Books

Aspiring Canadian writers can now apply for the Writers' Trust mentorship program

The selected candidates will get mentor support, guidance and personalized instruction by Canadian authors Kaie Kellough, Monia Mazigh and Harley Rustad.

This year's mentors are Canadian writers Kaie Kellough, Monia Mazigh and Harley Rustad

Kaie Kellough, left, Monia Mazigh, middle, and Harley Rustad, right, are the mentors for the 2022 Writers' Trust of Canada mentorship program. (Writers' Trust of Canada)

The Writers' Trust of Canada mentorship program is currently accepting submissions from emerging Canadian writers. The program will select Canadian candidates who want to gain support, guidance and personalized instruction from an established writer.

The program, which supports developing writers working in the categories of fiction, poetry and literary nonfiction, was established in 2019.

Three mentors selected by the Writers' Trust will each choose one mentee from a pool of applicants to work with them from April to August. The selected participants will also receive $2,500.

"The most important thing is that there's an ideal fit between the mentor and the mentee," said Amanda Hopkins, the program director at Writers' Trust.

"We're looking to create an ideal partnership that can help propel the emerging writer toward success. So to this year's applicants, make sure you're applying for a mentor who speaks to you."

The participating mentors for the 2022 program are Kaie Kellough, Monia Mazigh and Harley Rustad

Kellough is a poet, fiction writer and sound performer based in Montreal, and he will mentor a poetry writer. His novels include Dominoes at the Crossroads, which was on the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, and Accordéon, which was a finalist for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award in 2017. He is also the author of the poetry collection Magnetic Equator, which won the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize.

LISTEN | Kaie Kellough on All in a Weekend:

Mazigh, an Ontario author and academic, will mentor a fiction writer. Her memoir, Hope and Despair, documents when her husband, Maher Arar, was deported to Syria in 2002. Her other novels include Mirors et mirages, which was nominated for a Trillium Book Award and an Ottawa Book Award, Farida, which won the 2021 Ottawa Book Award, and Hope Has Two Daughters

LISTEN | Monia Mazigh on the Next Chapter:

Harley Rustad tells the story of a giant Douglas fir tree standing alone in the midst of a B.C. clearcut, and the logger who saved it from being cut down.

Rustad, a Toronto-based journalist, author and features editor for The Walrus, will mentor a literary nonfiction writer. His books include Big Lonely Doug, which was a 2018 finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, and Lost in the Valley of Death

LISTEN | Harley Rustad on the Next Chapter:

Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents and in the process of completing a work of fiction, poetry or nonfiction.   

"We wanted to build this program as an opportunity for emerging and unpublished writers to work with someone closely in their last push toward publication," said Hopkins.

"The goal is that people will apply who have a work in progress, and they need that extra hands-on attention from a mentor to get ready to submit to publishers."

Applications are being accepted until Jan. 10, 2022. The chosen mentees will be contacted in March 2022. The program is sponsored by the RBC Foundation.

The Writers' Trust of Canada was founded in 1976 by Margaret Atwood, Pierre Berton, Graeme Gibson, Margaret Laurence and David Young. The organization gave out more than $970,000 to support Canadian writers in 2020.

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