Tag Archives: Wadadli Pen

From the Mailbox – Cushion Club, Wadadli Pen

Actually, these two are from my mailbox and they concern my two longest running community/volunteer projects. These are notices I sent out to the media about The Cushion Club and Wadadli Pen. Feel free to grab and share.

First, the Cushion Club.

Cushion ClubThe Notice:

The Cushion Club resumes its Saturday meetings on January 20th. The Antigua-Barbuda children’s reading club meets Saturdays during the regular school year between 10:30 a.m. and 12 noon at the University of West Indies Open Campus between Queen Elizabeth and Sir Sidney Walling highways. Volunteer readers and children welcomed.

Cushion Club Background/About the Cushion Club: This is a reading club with which I started volunteering more than 10 years ago. I didn’t keep track but every Saturday for a great number of years I would go and read and play reading/word games with children in Antigua first at the Senior Centre in Lower Gambles, then when we moved to Best of Books, then when we moved to the ice cream park on Friars Hill Road, then when we moved to the University Centre, and though I’ve long since withdrawn from the regular Saturday meetings, they continue without me as they did before me, thanks especially to Cedric Holder. I still help with promotion though, so that’s what this is. For more on the Cushion Club, check AntiguaNice which has been generous enough to host and sponsor a page for us over these many years.

Second, Wadadli Pen.

Group photoThe Notice:

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2018 Challenge is now open for submissions. Resident Antiguans and Barbudans 35 and younger, send entries with submission forms (now mandatory) by February 28th 2018. Form available at wadadlipen.wordpress.com If you would like to contribute to the Wadadli Pen prize package, please email wadadlipen@gmail.com

Wadadli Pen Background/About Wadadli Pen: Well, you’re here so you know that this project is committed, and has been since 2004, to nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. It’s my baby as much as any of my books, and while it has undertaken several developmental, fundraising, advocacy, and promotional projects over the years, its main and most consistent project has been the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge – an annual writing (and sometimes arts) challenge for young Antiguans and Barbudans. Basically, I started this project after I became a published author to help create the environment that had not been there to support my own journey as a writer becoming. For more on Wadadli Pen, check Antigua Nice which gave us a presence on the web before we had a home of our own and continues to do so. For the 2018 registration form, go here; and to contribute to Wadadli Pen, email wadadlipen@gmail.com

Here’s what both projects need:


That’s it.

If you’re a parent or guardian, bring your child out to the Cushion Club. There is no fee and no registration is required. If you’re an adult – parent or not – consider volunteering to read one or two or three or four Saturdays per month.

If you’re a teacher, parent, guardian, youth club leader, or are otherwise in contact with young people encourage them to write and submit their pieces to the Wadadli Pen Challenge; help them with the forms if you need to but let them write their own stories.

If you’re a business or an individual, or other donor-type looking for a project to contribute to an arts-community-youth-centred project, consider Wadadli Pen.

Thanks for your consideration.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is 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). 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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Mark Your Calendars

Wadadli Pen 2018 Flyer

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January 14, 2018 · 4:07 pm

Best of 2017

It’s that time of year again, to look at the year’s best (well, up to this point).

Using site stats, I’ve once again been able to get a sense of what drew views, interaction (likes, comments), and action (shares) here on the site. Since our goal (with the blog – the online platform of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize and a literary/artistic portal to Antigua and Barbuda and the wider Caribbean) is to engage with our reader, this is valuable information that can perhaps guide future blogging.

Given their popularity, you’ve probably seen some of these posts already but just in case you haven’t or want to revisit, here again 10 to 1 are the most popular posts of the past year – plus five of the least popular (i.e. posts you engaged with barely, if at all, that you might be disappointed that you missed)


#10 – Press Release: Wadadli Pen 2017 Launches

Wadadli Pen LogoThe 2017 Wadadli Pen challenge launch release – as issued to the media. Let’s people know, and we’re off…

#9 – Those who won’t hear will feel by Zion Ebony Williams

zion2 (2) Every year one of our winning Wadadli Pen stories seems to catch fire; and this seemed to be Zion’s year. P.S. Zion went on to place third in the Grade Six National Assessment of 2017.

