The Wadadli Pen Challenge, our flagship project, usually takes place in the first half of the year, but keep checking back or subscribe for updates to our submission guidelines. As a general rule, entrants are required to be legal residents of Antigua and Barbuda, and entries are required to be original and Caribbean (it does not have to be based in the Caribbean present but wherever and whenever it’s set it must be Caribbean in spirit, aesthetics, or sensibility – i.e. it must feel Caribbean). In 2016, the annual Challenge plaque, bearing the name of the main prize winner and sponsored by the Best of Books, was renamed the Alstyne Allen Memorial Plaque and, from 2021, the youth winner’s name has been emblazoned onto the Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award. Both are named in memory of deceased members of the Wadadli Pen family.
There is no call for submissions at this time. Our standard guidelines are detailed below but are subject to change. Watch this space.
Submission forms (completed) are required – submissions will not be processed without submission form; to avoid disqualification, be sure to complete and attach your submission form with your entry. Teachers and youth group leaders can do group submissions using a single form; 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.
All prizes must be collected by the winner or proxy at the awards ceremony – no prizes will be sent or held indefinitely.
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 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 (email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
2020 winner Andre J P Warner with the Wadadli Pen Challenge plaque. Andre went on to win the Rebel Women Lit Caribbean Readers Choice of 2020 for best short fiction for his story ‘Bright Future for Tomorrow’.
2016 Wadadli Pen Challenge winners in the 12 and younger category with rep from sponsor Frank B. Armstrong, Akeilah Hillhouse.
Juneth Webson delivering her gifts to Wadadli Pen 2016.
The winners in the 12 and younger category showing off their certificates and Seven Seas bags – also pictured, far left, is rep from Seven Seas distributor Frank B. Armstrong, Akeilah Hillhouse. Each bag included goodies (plus cash in the case of the top three) for the winners some sponsored by Frank B. Armstrong, Juneth Webson, the Cushion Club, CaribbeanReads Publishing, CODE, and the Best of Books.
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.
2015 finalist Avriel Walters collects a certificate and prize from guest speaker and past judge, poet Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau.
Wadadli Pen was profiled in the first edition of the Carib Art house magazine, a sleek publication spotlighting an eclectic mix of homegrown artists. In addition to the interview with Hillhouse, the publication also printed the winning flash fiction story by 2015 winner Margaret Irish.
The Wadadli Pen Awards ceremony photo call: pictured, from left guest presenter and poet Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau, Olsfred James, Melicia McCalmon, Margaret Irish, Ondrej Austin-McDonald, and founder/coordinator of Wadadli Pen Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of Musical Youth and other books). Front are the two youngest prize recipients of 2015 Judah Christian, 8, and Avriel Walters, 10.
Best of Books, a patron of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize from the beginning has hosted the awards ceremony since 2011. Pictured is store manager Barbara Arrindell making a presentation to educator Paula Russell Peters who was a 2014 finalist for the WP 10th anniversary Teachers Prize and who also collected on behalf of T N Kirnon which netted a prize for the most submissions from a single school. In the background is WP founder and coordinator, author Joanne C. Hillhouse.
The Edison Liburd original at the top of this gift package to the 2014 visual arts winner Alvin Livingstone was just one of the gifts from Art at the Ridge.
Students at Trinity Academy pictured with Joy Lawrence during a visit to promote writing and the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, 2013.
The Top Writers of the 2013 Wadadli Pen Challenge (from left Zuri Holder, Asha Challenger, and Daryl George) – photo courtesy Antiguachronicle.net
Best of Books manager Barbara Arrindell with 2013 top junior writers Vega Armstrong, left, and Chammaiah Ambrose, right. Vega was an honourable mention in 2012; Vega was second and Chammaiah third 12 and younger in 2013; Vega won the category in 2014 and Chammaiah was again her runner up. Chammaiah, like other past finalists (Orique Gordon, Asha Challenger, Michaela Harris, Verdanci Benta and more have participated in writing workshops led by Joanne C. Hillhouse, most recently the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project)
Teachers from St. John’s Catholic Primary, 2013, collecting the prize for most submissions by a secondary school. The prize was US$500 worth of books towards a school library, sponsored by Hands across the Sea.
Michaela Harris was one of the Wadadli Pen finalists, 2012, who would go on to participate in the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, 2013.
Daryl George, an honourable mention in 2012, collecting a prize from guest speaker and master artist/photographer Mali A. Olatunji, (whose work is featured in The Art of Mali Olatunji: Painterly Photography from Antigua and Barbuda). Best of Books hosted the awards ceremony for the second year in 2012, this on at their Friars Hill Road branch.
Rosalie with the Best of Books challenge plaque in one hand and her take-home ABII sponsored plaque.
In 2011, Orique Gordon won the 12 and younger prize. This was the first year that Best of Books hosted our awards; store owner EM Grimes-Graeme presents him with his prizes.