Tag Archives: writing

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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The Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project (2019) – Participant Reflections 1.5

I’ve already shared reflections on the 2019 Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project – my summer writing camp. I’m not here to re-invent the wheel. But some other things (pictures, parent/guardian feedback, sample writing) have come in that I want to share. And then there’s also the question of what happens next.

So here goes:

These pictures were taken by one of the participants and sent to me. The first and second image are from our visit to Fort Berkelee; the third and fourth are from our visit to the rock dungeon in which enslaved Africans were entombed back in the day; and the fifth and sixth from our visit to the sugar mill also at Orange Valley.

If you read the original reflections, you’ve seen participant feedback but parent/guardian feedback re the JSYWP has also found its way to me. One wrote, “Thanks, this was indeed a great experience and helped both my daughter and my Antiguan Geography as a parent.”. Another wrote, “Thank you. My cousin had a great time. I’m happy that he was able to learn something new as well as visit new sites on this trip.”

A couple of the participants have also emailed sample writing from one of our writing exercises (which I requested they send to me simply because I wanted to have them). I won’t share the entire pieces but I’ll excerpt a couple of spots that jumped out at me – with context. These pieces aren’t polished, they are first drafts of a writing exercise, but I was impressed with them for committing and zeroing in on moments of particular detail and exploration, in their meditation on their chosen colour, and their willingness to share (they’re bolder than I was at their age).

“Antigua In Blue must start with the sky, which reflects onto the ocean on which boats float.” – I like how this opening sentence starts with a solid (albeit somewhat cliched image) and right away finds a rhythm without forcing a rhyme.

“The blue color of Antigua makes me anything but blue.” – I like the shift from colour to mood.

“I even saw this one guy playing a plain blue guitar.” – I like quirky and this is a quirky way to end a meditation on the colour blue.

What you’re not seeing, because I’m not sharing the entire poem (because it’s a rough draft of a writing exercise by a teen), is the sensory overload, particularly of sight, related to the colour blue. The exercise was about sense-detail and mission accomplished on that score, but also points for pushing the meaning of blue and its sensory effect beyond the elemental.

“Flap, flap, flap, the purple plastic flags go.” – I like the free associative random quality, the use of onomatopoeia, the detail (in terms of sound and imagery), and the fact that it alludes whether deliberately or instinctively to Antigua and Barbuda’s ‘war’ against all things plastic with a plastics ban which met with some resistance.

“Beads, yarn, thread, look at that periwinkle head.” – I like the turn here – whether (per the beads etc.) it is a created or real periwinkle head, it’s not exactly expected and that makes it, for me anyway, an interesting choice in a draft poem of interesting choices – “Sliced up dragon fruit looking funny, a nice looking magenta with grape on the side.” There were times when her writing more so than any of the others took on a symbolic and sometimes dreamlike quality especially where she committed to the sense impression without trying to make it make sense.

As I’ve told the writers, all of these pieces need work but, though there were varying levels of interest and application, I never felt like I was starting from scratch with them. It made listening to and giving feedback on their responses to our various writing exercises interesting for me as well.

I think of it as write-play (just coined) for the idea of allowing the writing to just-be. Craft is important and we got there but what I like about write-play is the way it can shake the shackles off the imagination and encourage exploration. There are specifics about the writing exercise I’m not mentioning here – you’ll have to participate in one of my workshops for those details – but the outcome is what I had hoped and beyond.

I’m thinking of continuing the JSYWP during the year – maybe one or two Saturdays per month if there’s any interest. So, is there, any interest? Send expressions of interest for ongoing writing tutelage for teens to jhohadli at gmail dot 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 and its Spanish language edition; 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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On editing and other services for Writers/Others

“So you’ve finally finished your first draft. Maybe it’s a novel. Maybe it’s a non-fiction book. Maybe you’ve written a picture book for children. Perhaps you love what you’ve written. Perhaps you’ve read it and decided it wasn’t really that good after all. Whatever you’ve written and however you feel about it, there is something you still need to do. Edit.” – this is from an article about – duh – why you should edit your writing. It gives good reasons. Check it out.

