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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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The John Bull Effect

by Judah Christian, 13, Antigua Grammar School

Every day at break, Miles and Tony would steal Tyler’s lunch money, and give him a ‘wedgie’ whenever he approached the urinal. His ritual was to go through classes ignoring the bullies, while in Science class visualizing his enhanced super costume. The more he thought about it, the more his plans were coming together. He drew a sketch of a suit made of banana leaves and ‘crocus’ bag, with a mask made from a cattle’s skull with a blue, red, yellow and black design. The clap whip would be hidden away in the hand of the suit, similar to what Peter Parker, Spiderman, had. All this he securely guarded in his private blue and red journal.

“Yes! That’s how I’m going to spend my summer!” Tyler exclaimed, forgetting he was in Mr Frederick’s class.

“Tyler! No, that is not an element on the periodic table!” berated Mr Frederick, the Science teacher. “As  a matter of fact, I think you need to let your classmates know HOW you’re going to spend your summer!” continued the teacher.

The class erupted with laughter.

This reminded Tyler of the first time he had to repeat his ‘golden text’ in front of the congregation at St. Morbid’s Cathedral. Sigh. As he staggered to the front of the lab, he faced his classmates and froze. For the next three hundred seconds, not a tick of the clock passed by without him hearing it. Every second. Tick. Tock. No one can know about his plans for the summer. No one. Suddenly, a prefect rushed into the class, and told Mr Frederick that he was needed urgently at the office. At the same time came the familiar ‘brrrrringgg’ to signify the end of the class.

The agitated teacher said, “Class dismissed! Tyler, you better make sure you have that summer plan ready for our next session!”

“Okay, sir!” Tyler responded, breathing a sigh of relief.

Later that evening, Tyler began to put more plans in place to include getting his neighbour, Mr John Bailey, a mass builder, to help him with his suit. He would approach his grandfather, about helping out at the farm, so that he could master the art of donkey-back riding. Once in place, Tyler was focused on his revenge on Miles and Tony.

That summer, while most teenaged boys were involved in Fifa, girls, camps, or carnival preparations, Tyler was busy making his suit and preparing to deliver the John Bull Effect. By the end of summer, he was ready. He kept Mr Bailey’s mantra in his head, “Na mek nobady tek advantage ah you!”. For sure, Miles and Tony had it coming.

On the first day of school after the summer break, Tyler was just waiting for the perfect moment to catch the bullies. He could not wait for the dismissal. When the last bell rang, he ran all the way home, changed quickly into his suit, got the donkey, and melted into his private ecological dwelling. As soon as Miles and Tony passed, he sent spiraling shivers down both their spines with the clap whip. As they tried to run away, he quickly caught up with them on the donkey and showered their backs with even more lashes from the clap whip. He stopped when he realized that he could easily kill or brutally injure the two boys. So, he snapped a quick photo of them on his Samsung Galaxy S9+. Turning his donkey, in the opposite direction, he hurriedly rode away, leaving both Miles and Tony sobbing and nursing welts from their lashes.

The bullies’ reign of terror came to an abrupt end, because Tyler had posted their photo as a meme on Instagram, “The John Bull Effect”.

ABOUT the story: How a boy used his Caribbean folklore and 21st century technology to fight against bullying. (It) was inspired by Judah’s drive to see wrongdoers brought to justice. Interwoven in this short story are elements of his love for Spiderman, justice specifically anti-bullying, Antiguan history and culture, and social media. His hope is that his story would appeal to readers all ages. This work of fiction is honourable mention in the 13-17 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

ABOUT the author: Judah is passionate about sports, especially football, nature, cars, and technology. Additionally, Judah is an active participant of the Vibrant Faith Ministries’ youth group, where he is trained to be a well-rounded citizen. He lives with his parents and sister in Golden Grove New Extension. Judah is a returning Wadadli Pen finalist – he was a promising writer in 2015 and  second placed in the 12 and younger age category in 2016.

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

EC$100 – Lawrence Jardine (founder and technical director of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy); Signed copy of Musical Youth 2nd edition (paperback) by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

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The Fabled Truth

by Aria-Rose Browne, 14, St. Anthony’s Secondary School

You hear stories of Duppies, River Mumma and Lajabless. Stories told throughout Caribbean islands for generations. Luckily for you, that’s all they are, tales to frighten family and friends. Lore to taunt and jeer. Myths to outgrow and not believe in. Not for me, for now, the year is 3045 and those ‘Legends’ that you used to mock are my living hell. They pivot every island into anguish and despair, engulfing them in darkness leaving nothing behind – and my home is next…

I fled from the great anarchy that troubled my village. The screams of tortured souls echoed throughout. Everywhere one turned, the creatures of the dark, the monsters of your stories would be stalking, ready to feast. The blood curdling screams of their victims swallowed whole, even after the demons had left, continued a cacophony in our heads. The survivors argued in Patois, paranoid and on edge from the tragic events that had taken place. Children clung to mothers, tears streaming down their faces whilst their mothers struggled to remain strong in moments of peril.

