Writers’ Union Launches Mentorship Fund to Support Writing Community

As a further response to the ongoing economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) has launched Mentorship Microgrants, a new fund providing microgrants for mentorships between Canadian authors.

Designed to support a strong, sustainable writing community while providing direct financial and professional assistance to writers, the program will assist writers in improving their own income-earning opportunities.

Writers Taking Care of Writers

“This will get some much-needed money into the hands of Canadian writers,” noted Winnipeg novelist and Chair of the Union Anita Daher, “while at the same time spreading the benefit as widely as possible in the community. Like last spring’s Canadian Writers’ Emergency Relief Fund, this is an example of writers taking care of writers.”

TWUC will award $500 grants to up to 80 of its members. These microgrants can be used either to pay the recipients for providing mentorship to another writer, or to pay another writer in the community for a professional mentorship. Money for the program is supported by the Union's reserves, and will not require any public funding.

“For many years, the Union has built various contingency funds for just this kind of emergency,” said TWUC Executive Director John Degen. “Canada’s writers saw a disastrous drop in income last March, and we want to make sure they keep building their businesses and improving their craft, even in lockdown.”

As this new fund launches, the Union continues to communicate with government about how best to position the writing and publishing sector for a quick post-pandemic recovery. Immediate action on the CERB clawback, copyright, and compensation for library lending are at the top of the Union’s list.

“Library lending has spiked during lockdown,” noted Daher, “and Canada’s authors and publishers have been extremely generous in providing increased free access to our work. We’re asking the government to keep our sector viable by clarifying eligibility for relief benefits, fixing copyright, and doubling the federally allocated Public Lending Right budget.”

ABOUT THE WRITERS’ UNION OF CANADA

The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) is the national organization of professionally published writers. TWUC was founded in 1973 to work with governments, publishers, booksellers, and readers to improve the conditions of Canadian writers. Now over 2,200 members strong, TWUC advocates on behalf of writers’ collective interests, and delivers value to members through advocacy, community, and information. TWUC believes in a thriving, diverse Canadian culture that values and supports writers.

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For additional information
John Degen, Executive Director
The Writers’ Union of Canada
jdegen@writersunion.ca

Date: February 1, 2021