UPDATE!  (April 23rd 2018) –

Winner has been decided – it’s winner take all from nearly 70 entries – and that person is… Kyle Christian with his story ‘Creak’ – Read his story, what he won and who else walked away with prizes.

Winner were announced – on Saturday 21st April 2018, 6:30 p.m. at the Best of Books – during an awards ceremony hosted by the Best of Books.

Winner and honourable mentions received – cash and prizes sponsored by –

Best of Books
International Women’s Club of Antigua and Barbuda
Frank B. Armstrong
Juneth Webson
Art. Culture. Antigua
Carol Mitchell
Barbara Arrindell
Joanne C. Hillhouse
Cedric Holder for the Cushion Club
Jane Seagull
Monique S. Simon & the Caribbean Folklore Project
Pamela Arthurton
Danz’s Sweet Dreams
Brenda Lee Browne
Barbara Arrindell & Associates
Floree Whyte and Moondancer Books
& others

Wadadli Pen Flyer 2018 2

Dear Friend of Wadadli Pen,

This year (2018) is 14 years since the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize was launched (in 2004). This project has created a space for young Antiguans and Barbudans to express themselves, and some who have passed through the Wadadli Pen writing challenge, our longest and most consistent project, have gone on to work in media or public relations; to publish short stories, poems, or even books. Some remain creative in other ways, and we have no doubt that even those who’ve stepped out of the arts continue to use their voices.  While Wadadli Pen does not take credit for any of this, we were a step on the journey.

Our other major project has been this, the Wadadli Pen online platform, which has become a literary portal to the Antiguan and Barbudan arts (especially but not exclusively the literary arts) and a resource generally re Caribbean and global arts (emphasis on the literary), writing, and publishing (through our consistently growing data bases, and sharing of information and opportunities).

These and other projects – including workshops and literary events/event participation – have contributed to our stated mission “to nurture and showcase the (literary) arts in Antigua and Barbuda”. Though unfunded, unsubsidized, and unstaffed, we have done so consistently, and hope to continue to do so. To continue to plant seeds, to continue to encourage the youths, to continue to support and boost the arts; it needs it. Communities need the arts and the arts need the community. That’s why Wadadli Pen matters.

You have only to look at the beaming faces of each year’s Challenge awards winners to know that through this project young people feel encouraged. Boosting the confidence and aiding in the development of young artists and young people in general; that’s what Wadadli Pen does. That’s why it matters.


You can read our About page for an accounting of what we have done and the Stories page for an accounting of what the young writers and artists who have come through this programme have done.

Going forward, in addition to maintaining what we have already built, certainly my hope is to work  to strengthen our foundation so that Wadadli Pen can move from being a labour of love to an institution that can be sustainable beyond me. I think of this especially in the years when I know I don’t have it to give because of whatever’s going on in my life, but know it’s not at the place yet where if I put it down someone would pick it up. And we’ve had too many good things start in Antigua, in the arts, including literary ventures, start but don’t sustain, start but don’t finish. I didn’t know this when I started but after all these years of work, I don’t want Wadadli Pen to be one of them. I regret that I have not been able to take it further than I have to date. But I am happy relieved happy (?/!) that it’s still here. I remain hopeful of building the partnerships that will allow Wadadli Pen to be more of a developmental force when it comes to the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, as written in to the Wadadli Pen project plan (for not only the short but the medium and long term). This was the plan I shared with partners Barbara Arrindell, Floree Williams Whyte, and past winners Devra Thomas and Margaret Irish when I invited them to come on board in 2016. We’ve had some growing pains but hopefully we will push forward. Step by Step as Whitney Houston (RIP) sang. And, hopefully, the companies and individuals who have supported us over the years will continue to do so, and more will be added as we continue to grow.

To grow we will need a strong partnership and reliable patronage. If you see a role for yourself/your company as a patron, please don’t hesitate to email us at wadadlipen@gmail.com Help us not only keep going but grow and build, grow to build.

If you want to know what’s happening with our projects, please come back.  The discussion, the planning, and the work continues.

As for the 2018 Challenge season, it’s a pared down Challenge – a specific flash fiction challenge (a work of experimental Caribbean historical fiction, emphasis on the experimental; so points for not hitting us with the clichés), a single round of judging (so send us your cleanest edit as there’ll be no opportunity to improve it); a single winner takes all (as opposed to winner breakdown by age categories). You must still be a resident of Antigua and Barbuda, and 35 and younger to participate. Submission Form (mandatory as of this year for, hopefully, easier processing – update – type responses to facilitate copy/paste): 2018 WADADLI YOUTH PEN PRIZE SUBMISSION FORM

Honestly, because I’ve never not been real here, there are many obstacles to pressing on, personal life challenges and Wadadli Pen Challenges – including not having 2018 patrons in place as yet. But, stepping out in faith,

Joanne C. Hillhouse

p.s. to remind myself and you what we’ve been about, sharing some moments:

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13 responses to “WADADLI PEN 2018

  1. You are such an inspiration Joanne. Great pics!

  2. Michel

    Fabulous!! Congratulations Joanne on this and your other catalytic activities – promoting literacy, culture and the pleasures of the imagination. So pleased to encounter such refined infusions of literary sensibility on the local scene.

