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Awards, Grants, and Fellowships for Canadian Writers and Poets


Canadian writers and poets are offered awards, grants, and fellowships to encourage them to develop and reach their full potential. The list of awards is quite long and includes the Fiddlehead Annual Literary Competition, Far Horizons Awards, the Freefall, Annual Prose and Poetry Contest, the Room Fiction and Poetry Contest, and others. There are prizes, and contests for short poems as well, for example the Utmost Christian Poetry Contest and the CBC Poetry Prize. Awards are also offered for books of poetry and chapbooks, one example being the Griffin Poetry Prize.

There are contests and awards with a more narrow focus such as the short story contest organized by Capital Crime Writers and the Canadian Jewish Book Awards. The former is called the Audrey Jessup Short Story Contest and is organized for short story crime fiction authors. The first prize is $200. Stories must be short (up to 3,500 words) and not published anywhere else. The Canadian Jewish Book Awards is the program of the Koffler Centre of the Arts. Last year, it was renamed the Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature and features 5 categories. Winners in each category get a prize of $10,000. Different formats are allowed, including digital storytelling, graphic novels, e-books, books, and others. Other literary awards to look into include Carol Bolt, the Banff Mountain Book Festival, and the Lorne Pierce Medal.


Grants are also offered to Canadian writers and poets under different funding programs. Some programs are designed for publishes, for example, the Book Publishing Support, Book Industry Development Program, and others. Other programs are designed to support writers. Funding is also available in the form of block, travel, and creative writing grants. Travel grants, for example, are offered to translators and writers to benefit from travel opportunities and receive prizes and awards, attend book fairs, international festivals, conferences, etc. The Creative Writing grant is offered to authors working in different genres, including literary non-fiction, graphic novel, children’s literature, poetry, short story, and novel. The Writers’ Reserve Grants are available to professional writers with a focus on history, social issues, literary criticism, poetry, and fiction.

The Canada Council for the Arts also offers grants to help writers promote, publish, translate, and create work. The money can be used in different ways – to attend festivals, conferences, and literary readings, pay for residence, etc. The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council also offers financial assistance to authors through different programs and funds such as the Community Arts Program and the Professional Artist’s Travel Fund.

Fellowships for Writers and Poets

Fellowships are available through the Writers’ Trust of Canada and participants are offered $50,000 a year within a 3-year period. Candidates who demonstrate an outstanding potential and creative ability have the chance to get the award. They are asked to provide proof of a solid publishing track record. Candidates working in different genres qualify, including literature, poetry, literary non-fiction, and fiction. The trust also offers grants, prizes, and awards, one example being The Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. The winner is awarded $15,000 while all finalists get $2,000.

Developing a project proposal is an important part of the application process. Proposals can be as short as a couple of pages or quite detailed and comprehensive depending on the type of grant. Applicants are usually asked to include information such as budget, project plan, and other details. Candidates with a professional project proposal have a better chance to get approved and receive a grant.

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