Tag Archives: Wadadli Pen

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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A Song to Sing by Chloe Martin (Wadadli Pen Honourable Mention, 2018)

Chloe

A song to Sing

Today I met someone new
She was brown with long hair
And her eyes were green-blue
Her hands were soft, skin unscarred
Picking cotton with baby hands
Now that will be hard

Her name was Uhuru and she was scared
Just give respect and he won’t pull your hair
I told her master screams and shouts sometime
Perplexed and confused she blinked her eyes
She said, “Master who?”
“Where is Chief Mkuuwa Kichu?”

She says she’s from somewhere far away
Where she lived in clay huts with roofs made of hay
I asked her what she did for fun
She said, “I played catch with my friends in the warm sun
We were always together, like a family, you know?
We loved each other and lmba Wimbo”

In the village of lmba Wimbo
There was chanting, dancing and sing too
I would love to hear just one song

She said songs represent where you come from
I overheard her singing something
She sang of angels with wings and children playing

I listened to her sing and tell stories
I then wondered how mother had never told me
I wanted to play by the river
And have big family dinners
I was angry, livid, hurting and raging
All along I didn’t know what I was missing

At mid-day there we were picking cotton
Master slowly approached us and took her away
But my day turned dark for she was chosen
No slave ever dared to scream
But today there was a new noise for him

Uhuru was thrown out clothes torn
Butt naked, just as she was born
She did not please him, he had no fun
So he beat her skin red until she was broken
I ran to her side and held her face
I looked into her eyes and her pureness had been erased

We ran far from the plantation
Searching for words to chant, drums to dance to,
Ignoring the shots fired, pounding hooves racing behind us
Focusing on the ocean crashing and the birds in the sunset
Ignoring our feet leaving the ground as we leaped off the cliff
Imagining our fluffy white angel wings
We were just two little girls looking for a song to sing.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chloe Martin, 14, is a student at St. Anthony’s Secondary. An Antiguan/ Canadian, she enjoys creating art. She grew up exploring Antigua, using it as inspiration for her art. She asserts that she is an artist entrepreneur who has started her own business.

Chloe

Chloe accepting her prizes at the 2018 awards from Wadadli Pen patron London Rocks author Brenda Lee Browne.

ABOUT THE POEM: “A creative piece” – judge

“I was inspired by the culture of Africans who have  freedom and a wonderful life, one which slaves did not have. As the main character learned, sometimes we don’t realize how terrible we are being treated until someone teaches us. It is important to maintain cultural traditions especially in hard times because it brings hope to the future generations.” – Chloe

PRIZES WON: As with all the honourable mentions, Chloe 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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