Tag Archives: Wadadli Youth Pen Prize

A & B Arts Round Up – May 29th 2021 –>

June 2nd 2021 – author, Joan Underwood, will be hosting an IG live featuring tips and strategies from her book Manager’s First Aid kit. 7 p.m. AST @joan.h.underwood

May 30th 2021 – the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Awards via zoom – come back here Sunday night for the results.

2020 winner Andre J P Warner with the Wadadli Pen Challenge plaque. Andre went on to win the Rebel Women Lit Caribbean Readers Choice of 2020 for best short fiction for his story ‘Bright Future for Tomorrow’.

May 29th 2021 – informal Vigo Blake Day – Bethesda Primary School anniversary activity on the school site – in memory of the first school in the Caribbean region for Black people. A community group works to make sure the history of the school is known.

Tuesdays –

A & B Arts Round Up – April 24th 2021 —> | Wadadli Pen

Be sure to check out the latest Carib Lit Plus (mid to late May 2021) for other arts events upcoming in Antigua and the region.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, 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/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on 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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CARIB LIT Plus Mid to Late May 2020


Have you been keeping up with my CREATIVE SPACE series covering local art and culture? I say local but there’s been some regional spillage. The second issue of May 2020 (the series as of 2020 is running every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer with an extended edition on my blog), however, covered Antiguan and Barbudan Art of the Century.  ‘Heather’s picks: Mark Brown’s Angel in Crisis series – a 2008 visual art show described in international publication The Culture Trip as “a provocative contemplation of the human condition”. She credited “the depth of the pathos”.’ That’s just one  of three picks by Antiguan and Barbudan visual artist Heather Doram. Read about her other picks, and picks from other artists. Tell me about your picks. In case you missed any of the previous installments in the series, they are archived on the Jhohadli website.

Covid Consequences

The country (Antigua and Barbuda), like much of the world, has been reopening – cross your fingers. Some are being real reckless; don’t be like them. COVID-19 is still very much with us; this is economic expediency not an all-clear sign.

Carnival remains cancelled – for the first time in my lifetime.

New music from local artist Rashid Walker

A little help from the Caribbean Development Bank for people in the creative industries who’ve suffered loss of income due to COVID-19. Specifically to the festivals sub-sector and the Carnival and Festivals sub-sector. The grant is for product development – to produce an online/virtual product, marketing – to promote new Caribbean content, digital – to support the further development of electronic solutions for revenue generation; projects should be community oriented. Details here.

Book Recs

Stay with me here. Margaret Busby OBE is Britain’s youngest and first Black female publisher. She was recently profiled in the 100 Pioneering Women of Sussex Blog series. Excerpt: “Margaret Busby was born in 1944 in Accra, Gold Coast (now Ghana) to Dr George Busby and Mrs Sarah Busby. She went to school in Sussex in Bexhill until the age of 15. She then went to London University to read English, graduating in 1964.” That had me saying, wow. because Margaret is a solid 29 years older than me and I had no idea when we met; her Black don’t crack for real but also she was just so cool – I never once felt out of place around her (which sometimes happens when you walk in to certain spaces). Here we are (her far right, me second from right) in Sharjah in 2019:

The article talks about New Daughters of Africa, the second global anthology in this series (this one 25 years after the original) which she edited. My interactions with her were always respectful and generous – even after all she  has achieved; I have enjoyed being a part of this project. “The 2019 anthology has been nominated for NAACP Awards for Outstanding Literary Work 2020 and a Lifetime Achievement in African Literature by Africa Writes in 2019. Each anthology compiles more than 200 women from Africa and the African diaspora.” So, the rec is New Daughters of Africa. Don’t sleep on it.


“Some of the earliest pioneers of crime fiction and mystery thrillers, who included Edgar Mittelholzer and John Morris (pseudonym of John Hearne and Morris Cargill), now find a worthy successor in Grenadian writer Jacob Ross.” – John R Lee’s review of new book Jacob Ross book Black Rain Falling

