Tag Archives: Wadadli Pen

12 and Younger (Wadadli Pen 2021)- Honourable Mention Eunike Caesar

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

About the Author – Nine year old Eunike enjoys reading and playing. She hopes to one day become a teacher and a famous YouTuber. Eunike first submitted to Wadadli Pen at 5 years old in 2017 and continued submitting in subsequent Challenges (2018, 2020) before making the short list in 2021. Eunike is a student at the Baptist Academy of Antigua.

About ‘The Blackboard’: The story is about a blackboard, which lived in the “Non-Living Things” world. The blackboard was accused of having the corona after it sneezed while being written upon. Eunike said, “After being a part of a short workshop by Ms. Arrindell, as well as a story my mother wrote, I was inspired to write this story.”

*

‘The Blackboard’

‘Achoo!’ sneezed the Blackboard while the teacher Ms. Jakes wrote a math equation on her.

For a second, the class was as quiet as the St. John’s cemetery.

Then Flora, the girl with the long braids, all the way to her bottom shouted ‘Corona!’ and suddenly everyone, including Ms. Jakes, was rushing out of the classroom. All you could see was a bundle of bodies, trying to squeeze through the door, above which was a sign entitled ‘Come in with questions. Leave with knowledge.’

Everyone scrambled down the corridor and almost ran out of the school yard. Thank God, Ms. Jakes remembered that she was a teacher. Breathing heavily, she said, ‘Hold on…stop…strain yourselves …tell Principal Crump’ and she dragged herself to the office.

“Mrs. Crrrrrrrrump. I.. neeeeeed to teeeelllll yooou soooomething!”

“What is it, did someone get hurt, was Rakeem sleeping in class again, is my daughter Chandria okay?” asked Mrs. Crump. “Here, drink some water and calm down.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Crump. I get my breath back. Blackboard sneezed. It has Corona! Call in the health inspectors quickly and we all need to go on quarantine. This is serious Mrs. Crump. This is serious.”

“Please take the children to Bathroom and let them clean up in case Blackboard got any saliva on them when it sneezed.” said Mrs. Crump, “This Non-Living Things Corona Virus is dangerous and we need to get this under control. God forbid that it should spread to humans.”

Mrs. Crump poked her head through the door and shouted “Miss Jenkins? Did you sanitize Bathroom?’

‘Yes, ma’am. You can eat off Bathroom floor.”

In five minutes, the inspectors drove into the school yard in Ambulance.

“Please, tell them to come back, I don’t have corona. I forgot to tell them that I have the flu.” Don’t they remember that it’s the flu season? I already got tested for the corona and my test came back negative. Please, please, please, don’t take me away to the Non-Living Things Hospital,” cried Blackboard. “I am so ashamed!

‘That’s where you have to go. You want US to catch the virus?”

Blackboard cried rivers of chalky tears, while the inspectors unhooked it from the wall.

The children ran behind Ambulance as it drove through the gate with Blackboard lying in the back. They began to sing, “It’s been a long day without you my friend, and we’ll tell you about it when we see you again”.

“Wa, wa, wa, wa,” was the sound which filled the air and disappeared as Ambulance went further and further away with Blackboard.”

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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Main Prize (Wadadli Pen 2021) – Honourable Mention Andre Warner

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

About the Author – Andre is an aspiring writer, chess player, and youth leader. He was a Wadadli Pen runner up in 2018 and winner in 2020. He said, “I love the arts of literature and (am) a fan of physical activities.”

About ‘The Brave One’: The story of a young boy caught up in the woes of the pandemic, viewing the virus as a monster and experiencing events from his perspective as he does his part to fight the ‘monster’.

*

‘The Brave One’

“Bwoy just go back inna ya room on the zoom and sit down! Me cannot help you Javon, me tired ah’ 6pm”. Javon ran to his room in tears, his dad never shouted at him like this before. The unshaven red eyed man, absorbed into his laptop that he saw barely resembled his dad anymore, only six months ago he was a happy go lucky guy with a wonderful smile. It was all that thing’s fault, why his dad was not happy, why he couldn’t see his friends, and why mommy wasn’t here anymore. It was all that monster’s fault; it took everything but today he would take it back!

Javon looked at himself in the mirror: six years old, three and a half feet of determination. He began psyching himself up by thinking of the last six months. It all started when the news said something was out there, lurking. His mom told him not to worry it was all the way in China; “corona by the chiney man, we all the way in Antigua” she said. A few weeks later he heard more news, it reached to America and other places. Overhearing his dad talking with his friends about how they should close the ports to stop the virus from coming to Antigua; he started to question what would happen to his cousins that lived there? The same answer was given, not to worry. Then it came, Javon vividly remembered seeing his parents glued to the T.V, watching the man who he saw in social studies, the prime minister. Never had he seen his parents so silent or nervous, after the show they lectured him about safety protocols to follow. That was the beginning of the weirdest times he ever had.

