BIPOC Writers Connect: Facilitating Mentorship, Creating Community is a virtual conference for Black, Indigenous, and racialized emerging writers to connect with industry professionals, established authors, and fellow emerging writers — all in one place! Presented by The Writers' Union of Canada (TWUC) and the League of Canadian Poets (LCP). TWUC and LCP are committed to cultivating space where BIPOC writers can share tools, strategies, feedback, and knowledge. 


BIPOC Writers Connect includes:

  • one-on-one time for feedback with a professional writer who has reviewed your work in advance;
  • panel discussions with literary industry professionals;
  • a behind-the-scenes look at manuscript selection as panelists offer feedback on the first pages of anonymously submitted manuscripts;
  • workshop on writing query letters; and
  • networking opportunities.

Important Dates

Applications due: July 10, 2023
Applicants notified: by September 2023
Virtual Conference: October 19, 2023

BIPOC Writers Connect is a free event, with no application fees, but advance application is required. Applications are open until Monday, July 10, 2023 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time (PDT). Successful applicants will be notified by September 2023. Submit your application here.

More Information

For more information about this event, contact Program Manager Kristina Cuenca at


Open to Black, Indigenous, and racialized writers in Canada who have a minimum of one published piece of writing (e.g., an article or short story in an online newspaper, school paper, or magazine), and who currently have a work-in-progress (fiction, nonfiction, or poetry) to submit for manuscript evaluation. Writers who have one or more full-length published book (traditional or self-published) or contract offer, and staff of The Writers' Union of Canada or the League of Canadian Poets are not eligible to apply. Previous BIPOC Writers Connect mentees are not eligible to reapply. Applicants must be 18 or older by October 19, 2023.

Land Acknowledgement

BIPOC Writers Connect is hosted by TWUC and the LCP, whose staff are based in Tkaronto, a Mohawk word which translates to “Where The Trees Meet The Water,” or “The Gathering Place.” Tkaronto is bound by Dish With One Spoon, a treaty between the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee to share the territory, promote peace and protect the land. We acknowledge them and any other Nations who care for the land — recorded and unrecorded — and we pay our respects to Canada’s first storytellers.


Manuscript Evaluation & Mentorship

Each successful applicant will be paired with a professionally published Black, Indigenous, or racialized writer, who will have had an opportunity to read their work-in-progress in advance of the virtual conference. At BIPOC Writers Connect, writers take part in a one-on-one discussion with their mentor for feedback on their submitted work-in-progress. We're thrilled to introduce this year's mentors. Stay tuned: additional mentors will be announced as the conference approaches.

How to Write a Query Letter

In this workshop, industry insiders will provide attendees with tips and tricks for writing a compelling query letter to a publisher or literary agent.

Virtual Networking

Connect with writers and industry professionals from across the country during facilitated networking sessions throughout the conference. This is always a highlight for BIPOC Writers Connect participants!

First Page Challenge & Industry Panel

Join us for a two-part closing panel, featuring literary industry professionals at each stage along a writer’s journey to getting published. First, attendees get a behind-the-scenes look at manuscript selection as panelists offer on-the-spot feedback based on the first pages of anonymously submitted manuscripts.* Following the First Page Challenge, there will be a moderated discussion on some of the challenges, pressures, and opportunities that come with immersing oneself in the world of writing.  

*Applicants can decide whether or not to allow their manuscript/work-in-progress to be evaluated during this session, keeping in mind that if your work is evaluated during the session, you will not be identified.

Accessibility & Accommodations

This event was created in response to the unique barriers faced by Black, Indigenous, and racialized emerging writers navigating the literary industry.

BIPOC Writers Connect is hosted on Zoom with live captions available. Union has set aside funding to accommodate tech rentals for participants who may require support.

Learn more about accessibility at the Union

TWUC continues to consult widely on equitable terminology. We recognize the use of the term BIPOC, and continue to prioritize equitable and responsive programming for the writing community.


BIPOC Writers Connect is a free event, with no application fees, but advance application is required. 

Applications are open until Monday, July 10, 2023 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time (PDT). Successful applicants will be notified by September 2023. Submit your application here.

Please submit your work-in-progress, including the first few pages of your manuscript (10–20 pages, double-spaced). You may also include a 1–2 page outline if desired.


Photo of H Felix Chau Bradley

H Felix Chau Bradley is the author of Personal Attention Roleplay, a collection of stories, which was a finalist for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and the Kobo Rakuten Emerging Writer Prize in 2022. Their writing has appeared or is forthcoming in carte blanche, Cosmonauts Avenue, Entropy Magazine, the Humber Literary Review, Maisonneuve Magazine, the Montreal Review of Books, PRISM International, Weird Era, Xtra, and elsewhere. They live in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal), where they work as an editor and occasional translator for publications such as Metonymy Press, This Magazine, and Le Sigh. They are working on a novel.


Photo of Natasha Deen

Guyanese-Canadian Natasha Deen is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal. Her works include In the Key of Nira Ghani (Amy Mather Teen Book Award), Spooky Sleuths: The Ghost Tree (School Library Journal Best Books of 2022), and The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad, Globe & Mail's Top 100 Books for 2022. When she’s not writing, she teaches Introduction to Children’s Writing with the University of Toronto’s SCS and spends an inordinate amount of time trying to convince her pets that she’s the boss of the house.


Photo of Melanie Florence

Melanie Florence has been writing full-time since 2010 and has written a bunch of books, but she’s probably best known for her picture books, Missing Nimama and Stolen Words, which won the 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and the 2018 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award respectively. In her spare time, Melanie plays guitar, collects vinyl, listens to really loud rock music, gets tattoos and drinks too much coffee. She lives in Toronto with her family.


Photo of Thea Lim

Thea Lim is the author of An Ocean of Minutes, a shortlisted finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her writing has been published in Granta, The Nation, The Paris Review, Best Canadian Stories, and elsewhere. She has served as visiting artist, mentor, and faculty for the University of Toronto, Sheridan College, Diaspora Dialogues, the University of Guelph, the Toronto Public Library, and the Writer’s Trust. She grew up in Singapore and lives in Toronto.


Photo of Danny Ramadan

Danny Ramadan is a Syrian-Canadian author and LGBTQ-refugees advocate. His novels, The Clothesline Swing (Nightwood - 2017) and The Foghorn Echoes (Penguin - 2022) continue to receive accolades. His award-winning children’s series The Salma Books is released by AnnickPress. It includes picture book Salma the Syrian Chef (2020), and early chapters books Salma Makes a Home and Salma Writes a Book (2023). He is expected to release his memoir Crooked Teeth in 2024. His short stories and essays have appeared in publications across North America and Europe. Since his arrival to Canada, Ramadan has raised over $300,000 for LGBTQ+ identifying refugees.


Photo of Zalika Reid-Benta

Zalika Reid-Benta is the author of Frying Plantain, which won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Literary Fiction. Frying Plantain was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and it was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award, the Toronto Book Award, the White Pine Award, and the Evergreen Forest of Reading Award. Zalika served on many juries including the Giller, the Danuta Gleed, the Amazon First Novel Prize, and the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award. She received an MFA from Columbia University, was a John Gardner Fiction Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and was the 2021-22 Writer in Residence at Western University. Zalika’s second book, River Mumma, a magical realist novel inspired by Jamaican folklore, will be released by Penguin Canada on August 22, 2023.


Photo of Dane Swan

Dane Swan is the author of five books, comprised of two books of short fiction and three books of poetry that include: the Trillium Book Prize for Poetry nominated, A Mingus Lullaby; and the ReLit Poetry Prize nominated, Love and Other Failed Religions. Dane is also the editor of the anthology, Changing the Face of Canadian Literature, which was featured on CBC Books' 2020 Best Canadian Books list and has been taught in Canada, the US, and Europe. Two of Dane's poems are featured in composer Paul Frehner's Sometimes the Devil Plays Fate, which premiered at the Lincoln Center in NY and Toronto's Temerty Theatre (at the Royal Conservatory of Music) in 2022.


Photo of Jack Wang

Jack Wang is the author of We Two Alone, longlisted for Canada Reads 2022 and winner of the 2020 Danuta Gleed Literary Award for best debut collection in English from The Writers’ Union of Canada. His fiction has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and longlisted for the Journey Prize. He has received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts and held the 2014-15 David T.K. Wong Creative Writing Fellowship at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. He teaches writing at Ithaca College.


Photo of Jenny Heijun Wills

Dr. Jenny Heijun Wills is the author of Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related. (McClelland & Stewart, Penguin Random House Canada), the recipient of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize in 2019. It also won the Eileen McTavish Sykes Best First Book Prize from the Manitoba Book Awards and was named a Globe & Mail Best Book of 2019. She has a forthcoming collection of personal essays to be published by Knopf Canada in 2024.


Stay tuned: more mentors to come!

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Co-Presented by

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