You know us, we try to keep track of and celebrate our Wadadli Pen alum. Vega was a regular for a time and earned honourable mention in the 12 and younger category in 2012, second place in the same category in 2013, and won the category in 2014. Since then she’s been exploring her musical side, initially doing covers and since graduating to original content like this one:
This page has grown fairly quickly, so I’m breaking it up in to two pages. For H – N, go here, for O – T, go here, for U – Z, go here. and for books, go here. This is exclusively for creative pieces by Antiguans and Barbudans accepted to established literary journals, festivals (and other notable literary platforms), and contests (not pieces posted only to personal blogs) as I discover (and in some cases, re-discover) them. Primarily, the focus is on pieces accessible online (i.e. linkable) because those are easiest to find; but it is not limited to these. It is intended as a record of our publications and presentation of creative works beyond sole authored books. Naturally, I’ll miss some things. You can recommend (in fact, I welcome your recommendations), but, as with all areas of the site, additions/subtractions are at the discretion of the admin.
AARON, GLENROY – ‘Summer One’ and ‘Coconut Man’ (visual art – painting) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014
ADAMS, RILYS – Fictional Reality (fiction, 2011 award winning Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem (Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011
AFLAK, ALLAN – (visual art – photography – also published in Alexis Andrews’ book Images in 2007) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007
AIRALL, ZAHRA – – Island Expressions in St. Kitts – 2016
AIRALL, ZAHRA – The Looking Glass (fiction) – in Theorizing Homophobias in the Caribbean – Complexities of Place, Desire and Belonging – 2012
Excerpt: “They’d met at a conference in Mexico, she was from Dominica, and Laurie was instantly drawn to that thick French accent when Marie spoke.”
ANDREWS, ALEXIS – (visual art – photography) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007
ARMSTRONG, VEGA – Legend of the Sea Lords (fiction, 2012 award winning Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem – 2012 + Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014
Excerpt: “Suddenly Freya dove under the water, the others quickly followed her. When they caught up with her they too saw the mysterious creature.”
ARRINDELL, BARBARA – Belonging to Barbuda (fiction) – Caribbean Feminist Stories, intersectantigua.com – 2020
ARRINDELL, BARBARA – Scholarship Child (fiction, from her book The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories) – Interviewing the Caribbean (Caribbean Childhood: Traumas and Triumphs Part 2) edited by Opal Palmer Adisa – 2020
ARRINDELL, BARBARA – A LIFE, a spirit…a name (fiction, subsequently published in 2017 anthology The Black Notes edited by Althea Prince) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014
ARRINDELL, BARBARA – How Snake Stories became Anansi Stories (fiction, fable) – Womanspeak: A Journal of Writing and Art by Caribbean Women, Volume 7 – 2013
AUGUSTUS, CARL – Isolation (visual art and poetry) – in intersectantigua.com – 2020
AUGUSTUS, CARL – Live Free (visual art) – in intersectantigua.com – 2020
AUGUSTUS, CARL – Take Flight (visual art and text) – in intersectantigua.com – 2020
BARNES, SYLVANUS – Harp of Gold (poetry, from his book Barney’s Wit and Wisdom) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007
BARTON, SHARON – ‘Evolution’ (visual art – designer gown, worn by Antigua Carnival Queen first runner-up Kimmorna Otto, which, in 2005, won best evening gown; it attempts to capture the colour and flow of reggae and calypso) and ‘Wild Orchid’ (visual art – designer gown worn in 2006 by Antigua Carnival Queen runner-up Charmaine Morgan) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007
BATSON, NADIA – Expose (song lyrics, the Trinidad and Tobago singer/songwriter penned the tune for Antigua-Barbuda soca band El A Kru) – Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007
BEAZER, CHATRISSE – The Legend of Banana Boy (fiction, 2011 award winning Wadadli Pen short story) – Anansesem (Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011
BENJAMIN, AKEILE – The Adventures of Mr. Coconut (fiction, 2012 award winning Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem – 2012
BROWN, MARK – ‘Jumbie’ and ‘Queen of the Band’ (visual art – painting) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007
BROWNE, BRENDA LEE – Granny Cecelia’s Travelling Handbag – Womanspeak: A Journal of Art and Writing by Caribbean Women Volume 8 – 2016
Excerpt: “Dante’s mother asks if he is getting married as he smells as sweet as a bride and he had been getting ready since about 5pm – well since midday when he went to the barbers for a trim and a shape.”
