Wadadli Pen’s new prize pays tribute to accident victim, Zuri Holder

The late Zuri Holder at the 2013 Wadadli Pen awards ceremony
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On the heels of launching the 2021 season of the Wadadli Pen Challenge with a March 26 submission deadline, the organisers have announced several additional and very meaningful patronages. 

According to a release, Cedric Holder, father of Zuri Holder, who died tragically in a road accident in January, has requested inclusion of a plaque to honour his memory.

The Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award, inclusive of a gift certificate toward the purchase of books, will be awarded to a writer 12 years or younger.

Cedric Holder is a long time Wadadli Pen patron, whose gifts, typically made in the name of the Cushion Club Reading Club for Children, with which he is chief volunteer and of which Zuri was a member.

“Zuri also had history with Wadadli Pen – second place in the 12 and younger category in 2011 and third place overall and winner of the 12 and younger age category in 2013.

“His passing remains a huge personal loss to his family, friends, and all the communities he belonged to,” said Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C Hillhouse, who also volunteered with the Cushion Club and knew Zuri for many years as a result.

“We welcome Cedric’s desire to keep his name alive in this way, while contributing meaningfully to the development of other young people.”

Wadadli Pen also welcomes a cash contribution EC$300 from award winning author Rilzy Adams, pen name of local lawyer Rilys Adams, the author of almost 20 self-published books, who recently collected an international romance industry award for her novel Go Deep, only her latest accolade. She is also a former Wadadli Pen finalist (second place in 2005 and 2006) – one of two former finalists who are 2021 patrons.

The other is Daryl George who has contributed EC$250.

“It feels good to see that Wadadli Pen has not only survived these 17 years, since it first launched in 2004, but that the people who’ve come through the programme have gone on to do great things, of which we are only a small part,” Hillhouse said, “and that they’ve looked back.”

The Wadadli Pen core team also includes two former finalists.

Though focused on nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, Wadadli Pen is networked with Caribbean literary entities and one, Diana McCaulay and her publisher Peepal Tree Press, have pledged her latest award winning book Daylight Come to the prize package.

More than 80 books including Big Cat Caribbean titles have already been received from Harper Collins (UK). Other announced 2021 patrons, so far, are the Best of Books, Moondancer Books, award winning Jamaican author Olive Senior, and new local author Patricia Tully. 

Wadadli Pen is still hoping to attract more patronage for both the Wadadli Pen Challenge and the #readAntiguaBarbuda readers’ choice book of the year initiative.

To support the work, [email protected]. To create and submit to the Wadadli Pen Challenge download the submission form at the Wadadli Pen 2021 tab on wadadlipen.wordpress.com There, too, you’ll find the link to vote for your favourite Antiguan and Barbudan book of the year.

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