Tag Archives: Wadadli Pen

Reading Room and Gallery 33

Sit back and enjoy, and when you’re done, if you want to sit back and enjoy some more, use the search feature to the right to search ‘reading room and gallery’ and visit the previous installments.

MISC.

“In these revisions, Brathwaite seems to be Caliban discovering his mother’s voice through the  computer for the first time.” – Professor Kelly Baker Joseph’s Kamau Brathwaite Lecture

VISUAL ART

THE BUSINESS

“My mind was blown. As a lifelong perfectionist, it had never occurred to me that I should seek out failure as a means to level up. I felt both embarrassed and eternally grateful. This eureka moment—a trusty hand-me-down from Liao—inspired me to make rejection my New Year’s resolution.” – Courtney Kocak

For more Resources, go here.

CREATIVES ON CREATING


POETRY

‘“Your fault you were drinking”
“Well, was she wearing a thong?”
“Sounds like she just wants attention or something”’ – There is Strength in Our Stories: MeToo# – Christian Garduno

***

“Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night and
Wouldn’t you love to love her?
Takes to the sky like a bird in flight and
Who will be her lover?

All your life you’ve never seen
A woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?

She is like a cat in the dark and then
She is the darkness
She rules her life like a fine skylark and when
The sky is starless

All your life you’ve never seen
A woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?
Will you ever win?

Rhiannon
Rhiannon
Rhiannon
Rhiannon

She rings like a bell through the night and
Wouldn’t you love to love her?
She rules her life like a bird in flight and
Who will be her lover? – two time Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame inductee Stevie Nicks

***

“The motherland had called our sons to her bosoms
come, sons come fight for your motherland, she said;
that bitch

Son, I have no language for this loss
him dead” – from Unwritten (Caribbean poets sharing poems inspired by the Caribbean experience in the second World War) on BBC Sounds 

FICTION

“My body was a well of fear, but the neighbor was asking if he could come in for a minute and get warm. He appeared cold and gray, and he was trembling. He smelled as if he were his own ashtray. I imagined these past weeks hard alcohol had been his water, cigarettes worked as food, but on this day he was beyond human, some kind of wild animal, all bones of limbs and ribs. His cheeks sunken, his presence felt witchy. If I had asked him to leave, he might have cast a spell on me.” – Snow Line by Elizabeth Brinsfield

***

“Meanwhile, the smell of bread, the taste of it. We’d split a loaf, slice it, and the steam would bloom up. We’d devour it. I’d bring out some butter and salt from the walk-in fridge and we’d stand in that kitchen, facing the empty bar and two-tops, eating our prize in silence. This was our communion, a religious moment, and there was nothing to contemplate but bread, and the soft inside was hot enough to burn you, and the crust could cut up the roof of your mouth.

Then I’d drive home. I’d circle my neighborhood, looking for parking, craving sleep, late afternoon, the sky turning orange. In my dreams I baked bread, ruined bread, ate bread. It went like this. Soon it would be early morning again, and I’d be trying to remember where I put my car so that I could drive back to the kitchen to bake bread, to make the kitchen dirty with flour again.” – Butter by Eve Gleichman 2016 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest Winner

***

“She told me I could serve her in heaven. She accompanied me to school each day.” – from Genesis by Tope Folarin

***

“They’re showing familiar-looking aerial footage, a SWAT team crossing the sports fields and the track, when I realize I’ve seen this all before, because I recognize that track.” – Breaking by Christopher Fox

***

“I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal— having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition.” – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

***

– Jojo Instiful and Tamera George reading from the children’s picture book With Grace by Joanne C. Hillhouse at a 2018 Black History Month event organized by the Barnes Hill Community Development Organization and held at the Barnes Hill Community Reservoir Park.

For published short fiction and/or poetry by Antiguans and Barbudans, click the links for A-M and N-Z.