It was so fun at first! Javon got to wear a mask and play ninja with his friends every single day. Everyone washed their hands; he hated sticky hands from candy and ice pops. Lastly, he got his own cubicle at school, just like his daddy had in his office at the hotel. But the fun stopped there, at home everything changed, his parents looked tired and sad every day. Javon always wondered why a virus you couldn’t see bothered his parents so much they were the: brave knights of Couchlandia in the land of living room, and the cut-throat pirates of the Bathtub Sea. Then he figured it out there was no virus, it must be a vicious monster spreading plagues. The signs were all there, a curfew? Only the evilest monsters hunt at night, so obviously no one would be allowed outside. Then, came the lockdown, only strong monsters roamed in the day. Javon’s mom was a nurse, and she was now ‘essential’ it was obviously to help wounded soldiers who fought the monster. His dad now stayed home as extra security, Javon did not believe his dad’s excuse of how the hotel job closed, how could the big world run out of tourists? None of that mattered to him now he had a mission, it was time to slay the monster.

To defeat his enemy Javon decided to learn where its nest was, creeping out of his room to grab an important tool: his mom’s phone. He immediately called the ‘Covid’ hotline that was advertised, and every call went unanswered. Javon decided he would have to investigate himself; he needed all the clues he could to find this monster. He put on his detective glasses to crack this case; online he found how the monster arrived by plane, attacking a college student then slowly spreading over the nation, what made him mad was the monster even had a green scoreboard for all its victims. Now was the time he could act the curfew was on, the hours where the monster prowled around had begun. With the trail hot Javon snuck into the bathroom and hopped out the low window; armed with ninja stars, a cork gun and a lightsaber the hunt began. Reaching to the monster’s den was a perilous journey; every shadow jumped at him, dogs barked, and cars zoomed past him. After three hours he arrived: Mount Saint John’s Hospital, the belly of the beast. With a deep breath Javon entered. Back in Piggott’s Javon’s father, after discovering his son’s absence and his intended destination, bravely broke the curfew restrictions and hopped into his car racing for the hospital not knowing what he would find.

Using ninja skills Javon crept through the quiet corridors and up the stairs to the upper floors after overhearing a nurse saying “all corona up in the top floor”. Facing the restricted glass doors, Javon heard machine beeps and people gasping for air. Reaching a hand forward he noticed that it was shaking, in fact his whole body was shaking! Just beyond those doors lay the monster. That is when Javon realized it terrified him; the monster that took his mom, broke his dad, terrorized the world and destroyed his life scared him. Once those doors opened there was no turning back, the reality of what he was doing sank in, driving him to tears. But he brushed them away, pushing his hands forward again he had to do it, someone had to be the brave one! Before his hand touched the door it was grabbed by a larger hand. Panicking thinking of the monster Javon struggled as he was pulled into a tight embrace. Recognizing the familiar scent and embrace of his father, he leaned even deeper into the hug bawling his eyes out. Through his sobs Javon explained what he was doing for everyone’s sake, feeling his father’s chest shake he thought him angry. Looking up through tear-stained eyes he saw to his confusion that his dad was, laughing? Turning to leave and take him home, his dad cheerfully apologized, and said “don’t worry son you don’t have to be afraid anymore, from now on I will be the brave one.”

This story was edited by the author, post-judging, prior to posting. 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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12 and Younger (Wadadli Pen 2021)- Winner Gazelle Goodwin

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

About the Author – Gazelle is a 12 year old grade 8 student of the Island Academy School, who has a passion for visual arts, music, natural sciences, information technology, and world affairs. She is the 10th of 11 children and says, “I believe that success depends heavily on one’s own intrinsic motivation so I always push myself to do the very best that I can.”

About ‘Beautiful Disaster’: The poet describes it as being “about the beauty and the tragedy that was brought about by the global Corona Virus Pandemic. Listening to and watching the news daily, I was disheartened by all the pain, the loss and the sense of hopelessness that prevailed. However, being an optimist, I chose as well to find the good that was beneath all the gloom and hence the title ‘Beautiful Disaster’ because even in this somewhat hopeless moment, there is still BEAUTY.”

*

‘Beautiful Disaster’

On a sombre day in December
When the world was busy playing
There upon descended Corona
A silent killer, all betraying.

The cries were loud, deafening was the clamour
The hopelessness it bred, seemed to last forever
But, in the midst of it all, there was a beautiful disaster
For we all had the chance to focus on the things that matter.

Like family, and the togetherness we’d lost
Like mother earth, and how she had been suffering because of us
Like slowing down, reflecting and re-evaluating our pace
And taking time to cherish, whatever time we had left in this place.

So yes it was, a beautiful disaster indeed
Covid 19 or Corona, out of ugliness beauty breeds
Our world has changed, humanity perhaps better for it
A beautiful disaster, if ever nature saw fit.