BROWNE, BRENDA LEE – For my Father & Untitled (poetry) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014
BROWNE, BRENDA LEE – Betty Sope – Womanspeak: A Journal of Writing and Art by Caribbean Women, Volume 7 – 2013
BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – Wee Willie Winkie (fiction, winner of the 2016 Marguerite Cobb-McKay Prize) – The Caribbean Writer Volume 29 – 2015
BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – Stabs in the Dark (fiction) – Akashic’s Mondays are Murder series – 2014
BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – Strange Fruit (fiction) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014
CADOGAN, DAVID – ‘Rasta Pan’ (visual art – painting) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007
CHARLES, KENNELLA – Awaken to the Night – (fiction, 2005 award winning Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem (Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011
CHRISTOPHER, MARCUS – Lyrical Sampler (calypso lyrics) – Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014
DIXON, S A – (visual art – illustration for Market Day by Latisha Walker-Jacobs, award winning art and story in Wadadli Pen 2011 Challenge) + Cocos Nucifera (fiction, 2011 award winning Wadadli Pen short story) – Anansesem (Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011
DORAM, HEATHER – ‘Spirit of Carnival’ (visual art – mixed media painting on felt, cover art capturing the colour, glitter, and masking of the Carnival season, and illustrating the mythical connection with the inner self that happens during Carnival) and ‘Mama Looka Mas!’ (visual art – painting); and ‘Genesis’ (used a metaphor for Carnival and life, worn in 1994 by Lesley-ann Brown) and ‘CARICOM Woman’ (exploring the concept of “us coming together as a people, as a region” worn in 1992 by Diana Horsford) and ‘Spirit of Africa’ (worn by 1993 Antigua Carnival Queen Charmaine Bailey) and ‘Lady in Red’ (worn by 1988 Antigua Carnival Queen Irma-Marie Senhouse) – (visual art – costumes with builder and husband Connie Doram). Additional costumes for Vitus mas troupe (a highlander costume, 1997’s ‘Cocks Crow’, 2000’s ‘Folktales’ including characters like Anancy in his spider’s web, and 2003’s ‘Peace and Love’ (the stiltwalker section High High High)) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007
D’ORNELLAS, ANNALISA -Toes in the Sand (poetry, national contest selection) – 2009
Excerpt: “I was once a girl that played on these shores. I gathered the shells in bundles and scores. I wore them on my neck and strung some as bangles I noticed their twinkling and delightful angles.”
ECKERT, DEBORAH – ‘Lornette and Oriane’ (visual art – painting) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007
Excerpt (from Johnson’s introduction): “The stories, riddles, and proverbs given in this collection were recited by George W. Edwards, a native of Greenbay, Antigua, British West Indies…George Edwards is a man fifty years old. In giving the bulk of this material, he exhibited unusual memory-power. Aside from prompting, suggestions, and riddles Nos. 34, 39, 42, 45, and 47, he alone is responsible for the entire collection. He has lived in New York for the past ten years. His greatest aid in recalling the stories has been his wife, who is about thirty years of age and also a native of Greenbay, Antigua. She is the informant of the five riddles mentioned above.”
EDWARDS, GEORGE W. (AS TOLD TO JOHN H. JOHNSON) – The Chosen Suitor from Folklore from Antigua, British West Indies, Journal of American Folklore Vol. 34 No. 131 – as reproduced in Bluebeard (ed. D. L. Ashliman) – 1999 -2014
Excerpt: “Dere’s a woman had one daughter an one son. Dis boy coco-bay, boy, an’ he was an’ ol’ witch too.”
EDWARDS, SHAKEEMA – Diaspora & That Laugh (poetry)- Tongues of the Ocean (special issue – Artists and Writers of Antigua and Barbuda edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse) – 2014
EDWARDS, SHAKEEMA – The Curse of the Kumina (fiction, 2011 award winning Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem (Best of Wadadli Pen Special Issue) – 2011
EVANSON, TANYA – Poetry Africa (Durham, South Africa) – 2018
EVANSON, TANYA – performs at the 8th Word N Sound International Youth Poetry Festival in Newtown Johannesburg – 2018
EVANSON, TANYA – Temple Exercises as feature poet at Vancouver Slam – 2016
EVANSON, TANYA – GRIOTS OF ALL TIME – live spoken word @ The Club, The Banff Centre, Banff AB Canada / 2014 Spoken Word Program
EVANSON, TANYA – Word Aloud Festival (Durhan, Canada) – 2014
EVANSON, TANYA – Mundo Gumbo – Canadian Festival of Spoken Word – 2013
EVANSON, TANYA – Apocalypsiata (poetry) – Womanspeak: A Journal of Art and Writing by Caribbean Women, Volume 7 – 2013
Excerpt: “Soon there’ll be nothing left to burn/books, beds, bodies on the Barbie”
EVANSON, TANYA – reading/performing at Calgary Spoken Word Festival – 2013.
