Questions about our programs, events or supporters? Find your answers here.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I apply to the Mentoring Programs?
We distribute an open call for submissions twice a year for our Long-Form Mentoring Programs. For the Short-Form Mentoring Program, we have submission deadlines throughout the year. Please follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, 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.
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.
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: tokmagazine.ca.
How does the program work?
Diaspora Dialogues 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 Diaspora Dialogues for review. Within three months of receipt, during which the manuscript will be read and reviewed internally and externally, Diaspora Dialogues 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, Diaspora Dialogues 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, Diaspora Dialogues 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?
Diaspora Dialogues hosts mixers throughout the year encouraging mentors and mentees of current and past years to socialize and mingle with food and refreshments. Diaspora Dialogues 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?
Diaspora Dialogues’ Program Manager Zalika Reid-Benta, is available to mentees Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, by phone or email.
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.
- Association of Canadian Publishers
- Writer’s Union of Canada
- Organization of Book Publishers of Ontario
- The Canadian Author’s Association has information on contracts, pay scales, and literary agents
- The Canadian Literature journal has compiled a list of links to other Canadian literary magazines and journals.
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
- Tarragon Theatre
- fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre
- Nightwood Theatre’s Write from the Hip program
- Cahoots Theatre Company
- Obsidian Theatre
- Factory Theatre
Below are some links to resources useful when seeking out funding, employment, career and business management ideas: