How can I apply for the Long- Form mentoring program?

We send out an open call for submissions twice a year for our Long-Form mentorship program. Please follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, or sign up for our mailing list to find out when our next open call will take place.

I haven’t finished my manuscript, can I still send it in for submission?

We require that you have a complete or near-complete manuscript in order to be qualified to be considered into our mentoring program. The work must meet the specified guidelines, which can be found here.

Who have been your mentors in the past? 

Lawrence Hill,  George  Elliott  Clarke,  Cherie  Dimaline,  Cynthia  Holz,  Shyam  Selvadurai,  Nino  Ricci,  Olive Senior, Moez Surani,  David Layton,  Martin  Mordecai, Ian Williams, Leanne  Simpson,  Elizabeth Ruth, Shani Mootoo, and many others from  our short-form mentorship program, who  can be  found at:

When will I know if I am accepted?

There isn’t a set time between submission deadline and when selections are finalized, but we do our best to make a timely decision. Regardless of whether you have been accepted or not, all applicants will be notified of their standing. If you do not get accepted the first time, we encourage you to work on your piece and try again. We have had successful applicants the second, third, and even fourth time around.

How does the program work?

Program Manager, Zalika Reid-Benta, will send the accepted writers and their respective mentors an introductory email, connecting both parties. Accepted writers will also email the full draft to Diaspora Dialogues.

Each  mentor  and  mentee  will  decide  on  a  frequency that  suits  their  schedules  and  work  habits, while ensuring that  the  full manuscript  will  have  been worked  on  by  the  end  of  the  program. Every pairing is unique; some mentors are able to meet their mentees in-person while other mentors and mentees communicate entirely through correspondence.

The  basic  cycle  is  thus:  based  on  a  frequency  and  page count mutually agreed upon by mentor and mentee, the mentee sends the mentor their manuscript pages, receives feedback  from  the  mentor, and either  resends  the  same  pages  after  working  on  them  or sends the next set of pages. However, Diaspora Dialogues wants the process to be as organic and tailored to individual needs as possible so this cycle does not have to be followed as long as there is a cycle agreed upon by both mentor and mentee.

What kind of feedback should I expect?

The  mentoring   process  will  address  character,  story,  structure,  pace, writing  style  and   substantive aspects  of the work, and  no  copy editing  (i.e.  spelling,  grammar,  word  usage etc.) will  be provided unless volunteered by the mentor.

What happens after the program ends?

Mentees can take up to three months to polish their manuscript before sending it to DD for review. Within three months of receipt, during which the manuscript will be read and reviewed internally and externally, DD will hold a meeting with the writer to advise them on the readiness of the manuscript ready to be sent out to publishers. If ready, DD will create and facilitate a plan for manuscript submission (publication, however,   is  not guaranteed), leveraging  our  relationships  within  the  Canadian publishing  community  and  adding an  enthusiastic  letter  of  support. Otherwise,  DD  will  suggest areas of improvement  and remain committed to reading further drafts and providing consultation.

Is there a fee?


Can I choose my mentor?


Will I meet the other writers?

DD hosts mixers throughout the year encouraging mentors and mentees of current and past years to socialize and mingle with food and refreshments. DD also offers Professional Development workshops called “Lunch N Learns” to alumni of the program as well as to current mentees, which will be another way for the writers to meet.

Who can I contact if I still have questions?

DD’s Program Manager Zalika Reid-Benta, is available to mentees Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, by phone or email.

Getting Published

The literary industry is a very competitive marketplace and publishers get unsolicited manuscripts daily, so if you’re looking to get published, it’s best to do a lot of research. Below are a few links to get you started.

The Writer’s Craft

The basic ingredients for improving your craft are read a lot, write a lot, and get good feedback a lot. But sometimes we also need a little bit more structure or guidance. The following are some links to various resources you may find useful in helping you take your writing where you want it to go.

Writer’s Union Programs
The Banff Centre Programs
Playwright Development Units


Below are some links to resources useful when seeking out funding, employment, career and business management ideas:

COVID Emergency Relief

Below are some links to grants that support Canadian writers experiencing financial effect from COVID-19:

If you have further questions, please email Zalika Reid-Benta, Program Manager, at