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.
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 Books, deadline September 15, 2017; this mentorship is open to unpublished writers who are Indigenous, Black and/or a person of colour, between the ages of 18 to 24, living in Canada, and looking for a home for their completed book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.
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.
The Writer’s Guild of Canada matches three writers with three mentors for a four-month mentorship.
The Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild matches writers one-on-one with mentors for a four-month mentorship.
The Manitoba Writer’s Guild matches writers one-on-one with mentors for a five-month mentorship.
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.
The Quebec Writer’s Federation pairs emerging writers with mentors for a four-month mentorship.
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.
The Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia matches writers one-on-one with mentors for a five-month period.
Every other year, the PEI Writer’s Guild matches writers one-on-one with mentors for a three-month period.