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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Wadadli Pen 2021 – The Short List

I (Joanne C. Hillhouse, author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator), zoomed today with my fellow judges, author, publisher, and veteran Wadadli Pen judge Floree Williams Whyte and past winner and first time judge Devra Thomas. After separately creating our own list of ranked entries (entries, not writers whom the judges didn’t know as they read) from among 72 entries, and an average ranking from that list, guided solely by numerical ranking, leading to the posting of a long list, we discussed the long list, revisited the entries, lobbied and debated, and ranked, and we have a short list. Congrats to everyone who entered for trying (that’s important in #TheWritingLife) and to those who made the short list. How that short list breaks down will be revealed at our Awards ceremony (which is our next project activity – details to come). But in the meantime, join us in congratulating writers short listed for the Wadadli Pen 2021 Challenge Prize.

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

Eunike Caesar – The Blackboard (fiction)
Jason Gilead – The Great Old Woodslave (fiction)
Gazelle Zauditu Menen Goodwin – Beautiful Disaster (poetry)
Sheniqua Maria Greaves – The Juxtaposed Reprieve (fiction)
Ashley-Whitney Joshua – Hiraeth (fiction)
Aunjelique Liddie – The Beach (poetry)
Kevin Liddie – Mildred, You No Easy (fiction)
Razonique Looby – Vixen (fiction)
Andre Warner – The Brave One (fiction)

Congrats as well to the writers who made the long list. Since we mentioned only the titles and not the names before, they were (in addition to the short listed writers above) – Noleen Azille (Mission: Covered, fiction); Annachiara Bazzoni (Maybe, poetry); Aria-Rose Browne (Spirit of the Flame, fiction); Rosemond Dinard-Gordon (Emerging, poetry); Naeem Desouza (The Goat in the Rainforest of Puerto Rico, fiction); Jai Francis (The Legend of the Snowy Egret, poetry); Anastatia K. Mayers (Home, poetry); Linita Simon (The Breeze, fiction); Kadisha Valerie (The Silence was So Loud, fiction); and Latisha Walker Jacobs (Nothing Like Me, poetry).

All long listed writers will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop facilitated by me post-season (thanks to sponsorship from one of our patrons) – other prizes will be announced at the awards ceremony. 

The winning school, i. e. the school with the most submissions, is St. Anthony’s Secondary School. Congrats to them and to teachers at all schools who had to rise to meet the challenges of a most extraordinary year.

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid May 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here)

Tribute

Popular African American novelist Eric Jerome Dickey called himself a fAntiguan (in fact the picture often used as his author photo, in the attached article was taken by Antigua-based photographer Joseph Jones). Barbados claimed him too. As his long time agent Sara Camilli (also my agent) suggests in this LitHub article, being at home anywhere in the world was part of his charm. Eric lost his battle with cancer in January – one of two losses I felt personally right around my birthday in early January. One was one of my young Cushion Club/Wadadli Pen kids who died in an accident (and for whom his father has now set up the Zuri Holder Achievement Award as one of our Wadadli Pen prizes) and the other was the author, EJD, who had always been kind to me since we met at one of the literary festivals here in Antigua and whom I had no idea was sick. None at all. Like Chadwick Boseman, it feels like he put every effort in to living rather than dwelling on his inevitable death. I urge you to read Sara’s tribute which was enlightening for me, both in terms of the depth of their relationship and in the many things I didn’t understand about him. He truly is an example of someone gone too soon.

Me on a panel with Eric Jerome Dickey at the ABILF

Accolades

Due to Barbadian writer Cherie Jones’ whose How the One-Armed Sister sweeps the House is shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. See the announcement below. (Source – Women’s Prize for Fiction email)

New Books

May 20th 2021 is Publication Day for Trini author Lisa Allen-Agostini. Her latest The Bread the Devil Knead lands at the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival. (Source – the author’s facebook)

Wadadli Pen News

We have posted the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2021 Long List. ETA: and now the Short List. And be sure to see the continually updated Opportunities and Opportunities Too pages for more…opportunities. ETAA – We’ve set May 30th 2021 @ 3 p.m. as the time for the virtual awards ceremony. (Source – in house)

Lit News

Bocas wrapped with a panel on the 100 Caribbean Books that Made Us. We posted about it here. We’d love to hear your thoughts. Not about the post so much but continuing the conversation – what are the Caribbean books that made you. (Source – live observance of the Bocas fest on YouTube and in house)

For Your Viewing Pleasure

The Ministry of Education, Sports, and Creative Industries of Antigua and Barbuda has, as of May 5th 2021, launched the first in a series of virtual symposiums on Meaningful Research: Enabling, Informing, and Creating Positive Change. This will continue every Wednesday in May, 5 to 6:30 p.m. AST on the MoE Facebook and YouTube platforms. “I am hoping that there will be some positive action and change coming out of the presentations,” said Dr. Desiree Antonio, event chair. Education director Clare Browne said the symposium is intended to be a permanent part of the Ministry of Education’s annual calendar. For more information, call 781-5038 and 722-6541. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper and additional research)

