of her room awakened by the conversation, her       round face shone in the night.

Two months passed and my father came out of the hospital. I went to visit   him where he lived. As I approached the house, his wife was there hanging out      clothes on the line while my dad sat on the gallery.

“Good morning.” I said as I walked onto the gallery.

“Hey son!” my father said opening his left arm so I could hug him.

I hugged him only because he was sick.

“You alright?” his wife asked me as she came up behind us.

“I think so.”, I answered.

She went inside and then came out with some drinks. She gave me some lemon juice but I didn’t drink it, I was afraid she would poison me.

“Where are my other brothers and sisters?” I asked my father.

“Now is not the time for that.’ he said.

“Which other children? You have more?” Mary asked  father on the verge   of tears.

My father told her about the other children and Mary began to cry. My father    hung his head; I could tell he felt ashamed for not telling his wife about the            children. I was not sorry for him; he should feel extremely bad for cheating on his wife.

“Poor woman.” I said as I patted her on her back, I wanted to laugh. I found it        very amusing because she had been married to this man for fifteen years and didn’t have the slightest clue that he has children.

“And I treat you so good.” Mary said her face in her hands.

“I’m sorry for not telling you earlier sweetheart,” my father mumbled. You  could tell he was embarrassed that I was witness to this very private, very                personal conversation.

“Please leave son.” Mary asked me.

“How much time me have to tell you me a nar you pickney? You barren self”       I said feeling offended that she wanted me to leave my own father’s house.

I could tell that she was one of those soft women who cried at the drop of a hat. She must have been spoiled when she was little. I sat there observing her long       nails and her well-groomed hair on her little head. She was short and about my      complexion, she had a broad nose and her eyes were brown. She wasn’t that pretty, I thought, surely not prettier than my mother. I wondered why my father would   marry a woman like Mary. There were so many questions I wanted to ask him but I decided to let those questions remain unanswered. This was neither the time nor   place. I left the house eventually; I could see that something was going to take       place that didn’t concern me. As I walked to the gate, several rich looking people were coming out of a brand new car and heading into my father’s yard. We met at  the gate; they all gave me funny looks as they passed, as if I was some animal to    them. One lady accidentally brushed against me and then quickly wiped the place where I touched her.

“A wa happen to this woman yah?” I cut my eyes at her. “All arwe piss the  same a how you come higher than me inna society?”

The lady stared and seemed to be horrified by my outburst. She hurried to catch up to the others.  Her cloying perfume choked me as I passed.

“Their minds are bigger than their pockets.” I thought shoving my hands      deep into my pocket wishing I had money to buy my mom that perfume. My mom worked hard. She deserved it more than that foolish looking woman.

When I got home I told my mother all that had happened. She explained that my father had only married her for her money.

“He used to bang she see,” my mother said. “He min even fu go a jail but     she so chupit, she bail he out.”

“How long ago was that?” I asked.

“Just the other day.” she said. “Is his father-in-law shot him.”

“True?” I asked.

“You mean say them nah tell you wa mek you father min up a hospital?”

I nodded.

“Well she go try keep it a secret because she nah want she father fu go jail.” mom said rolling her eyes.

As the weeks passed I would go and visit my father often. His wife eventually   left him, heading back home to England. I came to the conclusion that his double    life was too much for her to deal with.  Her father went to jail for 2 months for       aggravated assault. I guess that will happen when you’re rich : little or no jail time. The thought was like vomit in my throat, hard to swallow.

Over the next couple of months my father and I began to develop a relationship;   we would go fishing, swimming and hiking together sometimes.  I got to meet one of my siblings. His name was Kareem, and we became very close. He lived on the other side of the island, Antigua, so it was difficult for us to spend time together    but when we did, we had a blast. As for my other siblings, my father said that they lived overseas and he hadn’t heard from them or seen them in years.
I could see that my father was now changing into a mature man. I’m sure it was    because his wife had left him. As I got to know my father I came to realize that he was just that: a man, my father. He had a great sense of humor. He had this way of raising one eyebrow just so when something amused or puzzled him. On one of our fishing trips to Pearns Point, he began to talk about his childhood as the pelicans  wheeled and screamed overhead under the searing sun. How his father had left his  mother with ten children. Ten children!!! When he recounted the painful memories  from his past his broad shoulders tightened and his hands clenched into huge fists.  A wave of pity came over me and my eyes filled with tears and, at that moment I   realized that my dad was only a victim of his circumstance: he was only following in the footsteps of his father before him and probably his father before that. I         immediately vowed that I would not fall into such a trap. My children, well………… if I had any anyway, would always have a father in their life.
I walked over to him and hugged him tightly. He seemed surprised but pleased by  the move. He hugged me back.

“Look I’m willing to give this relationship a try if you are,” I mumbled under my   breath staring out at the placid blue waves.

“Ok son,” He cleared his throat as though he was embarrassed.

“Let’s get you home to your mom before she send CID to find us, you know how   she is already,” he laughed seeming to remember something funny.

I had to agree. My mom isn’t easy to deal with sometimes.