I survey the scene and as survivors try hard to pry their eyes from the wreckage, they huddle together in circles of rice. Suddenly, the Witch Doctor’s voice boomed, steering everyone’s focus to her. Before this day the Witch Doctor was shunned, nobody wanting to form fool with obeah, but that seemed long forgotten as the villagers searched for answers. The Witch Doctor’s voice bellowed, “Pour ova rice, turn ova’ yuh shirt and kneel before God. Demons are amongst us,” she pauses and looks upwards, basking in the last golden rays of the sun before it being over cast by a red haze. She jumps frantically, “Beware, the Soucouyant masquerades in deception!” The Witch Doctor ran and disappeared into the forest, chanting. Everyone paused not knowing what to say, her nonsensical words lingering in the wind, only heightening our fears.

I decide to break the silence, “Everyone, we need to move.  I know you’re all scared but I know how to outsmart these demons. Follow me. I know where safety resides.”
“Why should we follow you?” chimed a man.

“Because the same thing happened to my old home. I have already seen the golden sun go red, the white sands turn black and red haze swallowing everything. You should follow me as I am the only one who made it out alive.”

The man fell quiet and with no further objections, I led them to the forest.

As we venture further into the dark, we decide to take a rest since we were exhausted. We settle in a clearing and as we set up camp, we hear one of the villagers proclaim the sight of a river. Before I can get one word in, the rest of the town’s people follow him like a herd of sheep. I run to them, I can hear its calls in the wind, River Mumma is near.

“Quick, everyone, close your eyes!” Most heeded my warning, whilst some stayed stubborn as a mule.

An eerie silence drifted in the darkness, followed by desperate pleas for help, “No, no…,” their voices rich with fear until the river drowns them out. By the time our eyes become readjusted to the light, the river is uneasingly still, stealing some of our friends with it.
The next few days were the same, monsters preyed on us, waiting hungrily for their time. It was Lajabless luring men with her beauty and Rounce playing a game of cat and mouse, toying with his victims. He loved giving us nightmares, filling every night with dread. His antics made us…. more paranoid, to say the least. I warned them all of Lajabless’s seduction, to not let their lustful desires cloud their common sense. As to whom carried deaf ears, Lajabless left them deaf, blind and six feet under. At the dawn of the next day, Rounce tailed us. I told them to fight Rounce with sticks and only count aloud to one and no higher.

Well, the dammed souls were curious.

If the count was greater than one, then that was the number of Rounce that came to fight. There is only so much a stick can do against multiple Rounce and with that, we lost a few more people.

As only four of us remain, spirits are low as we continue through the forest. We cut through the thickets of the forest, and see a familiar face.

The Witch Doctor was making a fire. We joined her. “I’m assuming from your lack of numbers you have encountered the Soucouyant.”

“What’s that?” inquired one of the village folks.

She replied, “You didn’t tell them? The Soucouyant is a demon who sheds its human flesh, turns to a ball of fire and feasts on its vicitm’s bloo-.”

“Why scare them with that nonsense!” I shout.

“It’s not nonsense for the Soucouyant hides amongst us, but luckily ‘e ‘fraid salt and love fi count rice.” She continued, “Would you like some rice?” She throws a few grains of rice on the ground.

“I’m good. Rice is not for me,” I say, not prying my eyes off the rice. I snap out of it and murmur, “I think it’s best we head to bed.”

She looks at me as if wanting to say something but thinks better of it. Then we all lie down and drift into darkness.

The red sun beams on me as I change back into my skin and wipe blood away from my mouth. “The Witch Doctor almost had me, luckily nobody too quick fi believe a hag throwing rice. She was by far the tastiest.” I walk around my blood drained victims and smile to myself, “I never lied, I did see the sun go red and the sands turn black. Y’all shoulda listen to the Witch when she told you I was here.”

With that I was on my way to the next village to continue our game, “Ah mi name Soucouyant.”

ABOUT the story: The Fabled Truth was inspired by “Caribbean folklore and my interest in mythology.” This work of fiction is third placed in the 13-17 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

Aria_Rose Browne (2)

ABOUT the author: Her passion is writing, and she also enjoys music and theatre arts.

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

EC$150 – Lawrence Jardine (founder and technical director of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy); Bath and Body gift package – Juneth Webson (businesswoman and writer – Milo’s First Winter); signed copy of Musical Youth (hard cover edition) by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

 

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The Beast of Barbados

by William Henderson, 17, St. Anthony’s Secondary School

THE NIGHT was preternaturally quiet. Not a breath of wind sighed among the trees. Not a creature stirred, and the silence was consuming. It seemed as if all sound had been stolen from the world. There I sat at my bedroom window in the pitch dark – lest the beast find me in the light – watching and waiting for a sign.

