Tag Archives: opportunity

Wadadli Pen has launched an Internship Programme for the 2020 Challenge Season

Yes, we have. Read the launch release for details: PRESS RELEASE Wadadli Pen seeking Interns

Meanwhile, for those not in the know about Wadadli Pen, here’s some background.

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize first launched in 2004

(First Wadadli Pen challenge winners photo call, sponsors and culture/education officials seated; Heritage Hotel conference room – 2004)

In 2005 we offered workshops

(The 2005 Wadadli Pen workshops were held at the Cushion Club reading club for kids meeting place – the Cushion Club has been a consistent patron over the years)

In 2006 we staged Word Up! – a successful literary showcase and fundraiser in partnership with the National Museum

(2005 winner Sandrena Martin and runner up Rilys Adams read at the 2006 Word Up! showcase alongside some of Antigua and Barbuda’s top writers)

 We tapped out but then came back in 2010 with the fourth installment of the annual-ish Wadadli Pen writing and visual arts challenge to encourage creativity, and another arts showcase this time as part of a Black History Month week of activities

(top to bottom: 2004 Wadadli Pen literary challenge winner, 2005 finalists, 2006 finalists, and one of the 2010 art winners – 2010 was the year of our first visual arts challenge)

In 2010, we also launched the Wadadli Pen blog in 2010. It wasn’t our first website as we were fortunate to be a part of an Alliance Francaise sponsored OECS project that funded online platforms for arts projects thanks to then Culture Director Heather Doram – who came out to our first awards ceremony in 2004 when we had no name value at all. Funding had run out but I worked to transfer the data to a platform I had to teach myself to use since we no longer had tech support and I didn’t know coding – so I chose the most user friendly platform I could find and fought through it.

(Performance by Zee’s Youth Theatre member backed by drummers from the Antigua Dance Academy at Word Up! 2010)

Other milestones included hitting, in 2014, our 10 year anniversary which that injected new energy into the arm of the programme

(top to bottom: 2011 Wadadli Pen literary challenge winner, 2012 finalists, 2013 finalists, and 2014 art prize winner)

In 2014, Wadadli Pen offered a prize for teachers as well – because none of this is possible without teachers – and a number of them are closet writers too.

(Future Wadadli Pen partner won the Lead by Example Teachers prize in 2014 and won the main lit prize – opened up for the first time to all age groups – in 2015)


In 2016, another turn as I set up an advisory and works team (which includes two past finalists) to help me do the work

(at the 2015 awards ceremony with judge Floree Williams Whyte a year before she became a part of the permanent team)

 Before that, each year I reached out to different people for help – people like founding partner D. Gisele Isaac, Linisa George, Brenda Lee Browne, Cushion Club, Glen Toussaint – who in 2010 launched a Wadadli Pen Open Mic which is a Best of Books project, not ours but which has also been doing good work for years pulling out fresh voices…and more.

(Top to bottom: some 2016 Wadadli Pen lit finalists and a 2017 finalist with Wadadli Pen intern Michaela Harris)

In 2017, we recruited our first intern (a former finalist as well) – laying the groundwork for the mentorship programme we’re hoping will be a part of the 2019-2020 iteration of the Wadadli Pen Challenge.

(Another winner take all year – 2018 – finalists pictured)

Speaking of 2019, another big development – a Readers Choice Book of the Year Challenge which ended with us donating nearly $1000 in books to a local school chosen by the winning author and funded by our donors.

(the students of selected school got to come in the bookstore to choose their books)

And that’s just the visible stuff – Wadadli Pen answers questions, provides resources (mostly through the online platform), has partnered with the Cushion Club for a summer read challenge, has for many years recommended and nominated people for opportunities including the National Youth Awards, and more.

(Wadadli Pen judge and lit and theatre creator and activist Linisa George was a 2012 National Youth Award winner)

We’ve said before that we want to do more and that we need help and guidance re becoming a legal non-profit so that we can do more; but in the meantime, we continue to do the work that we do

(Wadadli Pen founder/coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse with 2017 Wadadli Pen intern Michaela Harris)

…including beginning to work towards the 2020 challenge which will be both a literary and visual arts challenge.

