Tag Archives: young writers

Oh, Beach That I Once Loved

by Sethson Burton, 19, American University of Antigua

Waves running towards the shore as the pleasant sea air blesses one’s nose.
Young men playing cricket as the scorching sand clings between their toes.
The sun in the sky beaming with triumphant glory,
With radiance so splendid that it dare not be mimicked.
Roaming the sandy plains and the crystal-clear sea allow us to mingle.
Not with those who are forced to stand tall on their two majestic feet,
But with those who crawl and use shells to mask their decency;
And with the studded stars of heaven God placed on the ocean floor.
This is the beach that I once loved.

With nature’s wealth bestowed unto us, the expectation is gratitude.
The expectation is to honour Mother Nature with reverence to the greatest magnitude.
This expectation, humanity never met;
And ultimate disrespect was given out like a cheque.
Fossil fuels burn, and the earth feels the heat.
Cutting down trees causes its life to deplete.
Heartbroken by this treacherous display
Mother Nature has a scheme underway.
Harnessing rage like that of a bull, she charges forward with retribution.
I hope nothing happens to the beach that I once loved.
Now, the crashing waves run marathons and do not slow down.
The once seductive infinite shore is becoming no more.
The games of cricket might soon be obsolete,
Because of the sand’s decision to retreat.
The once glorious sun has suddenly become cold,
And shows no mercy on the residents this earth beholds.
The crawling friends once found on the beach, have now passed on.
Was it the torturous hurricanes or the raging heat?
It matters not, because now they have departed to a greater place.
With a sunken heart I sympathize with the beach that I once loved.

ABOUT the poem: The poem is set in the future, in which the narrator recalls from his memory, how growing up on the beach was this wonderful place. However, because of human disruption, climate change had changed his once beloved beach for the worst. This poem placed third in the 18 to 35 age category of the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2020.

Burton

ABOUT the author: Sethson Burton studies medicine. His hobbies include playing, and watching, football and cricket and also writing. From a young age he enjoyed many forms of writing including songs, poetry, essays and short stories. Even with a hectic schedule, because of his studies, he expects to continue his passion for writing in his spare time.

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

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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A Teacher Claims the 2017 Wadadli Pen Prize

PRESS RELEASE

A Teacher Claims the 2017 Wadadli Pen Prize

Twenty-three year old Kaeiron Saunders Saunders croppedwas announced, at the Wadadli Stories Book Fair on May 13th, as the 2017 winner of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. Saunders, a lecturer at St. Anthony’s Secondary School (SASS), only the second teacher to be added to the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaquechallenge plaque, won the main prize and her age category, 18 to 35, with the poem ‘Not Another Island Story; as told by Auntie Gah’.

The Wadadli Pen Challenge, an Antigua and Barbuda literary prize launched in 2004, requires that entries be Caribbean, while leaving the interpretation of that up to the writers’ imagination. For some it can be constricting, for others an opportunity to freely imagine a transforming Caribbean. This poem does both, acknowledging the confines of the same story told over and over,

‘“Not another island story, Auntie,
I’ve heard it all before”
But every year, around this time
Auntie Gah would add more.’

As it presents and critiques this nostalgic approach to Caribbean storytelling, it, also, makes the point that neither the Caribbean nor our perception of it is fixed in time.

“Hush and listen to my story
The point is not to criticize
But to show that the good within a society
Is relative to each new generation’s eyes”

That this rhythmic poem both acknowledges and subverts the clichés, earned the judges’ approval. They dubbed it a “great piece!”

Also coming in for approval were Devon WuilliezDevon, a 16-year-old Island Academy student, for her poem, ‘The Great Big Dumz’, and 11-year old Zion Ebony WilliamsZion, of Baptist Academy, for her story ‘Those who don’t hear, will feel’. Both won their respective age categories – 13 to 17, and 12 and younger – on the way to claiming the 2nd and 3rd prize overall.