***

We mentioned the US Embassy’s World Book and Copyright Day chat with Barbadian author Cherie Jones in our last bulletin. Well, now we have video. (Source US Embassy Bridgetown)

It’s also been added to our newest Reading Room and Gallery along with my Book and Copyright Day chat and a reading of my story Carnival Hangover by Intersect’s Nneka Nicholas. Be sure to follow both my channel AntiguanWriter and Wadadli Pen‘s, and check out the reading room and Intersectantigua.com (Source – in house)

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 Challenge 2021 Update

The Best of Books sponsored Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque is one of two plaques. The other, added this year, in memory of Zuri Holder will be emblazoned with the names of the 12 and younger winners.

After a lengthy period of processing, the entries are now off to the judges. If you submitted, we request your patience as the entries are vetted. The short list will be posted once the first round of judging is completed.

We can report that there are 73 submissions – all passing eligibility. Our About Wadadli Pen page is updated with this information and a bit of 2021 trivia. Here’s a bit more trivia, this is the highest single year submission since 2017.

Books contributed by Sekou Luke.

We want to thank and acknowledge, once again, all of our 2021 patrons, especially the ones who have been confirmed since our previous releases – NIA Comms (EC$500), Sekou Luke (a cache of books), Ten Pages bookstore (confirmed before but have since dropped off their books), Barbara Arrindell (who delivered a number of workshops leading up to the submission deadline), Bocas Lit Fest which has clarified the development opportunities on offer through workshops and memberships to some of our finalists – it’s great to have such a vibrant Caribbean partner on board, helping us to fulfill our promise to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

We have received Jamaican writer and new poet laureate Olive Senior’s contribution toward gift certificate for books, and the contributions by Daryl George and Rilys Adams, both former Wadadli Pen finalists. How great is that full circle moment.

As great as it will be to raise up another budding writer (or two, or three, or more). I for one am looking forward to reading these entries – that’s right, as I am also selecting participants for upcoming Garfield Linton sponsored Jhohadli Writing Project script development workshops, I have signed on as one of the 2021 judges. We will as usual have three judges (the others are expected to be regular judge and author Floree Williams Whyte and past finalist Devra Thomas – both Wadadli Pen team members) round 1, blind (or semi-blind in my case); and will bring on board a Kamala Harris (i.e. a high profile tiebreaking judge) if needed for a round 2. Watch this space and good luck to all entrants.

If you would like to support the work of Wadadli Pen, email 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, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). 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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Press Release – Wadadli Pen Workshop, Additional Patrons Announced as Submission Deadline Approaches

March 16th 2021

Wadadli Pen team member Barbara Arrindell, an author and bookseller, will be offering a free workshop on March 18th 2021 ahead of the March 26th 2021 submission deadline for the annual lit arts challenge. The workshop is expected to cover creative writing, using local history in your writing, and bringing inanimate objects to life in your stories. The workshop will be offered via zoom and pre-registration is necessary. To register for the zoom link-up, email barbaraarrindell@yahoo.com or send a message to the ‘Free Creative Writing Workshop to get you ready to participate in the Wadadli Pen Challenge’ event page on facebook. Arrindell, who is also a trainer by profession, has volunteered her time for this extra activity, and anyone interested in submitting to Wadadli Pen is encouraged to take advantage of it.

The Wadadli Pen team is also happy to announce that a number of new patrons have been confirmed since previous announcements. These include Frank B. Armstrong, a contributor for the past 10 years, and Junie Webson, a US based Antigua-Barbuda businesswoman, who has been a patron since 2014 – both have pledged their usual EC$500 to Wadadli Pen 2021. “We don’t take any of these gifts for granted,” said Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, “especially in this hard guava crop season.”

Hillhouse announced as well that Garfield Linton, a Jamaican based in America, with whom she has been in talks re arts funding for a while, has committed to underwriting her delivery of two workshops in the Wadadli Pen post-season. She hopes to select up to 10 writers from the Wadadli Pen entrants to offer a spot in these workshops. A long term goal, she indicated, is development of their stories and writing skills, and if additional funding can be sourced adaptation of one or more of the stories for print and/or film format. “My goal with Wadadli Pen has always been, as our tagline says, ‘nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda’,” she said. “The competition, or challenge, as we call it, has been our flagship project along with the Wadadli Pen website, and to a lesser degree workshops and showcases we have delivered in the past, but it was never the end goal. Our goal is to be sustainable and ultimately self-sustaining as a non-profit supporting the arts in various ways, and the literary arts in particular. It has been little little full basket since 2004 but we continue the work and hope for growth and expansion.”