(2016 winner – Daryl George – with the Best of Books sponsored Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge plaque – named for a founding partner and presented by her brother Douglas Allen, publisher and editor of the Young Explorer which also partnered with Wadadli Pen in the beginning. The plaque, which has the name of all major winners, hangs in the bookstore)

Remember, if you’d like to be a Wadadli Pen Challenge intern or would otherwise like to volunteer with or sponsor the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize email wadadlipen@gmail.com

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is researched and written by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure; 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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Project Proposal Writing Workshop

This came in my mailbox from the Antigua and Barbuda Coalition of Service Industries and I’m thinking of checking it out. I’m mentioning it here because if you run a non profit programme like I do with Wadadli Pen, and might be trying to improve your funding proposals to turn those nos and non-responses into yeses, you might want to check it out too. The focus is on Project Proposal Writing; it’s being offered by the Coalition in collaboration with the Antigua and Barbuda Skills Training and Empowerment Programme. Cost? No cost. I checked.

Here’s a link to the Coalition’s Facebook page.

This is their website link.

BACKGROUND: The Coalition of Service Industries was started in 2011 to serve as a focal point for the services sector in Antigua and Barbuda, function as a lobbying institution, collaborate with regional institutions for the enhancement of services, keep service providers informed of opportunities, promote further development and competitiveness in the sector, to raise standards and educate service providers – and by doing all of this “cultivate the global competitiveness of Antigua and Barbuda’s Services Sector by exploiting international market potential.” Their contact information, for more, is: (268) 462-6628 and communications@absci.org



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Do our children lack the abilty to imagine?

I was asked to present at the public library camp over the summer, as I did last summer.DSC_0346Couldn’t do it. But it provided the opportunity to introduce the children to the writing of one of our Wadadli Pen Challenge winners (or so I hoped).

Margaret Irish - winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize collects her gifts courtesy Caribbean Reads Publishing and plaque sponsored by Joy Lawrence.

Margaret Irish – winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize collects her gifts courtesy Caribbean Reads Publishing and plaque sponsored by Joy Lawrence.

Margaret Irish is the winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize 2014, and, from the beginning, the idea behind that was encouraging teachers to write, and getting them to get creative in a way that could inspire their students to do the same, inspire them to share their own stories. The teachers were Challenged to submit entries that they could share with their students. Margaret’s The Skipping Rope is a good example of this and that’s why I thought she’d be a good match for the library programme. She readily agreed to do it (thanks to her for doing that) but as she informed me in a subsequent email (shared with permission) she didn’t share her story after all. Instead, she said, “I took them through an exercise in learning to use their imagination” I’m still disappointed she didn’t share her story but adjusting to the circumstances in the field is perfectly reasonable; matter of fact, absolutely essential. Her adjustment was driven by her observation that “students are unable to write creatively, simply because they cannot, they have not developed their imagination.”

As I write this, I remember one of the judges making a similar comment in her review of the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge submissions (a comment that echoed the 2005 judges’ report, in which the judge commented about the writers playing it safe, if I’m remembering correctly). The 2014 judge wrote: “The talent is there but I think they need to be taught a few techniques in story writing. I think they suffer from writing too many structured school stories. It is as though they don’t know they can use their imagination.”

This judge’s comment also has me considering another part of Margaret’s email. When she asked the 80 or so students (campers) how many of them liked writing compositions, only five or six raised their hands; when asked how many hated writing compositions “you should have seen the frustrated looks and defiant hands. It was sad.”

Sad indeed.

Possibly, part the problem is in the phrasing. One of the participants in my summer media training workshop at the Department of Youth Affairs comes to mind. She was distracted and disruptive throughout, but, as our rap sessions revealed, sharp as a tack and quite articulate and opinionated. Like most of them she resisted settling down to the work. I remember when she was required to present her review of the first film we’d watched. She hadn’t written a thing and I know she expected me to skip her but I told her she was still expected to present. And she did; she winged it. Interestingly, she did a pretty good job, there was good recall and clear insights in her ramblings and I couldn’t help thinking she’d have had a pretty good presentation if she’d taken the time to even organize her thoughts into bullet points if she didn’t want to write. I remember my one on one with her to discuss the article that each participant was required to produce at the end of the two weeks. She identified her topic, one of the topics we’d discussed earlier in the week but as I pressed re her action plan, trying to get her to focus and to draw on the tools and techniques I’d been sharing with them, it was clear she had no interest in the assignment or the topic. The assignment I dug in my heels on – I was determined that each person would at least try – but why would you pick a topic you had no interest in? So I threw it out and opened up a conversation with her about her genuine interests; it was a bit like pulling teeth at first but eventually I got her talking about one of her biggest interests and suggested to her how that could be a story. She hadn’t finished by the end of the week, and, frankly, I was doubtful she would, but she’d started. When she showed me her progress, it was primarily structured as responses to the questions I’d thrown out to guide her and I realized she’d need more time learning to structure them into prose. But I counted the baby step of getting her started on something as a win. The connection I’m seeing between that story and Margaret’s observation and the judges’ comments is the way we sometimes get locked into this square way of thinking, everything inside the box. One of the reasons I do Wadadli Pen is to awaken that idea that the stories are right there in their own backyard, in their own lives, not remote from their reality. Sometimes it’s enough to get them thinking and talking about the stuff they actually want to think and talk about, a little difficult to do in a one-off session with 80 people (with anything over, say, 15 – 20 really). Sometimes you have to jump start the conversation with films or songs or really whatever works. And, as I tried to do with the breaks and journaling activities at the DYA workshop, sometimes you need time to just be still within yourself, idle even, let your brain just float.