REPORTING

“I propose we start by giving the prophets honour in their own land while they’re alive. Let us like Barbados and Jamaica establish positions of writer laureates or poet laureates in our country for a defined period for each of our accomplished writers, giving them the opportunity to promote writing and their own missions either in schools or in other public spaces.” – Chairman of the Folk Resource Centre, St. Lucia, Embert Charles

***

“As a child of generations of immigrants and a victim of civil war, she communicates her experience of feeling naked in a new and often unwelcoming environment. Thus, the poems in the collection reflect her attempt to get into the marrow of the immigrant’s ordeal.” – Ghana Writes Editor, Ekuwa Saighoe, interviews Prof. Mark-Romeo on The Nakedness of New

***

“Gonnella depicts boxing great Muhammad Ali as young and strong in his fighting stance, the slightest hint of amused confidence hiding in his eyes; smoke escapes in a sinewy wisp from Jimi Hendrix’s lips, parted in a playful smile.” – Pop Phiz Fantastic by Naydene Gonnella as reported by Andrea Milam in Maco

***

‘“Ryan really wanted them to have these blankets close off their costumes because he wanted them to have this moment of reveal, where they push the blankets back and you see their weaponry and they go into battle,” said Carter of her work on Black Panther. “Ryan felt he couldn’t really do the Black Panther story without having gone to Africa, so he went and spent some time with the Basotho people [in Lesotho] and he fell in love with these blankets and I see why — they’re beautiful.”

Having purchased 150 Basotho blankets from South Africa and “stamped [the fictional metal] vibranium on one side to make them like shields for the warriors,” Carter said, the blankets were inevitably screen-tested by Marvel as too thick and unusable. So one of Carter’s assistants spent hours shaving each one of the 150 blankets with a men’s shaver to get it right.’ – 10 Surprising Facts About Oscar Winner Ruth E. Carter and Her Designs

***

“Of course, Debbie Eckert, I feel like there are two main lanes to her visual art – her portraits, she has an incomparable knack for capturing the light in her subject’s spirit, especially when it comes to children; and her nature canvases which are all about that magical glow. Right away I knew Approach, the full moon’s golden glow hitting the water and rippling out, was hers.” – from ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: AN ART, HISTORY, CULTURE TOUR 2 – CREATIVE SPACE #14 OF 2018 (coverage of the 2018 Independence Visual Arts Exhibition, spotlighting several local artists including one former Wadadli Pen finalist) 

REVIEWS

Doe Songs
“This is a fascinating collection, recommended for readers who like their poetry with teeth, claws and a dash of surrealism.” – PN Review of Doe Songs, an acclaimed poetry collection by Danielle Boodoo Fortune (past Wadadli Pen judge and patron, Trinidad and Tobago writer, illustrator – including of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure by Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse) – Also check out Danielle Boodoo Fortune in Reading Room and Gallery 31, 30, 26, 25, 22, 18, 17, 14, 11, 5, 4, 2, and 1

For reviews of works by Antiguans and Barbudans, go here.

INTERVIEWS

“I think a great many of us thought that Independence would lead to a kind of progress; that things that seemed inadequate like education, medical care, infrastructure that we feel had been neglected – we thought well they denied it to us, at least that was my view – but now that we were in control, we would proceed and show them how to manage small places with small, dedicated, intelligent people and morally good people, people on the right side of history. So when I returned I met kind of a universal chorus of ‘oh, they’re so corrupt, oh this, oh that, and the disturbing thing I think for me was the way the citizens reveled in it.” – Jamaica Kincaid on the BBC (interview also features Jacob Ross and Claire Adam)

***

“When you live in Baltimore City, especially coming up in the crack era, people dying is not a strange thing. Witnessing murders is not a strange thing, or being in a situation where you’re on a basketball court and somebody starts shooting is not a strange thing.” – Baltimore author D. Watkins in conversation with NPR

