Tag Archives: reading challenge

Cushion Club in Session, Reading Challenge Winners Rewarded


Congrats to Shadae Williams, standing, left, and Kevin McCalmon, standing, second from right, for winning our Summer Reading Challenge. Hope you like your prizes (presented during the first session of the new Cushion Club season), and that you keep reading. And for all young lovers of reading adventure and community-minded adults, the Cushion Club meets during the regular school year, Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon, University of the West Indies (Open Campus) – Antigua and Barbuda – new members and new adult volunteers always welcomed.

This Cushion Club member insisted on making the presentations; pulling up a chair and seating Kevin and Shadae like they were royalty before giving them their gifts. Gotta love her.

This Cushion Club member insisted on making the presentations; pulling up a chair and seating Kevin and Shadae like they were royalty before giving them their gifts. Gotta love her.

Shadae Williams won the Musical Youth challenge - writing among other things in her review “I’m totally in love with this book … it took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. I’m [definitely] looking forward to a part two.”

Shadae Williams won the Musical Youth challenge – writing among other things in her review “I’m totally in love with this book … it took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. I’m [definitely] looking forward to a part two.”

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Well, lookah here, lookah here!

The Cushion Club Wadadli Pen Reading Challenge just got real!

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This is part of the larger Challenge. So, yes, if you’re taking the Cushion Club Wadadli Pen Reading Challenge you’re eligible for this prize. You’ll note that if you’re outside the window of people (5 to 15) eligible for the Cushion Club Wadadli Pen Reading Challenge you may still be eligible for this prize. You just have to be resident in Antigua and Barbuda. I gotta admit I’m psyched to see what you guys come up with in response to this challenge, which really is a challenge to your creativity.


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Courts Reading Comp

Saw this in the local paper and thought I’d share it.

Courts Antigua Reading Competition is back again for the seventh consecutive year with te company’s very popular and success ‘Courts Schools Reading Competition.’ The competition which was first launched in 2008 in conjunction with the Ministry of Education has the sole goal of eradicating illiteracy in Antigua and Barbuda.

The official launch was held during the Sunnyside Tutorial’s Schools’ assembly with reining champion Khadijah Simon giving the opening remarks. She spoke proudly of her experience as the winner and her joy of being the overall winner of $3,000 for herself and $2,000 for her school plus the amazing opportunity to travel to Grenada for the regional competition.


Mr. Howard Warner, the principal of Sunnyside took the time to further encourage the students to follow in the footsteps of Khadijah and to keep the title of ‘Courts Reading Competition champions’ at the school.

“Nine books in eight weeks” was the mantra…

This year, the winner of the finals of the local leg of the competition will receive $2,000 for them plus an additional $2,000 for his/her school.  He/she will also get the opportunity to represent Antigua & Barbuda at the regional finals to be held in Dominica on October 15th.


I’ll end with a reminder that book lovers can also participate in the Cushion Club Wadadli Pen Reading Challenge. The more reading, the more adventure, all the better.

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The Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project: A Space for Young Antiguans and Barbudans to Get Creative

Talked a bit about the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project on Observer Radio ( @Observer Media ) this week. Thanks to Darren Matthew Ward and Amar Spencer.

I’ll add only that I’m here situated in Antigua, a writer and a media person, interested in working with young writers or with young people (and adults, my adult writing workshops, like Ah-nuld, will be back) in general who want to improve their literary skills or just carve a space in their lives to flex/exercise their literary muscles. We are all works in progress and I continue to work on my own as well, participating in writing workshops and retreats when I’m able. You don’t realize how draining life can be on your creativity until you’re in a space, if only for an hour that is just about the creativity.

Darren asked me during our interview about the future of the arts (in Antigua and Barbuda) and (despite the intimations by some that I am effectively in a dying industry and the sense, certainly in our space where it is not prioritized) all I can say is go back to earliest civilization, there has been a creative spark, through all the changes over millennia, there has been a creative spark, on the plantations where oppressors worked overtime to stamp out my ancestors’ humanity, there was a creative spark, there will be as long as there are humans trying to interact with or make sense of their world, as long as there is a living, breathing soul inside of us, a creative spark. We create because we are.