African American writer Jewell Parker Rhodes is a past Wadadli Pen patron (she donated copies of her book Ninth Ward in 2011) and we are happy to report this positive review of her latest book Black Brother, Black Brother. ‘Born of a white father and a black mother, Donte is extremely darker than his light-skinned brother Trey, and faces substantial discrimination at Middlefield Prep. His schoolmates label him “black brother” and even with Trey’s support he is treated like an outcast. Being one of the few black boys at his new school, Donte is framed and arrested for “throwing a pencil with intent to harm.” His society is constructed by whites for whites so those belonging to this race are considered lawful and civilized. Blackness, on the other hand, is viewed as a stain and is linked to criminality. This causes Donte to be seen as a “thug” who is responsible for any disruption that arises at Middlefield. He is left feeling defeated and confused as he highlights, “the uniform is supposed to make us all the same.” Uniforms at Middlefield Prep. do not guarantee uniformity and compassion, whiteness does, and this is something that Donte lacks on the outside.’ Sounds really interesting. Read the full review at the African American Literary Book Club.

Bocas Lit Fest’s #MyCaribbeanLibrary survey which invited people to share books that made them has yielded the following titles: Giant by Trinidad-born BVI author with Antiguan roots, recent Bocas winner (for another book) Richard Georges, Pynter Bender by Grenada born UK based writer Jacob Ross, US based Jamaican writer Orlando Patterson’s Children of Sisyphus, UK based Jamaican writer Kei Miller’s Augustown, He Drown She in the Sea by Shani Mootoo, a Canada based Trinidadian writer, Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez, Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo, of Trinidad, based in Scotland, Mad Woman by Jamican-American Shara McCallum, Uncle Brother by Jamaican Barbara Lalla, who is professor emerita from Trinidad’s UWI campus, Jamaica’s poet laureate Lorna Goodison’s By Love Possessed, Claire Adam’s Trinidad set Golden Child, The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prada-Nunez of Puerto Rico, UK based Trini Monique Roffey’s House of Ashes, Barbados’ George Lamming’s In the Castle of My Skin, Trinidad’s Michael Anthony’s Green Days by the River, Nobel winning Omerus by St. Lucia’s Derek Walcott, Dominican Jean Rhys’ Voyage in the Dark, Small Island by Andrea Levy, a British writer of Jamaican descent, Trinidadian V. S. Naipaul’s Miguel Street, and Guadeloupean writer Maryse Conde’s Segu.

The New York Public Library’s picks in April for Immigrant Heritage Week included Caribbean titles, including US based Trinidadian Elizabeth Nunez’s memoir Not for Everyday Use and Esmeralda Santiago’s When I was Puerto Rican.


The five regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize will be announced on June 2nd 2020 and the overall winner during a special ceremony on June 30th 2020. Click here for information on catching it live. In the running for the Caribbean prize are Jamaica’s Brian S. Heap (Mafootoo), Trinidad and Tobago’s Brandon McIvor (Finger, Spinster, Serial Killer), and Sharma Taylor (Cash and Carry), of Jamaica but resident in Barbados, whom I interviewed on my Jhohadli blog.

Jamaican writer Marlon James won the Ray Bradbury prize from the L. A. Times for his book Black Leopard, Red Wolf. The prize is for science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction generally.

Congratulations to all Wadadli Youth Pen Prize recipients. Here’s this year’s photogallery.


The Bocas Lit Fest, as part of its 10th anniversary, has rolled out a number of resources for readers and writers – e.g. a publishing consultancy and book network.

Remember to check the Opportunities Too page here on the blog for opportunities for writers and artists with pending deadlines.


Fans of the road march winning (Dress Back) Antiguan and Barbudan Vision band are mourning another loss. Founding member and vocalist (2 x Calypso monarch Edimelo) died quite suddenly recently and now so has another founding member, keyboardist Eric Peters. It was announced on May 20th 2020 that he had been found dead at his Browne’s Avenue home. A post mortem was scheduled to determine the cause of death.

Poet Cecil Gray died in March and was subsequently tributed by Peepal Tree Press with which he had a special relationship.

Guyanese playwright and director Michael Gilkes and cartoonist Samuel Rudolph Seymour – more casualties of COVID-19 from the Caribbean arts community – were remembered in the hometown press.


Compiled by Antiguan and Barbudan writer and Wadadli Pen coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse from various sources. 


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Wadadli Pen Diary – Why Youth Creativity Matters

Part of our promotion strategy which over the years and this year has variously included media releases and notices, media interviews, social media promotion with flyers and by other means, direct mailing to select mailing lists including schools, youth workers, past participants, etc., blog posts like this one, ads, psas, etc. etc. By whatever means we can. This post is a copy of a mail sent recently to teachers. Feel free to share. 

