Young writers emerge with Wadadli Pen winners

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Wadadli Pen 2013 Winners Revealed

Pictured from left: Zuri Holder (third overall), Asha Graham
 (overall winner), Daryl George (second overall)
Wadadli Pen once again proves that when it comes to talent, age is nothing but a number. The top three in the 2013 Challenge are writers from each age category. The overall winner is 15-year-old Antigua Girls High School studentAsha Graham with her tale of quiet yearning ‘Revelations Tonight’ which also won the 13 to 17 age category. Graham was, also, third in her age category with her poem ‘Remembrance’. Second overall is 27-year-old Daryl George; also winner in the 18 to 35 age category, with the haunting ‘Ceramic Blues’; he also claimed the runner up spot in his age category with ‘Julie Drops’. Third overall and winner in the 12 and younger category is Antigua Grammar School student 12-year-old Zuri Holder with his sports themed story ‘The Big Event’.
Kris Rampersad presents prize of LiTTscapes
– Landscapes of Fictionfrom Trinidad & Tobago
to Wadadli Pen Prize’s Joanne Hilhouse

The Awards ceremony at which these writers and all finalists were recognized was held Sunday afternoon at the St. Mary’s Street store of long time WadadliPen partner The Best of Books.

The other big announcement of the day was the US$500 worth of books each to be gifted by Hands across the Sea to Antigua Girls High School and St John’s Catholic Primary for most submissions.

Wadadli Pen’s organizers are also pleased to recognize and express gratitude for theShoul, and the Cushion Club. Shout outs are also due to Art at the Ridge, Barbuda Express, Jane Seagull, Pamela ArthurtonBayhouse Restaurant, Keyonna Beach, Heavenly Java 2 Go, Raw Island Products, Silver Lining supermarket, and KorenNorton. Several writers contributed copies of their books: namely Antiguan andBarbudan writers Dorbrene O’Marde, Althea Prince, Claudia Elizabeth Ruth Francis, and Marie Elena John; Jamaican writers Diana McCaulay and Diane Browne; Trinidadian writer Kris RampersadKittitian-Nevisian writer Carol Mitchell; and British writer Elaine Spires. There is one other major patron who wishes to remain anonymous. Gratitude also to Wadadli Pen’s media partners, especially and both of which maintain WadadliPen pages on their popular online hubs.
support of regular patrons like Conrad Luke, Stephen B.

Wadadli Pen partners and writers in their own right Brenda Lee Browne, Barbara ArrindellFloree Williams, and Joanne C. Hillhouse, who founded theWadadli Youth Pen Prize back in 2004, have added to the prize pool: two spots in Browne’s Just Write Writers Retreat, and copies of Arrindell’s Legend of Batman’s Cave and Other Stories, Williams’ Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses, andHillhouse’s Oh Gad!

Taking their portion of these prizes are writers Jamila Salankey, Vega Armstrong,Chammaiah Ambrose, and Michaela Harris; and art winners Avecia James,Dennika BascomJamika Nedd, and Gavin Jeffrey Benjamin. Other shortlisted writers were Juliet Browne, Rhea Watkins, Isheba Simon, Danielle M. Benjamin,Latoya Aretha HonoréArati Jagdeo, and Latisha Walker-Jacobs.

Hillhouse reminds that Wadadli Pen’s purpose is to nurture and showcaseAntiguan and Barbudan youthful literary talent. As such the top stories are returned to the writers with the editors’ notes for revision. In time, she hopes with funding and support to conduct workshops in schools and community.

For the full breakdown o f2013 winners and prizes, and the project’s history visit To support future activities email Links to the winning entries can be found here

WHO WON IN 2013?

*re prize split – please note that each shortlisted writer receives a Certificate of Achievement as well as discount cards from the Best of Books; and the overall winner’s name has been emblazoned alongside the name of past winners onto the Challenge plaque – sponsored by the Best of Books.
Primary School – St. John’s Catholic Primary – US$500 worth of books sponsored by Hands Across the Sea
Secondary School – Antigua Girls High School – US$500 worth of books sponsored by Hands Across the Seatop
Author of Revelations Tonight and Remembrance
Overall Winner (Revelations Tonight), Winner in the 13 to 17 age category (Revelations Tonight) and Third placed in the 13 to 17 age category (Remembrance)
Total prizes:
$500 sponsored by Conrad Luke of R. K. Luke and Sons and the Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Committee
Literary Opportunities
Sponsored spot – Just Write writers retreat courtesy Brenda Lee Browne
LiTTscapes: Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago by Kris Rampersad

Back to Wadadli Youth Pen Prize


Thursday 4th April 2013

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize gives our children and young adults a voice, something not to be taken lightly. They live in a society where the news headlines and the narrative of their lives aren’t all childhood fairytales, anansi, or even jumbie stories. But, as their stories reveal, there is also incest, sexual abuse, family discord, apathy and confusion. So much so that the process of sifting through the entries sometimes has the judges wondering how much of what they’re reading is art imitating life.

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize has, since 2004, been a platform for the latent literary talent of our young people; a space without judgment or censure where they can grapple in imaginative ways with real life. We’ve seen former winners continue to write, whether in creative or journalistic spaces; and hope that, for those not seeking a literary path, the programme has in some small way helped them to find their voice as well.

We want to continue to be that space where the writing exists for its own sake, its only agenda to encourage the unique yet distinctively Caribbean voice of our young Creatives, especially writers, and to help nurture and showcase their talent.

As Wadadli Pen’s primary activity at this time is a writing challenge, the development of craft is paramount. The selected stories are rarely perfect, there is always room to grow; but they show a spark of possibility that needs to be encouraged. In evaluating the stories and providing constructive criticism to the best of the lot, we hope to encourage our young scribes to embrace the opportunity to grow. We feel there is more outreach yet to be done in this regard and hope to do literary arts workshops in our schools and communities, if we can access the financial and technical support to do so.

The most promising stories and writers to emerge from this year’s Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge will be revealed and recognized this Sunday 7th April, 4 p.m., at the Best of Books. The event will be a joint awards ceremony and book launch (A Certain Paradise which has been receiving positive early notice from readers for its “uncannily accurate” depiction of island life). This year, we can report, that the standout writers hail from all age categories 12 and younger, 13 to 17, 18 to 35, and their themes as usual run the gamut, from fun and fantasy to serious social issues.

As noted, this couldn’t be done without the assistance of individuals, businesses and community groups, and as such I must take the time to thank Barbara Arrindell, Brenda Lee Browne, Floree Williams, Linisa George, Devra Thomas, the Best of Books, Hands Across the Sea, Conrad Luke, Barbuda Express, Stephen B. Shoul, Pamela Arthurton, Art at the Ridge, Diana McCaulay, Diane Browne, Keyonna Beach, Dorbrene O’Marde, Bayhouse Restaurant, Claudia Elizabeth Ruth Francis, Jane Seagull, Marie Elena John, Carol Mitchell, Elaine Spires, the Cushion Club, Koren Norton, Heavenly Java 2 Go, Althea Prince, Kris Rampersad, and one other anonymous donor.

For more, visit Take some time to explore and see what else we’ve been doing and maybe support. You can reach us at

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