It was when the clock struck midnight – the witching hour – that all sound came flooding back to the world, like a river bursting though a dam. Thunder rolled, trees swayed in the gales that came from nowhere, bats screeched, dogs howled eerily, and everything came back to life. The silence was the deep breath before the plunge; the return of sound was the point of no return, when the beast was coming and the only thing to do now was defend yourself. And it always happened at midnight.

This unnamed abomination of nature had been hunting me here on the island of Barbados ever since I was little, and only my grandmother and I were capable of seeing it; which made it even more dangerous.

Family legend claims that centuries ago, an ancestor of my father stole treasure from a pirate who docked in Barbados to wait out a storm. The beast was born from a pirate’s desire for revenge, to ensure that no one ever enjoyed the stolen riches. This beast has reckoned with my family ever since and has been attributed as the cause of the tragic ends met by the members of my lineage.

It had almost killed me multiple times, and my life had only been spared by some grace of God.  In those days I had been nothing more than a little child, and I was scared to death of the creature; I was impotent and weak.

The last time I had seen the beast was eight years ago, when I was only ten years old. That was also the last time it had failed to kill me, and the time I had actually managed to harm it. It had kept its distance since then, afraid of the fighter that was growing inside me. But little did it know that while it bode its time, I only grew stronger and more fearless. I did not forgive it, and I most certainly did not forget it. Now, eight years later, it returned for one final showdown. But there were two differences this time around; I wasn’t a little kid anymore, and the beast was no longer the only one out for blood.

I peered outside. It was stormy, but there wasn’t any sign of the beast yet. But I knew it was coming. I looked down at the long dagger I held in my hand; the hilt was comfortable and wrapped in leather, the blade was everlastingly sharp and still stained from when I had sliced the hide of the beast eight years ago.

My grandmother had given it to me as she lay on her deathbed. She told me that it had hunted her too. But she had escaped and kept it at bay by showing no fear.

As a young boy facing an ancient horror, that was no easy task. But when I at last wounded the beast after I managed to find the courage to seek it out on one cold, stormy night in the woods behind my house, a warrior awoke inside me, and the beast could feel it; and it was frightened by it. It was so frightened, in fact, that it had stayed away for eight years, either hoping that I would grow weak and forget about it, or hoping that it would grow strong enough to kill me without resistance.

As I looked out the window into the dark night, I had a sudden feeling that the beast wouldn’t come to me. It wanted me to go to it. Perhaps it figured that if it were going to die, it would do it on its own terms.

I soon found myself walking through the thick, high woods behind my house, the dagger in my hand reflecting the moonlight. I could almost sense the beast’s discomfort; the hunter had become the hunted. But I did not let my guard down no matter what. I hadn’t come this far and fought so hard to be brought down by some cunning trick.

I stopped at last in a large glade where the light of the moon and the stars poured down in silver beams. The dark forest surrounded me like an impenetrable wall of night. I didn’t need to go any further. The beast was near.

“Show yourself!” I commanded. “It’s time to end this.”

From the perpetual blackness before me, the beast emerged in all its grotesque, feline glory; eyes as black as bottomless pits, rows of jagged teeth stained with the blood of the innocent, a tiger-like body rippling with lean muscle, long, untamed claws and silky black fur, and a hide which still bore the scar of when my dagger made its mark eight years ago.

The beast looked at me – perhaps it was wondering why I had come to kill it in my pajamas – but then its eyes wandered down to the dagger in my hand, and I could almost smell its fear. With a surge of confidence, I brandished my bloodstained weapon menacingly and charged forward with a fearsome battle roar.

The battle ended swiftly. Once I was no longer afraid, there was only so much that it could do to me. I didn’t leave the battle unscathed; I would forever bear the scars of that battle. But I gained the upper hand, and after a great struggle, I pierced the beast’s heart. The fire in its eyes died, and at last, the beast, which had hunted my forbearers and me for so long, was no more.

ABOUT the story: “I visited Barbados (last summer), and this story is inspired by that visit…Just being in this wonderful island made me feel inspired and creative and led me to write this story.”  This work of fiction is second placed in the 13-17 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

ABOUT the author:

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

EC$200 – Lawrence Jardine (founder and technical director of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy); signed copy of Musical Youth (hard cover edition) by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2020, Wadadli Pen News