***

“I got a message a few years ago from a minister of government when I returned to Grenada accusing me of giving the island a bad name and I said to the messenger I’d like you to tell the minister I’ not writing tourism brochures.” – Jacob Ross  – interview with Jacob Ross, Jamaican Kincaid, and Claire Adam with the BBC

***

“It was really fun to get inside each others’ heads and understand how we see the world.” – Jennifer Miller w/Jason Feifer in conversation with quickanddirtytips.com

***

“First and foremost, I think she is an unquestionably talented writer whose books and poems shed light on a very interesting literary and geopolitical period.” – Eliot Bliss biographer Michela Calderaro in conversation with Jacqueline Bishop. Read the whole thing: Bookends Eliot Bliss

***

“We inhabit the life of a theoretical stranger and we really get to know a point of view that we might not otherwise really understand.” – Barbara Kingslover (interview on BBC) 

***

“I acknowledge the assimilation of many writers from what I think of as a Caribbean Tradition in the writing of my first novel Witchbroom. Africa, India, Europe all mixed up – a creole culture, so many languages. That’s what I celebrate. Beacon movement, our part in Harlem Renaissance, but also what I call the greats of the 50s, 60s, 70s novelists, poets and historians and now such a lot going on, many many more women: poets, story tellers, novelists, historians, Bridget Brereton; critics – Ramchand and Rohlehr, setting the pace in 1977. Dear Pat Ismond! London calling: New Beacon, Bogle Overture. And let’s adopt Jimmy Baldwin. I went on pilgrimage last December to St Paul de Vence. Volunteering at The George Padmore Institute. I get so excited at the lives and the works that are being archived there.” – Lawrence Scott

***

“When I was writing my dissertation in the 80s, this was my initial quest to unearth the first and earliest novel/poem/play, anything by a Caribbean Woman. As a teenager I had read Herbert G. De Lisser, 1929, novel The White Witch of Rose Hall, but I yearned for the stories of black enslaved women and free working class Caribbean women. I read the Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Mary Seacole in Many Lands,1857; The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave, 1831, and I wanted to find the Caribbean equivalent to Phillis Wheatley. I had read poems by Una Marson, and of course everything by Louise Bennett. Read Sylvia Wynter’s novel, The Hills of Hebron, 1962, then stumbled on Phyllis Shand Allfrey, The Orchid House, 1953; Ada Quayle’s first novel, The Mistress, 1957; Eliot Bliss’ Luminous Isle, 1934; and finally Alice Durie’s One Jamaican Gal, 1939. Although, Durie is an outsider, a white American who married a Creole Jamaican, her text offers important insights. Sadly, when I was doing field research in Jamaica and sought out and met her son, he confessed to burning her papers and other unpublished novels, because he didn’t know what to do with them, he claimed. This was a man with a successful business and warehouse. I was so angry I gritted my teeth to keep from slapping him. If this was the fate of an upper class white woman, then what chance during those earlier times for the poems and novels of a poor black woman, especially in the Caribbean.” – Opal Palmer Adisa  – Also check out Opal Palmer Adisa in Reading Room and Gallery 21, 13,  5, 4, and 1.

***

James book
“MARLON JAMES: A lot of it came out of all the research and reading I was doing. African folklore is just so lush. There’s something so relentless and sensual about African mythology. Those stranger elements aren’t about me trying to score edgy post-millennial points. They are old elements. A lot of this book was about taking quite freely from African folklore, specifically from the area below the Sahara Desert. And that’s important to me. Mostly when people think of sophisticated Africa, they think of Egypt. And even that they attribute to aliens.” – Interview magazine. Also check out Marlon James in Reading Room and Gallery 31, 28, 18, 1514, 6, and 1.

For Antiguans and Barbudans discussing their art, go here.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Oh Gad!, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All rights reserved. Subscribe to this site to keep up with future updates.

 

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One of our Own

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:

It’s all about stepping stones.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

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Top Posts of 2018 + Happy New Year

Happy 2019 from Wadadli Pen.

