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About the Grant 

The Woodcock Fund provides quick support to all types of professional writers confronting financial difficulty or sudden distress.

Authors live project to project, and in spite of careful financial planning often find themselves living close to the edge. Writing books in Canada is rarely a lucrative pursuit and a small disruption can easily cascade into an emergency. Projects are set aside, expectant income unrealized, and well-being threatened.

This program is designed to act fast; emergency grant requests are reviewed immediately by a diverse group of seven writers from across the country. With an intimate understanding of the precarities of a writer’s life, these peers evaluate applications and recommend grant amounts. Their assessment is focused on an applicant’s situation.

The Woodcock Fund desires to help writers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Writers whose income has been dramatically affected and face difficult circumstances are encouraged to apply, as well as writers enduring mental health burdens. We are deeply concerned in situations where individuals feel compelled to ignore real issues because of the cost of treatment. To help address systemic challenges we strongly encourage writers from equity-seeking groups to apply or reach out if they have questions about meeting the program criteria.

Canadians Abroad

All professionally published writers who hold Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status are eligible to be considered for the Woodcock Fund, regardless of where they live in the world. However, Canadian writers abroad should understand that the program’s mandate is to respond to an emergency with support through a modest grant within a Canadian paradigm. Challenges faced by Canadian writers living outside Canada, such as in cases with healthcare costs, can often go beyond our scope and ability to support. Woodcock Fund grants are given in Canadian dollars converted to the currency of the grant recipient. 

More than 280 authors in the Canadian writing community have been helped to date and over $1.5 million distributed. Annually, the program delivers $100,000 in aid with individual grants ranging from $2,000 – $12,000.

The Woodcock Fund is a safety net for writers when they need it most.

It offers temporary support and a window of time for authors to get through challenging circumstances – whether confronting illness or injury (to themselves or a family member), job loss, accident, dental emergency, spousal separation, unexpected expenses, or other unforeseen situations.

Severe situations are prioritized for funding, but potential applicants should be aware that the program supports both big and small crises. Eligible writers who concisely explain why they are approaching the fund and how it will help them are likely to receive support.

Artistic assessment of an applicant’s work is not taken into account. The program is meant to support all types of actively publishing writers, including nationally and regionally recognized writers, established and emerging writers.

Emergency situations are unpredictable. We encourage potential applicants not to be deterred by the program criteria and to reach out to us to confidentially discuss their situation. The program aims to be flexible and exceptions may be available to writers facing genuine emergencies even if they do not meet all the program criteria.

The emergency grant program was established by George and Ingeborg Woodcock in 1989

George Woodcock was one of Canada’s most prodigious writers. Born in Manitoba, raised in England, he lived in British Columbia from 1959 to 1995 and wrote and edited approximately 150 books. Here Woodcock edited Canadian Literature, the first publication entirely devoted to Canadian books, and won a Governor General’s Literary Award for his biography of his friend George Orwell. Woodcock became the first author to receive the Freedom of the City honour from Vancouver City Council.

Despite George's successful writing career, the Woodcocks were well aware of the difficulties faced by authors. Not only is writing a solitary profession with no health benefits or pension, there is no guarantee that 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. After their deaths, the Woodcocks gave a bequest of almost $2.3 million to the program creating this essential resource for the country’s writing community.