Silston Library has been identified as the location for the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, set for August 12th to 16th 2013. For project organizer and writer Joanne C. Hillhouse being in the city was important given the design of the workshop; using the sites and rhythms of St. John’s City to not only inspire the young writers but to add detail and texture to their writing. Silston Library, she feels, allows for that interaction with the city given its proximity, but also provides enough distance so that the city won’t be a distraction.

Silston Library representatives, in a statement, indicate that they are happy to host the JSYWP as it is “in keeping with the values of the Silston Library, which is to promote intellectual growth and develop the writing skills of the younger generation.” This mission was sparked when Clement Silston, in 1910, was turned away from the Public Library for lack of a subscription fee; a painful experience which later led to the establishment of a free library so that people from all walks of life could access intellectual material.

Similarly, Hillhouse is especially keen that anyone with the interest and potential have the opportunity to be a part of the JSYWP. Because she does not want money to be an obstacle, she continues to seek the support of the corporate community in sponsoring the participation of young writers. Already, she has commitments to sponsor a participant from Dr. Jillia Bird, Brenda Lee Browne, Caribbean Water Treatment, Paperclips, Sanhall, Shirley Heights Lookout, Townhouse Mega Store and an anonymous donor. The project also expects to receive support from the Best of Books, St. John’ Cooperative Credit Union, and, of course, Silston Library.

Letters of Interest have started to come in as requested to from young writers. Hillhouse stresses the importance of these letters of interest in determining who could most benefit from the JSYWP given that spots will be limited. She urges early submission of the letters; and encourages parents, teachers, youth workers, and others to look around at young people who like to read, have vivid imaginations, or an interest in writing. Once you’ve found them encourage them to apply. Assist them if necessary. If there are people or businesses with the means to sponsor a young person, she’s encouraging them to contact her as well via

During a school visit

During a school visit

Working with young writers

Working with young writers

Joanne C. Hillhouse is the author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad! She is a contributor to numerous journals and anthologies, a literary blogger and activist, a working writer and editor, and a journalist. She has, over the years, facilitated workshops and encouraged youth writing via the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, a non profit project she co-founded in 2004 and coordinates to this day,  in-school workshops, writing retreats, and other activities. She has seen the potential and wants to do more to help develop the skills of Antigua and Barbuda’s next generation of writers. This JSYWP, a bold new initiative specifically targeting 8 to 17 year olds, is one small step in that direction and, she hopes, one giant leap towards unlocking the creative potential of the now generation. She hopes that those who really need it, who really want it, who could really benefit from it will avail themselves of the opportunity to be considered for participation in the JSYWP.


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