Teachers have always been a vital part of the Wadadli Pen ecosystem. This image is from the 2014 awards ceremony and teacher (then at T N Kirnon school at the time) Paula Russell Peters, centre, is pictured collecting one of her prizes. She was a finalist for the WP 10th anniversary Teachers Prize and also collected on behalf of T N Kirnon which netted a prize for the most submissions from a single school. One of her students was also a finalist. 


Encouraging youth creativity is about encouraging self-expression. This can be purely fun and about self-discovery; it can also open a portal to expressing and coping with challenging feelings and experiences. Encouraging youth creativity also promotes mental growth, potentially improving academic performance and emotional maturity. Encouraging youth creativity gives young people an opportunity to try new things, new ways of seeing, new ways of thinking, and new ways of problem solving. The ‘Imagine a Future’ special prize in this year’s Wadadli Pen Challenge, for instance, will create an opportunity to explore the potentials of action or inaction on climate change – the existential challenge of our day – do we survive and how. This may emerge as a dystopian shadowland or a bright sci fi future. Who knows? As small islands, we are on the front lines of climate change; it’s an opportunity for young people to think through what will be the first major battle of their life time, for bad or good. If you are a youth in Barbuda, you have been in the headlines at least since 2017 and hurricane Irma, the trauma of which you may not have fully explored even as you grapple with historical and political realities beyond your understanding, where is your voice in this, what’s your story? ‘The Wa’omani Prize’ is an opportunity to remember that there are no small stories, that every experience matters – from fishing with your dad/mom to being in the path of a storm to end all storms. The Wadadli Pen Challenge is not fixed on a theme – tell any story you want, about anything you want, however you want – but it is Caribbean, simply because we must centre our own imagination in our own stories. Storytelling is an opportunity to explore us. At the same time, it is an opportunity to experience our reality from a different perspective – where did the frigates go when they flew away …from the perspective of a frigate. For people working with young people it’s an opportunity to ask what if… allowing the imagination to zig from reality to fantasy and back again. The 3-strip comic panel is a challenge for those better at expressing themselves using visuals than words because visuals too can tell a full story filled with drama, humor, warmth, etc. Writers and artists can even collaborate for full expression of an idea. The important thing is that they feel the freedom to tell their story and the joy that self-expression can bring.

Hopefully, you’ll see the magic in that and encourage your children to create and submit by February 16th 2020. We urge you to post the flyer(s) at minimum but also to more actively encourage their participation, not just for the opportunity to win the schools book prize for most submissions, nor for the individual prizes they could win, but to encourage their creativity.

For full guidelines and submission form, visit https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/wadadli-pen-2020

-Wadadli Pen founder coordinator, Joanne C. Hillhouse

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Wadadli Pen has launched an Internship Programme for the 2020 Challenge Season

Yes, we have. Read the launch release for details: PRESS RELEASE Wadadli Pen seeking Interns

Meanwhile, for those not in the know about Wadadli Pen, here’s some background.

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize first launched in 2004

(First Wadadli Pen challenge winners photo call, sponsors and culture/education officials seated; Heritage Hotel conference room – 2004)

In 2005 we offered workshops

(The 2005 Wadadli Pen workshops were held at the Cushion Club reading club for kids meeting place – the Cushion Club has been a consistent patron over the years)

In 2006 we staged Word Up! – a successful literary showcase and fundraiser in partnership with the National Museum

(2005 winner Sandrena Martin and runner up Rilys Adams read at the 2006 Word Up! showcase alongside some of Antigua and Barbuda’s top writers)

 We tapped out but then came back in 2010 with the fourth installment of the annual-ish Wadadli Pen writing and visual arts challenge to encourage creativity, and another arts showcase this time as part of a Black History Month week of activities

(top to bottom: 2004 Wadadli Pen literary challenge winner, 2005 finalists, 2006 finalists, and one of the 2010 art winners – 2010 was the year of our first visual arts challenge)

In 2010, we also launched the Wadadli Pen blog in 2010. It wasn’t our first website as we were fortunate to be a part of an Alliance Francaise sponsored OECS project that funded online platforms for arts projects thanks to then Culture Director Heather Doram – who came out to our first awards ceremony in 2004 when we had no name value at all. Funding had run out but I worked to transfer the data to a platform I had to teach myself to use since we no longer had tech support and I didn’t know coding – so I chose the most user friendly platform I could find and fought through it.

