In the past, Diaspora Dialogues has supported young writers through our Young Writers from the Edge and mentorship programs. Going forward, we continue to engage with young writers through a dedicated youth blog, our webzine Shorthand, and year-round volunteering opportunities.

Our Young Writers from the Edge program (2008-2013) connected Toronto’s next generation of writers with established authors, poets, and spoken word artists, in weekly workshops held at participating secondary schools that included areas such as Danforth Crescent Town, Jamestown, Rexdale, Malvern, and Etobicoke. At the end of each semester, students performed their work publicly and had their writing anthologized in commemorative chapbooks. You can read the most recent output in the May ’13 issue of Shorthand.

In 2011, we introduced a pilot youth mentoring program for aspiring writers, where we later collapsed the program to reserve a certain number of spots in our successful literary mentorship program. Since then, several successful young applicants received professional development on their works-in-progress.

Shorthand, DD’s webzine, was launched February 2012 and has invited young writers to submit their works of fiction, creative non-fiction and drama for possible online publication. Young writers have an opportunity to get their work published online, where it appears alongside those of established authors.

Some of these writers stay on as guest bloggers for our youth blog, a space for reflections on the writing life from the perspective of young writers, as well as for event announcements and self-promotion. If you have an idea for a post, feel free to get in touch with us!

As a co-programmer of more than twenty literary and cultural events throughout the year, DD presents a unique chance for young writers to participate in the literary community and to network with potential future mentors by volunteering to help with our events. If you see an event that you’d like to be a part of, sign up for a volunteer spot!