Berton House Writers’ Retreat

Berton House Writers' Retreat in Dawson City, Yukon Cr. Nicole Dixon, winter 2015Photos by Claire Caldwell, Jeem, Anik See, Joan Thomas, and Julien Strasfeld

Heralded as "the best three months of your life" by past writers-in-residence, Berton House provides a remote northern setting where authors can concentrate on their work—or just get away to think. With special roots as Pierre Berton's childhood home, the cozy Dawson City cottage comes complete with a sprawling front porch and library of nostalgic canlit gems. Because every Canadian should experience the North.

Professional Canadian writers who have published at least one book and are established in any creative literary discipline (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, play/screenwriting, journalism) may apply for a three-month residency. Self-published writers or writers working in other genres are not eligible at this time. 

Current Writer-in-Residence


Anakana Schofield (July to September 2018)
Vancouver-based writer Anakana Schofield won the First Novel Award for Malarky and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize for Martin John. Schofield will be using her time in Dawson City to work on her next novel, a complex and inventive story in part a response to Borges' The Library of Babel and the throttling state of the affordability crisis in Vancouver.

Upcoming Writers-in-Residence


Sarah Mian (October to December 2018)
Sarah Mian’s debut novel When the Saints won the Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award and was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Traveling to Dawson City from Queensland, Nova Scotia, Mian will be writing the second draft of her second novel at Berton House. The book centres on a young artist couple who buy a church in a rural seaside community to escape their cramped city apartment.


Carleigh Baker (January to March 2019)
Vancouver writer Carleigh Baker's debut collection of short stories Bad Endings won the City of Vancouver Book Award and was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and an Indigenous Voices Award. While in Dawson City, Baker will be editing her recently completed MFA thesis into a new book. Based on a 21-day canoe trip Baker took through the Peel River Watershed, the story aims to interrogate the classic Canadian explorer narrative.


Trish Salah (April to June 2019)
Toronto-based author and academic Trish Salah is an assistant professor in Gender Studies at Queen's University and is a finalist for the 2018 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers. During her stay at Berton House, Salah will be working on a book-length poem exploring how sexuality and gender have been written through a racializing discourse of climate. The book will be the second volume of her Lyric Sexology trilogy.

About the Program

Inspired by the late Pierre Berton, Berton House is owned and operated by the Writers' Trust of Canada. Operational support is provided by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Dawson City Community Library Board, the Klondike Visitors Association, and the Whitehorse Public Library. For more information please visit


Further gratitude goes to Aeroplan for their generosity in supporting travel of the writers-in-residence to and from Berton House through their Beyond Miles program. Consider donating your own miles to support the program.

Charlotte Gray“My stay at Berton House was like stepping into another dimension. I was satisfyingly productive in a house that welcomes each newcomer and allows us to focus on our work. But I also felt the pull that Dawson City, and the North, has always exerted on people: the excitement of Spring Break-up, the magnificence of the landscape, the adrenalin of endless light at midsummer. I met extraordinary people, relished my new friends’ eccentricity and creativity, and cannot wait to return.”

Writer-in-Residence, 2008

Berton House“I came to Dawson City expecting to do a lot of typing; what I wasn't prepared for was how relentlessly fascinating a place it is. Here you're confronted with history at every corner, and the past looms large in a way you don't find most places in Canada. I had a great summer, and would recommend the Berton House residency to any writer interested in getting work done — and some thinking, too.”

Writer-in-Residence, 2009

For more information, please contact: 
James Davies, Program Director 416 504-8222 x 245




Woodcock Fund


Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing


September 19 for books published between June 201 and September 18, 2018


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