Writing Mentorship Programs in Canada

From British Columbia to P.E.I., there are opportunities to fine-tune your craft alongside a professional writer. Andrea Bennett, the Editor-in-Chief at Maisonneuve Magazine, has done the work of compiling a round-up of writing mentorship programs across Canada. Such programs offer an alternative to the potentially expensive route of pursuing a BFA or MFA; for instance, The Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s Mentorship Program comes at no cost to the apprentices, while local, public libraries often offer free, weekly office hours. So, peruse the program blurbs below and polish those submissions – a few of the deadlines are just around the corner.
Canada-wide
Vivek Shraya is offering a mentorship through her new Arsenal Pulp imprint VS. Books, deadline September 15, 2017; this mentorship is open to unpublished writers who are Indigenous, Black and/or a person of colour, between the ages of 18 to 24, living in Canada, and looking for a home for their completed book manuscript.
The Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP) connects beginning children’s authors with established children’s authors through their Blue Pencil Mentorship Program. Mentees must have current CANSCAIP memberships and the mentorship comes with a fee.
Many public libraries across Canada have writers in residence who offer weekly office hours to emerging writers. (It is 4:48pm on a Thursday afternoon as I write this and I am too lazy to Google every writer-in-residence program across the country, but here’s a 2016/2017 example from my hometown, Hamilton.)
Universities often also have writers in residence (e.g, the University of Calgary) who offer office hours and/or manuscript consultations. Rules vary (you may or may not need to be a student), but it’s worth checking to see if the university or college near you supports a writer-in-residence program.
BC
The Surrey Southbank Writer’s Program is a part-time, three-month program is designed for new writers who would like to begin sharing their work with others. The program offers both classes and mentorship opportunities.
The Vancouver Manuscript Intensive pairs emerging writers who are looking for feedback and guidance on their manuscripts with professional, published writers. This one-on-one program is tailored to suit the needs of its mentees.
Alberta
The Writer’s Guild of Canada matches three writers with three mentors for a four-month mentorship.
Saskatchewan
The Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild matches writers one-on-one with mentors for a four-month mentorship.
Manitoba
The Manitoba Writer’s Guild matches writers one-on-one with mentors for a five-month mentorship.
Ontario
Diaspora Dialogues matches Greater Toronto Area writers who have a finished manuscript they’d like feedback about one-on-one with mentors for a six-month mentorship.
Quebec
The Quebec Writer’s Federation pairs emerging writers with mentors for a four-month mentorship.
New Brunswick
The Writer’s Federation of New Brunswick matches writers one-on-one with mentors for a total of fifty hours of mentorship.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The Writer’s Alliance of Newfoundland & Labrador matches writers one-on-one with mentors for a five-month period.
Nova Scotia
The Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia matches writers one-on-one with mentors for a five-month period.
PEI
Every other year, the PEI Writer’s Guild matches writers one-on-one with mentors for a three-month period.

The Digital Publishing Awards launch all new industry blog

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The Digital Publishing Awards are proud to announce the launch of the digitalpublishing.blog— a new leading reference for digital publishers and media professionals.
This new online resource aims to assist both established and emerging talents of Canada’s digital publishing landscape with relevant, timely, educative and compelling information about their industry. Promotion of award-winning digital content, design, creators and innovation will be posted regularly through a digest of relevant industry news, events and developments, as well as profiles that promote the creative work of Canadian digital publishers.

DPA on NMA
Award-winning Canadian digital publications.

We’ll publish compelling interviews with industry professionals describing the distinct processes behind their award-winning work From conceptualization to execution, we’ll speak with a wide range of digital media experts.
First up, we’re delighted to share our conversation with Jude Isabella, editor in chief of Hakai Magazine. Jude was a key member of the team that launched Hakai back in 2015 and has since served as a contributing writer and editor in chief. Based in Victoria, B.C. Hakai is an online magazine that explores science, society, and the environment from a coastal perspective.JudeQuotenb
Interested in reading more compelling conversations? The folks at the DPAs will be catching up with a variety of digital media experts eager to share their own tips and tricks— everything from starting a successful online magazine to creating visually captivating, interactive news stories. Watch for our next interview with The Globe and Mail’s digital designer Christopher Manza.

