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About the Program

It could be the best three months of your life — a time to reflect, to discover the Yukon, and to fully dedicate yourself to your work-in-progress. 

Berton House is a cozy cottage situated on the edge of the historic northern town of Dawson City. With special roots as Pierre Berton’s childhood home, the residency has hosted 84 writers since it was launched in 1996 and has played an influential role in the publication of dozens upon dozens of manuscripts.  

Poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, playwrights, and writers of children’s literature are invited to apply. Housing and travel costs to and from Dawson City are covered. Residents also receive a $6,000 honorarium, part of which may be covered by the Canada Council for the Arts’ Research and Creation grant program. Writers are required to deliver two public readings and encouraged to interact with the community during their stay.  

Current Writer-in-Residence

Elizabeth Ruth

Elizabeth Ruth is a Toronto writer, editor, creative writing instructor and mother. Her first novel, Ten Good Seconds of Silence, was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Amazon First Novel Award, and the City of Toronto Book Award; her second novel, Smoke, was chosen for the 2007 One Book One Community program. Ruth has taught at the University of Toronto and through the Humber School for Writers, and has mentored students through Writers in Electronic Residence (WIER).

Ruth will be living in Berton House from July to September 2019. While in Dawson City she will be working on her first collection of poetry, This Report Is Strictly Confidential, inspired by the experience and records of a developmentally delayed family member who was institutionalized long-term in a notorious residential hospital.

Upcoming Writers-in-Residence

The House

Berton House is a fully furnished two-bedroom bungalow located on Eighth Avenue, between Mission and Hanson in Dawson City, Yukon, five hundred kilometers north-west of Whitehorse.

The house is situated on the southern edge of town on “Writers’ Row,” across the street from Robert Service’s historic cabin and just up the street from Jack London’s cabin. 

The home includes a bedroom, kitchen, dining room, living room, office, and bathroom and is fully-furnished and fully equipped (i.e. sheets, towels, dishes, etc). All the amenities necessary for you to immerse yourself completely in your work are provided (internet access, telephone, television, dishwasher, laundry). Plus, the house features a unique library containing Canadian North treasures, Pierre Berton’s voluminous collection, and works published by Berton House alumni. 

In 1989, Berton himself contributed $50,000 to the Yukon Arts Council so his childhood home, vacant and run down at the time, could be a place for Canadian authors to experience the north and pursue their craft. An eclectic and vibrant northern community, Dawson boasts a mixture of First Nations heritage and gold rush history blended with active gold mining and tourism industries as well as a thriving arts scene.  

Partners

While Berton House is owned and administered by the Writers' Trust of Canada, crucial operational support is provided by the Dawson City Community Library Board, the Klondike Visitors Association, and the Whitehorse Public Library. 

Further gratitude goes to Aeroplan for their generosity in supporting travel of the writers-in-residence to and from Berton House through their Beyond Miles program. Consider donating your own miles to support the program.