Two Worlds Collide

by D’Chaiya Emmanuel, 15, Antigua Girls High School

ROAR; Roar, that beckoning roar in the distance.
Howl; Howl, it’s coming closer in persistence.
What is it?
I have no idea.
Is it dangerous?
It’s that wretched noise I fear.
I have lived in Waladli for many years.
I know the dance of the coconut trees;
The cry of the quarrelling wind and leaves.
Even the soft click of a twig, snapping under an animal’s feet.
That sound, however, I’ve never heard nor seen.
The gods are punishing us!
Calm down.
I knew I shouldn’t have taken more than ten maize.
You’re just in a daze.
The end is upon us!
Everyone needs to hush.
Hush my people, do not fret, do not cry.
That is no sound made from nature’s spite.
That is no sound from the raft of our ancestors.
Maybe the Tainos are planning an attack?
That’s unlikely since the last war left them on their backs.
LOOK!!
The sea has risen.
What is that? What is that floating prism?
Oh the curiosity is more than I can bear.
Achak don’t you dare!
BIRDS! Birds! There can’t be birds without land.
Sand? Sand! tis sand!
We is about to reach our fortune.
We should be glad.
A whistle! That’s a whistle!
They have spotted the land.
Hey, up here! Give me a hand.
Well boys, wees made it to the promised Neverland.
If only my mother could see now.
I will find gold and spices, she would be so proud.
Halt! I can see strange figures standing on the shore.
What are they?
They could be inhabitants or new species? I’m not quite sure.
If they are inhabitants, then we’ll force them to give us gold.
If they are species, we’ll round some up and take them back home.
We are blessed with this world from God.
Thank our father, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Ha-ha!
Crunch, Crunch; polished boots meet Waladli’s sand.
Crunch, Crunch; it is greeted by a barefooted man.
Skin as pale as the sand on our beaches.
Skin looks as dirty as spoiled peaches.
Two men who both bleed and breathe.
One was raised on concrete, one within the trees.
That shiny armor could blind an eye.
The nudity is no holy sight.
Long straight hair, as golden as the sun.
Coarse black hair, similar to my hound’s.
Who is lesser, who is greater?
Were they made by the same creator?
Such God forsaken creatures.
They have come to lead us.
Life and death does not discriminate.
The only real difference, is that their worlds were separate.
We can use them to provide us with gold and labor.
Gift them with your most valuables for they are our saviors.

Two worlds collided and history changed.
The life of all Europeans and Kalinagos would never be the same.

ABOUT the story: “This piece was inspired by a history class in second form. During the lesson, my history teacher sparked my curiosity when she asked, ‘How did the Kalinagos and European feel about their first ever meeting?’ From since then, I have always had this deep desire to find out more about the people who once inhabited this land. The story depicts various indigenous personalities and how they responded to their first encounter with the Europeans who invaded their land. It also vividly shows how the Europeans felt about the original inhabitors of the land once called Waladli.” This work of fiction is winner of the 13-17 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

ABOUT the author: “I take a liking to anything related to the arts, such as music, acting, story telling and painting. Unfortunately, I thought I wanted to be in the medical field so my core subjects are the pure sciences. My hobbies and extra curricular activities make my love for the arts and poetry evident. I am a part of the AGHS Honey Bee Theatre and I have participated in many of their plays. My most memorable role was when I played the character Ti-Jean in Derek Walcott’s Ti-Jean and his brothers, directed by Ms Zahra Airall. I am also a member of the Lyrical Hive Poetry Club and a former member of our school’s debate club. Though I am not certain about my career path, I know for sure that it will be something related to the arts.”

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

EC$200 – D. Gisele Isaac (writer – Considering Venus, Wadadli Pen co-founder); EC$50 – Lawrence Jardine (founder and technical director of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy); free eye exam – Paradise Vision Center; Bath and Body gift packages (2) – Juneth Webson (businesswoman and writer – Milo’s First Winter); external hard drive – Cushion Club (reading club for children in Antigua and Barbuda)

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2020, Wadadli Pen News

A New World

by Sienna Harney-Barnes, 10, St. Nicholas Primary

The three friends sat quietly around the dinner table in disbelief about what had just happened. All the food they had prepared, the saltfish, duccana, pepper pot and johnny cakes went crashing to the floor. The food was too heavy for the table and it collapsed. As they were cleaning up the mess, John came across a concealed trapdoor. It was below the table the whole time.  When John saw it, he called Peter and Juan. They were very surprised to see it. They opened the door carefully and got all the essential supplies to go down the stairs. John and Peter were very excited, but Juan was very hesitant, however, they still went down. After about an hour, they found another hidden door, so they opened it. It looked like a never-ending hole so John being the bravest jumped in, then Peter being a copycat, did the same. Juan had no desire to do it at all, but he looked around and saw a horse-spider, so he went for it.

It turns out they were wrong, it was not a never-ending hole, but it wasn’t the same earth. You could tell,  because as they walked, no litter was seen, beautiful landscaping was all around and every house had solar panels.  There were fields of wind turbines, a lot of electric vehicles and pastures of green grass with all types of animals living together. People were walking, laughing, playing dominoes and just breathing air that seemed a lot cleaner. Everyone appeared to be making a conscious effort to do good for the environment. It was an earth free of climate change and pollution. As they continued walking, there was a little, brightly coloured house with a beautiful pathway lined with hibiscus flowers.  As they approached, they saw a sign that said, “Peter, John and Juan’s house.” It was as if it was reserved for them. They obviously went in and put on the TV to see where they were. It turns out they were 2,000,000 miles away from the earth they called home.