(some of the images from the blog in 2018…not all of which are connected to posts that made the top 10)

Come take one last look back at 2018 with us.

There you’ll find (in reverse order from the top 10 at my author blog Jhohadli, least to most viewed):

#10
Kyle Christian Wins Wadadli Pen – the press release announcing the winner of the 2018 Wadadli Pen prize as distributed to the media.

#9
Commonwealth-Caribbean Writers – my report on the writers’ workshop that was the highlight of my summer.

#8
Who Won What in 2018? – the Who Won What at the end of the Wadadli Pen Challenge season is a regular in the top 10 because there’s always a high level of interest in the outcome.

#7
Shout out to Caribbean Actors in Black Panther – Ask me how thrilled I am to see my favourite film of the year in the top 10. Also, well, duh… Also, Caribbean, represent!

#6
Barbados, Guyana, and Bermuda Finalists for 2018 Burt Award – speaking of Caribbean, represent, these are all books by Caribbean writers for Caribbean teens and young adults which have won a major Caribbean award.

#5
Literary Arts in Antigua and Barbuda – a Reflection – This post is about what some of our literary artists (not just me) have been doing in our space and time.

#4
Damarae by Rosie Pickering (Wadadli Pen Honourable Mention, 2018) – This was an honourable mention in the estimation of the judge of the Wadadli Pen Challenge, and a win for the readers, clearly, as one of the most viewed and most shared posts of the year.

“I am not afraid.
The Zemis and my father will protect us” – excerpt

#3
Creak by Kyle Christian (Wadadli Pen Winning Story, 2018) – the winning story in the 2018 Wadadli Pen Challenge and a favourite of visitors to the site as well:  “Excellent!”; “Brilliant, bold and witty, delivered with passion; drawing attention to (a) hidden history”.

“She had never been on the base and wondered what it looked like. It would have meant that she didn’t have to suffer the indignity of the rackety bed.” – excerpt

#2The Horizon
Art ‘Revelations’ (Antigua-Barbuda) – This art show, located at the Antigua Girls High School, featured the work of a handful of local art teachers. The success of this post is also, to my mind, an indicator of interest in this type of content, and is one of the drivers behind launching/reviving the CREATIVE SPACE series on my author/writer services blog.

#1
#ReadAntiguaBarbuda #VoteAntiguaBarbuda – The second attempt at a readers’ choice award for Antiguan and Barbudan books after last year’s effort tanked. It’s doing better than last year but that’s not saying much. It’s literally an example of so many looks, so many looks, so few votes. Voting is open until the end of March 2019 though so maybe people are … reading?

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

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Just Letting You Know

Look up.

The far right of the banner has been updated to Wadadli Pen 2019.

Nothing to report re the next year’s Challenge – a staple of Wadadli Pen since its inception in 2004 – except that I have informed my partners that I am on a time out for the next season as I try to focus or re-focus my energies on some real life issues. I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this but it’s September when planning should begin and I don’t have the mental space or time to give to it right now. So, I’m taking a step back.

If the rest of the team (having worked with me over the past two seasons) decide to proceed without me, I’ll let you know – as I will still be blogging.

I will also check the mailbox as often as I can. The latter is important because one of the things I do want to mention is that Wadadli Pen if it is to become a non-profit needs money and it needs legal help. I’ve spent the last year (and on and off before that) trying to wrap my head around what needs to be done, reaching out to institutions that I thought could assist with the process but the process requires money and the legalese and the navigation of the legal maze requires translation and guidance – at least for my non-legal brain. I honestly don’t have the time to give to it anymore but I also don’t think time is the only issue – I think the project needs a lawyer who has experience working with non-profits who can say here’s what you need to do, and just guide us through it. I wish I had the money to pay such a lawyer because not even legal aid is free (I’ve checked) but I don’t and Wadadli Pen as it is not a legal entity does not have a bank account nor funds of its own. So if there is a lawyer with non-profit experience and the resources to offer pro bono assistance to a community project like ours, reach out via wadadlipen at gmail dot com