(Performance by Zee’s Youth Theatre member backed by drummers from the Antigua Dance Academy at Word Up! 2010)

Other milestones included hitting, in 2014, our 10 year anniversary which that injected new energy into the arm of the programme

(top to bottom: 2011 Wadadli Pen literary challenge winner, 2012 finalists, 2013 finalists, and 2014 art prize winner)

In 2014, Wadadli Pen offered a prize for teachers as well – because none of this is possible without teachers – and a number of them are closet writers too.

(Future Wadadli Pen partner won the Lead by Example Teachers prize in 2014 and won the main lit prize – opened up for the first time to all age groups – in 2015)


In 2016, another turn as I set up an advisory and works team (which includes two past finalists) to help me do the work

(at the 2015 awards ceremony with judge Floree Williams Whyte a year before she became a part of the permanent team)

 Before that, each year I reached out to different people for help – people like founding partner D. Gisele Isaac, Linisa George, Brenda Lee Browne, Cushion Club, Glen Toussaint – who in 2010 launched a Wadadli Pen Open Mic which is a Best of Books project, not ours but which has also been doing good work for years pulling out fresh voices…and more.

(Top to bottom: some 2016 Wadadli Pen lit finalists and a 2017 finalist with Wadadli Pen intern Michaela Harris)

In 2017, we recruited our first intern (a former finalist as well) – laying the groundwork for the mentorship programme we’re hoping will be a part of the 2019-2020 iteration of the Wadadli Pen Challenge.

(Another winner take all year – 2018 – finalists pictured)

Speaking of 2019, another big development – a Readers Choice Book of the Year Challenge which ended with us donating nearly $1000 in books to a local school chosen by the winning author and funded by our donors.

(the students of selected school got to come in the bookstore to choose their books)

And that’s just the visible stuff – Wadadli Pen answers questions, provides resources (mostly through the online platform), has partnered with the Cushion Club for a summer read challenge, has for many years recommended and nominated people for opportunities including the National Youth Awards, and more.

(Wadadli Pen judge and lit and theatre creator and activist Linisa George was a 2012 National Youth Award winner)

We’ve said before that we want to do more and that we need help and guidance re becoming a legal non-profit so that we can do more; but in the meantime, we continue to do the work that we do

(Wadadli Pen founder/coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse with 2017 Wadadli Pen intern Michaela Harris)

…including beginning to work towards the 2020 challenge which will be both a literary and visual arts challenge.

(2016 winner – Daryl George – with the Best of Books sponsored Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge plaque – named for a founding partner and presented by her brother Douglas Allen, publisher and editor of the Young Explorer which also partnered with Wadadli Pen in the beginning. The plaque, which has the name of all major winners, hangs in the bookstore)

Remember, if you’d like to be a Wadadli Pen Challenge intern or would otherwise like to volunteer with or sponsor the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize email wadadlipen@gmail.com

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is researched and written by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure; also a freelance writer, editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator). Excerpting, reblogging, linking etc. is fine, but PLEASE do not lift ANY content (images or text) wholesale from this site without asking first and crediting the creator of that work and/or copyright holder. All Rights Reserved. If you like the content here follow or recommend the blog, also, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. Thank you.

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The Votes are in and…

Vivian Luke’s F.A.K.E. has won the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda Readers Choice Book of the Year of 2017-2018. It is our first time doing such an initiative and we thank all voters for their participation. Congratulations to Dr. Vivian Luke on her win and congratulations to Foundation Mixed School as her selection to receive the EC$900 plus promised (in books). The children will have the opportunity to select the books themselves on Monday 8th April 2019 at the Best of Books. Thanks to our patrons.

Below, we’ve published in full a statement from Dr. Luke and a bio which includes her Antigua-Barbuda connection.

Statement by Dr. Vivian Luke:

I am deeply humbled to be voted the 2019 Recipient of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize.  Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for my book, F.A.K.E.! Fake Lives, REAL Friendships.  Writing is a gift but the ability to conceive of and complete a well-structured story that is well received is a dream for any author.  So, I must congratulate the rest of the authors who were part of this process as well. Congratulations!  My love for writing likely spawned from my love of books at a young age.  My love of books definitely came from observing both of my parent’s love of the written word.  Their willingness to talk and share their opinions about whatever it was they were reading enabled me to formulate my own thoughts about a topic and engage in meaningful discourse with each of them.
I am so thankful to each of my parents for the exposure I was afforded to a variety of reading material – from poems to classical European literature to Caribbean and African American authored literature.  Honestly, as a child I did not always appreciate their efforts but once I became an adult I came to realize how invaluable it was to my overall growth and development.  I learned from my mother and aunt — both proud Foundation Mixed School alumnae — the impact of receiving a strong educational foundation that helped deliver each into their chosen professions, i.e., an accounting executive for a major airline and a Registered nurse who later became a pastry Chef.

As you journey through life I encourage each and every one of you to chase your passions and choose to become lifelong learners!  Read, Read, Read so that your intellectual curiosity may be heightened.  Further, books, through their pages, will enable you to “travel the world” while you tap the depths of your imagination and, as an added benefit, you will become well versed in a variety of topics.  Congratulations! Foundation Mixed School for nurturing the minds of many talented children over the course of 80 years and, for never compromising your standards of EXCELLENCE in the process.


Dr. Vivian Luke is a senior executive consultant with 22 years of experience providing expert consultative support services to public and private sector Director and C-level clients in the areas of quantitative and qualitative research (survey research and design), data analysis, policy development, organizational analysis, knowledge management, personnel management, quality assurance/quality control, and training. Her advice and counsel are highly respected and consistently sought. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science with Honors (concentration in Political Science and Technology) from Howard University, Washington, DC; M.CRP degree in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University, Ames IA; and, B.A. degree in Justice from The American University, Washington, DC.

Vivian recently self-published her debut novel, F.A.K.E.! Fake Lives, REAL Friendships. She is the mother of two daughters, Raiven (19) and Elle (11).  Vivian is the daughter of Vincent Luke and Elaine (Edwards) Luke originally of St. John’s, Antigua.  Her roots run deep in Antigua as her maternal great-great grandfather was from Parham and both sets of grandparents are Antiguan born and raised.   She is the granddaughter of Carmen and Claude “Pitt” Edwards of Ottos.  Richard and Elfreda Luke of St. John’s – owners of R.K. Luke & Sons Hardware Store in St. John’s and the niece of Conrad Luke.  While not a resident of the beautiful island of Antigua, Vivian has always considered herself a daughter of Antigua given her heritage and close connection with family and friends. “I am a proud Antiguan – 1st generation removed.”

Read the press release announcing the outcome here.

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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


-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.


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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Built on Faith

Updated (April 19th 2018)

“Lots of little bits is still a lot.” – from Antigua & Barbuda (gift cards, The Caribbean Folklore Project by Monique S. Simon)


A set of these gift cards were the first contribution I received from a patron for the 2018 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge season. It seems like a good lead-off for a post on this year’s patrons, not just because this card is one of the gift items to be taken home by our winner when the winner is announced on April 21st, but also because this likkle likkle full basket approach has been the Wadadli Pen model since we first launched in 2004. We didn’t – and don’t – have big bank and as we are still a project, not a non-profit with the infrastructure to do our own fundraising and bank the profits. Our prize packages have always been about pulling together whatever we get (sometimes a little, sometimes a lot) in to something that can tangibly serve as a satisfying incentive and reward for those who dared. We are still very much dependent on the generousity of people I’ve come to think of as Friends of Wadadli Pen – new friends, old friends, friends we haven’t met yet…

mock logo

Of course, in 2004, all I had when I stepped out to ask people to give was faith – faith that my community would support this fledgling project, faith that our newness wouldn’t make them think twice, faith that they would trust that their money would be used for its intended purposes. One of the ways I sought to reassure them and myself, a practice that continues to this day, is that no cheque is written to Wadadli Pen or to me (or any of the other partners I’ve drawn to the project over the years). What I’ve always sought from our patrons before each launch is the promise to give – a pledge. So, I have to have faith that when time comes they’ll deliver exactly what they promised (and for the most part they have). Once the winner has been determined, the patrons who’ve pledged money are supplied with the name so that they can prepare the cheque specifically for and to the intended recipient. Only more recently have we from time to time received (and accepted) cash which we then pass on to the intended recipient. But I think by this point – 14 years on  – they have some confidence that we are who we say we are and will do what we say we will do. Evidence of that, I think is the way patrons have come through with pledges in 2018, in spite of us not having our ducks in a row before the launch (that’s right, for the first time ever we launched with a set of gift cards and no other confirmed pledges…stepping out on faith) because for a protracted period of time we debated doing a Challenge this year at all or taking the time to put our energies in to getting our status together.