Having said that, I am now considering building another data base to add to the numerous Wadadli Pen data bases (bibliography and its sub-bibliographies of Antiguan and Barbudan writers, website linkages for local and Caribbean writers, Caribbean writers bibliography, Antigua and Barbuda lyrics and songwriters data base, journals in which Antiguan and Barbudan artists have been published, reading rooms, awards, art discussions, media history, plays, lit arts, opportunities, and opportunities too, the data base of past Wadadli Pen winners, and others including the one I direct would-be authors to most – the resources page which is a data base for published authors and freelance writers).

My serviceswriting, editing, training – will be listed but I’ll dig around and add other lit arts or maybe just general arts related services available in Antigua and Barbuda. What do you think? Is that something you’d be interested in? What services would you like to see listed?

 

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is 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). 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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Carib Plus Lit News (mid-ish June 2019)

Antigua and Barbuda’s Grand Dame of Poetry, Mary Quinn, got front page coverage of her final chapter in the Daily Observer. An article headlined The Nation Mourns An ‘Iconic Figure’ recalled that “She produced a weekly column in The Daily OBSERVER entitled Tales Out of School, through which she reflected on her experiences as a teacher, mother, and patriot observing the goings on in the nation.” Something we forgot to mention in our tributary obit. of Mrs. Quinn (nee Hampson) here on the blog. Go here to read the full Observer article in which youngest daughter Lydia Quinn announces plans for a posthumous publication. Martina Johnson of Observer also wrote a lovely tribute for which I am unable to find a link to share (in which she speaks of Mrs. Quinn’s diligence in keeping the records of the Observer library and serving as not only a historian but a resource for the journalists breaking the news, and the precision she applied to the writing [long hand on yellow notepads with a number 2 pencil] of her column ‘Tales out of School’). It’s worth noting that while I have often checked the media for its coverage of lack thereof of not just the arts but our artistic icons at their passing – they’ve done a great job with the likes of Rick James (also tributed in my CREATIVE SPACE series), and especially Dr. Ramsey (also celebrated here on the blog), and now Mrs. Quinn who also received deserved editorial treatment.

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Another passing recently covered in the press is that of Antiguan-Barbudan calypsonian Bambi: ‘To say that he will be sorely missed is putting it mildly. He loved our culture and traditions dearly, and did his best to keep the same alive. Whenever he donned his John Bull costume, he became one with our ancestors – the original John Bulls, many of whom hailed from the Yoruba and Asante of West Africa, and he played the role to the hilt. Then there was his calypso singing – pure entertainment – hilarious, side-splitting songs that spoke to the light-hearted nature of the man. It was almost as if he was saying to us, that our lives can go by in a blur, if not for moments of laughter, conviviality and good cheer. Life would be mirthless and insufferable, were it not for Mighty Bambi moments. For example, his risible solution to our unemployment problem was for those seeking work to “Bag smoke, count dew, dry ice, go-ah dead house fuh count crab louse, and bang dawg wid tick!”’

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Out of Barbados, there is this 2018 ArtsEtc list of Indy recs from Bim which includes Elegguas by literary elder Kamau Brathwaite and Anthony Kellman’s Casa de las Americas winning Tracing JaJa; and the announced release of an e-comic book series by the National Cultural Foundation of Barbados. This e-book release is in concert with a radio drama in recognition of a public awareness campaign around the Day of National Significance (re the country’s 1937 riots). ‘NCF Cultural Officer Literary Arts and Producer of this segment of the campaign, Mrs. Ayesha Gibson-Gill, expressed her excitement and satisfaction with the comic series remarking that, “It will demonstrate that we have interesting stories and amazing artists.”’ I know they have their complaints but the energy coming out of the National Cultural Foundation re lit arts – the programmes  I’m looped in to because I’m somehow on their mailing list make me envious (because, Oh Antigua).

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In Antigua, one of the discussions leading up to Carnival season has been copyright. It’s a still-moving story but this May 27th 2019 extract from the Daily Observer can maybe help you get caught up. I don’t quite have a handle on the ins and outs of this particular issue (even after reading about it on the media and social media) but, broadly speaking, I can see how for DJs and event planners operating in Antigua and Barbuda being hit with entertainment tax, copyright payment being taken upfront (as a percentage of the gate or estimated gate receipts), and the new notice from Labour Dept re work permits for guest performers all in the same year may have them feeling pressed (and will have patrons feeling it in the pocket – the inflation creep is real in these streets). As a writer, both as a novelist (and creative writer) and as a freelancer (journalist and content creator), I do know the importance of copyright and royalties though (art creators gotta eat) and do feel there is need for continuing education re use of artists’ intellectual property; and do think the conversation is necessary. Which is why I’m sharing it here.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is 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).

