UPDATE! (January 30th 2018) 2018 PATRONS (You too can be on this list. Contact us at email@example.com to find out how)
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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,
p.s. to remind myself and you what we’ve been about, sharing some moments: