The Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project 2015: an Update

“I love to play on electronics; I don’t like frogs. When I grow up, I would like to be captain, who sails cruise ships … I would like to join this workshop because it will help me to develop my writing skills. Also, after I had entered the Wadadli Pen competition, I like writing a little now.”

Above is an excerpt from one of the post-Wadadli Pen (season 2015) letters that made me seriously consider doing some kind of workshop activity for young writers this summer. I liked the quirkiness and earnestness of it, and wanted to do something to feed the potential revealed in not only this letter and the writer behind it but each cycle of the now 11 year old annual Challenge.

Now, you will have noticed that Wadadli Pen is not the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project but, as I could not afford to do this workshop as a non-profit activity, a la Wadadli Pen, I decided on the JSYWP model in which I get paid for my time but participants’ are sponsored (because interest in participating in a writing workshop does not translate to financial ability to do so; in fact, it’s been my experience as a freelancer offering writing and writing related services, that (certainly in our environment) paying for writing and writing workshop services are low priority even when the interest is there). I decided to put out the call so that those who wished to make this kind of investment in young people in Antigua and Barbuda and the arts could take the initiative to do so. Of course if you are willing and able to pay your child’s way, all the better, that removes a possible hurdle, but they still need to apply using the registration form (just indicate when applying whether or not you’ll be paying your own way if accepted).

Here’s the situation as it stands re the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project 2015 edition as of June 16th 19th 2015 – two weeks, give or take, after I’d hoped to be able to make a final decision and proceed with the work of putting this together.

I have confirmed pledges (just pledges, not cash yet) enough, with some …finessing, to cover two three participants for two days, with another donor sponsoring a specific participant (pending that participant’s acceptance) for roughly the same time. There are one or two or three other things that might yet change those numbers, but if you’re keeping count, so far, that’s two three donors, three four participants, two days. It’s not nothing and as there’s something, that’s something to build on.

So, I will proceed.

Dates (subject to change): August 10th – 12th 2015

Time: (given that the numbers do not justify having two half day sessions breaking up into teens and adults, it will be one mixed group and the sessions will be in the afternoon) 1 to 4 p.m.

Venue: looks like it’s going to be the new Public Library building. It will be so cool to do something in that community space.

Participants: Registration is now in progress. Please download, complete and email this form: Registration Form

Yes, you still need to complete the form even if you’ve emailed me your interest before. This is the formal registration.

Sponsorship/payment: Confirmed pledgers include Aisha Ralph, writer and Best of Books bookstore manager Barbara Arrindell, writer and founder of the Just Write writers retreat, Brenda Lee Browne. Just double checking with other pledgers before listing their name here. Also if you are a business or a person who still wishes to contribute you can! This is happening – for how many days and for the benefit of how many participants is up to you. Just Contact me re pledging BEFORE I confirm the venue. You can sponsor a participant for one day for as little as $100. Parents, if you wish to send your young writer, that’s how much you’ll be required to commit (commit only, payment details will come later if  your child is accepted) as well ($100 per participant per day) but your child/teen will still need to complete the expression of interest (Registration Form – be sure to include your contact information) as participation will not be confirmed otherwise. I have had instances of people participating because their parents sent them and it really wasn’t for them; what I’m looking for is people who have genuine interest and aptitude for a programme like this – if they don’t, they won’t.

As Tigger used to say TTFN

Seriously, though, that’s it…it’s happening…abridged but happening…there’re still ways you can get involved. So, keep checking back for updates as people and businesses and young writers respond to the call and plans continue to develop.