Five x Five

Writers' Trust RBC Five x Five Linda Besner Ken Babstock Megan Gail Coles Michael Crummey Ghalib Islam Madeleine Thien Eliza Robertson Joseph Boyden Melanie Siebert Esi Edugyan

A total of $25,000 will be given directly to five Canadian writers in the developing stages of their career through “Five x Five,” a one-time program made possible by winning an online voting campaign through the RBC Emerging Artists Project. Five celebrated writers from across Canada, all past Writers’ Trust award honourees, have each selected one emerging writer of fiction or poetry who they feel has displayed the potential to enter Canada’s literary canon. The five writers they have selected will each receive $5,000.


WT Five x Five recipient Besner, Linda
Ken Babstock on Linda Besner:

It’s been said before, with other first books in mind, in any number of ways, and it’s just as true with Linda Besner: she didn’t debut or develop so much as explode. The Id Kid is a Catherine wheel, a flying contraption, a diamond-tipped drill bit, a hall of illusion, and a depth charge. Besner’s imagination doesn’t appear to have an upper or outer limit. Her language re-activates what seemed previously inert or emptied out. Reading her poems is a bad trip and a transformational experience. She should be given keys to all the cities.

Writers' Trust Five x Five recipient Coles, Megan Gail
Michael Crummey on Megan Gail Coles:

The characters in Megan Gail Coles’ Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome have a love/hate relationship with Newfoundland. I have a love/hate relationship with Megan Coles. Her stories are blistering and hilarious and make me feel happy to be alive. And a bit like an old fart who should look for other work. I expect great things ahead for her. I expect to feel grateful and sick with jealousy.

Writers' Trust Five x Five Recipient Islam, GhalibMadeleine Thien on Ghalib Islam:

I felt incredibly humbled as I read Fire in the Unnameable Country, a novel that provoked and astonished me, disoriented and moved me. Ghalib Islam’s linguistic and conceptual playfulness are guided by a deep humanity: to open as many doors as possible onto the countries, peoples and lives we have deemed unnameable. In doing so, he has created something that feels increasingly rare — a novel unafraid of fiction’s imagination. I look forward, with the greatest pleasure, to all the work to come.

Writers' Trust Five x Five Recipient Robertson, Eliza
Joseph Boyden on Eliza Robertson:

Eliza Robertson writes about how humanity intersects with the natural world in a way I’ve not read before. Unafraid to breathe pain and ugliness and beauty into her characters (often all three at once), She then sets them free to do despicable or heart-rending or magical acts that leave the reader breathless. And she does all of this with language that at once sears and soothes. I can’t wait for her debut novel.

Writers' Trust Five x Five Recipient Siebert, MelanieEsi Edugyan on Melanie Siebert:

Melanie Siebert’s poems are incandescent marvels. In language both stark and playful, she beautifully limns the natural world and our place within it. Her first collection, Deepwater Vee, explores the destruction of our country’s waterways – by dams, pollution, sewage, tar sands – with bracing lyricism. Siebert’s work forces us to confront the ways in which we damage the very thing that sustains us, and how that instinct to harm can leach over into our most sacred human relationships. She is a stunning writer certain to make a lasting contribution.

About the Five x Five Program

Five celebrated writers from across Canada (Ken Babstock, Michael Crummey, Madeleine Thien, Joseph Boyden, and Esi Edugyan) were each asked to select one emerging writer to receive this recognition and financial reward. To be eligible for nomination, writers must have published a maximum of one literary book (fiction or poetry) with a professional publishing house, or had their work appear in a literary magazine or anthology, and be in the developing stages of their career. No age restriction applied. 





Woodcock Fund


Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing


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


Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction
and Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize


July 18 for books published between May 16 and Sept 30, 2018


Recommended Reading List

We asked some of Canada's finest writers about what they are reading this summer.

Read their Recommendations.


E Newsletter Sign Up

Sign-up for our eNewsletter. Get info about Authors and our latest Events.

Sign up now!

Site design & development supported by

ecentricarts inc