Skip to main content

Book by PEI Youth Writing Club

Last summer, Wayves sat down with Vanessa Bradley  (she/her), Community Education & Engagement Manager of PEI PEERS Alliance, to talk about the Queer Youth Writing Club.

What exactly is this thing?

The Queer Youth Writing Club came out of a partnership with the PEI Writers’ Guild and PEERS Alliance, funded by a grant from the PEI Alliance for Mental Well-Being, with the goal of increasing queer youth mental health through a writing club.

I was approached by Shawn Hogan of the Writers’ Guild to partner on this project, and we came up with a fantastic idea: create a writing club for queer youth that would ultimately publish an anthology of queer youth writing.

We got funding, and the writing club came into existence in the summer of 2022. For a year and a half, now, the incredible youth who have joined the club have been meeting two to three times a month to write together, share their works, edit each other’s writings, and create a beautiful community together.

What happens at the Queer Youth Writing Club?

Every meeting is both different and similar — we open with introductions and check-ins, do a prompt together, and then focus on something. This could be: trying out blackout poetry, learning how to plot a novel, talking about queerness and its importance in individual writing, listening to a guest speaker, and so much more.

An incredible part of this project has been watching members of the group take each other's writing seriously and supporting and encouraging each other. Writing is something that is so vulnerable and personal, and having a community to share that with is a unique and important experience.

In running this writing club, we’ve seen first-hand how essential this kind of community can be, and have watched these youth build that community for each other. It’s been a beautiful thing, and we’re thrilled that the writing club itself is going to continue thanks to funding from the Kindred Foundation.

What gave you the idea for an anthology?

I’ve done some work with youth writing clubs in the past, and after working at PEERS Alliance as a Youth Program Coordinator and hearing about these youth who were writing such fun projects, I wanted to create something to support them in that journey and ultimately publish their work.

Shawn was excited at the idea of publishing youth work, and already had a connection to Acorn Press, a local publishing press in the area — we decided to start the writing club with the intention of having the youth work on a piece of writing to then publish.

Something that really is exciting is that these youth get to publish their first piece of writing, and under their chosen name. We’re thrilled to be able to provide that for them. Plus — we’ve gotten to work with incredible editor Tom Ryan, and so the youth have also had the experience of having a talented, published author edit their work and help them perfect their works.

Where can I get the book?

The book, “Are We Friends Now?” is available as a printed book directly from Nimbus, here.  It is also available through Bookmark in Charlottetown.