Because the imagination is key to everything: without the imagination there  is no writing, without the imagination there is no creativity, without the imagination there is no visioning, no seeing beyond where you are to the impossible. This is not just about writing now because seeing beyond where we are is something we need as individuals, period, and as a nation; it is this imagining that guides our feet, and lifts a song of promise and possibility in our souls, staving off stagnation and cynicism. So what is it about our environment that has them so uninspired and how can this be addressed not by way of one-off sessions but consistently?

Questions to ponder. Because it’s not that our kids lack imagination. As author Andre Dubois lll said, “We’re all born with an imagination. Everybody gets one.” And it is the font from which writing flows, and not just writing but everything that’s magical in the world.

During her session at the camp, Margaret read C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, instead of her own story (and I still, all said, have some issues with that decision because why not do both). She chose that story though I think to reinforce the idea that “when using one’s imagination, the events do not have to make sense.” It opened up the opportunity for her to engage them in an active exercise in which they would make up a story on what one could find on entering a wardrobe. And I’m pretty sure she wasn’t looking for shoes…maybe unless they were ruby red slippers which, clicked three times…conjured up a magic carpet that spirited you away to…Wonderland???

It sounds like she did it as a chain writing exercise, which I do too, as it’s a great way to get everyone involved and a good way to get out of the safe zone as you never know what the person before you is going to add to the story so you can’t over think it, you just have to go with it. Which reminds me of another quote (for you writers still reading this) from the Dubois article: “I love that line from E.L. Doctorow: ‘Writing a novel is like driving at night. You can only see as far as your headlights—‘ but you keep going until you get there. I’ve learned over the years to just report back anything that I see in front of the headlights: Are they yellow stripes or white? What’s on the side of the road? Is there vegetation? What kind? What’s the weather? What are the sounds? If I capture the experience all along the way, the structure starts to reveal itself. My guiding force and principle for shaping the story is to just follow the headlights.” It’s a good way to get out of that zone of what writing is supposed to be and just letting it be, a good way of just imagining where the story could go. It sometimes takes them a minute to warm up to it, to embrace the freedom inherent in the idea that everything doesn’t have to make sense. At least not the first time around; that’s what revisions are for.

To answer the question headlining this piece, no they don’t lack the ability to imagine, though it sometimes needs to be nudged awake, even as we put to sleep this idea that writing is this daunting, insurmountable, dead, and deadly boring thing.

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Building on the success of the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project , on the potential I see every Wadadli Pen Challenge season, on the opportunities I’ve had to work with youth and writers here in Antigua and Barbuda (and beyond), Untitled3band drawing on my experiences as a freelance writer, journalist, editor, and educator, I’m proposing a series of developmental writing sessions. READ MORE.

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Subject: U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS International Writing Program Fellowship Request for Proposals (RFP)

Dear Sir/Madam:  Please post the following message on your bulletin boards and share with your email list and social media contacts.

The Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy at Bridgetown is happy to announce that we are now accepting nominations from writers who are citizens of and who live in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines who would like to apply to participate in the ten-week International Writer’s Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa’s prestigious international residency program.

Program dates: The IWP is tentatively scheduled in Iowa City from August 23, 2014 to November 11, 2014.

Deadline and Writing Sample: Interested writers should send a curriculum vitae and a 10 to 15 page writing sample to bridgetownexchanges@state.gov by March 27, 2014. No applications will be accepted after this deadline.

Who should apply: The IWP program is designed for established and emerging creative writers in any genre including fiction, poetry, dramatists, screen writers are eligible for nomination. Literary translators and writers of creative non-fiction, e.g. feature journalism, cultural commentary, biography, etc. are also eligible to apply. Applicants must have published at least one book, or their works have appeared in significant publications over the past two years.  Please note that in order for writers to benefit fully from this residency, they will need to have the flexibility in their schedules to spend 10 weeks in the United States.