#8 – Calypso Battle

This had to do with threatened lawsuit (by Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister) and censoring (by the Carnival organizer who insisted on vetting the lyrics, and the radio stations who bowed to the threat of law suits) over a song (Nasty) by calypsonian Queen Ivena (an artist who in the tradition of calypsonians like Obstinate, Scorpion, and others has always held the feet of the country’s leaders to the fire and called their name); as a lit arts site, I felt it was important to record developments related to this as it speaks to key issues like freedom of speech, artistic freedom/expression, and the role of calypso in our society.

#7 – From the Mailbox – Concerning Barbuda

Ben Rainey Guest post re literary project to aid Barbuda – despite the amount of eyes on this post and the number of shares, no (or very few) submissions were received (and the project was delayed) – a reminder that information doesn’t always lead to action…and that there’s always still time to help.

#6 – Wadadli Pen Challenge: Who Won in 2017

P_20170519_151707_vHDR_Auto Another Wadadli Pen awards post – this one is always a highlight as the ‘who won what’ posts is usually the first after the awards. A good spotlight for both our winners and our patrons.

#5 – Wadadli Pen Challenge 2017 – the Picture Post

Wadadli Pen winners The picture post is usually one of the last post-Wadadli Pen awards posts as it takes a while for us to gather pictures from different sources; for obvious reasons, because it’s an opportunity to see the winners and for the winners to see themselves, it’s always popular. It’s also the point at which, looking at the pictures, I begin to feel genuine joy and relief that we made it through another year – perhaps the moment, looking at the pictures, that it becomes real to me.

#4 – Wadadli Pen Challenge 2017 – the Long List

The Wadadli Pen awards is at once one of the most stressful and fulfilling times of year for me. It’s a celebration of the winning authors of a challenge I started as an annual project back in 2004 and it’s amazing to me that it’s still around, against all odds, after all this time. This long list, started a few years ago, is usually the first hint eager submitters have of whether they made the cut or not; it helps to keep the momentum going while the work behind the scenes continues.

#3 – Nelson’s Dockyard: On Becoming a World Heritage Site

Sometimes I read things and think “more people should be aware of this!” Sometimes that thing ends up in the reading room and sometimes in a post of its own. These details of how and why Nelson’s Dockyard became a World Heritage Site ended up in the latter category. It got a boost I think by being re-shared on the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda’s social media; so thanks to them for that.

#2 – Mailbox – National Youth Awards (Results!)

This (essentially a re-post of a press release) was also one of the most shared and liked posts on my author facebook; I guess people really wanted to know who the winners were(?) Kudos to Spilling Ink, the lit art winners.

#1 – Wadadli Pen has its first Intern – Meet Michaela


This was our first year as Wadadli Pen with an intern. She was, at the time, a student at the Antigua State College which was the only institution that we reached out to during the application process. She, a former Wadadli Pen finalist, was gung ho from the get go as this introductory post indicates.


Building a Reading Culture in the Classroom – The title is self-explanatory; and it’s a reblog.

A & B Writer in New International Collection – Congrats to Tammi Browne-Bannister.

Reading Room and Gallery 26 – the latest (which probably explains why it doesn’t have a lot of views yet) in my series of good reading and art from around the web.

Keens, Arrindell and the Children of the Emerald Isle – another late year addition, this one from the Alliouagana lit fest in Montserrat.


Mailbox – Lit Culture – This was a share from children’s book author, Teacher Cray.

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!, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, 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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Art supporting Art

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Jane Seagull has gifted a custom made journal to our winning writer for the past several years, since her time as artist in residence at Art at the Ridge, which was also a Wadadli Pen patron at the time. We’re grateful that she’s still with us even though Art at the Ridge has closed its doors. Jane actually had a show on around the same time as the Wadadli Pen awards. The show is no more but she shared some of the pieces with me and (with her permission) I’m sharing them with you. Find her on facebook if you’re interested in purchasing her art or commissioning a piece.