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Arts in the News (Unfortunately)

Usually we’re happy here at Wadadli Pen about arts and the youth being in the news and try to keep you updated. Sometimes, not so much.

First up is this back and forth between Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister and a member of the calypso fraternity in response to criticism (or questioning?) of cultural ambassador designation being given to the British-based Kanneh-Masons (Antigua-descended family of classical musicians). The Kanneh-Masons are dope. Their Playing to Inspire series of concerts to raise funds for the national youth symphony orchestra (I believe) is a worthy pursuit and one of them has distinguished himself internationally as a soloist, notably performing at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. No shade against them AT ALL. That said, these appointments can seem arbitrary and questioning how these things are decided is fair (and forwards transparency).  It’s inevitable for some to wonder why some people get to be at the front of the line, (AGAIN) without any shade on them, and why some we would consider worthy artists who work and sometimes die overlooked despite accomplishments locally, regionally, and globally stay at the back. Disappointing then that, instead of engaging on that level, the conversation (as reported) seemingly descended into broadsides against Antigua and Barbuda’s calypso artistes because their lyrics are perceived as being too local (you can read the articles for yourself above – click on them to get a full sized view). I have personally found in the calypso I grew up listening to, including the music of the artistes both sides seem to agree represent the best of us, that the local/the specific can connect to the universal thematically and emotionally (especially if the music sweet – not necessarily always jumpy but melodic and soul touching in some way) without diluting itself and thus losing both its poetry and its potency. There are lots of reasons why something might be underdeveloped (and some of our arts is) and reasons why it might not travel that do not necessarily have anything to do with the lyrics or narrative – among those reasons, opportunity.

pledge

This one is not unfortunate per se, correcting the record – as Pledge writer Stanley Humphreys and singer Short Shirt did with these letters to the editor in response to an article (not the first one I might add from personal experience) crediting someone else with writing this particular song (I can think of a book with a similar claim and another book that actually went a long way in correcting the record on a whole lot of songs) – is always a good thing. The credit is correct in our song lyrics data base by the way though the past confusion is addressed in the actual Pledge link (above). I do wish to take this opportunity to underscore that one of the challenges for those seeking to get the record right is the sparseness of documented information – one of the ways to fix this is through comprehensive liner notes, the kind often lacking from local music CDs. Some liner notes include not only production credits but song lyrics. As someone who has long covered the local art scene and who has for several years on this site worked to build a data base of our songwriters and their songs for some time, it’s easy to get things wrong due to lack of available, accurate information (oftentimes, even when you ask).

huh

Okay, this one isn’t related to the arts but it is related to the youth which is the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize constituency. I don’t want to get too deep into this one – it’s too easy for the message to be missed for reasons that have nothing to do with the message itself – but I am disappointed not only with the delay in turning this facility over to the youth of the Grays Green (and I would add Ottos community and beyond) but that the optics for me say, the youth can wait, which is not a good look. The work of the Magistrate’s Court is important but I wish we had gone with an alternate site on this one, and proceeded with opening this facility post haste with all the fan fair our youth deserve. I can’t help feeling that whenever they get it now, it won’t be the same.

Let’s end on an upbeat note. I haven’t seen this in the paper – doesn’t mean it wasn’t there as admittedly I am a few days behind on the papers – or on my social media (apart from posts by individual winners) but it is one of my favourite events (celebrating our youth); I always take the time to make nominations (not just in lit arts) and I like to share the outcome here on the blog (click here to see who won what this year). Shout out to lit awards winner and Wadadli Pen 2018 Challenge winner Kyle Christian and to Latisha Browne of the Cushion Club (pictured below with her award).

latisha.jpg

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!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. 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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Good News for Six Caribbean Writers, Bad News for the Burt Award

Six shortlisted writers have been named though dampened by the concurrent announcement that the CODE sponsored Burt Award for teen/young adult Caribbean literature is coming to an end. The award was first bestowed in 2014 but with the death of its founder Canadian philanthropist Bill Burt in 2017 has come a shift in priorities – reportedly to environmental matters, which is a pressing concern in these perilous times. The Caribbean leg of the award has been administered these five years by the Bocas Literary Festival in Trinidad and Tobago  in partnership with the Canadian non-profit CODE which runs similar programmes in Africa and among the indigenous community in Canada – all of which will need alternative funding if they are to continue. The purpose and effect of the award has been to generate and distribute new writing from typically marginalized communities with the youth population as a specific target.

