In an interview with Khadijah Halliday, a 17-year-old writer who currently attends Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) and a past student of St Joseph’s Convent (SJC), she stated that “It takes a while to find your niche, but when you do, you stick with it.”
This was true for the teen, except for the fact that she actually fell in love with writing at an early age. She was good at it: she could bring words to life in the blink of an eye, and the minute she typed her thoughts, she came alive.
Her teachers spotted her talent early, and deemed her an “excellent writer.”
“I always enjoyed writing short stories, essays and poems. Whenever they were assigned, I would run home and mould strings of words to my taste,” she said in an online interview with YO!
Encouraged by her mother, Khadijah started writing her first book at the tender age of nine, but the public never saw it. Nonetheless, she believed that it was then that a seed was planted; one which would soon give growth to her success.
She loves the Arts: “I’ve delved into quite an impressive number of hobbies, all financially entertained by my father. I devoted myself to balletfor ten years and also adopted the guitar.”
Still, her appreciation for the aforementioned areas could not compare to her other passions.
“I would spend countless hours drawing and sketching, moulding and making what could only be described as my essence with my pencil,” she shared.
When she entered SJCin 2013, she was eager to discover more about what she wholeheartedly adored.
“I was enticed by the expectation that we would all be exposed to the riveting world of Literature and Visual Arts. Apart from my affinity for art, I have always been a straight A student, constantly topping my class and never missing a merit at the end of each term,” the student said.
“I think that all of this, which had become expectation, rather than fortune, alongside family matters and my innate destructive perfectionism, took a toll on me. I struck a pretty dark chord for a while,” she added.
Soon, she found her saving grace.
“I have always been born with the propensity to feel emotion deeply, what I used to think was a curse, until I realized it was equivalently a blessing. In times like these, some people became addicts to alcohol or drugs; I became a word addict. I found words, or more accurately: they found me,” the young writer said.
In form three, she performed one of her pieces.
“I hid my poems for quite a while. I decided I wanted to at least share my Spoken Word poetry. The first piece that I performed, ‘Why Can’t We All Be Beautiful?’ was received with surprise, as I have always been a reserved person, but most importantly, with feelings of inspiration. I feel like that was the beginning of a new understanding of both myself and others in this world,” she said.
Khadijah’s talents has won her numerous awards.
“With the grace of God, I have placed first and second in numerous notable Caribbean and National essay competitions. To name a few: the 2017 Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Essay Competition, the 2017 National STAR Essay Competition, both of which I won. Most recently, I entered the International Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition for which I won a gold award: the highest acquirable level apart from senior winner and runner-up,” she stated.
Speaking on the latter which was held in June, and why she participated, she said: “I try my best to not miss the opportunity to enter competitions related to writing.”
“As I got older my objective for my writing became my attempt to show my views; my perception and my view of the world, to the world. Though I was not the senior winner, receiving a gold award is a distinguished honour that I am glad to have been privy to,” she added.
Khadijah poured her heart into her submission, one which she describes as “innovative.”
“There were four topics for the senior category. I opted for: “The Road to a Safer Future.” All participants were free to use any literary form they desired. I chose poetry and the style actually leaned towards my treasured Spoken Word poetry. I plan to share this piece on my newly budding YouTube channel, ‘Ash Speaks’, next week,” she said.
The teen also has an eye for photography and videography, for which she recently won an award.
“The Social Media Climate Change Video Challenge, under the UN Development Programme’s Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership,was held in Saint Lucia in June, 2018. This competition targeted secondary and tertiary level youth. I actually entered this competition whilst I was writing my CSEC Examinations this year,” she shared.
Still, she took on the challenge, knowing that it had a greater importance: mitigating the effects of climate change.
“The prompt for this nationwide challenge was to produce a 60 second video, proposing solutionswhich could help reduce climate change impacts, resulting from poor waste disposal practices. Though not perfect, my video, with God, triumphed as the winner,” she added.