As a freelance writer, in a space with limited (very limited) support for the creative arts, I try to find ways to not only do what I do, share my own work but work with others. When I started Wadadli Pen, best known as an annual arts Challenge it aspired and aspires to be more than a competition. As a voluntary project with zero resources of its own, the Challenge is primarily what I’ve been able to do with it. But one thing the challenge reveals each year is the spark of potential in so many of our young people and young writers, there only to be stoked and encouraged.

Through the Jhohadli Writing Project, my own professional writing services, I hope to play a more developmental role, allowing people to pay where they can and/or businesses and individuals to support someone else in the journey, where they are able and willing. It’s not something I can do for free, but I do want it to be accessible which is one of the reasons that I invite sponsorship so that I can offer spaces to promising writers who don’t have the ability to pay. That’s where I am with this.

Appreciated the opportunity to share more.

And as usual thinking about a million other things I should have said (such as the obvious connection between this arts programme and the kind of programme the kids in #MusicalYouth were involved with). Musical Youth is my latest book and my publisher CaribbeanReads will probably want to ring my ear for not plugging it…or Best of Books which was so gracious for spotlighting the book as its teen summer read. Glad I got to get a word in on the reading challenge put on by my two primary voluntary projects the Cushion Club and Wadadli Pen (supported with book discounts by Best of Books and Cindy’s Bookstore…shout out as well to Map Shop which helped us compile the reading list).

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,  Fish Outta Water, Oh Gad!, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. 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. And using any creative work without crediting the creator will open you up to legal action. Respect copyright.

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Update of Updates! Caribbean Reads, publisher of Musical Youth has got in on the action with its challenge within a challenge, especially for teens (12 to 18). Show your creativity. Show your social media savvy. But first, read Musical Youth then express your opinion, creatively.
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Additional Update! Also on board is Cindy’s Bookstore located in the Mega Mall on All Saints Road. They, too, are offering a 20 percent discount for anyone purchasing a book from the reading list who indicates that they’re “accepting the challenge”.

Update! The Cushion Club Wadadli Pen Summer Reading List has been updated with additional recommendations courtesy the Best of Books. The list includes their Caribbean Teen Summer pick Haiti-based In Darkness by  Nick Lake and Antigua-Barbuda Teen Summer pick, Musical Youth, a finalist for the Burt Award, by Joanne C. Hillhouse. When you go in to purchase your books for the reading list, be sure to let them know you’re “accepting the challenge” for a possible 20 percent discount.  Thanks to both Map Shop and the Best of Books for their assistance with compiling this list.

The Challenge – go through the CUSHION CLUB WADADLI PEN SUMMER READING LIST 2015, select the books you want to read, get and read as many of those books as you can or want to, write a short (very short) paragraph about your favourite character or something you liked about the book; submit complete list and mini-reviews to cushionclub@yahoo.com at the end of August 2015. You must be resident in Antigua and Barbuda and aged 5 to 15 to participate. Please indicate your age and contact information when submitting. To be considered for a prize, you must have read a MINIMUM of three books including one by an Antiguan-Barbudan author, one by a Caribbean author, and one international. We encourage you to borrow and share books when you can, and/or purchase from local bookstores (including Map Shop which assisted with compiling this list) as able. Some of the books are available for loan from the Cushion Club; call 722-7719 to follow up on that. DO NOT email re borrowing books, call only, please! Email cushionclub@yahoo.com ONLY to send your list and mini-reviews at the end of summer and be considered for a prize. Yes, there’s a prize; maybe even prizes! Not the least of which is the fun reading adventure you’re about to embark on. Parental Advisory: 5 to 15 cuts a wide swath. While all books are chosen for their literary merit and appeal to the target age group, some deal with more ‘grown up’ themes (sexuality, death etc.) and while deemed appropriate for older readers are not necessarily appropriate for younger readers, others may require guided reading and interaction between child/teen and parent; parents, please be guided accordingly.
About the Cushion Club
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