Black Pen: Creative Writing Program - Nia Centre for the Arts
For Community

Black Pen: Creative Writing Program

Explore Your Literary Voice!


April 13 - 30, 2021

Applications Close April 30

Apply Now!

Program Description

Explore your literary voice in Black Pen, a 4-month intensive creative writing program emerging Black writers between the ages of 16-29. Facilitated by Whitney French, scholarly writer & editor, participants will deeply and authentically explore their passion and skill for writing, culminating in the creation of a published book distributed across the country in Winter 2022!

Register for this weekly program that will offer a space for writers to workshop, learn practical literary skills and embark on conversations on Black Canadian-Literature. Black Pen aims to embolden an understanding of how writing can be used to empower oneself and one’s community. While this program is open to all Black self-identifying writers in the GTA, space will be prioritized for applicants in the Oakwood Vaughan/Little Jamaica neighbourhood.

Black Pen workshops take place every Tuesday, online via Zoom starting Tuesday, May 18. All workshops will run from 6-8pm. These two-hour sessions are the meat of the program, where the facilitator offers space for writers to workshop, learn practical literary skills and embark on conversations.

Applications close on April 30th, 2021 at 11:59 pm. The program starts on May 18 and ends on August 3, and the book launch will be in Winter 2022.


  • Self-identify as Black or part of the Afro-diaspora
  • Between the ages of 16-29
  • Open to all youth living within the Greater Toronto Area, and  space will be prioritized for youth living within the Oakwood Vaughan/Little Jamaica neighbourhood


  • Create a literary space for young Black writers to learn, create and share their works in a nurturing, healthy environment.
  • Motivate and encourage writers to complete individual goals through peer-critique methods, mentorship and editorial consultation
  • Equip Black writers with resources and allow them to actualize and hone their craft
  • Publish an anthology of writers’ work and hold a celebratory book launch

Thank you to our funders

Apply Now!

About Whitney French

Whitney French is a storyteller and a multi-disciplinary artist. She is the editor of Black Writers Matter, a critically acclaimed anthology published by the University of Regina Press in 2019. Her writing has been published in Geist Magazine, Canthius Journal and The Quill and Quire and anthologized in Black Notes: Young Black Voices (2017) and The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry (2010). Currently, she lives in Toronto, Canada where she works as an acquisitions editor for Dundurn Press.  

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