The patrons announced in this release join previously announced patrons Rilys Adams, the Best of Books bookstore, Daryl George, Harper Collins (UK) publishers, Cedric Holder, Diana McCaulay and Peepal Tree Press, Moondancer Books, Olive Senior, and Patricia Tully. Anyone interested in supporting the work of Wadadli Pen is encouraged to contact wadadlipen@gmail.com Anyone hoping to participate in Wadadli Pen is reminded to read the guidelines and download the submission form at wadadlipen.wordpress.com Remember to also vote for your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan book and help a local school win.

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Wadadli Pen Update – Workshop

We want you to win.

One of the ways team member (author of Turtle Beach, The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories, and even more stories) Barbara A. Arrindell is trying to help you win is with an announced March 18th 2021 workshop. This series of short workshops will provide you with tips that may help you to select your topic, develop your characters, allow your creativity to flow, utilize local sites and folklore, and much more. You must pre-register. Do this by sending a message via the link above or via email to barbaraarrindell@yahoo.com. The zoom link and additional information will then be sent to you. Register early to secure your spot. This year Wadadli Pen is accepting entries from children and adults.

The submission deadline for the 2021 Wadadli Pen Challenge is March 26th 2021. I just posted videos (one to my AntiguanWriter YouTube Channel and one to the Wadadli Pen YouTube Channel – both which you should rush over and subscribe to by the way) of a recent interview I did breaking things down re both the Challenge and the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda readers choice book of the year initiative.

Re FAQs

A recent commenter here on the blog asked about the submission form. “Would it be possible to fill out the application form electronically please? I do not have access to a printer right now and it would be very useful if alternative methods could be made available. Thank you!” – A. It’s a fair point; we should look in to uploading directly via submittable or other platform, but to be clear you do not need to print the form and you are submitting electronically. What you need to do is download and fill out the form electronically and submit said form via email as an attachment along with your entry, also as an attachment, to wadadlipen@gmail.com

A questioner to my DMs wondered if there was a penalty for going over the word count. – A. We’ve actually extended the word count from 750 to 1000 words in recent years. Since doing so we’ve gotten fairly strict about the word count. Challenge yourself to tell your story with precision – after all, you already have 250 extra words to play with.

We also had a request to direct mail the submission form; obviously it’s not practical for us to do so for everyone. We simply don’t have the time nor the numbers. But I’ve doublechecked that the form is downloadable and can be filled out electronically; so please act accordingly. Find the form and submission guidelines above at Wadadli Pen 2021.

ICYMI

In case you missed it, we’ve followed up our launch announcement with a second press release shouting out the latest patrons to come on board. The news you may be particularly interested in from that is that, while the Challenge is open to all ages this year, we will have a special prize for 12 and younger aged writers, sponsored by Cedric Holder, who is doing so in the name of his son Zuri, a former Wadadli Pen finalist who died tragically in the first road fatality of 2021. Also team member Floree Williams Whyte’s Moondancer Books has sponsored the ad below.

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Press Release – Wadadli Pen, New Prize Pays Tribute

A Wadadi Pen Release, the second after the release announcing the launch of the Wadadli Pen 2021 season, was disseminated to the media on March 10th 2021. Thanks to media like the Daily Observer, and many others – including longtime patron Antiguanice.com. The text is copied below.

Press Release

Wadadli Pen, New Prize Pays Tribute


March 10th 2021

On the heels of launching the 2021 season of the Wadadli Pen Challenge with a March 26th submission deadline, the organizers announce several additional and very meaningful patronages.

Cedric Holder, father of Zuri Holder, who died tragically in a road accident in January, has requested inclusion of a plaque to honor his memory. The Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award, inclusive of a gift certificate toward the purchase of books, will be awarded to a writer 12 years or younger. Cedric is a long time Wadadli Pen patron, his gifts typically made in the name of the Cushion Club Reading Club for Children, with which he is chief volunteer and of which Zuri was a member. Zuri also had history with Wadadli Pen – 2nd place in the 12 and younger category in 2011 and 3rd place overall and winner of the 12 and younger age category in 2013.

Zuri with his two prize certificates from the 2013 Wadadli Pen awards ceremony.

“His passing remains a huge personal loss to his family, friends, and all the communities he belonged to,” said Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, who also volunteered with the Cushion Club and knew Zuri for many years as a result. “We welcome Cedric’s desire to keep his name alive in this way, while contributing meaningfully to the development of other young people.”

Wadadli Pen also welcomes a cash contribution (EC$300) from award winning author Rilzy Adams, pen name of local lawyer Rilys Adams. Rilys, author of almost 20 self-published books, recently collected an international romance industry award for her novel Go Deep, only her latest accolade. Rilys is also a former Wadadli Pen finalist (2nd place in 2005 and 2006) – one of two former finalists who are 2021 patrons. The other is Daryl George who has contributed EC$250. “It feels good to see that Wadadli Pen has not only survived these 17 years, since it first launched in 2004, but that the people who’ve come through the programme have gone on to do great things, of which we are only a small part,” Hillhouse said, “and that they’ve looked back.” The Wadadli Pen core team also includes two former finalists.