And remember to support all our patrons – because arts patronage is rare and cherished especially here (not branding, not sponsorship, but just giving in the interest of boosting the arts because you realize that though not seen as an economic driver, art and creativity are essential…rare). The patrons for the 2017 season of Wadadli Pen (and really all information related to said season) can be found behind the Wadadli Pen 2017 tab above, see also About Wadadli Pen.


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Wadadli Pen Challenge 2017 – The Picture Post

Yep, it’s that time again; time for our epic picture post – a time when I actually get to see what happened; because as anyone organizing anything knows, it’s actually kind of a blur (understatement).  The Wadadli Pen 2017 Challenge awards were held on May 13th at the tail end of the Wadadli Stories Book Fair (kudos to the organizer of that, btw). This year, we have pictures by Linisa George of Art. Culture. Antigua – which is already one of Wadadli Pen’s patrons so she’s already been more than generous with us; and Jon Whyte, who was there to support his wife, Floree, chief judge of the Wadadli Pen 2017 Challenge. Some pictures have also been taken from either the Best of Books Bookstore or the Wadadli Stories page on facebook and from a posting by Marissa Walters of the St. Andrews students. Here they are, in no particular order.

12 and Younger
Images of winners in the 12 and Younger age category – who were, in descending order, Zion Ebony Williams, Emma Belizaire, Shadiael Simmons, Ashley Francis.

13 to 17
Images of winners in the 13 to 17 age category – who were, in descending order, Devon Wuilliez, Ava Ralph (not pictured), Francis Yankey, and Andrecia Lewis.

18 to 35
Images of winners in the 18 to 35 age category – who were, in descending order, Kaeiron Saunders, Lucia Murray, and Fayola Jardine.

School with the Most Submissions
That’s Island Academy with 22 of 90+ submissions.

Tout Monde Sam and Bagai

Some highlights from Wadadli StoriesAt Wadadli Stories 6

Observer (front page standalone) + Caribbean Times (centre spread)

Some post awards pics
Things that happened after the awards for reasons beyond our control included the presentation of prizes to 13 to 17 2nd place Ava Ralph and to our intern Michaela Harris. Thanks to the staff of the Best of Books for these ones.

Ava and MichaelaMichaela and Glenn

Wadadli Pen 2017 Links

Wadadli Pen 2017 Patrons
A Teacher Claims the 2017 Wadadli Pen Prize
Wadadli Pen – Who won what in 2017?
Wadadli Pen Winners Through the Years – Story Links
About Wadadli Pen



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WADADLI PEN Challenge – Who won what in 2017?

As always, we couldn’t do this without support. In 2017, this has meant partners Barbara Arrindell, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Margaret Irish, Devra Thomas, Floree Whyte – along with intern Michaela Harris and judges Glen Toussaint and Sharifa George – volunteering, working together, and playing our roles. We, especially, couldn’t do it without our patrons; without them, we would have no rewards to offer our deserving writers. So, we pause to say thank you. Thank you for coming through (mostly). Thank you for making it possible for us to encourage and reward the cream of Wadadli Pen Challenge’s 2017 crop as decided by our judging team. Thank you for your tangible contribution to the arts and youth development in our twin island state, Antigua and Barbuda. To anyone reading this, we encourage you to support the businesses (also the individuals and organizations) that support the arts.

Here’s how the prizes break down – in addition to certificates for each winner from Wadadli Pen, sponsored by the Best of Books:

School with the Most Submissions Island Academy International School (22 out of 93 eligible submissions)

  • Writing workshop with facilitator fee and miscellaneous expenses to be covered by a patron who wishes to remain anonymous
  • EC$500 gift certificate toward the purchase of books, sponsored by the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank
  • CAPE and CSEC books across several subject areas, contributed by Harper Collins logo
12 and younger

12 and Younger category winners (from left Ashley, Zion, Shadiael, and Emma) at the May 13th award ceremony. Photo by Linisa George/Art. Culture. Antigua

12 and Younger

Finalists in the 12 and Younger category receive gifts sponsored by US-based Antiguan and Barbudan Juneth Webson and books contributed by Harper Collins logoplus:

Honourable MentionAshley Francis (11, student at St. Andrew’s School; author of ‘Our Caribbean’)

3rdShadiael Simmons (11, student at Baptist Academy; author of ‘Brave Eleven-year-old saved Two Months Baby’)

