UPDATE! May 18th 2022

I apologize for not saying something re the 2022 Wadadli Pen Challenge before now. I really was hoping to have better news which was the reason for the delay. However, given that the Challenge season is normally in the first quarter and we are now coming up on June, it’s past time for me to update this space. The update is not as solid as I would like it to be but I have no guarantees of a Wadadli Pen Challenge for 2022. That’s where it is. We may still do something but I have no guarantee at this time. The team is in place and did try to jump-start the 2021 season. I’m the one who dropped the ball. I personally have not had the time to fully play my role as far as the Challenge is concerned for a number of reasons. One Wadadli Pen related reason is we are now a legal non-profit and I am prioritizing making sure that we do what we need to do with respect to our obligations as Wadadli Pen Inc.  I just want to make sure our ducks are lined up as they should be. Because of time constraints, even that is a slow walk. That said, the Wadadli Pen Challenge is still a priority. Watch this space.


See About Wadadli Pen for project history including past winners.  Here’s where you can Read or Listen to past Wadadli Pen winners. We also now have a Wadadli Pen You Tube channel to which we invite you to subscribe.


Please note that as we have not launched a Challenge at this time, there are no updated submission guidelines. Some standard guidelines however remain below and we encourage you to keep writing. And watch this space.

Submission forms (completed) are required – submissions will not be processed without submission form; so, to avoid disqualification, please submit and send the submission form when submitting your entry. – Teachers and youth group leaders can do group submissions using a single form and entering the stories, authors, and age on a separate sheet and listing themselves and their contact information for the collective – Teachers and youth group leaders submitting collectively will be responsible for providing parent/guardian contact or other information as needed.

Re general Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge guidelines –

-Write about anything; write in any genre – Fiction, Creative non-fiction, Poetry, text-art combo, or sub-genre – be creative
-Entries will be scanned for plagiarism and disqualified accordingly
-Entries should feel Caribbean-specific and/or inspired (even if set elsewhere including the landscape of the imagination) – this does not mean Caribbean clichés – writing should be imaginative/original not defined by old tropes and stereotypes of Caribbean literature
-Entries can be in any sub-genre (but no graphic sex nor gratuitous violence; adult language is allowed if the story requires it but not if gratuitously overused)
-Entries must not have been previously published including online
-Entrants are free to collaborate as long as full credit is given and as long as it’s understood that there will not be individual prizes per contributor but per entry prizes only – where cheques or gift certificates are involved a single name will have to be provided
-Only one entry per person (individually or in collaboration)
-Entries should be typed and submitted via email (wadadlipen@gmail.com)
-Winners will only be selected if the judges’ deem submissions worthy of placement – so entrants should be encouraged to select and submit their best work (and the specific prizes depend on the patronage we are able to attract; the prizes are only an incentive, not the point. The point is to tell your story)
-Subject line of submissions should be ‘Your Name Wadadli Pen Challenge Submission YEAR OF ENTRY’ (or in the case of teachers making bulk submissions on behalf of students, subject line should be ‘Teacher’s Name School Wadadli Pen Challenge Submission YEAR OF ENTRY’)
-Schools’ Prize – There will be a prize for the school with the most submissions (if available)

If you have questions or would like to volunteer with or contribute to Wadadli Pen, contact us at wadadlipen@gmail.com  




book of the year presentation 4

While there was no Wadadli Pen prize in 2019, the children of Foundation Mixed school were still winners as the school was selected by Vivian Luke, the winning author in the Wadadli Pen Book of the Year  Readers Choice initiative to receive a gift of books sponsored by Wadadli Pen’s patrons.


2018 honourable mention Rosie Pickering, left, accepts her prize from former judge Brenda Lee Browne. Her winning entry ‘Damarae’ was published in the first 2020 edition of UWI Press literary journal edited by Jamaican writer Opal Palmer Adisa Interviewing the Caribbean.


2017 intern Michaela Harris, right, a finalist in 2012 and 2013, presents prizes to 2017 finalist Ava Ralph, left, who missed the awards ceremony. They are in front of the Antigua and Barbuda books shelf at the Best of Books, a long time Wadadli Pen partner.

The plaque, which hangs in the Best of Books bookstore, got an upgrade in 2016 and is now known as the Alstyne Allen Memorial Plaque.

The Wadadli Pen Challenge plaque, sponsored by the Best of Books, bears the name of all previous winners. The original plaque, right, has been replaced since 2016 with the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque.


Olsfred James of the arts collective Spilling Ink was an honourable mention in 2015.


2014 finalist Chammaiah Ambrose accepts her prize from founding partner and current patron D. Gisele Isaac.


2013 winners Zuri Holder, Asha Graham, and Daryl George.

Most of the awardees of Wadalipen with Joanne Hillhouse 2012

2012 finalists with Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, author Joanne C. Hillhouse.

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.

Hudle Jennings won the 2011 art prize.

One of the top art entries from 2010.

one of the 2010 art pieces.


2006 finalists. Wadadli Pen went on hiatus for three years after this.

word up

In 2006, Wadadli Pen also collaborated with the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda on a joint fundraiser, a literary showcase called Word Up!


2005 winner Sandrena Martin was one of two Wadadli Pen finalists who got the opportunity to participate in Word Up!


2004 patrons, ministry officials, and, standing, finalists which include, second from left, who in 2014 penned an open letter saying how Wadadli Pen affected her growth.

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18 responses to “WADADLI PEN 2022

  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.

  7. Dear Ms Hillhouse, I found your blog on a search for Antiguan English. I am a linguistic researcher and while I find many references to Antiguan English , I am finding it difficult to find specific examples. Are there any beautiful, useful or unique words in Antiguan English?

    • A good resource is Joy Lawrence’s The Way We Talk and Other Antiguan Folkways; you may also find her book Colours and Rhythms of Selected Caribbean Creoles interesting and useful. Her work was a resource for me when pulling Antiguan proverbs for my novel Oh Gad! Perhaps some of the calypso lyrics on this site may turn up some phrases (use the search feature to the right for ‘song lyrics’).

  8. Janet Mings

    A friend indeed

  9. Razonique Looby

    Hi! Would it be possible to fill out the application form electronically please? I do not have access to a printer right now and it would be very useful if alternative methods could be made available. Thank you!

    • You do not need to print the form. While you can’t fill out online or submit via direct upload, you can download and fill out electronically (which is preferable to printing as you still have to submit via email – both form and story as attachments). We look forward to receiving your entry.

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