Tag Archives: patronage

Press Release – Wadadli Pen, New Prize Pays Tribute

A Wadadi Pen Release, the second after the release announcing the launch of the Wadadli Pen 2021 season, was disseminated to the media on March 10th 2021. Thanks to media like the Daily Observer, and many others – including longtime patron Antiguanice.com. The text is copied below.

Press Release

Wadadli Pen, New Prize Pays Tribute

March 10th 2021

On the heels of launching the 2021 season of the Wadadli Pen Challenge with a March 26th submission deadline, the organizers announce several additional and very meaningful patronages.

Cedric Holder, father of Zuri Holder, who died tragically in a road accident in January, has requested inclusion of a plaque to honor his memory. The Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award, inclusive of a gift certificate toward the purchase of books, will be awarded to a writer 12 years or younger. Cedric is a long time Wadadli Pen patron, his gifts typically made in the name of the Cushion Club Reading Club for Children, with which he is chief volunteer and of which Zuri was a member. Zuri also had history with Wadadli Pen – 2nd place in the 12 and younger category in 2011 and 3rd place overall and winner of the 12 and younger age category in 2013.

Zuri with his two prize certificates from the 2013 Wadadli Pen awards ceremony.

“His passing remains a huge personal loss to his family, friends, and all the communities he belonged to,” said Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, who also volunteered with the Cushion Club and knew Zuri for many years as a result. “We welcome Cedric’s desire to keep his name alive in this way, while contributing meaningfully to the development of other young people.”

Wadadli Pen also welcomes a cash contribution (EC$300) from award winning author Rilzy Adams, pen name of local lawyer Rilys Adams. Rilys, author of almost 20 self-published books, recently collected an international romance industry award for her novel Go Deep, only her latest accolade. Rilys is also a former Wadadli Pen finalist (2nd place in 2005 and 2006) – one of two former finalists who are 2021 patrons. The other is Daryl George who has contributed EC$250. “It feels good to see that Wadadli Pen has not only survived these 17 years, since it first launched in 2004, but that the people who’ve come through the programme have gone on to do great things, of which we are only a small part,” Hillhouse said, “and that they’ve looked back.” The Wadadli Pen core team also includes two former finalists.

Though focused on nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, Wadadli Pen is networked with Caribbean literary entities and one, Diana McCaulay and her publisher Peepal Tree Press have pledged her latest award winning book Daylight Come to the Prize Package.

More than 80 books including Big Cat Caribbean titles have already been received from Harper Collins (UK). Other announced 2021 patrons, so far, are the Best of Books, Moondancer Books, award winning Jamaican author Olive Senior, and new local author Patricia Tully.

Wadadli Pen is still hoping to attract more patronage for both the Wadadli Pen Challenge and the #readAntiguaBarbuda readers’ choice book of the year initiative. To support the work, email wadadlipen@gmail.com To create and submit to the Wadadli Pen Challenge download the submission form at the Wadadli Pen 2021 tab on wadadlipen.wordpress.com There, too, you’ll find the link to vote for your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan book of the year.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2021, Wadadli Pen News

Wadadli Pen 2020 Diary – About Those Gifts We Give

According to site data, there have been 11 downloads of the 2020 WADADLI YOUTH PEN PRIZE SUBMISSION FORM today (more than a hundred since the mid-January launch of the Wadadli Pen 2020 Challenge) which is good news if it’s a reflection of interest and potential submissions. Let’s hope.

There are definitely more opportunities to win with four instead of the usual three age categories (6 and younger – thanks to a recommendation from our 2020 volunteer Eu-tisha Crump, 7 – 12, 13 – 17, 18 – 35) in addition to the main prize, plus 3 (count em, 3) themed prizes – the 3-panel comic strip for the artists, the Wa’omani prize for Barbudans, and the Imagine a Future for those with an interest in climate change and speculative fiction. A prize for the school with most submissions as well.


More than ever, given the expansion, we are seeking patronage (and have had a number of really good patrons come on board out of the gate for 2020 despite how late our approach was this year). The prizes aren’t the point of the Wadadli Pen Challenge, of course. The point is encouraging/nurturing creative literary and artistic expression among young people in Antigua and Barbuda, and showcasing it. But the gifts we give are a way of rewarding the best efforts of our participants – and for me as a working writer planting the seed that the arts have value. With the prizes, the goal has been to make the gifts be something that can truly be appreciated and, where possible, help with the artists development. At the same time, we accept whatever companies can give and package them specifically for the recipient. We hope that these gifts are appreciated. We certainly appreciate the patronage when we get it. And cake, we always appreciate cake.

Cake designed and made by Danielle George-John of Sweet Dreams for Wadadli Pen’s 10th anniversary in 2014.

Which brings me to a challenge we face when returning to someone who’s given before – a gift certificate, a cheque… If someone gives, they want to be sure that it’s appreciated. We can tell them thank you a million times and we do  but if the recipient doesn’t make use of the gift, they notice. This has happened a few times over the years – a cheque that wasn’t cashed a year after our prize giving, a lunch voucher for two at a nice beachside restaurant that was never used, excursions not taken, and other sweet things. This year we had one past patron say point blank “I have given a couple of gift certificates, for which none have ever been used, so I don’t think it makes sense to do that again.”

Which begs the question, do we have so much that we can afford to not even look a gift horse in the mouth? I remember being delighted with whatever gift I got entering essay contests in my youth – such contests were few and the prizes were rarely extravagant, though one of my earliest overseas trips was because of an essay competition prize (my first solo trip, though my parents had to pay for my sister to come along because, obviously). We’ve gifted plane tickets now and again over the years; I certainly hope they have given the recipient an adventure of their own before expiring.

Businesses don’t have to give. We try to remind them that it’s about community goodwill but in the end it’s their call and we are thankful when their response is favourable. We work really hard to make whatever they give work – to make it attractive to the particular age group receiving it – it helps the work when we make good matches (you can check any of our breakdowns of who won what by year to see how we do in that regard).

Are we so flush that we can afford to pass up gifts? How about claiming it and re-gifting it? Because not claiming it at all is not a good look.

I don’t mean to suggest that this is true with the majority of gifts but for the few that it does happen with, it makes the work of seeking patronage harder. And it’s already not easy – since I’ve been doing this (not necessarily specific to Wadadli Pen), there are companies that treat you like a beggar, which is not how I see patronage of community/youth development projects and arts philanthropy; and while we do try to ensure that companies get due mileage, we’ve had to say no to those that insist on exclusive branding – the philanthropic minded ones hang around even.

It’s a delicate dance – hard work filled with lots of reassurances and making sure the spotlight lands where it needs to (we’ve had one or two patrons complain, as well, if they feel, despite our best efforts, that they haven’t been mentioned or acknowledged in a way they find satisfactory).  I do it only because I believe in a project and want to see it thrive, and none of what we’ve received 2004 to present has gone in to my pocket nor any of the partners who’ve worked with me over the years. That dynamic may change when we become a legal non-profit as legal non-profits do have budgets and staff and a board; but that’s how it’s been – every year reaching out and making sure that everything we receive goes to the deserving artist and writers as reward for their efforts.

If you’re reading this and you are one of those artists or writers, it will help the ecosystem of Wadadli Pen for you to make use of what’s given so that when we return next year, we won’t have to ask twice.

One of the first major patrons was Comnett (represented here by owner Gerard Shoul). He gifted inaugural winner Gemma George a computer.

And we’re asking; so, if you’re reading this and are thinking of giving, we need it still, no gift too small (we love putting gift packages together) so please reach out at wadadlipen@gmail.com

-Joanne C. Hillhouse, Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator. All Rights Reserved.


Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2020, Wadadli Pen News

Wadadli Pen 2017 Challenge Patrons

Wanted to take a minute to bump this up, because we couldn’t do anything we do without the support of our patrons. So we want to say thank you and encourage you to support the individuals and businesses that support the arts. This 2017 cycle that list includes (but is not limited to):
Art. Culture. Antigua
The Best of Booksthank-you

the Cushion Club of Antigua and Barbuda
the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank (ECAB)
Frank B. Armstrong/Seven Seas
Jane Seagull (artist)
Joanne C. Hillhouse (author)
Juneth Webson
Raw Island Products
Sweet Dreams

More about all named patrons and their relationship to Wadadli Pen after the jump.

And, yes, there’s still time to get on board if you are an individual or business wishing to support the Wadadli Pen 2017 Challenge Season. Just email us at wadadlipen@gmail.com

Wadadli Pen


“Did You Know?  With its anthro- root, philanthropy means literally “love of mankind”. Thus, philanthropy is giving money for a purpose or cause benefiting people who you don’t personally know. Individuals have often set up their own permanent philanthropic organizations in the form of foundations. The greatest American philanthropists have included Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller, but tens of millions of us could be considered philanthropists on a much smaller scale.” – Merriam-Webster
This page is our acknowledgment and thanks of our philanthropists right here in Antigua and Barbuda, and its diaspora, who continue to show their love during the season of giving which always precedes the Wadadli Pen Challenge season (which launches in January) by pledging to support our efforts. At Wadadli Pen, when it comes to our annual Challenge, we’ve always operated by the principle that likkle likkle…

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February 9, 2017 · 6:53 pm