    Was strolling by and serendipitously discovered your blogs, which I’m reading with interest & pleasure. You seem blessed by the muses, obviously a gifted writer, soulful & accomplished …Personally, I’ve just made landfall (Feb 2014) on this bucolic isle, after many years abroad as a consultant. Am an unconventional, cosmopolitan bon vivant & lover of the arts, disguised as a French-Canadian physician – with an adventurous spirit that has carried me to many points on the compass in an international career.

    My interests are eclectic, embracing everything wonderful life has offer. Am eager to meet like-minded individuals such as yourself here in Antigua, and share passions – literature, music, film, photography et al – with other sentient beings.

    I’d be grateful for any suggestions (eg, are there any local book clubs?). Thank you in advance, and warm best wishes!
    – Michel (micheludique@gmail.com)

    • Hi Michel…thanks for your generous words…the best way to connect with others on the literary scene is perhaps by going out to some of the local open mics…the most regular ones are the Wadadli Pen Open Mic at the Best of Books on the evening of the second Saturday of every month and the Expressions Open Mic, the second and fourth Tuesday night of every month at Heavenly Java in Redcliffe Quay…I’ve been personally too busy to make it to either in too long but both are good spaces for sharing your writing and connecting with others…if you’re looking for volunteer activities, I recommend the Cushion Club reading club for kids which meets Saturdays between 10:30 a.m. and midday. Right now I’m busy with the Wadadli Pen Challenge which is now into its first round of judging. I’ll be posting here when the awards ceremony is coming up…you can come out to that as well. Oh, Expressions has a facebook group as well if you want to connect online. There are book clubs but maybe best to ask at one of the book stores for details on that. Hope this helps. And thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      • Michel

        Thank you Joanne for your reply & informative comments …will definitely drop by those Open Mics and enjoy the offerings of the local literati …all the best with the Wadadli Pen Challenge … and I trust our paths will cross sometime under these smiling Caribbean constellations! Merci, Michel

  3. Barbara Arrindell

    I don’t understand the question mark at the end of sentence that shouldn’t be a question. Best of books will continue to donate time and other resources.

  4. Rozel J. Carbon

    Hello. I have just completed writhing a book, and would really like to publish it and have it copyrighted and ready for sales. I’m so lost as to how to go about with it….can you please help me?…………Rozel J. Carbon

    • Hi Rozel

      Congratulations on your book. Wadadli Pen doesn’t provide a publishing service so we can’t help you in that way. But for what it’s worth, here’s some advice. Get the book edited, or if you can’t afford an editor, get some readers to give you critical feedback which you can use during the review (and possible redrafting, as necessary) of the manuscript. Re copyright and publishing options, there are some links on this site that you can check out – please use the search feature to the right (consider terms like “publishing”, “copyright”, “opportunities” etc.). As a writer myself, I’ve had to research a lot of this stuff on my road to publication and I’ve tried to archive much of what I’ve discovered here on the site. My journey really involved writing, editing, research, submissions, rejection, submissions, rejection… to final acceptance (and then the work begins) but some go the independent publication route and there’s information about that here on the site if you need it (as well as information to help you decide which route is better for you). Please use the search feature and dig around. Re copyright services, options really depend on where you are; re publishing options it’s a matter of finding the right outlet for your book…which you’ll need to do research (followed by pitches and/or planning) as necessary to determine. But the most important thing at this stage is to make sure you have a manuscript that’s market ready, which is why I mention editing as a necessary step. I am the site admin and I provide coaching and editing services to writers, you can read about what I offer at my author site http://jhohadli.wordpress.com But as my services are for a fee, if you have people within your circle who can given you solid feedback that might be the more budget-friendly way to go. I hope you find the information you need. If you have more specific questions, best as I can, I will try to answer them. – Joanne

  5. Neejah Crump

    How do I sign uup? ?

    • With respect to the Challenge, there’s no signing up. (from above) “Imagine and write a story, poem or piece of creative non-fiction in 600 words or fewer, and submit to wadadlipen@yahoo.com on or before February 17th 2016. If you live in Antigua and/or Barbuda, and are younger than 12, a teenager, or a young adult who has not yet passed age 35…”

  6. Latoya


    I totally missed the submission date. However, is it too late to submit? My students have been hard at work. 🙂

    • Yes, Latoya, sorry the submission deadline was in February and the judges have already turned in their results. We are prepping for the awards now; it will be May 13th 2017 during the Wadadli Stories Book Fair. I am really sorry your group missed the deadline. Are you on the teachers’ mailing list; I believe you are. In addition to posting here and circulating the information via media and social media, I did at least two direct mailings to teachers, youth workers etc. Maybe three – one before the official launch, one right after, and one when the deadline was approaching if memory serves. Again, really sorry; it will have to be next year.

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