Woodcock Fund Guidelines

Established in 1989, the program has to date distributed in excess of one million dollars to more than a total of 200 writers.

What is the Woodcock Fund?

The Woodcock Fund is a quick-access emergency resource that aids established Canadian writers who face an unforeseen financial crisis. Help is given to writers in many different situations providing them momentary relief, a period of financial stability, and the opportunity to complete their current writing projects.

It is the only program of its kind available to writers in Canada, and is often the last place authors can turn for help. Since its creation, it has made an exceptional difference to our country’s literary community, distributing in excess of one million dollars and coming to the rescue of more than two hundred writers.

All grant applicants retain anonymity.

What Level of Support Can Applicants Expect?

Applicants should be aware that the program is designed to assist writers facing an imminent crisis that can be alleviated with a grant that typically ranges between $2,000 and $10,000. The program is not intended to be a means of support for writers challenged to earn an income. A crisis of some nature is necessary to be considered.

Who is Eligible?

An applicant must be:

i. A professional writer engaged in the production of literary work who has derived a substantial share of their income from writing and writing-related activities. A minimum of two professionally published works or an equivalent body of work is required; self-published and ghostwritten works will not be accepted as equivalents.

ii. Facing an unforeseen financial need that imperils the completion of their project. Usually, a matter of exigency including but not limited to illness, accident, or legal issue, rather than an ongoing, chronic problem of making a living.

iii. Working on a book-length project in the category of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, playwriting, or children’s literature.

iv. A Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Who is Not Eligible?

The program does not support screenwriting, journalism, academic works, or formulaic romance writing. Nor is it able to provide writers with loans, grants for travel, or support to cover publication costs.

Writers should not approach the program before they have made an honest and reasonable attempt to support themselves by other means.

What Are Grants Meant to Provide?

Grants are intended to provide a short-term financial bridge for applicants until they can complete their current work-in-progress. The size of the grant is determined by the individual circumstances of the writer. In evaluating an applicant’s needs, the program will consider all legitimate expenditures relating to an applicant’s professional work, personal living, and medical expenses.

What is Required in an Application?

  • Application Form – PDF can be completed digitally or it can be printed, completed, and scanned.

  • Cover Letter – Address eligibility criteria, particularly the circumstances behind your application. Be specific and concise. Recommended length: 1-2 pages.

  • Letters of Reference (2) –Address candidate’s status as a professional writer, current work-in-progress, and/or the nature of financial need. References should come from fellow writers. Reference letters from publishers or literary agents are not accepted.

  • Resume

  • Project Summary – Describe your current work-in-progress in one paragraph. Include projected date of completion and plans for publication. 

If applicable, provide support material relevant to your application (medical records, invoices, etc...). If further information is required after the completed application has been received the applicant will be contacted.

How Are Applications Assessed?

A committee of seven established writers from across Canada reviews applications and advises the Writers’ Trust. The committee gives consideration to an applicant’s publication history, the nature of their financial need, the strength of statement in the letters of reference, and the viability of their project to be published, among other variables. The application process should take no more than three weeks.

Applications are accepted throughout the year. There are no deadlines.


Past recipients should be aware that the program does not wish to become an instrument of extended or permanent support for particular individuals. Recipients who reapply must face circumstances so changed as to warrant further support.

Senior Writers’ Fellowship

At the discretion of the committee, writers may be selected to receive the Woodcock Senior Writers’ Fellowship. There is no application process.


Applications can be sent electronically or by post to the following:

The Woodcock Fund
c/o The Writers' Trust of Canada
460 Richmond Street West, Suite 600
Toronto, ON  M5V 1Y1



Woodcock Fund


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