Call for Creative Writing Workshop

Sarah Olutola, Gordon F. Henderson Post-Doctoral Fellow 2018-2019, and the Human Rights Research and Education Centre present:


Strangers, Others and Exiles: Creative Writing Workshop for uOttawa Students

How to Participate

Submit a brief bio (up to 50 words) and a short statement on what you are interested in writing about and why (up to 150 words) by the deadline of February 18, 2019 to Sarah Olutola at Acceptance notifications will be sent shortly after and will include further details for short story submissions. Applications received by February 18 will be assured of full consideration. This is to provide enough time for participants to work on their projects before the workshop date. Late applications may also be considered on a case by case basis. Please note that though the primary language of submission and workshop instruction will be in English, bilingual submissions will be considered.

About the project: Workshop and Panel

The “mosaic” is a common symbol for Canadian multiculturalism, national unity and the celebration of diversity. But many people know based on their own experiences that gender, economic, racial, sexual etc. discrimination exists regardless of official policies and national rhetoric. Those on the margins – outcasts and ‘others,’—often find themselves facing a difficult choice: try to fit in or risk being excluded.

Strangers, Others and Exiles is a human rights and social justice-themed creative writing workshop for Undergraduate and Graduate Students that seeks to tackle inequality in Canada. This workshop asks:

  • How does it feel to be on the margins—to be a ‘stranger,’ ‘outcast’ or ‘underdog’?
  • What are the costs of belonging in normative Canadian society? What kind of price must be paid to be considered to ‘fit in’?
  • How are certain people excluded from social, economic and political spaces?
  • What role does the legal system, the government, policing, schooling, social circles etc. play in the exclusion of those who are ‘different’?
  • How can one’s difference become an unlikely strength?
  • What are ways in which Canada can create a more inclusive national society that places at its core ideas of social justice and human rights? 

The first stage of this project will be a March Creative Writing Workshop that will take place in Fauteux Hall (room to be determined). Students are invited to submit short fiction 500 words or less that will in some way engage the questions and themes as stated above. University of Ottawa students of all ages and from all backgrounds (minority and non-minority writers alike) are encouraged to apply. Stories can either be newly or already written but unpublished works requiring further editing. The workshop, which will be run by Dr. Sarah Olutola, writer and postdoctoral researcher with the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC), will feature peer-review as well as a presentation on writing and publishing. The goal of the workshop will be to make clear the powerful connection between art, writing and activism while providing knowledge that will improve the participants’ writing. 

The second stage of this project will be a reading with panel event before the end of the winter term (date and location to be determined). Three workshop participants will be chosen to read their work to the community, followed by a moderated panel in which the participants will be given a chance to have a conversation about their writing with the moderator and the audience.

Please contact the organizer, Sarah Olutola ( should you have more questions about the workshop and panel event.

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