Support for Writers – Grants


The following are some suggestions for increasing your chances of success:

1. Make a list of the grants you are eligible for, along with deadlines. Allow two weeks to gather materials, including an updated resume, 20 to 30 pages of sample writing and reviews of published work, if applicable. Reviews, though optional, help your chances of receiving a grant. If you lack the required publishing credits, make a concentrated effort over the next year or so to send out your writing to recognized journals and book publishers.

2. Before attempting the outline, which is often two to three pages in length, explore the following questions: What is the main theme of this project? What is unique about it? How does this project break new literary ground? Why does this project need funding now? How does this book benefit the larger community? Why am I the best person to write this project? Weave the answers to these questions into the outline. Be aware of the tone as you write. .

3. Make sure you follow all the guidelines for content and presentation of the text; if in doubt, contact the funding body.

4. Be clear and honest about your intentions for the project.

5. For the writing sample, include some work from your proposed project, even if it’s a draft.

6. Edit your outline and sample writing for clarity, conciseness, and cohesiveness. You may wish to enlist the help of a professional editor for this or a friend.

7. Read your application over one last time before you send it for typos and other errors.

8. Congratulate yourself!

The following advice is from a former B. C. Arts Council Jury Member:

The most important thing was the quality of the specific proposal for which a grant was being sought. If the proposal itself was well thought out, well written – arrestingly so – then that was a big plus for all the jurors. In a way, everything else in the application depended on the quality of the specific proposal.

Secondarily, good reference letters helped, as did a record of successful and/or critically well received writing. In other words, the more experience the applicant had, the more likely jurors would look on the person favorably. With a well known applicant, it was really a matter of looking for some reason not to give the grant. Unknown or relatively unknown, or first-time applicants faced an uphill struggle, hence the redoubled need for a crackerjack proposal.

And of course, you’re stuck with the various prejudices and abilities of the jurors in any year. No doubt, in each year some worthy proposals get rejected unfairly because of defects in the juror’s judgment. But by and large, the good proposals get the money. Make that project description a really, really good one.

Finally, it also helps a lot if you can document some degree of interest on the part of a publisher. That’s more difficult to do these days because publishers are simply more reluctant to commit at a project’s early stage. But if the interest is there and documentable, then so much the better.

The following is a listing of grants available to Canadian writers:

Grants for Canadian Writers