About the Revisions Workshop
The Black Creatives Revision Workshop is an extended opportunity for writers who have completed a full draft of a Middle Grade, Young Adult, or Adult novel. Twelve writers will be chosen from the applicant pool to receive training from a small faculty of esteemed Black authors to complete revisions of their manuscript and to submit their novel to a team of editors at Penguin Random House (PRH).
The Revision Workshop is for writers who believe that they will benefit from instruction in their final stages of revision and who will complete their edited manuscript within the six-month period of the workshop. The writers will also be dedicated to joining a committed community of other creatives participating in the Workshop.
Throughout the program, there will be opportunities for manuscript exchange and building writing partnerships along with extracurricular programming to introduce publishing industry do’s and don’ts. The BCF’s Program Manager and the Workshop’s Writing Mentors will also offer varied resources and support to the writers, fostering a nurturing environment and a supportive community for the participants.
The Workshop will focus on the writers completing their revisions by the end of the program so that they are ready to submit to PRH at the conclusion of the workshop.
Revisions Workshop Participants
Trae Hawkins (Young Adult Novel) was born in Texas, raised in Virginia, went to high school in New York, and attended Penn State University. He draws inspiration from real-world issues, such as historical oppression, mental health, and LGBTQ+ issues, and incorporates them into his writing, which typically falls under the fantasy and science fiction umbrellas. He majored in Political Science and English, and in his free time, he likes to read, write, draw, play video games, and watch anime. On any given day, you can find him doing any of the aforementioned things in the name of procrastination. His life goal is to be able to share his writings with the world and to give everyone a sneak peek into the workings of his brain. He believes that creators have the ability to change the world through their art, and he yearns to make the world better through his writing.
After graduating from Dartmouth College, Erika J (Middle Grade Novel) spent several years working as a biomedical engineer at Johnson Space Flight Center and as a mechanical engineer at Kennedy Space Flight Center. She then pursued a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Florida Inst. of Technology and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Cornell University. She presently works as an oceanographer and is passionate about turbulence in oceans and rivers. Having spent nearly two decades working as an engineer in many different fields, Erika is committed to encouraging young girls to pursue careers in math and science through the medium of story. She believes that women and people of color possess inherent skills and creativity that qualify them to make extraordinary contributions in these fields. Her goal is to demonstrate that, more than innate ability, it takes rugged determination to be successful in math and science. Erika is a native of Baltimore County, Maryland and in her free time she enjoys writing, drawing comics, and playing golf.
Ashley Jordan (she/her) (Adult Novel) is a millennial from Atlanta, by way of Brooklyn, with great affection for narratives that explore the full humanity of women. Raised by a group of phenomenal Black women, it was in watching them navigate the world that she became most interested in their lives. Her upbringing, along with the inimitable experience of attending Spelman College, have only further shaped her belief in the power of Black women’s stories. Ashley currently works as a data analyst in public health, but has had a love for writing since penning her first short story in second grade. It is when she recently tried her hand at fanfiction that she recognized her creativity could be more than a hobby. If Ashley isn’t writing, she is working toward her MA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; or more likely, she is on Twitter, stanning for Beyoncé and/or rambling about anything else she’s currently obsessed with.
Ashton Lattimore (Adult Novel) is a longtime writer and editor whose work lives at the intersections of racial justice, gender justice, culture, and the law. She's a recovering lawyer who's gratefully returned to the writing fold after several years away, and embraces storytelling in all its power to reshape the world and spark joy at the same time. By day, Ashton is the editor-in-chief at Prism, a nonprofit national news outlet. In her spare time, she's working on her first novel, a work of historical fiction exploring ideas of freedom, family, and friendship in 1830s Philadelphia. Ashton's work has been published by the Washington Post, Slate, CNN, Essence, and other outlets. She's a graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Law School, and Columbia Journalism School. She lives in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, with her husband and two sons.
