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Wadadli Pen Note

In line at the ATM here in Antigua recently, a young lady asked me if I was me and I said yes, not sure where it was going. When she seemed satisfied to leave it there, I asked her where we knew each other from and she said she had entered (and I believe won a prize in) Wadadli Pen back when she was in school. I asked her if she was still writing and she did something between a scoff and a laugh and an are you kidding that I found funny when she said, no.

I recently did a pitch which if successful will give me the opportunity to present on the impact of Wadadli Pen. Is it weird that I think this young lady as much a part of the story as the past finalist who is now a copy editor in New York – yeah, just saw that one on linkedin.

The Wadadli Pen narrative has never been about just making writers but about giving young people an avenue for creative expression, even if years later the very idea of them becoming a writer gives us both a laugh in line at the ATM.

Prizes is also not the point of Wadadli Pen, just a little brawta, but photo calls like this from the 2012 awards are good time markers as these young people go on to live full lives and do amazing things, through or outside of Wadadli Pen. I say through because in this picture I see a future Wadadli Pen intern and about three future winners, but in every face and every smile I see so much still to be tapped potential.

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, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, 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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Wadadli Pen 2021 – Video Gallery

“To be honest with you, I literally cried, because it was a difficult year for me, my family, and I had to just take in the moment and say ‘wow, I actually won.’ Because I’d been writing for many years. People know me in some circles for poetry writing. I’ve never written short stories before. It’s my first short story writing that I’ve actually put out to the public and it’s amazing that I was successful. So, I’m elated.” – Kevin Liddie, author of ‘Mildred, You No Easy’, Wadadli Pen 2021 champion on ABS TV June 2nd 2021.
“I’m glad that my story about the hellish year of 2020 was appreciated because it was really a poignant story coming from the heart, especially my experiences dealing with it.” – Sheniqua Greaves, subtheme and main prize honourable mention about her story ‘The Juxtaposed Reprieve’ during the May 30th 2021 awards ceremony.

“This is quite a shocker…the ‘Great Old Woodslave’ was actually inspired by a woodslave that seemingly has taken up residence in my home. I’m not a writer by any stretch.. The whole challenge came from, I’m a member of a social club, and we were one night to write a story about an inanimate object and how it would view COVID…everybody was saying I really enjoyed your story, why don’t you submit it… and I eventually submitted the night of the deadline not expecting to hear anymore about it.” – Jason Gilead, winner ‘2020’ prize and main prize honourable mention.

“I wrote the poem for my school, when we were doing a project for my school, and my teacher said I should enter it and I’m really glad she did because it gave me an opportunity to win something.” Gazelle Goodwin, author of ‘Beautiful Disaster’, 12 and younger winner. Gazelle is a student at Island Academy.

“What inspired me to write ‘The Blackboard’ is the board at school.” – Eunike Caesar, 9. Twelve and younger honourable mention. Eunike attends Baptist Academy.

“Thank you for the opportunity to enter anything I’ve written in to a competition and be recognized for it in any capacity. Really grateful that you decided to give back in this way, especially to young people. There are really not a lot of opportunities for Caribbean writers especially to enter short form fiction, for recognition, and I think I do better in short anything.” – Razonique Looby, honourable mention for her short story ‘Vixen’. Razonique, 15, is a student at Christ the King High School.

“I just sat at my computer and I just started to write and the story just came. I had been to Canada recently so I just used my experience of the place.” – Ashley-Whitney Joshua, second placed for her story ‘Hiraeth’.