EVANSON, TANYA – reading/performing (including “An-teee-ga”) at the Calgary Spoken Word Festival – 2012
Excerpt: “Let me tell you bout that place/in Caribbean/clear blue water/sand sat between your toes/in hot sun/and the people/my people/and not my people/Antigua” (An-teee-ga)
EVANSON, TANYA – Zamizdat Scat at Calgary Spoken Word Festival – 2011
EVANSON, TANYA – Dervish Weaponry (poetry, from the 2008 CD Memorists) – on Badilisha Poetry X-Change – 2008
FARARA, JAN – ‘Steel and Sparkle’, ‘Rhythm at Sunset’, ‘Carnival Pride’, and ‘Carnival Stilts’ (visual art – paintings) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007
GEORGE, GEMMA – Stray Dog prepares for the Storm – (fiction, 2004 award winnin g Wadadli Pen story) – Anansesem (the Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011
GEORGE, LINISA – The Rebellion (poetry) – intersectantigua.com – 2020
GEORGE, LINISA – In the Closet (poetry) – BBC Poetry Postcards series – 2014.
GONSALVES, GAYLE – Miss Ellie (fiction) – Tongues of the Ocean – 2014
Excerpt: ‘Ellie points to England, a land that is far from the Caribbean Sea, and smiles at her daughter, “This is where it all started.”’
GORDON, CAROL – ‘Ancestral Call’, ‘Dance’, ‘Friend’, and ‘Nubian’ (visual art – painting) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007
GORDON, ORIQUE – The Lost Coin (fiction, 2011 award winning Wadadli Pen short story) – Anansesem (Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011
GRANT, DEBESHA – Blue Mountain Hike (fiction, 2005 award winning Wadadli Pen short story) – Anansesem (Wadadli Pen special issue) – 2011
GREGORY, JAMILA – ‘Bird of Paradise’ (visual art – costume design intended as a play on the word ‘Bird’, depicting the flower ‘Bird of Paradise’ and also the bird ‘The Great Bird of Paradise’. It was the first costume to ever to be presented on stilts in the pageant’s history. It was built by Johnson Browne, Jamila Gregory, and the Vitus Mas Troupe. Gregory, the 2006 Carnival Queen, won the costume segment of the Antigua Carnival Queen competition) – in Carnival is All We know: an Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Antigua’s Carnival and the Creativity of Our Writers & Artists (edited by Joanne C. Hillhouse and published as a supplement in the Daily Observer) – 2007
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, Musical Youth, Oh Gad!, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). All Rights Reserved. Please do not repost artist images without permission and credit. If you enjoyed this post, check out myJhohadli page and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen, my books, and my freelance writing-editing-coaching-workshop services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.
Well, I missed this, the recording of it anyway but was back on island in time to catch as much of it as I could from the pounding in my head through the flu. They talked about books and reading mostly from what I saw, about Jamaica Kincaid and Jean Rhys and about encouraging young people to read just by making it fun again, not tethered to anything, just for fun; and the participants (overall 2014 winner and 13 to 17 winner Asha Graham, winning teacher Margaret Irish, and winner 12 and younger Vega Armstrong accompanied by Glen Toussaint of the Best of Books) did get the opportunity to read from their winning stories. Media coverage has not been at the desired levels this 2014 season so we are thankful for the interest shown by Paula Show host and proud of the way our writers articulated their love of the literary arts reinforcing that far from a chore it’s a pleasure, a life affirming, life enriching pleasure.
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, and Oh Gad!), founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize. 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 the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.
“This is a well-thought out story with an interesting plot and good use of vocabulary.” – JUDGE
In 1669 there was a slave plantation in Antigua called Betty’s Hope.
My name is Amelia and I’m nine years old. My father is a slave master named Christopher on a small Caribbean island called Antigua. My mother is named Elizabeth and I also have a seven year old little brother named William.
