Last Summer, we launched the creative writing program Black Pen, a series of weekly learning, creation, and sharing sessions facilitated by facilitator Whitney French, augmented with 4 guest facilitators/authors. During each session, the 6 selected writers had the opportunity to deeply and authentically explore their literary voices and create their own written piece.
On February 10th at 6pm, we will celebrate and launch our new chapbook ‘Griot: Six Writers Sojourn into the Dark’. Each writer from the Black Pen program have each written a piece of short fiction that appears in this anthology. Following the launch, you will have the opportunity to hear from the artists as they share their experience and learnings, following by a live reading of their work.
Kais Padamshi (He/Him) is a Black East African-Mixed settler based in Tkaronto/Toronto working as a visual artist, writer, equity consultant, yoga teacher, arts administrator and community worker. His writing practice encompasses academic, research-based texts, curatorial reflections, poetry, and exhibition reviews. The themes of his writing practice focus on cultural identity, belonging, spirituality and healing.
Omi is a Jamaican writer weaving stories on the stolen land currently known as Canada. Their artistic focus lies in documenting the Black Atlantic, with an emphasis on the Caribbean. They are surrendering to history as their ancestors tell it.
Onyka is a Black lesbian living in Toronto. They love storytelling, poetry, and everything fantastic. Her writing focuses on Black protagonists in extraordinary worlds and circumstances. As we grow older, we are told to accept the way things are and who we have to be. Challenging those ideas can lead to power struggles or victories defiant. In writing, there are no limits on what we can create, imagine and share. Onyka hopes their writing speaks a truth that needs to be heard.
Yvvana Yeboah Duku (she/her)Yvvana is an 18-year-old writer, eyelash technician, freelance model and visionary residing in Ottawa, Ontario. As a natural advocate, she aims to speak to the realities of young Black women through her pieces; she pulls out the topics that are swept under the rug, and uses vulnerability in her works to relate to all those who find resonance. Find Yvvana on Instagram @myquandary\
Adeola Egbeyemi is writing what she wished she had read growing up. She was raised in Ottawa, magic tree-houses and the Rodent’s Gazette, in half-blood cabins, and with Aminata Diallo and the Akron AWOL. She’s currently studying Arts & Science & Political Science at McMaster University. Find Adeola on Twitter @egbeyema.
Saherla is a Black Muslim writer. She writes to feel, to love, to learn, and to embrace everything around her. She writes mostly poetry but also dabbles in every form of writing as she loves creating and exploring different ways to grow. She’s really excited and thrilled to be a part of the program as she has always wanted to be part of a Black space to express herself, be comfortable enough to open up and share an art form that feels like she’s been working on most of my life.
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