Though focused on nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, Wadadli Pen is networked with Caribbean literary entities and one, Diana McCaulay and her publisher Peepal Tree Press have pledged her latest award winning book Daylight Come to the Prize Package.

More than 80 books including Big Cat Caribbean titles have already been received from Harper Collins (UK). Other announced 2021 patrons, so far, are the Best of Books, Moondancer Books, award winning Jamaican author Olive Senior, and new local author Patricia Tully.

Wadadli Pen is still hoping to attract more patronage for both the Wadadli Pen Challenge and the #readAntiguaBarbuda readers’ choice book of the year initiative. To support the work, email wadadlipen@gmail.com To create and submit to the Wadadli Pen Challenge download the submission form at the Wadadli Pen 2021 tab on wadadlipen.wordpress.com There, too, you’ll find the link to vote for your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan book of the year.

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid March 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here)

Misc.

While Antigua and Barbuda is not specifically named, Antiguan and Barbudan writer Jamaica Kincaid is on this USA Today list of 100 Black novelists and fiction writers you should read… (that includes other Caribbean writers like Marlon James of Jamaica and Edwidge Dandicat of Haiti). Read the full list.

Thanks

The Wadadli Pen patrons list continues to grow in spite of challenging times – the latest pledges come from former Wadadli Pen finalist cum award winning writer Rilys Adams, Cedric Holder of the Cushion Club, and Diana McCaulay with her publisher Peepal Tree Press. They join celebrated Jamaican author Olive Senior, another past Wadadli Pen finalist Daryl George, new local writer Patricia Tully; plus Moondancer Books and the Best of Books. Additional books have also arrived from the year biggest donor to date Harper Collins UK. The Wadadli Pen Challenge gives writers and artists in Antigua and Barbuda until March 26th 2021 to respond to the Challenge to reflect and create. Readers also have to this time to #readAntiguaBarbuda and vote for their favourite books. Details here.

For more opportunities with pending deadlines check this link, and, because I’ve recently received requests for information re publishing, here too are links to the main Opportunities and Resources pages.

Reflection

I wrote about the death in December 2020 of Belizean writer Zee Edgell in the first Carib Lit Plus of the year. I’m revisiting her life to share a link to the review I posted in February of her book The Festival of San Joaquin which was one of my picks for my Black History Month #abookaday project.

I want to thank Trinidad filmmaker (Banyan Ltd.) Christopher Laid for giving permission to share the following Zee Edgell interview from the Second Conference of Caribbean Women Writers (1990). Access it by clicking the image below and using the password ‘zee’.

I also wanted to share an announcement from her daughter Holly, received via email from St. Lucian writer John Robert Lee (excerpted): ‘ST. LOUIS, Missouri — Zee Edgell, Belize’s foremost author of fiction, has died at the age of 80. She passed away on December 20, in her home after a battle with cancer. Born in Belize City, British Honduras in 1940, Mrs. Edgell was the daughter of the late Clive Tucker and Veronica Tucker (nee Walker). She was married to the late Alvin Edgell for 52 years. Together they raised two children: journalist Holly Edgell, 51, and physician Randall Edgell, 45. …Mrs. Edgell authored four novels and five short stories set in Belize, the only Belizean writer of fiction to do so. Her first book, Beka Lamb (Heineman 1982), is beloved in Belize and throughout the Caribbean. It has been part of school and examination curricula in the region and in other parts of the world since its publication. Mrs. Edgell received an honorary doctorate in literature from the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, Barbados in 2009. She holds a Master of Liberal Studies degree from Kent State University and earned a diploma in journalism from Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster). In 2007, she received an MBE from Queen Elizabeth II, for her services to literature and the community. Among Mrs. Edgell’s many services to Belize was her founding of the “The Reporter” newspaper in 1967. In addition, she served as director of the Women’s Bureau (later the Women’s Department) under the People’s United Party and the United Democratic Party in the 1980s. Later, she was a lecturer at the University College of Belize (now the University of Belize). …After retiring from Kent State University as a tenured English professor in 2009, Mrs. Edgell moved to St. Louis, Missouri with her husband.’ (Source – re additional content – John Robert Lee via email)

New Books

The Caribbean Literature in Transition series from Cambridge University Press has dropped – electronically in December 2020 and hard copy in January 2021. Its authors are:

Evelyn O’Callaghan, professor of West Indian Literature, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, and author of writings on women’s writing, early Caribbean narratives and more recently, ecocritical readings of Caribbean landscapes in visual and scribal texts. She has edited early Caribbean novels such as Antiguan and Barbudan writer Frieda Cassin’s With Silent Tread. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of West Indian Literature.

Curdella Forbes, professor of Caribbean Literature at Howard University and award winning fiction and non-fiction writer. She serves on the editorial advisory board of JWIL and Anthurium. Her most recent work of fiction is A Tall History of Sugar (Akashic 2019, Canongate 2020).