“All of the stories had good bones which means that we saw a lot of potential in all of the stories; it’s just a simple matter of structure or grammar or feeling out the story more. So I want to encourage everyone that entered to take this as a learning opportunity.” – Floree Williams Whyte, judge, on Why We Chose It
“As I said, I never expected to hear anything else about this story. It was just one of those things. But I’m happy that it has done as well as it has. And would just like to encourage other persons to use such platforms to write and to get their ideas out of their heads on to paper.” – Jason Gilead discussing his Wadadli Pen experience on GMAB the week after the awards
“I was interested in entering this competition as I was looking for some stimulus, in a sense. There really wasn’t much to do at home post-graduating from State College. So I really wanted to take part in something… it has made me feel way more confident in my writing.” – Sheniqua discussing her Wadadli Pen experience on GMAB the week after the announcement
“I got lots and lots of books, I got a cash donation from Frank B. Armstrong…and I’m going to be trained in writing…I’m looking forward to that one.” – Kevin Liddie interviewed on ZDK’s Open Forum
One of the interviews in the roll up to the prize, this one with founder Joanne C. Hillhouse on ABS TV’s Antigua Barbuda Today.

Go to the Wadadli Pen 2021 – Photo Gallery

See Who Won What and read the winning stories

Read About Wadadli Pen

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Wadadli Pen 2021 – Photo Gallery

As with last year, we weren’t able to have in-person awards this year. Thanks to Best of Books, management and staff, for capturing some of these images as winners came in to collect their prizes and, of course, the winning plaques that will hang in the store. Thanks as well to Frank B. Armstrong for these first two photographs.

The Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque bears the name of every winner since the Wadadli Pen Challenge was first held in 2004. It is sponsored by the Best of Books bookstore, where it hangs year round.

Second placed writer Ashley-Whitney Joshua, author of ‘Hiraeth‘ with prizes that include gifts from Rotary Club of Antigua, books contributed by Sekou Luke, cash contributed by Rilys Adams, and a spot in a future Bocas workshop.

12 and Younger honourable mention (for the story ‘The Blackboard‘) Eunike Caesar collecting her prizes which include books from Harper Collins and Barbara Arrindell, gift certificate from Juneth Webson, and gift certificates and other prizes from Rotary Club of Antigua.

Sheniqua Greaves’ ‘The Juxtaposed Reprieve‘ earned honourable mention in both the ‘2020’ subtheme and main categories, and she earned prizes from Bocas (workshop), Peepal Tree Press (Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay), Juneth Webson (gift certificate), Rotary Club of Antigua (various), and Devra Thomas (cash).

Gazelle Goodwin is the first time winner of the Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award given to the top 12 and younger writer. Her poem was ‘Beautiful Disaster‘.

Andre Warner – honourable mention for ‘The Brave One‘ collecting his prize.
Gazelle Goodwin holding the Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award which now bears her name. Gazelle is 12 and younger winner for ‘Beautiful Disaster‘.
Aunjelique Liddie collecting her prizes for placing third with ‘The Beach‘.
Main prize winner Kevin Liddie for ‘Mildred, You No Easy‘ with the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque.
Collecting contribution to the Public Library.
These Collins Big Cat books are at the library. Go get them.
Main prize honourable mention for ‘Vixen‘, Razonique Looby.
Principal of St. Anthony’s Joanne Boulous-Callias collecting her school’s prize.

Click below for:

About Wadadli Pen

Wadadli Pen 2021 press release announcing this year’s winners

Who Won What in 2021

Wadadli Pen 2021 Playlist on YouTube

Wadadli Pen Winners through the Years – Story Links

Thanks to our Patrons

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Wadadli Pen Challenge – Who Won What in 2021?

Listed below are the names of the finalists and the prizes they won, thanks to our patrons, in the 2021 edition of the annual Challenge initiative of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, a programme launched in 2004 to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. Here’s our press release announcing the winners. As for this year’s winning entry, you can also read or listen to Why We Chose It.

The awards were held virtually (for a second year in a row in deference to COVID-19 safety protocols) on May 30th 2021, hosted by Barbara Arrindell, Wadadli Pen partner and manager of longtime awards host The Best of Books bookstore. Congratulations to all.