Ebonie Ledbetter (Adult Novel) is a creative writer from Atlanta. She has written articles for publications such as Clutch, The Root, and Essence. Ebonie is the editor of two textbooks: Perspectives on Modern World History: Hurricane Katrina and Media Bias: Introducing Issues with Opposing Viewpoints. She is an English teacher and freelance editor who resides in South Florida. Her goal in life is to become financially stable enough to give a puppy a decent home.
Ashleigh Martin (Young Adult Novel) is a Program Librarian from Dallas, Texas that enjoys creating unique programming for middle grade children and patrons of all ages. She received her Master’s in Library Science from Texas Woman’s University and a Bachelor’s in English, with a Children’s Literature focus, from Stephen F. Austin State University. From writing reviews for the library’s book blog, to attending the latest librarianship conferences, Ashleigh remains immersed and dedicated to the work libraries do to foster a lifelong love of reading in children and decreasing the digital divide. In her spare time, she enjoys reading (of course), writing, running her online loose-leaf tea business, and playing Fortnite with her partner.
True Michelle (YA Novel) is a fantasy and speculative fiction writer committed to penning stories that explore the capacity and aliveness of black youth. She holds an MA in Africana Studies and is now pursuing a PhD in the same. Her studies inform much of her creative writing around themes of social life and death, intimacy, belonging, and trauma. True has a YouTube channel called Britt Writerly which curates conversations about the relationship between books and culture and showcases original content. As a Black writer, she is dedicated both to the craft of storytelling and the necessary dialogue strong narratives incite.
Latina Ramsey (Middle Grade Novel) was born and raised in New York and now resides in North Carolina. She has been an educator for the past 27 years and started her career as a middle school math teacher then moved down to elementary school. She’s been writing children’s stories since she was 10-years-old when her teacher gave her a yellow legal pad.She is an avid reader of non-fiction (history, ancient history, animals, nature) and of course children’s books. In her spare time she likes to read, write, and to wind down she plays her favorite online game; Candy Crush.
Stephanie Raye (Adult Novel) was born in Selma, AL. Having spent most of her adolescent years writing lyrics, poems and short stories, she refined her talent by taking creative writing college courses where she was awarded the Consulate General Award for the Donghwa Cultural Foundation’s East Meets West International Essay competition. She earned a B.A. in Communications and Information Sciences from The University of Alabama and is currently pursuing a M.Ed. in Student Affairs in Higher Education. She currently works as a data specialist in Education. When she’s not writing, Stephanie enjoys watching Korean variety shows, reading nonfiction and polishing her meme and GIF collection.
S.P. Rose (Young Adult Novel) was born in Brooklyn, NY to Trinidadian immigrants, and now resides in Charlotte, NC with her husband. After teaching English for more than seven years, at high schools in America and South Korea, S.P. is now pursuing a career in creative writing. A fan of fantasy, she loves to imagine new worlds inspired by her home culture, and creates narratives that uplifts her community. In her writing, she addresses themes and trauma that haunt Afro-Caribbean and African-American history, and hopes through the power of storytelling, she can promote POC Voices. At the completion of her master’s degree in Multicultural and Transnational literature at East Carolina University, she developed a local non-profit organization, Writing For Freedom, dedicated to the mental and spiritual healing of girls and young women of color through creative writing. When she is not writing a story or working on her non-profit, S.P. can usually be found doodling original character designs, reading a fantasy or historical fiction novel, or catching up on the latest anime.
P.C. Verrone (Adult Novel) is a writer, theatrical artist, and storyteller born in Los Angeles, California. As a queer, Black, mixed-race storyteller, he writes to explore and uplift underrepresented facets of American culture and history. He graduated from Harvard College. His plays have been presented by the Blank Theater, The Custom Made Theater, Urbanite Theater, and Native Voices. His digital series A Queer History of American Food was produced by Center Theatre Group in 2021. He was recently awarded a 2021-2022 Many Voices Fellowship by the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He currently lives in Harlem and, when he isn’t writing, enjoys baking with his fiancé. Find him on Twitter at @pcverrone and Instagram @pat.the.carroll.