This year’s short list from a field of 46 consists of:

Jomo’s Story by Nastassian Brandon (Jamaica)

The Unmarked Girl by Jeanelle Frontin (Trinidad and Tobago)

The Accidental Prize by Tamika Gibson (Trinidad and Tobago)

The Mermaid Pools by Rehannah Azeeyah Khan (Trinidad and Tobago)

Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay (Jamaica)

Rise Of The Clearrock by Celia Sankar/ S.P. Claret (Trinidad and Tobago)

McCaulay and Gibson are repeat Burt finalists – Gibson placed first in 2016 for Dreams Beyond the Shore, subsequently published by Jamaica’s Blue Banyan Books, and McCaulay’s Gone to Drift was second placed in 2015 and subsequently published by Papillote Press of Dominica and the UK. The list of past Burt finalists can be found here.

From a 2019 Burt/Bocas email: ‘Action, adventure, fantasy, myth, and forbidden love are some of the themes that feature in the shortlist. The judges were effusive in their praise for the quality of the writing, the credibility of the characters and the effectiveness of the plots in these six titles. Their comments on the entries range from “haunting” and “dark” to “enjoyable, fun, educational” and “ground breaking”.’

The winner and up to two finalists will be announced during the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, May 1st to 5th in Trinidad, with $10,000 CDN going to the winning book and $2,000 CDN each to two finalists. A distinctive feature of the Burt award which accepts both published and unpublished manuscripts is that it invites regional publishers to bid for the opportunity to publish one of the winning titles, and purchases and distributes copies of the finished product – the former helping to build the publishing infrastructure in the region, the latter ensuring that the books get in to the hands of their target readership.

Personal note: I am sorry to see this competition die (potentially, if it doesn’t find new funding – though Bocas has done a good job of sourcing alternative funding for, for instance, the Hollick Arvon prize which is now the the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize). I think Burt has been good in terms of generating fresh content and creating renewed enthusiasm among secondary schoolers especially for Caribbean writing to which they feel they can relate. That’s certainly been my experience with Musical Youth, my second placed Burt title, published by Caribbean Reads Publishing, in its inaugural year, 2014, and now on schools reading lists in two Caribbean islands (but more than that the word of mouth enthusiasm from teenage readers). I am happy to have had the opportunity to serve as a Burt Award workshop leader here in Antigua, as a judge of the Caribbean leg of the award, as a mentor of the Africa leg, and as a Burt title editor; I have also enthusiastically promoted the programme – whether reviewing books like All over Again, Gone to Drift, Home Home, and Inner City Girl, which are unsurprisingly of high quality, or encouraging people to enter the competition. I only wish more of us, small islanders, had made it to the winners’ circle – to date (not including 2019) winning books have hailed from Trinidad and Tobago (5), Jamaica (3), Guyana (2), Bermuda (2), Barbados (1),  Puerto Rico (1), and Antigua and Barbuda (1). I want to thank Mr. Bill Burt for this initiative; he did a good thing.

I hope that some other philanthropist or philanthropists sees that arts funding is also a priority – especially in such perilous times.

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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On becoming an author of children’s books (but not a children’s books author)

Below is an excerpt from my guest post at Women Writers, Women Books.

Ironically enough, when my first book

The Boy from Willow Bend (a story about a boy though not written as a children’s book) dropped, I got hung with the children’s author label (even after my second book Dancing Nude in the Moonlight

dropped).  It felt confining to my publishing brand and my creative spirit. Publishing loves its categories and I wrote everything, as my writing and publishing record since continues to illustrate. And yet I was excited to receive recently an invitation to participate in a children’s book panel at a major American book fair. The publishing gods have a sense of humor because here I am embracing a label I worked for years to shake.

Part of the reason I wrote my first children’s story

was so that I could have a story of my own to read when I attended events (‘children’s author’ Joanne C. Hillhouse had no age appropriate material) – it was a branding (or rather lack-of-branding) issue. Reading an early draft of that first children’s story to children (once during a school visit, once at the children’s reading club with which I volunteered) and editing it based on their reaction actually helped me get it to a pretty publishable place (children at that impulse st/age don’t know to be polite, they just react). So that when I saw a publisher call for material for new children’s books I had something to submit.