Father started the plantation a year ago but has only just brought us from England now that everything is running smoothly. Now that we are here he probably feels complete. He has a satisfied look on his face.
Father helps us out of the donkey cart and has three of the slaves bring our baggage inside the house while he shows us around. After he finishes the tour William and I are left to wander outside as father is taking mother inside the house . Some of the slaves, waist deep in the sugar cane, are staring at me.
I keep looking around but not at the fields anymore but at the sugar mill. It is magnificent! It is a tall stone building in a cylindrical shape but it narrows at the top. There are also four wooden arms on one side and the center of them is almost at the top of the mill. Close to the first mill there is another one that is in use now. I cautiously walk towards it, curious about how it works. I grab William’s hand in mine, squeeze it tightly and he squeezes mine twice in reply. William and I are really close. We went exploring a lot when we were back in England and also on the boat.
We approach the mill him walking ahead slightly. As we get there I realize what a bad idea it is but it’s too late. William is swept up in the blades and within seconds there is no trace of him. I scream at the top of my lungs. A scream so loud I am not sure it actually belongs to me. I fall to the ground weeping not able to breathe because I am choking on my sobs and to be honest I want to be with William wherever he is so I don’t mind if I die right there and then.
My parents come running to me and my mother crouches down next to me and my father is standing next to me surveying the surroundings for anything that could have upset me. He crouches down on the other side of me asking what happened.
“William,” I croaked. “He, he got swept up in the blades and he, he hasn’t come down.” I was sobbing so hard at this point barely able to say those words.
At that moment I see him fly from the blades and his limp body fell to the ground near my mother and I scream again and start soaking my clothes with even more tears. My mother tries to pick me up but I wriggle out of her arms and run to William’s body I grab his hand which is now covered with blood. My mother picks me up and carries me away. I notice some of the slaves have on smug smiles and some were whispering to each other but one young boy is staring at William in horror with tears running down his cheeks. We locked eyes and for a brief moment I feel some comfort.
I wake up and grasp in my thin sheets for William to be there but he isn’t. I step out of my room and tiptoe downstairs afraid to wake my parents.
There is some bread on the table and I rip off a chunk as I walk outside. I see the same boy who cried over William cutting cane in the fields. He is fifteen now just like me and I run up to him calling his name.
He drops the blade he is using to cut the cane and opens his arms to hug me. I squeeze him with all my might which doesn’t faze him and in return I feel his strong hands squeezing back, full of passion.
We stay like this for a few seconds before we let go. I draw back and he slips his hands into mine. I look at his fingers as they intertwine with mine and then I meet his eyes.
“Are your parents awake?” he asks as a concerned look crosses his face.
“Not as yet” I reply. His facial expression seems to relax but his grip around my hands hasn’t.
My father emerges through the front door dressed in a white cotton button-down dress shirt and light brown cotton trousers. John drops my hands suddenly and I turn around so abruptly, my long brown braid almost hitting him in the face. I turn back to him and say “I’ll see you tomorrow John, the same place, same time” I turn and run over to my father to give him a hug.
As I am about to embrace him he asks “What were you doing with him?” The question shocks me. Had he seen us holding hands or worse, hugging? These thoughts cross my mind but I decide not to show my fear.
“What do you mean by that father?” I ask very well knowing that he disliked when I answer a question with a question.
“You know perfectly well!” He snaps back.
“What do you think you saw?” I ask challenging him in an innocent way.
“The two of you hugged and then held hands!’’ He was practically shouting at this point.
“You must be mistaken father I wouldn’t ever disobey your rules”
“Enough! You can’t lie to me Amelia. Not anymore!” He yells at me and in a hushed tone he adds “These slaves have no heart darling, you can’t possibly ‘like’ one of them”
“You know you’re right, I don’t like him” I begin…
“Now you’re making sense sweetheart” He says to me in a voice you would use to praise a dog.
“I love him, and his name is John!” I finish and run back into the house.
Two weeks later
John and I are meeting behind the house to discuss running away together.
“We need to get away and soon too. Your father is making me do twice the amount of work as the other men,” he says. I can hear the desperation in his voice. He can’t even be bothered to conceal it.
“Slaves” I correct and he gives me a glare so I slip my hand into his and kiss him on the cheek. I agree with him but I don’t know where to run to. Antigua is very small and I have never been given the opportunity to explore it.