Alyn Wallace (Adult Novel) is the Acquisitions and Editorial Assistant at BenBella Books. A graduate of Harvard University, with a joint concentration, magna cum laude, in Folklore & Mythology and Government, she lives in New Orleans. Prior to working at BenBella, she was on a purposeful travel fellowship in South Korea, dancing at 1Million. She’s written a thesis on the relationship of pop culture, politics, and identity in South Korea; penned a novel; plays the ukulele; enjoys random facts; sings all the time; favors the color yellow; and thinks that picking a favorite book is far too exclusionary. She has at least a thousand books in her room and, soon, those will include the ones she’s edited and written.
Revisions Workshop Faculty
Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of the acclaimed novel, Patsy, (Norton/Liveright, June 2019), which Time Magazine called “stunning,” and the debut novel, Here Comes the Sun (Norton/Liveright, July 2016).
She is s a Lambda Literary Award winner and a recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Artist Grant. Time Out Magazine has described Dennis-Benn as an immigrant putting her stamp on New York City and Vice named her among immigrant authors "who are making American Literature great again."
Dennis-Benn is a Kowald Visiting Faculty in City College's MFA Program and Lecturer in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University. She has previously taught in the writing programs at the University of Pennsylvania and NYU; and has been awarded fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Lambda, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Hurston/Wright, and Sewanee Writers' Conference. Dennis-Benn was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica.
She is a graduate of St. Andrew High School for Girls and Cornell University; and holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives with her wife in Brooklyn, New York.
Photo Credit: Jason Berger
About Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes:
Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes is an award-winning and New York Times bestselling author and educator for both youth and adults. She is the author of six books for children including the New York Times bestseller Ghost Boys and Black, Brother, Black, Brother, both named Amazon’s Best Children’s Books of the Year.
Her other books include Towers Falling, and the Louisiana Girls Trilogy: Ninth Ward, Sugar, and Bayou Magic. Jewell is the author of six adult novels: Voodoo Dreams, Magic City, Douglass’ Women, Season, Moon, and Hurricane, as well as the memoir Porch Stories: A Grandmother’s Guide to Happiness, and two writing guides, Free Within Ourselves: Fiction Lessons for Black Authors and The African American Guide to Writing and Publishing Non-Fiction. Jewell has won the American Book Award, the Black Caucus of the American Library Award for Literary Excellence, and the Jane Addams Peace Association Book Award.
Jewell is the Founding Artistic Director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and Narrative Studies Professor and Virginia G. Piper Endowed Chair at Arizona State University. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she currently lives in Seattle.
Photo Credit: Jay Watson
Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work. You can find her goofing off and/or fangirling over her adorable little family on most social media platforms.
Photo Credit: Nic Stone
Karen Strong is the author of the critically acclaimed middle grade novel Just South of Home, which was selected for several Best of Year lists including Kirkus Reviews Best Books, CCBC Choices, and Bank Street Best Books. Her short fiction appears in From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back and A Phoenix First Must Burn. Born and raised in the rural South, she is a graduate of the University of Georgia and an advocate of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). An avid lover of strong coffee, yellow flowers, and night skies, Karen lives in Atlanta. Visit her at karen-strong.com.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Ifendu
Jason Mott is the author of three novels, including the New York Times Bestseller, The Returned, which was the basis for the ABC television series, Resurrection. He has a MFA and a BFA, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and his work has been published in various journals. He was also an NAACP Image Award nominee. His fourth novel, Hell Of A Book, will be released August 10, 2021.
Revisions Workshop Writing Coaches
Dee has been described as many things, but everything she does goes to back her love for reading. A forever student, she can always be found looking for a new project. Whether it be learning ASL, researching the lives of those in Tudor England, or tackling her ever-growing TBR list, Dee always finds a way to incorporate her hobbies into her biggest passion, reading and editing. While you can mainly find her reading Romance, she also loves Nonfiction, MG, and all things YA.