Be sure to follow digitalpublishing.blog for updates on media job postings and industry events across the country.
ABOUT THE DIGITAL PUBLISHING AWARDS
The Digital Publishing Awards (DPAs) were created in consultation with Canada’s leading producers and creators of digital publishing. The DPAs recognize and promote excellence by Canadian digital publishers and content creators through an annual program of awards and national publicity efforts.
The nominees for the 2017 Digital Publishing Awards will be announced on April 25 and the awards soirée will take place on June 1 in Toronto.
The Digital Publishing Awards are on Twitter @dpawards.

Story Board: Canadian freelancers turn to the US market to secure higher-paying gigs


This post is part of a series called “E-Lancer Writes,” exploring the working conditions, rights and collective organizing strategies of freelance journalists, interns and other low-wage or temporary digital media workers. Originally published on The Story Board and re-posted here with permission. By Errol Salamon.
When Canadian-based freelancer Katherine O’Brien started working as a web content and blog writer, she hadn’t made a conscious decision to publish with US companies to make a decent living.
Yet for over a year and a half, O’Brien has written mostly for companies south of the Canadian border, specializing in senior care, health and aging. O’Brien said it’s possible to make a decent living in Canada as long as it’s doing corporate work, but she has found it easier to get gigs in the US, given her specialty.
“When I started, I thought I’d be doing a lot of work with Toronto companies, thinking it would be an advantage that I was based in Toronto. I think it still could be an advantage to live in a market like Toronto where there are publications and you could meet or network with people,” O’Brien said in a recent interview. “But I get the majority of my business through email prospecting, not face-to-face networking, so it doesn’t seem to really matter where I live.”
It may not work for everyone, she said, but email prospecting has been her saving grace because she has found significantly more US companies in her field of specialization.
“Plus you get paid so much more in US funds. That’s a real bonus working in the US,” she said. “Some of the places I’ve worked at in Canada set the rates and they weren’t great. I’m doing better financially with what I’m doing now in the US.”
While digital communications have made it easier for Canadian freelancers like O’Brien to find clients outside of the country, writing for Canadian companies also has its advantages, said Aaron Broverman, a Canadian-based freelancer who writes for both US and Canadian publications.