To read the whole thing, go here.

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Register Now for the JWP Creative Writing Workshop Series

JWP Creative Writing Workshop Series – Back to BasicsOctober 2018

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Surveys for Caribbean Writers

I just spent some time filling out these two surveys targeted at Caribbean writers and I think you should too – because this kind of research if harnessed correctly can bring about the kind of growth we want to see in the industry.

This one is by Anansesem and is targeted at writers of children’s fiction and, I think, applies to writers of teen/young adult fiction as well.

This one is by the Caribbean Literary Heritage project and is targeted at all Caribbean writers, polling how much care and interest they put in to what happens to their papers.

Check them out.

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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Kyle Christian Wins Wadadli Pen

winners2b

Kyle is pictured, back row standing, second from right, with five honourable mentions (Back, left to right: Rosie Pickering, Andre Warner, and Andrecia Lewis; and front, left to right: Chloe Martin and Ava Ralph) and Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse (back, centre) holding the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque. (photo by Glen Toussaint)

Kyle Christian, 28, author of ‘Creak’, is the winner of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Winner Take All Historical Fiction/Poetry 2018 Challenge. He’s pocketed almost EC$3000 – thanks to contributions from Art. Culture. Antigua, Carol Mitchell, Frank B. Armstrong, International Women’s Club of Antigua-Barbuda, Juneth Webson, Pam Arthurton, and one other donor who prefers not to be named. His takeaways, during the April 21st award ceremony at the Best of Books, also included gifts and gift certificates contributed by Barbara Arrindell, Brenda Lee Browne, Cedric Holder for the Cushion Club, Danz’s Sweet Dreams, Jane Seagull, Joanne C. Hillhouse and the Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series, and Monique S. Simon and the Caribbean Folklore Project.

‘Creak’ which tells of a young local woman in a sexual ‘relationship’ with an officer from the US army base in Antigua in the early part of the 20th century was found to encompass the theme “perfectly” in addition to being “well written”.

Kyle, in his winners’ response during the awards, said he first entered the Challenge in 2004; this is his first trip to the finals though he noted that after the 2006 awards Wadadli Pen founder/coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse told him “I really enjoyed your story…keep on writing” and so he has.

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, started in 2004 to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, has always been about giving young people the opportunity to explore stories and ideas of interest to them, while telling tales from a specifically Caribbean space, and challenging them to grapple with the craft of writing as much as appreciating the art of it. Twenty eighteen, a year in which almost 70 entries were received, was a rare year for Wadadli Pen in that a specific sub-genre (historical fiction/poetry) was put in place and rather than winners/prizes broken down by age or other categories, it was ‘Winner Take All’.

That said, there were some honourable mentions – one very creative and singled out as the best example of creative fiction but edged out by the winner due to the quality of the writing, others thought to be thought-provoking, creative, or compelling but falling short due to clichés or other flaws. The honourable mentions received certificates and books from the Best of Books, and a two-hour training session (Presenting: Telling Your Story Orally) sponsored by Barbara Arrindell & Associates. The named honourable mentions were Andre Warner, 20, Rosie Pickering, 14, Andrecia Lewis, 18, Chloe Martin, 14, and Ava Ralph, 17 – a mix of past finalists (Ralph and Lewis) and totally new voices.

Wadadli Pen remains committed to unearthing those new voices and, as such, also gave a prize to St. Andrew’s Primary School for its efforts to encourage student participation and, as a result, having the most grouped submissions from any educational institution. Educator Marissa Walter accepted the prizes on behalf of the school. The prizes are books and other gifts contributed by authors Barbara Arrindell, Floree Whyte and Moondancer Books, and Joanne C. Hillhouse, and by the Best of Books bookstore.

The Best of Books also sponsored all certificates plus the emblazoning of the winner’s name on the Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge Plaque.

The Wadadli Pen team expressed thanks to all participants and patrons both of whom have made this Challenge possible for 14 years. For more on Wadadli Pen and to find out how you can support its efforts, visit https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com or contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

See also Who Won What in 2018? and Creak by Kyle Christian

This release has also been disseminated to Antiguan and Barbudan media.

Also, no timeline (or promises) but stories by the honourable mentions in the 2018 Challenge may be added; so check back.

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