Draft Reading Series
Reading Series … In process since 2005

Draft 16.3 March 21 2021

Please stay tuned for another fabulous edition of Draft

March 21, 2021

3:00 p.m. on ZOOM

Hosted by Kern Carter

and featuring readings by contributors to CRY Magazine and members of The Nia Centre.

Tickets are on a sliding scale, and all the money goes to the authors.

You can learn about some of this afternoon’s contributors below — and stay tuned for more to come!

Authors from CRY

Carlos Anthony: I write stories and share experiences that black men are afraid to write about and are ashamed to talk about. I open the discussion of the vulnerability we face as men but hide because of the stereotypes associated with that vulnerability. Here’s a link to Carlos’s work on CRY.

Aisha Gallion is a Columbia, South Carolina native and music enthusiast/researcher. As a writer, she holds expertise in Black music studies in the U.S. and poetry. Much of what she pursues aims to uplift and highlight the contributions of Black folks in the arts. When she isn’t writing she’s watching tiny house tours and listening to chloexhalle. Here’s a link to Aisha’s work on CRY.

A Dominican immigrant to the US, Johanny (Joa) Ortega always wanted to write but made a detour through the Army, and motherhood and is now finding her way back to her first love. Currently pursuing an MFA on creative writing through National University in California, and two WIPs, one a speculative fiction/gothic, the other a contemporary fiction. Constantly forages her schedule for free minutes to write. Here’s a link to Joa’s work on CRY.

Authors from the NIA Centre

Helen Akey is an upcoming poet and creative writer. She is a third-year student at York University, studying Culture and Expression. As a young girl, she would journal everything that was happening in her life as a form of therapy. In grade 12, spoken word artist and activist, Faduma Mohamed, introduced her to poetry and different performance styles to further express physical, mental and emotional journeys. As she continuously gains exposure and guidance from others in the field of creative writing, she would like to share her knowledge, skills, and stories to future generations to inspire and encourage them, to use their voice to speak their truth as they navigate in their journey of life⎼⎼openly.

Rachel Barduhn is a freeverse poet and aspiring writer from Scarborough who aims to weave magic, imagination, truth and diversity into her work. As someone who faced many difficulties growing up with mental illness, she also uses her poetry to inspire and normalize complicated emotions/feelings. With her story writing, Rachel aims to create diverse characters in a positive light to show the world as it is, a place full of diverse cultures and racial backgrounds. Showing that people of colour can be included in fiction and fantasy. She has a lot to say and has decided from when she was 12 she wasn’t going to write what others wanted of her but that it starts with her in the messages she wants to bring forth.

Darynel Beckford is 24 year old, QUEERibbean Culture Writer and Digital Creator. Jamaican by birth, but global citizen by existence, he spends most of his time reflecting on things that are wrong within society and advocating for making them right. His favourite stories bring to the forefront the stories of Caribbean people, beyond the lens of the biased first world, and emphasize the true lived experiences of same. He is open to connecting with kinfolk and looks forward to interacting with you all.

Tamara Jones is a freelance culture writer and performing artist based in Tkaronto. By day, they work as a publicist and digital content creator for theatre companies, festivals, and film productions including The Theatre Centre, SummerWorks, the South Western International Film Festival, Neon, Warner Bros., and Switch Hitter Films. Their written and spoken work has been featured in and commissioned by a handful of publications including Ephemera Magazine, Adolescent Content, Lithium Magazine, Feels Zine, With/out Pretend, and The Globe and Mail. ‘Viaduct’ is their first work of fiction.

Omi is a young black writer dually located in Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto making sense of time and space. Their writing is concerned with the Black diasporic experience of spirituality, love and dance. While completing their undergrad, they are active in organizing spaces between KW and Toronto, working to make Black communities more livable.

Muna (Warda) Youssouf is a poet and a visual artist living in Toronto. Born in Djibouti and raised in the UK, Muna is a Self-taught Artist. She was the recipient of the David Maltby Award in 2019 for her exhibition Roots, and of a Toronto Refugee Mentorship Grant, to help develop her first feature film, People from Nowhere in (2019). Her practice is engaged with themes of home, change and displacement. Muna engages her local and artistic community through production and curation of story-telling shows and art therapy events at venues across Toronto like Hashtag Gallery. Where she recently curated Roots, a group exhibition interpreting the idea of ‘roots’ through different mediums. She has exhibited at Gallery 44 (2019), Hashtag Gallery (2018-2020), Ryerson Image Center (2019) and Day’s and Atkinson’s Almhouse Photography Competition (2013) where she placed third for her depiction of the ever-changing housing hardships in London, UK. In under 2 years in the film industry, she has produced 3 shorts Confessions(2020), Emancipation of Egbert(2019) Menagerie (2019) and with over 10 credits in commercial productions as a PA, AD and art department. Nowadays, you can find her working on her short Tahira, as well as her documentary “The Power of Names”.


Kern Carter is a full-time freelance writer and author who has written and self-published two novels — Thoughts of a Fractured Soul (novella) and Beauty Scars. A young adult novel, Boys and Girls Screaming is forthcoming from DCB publishing. Kern is also a ghostwriter with credits in Forbes, the New York Times, Global Citizen, Elle Magazine and Fatherly.com, along with having ghostwritten several books. When he’s not penning novels or ghostwriting, Kern is curating stories through CRY, his online publication that discusses the emotional aspects of being a writer or any other type of artist. He lives in downtown Toronto with his 18-year-old daughter and they get along admirably. (Kern will also be hosting and curating.)


Our mission at CRY is simple: to build a community of emerging creatives who are connected by the power of vulnerability and creativity. We emphasize the emotional aspects of the creative process and help creatives navigate emotions with educational content, community events, as well as articles for artists expressing the joy and frustration that comes with being a creator.


We are a Toronto-based not-for-profit organization that supports, showcases and promotes an appreciation of arts from across the African Diaspora.

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