It’s worth noting that while Saunders and Wuilliez are first-timers, Williams first submitted to Wadadli Pen in 2014 and has made two previous trips to the finals of her age category before this year claiming the top spot and a spot in the overall top three. For organizers this line-up is reflective of what Wadadli Pen hopes to do: encourage new voices to come forward, challenge practicing voices to keep pushing themselves, and foster growth in terms of the craft of writing in Antigua and Barbuda.

Other long listed writers are Andrecia Lewis (author of ‘Strange’), enrolled at the Antigua State College; Ava C. Ralph (author  of ‘Non Fiction?’), of Antigua Girls High School; Francis Yankey (author of ‘And She Sang Fire’), of the Antigua Grammar School; Fayola Jardine (author of ‘Shakiyah and the Mango Hater’); Lucia Murray (author of ‘Mr. Duppy’), a student at SASS; Shadiael Simmons (author of ‘Brave 11-year-old saves Baby from Fire’), a student at Baptist Academy; St. Andrew’s students Emma Belizaire (author of ‘Cricket is My Life’) and Ashley Francis (author of ‘Our Caribbean’), plus Island Academy, the school with the most submissions. Their rewards are a mix of cash, gifts, and time. Contributing patrons are Art. Culture. Antigua, Barbuda Express, the Best of Books, Brenda Lee Browne, Caribbean Reads Publishing, Claudia Elizabeth Ruth Francis, the Cushion Club, Danz’s Sweet Dreams, the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank, Frank B. Armstrong, Harper Collins, the International Women’s Club of Antigua and Barbuda, Jane Seagull, Jennifer Meranto, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Juneth Webson, Little Bell Caribbean, Monique S. Simon and the Caribbean Folklore Project, Paperclips, Raw Island Products, the West Indies Cricket Board, and one other regular patron who prefers to remain anonymous.

For the full breakdown of winners and prizes, and to read the winning stories, visit wadadlipen.wordpress.com

==END==

This is the press release circulated for media use about the 2017 Wadadli Pen Challenge after the May 13th 2017 Awards during the Wadadli Stories Book Fair. Please feel free to share. If you have questions, email wadadlipen@gmail.com

Featured image courtesy, a group shot of finalists and Wadadli Pen coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse, at the awards, courtesy Art. Culture. Antigua.

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Antigua Experience by Morgan Leah Simon

Honourable Mention – 12 and younger age category

Note: *In keeping with the development goals of Wadadli Pen, all long listed entries are returned to the author with the judge’s note  – both positives and negatives – for revision. Congrats to Morgan. As several of the entries from Christ the King High school explored this theme, we assume it was given as an assignment – we thank the teacher for going the extra mile and applaud the students who tried to break out of the confines of said theme.  Keep working on your craft; keep valuing your voice and your art. – JCH

Here now is Antigua Experience by the Christ the King High School student, who is also a pan player and panorama veteran, in addition to playing piano and violin, who aspire to a career in either music or medicine:

Get to know our Antiguan culture.
Feel the vibe of the steel pan.
Jam to our carnival beats.
Taste the flavor of our national dish Pepper pot & Fungi.

Out of the ashes of the Villa & Point area in Antigua, arose the oldest steel orchestra in the world.
The Hellsgate steel orchestra.
Now you can listen to the wonderful music that moves your feet and stirs your soul.

Come, take a trip to our sunny island during the summer months and enjoy our carnival festivities that always gets everyone in a good mood.
Observe the way our costumes that we wear are handcrafted so cleverly with all the hand sewn sequins and ribbons which put together to give a glorious ensemble .
We dance in these costumes all day and night on carnival Monday and Tuesday.
I can tell you for sure that nobody does carnival like we do.

I have told you about our steel pan music.
I have told you about our carnival, but you haven’t got a good taste of our culture if you have not tried our national dish pepper pot and fungi.
As Antiguans would say pepper pot and fungi
!!!BANG GOOD!!!
But e bang good fi true!
Just thinking about the fungi turning in the pot and the spinach being prepared for cooking has my mouth watering.
That just goes to show you how delicious it is.

Well…..now you know a little bit of our Antiguan culture,
I am sure you will come racing to Antigua to find out more about our culture.