  • EC$75 contributed byArt_Culture_Antigua-logo
  • With Grace, a book by Joanne C. Hillhouse, contributed by publisher Little Bell Caribbean

2ndEmma Belizaire (11, student at St. Andrew’s school; author of ‘Cricket is My Life’)

1stZion Ebony Williams (11, student at Baptist Academy; author of ‘Those who don’t hear, will feel’)

  • EC$125 contributed byArt_Culture_Antigua-logo
  • With Grace, a book by Joanne C. Hillhouse, contributed by publisher Little Bell Caribbean
  • EC$50 gift certificate for books, contributed by the Cushion Club
13 to 17

13 to 17 category winners (from left Francis, Devon, and Andrecia) at the May 13th award ceremony. Photo by Linisa George/Art. Culture. Antigua

13 to 17

3rd (tie) – Andrecia Lewis (17, student at Antigua State College; author of ‘Strange’)

3rd (tie) – Francis Yankey (16, student at Antigua Grammar School; author of ‘And She sang Fire’)

2ndAva C. Ralph (16, student at Antigua Girls’ High School; author of ‘Non Fiction?’)

1stDevon Wuilliez (16, student at Island Academy International School; author of ‘The Great Big Dumz’)

18 to 35

18 to 35 winners (from left Lucia, Kaeiron, and Fayola) with the Best of Books sponsored Alstyne Allen Memorial Plaque at the May 13th awards ceremony. Photo by Linisa George/Art. Culture. Antigua

18 to 35

3rdFayola Jardine (author of ‘Shakiyah and the Mango Hater’)

  • EC$100 contributed by Caribbean Reads Publishing
  • Books on writing – 3 A M Epiphany by Brian Kitely and This Year You write Your Novel by Walter Mosely, and Just Write Writers’ retreat scholarship, contributed by Brenda Lee Browne
  • Books contributed by Harper Collins logo

2ndLucia Murray (student, St. Anthony’s Secondary School; author of ‘Mr. Duppy’)

1stKaeiron Saunders (teacher, St. Anthony’s Secondary School; author of ‘Not Another Island Story; as told by Auntie Gah’)

  • EC$300 contributed by Juneth Webson
  • Gift basket/bag of products contributed by Raw Island
  • Book on writing – Unleash the Poem by Wendy Nyemaster, contributed by Brenda Lee Browne
  • Books contributed by Harper Collins logo
Winner K S

At the awards: Kaeiron Saunders, overall winner, with the Best of Books sponsored Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque which bears the names of all the winners since Wadadli Pen started in 2004. Photo by Linisa George/Art. Culture. Antigua

Top Three Overall

3rd – Zion Ebony Williams Zion

2nd – Devon Wuilliez Devon W for posting

Winner! Winner! Winner! – Kaeiron Saunders Saunders cropped

Featured image and some of the included images by Linisa George/Art_Culture_Antigua-logo Thanks to them. Thanks as well to the media who helped us get the word out including Antigua Nice, where Wadadli Pen has a year-round presence as their contribution to our project; and media who shared our notices and releases, or who hosted us for interviews (primarily ABS and Observer media). Thanks all; any oversights are not intentional.

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THOSE WHO WON’T HEAR, WILL FEEL! by Zion Ebony Williams


Zion Ebony Williams

About the author: 11 year old Zion Williams is Grade 6 “A” student at the Baptist Academy.  She  loves liturgical dancing, singing and watching her favorite TV shows. Although relatively shy, lately she has become bolder, due mainly to her church’s quest to have young children doing public speaking at as early an age as possible. Zion has steadily progressed up the ranks since she started submitting to Wadadli Pen, earning honourable mention in the 12 and Younger category for The Night I went to Cricket in 2014 and 2nd runner up in the same category for A Dinner to Remember in 2016.

About the story: In an effort  to  prepare  Zion for the Grade 6 National Assessment this year,  her mom gave her several topics from which to choose and write a story, so she could get some practice in creative story writing. This is the story she wrote on the topic “Those Who Won’t Hear Will Feel.”  The story is about a nightmare she had, in which she suffered the consequences of being disobedient to her mother.

