The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization on a mission to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing.

The Writers’ Trust Mentorship provides support, guidance, and one-on-one instruction to a developing writer from an established writer. The program is sponsored by The RBC Foundation. Three mentors are selected by Writers’ Trust, each working in one of the fields of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Each mentor selects one mentee from a pool of applicants to work with over a five-month period. Beyond instruction, mentees will also receive $2,500. The mentorship period runs August-December 2024.

How the Mentorships Will Operate
     Mentorship pairs will connect regularly either by email, phone, or video conference. Their correspondence will revolve around the submission and review of a mutually agreed upon number of manuscript pages. The frequency of exchange will be tailored to the schedules and work habits of the individuals involved. It is expected that mentees will commit between 30-40 hours per month. Mentors are expected to commit 15-20 hours per month.

           To be eligible candidates must: 

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident 
  • have previously published creative work in an independently edited journal, magazine, anthology, or chapbook 
  • not have traditionally published a full-length manuscript 
  • be completing a substantial work-in-progress in either fiction, nonfiction, or poetry
  • be at the stage where a set of outside, expert eyes is valuable in preparing the manuscript for submission to a publisher 
  • be in a position to receive and respond to feedback during their mentorship and not still be in the throes of drafting their manuscript. To that end, it is suggested that applicants be at the following approximate stages of development: 
  • fiction: 150 pages, double spaced 
  • nonfiction: 150 pages, double spaced (if writing a personal narrative or book of essays) OR near completion of a fully realized book proposal which includes an outline, research plan, and a couple of chapters (if writing a journalistic work) 
  • poetry: 75 pages, double spaced 
  • prepare their submission in English 
  • note that this program is intended for writers who do not have other resources at hand for professional mentorship. As such, students currently enrolled in degree or diploma granting writing programs and those engaged in a working relationship with a professional editor or publisher are not eligible for this program. 

Application Materials Required 

  • A 10-page, double spaced sample from a work-in-progress 
  • A synopsis of the work-in-progress (max 500 words) 
  • A work plan that explains what stage they are at with their current project, what they hope to gain from this mentorship, and how it will benefit their artistic development (max 1,000 words) 
  • A short biography in paragraph form (max than 125 words) 
  • Their entire work-in-progress in its draft form 

How Are Mentees Selected?
           Applications will be assessed based on: 

  • literary excellence 
  • potential 
  • viability of project plan 
  • expression of willingness to be responsive and receptive to learning from the experience 
  • sense that the applicant is poised to make the most of a mentorship at this particular moment in the development of their project 

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: June 10, 2024 (11:59pm PT)
    The selected mentees will be contacted in July 2024. 

Joseph Kakwinokanasum (Fiction) 

Joseph Kakwinokanasum is a member of James Smith Cree Nation. A graduate from Simon Fraser University’s The Writer’s Studio, Kakwinokanasum’s manuscript Woodland Creatures was shortlisted for the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize. In 2022, he was selected by Darrel J. McLeod as a Writers’ Trust Rising Star. His debut novel, My Indian Summer, was the winner of the 2023-2024 First Nations Communities READ Awards and shortlisted for the 2023 ReLit Award for fiction. Kakwinokanasum was the 2024 Storyteller in Residence at the Vancouver Public Library. He lives on Vancouver Island, BC.

“I’m looking for a brave storyteller willing to dig deeply into their original and creative work. I want to work with a writer who is unafraid to give voice and power to the minority, a selfless writer that dares to say and do what is needed to make the future world an equal place. A writer who is inspired and inspires.” 

Amanda Leduc (Nonfiction) 

Amanda Leduc is an author and disability activist. Her nonfiction book, Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space, was shortlisted for a Governor General’s Literary Award and longlisted for the Barbellion Prize. Leduc speaks regularly about accessibility and the role of disability in storytelling. By day she works as the communications and development coordinator at the Festival of Literary Diversity. She lives in Hamilton, ON.

“I’m looking for a writer who knows their way around voice and imagery — a writer who wields the tools of narrative to make a nonfiction story come alive. I want to work with someone with an unforgettable voice and a sense of how truth, which is so often stranger than fiction, can be crafted into something surprising and illuminating. Someone with a personal story that transcends into something universal.” 

Sonnet L’Abbé (Poetry) 

Sonnet L'Abbé is a professor of creative writing at Vancouver Island University and winner of the 2000 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Their poetry book, Sonnet’s Shakespeare, was named a Quill and Quire Book of the Year and shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and Raymond Souster Award. L’Abbé was the guest editor for the 2014 edition of Best Canadian Poetry and won the bp Nichol Chapbook Award for Anima Canadensis in 2017. They live on Vancouver Island, BC.

“What is worth the intensity of poetic attention? My ear listens for a voice confident in its musicality and purpose. I love to see poets who devote intentional language to a range of experience — from tender intimacy to philosophical humourto crowd-rousing performance, from the personal to the political. My favourite poems demonstrate a delight inlanguage; thrill me with unexpected ways to use words, syntax, and space on the page; and teach me to think and understand the world.”


For more information, please contact: Liz Kondo, Program Coordinator

Writers' Trust of Canada