Tim Watson, professor of English at the University of Miami and author of several books on Caribbean culture and writing.

Raphael Dalleo, professor of English at Bucknell University whose most recent book, American Imperialism’s Undead: The Occupation of Haiti and the Rise of Caribbean Anticolonialism (2016), won the Caribbean Studies Association’s 2017 Gordon K. and Sibyl Lewis Award for best book about the Caribbean. He serves on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of West Indian Literature.

Ronald Cummings, associate professor of Postcolonial Studies in the Department of English Language and Literature at Brock University. He is co-editor of the Literature Encyclopedia volume on Anglophone Writing and Culture of Central America and the Caribbean.

Alison Donnell, professor of Modern Literatures in English and Head of School of Literature, Creative Writing and Drama at the University of East Anglia, who has published widely on Caribbean and Black British writings, with a particular emphasis on challenging orthodox literary histories and recovering women’s voices. She is the author of Twentieth Century Caribbean Literature (2006) and Caribbean Queer: Creolized Sexualities and the Literary Imagination in the Anglo-Caribbean (2021), as well as co-editor (with Michael A. Bucknor) of The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature (2011). She leads a major project funded by the Leverhulme Trust: ‘Caribbean Literary Heritage: recovering the lost past and safeguarding the future’.

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Some people got creative and busy during the pandemic; Jamaican writer Olive Senior got so busy and so creative she got a whole book of Pandemic Poems: First Wave out of it.

“Early in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Olive Senior began posting her series of Pandemic Poems on social media. The project was a way of bearing witness to the strangeness of it all and forging a reassuring connection with readers. Each poem is a riff on a word or phrase trending in the first wave of the pandemic – an A to Z of the lexicon newly coined or quickly repurposed for our historic moment. By presenting these words and phrases in sequence, Senior offers a timeline of the way events unfolded and how the language and preoccupations kept changing in response. In this accessible collection, Senior captures the zeitgeist of 2020.” (Repeating Islands) (Source – posting by another author on facebook)

p.s. Olive is a Wadadli Pen 2021 patron. So, buy her book!

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Visual artist Heather Doram has turned her talents to publishing with a new series of colouring books.

A variety of Heather Doram merch can also be found exclusively at her online store. (Source – Heather Doram, artist, on instagram and/or facebook)

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The latest release from Caribbean Reads, its first book of 2021, is The Talking Mango Tree by A. H. Benjamin of the UK with illustrator Daniel J. O’Brien of Trinidad. The mango tree, so says the plot, begins demanding a performance from each animals who wants its fruits and as one child reader reveals below Papa Bois is not happy.

This link includes various Caribbean booksellers that carry Caribbean Reads books but also see online and wherever books are sold. (Source – Caribbean Reads on instagram)

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Jacqueline

I previously posted this book in 2020 – not sure if pub was delayed or if I got the date wrong but I just learned that it was actually published this year, January 28th 2021, by Peepal Tree Press. So I did something I don’t normally do (deleted it from that 2020 Carib Plus Lit to re-post here). Shout out to Jacqueline Bishop whose The Gift of Music and Song: Interviews with Jamaican Women Writers has been described as a “beautiful collection of interviews, conducted by journalist, poet, novelist and artist Jacqueline Bishop, features insightful and entertaining conversations with many of Jamaica’s most significant writers including Olive Senior, Lorna Goodison, Marcia Douglas and many more.” A Peepal Tree press release, also, said, “Beginning at childhood, each interviewee narrates their fond memories of the Caribbean country with a nostalgia and yearning for a place that is complex and freighted with political, social and racial difficulties. The Gift of Music & Song is a space for these writers to talk deeply about writing back to their homeland; about being female voices from Jamaica, how one should represent the country, its rhythms and cadences, and what it means to be a female writer in the world today.” (Source – update via email from John Robert Lee)

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Observer Media Group (Antigua and Barbuda) reporter Shermain Bique-Charles has published a romance novel, Jasmine: Shedding My Skin. According to the Daily Observer newspaper, “the story follows the life of a young woman who is teased in school and considered to be unpopular. In a series of intriguing developments, a young man teams up with his friends planning to violate her. Instead he falls in love with her, putting aside all his wealth, pride and ego to gain her trust and love.” The veteran journalist is originally from Dominica. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Shedding My Skin is just outside the publication window for the #readAntiguaBarbuda 2021 initiative (which closed in January 2021) but remember to vote for your favourite among the books that are in contention. (Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

Congrats Due To…

Eric Barry of Trinidad and Tobago, regional winner of the International Playwriting Competition of 2020 with ‘Delisa Brings Home the Rainbow’. The full list of winners here.

