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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) -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 email@example.com
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.
18 responses to “WADADLI PEN 2023”
You are such an inspiration Joanne. Great pics!
I appreciate the encouragement, Summer. Thanks.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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.
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
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.
Appreciate Best of Books being ride or die for Wadadli Pen. Gratitude. But the question mark stays for now.
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
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
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 email@example.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…”
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.
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’).
A friend indeed
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.