Before the DD mentorship, I’d had smaller, informal mentorships, but nothing this deep or sustained. The Diaspora Dialogues mentorship gave me the chance to work long-term with the stories collected in Peninsula Sinking and, most importantly, to consider those stories as a coherent entity . . .
In the ten years since getting my BA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Concordia University, I have had a number of mentorships with established writers. What makes the DD long-form mentorship different is that the program is in fact “long-form.” Most formal writing programs allow for the drafting of one or maybe two short stories; however, Lauren Kirshner and I worked through my entire manuscript—the novella and all nine short stories—over the course of six months . . .
The DD mentorship was an empowering experience. I had participated in a six-month mentorship before, through Humber School for Writing, but this mentorship was much more personal and productive for me.
My mentor Andrew Borkowski and I met in person at the beginning of the mentorship . . .
I started my poetry collection The Homes We Once Knew through a creative writing thesis in undergraduate school. Until I started working with my mentor Catherine Graham, I was feeling uninspired by the collection and had neglected it . . .
Revisiting personal experiences for the purpose of fictionalizing them was painful at times. I had to pace myself in writing some of the heavier sections of the novel. I realized that my ideal of “writing everyday” had to be set aside sometimes . . .
Prior to the Diaspora Dialogues’ long-form mentorship, I had a mentorship during university, where I met a writer/editor several times. The format was more of an informational interview rather than working on a manuscript. I was also less familiar with the field then . . .
Nostalgia for the Future has expanded in size considerably, from its original form as a short story into a full novel. When I began the Diaspora Dialogues long-form mentorship program, Nostalgia was written as a first-person narrative, but my mentor encouraged me to experiment with the third person . . .
One of the first scenes from Shade, the novel I’m working on, emerged from an independent reflection exercise I did during a writing retreat at the Tatamagouche Centre in Nova Scotia. That piece became the start of a travel memoir, which I took to the Humber College School for Writers in 2011 . . .
Before the Diaspora Dialogues long-form program, I hadn’t had previous mentorships but had taken courses and shared stories with others. I think one of the best parts of the DD program is that the mentor looks at your entire manuscript and not just an individual story or excerpt . . .
Writing Walking through Glass has been a long journey. It began as a novel but it has since become clear that it needs to be a memoir. The DD mentorship helped me to know what I really needed to write . . .
I began working on the craft of fiction writing about 7 years ago. Though courses and books can be useful, I have come to realize there is no better way to improve my craft by sharing my work with other writers and engaging in dialogues with them . . .
Though it keeps changing, at this point my poetry collection is called Tongue. It’s really a collection of poems that I’ve written over several years, as I write individual poems. The earliest ones are poems titled “Cantonese Lesson 1” and “Cantonese Lesson 2,” which I wrote in 2005 . . .