Schools Prize Winner (for most submissions): St. Anthony’s Secondary School

Prizes – 12 Collins Caribbean School Dictionary; 6 copies of Social Studies Atlas for the Caribbean; 6 copies of Social Studies Atlas for the Caribbean workbook; 3 copies of You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); Barron’s SAT Premium Study Guide 2020 – 2021 (Ten Pages bookstore); EC$250 gift certificate for books (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and two sets of A-level reference guides (from the Best of Books bookstore).

Long Listed Writers:

Linita Simon ‘The Breeze’ (fiction), Rosemond Dinard-Gordon ‘Emerging’ (poetry), Naeem DeSouza ‘The Goat in the Rainforest of Puerto Rico’ (fiction), Anastatia K. Mayers ‘Home’ (poetry), Jai Francis ‘The Legend of the Snowy Egret’ (creative non-fiction), Annachiara Bazzoni ‘Maybe’ (poetry), Noleen Azille ‘Mission: Covered’ (fiction), Latisha Walker-Jacobsalso a finalist in 2011 – ‘Nothing Like Me’ (poetry), Kadisha Valerie ‘The Silence was So Loud’ (fiction), Aria-Rose Brownealso a finalist in 2020 – ‘Spirit of the Flame’ (fiction)

Prizes – All long listed writers will have the opportunity to participate in one (possibly two) workshops sponsored by Garfield Linton, facilitated by Joanne C. Hillhouse as part of her Jhohadli Writing Project. Additionally, Naaem, Anastatia, Jai, Annachiara, Kadisha, and Aria-Rose will receive secondary school reference guides contributed by the Best of Books bookstore, while Linita, Rosemond, Noleen, Latisha will receive copies of Musical Youth (which is the recipient of a Burt award and a starred review from Kirkus which named it one of its top indies) from author and Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and sometime judge Joanne C. Hillhouse. All longlisted and shortlisted writers received (electronically) a certificate from Wadadli Pen as record of their accomplishment.

Short Listed Writers:

12 and Younger – Winner:

Gazelle Zauditu Menen Goodwin , 12, ‘Beautiful Disaster‘ (poetry)

Prizes – Gazelle’s name becomes the first one added to the Zuri Holder Achievement Award plaque and she also receives an EC$75 gift certificate for books (from patron, Cedric Holder, Zuri’s father, in the name of the Cushion Club) – RIP, Zuri; EC$250 (from NIA Comms/Marcella Andre); A copy of each of the following Big Cat books – Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay and Stacey Byer, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune + You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); Hardy Boys #6: The Shore Road Mystery, Nancy Drew #4: The Mystery at the Lilac Inn, and Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham (contributed by Ten Pages bookstore); kindle and kindle carrier, EC$250 gift certificate, pen set, journal, dictionary, and back pack (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and Antigua My Antigua by Barbara Arrindell and Edison Liburd and A Short Guide to Antigua by Brian Dyde (contributed by Barbara Arrindell, who also volunteered to facilitate a number of workshops in the run-up to the Wadadli Pen submission deadline)

12 and Younger – Honourable Mention:

Eunike Caesar , 9, ‘The Blackboard‘ (fiction)

Prizes – A copy of each of the following Big Cat books – Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay and Stacey Byer, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune + You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); EC$108 gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); kindle and kindle carrier, EC$200 gift certificate, pen set, journal, dictionary, and back pack (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and Antigua My Antigua by Barbara Arrindell and Edison Liburd and A Short Guide to Antigua by Brian Dyde (contributed by Barbara Arrindell)

Sub-theme ‘2020’ – Winner:

Jason Gilead, ‘The Great Old Woodslave‘ (fiction)

Prizes – A spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); EC$250 ( from NIA Comms/Marcella Andre); a kindle and kindle carrier, EC$150 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and a copy of Pioneers of the Caribbean written by Ingrid V Lambie and Patricia L Tully (contributed by Patricia Tully)

Sub-theme ‘2020’ – Honourable Mention:

Sheniqua Maria Greaves , 19, ‘The Juxtaposed Reprieve‘ (fiction)

Prizes – A spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay (contributed by publisher Peepal Tree Press); EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); Kindle and kindle carrier, EC$100 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua)

Main Prize – Winner:

Kevin Liddie , ‘Mildred, You No Easy‘ (fiction)

Prizes – Name added to the Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge Plaque (sponsored by the Best of Books bookstore)

The plaque, which hangs in the Best of Books bookstore, got an upgrade in 2016 and is now known as the Alstyne Allen Memorial Plaque.

EC$500 cheque (contributed by Frank B. Armstrong); US$200/EC$520 gift certificate for books (contributed by Olive Senior); The Friends of the Bocas Lit Fest (FBLF) status allowing access to event archives, Book Bulletin, discounts on Bocas merchandise, books, workshops and paid events offered by the BLF, and be a part of FBLF exclusive events + A spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); Notes on Ernesto Che Guevara´s ideas on pedagogy by Lidia Turner Martí + The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (contributed by Sekou Luke); Four (4) copies each of Big Cat books: Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune to gift to a primary school of his choice (Harper Collins UK)

Main Prize – Second Placed:

Ashley-Whitney Joshua , 19, F, ‘Hiraeth‘ (fiction)

Prizes – EC$300 cash (contributed by Rilys Adams – an author, who was a Wadadli Pen finalist in 2005 and 2006); a spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); By Love Possessed: Stories by Lorna Goodison + Time to Talk by Curtly Ambrose with Richard Sydenham (contributed by Sekou Luke); Kindle and kindle carrier, EC$150 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua)

Main Prize – Third Placed:

Aunjelique Liddie , 13, F, ‘The Beach‘ (poetry)

Prizes – EC$250 cash (contributed by Daryl George – a finalist in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016); A copy of each of the following Big Cat books – Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune + You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan + The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (contributed by Sekou Luke); Kindle and kindle carrier, EC$100 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); Antigua My Antigua (contributed by Barbara Arrindell)

Main Prize – Honourable Mention:

Jason Gilead

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas – also a 2011 Wadadli Pen finalist, subsequent volunteer and partner, and, as of 2021, judge); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Sheniqua Maria Greaves

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Razonique Looby , 15, F, ‘Vixen‘ (fiction)

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Andre Warner , 23, M, ‘The Brave One‘ (fiction)

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Additional gifts

Wadadli Pen also gifted:

One (1) copy each of Big Cat books: Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune (Harper Collins UK) to the Cushion Club of Antigua and Barbuda

Four (4) copies each of Big Cat books: Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune (Harper Collins UK) to the Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda

Thanks and congrats all around.

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Thank you, Patrons

The following letter was submitted to the Daily Observer newspaper for publication.

Good Day,

As founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, I have been thankful for the businesses, individuals, and non-profits that have extended patronage to our efforts to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda over the years. This is no small thing as youth investment and arts patronage are significant community investments – and often not enough. Thanks, specifically, in 2021 to the following patrons:

Rilys Adams
Barbara Arrindell
The Best of Books Bookstore
The Bocas Lit Fest
Frank B. Armstrong
Daryl George 
Harper Collins UK
Joanne C. Hillhouse
Cedric Holder (for the Cushion Club)
Garfield Linton
Sekou Luke
Media
Moondancer Books
NIA Comms
Peepal Tree Press (and Diana McCaulay)
Rotary Club of Antigua
Olive Senior
Ten Pages Bookstore
Devra Thomas
Patricia L Tully
Juneth Webson

Special thanks to the team behind the scenes: Barbara Arrindell, Floree Williams Whyte, Devra Thomas, Joanne C. Hillhouse, and Margaret Irish because this doesn’t happen without a lot of volunteer time, expertise, and patience.

Thank you.

Wadadli Pen

See also the Wadadli Pen YouTube Channel for our thanks and more from the Mary 30th 2021 Awards.

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Wadadli Pen 2021 Winning Entry – Why We Chose It

‘Today’s walk was sluggish, as he conversed with slow-poke Mildred. “Yes,” she said. “The rain reminds me of tears as well and remind me of when I cried when I broke my big toe.”’

Pulling that excerpt I’m reminded that ‘Mildred, You No Easy‘, by Wadadli Pen 2021 main prize winner Kevin Liddie, was pretty funny, just one of the textures layered in to this well woven piece. Here’s one of our judges, Floree Williams Whyte (author of Pink Tea Cups and Blue Dresses, Through the Window, and The Wonderful World of Yohan), reflecting on Why We Chose It:

Well Mildred, you nuh easy! You captured our attention from the moment we met you. Short stories and poems can be hard to complete. You have a few paths to use, you can either bring your story full circle- a tough task with a limited word count. Or you can give the reader an appetizer that leaves them desiring another course. Both methods take skill, efficiency and a mastery of the ideas that float around in your head. This year we had a lot of pieces with good bones. Pieces that left you saying ‘Ok, I see where you are going and I like it.’

But from the first read ‘Mildred, You Nuh Easy’ was an undeniable front runner. This piece was an engaging conversation between John and Mildred. As a reader we felt like a bystander eavesdropping on their trek, slowly becoming invested in the back story. And then whap! The writer pulls a twist ending leaving the reader saying ‘Oh!’ It was a full circle story with space for Chapter 2. We liked the way the writer handled the story through dialogue, description, and emotions. Giving just enough detail to pique your interest while leaving enough room to let your imagination fill in the gaps.

Congratulations all our writers! Sending off your creative work for critique and judging is never easy. Our stories are our babies and we want the world to be kind to them. Win or lose keep imagining, keep writing and keep sharing your precious ones with us. We are ready to read!

Posted by: JCH, blogger, Wadadli Pen coordinator, and 2021 judge. The third judge this season was 2011 Wadadli Pen winner and team member since 2016 Devra Thomas.

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Main Prize (Wadadli Pen 2021) – Winner – Kevin Liddie

Kevin Liddie, M, ‘Mildred, You No Easy’ (fiction)

About the Author – Kevin Liddie has been writing poetry and short fiction since childhood – most memorably, at age 8, writing a prayer for a priest dying of cancer. Today, he is a pastor, salesman, and avid reader. He has done stints in acting including dramatic presentations. His poetry has been read on the radio and in church. His motto is ‘life is an adventure, so live it’. This is his first entry into a writing competition.

About ‘Mildred, You No Easy’: The story was inspired by personal observations and scenes from his favourite beach Fort James Beach, Antigua.

*

‘Mildred, You No Easy’

“Heh, those raindrops look like tears,” said John Mink as he walked toward Fort James beach.

It felt as if he had been walking for hours, though it had only been 10 minutes since he left his one-room wooden house. The rain eased the heat a little, but to John, they were the same. Rain or shine, he trekked to the beach every day.

Today’s walk was sluggish, as he conversed with slow-poke Mildred. “Yes,” she said. “The rain reminds me of tears as well and remind me of when I cried when I broke my big toe.”


John had his usual possessions – the fishing rod and an old crocus bag, but today was special because he had some pepperpot and fungee that his neighbor had left for him. It smelled just like the pepperpot and fungee his ex-wife used to cook.He could not wait to eat it, sitting on the edge of his favourite cannon, looking over the water.

Mildred was chatty. She asked John if his ex-wife used celery to season the meat for the pepper pot and when was the last time he saw the children.


John could feel the blood rumbling through his body. Mildred and her big mouth. She knew he preferred to think about his ex-wife, not talk about her. On top of that Mildred was such a hypocrite. She had never liked his ex-wife. At first the marriage was peaceful, then Mildred turned up the heat. I created a rift and constant arguments became the norm as Mildred was extremely jealous.


“I don’t want to talk about her, and I don’t want to talk about the children with you.