For earning honourable mention in her age category, Morgan received:
A certificate sponsored by the Best of Books
& gifts contributed by Juneth Webson and Frank B. Armstrong.

Thanks to all partners and patrons for making the Wadadli Pen 2016 Challenge possible. Here at Wadadli Pen, we encourage you to support the businesses and individuals who support the arts.

Please respect the writer’s copyright. And while we welcome feedback, please be constructive.

Leave a comment

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My Worst Day Ever by Judah Christian

2nd placed/1st runner up in the 12 and younger age category – Wadadli Pen Challenge 2016

Author’s comment about the story: “My Worst Day Ever shows how a student’s day moves from a bright sunny day, to one filled with mishaps.”

Judge’s comments (positives only*): “Very concise, well formed, and detailed …bold (vocabulary)… Most Caribbean school children can probably relate to this story…Somehow, it made me think of the pressure on children- from an early age – to pass an exam.”

Note: *While only the positives are being shared with the public, in keeping with the development goals of Wadadli Pen, all long listed entries are returned to the author with the judge’s note – both positives and negatives – for revision. Congrats to Judah for being so close to the main prize. Keep working on your craft; keep valuing your voice and your art. – JCH

Judah Christian

Judah Christian.

 

Here now is My Worst Day Ever by Judah Christian, a Best of Books Promising Writer selection in Wadadli Pen’s 2015 Flash Fiction Challenge, a grade 4 Sunnyside Tutorial student, who enjoys football and basketball and dreams of becoming either a mathematician or professional football player:

 

The day started out with the sun shining brightly. I ate some of my favourite cornflakes, Honey Nut Cheerios, and got ready for school. When I got to the classroom, early as usual, I put my homework on Ms. Mention’s table.

I went back to my desk and studied for my Mathematics test. It was the first test of the day. It was so short and easy that I was sure that I had passed with an A+. To my horror, when teacher returned the papers just before lunch, I got a really low mark, a B-. I started questioning myself about how I got such a low grade. I was both shocked and disappointed. What was I going to tell my mother?

The bell rang so loudly that it surprised me. I opened my lunch bag, and forgot all about the test when I saw the bacon cheeseburger that I had made for the first time. As I was about to take my first bite, Ronald the Wild Indian slapped it out of my hand. I felt angry and sad at the same time. It had looked so delicious, now it was vitiated- just like my math grade.

Ronald was just too wild.

When my mother came for me at the end of the day, I showed her the test paper. She gave me an austere look and then berated me saying:

“How come you get such a low grade pan you Maths tess?”

“I really studied hard, Mom.” I answered quickly, but quietly.

“You know wah, when you go home, don’t even touch me TV!” ordered my mother.

To think that I was planning to watch the Phineas and Ferb marathon.

This is definitely my worst day ever!

For earning second place/1st runner up in his age category, Judah received:
 EC$175 sponsored by CaribbeanReads Publishing, an EC$35 gift certificates for books sponsored by the Cushion Club, Burt Award winning title All Over Again by A-dZiko Gelege sponsored by CODE, gifts from Frank B. Armstrong, and a game, book, and certificate sponsored by the Best of Books.

Thanks to all partners and patrons for making the Wadadli Pen 2016 Challenge possible. Here at Wadadli Pen, we encourage you to support the businesses and individuals who support the arts.

Please respect the writer’s copyright. And while we welcome feedback, please be constructive.

Leave a comment

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A Mammoth Picture Post – *You Have Been Warned

The awards ceremony for the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge was on Sunday 30th March; here finally are the pictures with thanks to Glen Toussaint of the Best of Books bookstore, St. Mary’s Street, Antigua. – usually I’d say respect copyright and don’t use the pictures but I’ll break with form and say share by all means, as an encouragement for the young writers and artists; and a thank you to all the patrons and partners. Speaking of patrons, the full list of who got what from among the contributed prizes can be found here. Follow the links to read the stories or see the art work.

Cake designed and made by Danielle George-John of Sweet Dreams.

Cake designed and made by Danielle George-John of Sweet Dreams.

Danielle presenting the cake.

Danielle presenting the cake.