“We have to leave” he insists.
“I know but where to?” He is silent for a moment.
“Somewhere. I’ll ask around,” he tells me and he seems very sure of himself so I leave the conversation there by kissing him.
I have to tiptoe to reach him. His lips are warm and slightly cracked from the sun. When I pull back he is smiling down at me. I come down from my tiptoes and smile back at him. I walk back around to the front of the house and slip inside.
My mother and father are in the kitchen waiting for me.
“Good afternoon father, mother” I greet them “I’m so sorry that I’m late but I didn’t realize the time” I am actually sorry that I am late because my mother looks concerned and I realize why. My father had a smug look on his face and I now know that he told her.
I sit in a dining chair opposite to them and bury my head in my hands. I hear the careful footsteps of my mother approach me and then stop. I look up and forgetting my manners I snap “Get on with it then!”
My mother looks genuinely confused. I turn to face my father and yell “Why don’t you kill him already father? Instead of torturing him!” Tears are running down my cheeks at this point. “He is the only one who cared when William died!” I am screaming at this point. “He cried over him! Did you even shed one tear?” I am staring into my father’s eyes challenging him “Well, did you?” I stand and start to walk toward the stairs when my father runs in front of me blocking my path.
“If I kill him the other slaves will have a cause to rebel against me and then we would be nowhere and furthermore”. He pauses for a brief moment and then he continues, “If I ever see you with him again you will be sent back to England.”
I was thinking of how much William had wanted to stay in England. I push past my father and run up to my room. I lock the door behind me and move my dresser in front of the door for extra security. I pack a bag and within ten minutes I am ready to leave but I decide to wait till nightfall.
An hour after all the light had faded out of the sky I climb out of my window and carefully make my way down the side of the building. I run towards the little huts on the far side of the sugar cane fields. I find John wide awake while all the other men are asleep. He’s sitting by an empty fire pit staring into it as if there are flames in it that are mesmerizing him. I touch his shoulder and he jumps out of his trance.
“Now?” He asks. He was clearly confused but he was excited nevertheless.
“Yes, of course now. When else?” I giggle. He picks me up and spins me around which results in more giggling and he has to remind me to be quiet.
We hold hands and run into the bushes, letting the darkness swallow us…
Author’s bio: Vega Armstrong is a first form student at St. Anthony’s Secondary School. This is the third consecutive year she has entered the Wadadli Pen Challenge and the third year she has placed (2012, 2013). In 2014, she is, for the first time, the winner of her category, the 12 and younger age category and was a judges’ favourite for the main prize in the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge. Vega loves dancing, art, writing, reading and horseback riding.
*re prize split – please note that each shortlisted writer receives a Certificate of Achievement as well as discount cards from the Best of Books; and the overall winner’s name has been emblazoned alongside the name of past winners onto the Challenge plaque – sponsored by the Best of Books.
SCHOOLS WITH THE MOST SUBMISSIONS
Primary School – St. John’s Catholic Primary – US$500 worth of books sponsored by Hands Across the Sea
Author of Revelations Tonight and Remembrance
Overall Winner (Revelations Tonight), Winner in the 13 to 17 age category (Revelations Tonight) and Third placed in the 13 to 17 age category (Remembrance)
I am Joanne C. Hillhouse. I am first and foremost a writer (author of The Boy from Willlow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad! and contributor to other anthologies and journals) who could’ve benefited from this kind of encouragement back in the day. That’s why I do this. Congratulations to all the winners, and remember this is not just a contest; this is our attempt to nurture and showcase Antiguan and Barbudan literary talent. We’ve taken the time over the years to provide feedback to the winning writers, conduct writing workshops including online workshops right here on this site, visit schools, and other activities (such as this site) designed to help young writers hone their skills. As we showcase your best efforts here on https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com we encourage you to keep writing and to remain open to the opportunities to become a better writer.
On a fine Saturday young Scarlet and Davy were bored. Bored of watching the flat screen TV, playing in the cottage, swimming in the pool with the view of the ocean, to be honest even flying to the Bahamas for the day sounded boring. Scarlet, Davy’s younger sister was always very trusting of everybody including the crazy Rasta man who roamed the island talking to the plants. Scarlet was only six and mom’s favorite so Davy entertained her against his will. He was twice her age with another baby sister or brother soon to come. Their mom Maringa chose to come to Jumby Bay every time she was expecting a baby.