SIDEBAR One of the reasons I am and have been concerned about our non-status is my desire to create continuity long term and to expand what we do in the medium term. For example, if our status was solidified, we could – whether through seeking grants or through fundraising projects – raise money that belongs to Wadadli Pen to do more: development projects such as workshops year-round, projects showcasing the arts – such as short films inspired by one or more of our winning shorts, and more. But that is still in the dreamscape. I tell you what I’d like right now is a lawyer who does pro bono work for non-profits to assist us with getting set up – I feel like I’ve been reading through the legalese for some time now and am still turned around; up is down (lol). Also, I feel like I need a break and (if I’m being honest) Wadadli Pen might be due for another hiatus until I can get myself sorted out. SIDEBAR OVER

But with a date (April 21st), time (6:30 p.m.), and venue (the Best of Books on St. Mary’s Street) set for the awards, we are pressing on for this year at least and the finish line is in sight. And so we pause to give a shout out to the people who continue to act on faith by pledging to support our project and who, by so doing, are (along with the young writers who dare each year) the wind behind our backs. Much love and respect to them (and to any business or individual) who continues to bet on the arts and our young people.



Challenge Plaque/Certificates

  • The Best of Books

Art_Culture_Antigua-logo fa

Cash  (EC$2900+)

  • Pamela Arthurton (EC$500)
  • Art. Culture. Antigua (EC$300)
  • Carol Mitchell (EC$100)
  • *Unnamed (EC$500)
  • Frank B. Armstrong (EC$500)
  • International Women’s Club of Antigua (EC$500)
  • Juneth Webson (US$200 = EC$537.65)

ba  Moondancer



  • Barbara Arrindell (Books: Antigua My Antigua & The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories -1 each)   bat's cave best-of-books-colouring-book-1
  • Barbara Arrindell & Associates (Two hour training session to a group of the top writers – session will focus on “Presenting: Telling your story orally”)
  • The Best of Books (Books)
  • Brenda Lee Browne (Books: Just Write Writers’ Journal and London Rocks)
  • Cedric Holder for the Cushion Club (Gift certificate for books valued at EC$100)
  • Danz’s Sweet Dreams (Gift Certificate valued at EC$225)
  • Floree Whyte/Moondancer Books (Book: The Wonderful World of Yohan -1)  Yohan book
  • Jane Seagull (personalized writer’s journal)
  • Joanne C. Hillhouse (Books: With Grace – 3; Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure – 2 & scholarship to participate in the Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Series – series 3)    with_grace-3d-standingLost Cover Front 4
  • Monique S. Simon (Gift cards from her Caribbean Folklore Project)

*Patron unnamed, by choice.

To all, for stepping out with us on faith, we say thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!

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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Wadadli Pen Challenge 2017 – The Picture Post

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

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

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

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

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

Tout Monde Sam and Bagai

Some highlights from Wadadli StoriesAt Wadadli Stories 6

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

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

Ava and MichaelaMichaela and Glenn

Wadadli Pen 2017 Links

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



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Wadadli Pen has its first Intern – Meet Michaela

Michaela Harris, a past Wadadli Pen finalist (shortlisted in 2012, 2nd runner up in the 13 to 17 age category in 2013), is  the programme’s first youth intern (2017) – or any-age of intern. the internship programme is part volunteerism, part professional development. Michaela is a student at the Antigua State College, and made a very compelling case in her application letter to the programme. Her excitement was undimmed when I met with her for her orientation session.


Intern on board: Wadadli Pen founder-coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse meets with intern/volunteer Michaela Harris to brief her on her role.

One of her first duties was to pen a blog piece on writing, Wadadli Pen, and why you should start writing. Here it is.

Start Writing!

by Michaela Harris

Creative writing has held my interest for a very long time. As a child, I had dreams of becoming a famous author or poet alongside another career choice. Though timid is not particularly an adjective I would associate with my younger self, I often wrote pieces and kept them as my own tiny treasures. However, over time, I longed to share my work with others, as this would help me to grow as a writer and an individual. It was also my desire to inspire other young people like myself to express themselves.

