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Wadadli Pen 2020 – What Popped, What Flopped

Season’s Greetings.

Just doing my annual check-in to see what people responded (and didn’t respond) to on the blog this year. It’s an important part of building engagement and community – or so the experts say. Let’s dive in.

The Most Popular Post or Page apart from the Home Page (obvs) was the post on Most Influential Antiguans and Barbudans. This started out as an ask on a friend’s facebook page that I decided to archive here on the site. Listed are some of the people we lost in 2020 like Edris Bird, Swallow, Joseph ‘Calypso Joe’ Hunte If 2020 has taught us anything this year it’s how fragile everything is, life, reality, our sense of what tomorrow will bring. I always believe it’s important to recognize the people who put in the work and helped shape and define our culture; this year just underscored and put that in bold.

Andre Warner, pictured with the Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge Plaque, sponsored by the Best of Books, was co-winner of the Wadadli Pen challenge 2020 with youngest winner to date 11-year-old Cheyanne Darroux.

The Second Most Popular Post or Page was Wadadli Pen 2020 (which, God willing, will be flipping to Wadadli Pen 2021 soon) and the Fourth Most Popular was Who Won What in 2020? (referring to our annual writing challenge), while About Wadadli Pen (summarizing our work 2004 to date) was our Fifth Most Popular. The work we do at Wadadli Pen being this blog’s reason for being, I”d, of course, be happier if either of these was number one but I get it. Every year we’re able to keep this thing going even as our lives get more stretched is a miracle, but our passion endures. We had several people asking about the Challenge after it wrapped this year, by the way. So we invite you, while you’re, here give the blog a follow to give us a boost and ensure that you never miss any of our content again.

The Third Most Popular Post or Page was Antiguan and Barbudan Writings which I am personally happy to see because we work hard on keeping the records updated and, frankly, the new publications are coming so fast and furious these days, it isn’t easy. That said, if you are releasing new books, email us (wadadlipen@gmail.com) the details per the page’s format, so that we can keep the reading public informed and enter you in to the ‘official’ Antiguan and Barbudan canon. #fortherecord Oh and look up, I rotate covers randomly in the site banner at least quarterly as an extra way of giving our authors a boost.

Our calypso/music posts were also popular this year (likely for research purposes) and so our Sixth (Short Shirt’s Top 100), Seventh (Antiguan and Barbudan song writers), Eighth (Nobody Go Run Me (lyrics)), and Ninth (Antiguan and Barbudan Cultural Icon – Paul King Obstinate Richards) Most Popular posts were all about the calypso music.

From the Harper Collins catalogue images of Big Cat books including Turtle Beach by Antiguan and Barbudan author and Wadadli Pen team member Barbara Arrindell.

And I’m glad to see that something new (and publishing related) made the top Ten as the Tenth Most Popular post is Collins Readies Rollout of #OwnVoices Caribbean Children’s Books. Hopefully that means lots of sales. You can pre-order now.

As usual, we give a boost to the least viewed/least popular posts of the year as well. There are a bunch of them at basically the same level, so I’ll just put 10 I like at random (blogger’s privilege). Meeting Ashley Bryan – about my introduction to the famed award winning children’s writer who happens to have Antiguan and Barbudan roots, You and Your Wiki Caribbean Writers edition – in which I spoke about the need for us to create wikis for our Caribbean talent (not a cause=effect but I subsequently got, through no involvement of my own, my own wiki), Culture must be Free – Latumba (one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite calypsonians and the project to transcribe as many of our lyrics as we can continues), After Reading In the Black this is a book edited by Althea Prince and for those looking to read the Black experience in this year of Black Lives Matter worth revisiting right now, A Barbuda Adventure – the sister island’s been on my mind a lot lately and in this piece a prize recipient (actually someone who accompanied one of our recipients of a prize from Barbuda Express) reminds us of what’s so beautiful and precious about it (what should be preserved not crushed and run over by capitalist blindness), Wadadli Stories Q & A – this is 2017 event is last of our community literary festivals and that’s kind of a shame,
(image of Wadadli Pen prize recipients at the 2017 book fair – photo by Linisa George of Art. Culture. Antigua.)

Tell the People the Truth (lyrics) – another addition to our lyrics project and a reminder that you can help by submitting lyrics and credits, verified, for our data bases, You Feel Dat – from the Wadadli Pen open mic series, Re Resources, Opportunities, and More – telling you about some of the other work of the blog, and Read Beyond – because we all should be reading beyond our comfort zone.

Jamaican author Diana McCaulay is one of the Caribban authors interviewed in one of the blog’s most popular new postings of the year.

ETA: I should probably clarify that, unlike previous best ofs, this post wasn’t specific to posts or pages made in the year of popularity. That list takes considerably more time, usually, to pull together; so some of these posts and pages are years old. But I decided to do a quick scan of the insights to see if I could at least pull out which 2020 posts landed well. The who won what in 2020 and Collins posts already listed above are the top ones, followed by the 2020 Wadadli Pen short list announcement, and winning 2020 Challenge entries Two Worlds Collide, A New World, The Fabled Truth, Tom, the Ninja Crab, and The Beast of Barbados. At about number 5 most popular was the first post in the series of exclusive interviews with Caribbean writers on publishing – lessons, breakthroughs, and rights. Also making the top 10 of popular posts posted this year is the 2020 challenge patrons post (which is important in attracting future patronage, so thanks).

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. Seriously, a lot of time, energy, love and frustration goes in to researching and creating content for this site; please don’t just take it up just so without even a please, thank you or credit. 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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