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

Four writers will be selected to live and work for three months each in Dawson City, Yukon, in the childhood home of noted Canadian author Pierre Berton. Residents will receive a $9,000 honorarium, part of which may be covered by the Canada Council for the Arts’ Research and Creation grant program. (Successful Berton House applicants are required to apply to the Research and Creation program before receiving an honorarium from the Writers’ Trust.) Housing and travel costs are covered by the Writers’ Trust.

Residents are required to perform a public reading at the Whitehorse Public Library and the Dawson City Community Library. As well, they are encouraged to engage further with the local community by holding writing workshops in the community, interacting with the public and local literary communities, participating in local events and festivals, and availing themselves and their work to local and national media.

Visit for further details.

To be eligible candidates must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • Have published at least one book with a professional publishing house and established themselves in any literary creative discipline (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young readers, playwriting). Self-published writers or writers working in other genres are not eligible at this time.


All applicants will be notified of the results in August 2020.

How are applications assessed?
Applications will be judged by two previous writers-in-residence and a Dawson City community member. In their assessment they will place heavy emphasis on a candidate’s expression of interest in Berton House.

We want to know why this program is the right match for you at this time (as opposed to any other residency program).

Please note that applicants need not be working on projects related to the Canadian North to be Berton House writers-in-residence.

Special access and medical requirements?
We encourage all eligible writers to apply. Special access requirements will not affect a writer’s application or chance of being selected, though we acknowledge a writer’s ability to accept a residency offer may be affected if their needs can’t be met. 

Please contact the program director at any stage of the application process to discuss any specific mobility concerns, sensory impairments, medical requirements, or other issues you may have that affect your decision to apply to the program. The Writers’ Trust aims to accommodate all writers and mitigate access barriers whenever possible. Reaching out helps us understand and assess existing barriers so that we may work to improve access in the future.  

Some things to note: 

  • In 2019 the Writers' Trust hired Taylored Accessibility to conduct an accessibility audit of both Berton House and the community of Dawson City. A plan is currently being developed to improve the residency's accessibility so that more Canadian writers can benefit from this opportunity.  
  • The Berton House is a century-old home in a remote community. It may not provide the accessibility standards or services potential applicants may be accustomed to in their own communities. The house itself is a bungalow located on the southern edge of town. It is roughly 800 sq ft. The front entrance porch is accessed by six steps. Built a century ago, the house was restored in the 1990s. It is cozy and comfortably accommodates one or two people, but it is not large or spacious. 
  • Though many buildings in Dawson City meet accessibility requirements, the community as a whole is not entirely accessible. The city is serviced by dirt roads and features sidewalks made of wood planks. These sidewalks are raised off the ground and not serviced by curb ramps. It is challenging to get a wheelchair from the dirt road up onto the sidewalk. Sidewalks are shoveled during winter months, but the roads are not. None of the community’s National Historic Sites are accessible to wheelchairs.
  • Dawson City’s hospital provides 24/7 emergency care. The medical clinic is housed in the same building and offers walk-in and scheduled appointments and has a retail pharmacy. Occupational or physical therapy is not a service typically provided in Dawson and may not be available. 
  • Dawson City is serviced by Air North airlines and they provide as needed carry on/off service for persons with disabilities. 
  • While Berton House has a no-pet policy, we make exceptions for service animals.

 For more information, please visit or contact:
James Davies, Program Director
1-877-906-6548 / 416-504-8222 x245

The Writers’ Trust of Canada, The Writers’ Union of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, and Access Copyright Foundation* have joined forces to launch a $250,000 relief fund to support professional authors affected financially by the COVID-19 health crisis. 

*Funds from Access Copyright Foundation will be directed to writers and visual artists



The current public health emergency has triggered an economic crisis for self-employed workers across Canada. Professional literary and visual creators have been especially hard hit. Within a matter of days, 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 writers and visual artists are left struggling to buy groceries or medications or pay rent.

Each year the Writers’ Trust distributes money to writers in need through its emergency grant program, the Woodcock Fund. These grants are invaluable, but demand during the present crisis exceeds what that program can match. The Writers’ Trust and Writers’ Union have approached partners such as RBC and Access Copyright Foundation to develop a coordinated response to this urgent need. They have collectively raised $360,000 so far for this project, and continue to talk to other participants and funding bodies about the possibility of increasing the pool of funds available.

 Who can apply?  

Applications are open to all professional creators who:

  • are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • work in the categories of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, literature for young readers, or playwriting.
  • demonstrate an ability to generate income by publishing their work in at least one book, or three pieces in fee-paying magazines, journals, or anthologies since January 1, 2015, or self-publish, provided they are members of The Writers’ Union of Canada.
  • can confirm a total loss of income exceeding $1,500 for the period between March 1 – August 31, 2020. Any lost income, related to your craft or not, will be considered. Reasonable projections for lost income will also be considered.

Writers working in any language are eligible provided they meet the above criteria. It is requested that those who have been able to retain a steady household income and have not been unduly affected financially during the present crisis refrain from applying to the Emergency Relief Fund at this time. 


All applicants will be notified of the results around 10 days following the deadline (first round deadline was April 9, second round deadline was April 20, third deadline was extended to May 7, and fourth deadline is June 15). Applicants only need to apply once; eligible applications that are unsuccessful will remain in competition for future rounds.

Who is not eligible?

Writers working in the categories of screenwriting, journalism, and academics are ineligible for this program at this time.

In two previous funding rounds Access Copyright Foundation was a program sponsor and eligibility was expanded to include all ACF’s constituents, which include writers as well as visual artists who have had work appear in print. That funding has since been distributed. As of June, the program returns to being available exclusively to writers. The Writers' Trust and The Writers' Union created this program and both organizations have as their focus Canadian writers. We are focused on directing our support to that constituency at this time. We realize this is regrettable to visual artists, but hope understandable.

How are applications assessed?

Applications will be processed and assessed by Writers’ Trust and Writers’ Union staff. To satisfy the assessment of your application and confirm your eligibility, applicants may be required to submit further documentation. 

Given the sizeable impact of COVID-19 on the arts and culture sector we anticipate this fund will be in high demand. As the volume of eligible applicants exceeds available funds, recipients will be determined by lottery. All successful applicants will receive $1,500. 

Additional information

Subsequent funding rounds may follow if additional funds are obtained.


Please consider making a donation to the Canadian Writers’ Emergency Relief Fund. 100% of all donations will be directed to writers in need.

In addition to seeking large-scale funding partners, we welcome donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations who are interested in helping mitigate this crisis for Canadian writers.

Questions? Please contact: 

James Davies, Program Director

Writers' Trust of Canada