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The Writers’ Trust Rising Stars program is a multi-faceted career development program that recognizes talented authors in the early stages of their careers with $5,000 and highlights their work with an endorsement from a proven, influential author. Five notable Canadian writers who are past Writers’ Trust beneficiaries each select one developing writer who is poised to produce exceptional and enduring creative work. Through a flexible mentorship, selectors will offer recipients feedback, encouragement, and advice to help them take the next steps in their careers.

In addition to receiving one-on-one guidance from the writer who selected them, Rising Stars attend a series of professional and networking events and are invited to attend a two-week self-directed writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

2022 Rising Stars

Presenting Sponsor

BMO

Sponsors

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood
“Canada has much new and undiscovered writing talent. I’m proud to support a program that will champion the next generation of literary voices, many of which are now just beginning to be heard.”

Canadian businessman and philanthropist Jim Balsillie

Jim Balsillie is the former chairman and co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), a technology company he scaled from an idea to $20 billion in sales globally. His long-standing interest in and support of public policy initiatives in Canada include serving as an advisor to Canada School of Public Policy, creating and funding the Centre for International Governance Innovation, the Balsillie School of International Affairs, the Arctic Research Foundation, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, the Centre for Digital Rights, and the CIO Strategy Council. He was the private sector representative on the UN Secretary General’s High Panel for Sustainability. He is a member of the Board of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Advisory Board of the Stockholm Resilience Centre. His awards include: Mobile World Congress Lifetime Achievement Award, Canadian Business Hall of Fame, Time Magazine’s World’s 100 Most Influential People, and three times Barron’s list of “World’s Top CEOs.”

Kari Cullen and William Bonnell

Kari Cullen and William Bonnell
“We believe that Canada consistently distinguishes itself at home and abroad by the quality of its artistic endeavors, and Canadian writers make us especially proud. Whether they are helping us understand our country and ourselves better, or drawing us deep into a world of their own creation, our souls are richer for engaging with them. We are excited to play a small part in fostering the next generation of Canada’s literary voices by supporting the Writers’ Trust Rising Stars program.”

Clair Duff in memory of Catherine Shepard

Clair Duff in memory of Catherine Shepard

“Catherine’s work as an archivist focused on the past, where this gift in her memory focuses on the future. There’s lovely symmetry in that. Catherine was an aspiring writer, and recognition like this in the critical early days might have been the boost she needed to devote herself to writing full time. As most of my work is in leadership development, identifying new talent on the horizon merges both of our values with great meaning.

Catherine would be truly chuffed to know she continues to make a lasting impact, a lasting difference on Canadian writing. In this honour, her voice lives on.”

Deb MacLeod and Ward Sellers

Deb MacLeod and Ward Sellers

“We’re not writers ourselves, but it is very meaningful for us to connect with family and friends over good Canadian books. We’d be gutted if the most talented writers couldn’t continue their craft due to financial impediments, lack of support, or an absence of guidance and encouragement. There are so many pressures on writers that put constraints on their ability to produce great work. By supporting emerging Canadian writers, we want to help reduce some of those pressures and create more opportunities for great Canadian literature to emerge.”

Partners

Thanks to Writers’ Trust’s ongoing program partnership with the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, each Rising Star will also attend a two-week, self-directed writing residency.