Winners of the 2015 Wadadli Pen flanked by guest presenter Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau (whose new CD is I am Speaking)and co-founder/coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (whose latest books are Musical Youth and the Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Stories). Pictured between them are Olsfred James, Melicia McCalmon, Judah Christian, Avriel Walters, Margaret Irish and Ondrej Austin-Josiah. Photo by Glen Toussaint/Best of Books.
When I started the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize in 2004 (hopelessly dewy-eyed I was), I couldn’t see 11 years down the road. But time flies and here we are and remarkably, Wadadli Pen is still alive (it’s been touch and go a few times). I want to keep it going, I do. I’m working on grant funding applications (again), hopefully learning from past mistakes and hopefully able to harness the resources needed to deliver what this programme can deliver…when I dream of it. Fingers crossed. And if you’ve got ideas or support (money or time to give to these grand ambitions for this little project that could, email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Meanwhile, this is a link to the outcome of the 2015 Challenge, and here are some visual highlights from the most recent awards ceremony held last Saturday (April 11th 2015)…and look, we made the front page of one of the local daily papers:
FLOW rep, Gavinia Michael, assisted with gift presentation to Wadadli Pen 2015 winner Margaret Irish (right). Photo by Glen Toussaint/Best of Books.
Winner, Margaret Irish, posed up with the Challenge trophy sponsored by the Best of Books. Gavinia Michael of FLOW assists with the presentation. Photo by Glen Toussaint/Best of Books.
Gavinia Michael of FLOW presents the cable company’s gift of a EC$500 gift certificate for books at the Best of Books to winner Margaret Irish. Photo by Barbara Arrindell/Best of Books.
One of the Best of Books picks, Melicia McCalmon, collects her gifts from Best of Books and the Burt Award sponsors CODE. Presenting is Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau who performed pieces from her spoken word CD I am Speaking during the awards ceremony – and another piece during the Wadadli Pen Open Mic that followed. FYI, the Wadadli Pen Open Mic takes place the second Saturday of every month at the Best of Books bookstore on St. Mary’s Street.
Margaret Irish reading her story, Justice.
Every year at the awards, we are reminded why it’s all worth it. And then there are letters like this the day after:
“I write to express appreciation to you and your team for allowing young writers like [my son] to explore their writing potential. He was quite reluctant to enter at first, but warmed up to the challenge. Excited, elated and ecstatic are just a few of the words that could explain how he felt, by being able to share his story and be rewarded for his effort.”