The photo call: (front row, from left) Joanne C. Hillhouse - Wadadli Pen coordinator, Emile Hill - second placed in the art challenge, Daryl George - 18 to 35 honourable mention, Daniel Ince - 12 and younger honourable mention, Christopher Gittens and Mjonir Messiah - tied for third place in the 12 and younger category, and Vega Armstrong - winner 12 and younger. Back row from left - special guest, donor and Wadadli Pen co-founder D. Gisele Isaac, Zahra Emanuel - 3rd placed 13 to 17, Paula Russell-Peters - 2nd and 3rd placed for the Lead by Example Teachers' Prize, and Margaret Irish - winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize.

The photo call: (front row, from left) Joanne C. Hillhouse – Wadadli Pen coordinator, Emile Hill – second placed in the art challenge, Daryl George – 18 to 35 honourable mention, Daniel Ince – 12 and younger honourable mention, Christopher Gittens and Mjonir Messiah – tied for third place in the 12 and younger category, and Vega Armstrong – winner 12 and younger. Back row from left – special guest, donor and Wadadli Pen co-founder D. Gisele Isaac, Zahra Emanuel – 3rd placed 13 to 17, Paula Russell-Peters – 2nd and 3rd placed for the Lead by Example Teachers’ Prize, and Margaret Irish – winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize.

...okay so picking up where the first image left off, that's Zion Williams next to Vega, and Chammaiah Ambrose next to her, and behind them, that's Zoe Lewis - they're all 12 and younger finalists - and behind her that's second placed writer overall and winner of the 18 to 35 category Kohylah Piper.

…okay so picking up where the first image left off, that’s Zion Williams next to Vega, and Chammaiah Ambrose next to her, and behind them, that’s Zoe Lewis – they’re all 12 and younger finalists – and behind her that’s second placed writer overall and winner of the 18 to 35 category Kohylah Piper.

Art winner Alvin Livingstone collects his prizes from D. Gisele Isaac. That image on top is an original Edison Liburd and was contributed by Art at the Ridge.

Art winner Alvin Livingstone, who did cover art for the Last Cry, collects his prizes from D. Gisele Isaac. That image on top is an original Edison Liburd and was contributed by Art at the Ridge.

Emile Hill collects his second placed art prize.

Emile Hill collects his second placed art prize.

with Shem Alexander - 2010 art winner and 2014 art honourable mention.

with Shem Alexander – 2010 art winner and 2014 art honourable mention.

Gisele presents to second placed writer 13 to 17 Kelvin Juwon Miller.

Gisele presents to second placed writer 13 to 17 Kelvin Juwon Miller.

Barbara presents to Paula Russell Peters, a T N Kirnon teacher who won both the second and third placed in the Lead by Example Teachers Prize. Her school also won a prize for having the most submissions.

Barbara Arrindell of the Best of Books bookstore presents to Paula Russell Peters, a T N Kirnon teacher who won both the second and third placed in the Lead by Example Teachers Prize. Her school also won a prize for having the most submissions.

Barbara Arrindell of the Best of Books presents to Damian De Silva, an honourable mention for the Lead by Example Teachers Prize.

Barbara Arrindell of the Best of Books presents to Damian De Silva, an honourable mention for the Lead by Example Teachers Prize.

Carmen Ambrose, mother of one of the 12 and younger wins, and an honourable mention in her own right for the Lead by Example Teachers Prize.

Carmen Ambrose, mother of one of the 12 and younger wins, and an honourable mention in her own right for the Lead by Example Teachers Prize.

Margaret Irish - winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize collects her gifts courtesy Caribbean Reads Publishing and plaque sponsored by Joy Lawrence.

Margaret Irish – winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize collects her gifts courtesy Caribbean Reads Publishing and plaque sponsored by Joy Lawrence.

Liscia Lawrence, a two time past finalist and honourable mention in the 18 to 35 age category. 18 to 35...wow...she was 15 or 16 the first time she participated in Wadadli Pen.

Liscia Lawrence, a two time past finalist and honourable mention in the 18 to 35 age category. 18 to 35…wow…she was 15 or 16 the first time she participated in Wadadli Pen.