“The community is smaller and everybody knows each other, so chances are good that you’ll be working with that person again, and they usually bring you back, or remember you or hire you for something else,” he said in an interview. “It’s just nice to represent the home team for Canadian publications.”
However, Broverman agrees that US companies generally pay better than Canadian ones.
“US companies seem to value the work a little bit more,” he said. “Whereas with Canadian publications, there’s always the story of ‘I don’t know where we’re going to get the funding.’”
Broverman also said he sometimes gets paid more writing for a US site than he does writing for the Canadian version of that site, such as CreditCards.com US and CreditCards.com Canada. Like other freelancers interviewed for this post, he speculated that the lower rates are a result of the smaller Canadian magazine market.
“When I write for the American site, I get a dollar a word US, but when I write for the Canadian site, I get only $350 US per article,” he said.
However, like some Canadian publications, not all US companies pay freelancers decently and some pay nothing, said Canadian-based freelancer Leslie Garrett, who also writes mostly for US companies. With 20 years of experience, Garrett targets employers she knows pay well, regardless of the side of the border the publications are on.
“I place a value on my work and those are the publications that I seek out,” she said in an interview. “I think that when writers give their work away, it devalues that work and we all end up being hurt by it.”
O’Brien, Broverman and Garrett are contemporary examples of Canadian freelancers who turn to US publications to make a decent living. But their income-boosting strategy has deep historical roots.
According to University of Toronto professor Nicole Cohen, as far back as the 1800s, Canadian freelancers struggled to earn a living from publishing in Canadian magazines that didn’t guarantee income in the country’s underdeveloped market. In her new book Writers’ Rights: Freelance Journalism in a Digital Age, Cohen says that in 1819, Canadian freelancers turned to the US, where magazines started paying writers for articles that year.
“Many American magazines paid for contributions, so Canadian writers sold their work in the United States while publishing for no pay at home,” writes Cohen.
By 1961, the Royal Commission on Publications, chaired by M. Grattan O’Leary, had recognized that Canadian freelance magazine writers had to look to the US to sell their work because Canada still had a small publishing market.
“As it is now, a professional freelance writer cannot live on the proceeds of writing only for Canadian periodicals,” wrote the O’Leary Commission in its report.
But despite the O’Leary Commission report, Canadian freelancers continued to earn low incomes over subsequent decades, according to a survey conducted by the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC). The survey, which contains the most comprehensive and current data available, reveals that freelance writers in Canada made an average annual salary of $25,000 per year before tax in 1979, $26,500 per year in 1995 and only $24,035 per year in 2005. When these salaries are adjusted for inflation, they actually represent a decrease in income.
For Canadian freelancers who seek work abroad to increase their incomes, there are collective organizations here at home that offer support systems.
According to Don Genova, president of CMG Freelance, a branch of the Canadian Media Guild since 1998, the Guild doesn’t provide special services for its freelance members who do work for US companies.
“But within the services we offer to all of our members, we would definitely take on any queries people have about foreign contractors, including but not limited to reviewing contract language, suggestions on negotiating tactics and communicating with a foreign contractor if there are problems with payment,” Genova said in an email.
Although he hasn’t been asked for help with foreign contracts often, he does recall writing an email on behalf of a freelance broadcaster who was having problems getting paid by a BBC program.
“I sent the email, laying out the details of the work that had been done, and the next day, the freelancer finally heard back from the producer of the program, giving details of the payment about to be sent.”
Like CMG Freelance, PWAC, a not-for-profit writers’ organization since 1976, doesn’t offer a specific program for members who write for US publications.
“However, a key member benefit is the internal networking and peer support system we have in place through our members-only forums and internal listserv,” said Stephanie Lasuik, PWAC national communications committee chair, in an email.
“Members with questions or queries on any aspect of their writing business receive immediate feedback from peers across Canada.”
With 10 years of experience, Broverman has his own frank advice for his freelancer peers across the country:
“Freelancing is hard, and it’s hard to make a living just freelancing, so find American clients and don’t apologize for it,” he said. “You don’t hear about more Canadians doing this on a regular basis. At first it seemed like I cracked some sort of code to get more money, but everybody should try.”


Errol Salamon is a freelance writer and a visiting scholar in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s also co-editor and contributor to the book Journalism in Crisis: Bridging Theory and Practice for Democratic Media Strategies in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2016). Follow him on Twitter @errolouvrier.

Your Guide to Summer 2016 Magazine Writing Contests


Like the heirloom tomatoes soaking up the sun and the rain and the urban-air particles on this blogger’s Toronto balcony, summer writing season is ripening on the vine, still green with youth but tantalizingly close to fruition.
In his National Magazine Award-winning poem from this year’s NMAs, David McGimpsey writes of the self-defeating anxiety of creating something significant:

There is your life with the coffee-stained pants,
paint-stained pants and oxy-contin-stained pants.
O, your unfinished novel’s hero yearns—
he’s been sleeping on an army cot
in a Wendy’s basement in Los Robles.

Read the entire award-winning poem “The High Road” (Vallum) by David McGimpsey.

Summer is no time to put off writing. Be inspired to create your next work of poetry, fiction or personal essay. Take the opportunity to finish your latest literary creation and submit it to a Canadian magazine writing contest.