He was marching, now. He was pissed and as usual when he got angry, the Creole, that his socialization and education had repressed, erupted.”Me say me no want talk about them, you def.” A litany of expletives proliferated the air. People who lived nearby came out to see what the commotion was all about.


“Mildred me ah go knock you if you nah hush you mouth” screeched John.


Calm yourself, calm yourself” cried an impassioned Mildred.


His story of loss had always been the tipping point of John’s outrage and again, Mildred’s interference was the catalyst that re-surfaced these memories.


He felt his heart pounding. Oh, he was on a roll now … the people in his peripheral vision began to disappear … he was caught up in the memories.


Fort James was in sight. But the promise of fishing in peace was gone.


Mildred would not shut her mouth. She, too, was on a roll.


“Don’t blame me because your wife left you,” she screamed. “You know, John, it’s your fault that she left you. You are to blame. Look at you now. You still cannot control your anger. That’s how you got in trouble in the first place.


Whap!


John hit Mildred in her mouth.


She screamed at him again, “You are such a loser!”


He gave her another blow. This time Mildred was on the ground.


An audience gathered, watching the man on sand beating and talking to himself.


The rain began to pour and they scattered leaving the deranged man with the fishing rod and crocus bag by himself.

This is one of the winning entries in the 2021 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. Please respect each writer’s copyright.

Click here for the full prize break down and remember to support our patrons as they support the arts.

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Sub-theme ‘2020’- Winner, and Main Prize – Honourable Mention (Wadadli Pen 2021) – Jason Gilead

Jason Gilead, M, ‘The Great Old Woodslave’ (fiction)

About the Author – Jason declared, “I am not a writer by any stretch of the imagination.  I enjoy travelling, meeting people, eating great food and gaining new experiences.  I have a vivid imagination, but most times the things I imagine remain just there, in my imagination.

About ‘The Great Old Woodslave’: Jason is a member of a social club, and, for a recent club activity, was challenged to write a story about how any object around their home would view the COVID-19 pandemic. He said, “A few nights before that activity I had what can only be classified as an all-out war with a woodslave I found in my living room (I admittedly have a mild phobia of anything that looks like a lizard). I therefore chose to write my short story from the eyes of that woodslave. The members enjoyed the story very much and challenged me to enter the piece. I never expected anything to come of the submission.” Jason is outside of the usual age range of Wadadli Pen and his is the kind of story that makes us feel good about opening up the Challenge to all ages in 2021.

*

‘The Great Old Woodslave’

I didn’t trouble him na! Most times he doesn’t even know I am here. We have lived together, co-existed for years; I don’t bother him, he doesn’t bother me. I stay in the eaves of the house and simply observe.

Oh how life has changed over the past year. He used to be gone all day and back only at night. I had the lay of the land all to myself. I would roam, enjoy the quiet serenity and snack on my favorite morsels that pass my way. I would retire to my spot, before he got home or dart at the sound of the rustle of his keys, so he would not have the chance to see me. But of late, he has been present way too often……always sitting at the table banging away at and talking into that black box with lights….lights that hurt my skin. Oh, and that box seems to be filled with other humans….males, females, with all sorts of accents and they talk incessantly!!! Oh how I miss my serenity!

One day, my curiosity got the better of me. I ought to have known better but what was going on in that black box, the one with buttons and the lights and the many voices…it wrestled my attention. As the human retired to that room in which I am seemingly not welcomed, I came out from my hiding place to investigate.

I don’t know which of the humans in the box told him I was out, but the next thing I knew, I was on the receiving end of a broom. Whap! Whap!. The licks left me so dazed and confused. I scurried back to my hiding place to catch my breath. It was then I realized I had lost my tail in the melee.

Had it not been for this pandemic, I would not have captivated by that box…by those wretched people inside that box, nor would my curiosity have gotten the better of me.

This story was edited by the author, post-judging, prior to posting. It is one of the winning entries in the 2021 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. Please respect each writer’s copyright.

