‘Today’s walk was sluggish, as he conversed with slow-poke Mildred. “Yes,” she said. “The rain reminds me of tears as well and remind me of when I cried when I broke my big toe.”’
Pulling that excerpt I’m reminded that ‘Mildred, You No Easy‘, by Wadadli Pen 2021 main prize winner Kevin Liddie, was pretty funny, just one of the textures layered in to this well woven piece. Here’s one of our judges, Floree Williams Whyte (author of Pink Tea Cups and Blue Dresses, Through the Window, and The Wonderful World of Yohan), reflecting on Why We Chose It:
Well Mildred, you nuh easy! You captured our attention from the moment we met you. Short stories and poems can be hard to complete. You have a few paths to use, you can either bring your story full circle- a tough task with a limited word count. Or you can give the reader an appetizer that leaves them desiring another course. Both methods take skill, efficiency and a mastery of the ideas that float around in your head. This year we had a lot of pieces with good bones. Pieces that left you saying ‘Ok, I see where you are going and I like it.’
But from the first read ‘Mildred, You Nuh Easy’ was an undeniable front runner. This piece was an engaging conversation between John and Mildred. As a reader we felt like a bystander eavesdropping on their trek, slowly becoming invested in the back story. And then whap! The writer pulls a twist ending leaving the reader saying ‘Oh!’ It was a full circle story with space for Chapter 2. We liked the way the writer handled the story through dialogue, description, and emotions. Giving just enough detail to pique your interest while leaving enough room to let your imagination fill in the gaps.
Congratulations all our writers! Sending off your creative work for critique and judging is never easy. Our stories are our babies and we want the world to be kind to them. Win or lose keep imagining, keep writing and keep sharing your precious ones with us. We are ready to read!
Posted by: JCH, blogger, Wadadli Pen coordinator, and 2021 judge. The third judge this season was 2011 Wadadli Pen winner and team member since 2016 Devra Thomas.