All applicants must be fluent in English (spoken and written), comfortable with cross-cultural dynamics, and interested in close interaction with other artists from a multiplicity of diverse cultures.

Program Description: IWP provides a unique inter-cultural experience for established writers who have achieved literary distinction in their own countries, as well as for rising stars who have demonstrated literary talent, broad appeal and/or an interest in contributing to the creative writing culture in their home countries.

The IWP brings together a wide range of international and U.S. writers to examine current trends in literature including fiction, drama, poetry, and screenwriting to explore the creative process involved in writing in a unique U.S. environment. The international writers will spend 10 weeks in residence at the University of Iowa in Iowa City presenting their work to local audiences, working with translators, and participating in university level classes and workshops.  This aspect of the program will help these participants bring their countries’ literary works to a wider audience and learn more about U.S. literature. The 2011 program will feature increased opportunities for writers to participate in optional collaborative projects with artists from other disciplines including theater and dance.  The residency will also include field trips to attend literary events.  Further details about the program are available on the IWP website http://iwp.uiowa.edu/.

Funding: Successful applicants will receive funding that will cover the costs of the writer participating in cultural exchange activities in the fields of writing, translation, and collaboration with artists from other artistic disciplines.

Housing and Family: Due to housing limitations at the University of Iowa, and the intense nature of this residency, family members are not permitted to accompany the writer(s) for the duration of the residency.

Further more information, please email bridgetownexchanges@state.gov


Juanita Lynch

Information Resource Associate

U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean

Tel: +246 227 4102

Fax:246 429 5316

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Caribbean Awards for Excellence – only two days left

So, I’ve been reading through the booklet for the Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence. I thought I’d share some highlights which you’ll need to consider if you intend to make nominations.

There are three awards categories – arts and letters, science and technology, and public and civic contributions.

The winner gets TT$500,000, a medal and a citation at the awards ceremony next April.

This is not intended as a lifetime achievement award; they’re seeking mid-career nominees, ideally, people who still have some work to do, with the prize intended as a way to assist them with continuing that work while serving as models for aspirants in the field.

The process is open; any one can nominate a candidate. A candidate can even nominate him or herself (think of it as applying for a fellowship).

Nominations must be made by August 31st (so, yeah, time’s running out).

Some things to consider though –

Nominees should show a track record of consistently excellent work, work marked by originality, work with the potential to add to the knowledge of the field in which the nominee works. But not only add to the knowledge but serve as models for further work, work with interesting and new ideas specific to the Caribbean and its needs in present and future.

Personality and name are secondary to the nominee’s work and potential, but you’ll need referees willing to speak to the nominees’ record and potential.

There should be potential of future work which (as noted before) could be positively aided by the award.

The nomination form can be found here. If the link doesn’t work, go to www.ansacaribbeanawards.com and take it from there.

Submit by email to anscafe@ansamcal.com

Once the forms are in, they go to country nominating committees for background checks and such. There isn’t one specifically for Antigua – rather we are grouped with the OECS (and the members of that committee hail from St. Lucia, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Grenada, and Dominica). An eminent panel (which includes one well known name from the eastern Caribbean, Dr. Dwight Venner) will decide on the winning candidates once the country nominating committees have whittled the lists.

So that’s it…those are the highlights. Read the whole booklet at your leisure, but don’t take too long. Only two days left.

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, Fish Outta Water, and Oh Gad!). 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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Youth Opportunity

UNESCO has put out a call for projects let by young people. It’s open to all young women and men who are members of a youth-led or youth-focused organization, project leaders or young entrepreneurs active in an established NGO. These young people are invited to submit their proposals for an innovative action project in their community, country or region, by filling in the submission form by 12 August 2013, the International Youth Day, midnight, Paris time. – See more here.

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Thought you might want to know about this. CARICOM has issued a call for a new composition, an anthem if you will. That means song with lyrics; that means writers, get writing. I, myself, just might take a crack at this, the Muse willing. Here are the deets:

The submitted song should have a strong Caribbean identity plus flava and riddim, be playable on various instruments, make swell up with pride, bring us closer together, celebrate our Caribbean- ness. It goes without saying, right, that the song should have popular and emotional appeal.

Tall order. Are you up to the challenge?

Well you need to get cracking as submissions must be in by May 30th 2013.