Click here for the full prize break down and remember to support our patrons as they support the arts.

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Main Prize (Wadadli Pen 2021) – Third Placed – Aunjelique Liddie

Aunjelique Liddie, 13, F, ‘The Beach’ (poetry)

About the Author – Aunjelique LIddie has a passion for swimming and has represented Antigua in the OECS swim championships for her age category. She is an avid student and passionate about her work and desires to have a career in building design. She is pragmatic and self-determined, with a vivid imagination and a desire to explore the beauty and tragedy of life. Aunjelique is a student at the Antigua Girls High School.

About ‘The Beach’: Inspired by Aunjelique’s love of the beach and her deep passion to swim as well as her journey, mishaps, thoughts, and adventures in the water.

*

‘The Beach’

Glaze on the deep blue sea
Sun shining as bright as a star
Waves as big as a mountain
Crabs crawling
Fish swimming


Salt in the air emptiness all around me the freshness of trees
Coconut water never taste sweeter


A calm wind, a gentle breeze
Chopping down of milky content fruits
Trees moaning
Birds cowing looking for food


Diving into the big open sea
Struggling to stay above the surface
Gasping for air but the water swallows me whole
Eyes spot me
Feet are stomping
Splash!! Splash!! Splash!!
Hands reach out
A tight grip on my shoulders
Carried away to the sandy shore
Breathed to life
I am whole again.

This is one of the winning entries in the 2021 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. Please respect each writer’s copyright.

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Main Prize (Wadadli Pen 2021)- Honourable Mention Razonique Looby

Razonique Looby, 15, F, ‘Vixen’ (fiction)

About the Author – Razonique is a fifth form student currently studying at Christ The King High School. When not desperately obsessing over Jamaica Kincaid, she spends her time writing. “Ever since I was very young, words have been my dearest way of expressing my thoughts and feelings.” Razonique’s favourite themes to explore are those that deal with the internal conflicts of women and their relationships with society and the world at large.

About ‘Vixen’: ‘Vixen’ is a story about a woman who, driven by the pandemic, takes on ‘lovers’ and ruins them for her personal gain. Razonique says she likes to work with femme fatales. “I find them to be some of the most complex and rewarding characters. This particular piece was inspired by a quote from one of my favourite feminist books, Margaret Atwood’s Robber Bride which goes, ‘Male fantasies, male fantasies, is everything run by male fantasies? Up on a pedestal or down on your knees, it’s all a male fantasy: that you’re strong enough to take what they dish out, or else too weak to do anything about it. Even pretending you aren’t catering to male fantasies is a male fantasy: pretending you’re unseen, pretending you have a life of your own, that you can wash your feet and comb your hair unconscious of the ever-present watcher peering through the keyhole, peering through the keyhole in your own head, if nowhere else. You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur.'”

*

‘Vixen’

Magdelyne stretched, arching her back and contorting her joints until the satisfactory snaps were heard and reminded her that she was not quite a dead woman yet.

She was not meant to be left alone with her own thoughts; the recent shut down of the country due to the pandemic only serving to exacerbate her many problems. The bustle of St. Johns had always been a necessary distraction, but Magdelyne always knew how to make do.

The man who was currently on video call with her (the fifth that afternoon), was from Britain but far from an English gentleman. Dylan, she thought his name was. Dylan, or Dianthus. He was fifteen years her senior at 37 years old and had the pandemic not gotten in the way of things, Magdelyne was certain that he would have been in Antigua worshipping the ground she walked on by now. This accountant had entered her rotation of ‘lovers’ about six months ago and Magdelyne could tell that poor Dianthus had already deluded himself into believing that he was in love.

After all, how could he not be? The very persona he knew her to be had been perfected to serve that very purpose; ‘Vixen’, a male delusion who never nagged and lived only to please and purr and wear lingerie. For obvious reasons, Magdelyne had neglected to tell Dianthus of the dozens of men around the world who shared his feelings and expressed their love into her bank account accordingly. This was how she lived, how she could afford the luxurious backdrop in frame behind her. Magdelyne was very good at her job.