D. Ann Williams (she/her) is a Black American editor and diversity consultant. She started editing at UCLA as the editor-in-chief of two academic journals. For the past ten years, she has edited business and academic writing before expanding into fiction editing with Tessera Editorial. She provides a variety of services (from developmental editing to sensitivity reading), and her clients have included Big 5 publishers, indie publishers, and many authors. She loves to read and edit romance, kidlit (picture books, MG, and YA), thrillers, and science fiction/fantasy.
Black Creatives Revisions Workshop FAQ
There is not an age limit on applying, however, craft readiness for an offer of a books contract is part of the consideration criteria. Applicants should display a certain level of maturity, commitment, and practice at their craft. Those who apply need to have completed at least one full book draft, a synopsis, and have a career biographical statement ready at the time of submission or they will be disqualified.
Each application is reviewed by a panel of judges to ensure that all of the expectations set forth are met; the expectation is that authors will self-identify as part of the African diaspora through the application.
Using an anonymous system and on a rolling basis, five judges with experience in assessing works in the various genres will select a pool of finalists from the larger group based on the merit of the writing sample submitted.
Once the final pool is selected, it will be submitted to a team of WNDB employees and PRH employees who will review the full applications of all the finalists to select the twelve who will be enrolled in the intensive.
Applicants who do not comply with submission rules will be disqualified.
Application guidelines are available on the BCF Revisions Workshop general information website.
All authors must have a completed manuscript available for immediate review by their writing coach at the time of application. An entire draft of the book should be complete by the time of submission even though applicants send only 10-15 pages for consideration in their application. Applicants also must include a synopsis of the full story (which can’t accurately be written until after a full draft is complete). No exceptions will be made.
No, the manuscript submitted must be authored by a single writer and not published in any form prior to submission to this workshop.
There are no limitations. The money is intended to provide financial support so that participants may have more time and flexibility to dedicate to their revisions. Participants may use the money however they see fit.
No. Anyone (in any category) who submits more than one application or manuscript will be disqualified. Anyone who applies for more than one category will also be disqualified.
No. Due to stipulations around the distribution of the grants, we can not currently accept international applications but there will be more programming forthcoming with the Black Creatives Fund open to international participation.
We evaluate all applications in late March/early April and successful applicants will be notified in mid-April.
We can’t advise you on the taxability of your stipend, so we encourage you to consult a qualified tax preparation professional.
Participation in each faculty lesson and faculty live Q&A is mandatory. During the week that there are lessons you can expect to spend from an hour and a half to two hours on the instruction piece and then an additional hour later in the week for the live Q&A. That same week industry insiders will be hosting a one-hour Industry Brown Bag Lunch that is not mandatory, but participants are strongly encouraged to attend each session. Alongside these engagements, the participants will be required to schedule three one-on-one sessions with their writing coaches: one at the beginning of the workshop, one at the mid-point and one at the end before submission of the manuscript. Outside of these events and appointments, the individual schedule for completion of the full revisions is up to each participant, but every participant must submit a final manuscript for full review by the end of the program. Please do not apply if you do not feel that your schedule over the next six months will allow for full engagement in the intensive.
No. There will only be one grand-prize winner awarded a publishing contract with our inaugural sponsor publisher Penguin Random House, but this is an opportunity to receive instruction by a faculty of well-published and appointed authors. You’ll receive individual support by your Writing Coaches and engage with industry insiders available to answer your questions and concerns about revision and joining the publishing community. Faculty, Writing Coaches, and Industry Brown Bag lunch guests will not be expected to provide referrals to agents, editors, or other publishers. The focus of the workshop is craft-based on strong self-editing and revision, with opportunities to ask professional and business-related questions as they arise.
Writing Coaches help provide some structure for accountability with the program, helping participants to complete initial revision goals and helping to ensure that they are being met as the program continues and is completed.
Please use your real name on the portion of the application with contact information and let us know what your pen name is in the proper field on the application form. No names or identifying information should be on the manuscript itself.
All applicants must be unpublished, including self-publishing, and unrepresented by an agent.