Our annual Summer Contest Guide provides a list of contests via Canadian magazines (or magazine-related organizations) open to unpublished works of Fiction, Poetry, Creative non-fiction and Photography. And check out our Canadian Literary Magazine Guide for other ideas for where to submit your work.
Please note: This list is organized chronologically by deadline dates from June 22 to September 22. If you know of a contest we missed, please email us or grab us on Twitter @MagAwards and we’ll update our guide.
Antigonish Review Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: June 30, 2015
Prize: $600 (1st); $400 (2nd); $200 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://www.antigonishreview.com/
Matrix Lit Pop Writing Contest
Genres: Fiction (4000 words max); Poetry
Deadline: July 1, 2016
Prize: Publication + tickets and passes to POP Montreal
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.matrixmagazine.org/#!litpopawards/c1yuk
Alberta Views Short Story Contest
Genre: Fiction (max 3000 words)
Deadline: July 4, 2016
Prize: $1000 + publication (winner)
Entry Fee: $30 (includes subscription)
Detailshttps://albertaviews.ab.ca/contests/
Note: Open to current or former residents of Alberta
Room Fiction & Poetry Contests
Genres: Poetry, Fiction
Deadline: July 15, 2016
Prize: $1000 (1st); $250 (2nd); $50 (HM); publication
Entry Fee: $35 (includes subscription); $7 for each additional entry
Detailshttp://roommagazine.com/contests
Vallum Award for Poetry 2016
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: July 15, 2016
Prize: $750 (1st); $250 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: $25; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.vallummag.com/contestrules.html
PRISM International Creative Non-Fiction Contest
Genre: Non-fiction (max 6000 words)
Deadline: July 15, 2016
Prize: $1500 (1st); $600 (2nd); $400 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $35 ($5 for each additional entry)
Details: http://prismmagazine.ca/contests/
Glass Buffalo Short Fiction Contest
Genre: Fiction (max 750 words)
Deadline: July 20, 2016
Prize: $500 + publication (winner)
Entry Fee: $30 (includes subscription)
Details: http://www.glassbuffalo.com/contest/
Malahat Review Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize
Genre: Creative non-fiction (max 3000 words)
Deadline: August 1, 2016
Prize: $1000; publication in Malahat Review; prize pack of books, interview with winning author
Entry Fee: $35 (includes subscription); $15 for additional entries
Detailshttp://web.uvic.ca/malahat/contests/creative_non-fiction_prize/info.html
Geist “Can’t Lit Without It” Short Story Contest
Genre: Short fiction (500 words) based on CanLit Generator
Deadline: August 15, 2016
Prize: $500 (1st); $250 (2nd); $150 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $20 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://www.geist.com/contests/canlit-story-contest/canlit-story-contest/
Musicworks Sonic Geography Writing Contest
Genre: Poetry, Fiction or Creative non-fiction about “the sounds of your world”
Deadline: August 28, 2016
Prize: $500 + print publication (1st); $200 (2nd); $100 (3rd); web publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription); $5 each additional entry
Detailshttps://www.musicworks.ca/contest
Cosmonauts Avenue 2016 Fiction Prize
Genre: Fiction (max 4000 words)
Deadline: August 15, 2016
Prize: $500 + publication
Entry Fee: $10
Details: http://www.cosmonautsavenue.com/contest/
Dalhousie Review Short Story Contest
Genre: Fiction (max 3000 words)
Deadline: September 5, 2016
Prize: $750 (1st); $250 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription); $15 for each additional entry
Details: http://dalhousiereview.dal.ca/contest.html
Cottage Life Photo Contest
Categories: Life at the Cottage; Wildlife; Landscape; Best of the West; Canada Captured
Deadline: September 12, 2016
Prizes: Various gift prizes from Coleman outdoor gear
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://cottagelife.com/photo-contest-2016
The Capilano Review Robin Blazer Poetry Award
Genre: Poetry
Deadline: September 15, 2016
Prize: $750 + publication (1st); $250 (2nd)
Entry Fee: $35; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.thecapilanoreview.ca/contests/
Did we miss something? Email us or hail us on Twitter @MagAwards.
See also:
Your Guide to Winter/Spring 2016 Magazine Writing Contests
Your Guide to Fall 2015 Magazine Writing Contests
A Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines
Check out the Contests section of this blog for frequent updates on opportunities from Canadian magazines.

