WADADLI YOUTH PEN PRIZE

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WADADLI PEN 2016 LAUNCHES
Monday 18th January 2016


Pictured, flanked left by guest presenter Dotsie Isaac and right by Wadadli Pen co-founder/coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouae, are 2015 winners including back, centre, overall Flash Fiction winner, Margaret Irish

Young Writers in Antigua and Barbuda, are you ready to rise to the Challenge? The 12-year old annual Wadadli Pen Challenge, which dares local writers aged 35 and younger to unearth their most creative writing, is once again inviting entries. The Challenge, which is the flagship activity of the programme designed by author Joanne C. Hillhouse to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, has attracted a promise of close to EC$4,000 in cash and prizes to be shared among this season’s winners. This is thanks to pledges from 2016 patrons Pamela Arthurton, Barbuda Express, Best of Books bookstore, CaribbeanReads Publishing, the Cushion Club Reading Club, Frank B. Armstrong, Just Write Writers Retreat, Hazra Medica, Raw Island Products, Juneth Webson, and others who prefer to be unheralded.

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, this call goes out to you. Teachers, parents, youth workers: this call goes out to you as well to encourage creativity where you see it because you know better than most how artistic expression can help young people make sense of their world and give voice to their reality.


The 10th anniversary cake, contributed by Sweet Dreams in 2014, bore the Wadadli Pen logo.

In her invitation to 2016 judges – Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses author Floree Whyte, organizer and host of the Wadadli Pen Open Mic series Glen Toussaint, and longtime organizer and volunteer with the Cushion Club Reading Club for Children Cedric Holder – Hillhouse said, “in evaluating your picks, I want you to focus on creativity. Which stories show the most daring in terms of either theme or approach to theme, which writers experiment with form or concepts, which stories break from the norm and surprise you. I would also want you to consider, because this is the foundation of Wadadli Pen, how the story is rooted in a Caribbean aesthetic while avoiding clichés of that Caribbean aesthetic.” Limited originality and experimentation has been a recurring concern among Challenge judges over the years; these instructions – which can be taken as guides to those intending to enter – reflect an intent to nudge submissions in the direction of originality and daring. She emphasized as well that submissions must be well-edited as winning selections will be posted as usual to the Wadadli Pen website (http://wadadlipen.wordpress.com)  and possibly elsewhere as opportunity arises.  “A story that has clearly not been edited or even proofed will not qualify for top billing no matter how experimental and fresh its approach; the writing must be clean,” Hillhouse has instructed the judges. “Beyond that you will pick the stories that speak to you.”

Entries will be disseminated to the judges after they have been scrubbed of identifying markers. Hillhouse advises that for prime efficiency, name, age, school, email, address, phone number, three sentence author bio, and short story summary should be submitted on a separate page. That’s it; get writing.


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