Peter and John wanted to stay in the world free of climate change, but Juan was dead set against that. Juan loved his family and didn’t want to leave them in the old, polluted world.  Therefore, they set out to find a way to return home and bring back all the people and things they loved. They asked some of the residents how to get back. They told them that they had to go to Palm Beach and find the red coral, so that is exactly what they did.  As they walked, they saw palm trees swaying in the wind and right in front of them was the ocean.  When they dove into the cool, crystal-clear Caribbean Sea, they saw something they had never seen before, bright red coral lined a pathway to a sinkhole. That is when they realized to get home, they had to go through it. They all willingly went in and in a matter of seconds they were back in the dining room. It was as if no time had passed. The hard part had just begun though.  They had to explain to their families what they had experienced. Initially, their friends and families did not believe them, but with much encouragement, they had a change of heart. The three friends got their families to trust them and they all ventured back through the trapdoor.

When they arrived in the new world, they thought it was all too good to be true. Their families loved it as much as they did. At the end of the day, the boys had gone on a journey to an unknown place and it turned out to be their new home. They all adopted the lifestyle of that community to live respectfully with the environment on this new earth. If John wasn’t brave, if Peter wasn’t a copycat, if Juan didn’t face his fears and if their families didn’t trust them, they all would have missed this exciting new opportunity -A New World.

ABOUT the story: Climate change is a topic that needs to be discussed; so this story will hopefully inspire people younger and older than me. This work of fiction is honourable mention in the 7-12 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

 

ABOUT the author: “My hobbies are art, cooking, swimming, dancing, and, of course, writing…I was inspired to participate in this year’s competition after running for school president. I was very nervous since it was a very tight race. When I won, I realized that overcoming challenges like this competition and facing fears can be very rewarding.”

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:  

Books (3) – Cindy’s Bookstore ; copy of Antigua My Antigua – Barbara Arrindell; signed copy of The Wonderful World of Yohan by Floree Williams Whyte

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

 

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A Mermaid

by Zaniah Pigott, 12, Island Academy

The wind whistled as Marie slowly crept across the soft, thick sand of
the Johnson Point beach. The young female walked across the moonlit bay. She
had discretely ventured away from the crowded beach party to this peaceful
beach haven. Her mind crowded with thought as she continued down the pale
sandy shores.

Marie intently listened to the various noises surrounding her. The
faraway bop of the birthday party’s pop music, hermit crabs scuttling across
the sand and the gentle crash of the waves on the rocks. Marie enjoyed the
soothing sounds while immersing in the noises  around her.

Soon she had found a spot of soft, clear sand where the young girl sat
cheerfully. Her fingers brushed across the grainy sand, feeling small, smooth
shells as she passed each section. While the crescent shaped moon floated
tranquilly across the starry sky. Marie looked on in awe!

Finally Marie’s eyes settled on the shimmering sea. The water was navy
blue in colour and glistened in the moon’s light. Miniature waves crashed at
the shore making faint relaxing noises. Tropical fish darted playfully through
the water. Everything truly seemed lost in time!

Suddenly, the magnificent view was disrupted by a large head that
popped out of the refreshing water. Then came a petite torso. The mysterious
figure seemed to be a woman but Marie’s thoughts changed when the
“woman” had completely exited the bright blue water.

The unknown figure had a scaly tale with beautiful violet fins. The small
scales shone in the moonlight and her long fins playfully lapped the salty sea
water. She had faded purple skin and had small violet fins sprouting from her
dainty arms. The woman wore an orange starfish bracelet and had lilac coloured
irises. Her hair was as black as coal and the creature had sap green seaweed
strewn in her wavy wet hair. The mysterious woman shocked Marie.

Slowly an idea dawned on her. The “woman” was a mystical mermaid!

A toothy smile appeared across Marie’s face. She had seen something
miraculous but as soon as the beautiful mermaid had appeared, she disappeared.
Now alone she sat in the moonlight. The wonderful sight
had been lost and the triumphant look on Marie’s face quickly slipped away.

Marie shifted on the sand and made complete focus on the area of the
tremendous discovery. Her eyes shone at the very thought of seeing a
mermaid. There she remained, her head even more clouded with thoughts;
even more reluctant to return to the loud crowded party. Never to tell a soul
about her discovery.

 

ABOUT the story: A girl goes exploring on the beach. She finds a mermaid. “My inspiration for this story was the beautiful waters around Antigua and Barbuda. I decided to set the scene on a Johnson’s Point beach because this is a village that is very dear to my heart. During school holidays my family and I would always spend our days there, camping and frolicking in the seawater and on the sand. Johnson’s Point village and the surrounding beaches are places  that always get my creative juices flowing and that is why I love writing about them. Another inspiration for this story is Greek Mythology. I am completely fascinated with mythological stories, especially ones about mermaids. Which is why I love to write and draw these figures and imagine what they would look like in real life.” This work of fiction is third placed in the 7-12 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

ABOUT the author: “I enjoy visual arts, reading, and writing short stories. My favourite sport is tennis which I play for fun with my friends during the week. I absolutely love animals; especially cats and that is why I try to volunteer at PAAWS when I can.  Last year, I came second in the Grade 6 National Assessment and this year I intend to keep striving towards my personal and academic goals.”

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

Books (3) – Cindy’s Bookstore ; signed copy of Musical Youth 2nd edition (paperback) and With Grace (paperback) by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

 

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My Favourite Dish

by Ciara Thomas, 10, Sunnydale School

I’m a little girl,
And I am fat,
I can tell you my favourite food did that,
It’s not because I’m greedy.

Some of it comes from my genes,
Even though I’m a little chubby,
I am still a queen.

KFC is not my favourite food,
Even though I eat it,
Not chicken and chips nor hamburger,
Or pizza and definitely not shawarma.

My favourite foods takes me back
to my roots,
This is no lie, I’m telling the truth.

I had to dig out of the backyard,
And break the coconut which is quite hard,
I take them to mama,
And said, please make me some ducana.

With the chop-up and saltfish,
Cause mama that is my
Favourite dish.

ABOUT the poem: This poem ranked second in the 7-12 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

Books (3) – Cindy’s Bookstore ; copy of  Antigua My Antigua – Barbara Arrindell; US$50 for gift certificate for books – Friends of Antigua Public Library (NY)

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2020, Wadadli Pen News

Carib Plus Lit News (Middish January 2020)

Condolences

We begin with condolences to the friends and family of Victor Chang, and the community at the University of the West Indies. He actually died some weeks ago, in 2019. This Jamaica Gleaner article described Dr. Chang as a former lecturer in the Department of Literatures in English at UWI.

“Chang’s academic career is characterised by his involvement with the wider community and beyond, having served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Hull, England in 1981, carried out assignments with the Ministry of Education and Jamaica Festival. The noted academic was a contributor to the National Association for Teachers of English Workshops for some 20 years and was assistant chief examiner in English Literature with the Caribbean Examinations Council …(in addition to) service to the West Indian Association for Commonwealth Language and Literature Studies (WIACLALS).” There were many expressions of condolences being shared among the Caribbean literary community including my own memory of him as head of my department during my time at UWI (Mona, Jamaica) and this one (unknown) “He gave brilliant conference papers about Caribbean writers, and his sense of humor was wicked.”

Trinidad Poet wins the T. S. Eliot Prize

We move to celebratory news with Trinidad and Tobago poet Roger Robinson’s win of the T. S. Eliot Prize, the only major poetry prize judged solely by established poets. He won for A Portable Paradise about which judges said: “Roger Robinson’s characters bear witness to a country where ‘every second street name is a shout out to my captors’. Yet though Robinson is unstinting in his irony, he also gives us glimpses of something that his chosen protagonists also refuse to surrender – a taste, through the bitterness, of ‘life, of sweet, sweet life’.” A Portable Paradise was published by Peepal Tree Press in the UK. Robinson receive a £25,000 cheque.

Wadadli Pen 2020

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge is back for 2020 with several new categories to stimulate artistic expression among young people in Antigua and Barbuda. …The Wadadli Pen Challenge is open to any resident aged 35 and younger. Entries – fiction, poems, creative non-fiction –1000 words max. must be original. Beyond that entries can be as creative or tonally diverse as the artist desires; as long as it retains a Caribbean sensibility (i.e. feels Caribbean). Young Antiguans of all ages are encouraged to try – there will be, as usual, age category prizes, with a slight adjustment to the breakdown (six and younger, seven to 12, 13 to 17, and 18 to 35) – in addition to an overall top three. All entries require completed submission forms (2020 WADADLI YOUTH PEN PRIZE SUBMISSION FORM). Incomplete and plagiarized entries will be disqualified.

Special Prizes

Imagine a Future – A special prize will go to the story which per the sub-head ‘Imagine a Future’ best illustrates either the consequence of inaction (dystopia) or action (futopia) on climate change. This is an opportunity to venture in to speculative fiction (including science fiction). What does the future look like through your eyes? Be creative.

Art Prize – Visual artists can also tell their story, solo or in collaboration with others by creating a comic strip – telling a complete story using visual art and (optionally) words in three horizontally-aligned art panels of equal size, fitting on to a single sheet of paper. Art entries can be hand inked and coloured (per standard comic panels) or electronically created. No collages. Winning collabos get a single prize.

The Wa’omani Prize – Eligible Barbudans are also invited to write a story or poem, or create a comic strip (telling their complete story using visual art and, optionally, words in three horizontally-aligned art panels of equal size, fitting on to a single sheet of paper). This prize is designed to encourage greater participation from Barbuda and create a space for Barbudans to tell their unique stories.
An entry can be considered for more than one special prize (indicate with entry), and everyone vying for a special prize will also be considered for the main prize and for their age category prize. There will also be a prize for the school with the most submissions. Submit by 16/02/20 with ‘Your Name Wadadli Pen Challenge Submission 2020’ in the subject line.

