Young Writers Open Call


We are excited to announce a new, one-on-one mentoring program for creative writers aged 16-25 years. The call for submissions is out now! NEW deadline is October 15, 2011.

Based on the same model as Diaspora Dialogues’ successful publishing/mentoring program for emerging writers in the GTA, now in its seventh year, we’re inviting submissions of short stories or creative non-fiction less than 3,000 words in length; or up to 5 poems, with each poem being no more than 75 lines from writers between the ages of 16 and 25 inclusive. Applicants are welcome to enter more than one category, but no more than one submission per category, please.

Diaspora Dialogues is committed to supporting a literature of Toronto that is as diverse as the city itself. Writers are encouraged to keep this mandate in mind, but addressing this theme directly is not essential in the submission. The setting of the works must be, at least in part, the greater Toronto region. First and second-generation immigrants and First Nations writers are especially welcome.

Through an adjudicated process, 6-10 young writers will be chosen and each assigned (free of charge) to an established writer in a mentoring capacity to gain feedback on their work. This year’s mentors include Margaret Christakos, Moez Surani, Andrew Pyper, Ibi Kaslik, Rabindranath Maharaj, and Olive Senior.

The youth writers will also be published in Diaspora Dialogues’ youth e-zine and will gain access to a resource wiki that will provide ongoing support, ideas and opportunities specifically for emerging writers under 25, as well as the ability to attend, without charge, the professional development seminars that DD runs throughout the year.

Please note, for writers under 18, participation will require parental consent.

Diaspora Dialogues supports the creation and presentation of new stories, poetry and drama that reflect the complexity of the city through the eyes of its richly diverse writers.

Submission Guidelines

  • The greater Toronto region must exist in each story or poem in some way. This can mean using the city as a physical setting. It can mean exploring what the city means to you in a psychological or metaphorical way. It can mean writing about a person, issue or geographic location that is Toronto-specific. The definition is broad, but Toronto must be somehow present in the work.
  • The work must be original.
  • Submissions must be in English.
  • Fiction or creative nonfiction must be 3,000 words or less.
  • Up to 5 poems may be submitted, with each poem being no more than 75 lines.
  • Only one submission per category, but you may submit to more than one category. (Example: You cannot submit two short stories, but you can submit a short story and a poem.)
  • Submissions must include a short biography in paragraph form.
  • The writing sample must be free of any identifying marks (no name or contact information) as applications are read blind by the jury. Please do not staple or bind in any way as the submissions will be photocopied. A completed submission form must be included.
  • Submissions will not be accepted electronically or by fax.
  • If you would like your submission returned, please include a self-addressed envelope with correct postage.
  • Commentary/feedback is not available on submissions.


  • Writers must be between the ages of 16 and 25 when the program begins in Fall 2011.
  • Writers under 18 will require parental consent.
  • You must be living in the greater Toronto region, which includes York, Halton, Peel and Durham.

We welcome your submission! NEW deadline is October 15, 2011. Submissions will not be accepted after the deadline. Decisions will be made in October 2011.

Download the submission form here.

Please mail or drop off submissions to:

Diaspora Dialogues
170 Bloor Street West, Suite 804
Toronto, ON
M5S 1T9

Questions? Contact Natalie Kertes at or 416-944-1101, ext 250.

This program has been made possible with the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.