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Writing While Black

February 4, 2015



For years I’ve been hungry for a creative writing space for black writers to create, dialogue and simply to know that there are others of us who exist. I live in Toronto, and there are so many dope literary workshops, events, reading series and festivals so I figured I wasn’t looking hard enough. I continued my quest, I inquired, I searched and searched and searched. Couldn’t find anything. Then intuition suggested, “why don’t you just make your own Frenchie?”

Intuition is one smart cookie.

And some folks may ask and wonder why do you need an all black writing space anyway? Doesn’t that segregate? Doesn’t that limit your scope? Are you even gonna find enough interest? Does anyone care?

Let’s honest, the last question wasn’t asked by folks, it was my insecurities, it was inner fear asking me, Does anyone care? Well, people do care. A lot!

It’s only been a few days since I’ve announced the workshop online and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

I wrote a piece a few Black History Months ago called Black + Writer, delving into long-time conversations I’ve been having with myself about what that label means. The weight and expectation that black writers have that are unique and worlds different than the expectations of white writers. There are so many feeling that surface and even though I’m in the process of writing a follow-up article, I’m galvanized to extend the conversation beyond the confines of my mind or even of this blog and ask community, what does it mean to be a black writer?

This is also my first workshop of 2015, that was intentional. I want to situate Whitney French Writes workshops in the mindset of community engagement, of tackling real issues, of healing and helping and caring. And it is with intention that this workshop is free. Not that it isn’t valued but I am exercising generosity. Consider Writing While Black my giveaway, my gift to community. I want as many perspectives and people from our community present and I do not want money to stop anyone.


So if you are a black writer, poet, novelist, short fiction writer, playwright, journalist, essayist, please join us at Harlem Restaurant East (67 Richmond Street East) for an evening of dialogue, exploration, storytelling and of course writing.

Our partner Accents Bookstore will be providing a mini-library of books from black writers past and present for purchase for anyone interested in beefing up their bookshelves. I know I need to stalk up.

I haven’t been this excited about a workshop in a while. It’s a long time coming. I hope you can share the good news. Facebook event with more details are all right here.

Over and out!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2015 5:14 pm

    This sounds cool…hope you do another one, I’d love to attend.

  2. Khaya Ronkainen permalink
    November 25, 2015 1:49 pm

    How cool! I wished I lived nearby.

    • November 28, 2015 10:38 pm

      Greetings Khaya, where about are you living. I’m thinking of taking #WritingWhileBlack on tour

      • Khaya Ronkainen permalink
        November 30, 2015 1:33 pm

        Hi Whitney! A tour sounds great but I live far away in Finland. All the best with the tour.

      • December 2, 2015 3:38 am

        Finland? I gotta get there some how, lol. Maybe I’ll do an online version, would you be interested (or know others) who’d be down for an online WWB?

      • Khaya Ronkainen permalink
        December 2, 2015 2:27 pm

        Lol! Finland is almost at end of the world. Yep, an online version would be ideal. Other participants? That’s a difficult one. I don’t know or have no connection with any Black writers here (there few of us here to start with). My writer friends and beta readers are Finns, and write in Finnish. But let’s keep in touch and see:)

      • January 5, 2016 5:51 pm

        feel free to connect:; i’m in the process of doing a livestream thing. love to share the experience to Finland. I bet you’re not the only black writer there. lol. 1 love

      • Khaya Ronkainen permalink
        January 6, 2016 7:11 am

        Compliments of the New Year, Whitney! Thanks for your contact details, I’ll save for future use. Yep! that’s true, I’m not the only black writer here:-). I’ve just recently made acquaintance with one and hope I’ll continue to discover more. All the best to you.


  1. February Newsletter | Writing in a Tree

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