The Woodcock Fund
Page 109 of The Gentle Anarchist by George Fetherling
The Woodcock Fund provides emergency funding to professional Canadian writers in mid-project who are facing an unforeseen financial need that threatens the completion of their book, and who lack the resources to meet that situation. Each grant is given as one-time assistance for a specific emergency. (The program does not consider requests for chronic situations or project funding; nor can it consider situations resulting from general indebtedness or lack of employment.)
Applications to the Fund are processed in confidence by a committee of writers. Successful applicants quickly receive financial support. Full review generally takes three weeks from the time an application is complete. When a situation warrants it, reviews can be completed sooner.
Realities of the Writing Life
Despite his successful writing career, George Woodcock was well aware of the difficulties faced by those who have chosen to devote their lives to literature. Not only is writing a solitary profession with no health benefits or pension plans, not only is little or no income generated during the long pre-publication period when a book is being born, there is no guarantee that even when a book is published it will generate enough income to provide a decent standard of living. A number of factors contribute to a book’s financial success (quality being only one of them) and almost all of these factors are impossible to control.
What We Have Been Able to Accomplish
Established in 1989 by George and his wife Ingeborg, the program has to date distributed more than one million dollars and supported more than 200 Canadian writers, a number of them prominent and established in their respective fields.
About George Woodcock
Self-described as “a British Columbian by choice, a Canadian by birth,” the England-educated anarchist George Woodcock was B.C.’s most prodigious man of letters. Here he lived as “a man of free intelligence” from 1959 to 1995 with his wife Ingeborg, raising funds for two charities they founded, Tibetan Refugee Aid Society and Canada India Village Aid, while writing and editing approximately 150 books. Here, as well, Woodcock edited Canadian Literature, the first publication entirely devoted to Canadian books. A friend and biographer of George Orwell, and a friend to the Dalai Lama, Woodcock became the first author to receive Freedom of the City from Vancouver City Council. After their deaths, the Woodcocks’ little house was demolished in order to generate their bequest of almost $2.3 million to the Writers' Trust of Canada to support writers in distress.
George Woodcock (cr. Susanna Blunt)
For more information about the Woodcock Fund please contact:
James Davies, Program Director
416.504.8222 x 245