Tag Archives: young people writing


So, I thought I’d share some of the feedback to the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge 2013 season. In part because I hope it’ll continue to spark interest among other young writers still hiding their light under a bushel, potential patrons, media and the general public (and I hope that interest will translate into more support for the programme). In part, because I just want to take a moment to celebrate another successful year of pulling this off against the odds. Thanks to all patrons, partners, and well wishers; thanks especially to our young writers, FOR DARING (it’s not easy putting your work out there as all of us who’ve ever written a word and submitted it somewhere or even asked someone for feedback know all too well). So go read the stories, okay?

Okay, comments, here goes…

Comments VIA EMAIL (scrubbed of identification markers, I hope):

From the mom of one of our younger finalists:

“(My daughter) would like to thank the sponsors who donated her gifts and rest assured she will be reading them.  She has almost finished reading Trapped (in) Dunston’s Cave. She is all fired up and is already working on two pieces for next year.”


From one of the teachers:

“I really wanted to say thank you for affording my students and me the opportunity to share our stories and drawings. We will definitely by looking out for the next WADADLI PEN COMPETITION …Now that I’m exposed to what is expected (the stories that won were awesome!!!) I will definitely have to put in some extra work!! Awesome job!! You are a role model to aspiring writers. Shine on!!”

From one of the finalists:

“Just want to let you know that I think that the Wadadli Pen Prize is a great initiative and hope to see it continue!”


Left to right, overall winner Asha Challenger, third placed Zuri Holder, and second placed Daryl George.

Left to right, overall winner Asha Challenger, third placed Zuri Holder, and second placed Daryl George.



One teacher said:

“Congrats to Joanne C. Hillhouse and Barbara Arrindell (of the Best of Books) for keeping reading alive, and more importantly, for encouraging our young people to tell our own stories.”


Comment re St. John’s Catholic Primary’s win of US$500 worth of books from Hands across the Sea as the primary school with the most submissions:

“I am so proud to be a part of this school family. Blessings!!!”

“Congrats to my Primary School, I am so proud.”


To the overall winners:

“Education is power, keep up the good work; you guys are our future. I like what I see.”

Re winning story Asha Graham’s Revelations Tonight:

“I really enjoyed this… the scenery was amazing!”

Excerpts from reader comments AT CARIB ARENA:

“ Really like ‘Ceramic Blues’….we really need to come to terms with things and hypocrites in our midst. The story must be told!”


“Great to see this competition for our island’s young people. Congratulations to all winners! Keep up the great work, Joanne Hillhouse and others!”

Me, with the youngest of the 2013 Wadadli Pen finalists - art and lit. (Photo courtesy Antigua Chronicle)

Me, with the youngest of the 2013 Wadadli Pen finalists – art and lit. (Photo courtesy Antigua Chronicle)


“The Wadadli Pen Challenge is the ONLY serious story competition for the young people of A&B. It deserves far more support, from both the private and government sectors.”


“CONGRATULATIONS to all……keep working on the next chapter because ‘until the Lion tells (writes) his story it will always be told (written) by the hunter’. We’ve already heard a million hunter stories. It is a crying shame that this project, ‘The Wadadli Pen Challenge’ does not get the public support it deserves.”

Comments right here ON WADADLI PEN:

“Giant congratulations to ALL………….keep on taking it to the next chapter.”

“Keep Writing and a big Congrats to all the writers and winners this year.”

“Congratulations on a very timely story Mr. George, one need not be a rocket scientist “to get it”. I hope it gets read by more than just the “usual suspects”…………………….”

FINAL THOUGHT: Okay so for the first time, I think, I’ve left the comment section beneath the stories open. In the past, I felt very protective of the writers because of their ages and so closed the stories off to comments. But you know what, feedback is part of the writing life, so feel free to comment; but be constructive – abusive statements will be deleted.

Thanks for reading…and thanks to Antigua Chronicle for permitting the use of their photos.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2013, Wadadli Pen News

Blue Mountain Hike by Debesha S. A. Grant

[2005 Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Honourable Mention]

An annual event, the three day Blue Mountain camping trip kept Tieka on a high for weeks. An event that only a select few were allowed to attend and she could not believe that she had been chosen!

When she arrived at the pickup area she saw that forty students were present, not including the coaches and other adults invited along for the excursion.

They arrived at Mavis Bank at five pm Friday evening, and Tieka, like all the other
newcomers, was bursting with the knowledge that she would finally experience
what she had heard about on numerous occasions. Next year she would be telling
the tales.
During the seven hour wait they were instructed by Sean to repack in order to
make space in their bags to carry food, evoking complaints from

As the time drew nearer to 12 midnight, the departure time, the feeling
of anxiety and excitement intensified. They were put in three groups, and, armed
with flashlights, their only protection against the dark of night, they set off on their estimated six hour journey.  They set off downhill and Tieka began to wonder if the
stories she had heard about the strenuous uphill climb had not been
exaggerated.  The atmosphere was festive, filled with the sound of
laughter and chatter.

Their first obstacle was a river with only a fallen tree stretching from bank to bank, sparse boulders within their only means of reaching the other side.  That hurdle
overcome, they began their journey uphill.  Uphill and uphill and uphill they went,
and uphill still.  The more they ascended the cooler the air got, cooling down their
tired, hot and weary bodies.

With each light Tieka saw, she hoped that they had reached. After the first
two hours, the realization set in that they still had a long way to go.

Leaving the houses and lights behind, the night sounds set in; the
rushing of a stream in the distance, the chirping of crickets, the rush of breeze
through the tall Willow and Spruce trees, the sound of dragging
feet – tired and weary.

After four hours, and without realizing it, Tieka began the climb of the famous Jacobs Ladder, a mini mountain in itself.  With the faint light of the approaching dawn, the first trees that make the world renowned Blue Mountain Coffee were seen, and also the first set of signs to campers. Tieka kicked into autopilot, walking only because she knew that she had to, and, if she did not, she would be left behind, feeling like each step would be her last.

Almost at the top, she caught up with the others who had stopped at a lookout/rest spot overlooking Kingston. The view was exquisitely breathtaking; Kingston, Papine and miles of green lush coffee and other trees laying below, with the first ray of dawn barely touching the towns.

After a fifteen minute rest and snack break, they were all refreshed and rearing to go.  Reaching the top of Jacobs Ladder, Breezy Gully was pointed out to them.  Upon hearing that they had about 45 minutes, an hour at most, to go Tieka began to walk faster, anticipation giving extra strength.

“WELCOME TO PORTLAND GAP, bunkhouses to the left.”

Tieka could not believe it. She read the sign twice.  With a burst of energy, all the previous
weariness was forgotten as she took off at a run.  Reaching the bunkhouse, she was told to take a bed and fall in, and, after finding an appropriate bunk, she settled in.

“I made it, I reached,” thought Tieka, right before she fell asleep.


Copyright of the winning Wadadli Pen stories and/or art work featured on this site belongs to the creators of the individual works and are used here purely for promotional and educational purposes. Other blog content, except otherwise noted, is created and/or maintained by Joanne C. Hillhouse – coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight. Site content should not be copied, distributed, transmitted, used for commercial purposes, altered, transformed, or built upon without the consent of the copyright holders.

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Filed under Wadadli Pen 2005