The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize is a youth and literary arts development programme which launched in 2004 in Antigua and Barbuda with its annual Challenge. While it has engaged in other activities over the years and hopes to do much more in future, the Challenge remains our flagship project. The 2017 Challenge deadline is February 6th 2017.
If you’re a teacher or youth worker, and you’re reading this, here’s a copy of the flyer you can download for circulation in your circle/s: wadadli-pen-2017-flyer
If you’re in media, you can find our launch release here: https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/press-release-wadadli-pen-2017-launches
I also want to mention where things stand with Wadadli Pen. I have put together a plan to formalize it as a non-profit and do more developmental work, beyond the Challenge, in the area of the arts (primarily, literary; secondarily, visual; and beyond that working to boost other arts in any way we can). We want year round engagement with youth and we want to do more than a prize. I’ve reached out to some people, some of whom have agreed to come on board as partners and work with me toward achieving this longer term goal. Incidentally, this is also the same team working with me on the Wadadli Pen 2017 Challenge. That team includes Floree Whyte, a local author and Wadadli Pen judge; Margaret Irish and Devra Thomas, both of whom are past finalists; and Barbara Arrindell, a writer and manager of the Best of Books bookstore, which has lent support to the programme from its first year. As time crept up on us, and our very busy schedules, which include work, family, life, and other volunteer projects, we’ve had to put down the longer term planning in service to pulling off another (fingers-crossed) successful season of the Wadadli Pen Challenge.
I’ll tell you it already feels like a success in part because we’ve finally launched our internship programme – a programme in which we targeted Antigua State College students inviting them to apply to volunteer with the programme, giving them the opportunity to work in an area that could contribute to their professional development. The selected intern, who has been primarily working with me in the areas of promotion and admin support, is Michaela Harris. Harris has some history with Wadadli Pen. She was short listed for the prize in 2012 and in 2013 she was second runner up in the 13 to 17 age group. I also know her through the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, a summer youth development camp I held for the first time in 2013. She was one of the participants.
Michaela wrote this piece about why she volunteered with the programme: https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/wadadli-pen-has-its-first-intern-meet-michaela
If you’re still reading and you want to support Wadadli Pen by contributing to our 2017 prize package (no gift too big, no gift too small), email the programme at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you know a young person who you think could benefit from participating in the programme, share the flyer with them.
I started this programme in order to create the kind of environment that would have helped in my writing journey as a young person coming of age in Antigua and Barbuda. I have come to recognize it as a programme that can be of value to young people whether or not they have an interest in a career in writing; because no matter their path, they have something to say and learning to use their voice is absolutely essential.