Daryl George was honourable mention in 2012, second overall in 2013, and is honourable mention this year in the 18 to 35 age category.

Daryl George was honourable mention in 2012, second overall in 2013, and is honourable mention this year in the 18 to 35 age category.

Alexandra Spence collects from the Cushion Club rep; she was an honourable mention in the 18 to 35 age category.

Alexandra Spence collects from the Cushion Club rep; she was an honourable mention in the 18 to 35 age category.

 

Letisha Carrington Faracho - another honourable mention 18 to 35.

Letisha Carrington Faracho – another honourable mention 18 to 35.

Arize Lee - 3rd placed in the 18 to 35 age category.

Arize Lee – 3rd placed in the 18 to 35 age category.

Kohlyah Piper collects her prizes - she was best writer 18 to 35 and second best overall.

Kohlyah Piper collects her prizes – she was best writer 18 to 35 and second best overall.

A finalist in 2012 and 2013, Vega Armstrong was the best writer in the 12 and younger category in 2014. She collects from D. Gisele Isaac.

A finalist in 2012 and 2013, Vega Armstrong was the best writer in the 12 and younger category in 2014. She collects from D. Gisele Isaac.

Mjolnir Messiah tied for third; he collects.

Mjolnir Messiah tied for third; he collects.

Zion Williams, 12 and younger honourable mention collects.

Zion Williams, 12 and younger honourable mention collects.

Christopher Gittens who also tied for third in the 12 and younger category.

Christopher Gittens who tied for third place in the 12 and younger category.

Chammaiah

Chammaiah Ambrose, second placed writer, 12 and younger, collects her prize.

Daniel Ince was an honourable mention - 12 and younger.

Daniel Ince was an honourable mention – 12 and younger.

Zoe Lewis accepts her prizes as a 12 and younger honourable mention.

Zoe Lewis accepts her prizes as a 12 and younger honourable mention.

Zahra Emanuel placed 3rdin the 13 to 17 age category; and collects.

Zahra Emanuel placed 3rdin the 13 to 17 age category; and collects.

Just a couple more…these were on facebook even before the event was over courtesy Eef Armstrong, mother of 12 and younger winner Vega and one of our 2013 and 2014 donors via her company Raw Island Products:

Vega collects from Gisele.

Vega collects from Gisele.

A cross section of the winners.

A cross section of the winners.

some of the winners 4 by eef

Because it's so sweet, behold The Cake.

Because it’s so sweet, behold The Cake.

Me with Vega.

Me with Vega.

One more, this one from Zoe’s mom by special request:

Zoe and me by request of her mom; with thanks to her mom for sharing.

Zoe and me by request of her mom; with thanks to her mom for sharing.

Finally, four tokens were contributed by Photogenesis for the specific purpose of presenting them to four of the longest serving Wadadli Pen volunteers – three (Barbara Arrindell, Alstyne Allen, and D. Gisele Isaac) were at the programme and received theirs; the other (Brenda Lee Browne) is off island and will receive hers at a later date. I wish I had one for all the volunteers through the years or the partners as I’ve come to think of them because they all help me do the heavy lifting, and I thank them for that… I also wish I had one of these to keep because aren’t they pretty: token

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WADADLI PEN WINNERS THROUGH THE YEARS – STORY LINKS

To see the winners through the years, you can click on the individual year in the drop down menu on the main page, and, of course, you can also use our search feature. But I thought it might be convenient (and appropriate) to have an easy and convenient listing of all the winners from a single space in the section on Antigua and Barbuda Writings as well. So, here goes.

2004

Verdanci Benta (Shirley’s New Roommate)

Gemma George (Stray Dog Prepares for the Storm)

Siena K. Margrie Hunt (A Nuclear Family Explosion)

Liscia Lawrence (The Day I saw Evil)

Lia Nicholson (Tekin’ Ahn Dey!)