The young vixen was bored and cold. Lying sexily on satin sheets at 7 PM in the middle of March was certainly not her idea of a good time, but she would do anything for a paying customer. The sinful red of the short robe she was wearing seemed to distract her ‘beaux’ from the dull look in her eyes and the uninterested, outright insincere look sitting on her face. There was not much of a masquerade taking place on either of their sides. Four hours ahead of her in London, Dianthus had called for a late evening ogle and a chance to moan about his sow of a mother. He never mentioned his father.

The more Dianthus spoke, the more disgusted she became. Generally, this was the case with all her marks, but she had long since learned to disassociate her conscience from her body during work. Very seldom did she feel this level of visceral hatred towards any one of her ‘lovers’ at any one point.

Magdelyne did not talk to openly married men. She never felt the need to ask (because she felt it was not her responsibility) but if the topic came up naturally the woman would never directly participate in infidelity. It was, however, explicitly clear that this annoying ‘mother’ of Dianthus’ was his wife- or at least a serious girlfriend. This was her fifth video call that afternoon and Magdelyne was at her wit’s end. Then again, it was not her place to confront him. Not until the young woman had a proper escape plan, at least.

“Sometimes I wonder, Vixen,” Dianthus drawled with a deep, dreamy sigh, “where you were all my life?”

Magdelyne resisted the almost overwhelming urge to roll her eyes and decided to play the part of gracious, giggling sycophant instead. She knew exactly where this was going. Dianthus, focused on the task at hand and keeping to his train of thought mused further, “I mean, I-I’ve never met anyone quite like you.” His breaths were heavy, and it was almost difficult to make out what he was saying over the phone as he was holding it rather unsteadily with one hand but a veteran like Magdelyne could recite this little speech in her sleep. “I w-wish my wife was like you- she barely knows how to have fun anymore…”

And there it was, the truth out in the open. Magdelyne felt like screaming. It was likely his fault that this wife was the way she was. Magdelyne guessed sympathetically that the woman was likely ‘good’, a member of the highly praised yet privately disparaged group of women who did things as society said that they ought to. They had fed from the pie society serves to Every Woman before handcuffing them and sending them into the kitchen (where a woman belongs) to bake the same dish for their daughters. These were the women whose lives revolved around a man as the centre of her universe, who sacrificed their interests and hobbies to be servile. These were the women who found themselves disregarded as ‘boring’ later on when the new girl smell wore off of their bosoms and their men decided to want to ‘substance’ (someone younger and prettier).

That complicit, submissive, eager to please part of Magdelyne had long since died. What was left was a cold, avaricious succubus of a woman. What a stupid man, she thought. An unreasonable, childish man. Couldn’t he tell that any boring woman would be better for him than she was? But alas, none of his lovers would ever be able to compete with Vixen who did not exist.

This character she was playing was an amalgamation of fantasies, barely a person at all. Magdelyne was beginning to get tired of this game.

Vixen performed as she knew how; purring and stroking and pawing and stripping and waited until the man reached his summit to reach for her phone. The end was near. Quickly, she snapped a picture of her laptop screen before grinning murderously, black eyes shining in contempt like a cat having caught its prey. The woman retied the discarded robe around herself.

Dianthus, yet unaware of the misfortune he had just suffered panted. Hard. “That was amazing,” he said.


Sure it was, she thought smugly. Magdelyne held her phone to the webcam and smiled as her newest victim gasped. Dianthus understood what was happening instantly. Tears pricked at his eyes; how could he have been so foolish?

“$50,000 or I send this to everyone you know.”

This story was edited by the author, post-judging, prior to posting. It is one of the winning entries in the 2021 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. Please respect each writer’s copyright.

Click here for the full prize break down and remember to support our patrons as they support the arts.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2021, Wadadli Pen News