I do believe that it continues to hurt us that we are a project and not a legal non-profit. For instance, things that I could have applied for in terms of technical support and funding to solidify and/or expand our operations if our status was different than it was (they were very specific about the legal non-profit part); and people who’ve reached out – people in academic institutions regional and further afield who approached me about working with the project for their academic reasons – which I haven’t felt able to say yes to because those kind of collaborations require time and mental space that I don’t have just now. Even our internship programme of two Challenge seasons ago. It was a good thing and I’d like to be able to do it again and expand it but in order not to shortchange the intern, to properly mentor and guide said intern, to manage and oversee their progress, to properly delegate and supervise, you need time and mental space and other resources; and as we’re not a non-profit with anything resembling a staff, it is what it is for now. And right now I do need to reduce my involvement because the time I put in to Wadadli Pen and have since 2004, much as it matters to me (as much as or maybe more than any book I’ve written), and hopefully to the community, isn’t valued as currency, so I’ve got to put more time, focus, and energy in to the hustle. And hopefully, because I do have several of my own writing projects as well, have some me left over for my own creative growth. For now, coordinating (planning and managing the moving parts of a) Wadadli Pen Challenge season, is part of the sacrifice.

But Wadadli Pen will, I hope, be around for a long time beyond me and that’s why I put a team in place a couple of years ago. I ran in to one of those team members just this week and I’ll admit her contribution has not been at the level either of us would have liked because like me she has to work and pay her bills and manage her life, but her commitment to the project remains. That remains. To quote Puffy we ain’t going nowhere.giphy So keep sending us your positive energy and whatever support you can in the specific areas that we need, we receive it with thanks, and I will keep you informed re whatever the team decides to do re Wadadli Pen Challenge season 2019.

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!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). 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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Media, Thanks

Thanks to the media houses who have run our press release or otherwise provided post-coverage of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2018 Challenge.

Thanks to Antigua Nice, Antigua Chronicle, and Daily Observer

observer2observer3

-all three ran the press release which you can also read here.
-all are online editions – Antigua Nice and Antigua Chronicle are online only and Daily Observer only publishes a print paper on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – the Wadadli Pen release ran in their Saturday edition a week after the awards. So I still don’t have clippings for our scrapbook but I am thankful for any light shone on Wadadli Pen.

Daily Observer also invited a representative from Wadadli Pen (I suggested our winner Kyle Christian and he graciously agreed) to appear on their Saturday morning Marketplace show.

observer1

I wanted to do an extra post saying thanks because I’ve been known to call out institutions (like the media) – whaaaat? – for giving short thrift to the literary arts, and when they do the opposite I’ve got to eat that humble pie and ask for seconds. So, thank you…and, please, media can we have some more.

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!, Fish Outta Water, With Grace, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. Do not re-use content without permission and credit. 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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Fummestory Herstory History by Ava Ralph (Wadadli Pen Honourable Mention, 2018)

Ava

Fummestory Herstory History

You think you are funny
But your jokes are not even original
Knock knock
I am knocked up
Fed up
Angry to the bone
First, my freedom was taken
Now my daughter too
All those gods and what did they do
They watched us leave
In silver chains
Skin polished
But where is my altar
Now I’m souled out
The whimp who walks with the whip
Wonders about
How sweet does blood and sweat taste
How melodic are my screams
I am a human sacrifice
But my god, where are you

You are not clever
You are not even original
My husband has been running for years
Dis race a one relay
Or maybe it is a ring game
Cause it seems to be going in circles
I still know his name
I always see his face
All the faces look the same
Except for the cracker who always pulls out
He is two faced
One  haunts me in my sleep the other one hangs behind my back