Some early patrons have pledged their commitment and will be announced in a subsequent release. Other businesses or individuals wishing to contribute, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com To keep up with all things Wadadli Pen follow the blog. For all things Wadadli Pen 2020, check https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/wadadli-pen-2020

Sharma Wins

Sharma Taylor, Jamaica born, Barbados based, inaugural winner of the Johnson and Amoy Achong prize in 2019 starts 2020 with another win – first prize in Barbados’ 22nd annual Frank Collymore Literary Endowment award for an unpublished collection of short stories called Hollow Calabash which one judge described as “unputdownable”. She wins $10,000 (I’m not sure if this is US or BDS but either way).

Sharma credits the support of Commonwealth Writers (CW) through initiatives like the short story prize for which she was shortlisted, a 2018 fiction writing workshop in Barbados, and the individual mentoring the CW provided in 2019, as well as encouragement from other writers.

Congrats to her (pictured below, second from left).

‘Second place went to Claudia Clarke, who was awarded $6,000 for her “CircleSquare.” Anderson Lowe’s “Inside the Blackbelly Sheep” secured him third place and prize money of $4,000. Lowe also received the Prime Minister’s Award. Ingrid Persaud and Sarah Venable received honourable mention for “So it Go” and “The Tropic of Sweet and Sour” respectively.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes spoke of the importance of Barbados having a strong literary tradition, saying, “seeing your culture reflected and celebrated in print is a powerful and validating experience.”

The Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Awards was started in 1998 to support and develop the literary arts in Barbados. In addition to the annual competition, the programme includes outreach to secondary schools and technical workshops for writers.’ Read more.

Sabga

The 2020 Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence have been announced. They are:

Arts & Letters: Mr Jallim Eudovic, Sculptor, St Lucia
Entrepreneurship: Mr Andrew Mendes, Energy Services Entrepreneur, Guyana
Public & Civic Contributions: Dr Olivene Burke, Community Activist, Jamaica
Science & Technology: Dr Shirin Haque, Astronomer, Trinidad & Tobago

The Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards is the only programme in the Caribbean which seeks out and rewards outstanding nominees in Arts & Letters, Public & Civic Contributions, Science & Technology and Entrepreneurship. It has been in existence since 2005, and has named, inclusive of the current inductees, 43 Laureates from throughout the region.

The 2020 ceremony will be staged on April 25, 2020 at a venue to be announced in the near future. Here’s the press release: 2020-Laureate-announcement-Press-Kit

Impac Dublin Caribbean

I first became aware of the Impac Dublin award back in 2012 when I was researching possibilities for which my novel Oh Gad! could contend. I bring that up because I wondered then and I still wonder now which books have been nominated by our local library service with which I’ve shared the Impac Dublin information. The latest Caribbean author to be nominated and longlisted for the Impac Dublin prize is Viviana Prado-Nunez, the Puerto Rican author of the Burt award winning The Art of White Roses which the nominating Jamaica Library Service describes as  “a striking debut novel with a cast of engaging characters. Told through the eyes of a 13 year old who lives with her family in Marianao, a quiet suburb six miles away from Old Havana, the novel gives an intimate view of the struggles of the working people fighting for independence fuelled by a burning desire to end corruption. It is a sharp-eyed study of power, community, questioning values and the contradictory messages of adults.” The Art of White Roses is published by Dominica’s Papilotte Press.

Also nominated by the Jamaica Library Service, also long listed, another Burt Award title Kevin Jared Hosein’s The Beast of Kukuyo. This is published by Jamaica’s Blue Banyan.

Congrats to them and to the library service for nominating them. See the entire long list. The prize is €100,000 which is awarded to the author if the book is written in English. If the winning book is in English translation, the author receives €75,000 and the translator, €25,000. The winner also receives a trophy provided by Dublin City Council. Nominations are made by libraries in capital and major cities throughout the world – libraries interested in participating can contact the organizers.

The shortlist for the 2020 prize will be announced in April.

Publishing News

Papilotte press, of Dominica and the UK, continues to make major moves with the acquisition of UK based Trinidad author Lawrence Scott’s Dangerous Freedom, a novel described as “radical and moving”. Said the author, “In Dangerous Freedom I am trying to redress what I see as the romantic portrayals of Dido in art, film and literature. I wanted to question the sketchy history we have of Dido and, through fiction, to alter the psychological and political perspectives. I hope that the novel can add to our understanding of a pain that remains just below the surface of contemporary life.” I’ve seen at least one of the film adaptations, Amma Asante’s Belle which starred Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the daughter of an Englishman and an enslaved African who lived with her aristocratic uncle, none less than Chief Justice Lord Mansfield at a time when he was adjudicating a critical case in the anti-slavery movement. Papilotte publisher Polly Pattullo bought world rights, excluding translation, for Dangerous Freedom from Johnson & Alcock. It will be published in May 2020 and distributed by NBN International.

