Two literary opportunities for writers are open till April 14

Upstart & Crow is running a local residency, while Audible Indigenous Writers’ Circle is seeking Indigenous writers from across Canada

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      Writers seeking ways to grow, now is the time to put pen to paper (or clickity-clackity on a keyboard): there’s two new opportunities to get support for your literary ambitions, which both have application deadlines of April 14.

      Granville Island’s Upstart & Crow literary arts studio and bookstore is looking for a writer-in-residence, while the Audible Indigenous Writers’ Circle is in its third year of supporting emerging and established Indigenous writers within Canada. 

      Zoe Grams, co-founder and curator of Upstart & Crow, told the Straight that the idea had been percolating since the bookstore opened in 2020.

      “We’re offering $4,000, use of our upstairs mezzanine space, and confirming that we would publish a full work from a writer,” Grams said. “What we’re trying to do is give a writer resources that they might not otherwise have to be able to explore a bold or an important idea that can be shared widely with others.”

      She added that local writers are “punching above our weight.” The residency, Stories from Here, hopes to help provide some financial assistance and give a writer space to add to the local scene.

      “One of the things that’s most exciting about the literary scene here on the West Coast is that there are so many different people writing in very different styles and focusing on many different topics,” she said. “It’s really exciting to see just how much is being published on the West Coast.” 

      The residency is designed for an emerging or established writer to dedicate some time and space to a project, and is open across different genres including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or oral projects. As this is the inaugural residency, exactly how it looks will be up for discussion.

      The jury selecting the writer consists of Jeanette Ageson, publisher of The Tyee; Jorge Amigo, head of cultural programming at the Vancouver Public Library; author and academic Billy-Ray Belcourt from the Driftpile Cree Nation; Am Johal of SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement; and Grams. Editorial support for the writer will be available, including from former editor-in-chief of The Tyee, Robyn Smith.

      The residency will last for three months, and the writer will participate in two public events within six months of the residency. While it is open to wordsmiths from anywhere in the country, a connection to BC is preferred. 

      The Audible Indigenous Writers’ Circle, meanwhile, is in its third year and looking for 24 emerging First Nations, Inuit, and Métis writers for its six-month mentorship. 

      “The Writers’ Circle will support the next wave of emerging Indigenous writers, by leveraging Audible’s resources and creative community connections to provide mentorship and learning opportunities that will help program participants tell their own stories,” according to Audible’s website.

      The program features eight mentors: Richard Van Camp, January Rogers, Reneltta Arluk, Alicia Elliott, Joshua Whitehead, Jessica Johns, Brandi Morin, and Warren Cariou, who will help guide participants through the creative process. Several Metro Vancouver writers were participants in 2021, and CBC Vancouver investigative journalist Angela Sterritt formerly served as a mentor. 

      Each selected writer will be eligible for a $1,500 bursary to support their participation. 

      Applications are open on Upstart & Crow’s website for the writer residency, and on Audible’s website for the Indigenous Writers’ Circle. Applications will close for both programs on April 14.