Your Guide to Summer 2014 Magazine Writing Contests


If this year’s National Magazine Awards taught us anything, it’s that devoting yourself passionately to literary excellence has its rewards. Kim Jernigan, longtime editor of The New Quarterly, said as much when she accepted her Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement. “When it comes to matters literary, it is better to follow your own instincts than to give the reader what you presume she wants… Perseverance counts.”
Also, this nugget of wisdom: “Caring deeply about literature is not at odds with a sense of fun.”
Apropos of which, we present our annual Summer Guide to Canadian magazine writing contests.
As always, the list below may be incomplete. Leave a comment here or pull us aside on Twitter @MagAwards #WritingContest if you know of any we missed.
 
One Throne Joust 24-Hour Writing Contest
Sections: Short (750-word) fiction
Deadline: June 25, 2014 (competition is held on June 28)
Prize: Half the pot to the winner; publication for the top 3
Entry Fee: $20
Detailshttp://www.onethrone.com/#!joust/c19mu
The Walrus Poetry Prize
Sections: Poetry, juried prize and people’s choice prize
Deadline: June 30, 2014
Prize: $4000 and publication (juried winner); $1000 and publication (people’s choice winner)
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://thewalrus.ca/projects/poetry-prize/
Alberta Views Short Story Contest
Section: Fiction
Deadline: June 30, 2014
Prize: $$1000 + publication (winner)
Entry Fee: $30 (includes subscription)
Detailshttps://www.albertaviews.ab.ca/contests/
Antigonish Review Great Blue Heron Poetry Prize
Sections: Poetry
Deadline: June 30, 2014
Prize: $600 (1st); $400 (2nd); $200 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://www.antigonishreview.com/
Matrix Magazine LitPop Awards
Sections: Poetry; Fiction; Creative Nonfiction
Deadline: July 1, 2014
Prize: For winners in each section, round-trip ticket and accommodation to POP Montreal Festival in September; publication in Matrix
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.matrixmagazine.org/litpop/
Vallum Award for Poetry 2014
Section: Poetry
Deadline: July 15, 2014
Prize: $750 (1st); $250 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: $25; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.vallummag.com/contestrules.html
Tethered by Letters Writing Contests
Section
: Poetry; Short Fiction; “Flash Fiction”
Deadline: July 15, 2014
Prize: $250 (Short Fiction winner); $50 (Flash Fiction winner); $100 (Poetry winner); publication
Entry Fee: $4-12, depending on category and entries
Detailshttp://tetheredbyletters.com/submissions/contest-submission
Note: Tethered by Letters is a US literary journal but its writing contests are open to Canadian writers; hence we have included it here.
Malahat Review Constance Rooke Nonfiction Prize
Sections: Creative nonfiction
Deadline: August 1, 2014
Prize: $1000; publication in Malahat Review; interview with winning author
Entry Fee: $35 (includes subscription); $15 for additional entries
Detailshttp://web.uvic.ca/malahat/contests/creative_non-fiction_prize/info.html
Passion Poetry Contributor’s Contest
Section: Poetry
Deadline: August 1, 2014
Prize: $100 (1st); $50 (2nd); $25 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $5; includes issue of magazine
Detailshttp://www.passionpoetrymag.com/#/contest/4583551123
Northern Public Affairs Emerging Northern Writers Fund
Sections: Essays, Fiction, Poetry, Visual Arts
Deadline: August 1, 2014
Prize: 3 awards of up to $200 each
Entry Fee: None
Details: northernpublicaffairs.ca
Up Here Sally Manning Award
Section: Aboriginal Creative Nonfiction
Deadline: September 30, 2014
Prize: $1000 + publication (1st); $500 (2nd); $250 (3rd)
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://uphere.ca/post/88968179608
Did we miss something? Email staff[at]magazine-awards[dot]com or hail us on Twitter @MagAwards.
See also:
Your Guide to Winter/Spring 2014 Magazine Writing Contests
Your Guide to Fall 2013 Magazine Writing Contests
Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines
Check out the Contests section of this blog for frequent updates on opportunities from Canadian magazines.
Photo: Kim Jernigan accepting the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement at the 37th annual National Magazine Awards, June 6, 2014. Photography by KlixPix for the National Magazine Awards Foundation.