Canadian Writers' Emergency Relief Fund launches to support professional authors affected by COVID-19

With an initial amount of $150,000, the Canadian Writers' Emergency Relief Fund will provide individual grants of $1,500. 
With an initial amount of $150,000, the Canadian Writers' Emergency Relief Fund will provide support with individual grants of $1,500.  (Christin Hume on Unsplash)

As book tours, literary festivals and performances continue to get cancelled, The Writers' Trust of Canada, The Writers' Union of Canada and Royal Bank of Canada have joined forces to launch the Canadian Writers' Emergency Relief Fund.

With an initial amount of $150,000, the Canadian Writers' Emergency Relief Fund will support professional authors affected financially by COVID-19 with individual grants of $1,500. 

Applications are open to professional writers who meet the eligibility criteria, which includes matching minimal publishing thresholds in the last five years and citing a total loss of income that exceeds the grant amount. 

The Writers' Trust annually gives money to writers in need through its emergency grant program, the Woodcock Fund. However, the demand for these grants during the ongoing crisis exceeds what the program can match, according to the organization.

A recent membership survey by The Writers' Union of Canada indicated that to date the authors who took part experienced a total loss of more than $1.68 million. Individual writers on average cited a loss of $3,267, a figure expected to increase as the pandemic continues.

A successive round of applications is planned for late April, followed by subsequent rounds as additional funds are secured. 

The program is looking for large-scale funding partners and is calling for donations from individuals and organizations to continue to replenish the fund.

Applications to the program, due April 9, 2020, can be made via this link. The grants will be dispersed within a week.

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