Damani Tabor (The Irate Beggar)

2005

Rilys Adams (Fictional Reality)

Chatrisse Beazer (A Scary Night)

Verdanci Benta (Boysie’s Fixed Account)

Kennella Charles (Awaken to the Night)

Debesha S. A. Grant (Blue Mountain Hike)

Liscia Lawrence (Misinterpreted)

Sarah Ann Li (Lucky Dollar)

Sandrena Martin (The Torturer)

2006

Rilys Adams (Unheard)

Chatrisse Beazer (The Rescue)

Verdanci Benta (The Village Obeah Woman)

Ayoka [Angelica] O’Donoghue (Road Trip to Paradise)

Rosalie Amelia Richards (The Creation)

Kemal Osmel Nicholson (Ma Belle)

Blair A. Rose (The Day I became a Man)

2010

One of the top art entries from 2010.

One of the top art entries from 2010.

Terrikia Benjamin (Happy to be Black)

Shakeema Edwards (Skin Deep)

Hilesha S. Humphreys (Black and Beautiful)

The art winners were Déjà Phillip, best 12 and under; Ashley Clendenen, best 13 to 17; Akeem Barry, best 18 to 35; and Shem Alexander, best overall.

2011

Art from the 2011 Challenge in which the writers had to write children's stories and the artists had to create illustrations for the top stories. This is one of two by that year's adult art winner Hudle Jennings.

Art from the 2011 Challenge in which the writers had to write children’s stories and the artists had to create illustrations for the top stories. This is one of two by that year’s adult art winner Hudle Jennings, an illustration for the story Sands and Butterflies.

Chatrisse Beazer (The Legend of Banana Boy)

SA Dixon (Cocos Nucifera)

Shakeema Edwards (The Curse of the Kumina)

Orique Gordon (The Lost Coin)

Zuri Holder (The Scary Night)

Ardis Lavelle (Pre School Days)

Keillia Mentor (Mongoose in a Hole)

Devra Thomas (Sands and Butterflies)

Latisha Walker-Jacobs (Market Day)

2012

Vega Armstrong (The Legend of the Sea Lords)

Naleka Beckford (Origin)

Akeile Benjamin (The Adventures of Mr. Coconut)

Ariel Dunnah (Angela’s Baby and Every Rose has its Thorn)

Darryl George (Snowcone Melancholia)

Aarati Jagdeo (The Yard and Thirty-Six Hundred)

Jordee Josiah (Let’s Dance)

Karenna Nicholson (The Caribbean Flavour)

Rosalie A. Richards (Smitten)

Tiffany Smith (The Colour Red and The Untitled)

2013

The challenge in 2013 was to create anansi characters - it was in fact an audition for  a possible assignment for a forthcoming book. Garvin Benjamin had the top art entries. This is his version of Ms. Anansi.

The challenge in 2013 was to create anansi characters – it was in fact an audition for a possible assignment for a forthcoming book. Garvin Benjamin had the top art entries. This is his version of Ms. Anansi.

Chammaiah Ambrose (How Tigers got Stripes)

Vega Armstrong (Hide and Seek)

Daryl George (Julie Drops and Ceramic Blues)

Asha Graham (Revelations Tonight and Remembrance)

Michaela Harris (Secret of de Mango Tree)

Zuri Holder (The Big Event)

Jamila Salankey (Her Blackest Sin)

2014

Cover design by Alvin Livingstone. Winner of the 2014 cover design Wadadli Pen art Challenge.

Cover design by Alvin Livingstone. Winner of the 2014 cover design Wadadli Pen art Challenge.

Carmen Ambrose (Welcome Back, Champ)

Chammaiah Ambrose (The Great Cycle)

Vega Armstrong (Forbidden)

Terry Benjamin Jr. (The Farm Thief)

Letisha Carrington Faracho (Last Cry)

Damian De Silva (Escape to Paradise)

Ariel Dunnah (La Diablesse and A Grain of Salt)

Zahra Emanuel (The Day I saved a Friend)

Daryl George (A Guilty Fragrance)

Christopher Gittens (The Knock on My Door)

Asha Graham (Lajabless)

Daniel Ince (One Scary Night)

Margaret Irish (The Skipping Rope)

Liscia Lawrence (Misguided Illusion)

Arize Lee (The Cold Truth)

Zoe Lewis (The Day I Almost Died)

Mjolnir Messiah (Searching for a Treasure)

Kaylee Meyer (This is Paradise)

Kelvin Juwon Miller (Delinquent Development)

Alexandra Nathaniel Spence (Why did I get punished?)

