CWS 2016: Grants for writers


Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you see anything that needs correction or clarification, please email melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll fix it post-hasty.

jackillingworth

Presenter: Jack Illingworth, Literature Officer, Ontario Arts Council (OAC)

The majority of funding dollars go to written works. The budget is approximately four million and that hasn’t changed significantly since the nineties. Programs are fiercely competitive. In general, 11% of applicants receive funding.

Apply often and apply widely.

There are three streams of funding for literary creation.

The Canada Council of the Arts is moving to a non-disciplinary model in 2017.

Don’t put yourself in a box.

The writers’ works in progress grant offers up to $12,000 to work on a specific project.

For poetry, we want to see 15 pages of your work. For prose works, we want to see approximately 40 pages.

Juries assess the applications on relative artistic merit.

October 18 is the next deadline. There is also funding set aside specifically for northern writers and for comic arts (graphic novels). These have separate deadlines. You can’t apply to more than one type of works in progress grant, though.

Prose and poetry juries are separate. I try to have a “wild card” juror on each. For fiction, it’s a jury of four and for poetry, it’s a group of three.

The program could change in 2017.

We may add funding for an additional specialized genre.

Our current anonymous assessment model could go for the sake of equity and diversity. How can we ensure equity and diversity without knowing the identities of the applicants?

For the work in progress grant, there is an emerging writer category. We ask for one published work (novel or collection) or three publications of short fiction, non-fiction, or poetry.

We may be adding self-published works to the eligibility requirements.

There is also the writers’ reserve. This is not assessed by a jury, but by the participating publishers. It runs from September 1 to January 31 of the next year. Please see the OAC website for our list of participating publishers. It’s wide open genre-wise.

Approximately 10% of applicants receive funding. The available funding is divided among the publishers.

We hope to have an online application coming soon, but technological change is slow to come.

Juries for the WIP grants are selected after the applications are received to avoid conflict of interest. There are six considerations for equity: persons of colour, indigenous writers, disabled writers, francophone writers, and regional writers (in the case of the northern WIP grant).

Keep your application professional in tone. Don’t be pretentious. The synopsis is optional.

Also keep your eye out for the Chalmers Art Fellowships. They’re offered one time a year (currently TBA) and are interdisciplinary grants intended for research and development. For artists with up to 10 years of practice, the funding amount is between $10,000 and $25,000. For artists with over 10 years of practice, the funding range is between $10,000 and $50,000.

And that was the last session I’ll be reporting on from the Canadian Writers’ Summit. The rest of the presentations I attended didn’t lend themselves to reportage and the rest of the events were key note speeches or awards ceremonies.

As I implied last week, I’m going to take some time to vary my programming before I dive into WorldCon sessions. Next week, I’ll get into the current reno Phil has undertaken and something else of a more personal nature. The following week, I’ll probably finish my review of mid-season TV and offer my thoughts on a few more movies I’ve seen in the past year or so.

And then it’s time for another next chapter update. Gosh, time really does fly, doesn’t it?

Be well!

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