The current public health emergency triggered an economic crisis for self-employed workers across Canada. Professional literary creators were and continue to be especially hard hit.
Within a matter of days, book tours, lectures, performances, and school visits were cancelled. Other sources of income in the form of contracts for publishing-related or non-related projects have disappeared or been indefinitely postponed. Many professional writers were left struggling to buy groceries or medications or pay rent. Writers’ Trust and The Writers’ Union launched the Canadian Writers' Emergency Relief Fund to help writers during this difficult time and approached partners to develop a coordinated response to this urgent need. Collectively we raised over $375,000 for this project and were able to support more than 250 writers with $1,500 grants.
These grants were invaluable, but demand during the present crisis exceeds what the program’s resources could match. Applications closed on June 15, 2020.
Writers’ Trust continues to support writers in financial distress through its emergency grant program, the Woodcock Fund. We encourage those who wish to support Canadian writers facing financial crisis during this challenging time to make a donation to the Woodcock Fund.
#WTInsideVoices Live Stream
How is the ongoing global pandemic affecting Canadian writers?
Writers' Trust Fellowship recipients Michael Crummey, Miriam Toews, Eden Robinson, and Heather O'Neill had a live chat with celebrated author Tanya Talaga on the pandemic and how they are managing to write — or not — in the midst of COVID-19. Read the transcript or watch the video on YouTube or Facebook.
The 2020 Writers' Trust Rising Stars were announced during our second live stream, hosted by Rising Stars selector Rachel Giese. Recipients Carleigh Baker (selected by Thomas King), Lorax B. Horne (selected by Rachel Giese), Canisia Lubrin (selected by Anosh Irani), Troy Sebastian / Nupqu ʔa·kǂ am̓ (selected by Lynn Coady), and Laura Trethewey (select by Rosemary Sullivan) chatted about how the pandemic has affected life for developing writers. Watch the video on YouTube or Facebook.
The Writers' Union of Canada
The Writers’ Union of Canada is the national organization of professionally published writers. Now over 2,100 members strong, the Union was founded in 1973 to work with governments, publishers, booksellers, and readers to improve the conditions of Canadian writers.
Because a lively and diverse literary culture is essential in defining Canada and its people, the Union supports its members and advocates on their behalf for the advancement of their common interests. In so doing we promote the rights, freedoms, and economic well-being of all writers.
The Access Copyright Foundation promotes and supports Canadian culture by providing grants intended to encourage the development and dissemination of publishable Canadian works. The Foundation endeavours to make a modest but important contribution to the Canadian cultural community, while also broadening public awareness of the creative vitality of Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers.
Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. RBC’s success comes from the 85,000+ employees who bring their vision, values, and strategy to life so they can help their clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada’s biggest bank, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization, RBC has a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S., and 34 other countries. Learn more at rbc.com.
Since 2003, RBC’s investments in arts organizations have exceeded $90 million. Since 2015, over 28,000 artists have been supported through Emerging Artists programs. In 2021, the RBC Foundation donated more than $10 million as part of RBC Emerging Artists to over 185 organizations in Canada, helping to bridge the gap for over 5,000 emerging artists. RBC is proud to support a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments, and employee volunteer activities. See how at https://www.rbc.com/community-social-impact.
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon.
In addition to a number of donors whose names may not appear for privacy purposes, Writers’ Trust and The Writers' Union of Canada would like to thank the following individuals for their generous support of the Canadian Writers’ Emergency Relief Fund:
At Bay Press
J&W Murphy Foundation
Pandemic University School of Writing
Rowers Pub Reading Series
Toronto Book Club
Aritha van Herk