Angelica O’Donoghue (Loving the Skin I’m In)

Kohylah Piper (Hallowed Ground)

Paula Russell-Peters (The Big Fight and Two can play at That Game)

Zion Ebony Williams (The Night I went to Cricket)

2015

Ondrej Austin-McDonald (untitled)

Judah Christian (Judah and His Friends save the Day)

Margaret Irish (Justice)

Olsfred James (Get Set, Go… )

Melicia McCalmon (The First Time I went to St. John’s)

Avriel Walters (Teenagers)

2016

Chammaiah Ambrose (Guilty)

Denejah Browne (Lost and Found!)

Alyssa Charles (Faded Glory)

Judah Christian (My Worst Day Ever)

Rolanda Cuffy (The Caribbean)

Zahra Emanuel (My So-called Father)

Daryl George (Tropical Moonlight Sonata)

Canice James (Heroic Night)

Kya Matthew (Antigua and Barbuda – My Paradise)

Jemelia Pratt (Les Trajó Aquí)

Morgan Leah Simon (Antigua Experience)

Laila Tahir (Caribbean Experiences)

Avriel Walters (My Cousin)

Zion Ebony Williams (A Dinner to Remember)

2017

Emma Belizaire (Cricket is My Life)

Ashley Francis (Our Caribbean)

Fayola Jardine (Shakiyah and the Mango Hater)

Andrecia Lewis (Strange)

Lucia Murray (Mr. Duppy)

Ava C. Ralph (Non Fiction?)

Kaeiron Saunders (Not Another Island Story; As Told by Auntie Gah)

Shadiael Simmons (Brave 11-Year-old Saved Two Months Baby)

Zion Ebony Williams (Those who don’t hear, will feel)

Devon Wuilliez (The Great Big Dumz)

Francis Yankey (And She Sang Fire)

2018

Kyle Christian (Creak)

Andrecia Lewis (Sunday School)

Chloe Martin (A Song to Sing)

Rosie Pickering (Damarae)

Ava Ralph (Fummestory Herstory History)

Andre Warner (The Oldest Native)

2019

There was no Wadadli Pen Challenge in 2019 but there was a Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year won by F.A.K.E. by Vivian Luke – read about that initiative here.

2020

Aria-Rose Browne (Fabled Truth)

Sethson Burton (Oh, Beach that I once Loved)

Judah Christian (The John Bull Effect)

Cheyanne Darroux (Tom, the Ninja Crab)

D’Chaiya Emmanuel (Two Worlds Collide)

Sienna Harney-Barnes (A New World)

William Henderson (The Beast of Barbados)

Zaniah Pigott (A Mermaid)

Lehana Simon (Lead Me Lord)

Ciara Thomas (My Favourite Dish)

Andre J. P. Warner (A Bright Future for Tomorrow)

2021

Eunike Caesar (The Blackboard)

Jason Gilead (The Great Old Woodslave)

Gazelle Goodwin (Beautiful Disaster)

Sheniqua Greaves (The Juxtaposed Reprieve)

Ashley-Whitney Joshua (Hiraeth)

Aunjelique Liddie (The Beach)

Kevin Liddie (Mildred, You No Easy)

Razonique Looby (Vixen)

Andre Warner (The Brave One)

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Wadadli Pen Celebrates a Record Number of Submissions in its 10th Year

Organizers of the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge are reporting that phase one of the annual competition has been completed.

According to founder and coordinator of the Challenge Joanne C. Hillhouse, 78 pieces were submitted from 62 individuals. This represents an increase when compared to data available for the last three years. In 2011, there were 40 submissions and 31 participating writers; in 2012, there were 57 entries and 39 participating writers; and in 2013, there were 55 entries and 34 participating writers. For the complete picture, the number of participating artists from each year would need to be added, but there’s a clear upward trend since the annual Wadadli Pen Challenge’s revival, after a three year hiatus, in 2010.