We walked over to his car our steps in time with each other. I glimpsed at     this man out of the corner of my eye a warm feeling stealing over me. I could now accept this man as my father and not my so called father anymore. He now meant a lot to me.

For earning honourable mention in her age category, Zahra received:
A certificate sponsored by the Best of Books
EC$50 (courtesy Dr. Hazra Medica)
Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis (courtesy CODE)
Thanks to all partners and patrons for making the Wadadli Pen 2016 Challenge possible. Here at Wadadli Pen, we encourage you to support the businesses and individuals who support the arts.

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


Leave a comment

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The Day I Became A Man by Blair A. Rose

[ 2006 Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Honourable Mention]

It was a hot summer day so my friends and I decided to go to the beach. The crystal blue, clear water was very refreshing and invigorating. We were just playing around, splashing and laughing joyfully, when my father’s voice interrupted our giggles. My father’s voice was deep and sounded like thunder and African drums at the same time. He called my name and by his tone of voice I knew he had found out that I’d broken his favourite razor.

I started home, my hands trembling, beads of sweat running down my face. I could no longer hear my father’s loud cries; the beating of my heart was all I could hear. ‘Thump, Thump.’

The road under my feet was hot and dusty, but I could care less. My house came into sight. Usually after school I was happy to see our white four room wooden house with blue shutters and a great amount of fruit trees in the yard, but not today. I just stood on the road brain dead, but my feet kept moving. As I went up my walkway and saw my father’s red, old, beaten-up car, my feet moved slower. My eyes saw everything as if it was the last time I would see anything. My ears picked up every sound, from the rustling in the bushes to neighbors pots and pans.

I opened the door to my house, and, before I could step in, a big muscular hand grabbed and dragged me in. It was my father and he was angry. His veins popped out of his neck, his face was turning red, and I could swear I saw smoke coming out of his ears. Then, I saw a familiar and frequent visitor of mine – the strap in my father’s arm. I knew the drill. Pants down, then my father raised his hand. I felt my skin ripped off my back but I did not scream or cry because I knew that would lead to more.

After my father was done, he sent me away and I went tearing down the road back to the beach to soak my wounds. I met the boys playing and by the look on their faces, I knew they felt sorry for me. They, too, were all too familiar with their own fathers’ strap. They gathered their stuff and left me alone. At last, I was free to scream and cry. My tears flowed like an infinite waterfall. No matter how hard I tried, I could not stop crying. I felt bad and hypocritical, since I was always bragging to my friends that real men do not cry and here I was whimpering like a homeless dog. The tears finally stopped. A new emotion took over. I was angry with my father for beating me over a rusty old razor. I decided to look for a job and move out of my parent’s house, then never talk to my father again.

After a couple of hours in the sea, I felt the cool night breeze and decided to go home.

When I reached home, my mother’s car was in the driveway. The smell of her cooking made me feel a little better. I could hardly enjoy my dinner for I was still sore and could hardly sit properly. However, that was not the worst; I had to sit next to my father. My mother must have sensed the tension, because she did not mind when I wanted to go to bed early, which she usually did not condone.

A few minutes later, she walked into my room. I preferred my mother to my father because she had a sweeter and gentler nature. She sat on my bed, I put my head on her lap, and she stoked my long curly hair. She asked me if I was upset and I replied yes. She said “you might think it unfair for your father to beat you for something so old and which has no monetary value but it had sentimental value to your father”. She then told me the story of how my father had gotten that razor from his father when he joined the army. His father now thought of him as a man. My mom told me, “In those days when your father thought you were a man it meant that you were responsible and ready for life”. When she had finished the story, she asked if I realized why it meant so much to my father. I did and I never felt so bad in my life. She got up, turned off the light, wished me sweet dreams, and went out of my room.

All night I could not sleep. I realized I had destroyed the one thing my father cherished. Probably the only thing he had left from his father. I got up and went downstairs. I saw the pieces of the razor and I decided to fix it. I went outside and walked, barefoot in the dew-covered grass, to the toolbox to get the soldering iron. I stayed up all night fitting and welding the pieces together; by morning I was finished. I gave the razor a polish until it shone as new. I still had some time until my father woke up and decided to make a wooden box for it, which I lined with velvet my mom had lying around the house. I went back to bed dreaming of my father’s surprised face.

I came down to breakfast to find my father staring at the box in front of him. I told him to open it. He did, his face lit up with the brightest smile and most appreciative look a man could have. He told me he could not keep it. My face fell with disappointment. He pushed it towards me. “Here, it is yours, because today you showed me you are a man; and maybe one day when your son turns into a man you will give it to him”. I never felt so proud in all my life. I looked at my father and realized that like me, he was holding back his tears.

I will never forget the day I became a man.



Copyright of the winning Wadadli Pen stories and/or art work featured on this site belongs to the creators of the individual works and are used here purely for promotional and educational purposes. Other blog content, except otherwise noted, is created and/or maintained by Joanne C. Hillhouse – coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight. Site content should not be copied, distributed, transmitted, used for commercial purposes, altered, transformed, or built upon without the consent of the copyright holders.

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