To participate you must be a citizen of a CARICOM member state. You may submit more than one song, each four minutes or less, each on its own CD. There should be no identifying markers (presumably because these are to be judged blind). You must submit a completed entry form with original signature, plus a lyric sheet and music sheet.

So, what do you get if you win…let’s see.. how does US$10,000 sound? US$5,000 and US$2,500 for the runners-up. Nice purse. Coupled with the glory of hearing your song played and replayed at CARICOM events.

Apparently, there are to be national and regional committees and selections…I’m not sure what’s happening on the national level but I shall try to find out from the Culture Department as the preliminary round is supposed to be coordinated by the Directors of Culture and entries are to be submitted to the Culture Ministry not, apparently, directly to the CARICOM Secretariat. Pray Antiguan lyricists and composers don’t get left out because we’re sleeping on this as we have other opportunities in the past.

Anyway, each member state is supposed to submit its top 6 and then a regional panel will take it from there.

N.B. re intellectual property: the winning entry becomes the exclusive property of the CARICOM Secretariat. Runners up may reserve right to their composition. All entries must be original and shall not infringe upon the copyright of another.

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Press release – November 21, 2012, St. John’s, Antigua: Aspiring, young journalists, visual artists and photographers age 7 to 18 will have an opportunity to design and write the first ever Donkey Sanctuary magazine that will be sold to visitors and supporters.

This exciting opportunity is all part of the Antigua Donkey Sanctuary’s new education, outreach program to attract more visitors as well as involve young people in the work of this world recognised organisation: “The Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society started looking after at risk, stray and abandoned donkeys since1993 and we presently look after 160 donkeys at our sanctuary near Bethesda. We do have visitors both local and tourists who come along and fall in love with the Donkeys and sponsor them. However, we want to reach more people and felt that a magazine designed and written by young people would make a great souvenir,” states Karen M. Corbin, President/Executive Director Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society.

The competition is real simple and is free to enter, as Corbin explains” We wanted a competition that would allow the winners to have real hands on experience of designing, writing, drawing and taking pictures for the magazine. All they have to do is like our official Face Book Page – Antigua’s Donkey Sanctuary and complete the following sentence: ‘I want to work with the Donkey Sanctuary because………………………….’ and post it on our face book page or email abhumane@candw.ag or they can leave their entries at the Antigua and Barbuda Museum on Long street. They will have to add their name, age, school and contact number.”

The best ten entries will become the editorial team and will spend a day at the Donkey Sanctuary working with HAMA Antigua and Brenda Lee Browne to produce the magazine. This is such a great opportunity for young persons who like to write, to ask questions, draw and take photographs. We are really looking forward to seeing the end product”

There will also be prizes for the top ten, which will be announced as well as a plaque honouring the editorial team permanently displayed at the Donkey Sanctuary and receive copies of the magazine for their portfolio.

The deadline for entries is November 30th and winners will be notified the first week of December.

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New Prize for Emerging Caribbean Writers

Here’s a little something writers in the region can look forward to. A step in a positive direction, right?

Here’s the posting found at susumba.com:

The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, copped this year by Earl Lovelace, is the centre piece of the Bocas Literary Festival. However, the introduction of a new prize garnered its own share of the spotlight. The Hollick-Avron Prize will have a purse of £10,000.00 dedicated to allowing an emerging writer to complete a manuscript.

The prize was introduced by Lady Sue Hollick during the award ceremony for the OCM Bocas Prize on Saturday April 28, 2012, at the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s Academy of the Performing Arts, Port of Spain. The prize will come as a great boon to emerging writers, as finding the space to write is one of the most coveted resources for a writer. The prize will also facilitate the awardee to travel to the UK for networking and training and will generally facilitate their working with an established writer.

In separate years, the Hollick-Avron prize will be awarded to fiction writers, non-fiction writers and poets. The prize is open to writers living in the Caribbean and writing in English. The awardees will be selected by a panel of judges including representatives from the Hollick-Avron Foundation and the Bocas Prize.

Announced as a part of the 2012 Bocas Literary festival which was itself teeming with writers struggling to get published, the announcement of the Hollick-Avron prize was certainly a part of the icing on a satisfying sophomore installment of the festival.

The announcement of the prize shows the value that the organizers of the the NGC Bocas Lit Fest have placed on writing prizes and its important to developing writers. Submissions to the Hollick-Avron Prize will close on September 30, 2012. The inaugural winner will then be announced in March of 2013 and the prize awarded later that year.

N.B. This is where you’ll be able to find more information as it all develops.

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