When I learned of the Wadadli Pen Competition, I decided that this would be my “take off”. My first attempt (Ah Tired Warn Yuh) was short listed – a great accomplishment for me. After listening to amazing pieces by other young Antiguans as well as feeling the warmth of welcome by the facilitators, I was driven to enter again. With my second attempt (Secret of de Mango Tree), I was second runner up. I was simply ecstatic. As such, now a college student, having learned of the internship being offered under this initiative, I was more than willing.

Wadadli Pen provides a platform for individuals to combine talent and skill to produce unique pieces.  Being a part of this competition exposes young writers to different styles; it can, also, help you to take and mix those different writing styles, creating your very own. It also teaches and cultivates versatility as it encourages writers to take a different approach to exploring familiar themes. This initiative also actively involves youths in doing something positive and developmental, while stimulating their minds. Without doubt I whole heartedly encourage eligible individuals to participate, as they would become a part of a network of positive, influential, and inspiring people.

Participate. Write before you lose passion in something you love. Write before you think you’re too busy in life. Write, share your views, express yourself, share your talent. In all of this, only great things can be achieved.


The 2017 Wadadli Pen Challenge season launches soon. So, if you’re a young Antiguan and Barbudan 35 or younger, I hope you’re writing. If you’re a potential patron (someone who wants to contribute to  supporting the development of both youth and the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda) contact us by emailing jhohadli@gmail.com

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Antiguan and Barbudan Writers (+Artists) on the Web

You’ve reached the right page…your portal to the world of Antiguan and Barbudan writers + artists (published and unpublished) on the web. This site has been edited to include artists, specifically the visual artists who are a part of the publishing ecosystem as cover artists and illustrators. Just follow the links…UPDATE: By the way, if you’re an Antiguan-Barbudan writer and your blog or web page/website isn’t listed, and you wish it to be, drop me a line wadadlipen@gmail.com  and I’ll look into it. If it is listed and you don’t wish it to be, let me know that too, and I’ll remove it.

DISCLAIMER: By definition, you’ll be linking to third party sites. Linked sites are not, therefore, reviewed or controlled by Wadadli Pen (the blog, the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, nor coordinator/blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse); and Wadadli Pen (the blog, the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and coordinator/blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse) disclaims any responsibility or liability relating to any linked sites and does not assume any responsibility for their contents. In other words, enter at your own risk.

First – this is me (Jhohadli) – I am a writer, author of several books, freelance writer and editor, writing coach, course and workshop facilitator, founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize (read about me and all of Team Wadadli Pen here), and still evolving.

@ Wadadli Pen fundariser, Word Up! 2006 (Photo by Laura Hall)

There, you’ll also find links to my other pages around the web. and to my Antiguan-Barbudan/Caribbean art and culture series CREATIVE SPACE.

Second – mock logo –  Wadadli Pen as of 2020 has its own You Tube channel – subscribe etc.

And now, in alphabetical order…

ElizabethAbott1 Elizabeth Abbott, author of Sugar and other books is a Canadian author with Antiguan and Barbudan roots. Also here.

Rilys Adams, writing as Rilzy Adams, is a prolific self-published author (and former Wadadli Pen finalist and later patron).

zahra Zahra Airall is a teacher, playwright-and-producer, partner in August Rush Productions, and photographer.

The Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association which includes back issues of the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books.

Makeida Antonio – Wadadli Writer.

Sue Evan-Wong writes as Sue Appleby. Her writings connect the Cornish and the Caribbean.

Karen Blucher 

Francoise Bowen is a screenwriter and director and owner of the Francoise Bowen Acting Studio which runs filmmaking workshops. Here, too, is her youtube channel.

 Brenda Lee Browne is a former Wadadli Pen judge and founder of Just Write. She also shares her passions at her blog, Handbags and Chocolate.

Ashley Bryan is a prolific, multi-award winning American writer of African (and Antiguan) descent.

Chattinatti is an Antiguan who loves to “travel, write, read, watch the news and a few compelling tv series” and who works in “Media/Journalism and Marketing” . She aspires to be a published author some day.

Chante U. Codrington

Sally Davis with her Butterfly Kisses for the Soul.

TanyaEvanson Tanya Evanson – Part of a literary legacy (via her aunt Veronica Evanson Bernard), and a spoken word artist in her own right.

claudiaruthfrancis Claudia Elizabeth Ruth Francis was born in the UK of Barbudan and Canadian heritage. Check out her and her books, Tides that Bind and Road to Wadi Halfa.

Myra Francis’ blog which, she writes, is a segue to her yet to be published memoir, “40 Lessons in 40 Years: Putting Life into Perspective through Trials & Triumphs”.

Friends of Antigua Public Library’s Antigua Stories – a Collecting Memories Project.

Linisa George pic 2 Linisa George is a content creator, producer, and writer; also founder of both Black Girl in the Ring and Art. Culture. Antigua – the latter a Wadadli Pen patron.

Gayle Gonsalves – Antiguan-Canadian author of several books, including Painting Pictures and Other Stories, and the novel My Stories have no Ending.

P. E. Holdsworth – came across her byline in the liner notes of JusBus’ J. Nation CD – discovered from her online bio that she was born in Antigua.

Laura James – Brooklyn based artist of Antiguan-descent has illustrated covers of children’s books by award winning Jamaican writer Olive Senior.

Fayola Jardine Fayola Jardine’s poetry. Fayola is also a 2017 Wadadli Pen finalist.

 Tameka Jarvis-George author of Unexpected, and poetry collections – I Am, I Am That I Am, and Thoughts from the Pharcyde is unflinchingly bare in her writing.  She’s written a few more things by now, plus designed some things, produced some things; she’s always got something cooking.

Sarah P. King – physician, fitness and lifestyle advisor, and author.

Aziza Lake – an Antiguan poet, now a Senator.

Joy Lapps’ YouTube channel.

Nekisha Lewis – her poetry blog is intriguingly named Societal Reject.

Akua Maat’s blog is Simply Natural.

Iyaba Ibo Mandingo

Marcel Marshall

Fransene Massiah-Headley

kim Kimolisa Mings is a poet, open mic regular, and writer. She has two blogs; here’s the other one. Mings also built the very valuable bus stop Antigua website to help visitors and locals alike get around the island.

 Motion (Wendy Braithwaite) is a Canadian of Antiguan descent and a dynamic spoken word artist and writer.

Koren Norton 

Angelica Odonoghue Angelica (Ayoka) O’Donoghue was the 2006 winner of Wadadli Pen. The National Youth Award winner was also publisher of Antigua Chronicle.

Elaine Olaoye – Antiguan poet.

Rowan Ricardo Phillips  – Award-winning American poet with Antiguan and Barbudan roots.

Kohlyah Piper was second placed overall in 2014 for the Wadadli Pen Challenge prize; as of 2015, this is where she’s blogging her poetry.

 Althea Romeo-Mark  left Antigua ages ago, came of age in the USVI, and has lived her adult life in the U.S., Liberia, Britain, and Switzerland.

Dena Simmons – educator. speaker. change agent. writer.

Monique S. Simon and her Caribbean Folklore Project. A bit about Monique: she teaches at the college level, her areas of expertise being literature of the black world, communications, and teaching strategies. She’s also widely published and has also performed her work (Adynah) on the NY stage.

Elaine2 Elaine Spires – a Brit who made Antigua a second home, set several of her writings in Antigua, and collaborated with local artist Heather Doram to make Maisie and Em a hilarious part of the local theatrical and film landscape. She’s the author of What’s Eating Me? and other books and this is where she blogs.

Eurita Taylor

Tekhiyah blogs as the Antiguan Vegan.

Anthea Thomas is not only a writer of text books; she also has a health and lifestyle blog, Anthea’s Inspiring World.

Glen Toussaint Glen ‘Rasta Man’ Toussaint’s blog where you’ll find his poetry and musings, and laugh and smile to yourself while doing so –  and Dat Bwoi for Jackie is his wordpress blog which has an interesting and growing collection of stories built from Caribbean lore. Glen is also a past Wadadli Pen judge and host of the Best of Books’ Wadadli Pen Open Mic (as of 2020 owner of his own online and pop-up bookstore Ten Pages, and a Wadadli Pen patron)

Shana Jahsinta Walters  who according to her blog bio has published over 200 short books (!) only a fraction of which have been found and listed on this site.

 Floree Williams is the author of Pink Tea Cups and Blue Dresses and Through the Window; and of this blog of inner musings. In 2017, she launched Moondancer Books. She’s a Wadadli Pen team member.

Amber Williams-King was has been published in So the Nailhead Bend.

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, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, With Grace, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.


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