You are not smart
My grandmother told me the stories
Brer Anansi was a trickster but Brer Tiger  wore the stripes
I am a collection of dances and of screams
I am a collection of dances and of screams
Face the music
I am a stutter and fluent in lies
I am a s-stutter and fluent in lies
My eyes are brown like the soil my great, great, great, great legendary grandmother was taken from
My ringlets are the circles her husband ran in
I will not hang my head because my skin is pale
I will not be a punch-line because you screwed my mom over
History, learn how to speak  because this mixed kid will not be repeating herself

I am fair skinned but my blood boils
For like my non bastard brother life is not fair
You are a terrible story teller, History
I can study you so I will
And yuh know wah else
You lack imagination too
But I create my dreams

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ava Ralph, 17, writes “to stay sane and I thank God for that and everything else because God is cool. He is the ultimate author so ultimate he never gets writer’s block.” Ava’s poem Non-Fiction? placed second in the 13 to 17 age category of the Wadadli Pen Challenge in 2017.

Ava

Ava receiving her prize from patron and London Rocks author Brenda Lee Browne.

 

ABOUT THE POEM:

“The anger and imagery, and pov, are compelling; some of the word and rhyme/rhythm choices are cliché …but then it veers in to something fresh and particular.” – j

Fummestory Herstory History is about challenging perspectives because, as the writer puts it, we get too comfortable in our zones of experience and history. The poem has two perspectives; one from the girl’s great great great great grandmother and the other from her granddaughter. Just like her grandmother she is not pleased with her current state, she does not want to be ashamed for being mixed even if it wasn’t planned so in this piece she calls history out.

PRIZES WON: As with all the honourable mentions, Ava received a training session (Presenting: Telling Your Story Orally) from Barbara Arrindell & Associates, and books and a certificate from the Best of Books.

ABOUT WADADLI PEN 2018: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 14 years later. The project was launched by Joanne C. Hillhouse with D. Gisele Isaac and the Young Explorer publication. Today, its core team is Hillhouse with past finalists Devra Thomas and Margaret Irish, and writers and long time patrons and partners Floree Whyte and Barbara Arrindell. The name of each winner is emblazoned on the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque, named for one of the project’s earliest volunteers (and sister-friend of founder, Joanne C. Hillhouse) who died in 2015. The Challenge is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. The Challenge has encouraged young writers in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to write on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. It doesn’t often prescribe other limitations, but this year it did request specifically historical fiction/poetry. Normally, prizes are broken down by age categories but this year it’s winner take all with only one winner and a handful of honourable mentions (Andre Warner, Rosie Pickering, Andrecia Lewis, Chloe Martin, and Ava Ralph). Congratulations to them all. Thanks to the patrons and to partners – Floree Whyte, Barbara Arrindell, Devra Thomas, and Margaret Irish. To find out how you can continue to support the work of Wadadli Pen contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

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,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. 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. Respect copyright.

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The Oldest Native by Andre Warner (Wadadli Pen Honourable Mention, 2018)

Andre pic

The oldest native

The dead leaves crunched under his gnarled, old feet the sun beat upon his back as a slave driver. Thirty kilometers left to walk was certainly a feat. But relentlessly he pressed on to complete his mission.

As a lie was told and he had to deliver the truth, as when reading the newsletter he found a lie.

In the headline: “Antigua mourns nation’s oldest citizen ‘Paul Green’ dead at one hundred and ten”.

Now this must be a lie as he was still alive, he had witnessed Paul’s birth with his very eyes!

“How could they” he thought, “Spread such inept deceit?” He held the title of the oldest citizen.

“I Sheldon Redfoot am the oldest there is, as my eyes witnessed the history of the island itself!” he proudly proclaimed as he continued upon his quest for truth, and began his tirade.

“How could they forget he whom contributed to history himself. I may only be a tortoise but I have walked this land so long that I am the only true citizen!”