New Music Awards for Antigua and Barbuda

You might remember that there was a music awards held in Antigua and Barbuda some years ago. It was produced by a private person and called the National Vibes Star Project Award. It was a  great Grammy-style event that I truly enjoyed covering. But it was a one-time event. And while I will always wish we weren’t reinventing the wheel, the announcement of a national musical awards by the Culture Department is, on the surface of it, a welcome development.

 

Deputy Director of Culture, and accomplished musician, Mr Khan Cordice described the awards, to be held on April 16th 2020, as a “Grand Celebration’ to recognize the work of all musicians and music practitioners alike to include vocalists, instrumentalists, pannists and DJs for the work they would have contributed to music over the years, but more specifically, throughout the year 2019.”

There are six categories: ‘Vocal Awards’; ‘Instrumental Awards’; ‘Steelpan Awards’; ‘Best Recording Artiste of the Year’; ‘DJ of the Year’ and ‘Special Awards’. In the vocal awards category, the breakdown includes:
Junior Soca Artist of the year
Junior Calypsonian of the year
Junior Reggae Artist of the year
Junior Gospel Artist of the year
Soca Artist of the year
Calypsonian of the year
Reggae Artist of the year
Gospel Artist of the year
Choir of the Year

At a glance, one difference between this and the NVSPA is that the latter also included hip hop and artists that didn’t fit in to the usual boxes.

For the Steelpan Awards announced categories include:

Steelpan Awards
Junior Pannist of the Year
Pannist of the Year
Arranger of the year
Junior Steelband of the Year
Steelband of the Year

The rebirth of pan continues – you love to see it.

The Instrumental Awards include:
Junior Instrumentalist of the Year
Instrumentalist of the Year

Two young Antiguans and Barbudans having recently featured in the finals of the Commonwealth International Composition Awards, as reported in Carib Plus Lit News in November 2019, it makes sense to continue to encourage our Musical Youth in this way.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday month to one of my literary icons Zora Neale Hurston who LitHub informs me was born January 7th (two days after me) 1891 (so not exactly the same century).  

Another reason I’m shouting out the late Harlem Renaissance writer, she has a new book coming with a foreword from Tayari Jones (whose book, the Oprah’s book club pick An American Marriage I’m currently reading after absolutely loving her previous book Silver Sparrow). Hurston died in 1960 – and while she had published significant work like Their Eyes were watching God – had slipped in to obscurity until resurrected by Alice Walker in In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, the title piece in the latter’s 1984 essay collection. Hurston has been a staple on university lit syllabuses since then including my African-American lit courses at UWI, which is where I discovered her and, in her, a literary model. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is Hurston’s second posthumous book (after 2019’s Barracoon: the Story of the Last Black Cargo) in three years.  Can’t wait.

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, 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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Bocas’ Best: the Winner

 I get behind on the blogging (and everything) sometimes, blame the creative/freelance juggling life, so I’m late with the news of the winner of the biggest Caribbean based literary prize which would have been announced at the Bocas Literary Festival in late April. It feels like I should, anyway, since I shared both the 2018 long list and short list here, as I do.

So, shout out to Trinidad and Tobago’s Jennifer Rahim.

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‘In a press release, Bocas stated that the judges’ choice was between Rahim’s collection of short stories, Curfew Chronicles, and Madwoman by Jamaican Shara McCallum. As poetry winner, McCallum received an award of US$3,000.

It said Curfew Chronicles was a series of linked short stories featuring characters from all levels of society, unfolding over a 24 hour period during a fictionalised version of the 2011 state of emergency.

“This must surely rank as one of the most ambitious books ever attempted by a Caribbean writer. The philosophical, moral and religious themes and ideas put forward about community in all its many manifestations are lightly, deftly handled… Readers are rewarded by moments of sheer grace; and numinous revelations at every turn,” said Lorna Goodison, chief judge of the prize.

Rahim is a widely published poet, fiction writer, and literary critic.” Read the full report.

This book sounds interesting; I’m adding it to my to-read list (yes, that long thing which increased by two this past week thanks to review copies of Wartime at Woolworths and The Nakedness of New received in the mail from authors Elaine Everest and Althea Romeo-Mark, respectively – but, hey, I finally finished Marlon James A Brief History of Seven Killings, so yay).

Congrats to Jennifer!

And if you’re keeping track, that’s the fourth win for Trinidad & Tobago in the Bocas prize’s eight years. Past winners are (in order) Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott (St. Lucia) – now deceased, Earl Lovelace (Trinidad & Tobago), Monique Roffey (Trinidad & Tobago), Robert Antoni (Trinidad & Tobago), Vladimir Lucien (St. Lucia), Olive Senior (Jamaica), and Kei Miller (Jamaica).

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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