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Richards Georges. Don’t remember if I mentioned this but, hey, it’s worth mentioning twice or thrice…Richard Georges is settling in to his role, announced late last year, as the first poet laureate of the Virgin Islands. Richard, who has Antiguan and Trinidadian roots, is a BVI author, most recently celebrated for his Bocas best book win. Speaking of Bocas, Georges is, at this writing, participating in a celebration of Black Britain that’s a collaboration between Bocas and Penguin Books UK. “Linking current voices with their past influencers, the partnership will criss-cross the Atlantic to celebrate the re-publication of six previously out-of-print works by Black British authors, including James’s fictional masterpiece, and newly-commissioned work by a younger generation of Black British poets and writers, including Malika Booker, Richard Georges, Keith Jarrett, Hannah Lowe, Maureen Roberts and Roger Robinson.” – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday (Source – email, various)

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Aishah Roberts on her appointment to director of film development – Europe & UK at Fandomodo Films. Aishah is from Antigua and is the daughter of another film vet Conrad Roberts. Sidebar – Conrad Roberts‘ name was familiar to me as someone growing up in Antigua and Barbuda in the 1980s as he was maybe the only local working in Hollywood (e.g. Mosquito Coast, Miami Vice) I was aware of at the time.

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Shabier Kirchner who has been collecting nominations and awards this season for his work as cinematographer on Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series. Read all about it in the latest installment of my CREATIVE SPACE series – Small Axe, Big Talent.

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Edward Baugh and Mervyn Morris, joint announced recipients of Bocas’ Henry Swanzy Award.

“Baugh and Morris are widely considered pioneers of the study of West Indian literature, over careers that each span half a century. …

The Award, established in 2013, is named for the late BBC radio producer Henry Swanzy. Irish by birth, Swanzy worked as producer of the influential Caribbean Voices radio programme — originally founded by Jamaican Una Marson — from 1946 to 1954, becoming an essential figure in the development of modern West Indian literature.

The Bocas Lit Fest founded the award to honour and celebrate the contributions of the editors, broadcasters, publishers, critics, and others who have shaped the evolution of Caribbean literature behind the scenes.” (Repeating Islands) Personal congrats to my former mentor, Mervyn Morris. Well deserved. (Source – Facebook)

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Sharma Taylor.

Sharma Taylor whose debut novel, What a Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You, has been acquired Virago at auction, part of a two-book deal. Via this March 1st 2021 article on thebookseller.com, ‘Described as “a powerful story of belonging, identity and inheritance”, the novel brings together a host of voices to evoke 80s Jamaica’s ghetto, dance halls, criminal underworld and corrupt politics, and at its heart, a mother’s unshakeable love for her son.’ About the book: “At 18 years old, Dinah, a Jamaican maid, gave away her baby son to the rich American couple she worked for before they left Jamaica. They never returned. She never forgot him. Eighteen years later, a young man comes from the US to Kingston. From the moment she sees him, Dinah never doubts—this is her son. What happens next will make everyone question what they know and where they belong.” The first of Taylor’s books are to be published in July 2022. Use the search feature to find the other times Sharma Taylor has shown up here on the blog (and there’s this exclusive interview on my other blog); it’s a lot as she’s been having breakthrough after breakthrough in recent years. I first met the Jamaica-born, Barbados-resident lawyer and writer when she participated in a 2016 workshop I co-facilitated at the BIM Literary Festival (we were co-participants in a 2018 Commonwealth workshop in Barbados). In the time I’ve known her, it’s been a meteoric rise including being shortlisted twice for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (in 2018 and 2020) and winning the 2020 Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Prize and 2019 Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize for emerging writers. Her short story “How You Make Jamaican Coconut Oil” won the 2020 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize. In 2020, ‘The Story of Stony’ (which I wrote the author was “heartbreaking”) was longlisted for the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean. An earlier version of What a Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You was awarded second prize in the 2020 First Novel Competition (organized by Daniel Goldsmith Associates). “I wrote this book to showcase Jamaican culture and to explore the relationship between mothers and their children. I was captivated by Dinah’s voice the moment she came to me in the kitchen of my apartment in Barbados.” (via email and social media – from the author)

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From left, Jamilla Kirwan, Marcella Andre, and NIA Mentor inaugural winner Nissa Butler.

Nissa Butler emerged winner of the first NIA Mentor Award. The initiative, launched and funded by NIA Comms founder Marcella Andre and media relations specialist at the Ayre Group Jamilla Kirwan, is intended to invest in and boost an Antiguan and Barbudan female entrepreneur – providing her money ($7,000) and mentorship (from seven women in business) for a year. Nissa’s business is Butler Inscriptions and Butler Graveside Concierge service. Novel (and creative) ideas to be sure. In her publicly posted thank you, Nissa pledged to do just what the NIA Mentor Award is poised to do for her. “I will continue my efforts to pay it forward and I await, with pleasure, the bringing about positive development and opportunities for my personal growth, business and for you, my fellow female entrepreneurs.” We share this because we recognize and applaud creativity and in an environment starved for opportunity, Marcella got creative. (Source – Observer newspaper, Antigua and further research via facebook)

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, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside). 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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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business, Wadadli Pen 2021, Wadadli Pen News