In the 2017 Wadadli Pen Annual Writing Challenge, the judges ranked Zion’s story 1st in the 12 and younger age category and 3rd overall.


Weeeoooeee, weeeoooee!  the wailing of the siren  and  the flashing lights seemed so  distant, but I knew the ambulance was here, for I heard my mother  saying, “be careful , l think her foot is broken .”  “Ahhhhhhhh!” I screamed as they lifted me into the ambulance. The pain was so excruciating, I felt I would  surely die. The talking grew fainter, and then… nothing….blackness . I had passed out.

It all started one bright day during the summer holidays. It was a normal day, until my mom said she had to go to a meeting, so I would be home alone with my big sister. Mom  left giving the usual command to study and do my homework,  with the reminder,  “Heights of great men reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight …..”  and I finished it for her, because I had heard it so many times before.  This was still normal,  until the neighbor’s  two girls called me out to play.  I knew my mom didn’t want me playing with them. She had often said “you’re in the same school, but you’re not in the same class. ” She meant their standards and values were different from ours.  You know those mothers who always have  a saying for everything ? Well, my  mom is one of those.
With all thoughts of the consequences for disobedience out of my head, I went out to play. We went directly to the forbidden dumbs tree, that  I was  told,  as a girl,  I was  never to climb. We competed to see who could climb to the highest part of the tree  and get the half snatty dumbs .  I really wanted to win, so although the limb did not seem sturdy, I still climbed on it. First, there was  a soft  “crack”, as I placed one foot,  and then a loud “CRACK”,  as I placed my other foot on the limb. The next thing I knew , I  fell  through the cassi  branches and  to the ground  with a loud THUD!

When I regained consciousness,  I was in the hospital  with a  cast on one foot,  a bandaged head, and heard one of the girls saying,

“It’s all her fault, we told her not to go up in the tree.”

“What!  They never told me that! ” I screamed to myself. I kept my eyes closed, because I didn’t want to see my mom’s disappointed look, but  I could not help hearing her say, “pickney who nah hear wa mumma say, drink peppa warta, lime, and sarl.”   When I was finally brave enough to look timidly  at mom,  she said lovingly, “a disobedient child is worthy of death, but thank God you didn’t die”.

“I’m sorry, mommy” I said sheepishly.
After  being  outfitted with a pair of crutches  and pain killers, I was sent home.  Mom  gave me my favourite ice cream, and then  said,  “ you know you’re going to get lashes for disobeying?”  as she went for the pot stick. “Whaaaaaa…whaaaaa!” I wailed loudly,  before I had even gotten a blow. I could not believe she was still going to punish me with my injuries….how CRUEL, I thought !

Mom was not moved. “What you crying for, you get something to cry for?….. Stop the noise or I’ll give you something to cry for! ….Open your hand!  Those who won’t hear,  will feel ! ”  I screamed , as she raised her hand,  and then felt some one shaking me.

“Wake up Zion!”  I was drenched in sweat.  “Phew!”  It was a DREAM….No,  a NIGHTMARE!


Please respect the writer’s copyright. And while we welcome feedback, please be constructive.

With thanks to our patrons, see this writer’s total prize haul below (and remember, support the businesses/individuals who support the arts):

EC$100 gift certificate (contributed by the Cushion Club)
EC$200 (contributed by Frank B. Armstrong)
EC$125 cash/gift certificate (sponsored by Art. Culture. Antigua)
Painting (contributed by the artist Jennifer Meranto)
cake/cake voucher (contributed by Danz’s Sweet Dreams)
Books – Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane by P L Travers, Mary Poppins in the Park by P L Travers, Mary Poppins Opens the Door by P L Travers, Mary Poppins Comes Back by P. L. Travers, Mary Poppins by P L Travers, Spell Like a Champion (sponsored by Harper Collins)
Gifts (sponsored by Juneth Webson)
With Grace by Joanne C. Hillhouse (contributed by Little Bell Caribbean)
Inspirational card (from a line created and contributed by Monique S. Simon’s Caribbean Folklore Project )
Certificate x2 (sponsored by the Best of Books)

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