“What can we do, Davy?” Scarlet asked. She had the cutest British accent that you will ever hear.
“I don’t know…….” Davy paused to think of something. After a long pause he came up with a brilliant idea, possibly the best in eight months,
“Let’s play a game of hide and seek!”
“That sounds so much fun, Divvy!”
“My name is Davy not Divvy,” he sighed deeply. “Let’s just play the game. I’ll count to a hundred and then you go hide anywhere you want the further from me the better.” Scarlet paused. “One…. Two…. Three….” Davy said and off she went, “Ninety nine…. One hundred!”
Davy went to look for Scarlet. He looked in the cottage, in the bedrooms, on the beach, he even rode his bike all around the island calling out her name, but nothing. Davy came to Hali’s house.
“You see Scarlet today?” Davy asked.
“No…..” Hali replied but Davy knew that ‘no’ better than anyone else especially when it was from Hali. Davy always hated when people did that to him but he had no time for the ‘I’m gonna figure it out if I have to’ gimmick so he gave her an ‘I’m disappointed in you’ look and left it at that.
Soon after Davy left, Hali went up to her tree house and called softly for Scarlet. She peeped through a crack in the door.
“Is he gone?” Scarlet asked.
“Yes he’s gone” Hali replied.
“Good! Can I get some sparkling apple juice and a low fat glucose free chocolate chip cookie…… please?”
“Sure as soon as I figure out what that means.” said Hali.
Meanwhile Davy had returned home and alerted his mother that Scarlet was missing.
“What? My little Scarletta?! All on her own? Oh my my my this isn’t happening!” Davy’s mum was from Italy originally so she spoke with a funny accent. “The Rasta man! What was his name again? Rusty? Dusty? Oh right it was Twado! He must have taken my poor innocent Scarletta! When I find him I will make sure that he is sent to jail!” Davy and Maringa set off to find Twado. They found him an hour later talking to some hibiscuses.
“Give me back my daughter!” Maringa ordered.
“I know nothing of your daughter disappearing,” Twado replied. Twado found it odd that Scarlet would run away from home. So he set out to find her and finally he found her hiding away in Hali’s tree house.
“Scarlet, why did you run away from home?” Twado asked.
“I didn’t I was playing hide and seek with Divvy, I would never run away from home.” Scarlet batted her long eyelashes at Twado. “Please may you take me home now?”
“Of course my little bird of paradise! Did you know that a bird of paradise is a flower?” Scarlet looked at him in a puzzled way. Twado returned Scarlet home safely and her mum apologized to Twado after Scarlet told them the whole story.
That night as Maringa was putting Scarlet to bed Scarlet asked in the smallest whisper she could muster up
” Mummy, can we get Twado to be our gardener?” after a long pause Scarlet felt rather discouraged.
” Well……. if it makes my little Scarletta happy, then sure!” But while Scarlet was getting all excited about Twado being their gardener, Davy was plotting on ways to convince his mother that the crazy guy was no good. Davy was SICK AND TIRED of his sister always getting her way….. so this meant WAR!
Akeile Benjamin’s Adventures of Mr. Coconut is one of two Wadadli Pen 2012 finalists to have been selected for inclusion in the latest issue of Anansesem. It is the first of the two to be posted to the website of the Caribbean children’s ezine, with (per the editor’s discretion) new illustrations by 16-year-old Joshua Wong of Trinidad. To see the original with drawings submitted by the school, Wesleyan Junior Academy, go here. To see the version with new illustrations at Anansesem, go here.
UPDATE: Akeile’s story seems to be something of a critical success. Pulled these comments from Facebook: “I really do love this story. The voice that comes through is sweet, sincere and very special. I hope Akeile continues to write!”
“I too was impressed by Akeile’s story. She masters the simplicity and brevity that children’s authors aim for. All aspiring children’s authors can stand to learn a lot from reading children’s writing. And Joshua did such a good job illustrating the story!”
And now the second story selected, Vega Armstrong’s Legend of the Sea Lords is posted as well. See the original here, and the version on Anansesem with illustrations by Jolie Wong, here.
UPDATE: Vega’s story is also receiving some facebook love: “I loved the story! Vega is a very talented writer. Congratulations to Vega!”
“Wow! So impressed!“
Congratulations and continued writing to both Akeile and Vega, and to all the daring young people who continue to take up the Wadadli Pen challenge.