“I was there when the Europeans landed” he proclaimed “On my back, Columbus himself rested his foot at my behest. I was there when the Caribs fought the invaders man Englishmen tripped over me and when the battle was lost and Caribs were slain, I was the first one to mark their graves. I was there when the first African came as slaves to the white man, the first to carve an escape trail; I led them through the winding brush to the hills of safety away from their master’s whip. I was the one who incited the first rebellion! I boldly bit Massa’s foot who dared to step on my lettuce and it was on my back that the crier stood and declared emancipation. I inspired the first steel pan with the pattern on my back to make such melody.

I created the first coal pot, as it was just old hardened clay tossed from my shell that made the first mold. I was the cornerstone of St. John’s Cathedral; it took me three hours to escape that mortar. My very own beautiful yellow orange and red colors inspired the first festive colors of carnival. His temper soon cooled as he realized, he could not remember when he started his quest or how far to the end.

His heart was soon marred with sadness as he remembered the darker days witnessed. The fear of hurricane Louis as he was rocked by the whirling winds that whipped against his shell and the agonizing wails of the unfortunate souls who were lost in the typhoon; The terrible quake of ‘74 akin to a bellowing behemoth rising from below, as if the devil himself had stubbed his toe. “I Sheldon carry knowledge more vast than any other islander!” he declared igniting his passion once again. “This shell has helped to shape the very culture of this nation albeit accidentally. I will not be forgotten!” As he gazed ahead he saw his destination the address was right but where should have been a thriving newspaper stood a decrepit building. The streets were unoccupied but the skies filled with wondrous vehicles flying in harmony. As a piece of history he was certainly slow. For his quest had taken him ninety years! And as he turned to leave mumbling his displeasure, he was tripped upon and a head was dashed upon a stone. As silence engulfed all he heard the cry “The dictator is dead!”  He walked away knowing he had earned yet another spot in history.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born on April 1998 Andre’ Warner attended the Christian Union Junior Academy. He developed a love for reading through which he was inspired to become a part-time writer. Throughout the years he continued to dominate the field of English at the Clare Hall Secondary School where he earned an numerous awards including a distinction in English A, and English B in CXC. He also earned the Yvette Samuel award for outstanding performance in the field of English. He would also go on to further his studies at the Antigua State College where he studied Literatures in English and proudly earned passes in both units and currently is aspiring to continue his studies further afield at a university level.

Andre

Andre receiving his prize from patron and London Rocks author Brenda Lee Browne.

 

ABOUT THE STORY: This short story is about a red footed tortoise native to Antigua whom upon realizing he is unrecognized as the oldest citizen sets out on a mission to report to the news editors that they have made a false report during his attempt to reach the newspaper he reminisces about roles he unwittingly played throughout history.

PRIZES WON: As with all the honourable mentions, Andre received a training session (Presenting: Telling Your Story Orally) from Barbara Arrindell & Associates, and books and a certificate from the Best of Books.

ABOUT WADADLI PEN 2018: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 14 years later. The project was launched by Joanne C. Hillhouse with D. Gisele Isaac and the Young Explorer publication. Today, its core team is Hillhouse with past finalists Devra Thomas and Margaret Irish, and writers and long time patrons and partners Floree Whyte and Barbara Arrindell. The name of each winner is emblazoned on the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque, named for one of the project’s earliest volunteers (and sister-friend of founder, Joanne C. Hillhouse) who died in 2015. The Challenge is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. The Challenge has encouraged young writers in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to write on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. It doesn’t often prescribe other limitations, but this year it did request specifically historical fiction/poetry. Normally, prizes are broken down by age categories but this year it’s winner take all with only one winner and a handful of honourable mentions (Andre Warner, Rosie Pickering, Andrecia Lewis, Chloe Martin, and Ava Ralph). Congratulations to them all. Thanks to the patrons and to partners – Floree Whyte, Barbara Arrindell, Devra Thomas, and Margaret Irish. To find out how you can continue to support the work of Wadadli Pen contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

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,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. 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. Respect copyright.

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