The coordinator credits this increase in participation to the efforts of her team of promoters, who visited schools, and created awareness via the media. Special thanks goes to Glen Toussaint and Barbara Arrindell of the Best of Books for engagement with teachers, Floree Williams who created the online promotional video, Joy Lawrence who visited the schools, and, for media promotino, past finalists – Angelica O’Donoghue, Lia Nicholson, Latisha Walker Jacobs and Liscia Lawrence – the latter penning an open letter in which she acknowledged  being a confused teenager when she first entered in 2004, the Challenge’s first year, and said,  “The Wadadli pen competition gave me the opportunity to use my words, and, in so doing, built my confidence, eliminated my fears, it gave me a voice.”

When asked if she was happy with the number of entries, Hillhouse – now a published author of several books including Oh Gad! who remembers being a confused teenager finding her voice through writing – said, “I am happy with the initiative shown by several teachers in the primary division in prepping and sending entries from their students. A number of schools that have never participated before did so this year.  Would I like more? Of course, but the truth is that I’m less concerned with having lots of entries than in having really promising entries and participation from people who are genuinely interested.”

The majority of writers submitting, 30, falls into the 12 and younger category; and between student and teacher submissions, 2014 marking the introduction of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize, there were submissions from 20 educational institutions.

As Hillhouse and her small team complete the task of sorting the entries, the judges begin their work. The Wadadli Pen challenge is unique as some writers will be given a second chance to edit/improve their script. Specifically, the top entries in the various categories will be identified and the judges will provide these writers with editing tips which they are asked to consider before resubmitting. It is at this point that registered artists will be called upon to submit their work; their Challenge to create cover designs for short listed stories.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in March.

Business places and individuals have committed their contribution through pledges of cash and gifts. They are, to date, Art at the Ridge; Pam Arthurton; the Cushion Club; Caribbean Reads Publishing; Danielle George-John; Ruel Johnson; Pearson Caribbean; Raw Island Products; Juneth Webson; Elaine Spires; Jane Seagull; Photogenesis; the Map Shop; D. Gisele Isaac; Frank B. Armstrong; Brenda Lee Browne; Barbuda Express; as well as Floree Williams, Joy Lawrence, Carol Mitchell, Joy James, Barbara Arrindell, the Best of Books – also programme partners. Other partners are Linisa George and the past finalists named plus Devra Thomas. Hillhouse noted that patronage is still welcomed and no gift is too small, or for that matter too big.

For all things Wadadli Pen follow https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com

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…and now a word from the Best of Books

I hate to hear the constant string of negative comments made about our nation’s youth. In contrast I have a high level of respect for people who identify things around us that can be improved and simply do something, anything positive, to make a difference.

The Best of Books was pleased to be able to offer prizes for the first ever Wadadli Pen Challenge, almost ten years ago. Ten years later we are still here;  For us we have never had any reason to consider not being involved. The primary organizers have always known “how to work with what they have” and for me that is simply practical.  Wadadli pen is not just a competition, it is an opportunity for young writers to flex their writing muscles. They are given the great gift of knowing first hand that Antigua’s write. They know this because they can look in the mirror and see an Antiguan writer.  They are then challenged through Wadadli Pen to become better writers, more creative, to become true artists.

The question is not “what can’t you do?”. The question is “what can you do?”.  This question is left on the table for all the young writers, all the teachers and parents who can encourage the young writers and all those who have a little something to give to the project to reward those who this year rise to the challenge.

This post is written by the Best of Books manager BARBARA ARRINDELL. Relations between the bookstore and me, the bookstore and Wadadli Pen has been so good over time some have wondered if it is an exclusive relationship or if I work there (no and no). But as this post illustrates, we have a mutual passion for supporting youth development and the literary arts, as well as action over talk (and some of the best book discussions ever…Barbara and her staff are bonafide bookworms). Plus they host sister project the Wadadli Pen Open Mic. And so we continue to collaborate.  Much respect to the Best of Books and all the partners and patrons. Couldn’t do it without them. – JCH

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