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Recommender Grants for Writers

Grants to Ontario Professional Writers to
Create New Works of Written Composition

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Funding Source:

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Ontario Arts Council (OAC)

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Grants of up to $5,000 to Ontario published professional writers to begin or continue written compositions in the following genres: fiction, nonfiction literature, young adult literature, poetry, comics and graphic novels, and illustrated writing for children. Funding may be used for artist fees and for research expenses.

The program supports Ontario writers in the creation of new work and creates and strengthens connections between Ontario writers, publishers, and literary organizations.

Eligible expenses:

  • Artist fees – payment to yourself for your time in working on this project. The program does not fund living and personal expenses – do not include these as the rationale for the calculation of artist fees.
  • Research expenses, including travel and accommodation undertaken in the course of research, purchase of resources, or fees paid to an assistant to undertake research on your behalf

Important: Artist fees funded through this program must not be construed as a fee paid by a publisher to an artist for any reason.

The following types of work are eligible for consideration:

  • Comics and graphic novels, that are visual in nature; unified in narrative, style, theme, and/or concept; and intended for professional publication as a book, series of comics, or web comic. Most projects will include both text and visual elements. Wordless projects intended solely or primarily for publication, with a strong sequential structure or narrative direction, are eligible.
  • Fiction
  • Illustrated writing for children, including children's picture books
  • Literary nonfiction, including but not limited to biography, memoir, history, cultural commentary, and arts criticism
  • Poetry
  • Young adult literature, including both fiction and nonfiction

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 164735

Estimated Size of Grant:

The minimum grant is $1,500; the maximum is $5,000.

Term of Contract:

The activities for which applicants request funding:
- Cannot finish before receiving the grant results, which may be sent up to six weeks after the program’s closing date; and
- Must be completed no more than two years after receiving the grant results. Grantees may continue to work on the funded manuscript after this date, but the grant must be fully spent by this time.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must be Ontario residents with a permanent physical address in Ontario and have a recent professional publishing history with at least:
- one traditionally published book (minimum of 48 pages) for which the applicant has a publishing contract and receives royalties; or
- three traditionally published short stories, comics, poems, or other works for which the applicant has received payment. Works can appear in magazines, newspapers, websites, and anthologies. Contest-winning work is considered publication; or
- three years' professional presentation of comics work through work-for-hire creation jobs (editorial cartooning, creation for commercial comics franchises), sales at curated comics festivals, or gallery exhibitions; or
- two recent production writing credits for non-text media (radio, television, film, interactive digital media, and theatre).

Additional eligibility requirements:

Conflict of Interest:
If applicants have a conflict of interest with a particular recommender they may not apply to that recommender. An applicant is in a conflict of interest if they are:
- an intern, volunteer, employee, publisher, editor, board member (including governance, advisory, and editorial boards), or director of a recommending organization
- an individual who has served as contract or permanent staff of a recommending organization, or has served on the board of that organization, within the last year
- immediate family members of anyone described above.
- Any writer described above may not make and receive a recommendation from another writer/recommender in the same program cycle; reciprocal recommendations are not allowed.

Ineligible genres:
- Projects for which the author and/or illustrator do not own the intellectual property rights to their characters and/or narrative
- Commissioned adaptations of works in other media
- Play, film, broadcast, or interactive digital media scripts
- Projects that are written primarily for an educational or scholarly market or are part of educational or academic programs, including textbooks and curriculum materials
- Projects that are to be ghost-written or for which the author is to be uncredited (including books where the applicant will not be identified as the author under their own name or a pseudonym that they use only for their own work)
- Activity books, directories, index compilations, bibliographies with minimal critical content, travel guidebooks, instruction or self-help materials, manuals, cookbooks, exhibition catalogues
- Commissioned industrial or business histories, or commissioned biographies
- Professional reference materials aimed at a specialized audience
- Calendars, daybooks, agendas or almanacs or other projects with minimal written content, except as provided for in eligibility criteria for comics

Ineligible applicants:
- Organizations
- Ad-hoc groups/collectives
- Non-professional applicants
- Applicants with a conflict of interest with a specific recommender may not apply to that recommender. See "Conflict of interest" section above for details.
- Student or academic publications, including scholarly monographs and articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals, may not be used to establish eligibility.
- Self-published work may not be used to establish eligibility.
- Work that you was done as part of employment may not be used to establish eligibility, unless the applicant is a professional journalist or a professional writer of narrative content or visual artist/illustrator for the comics, film, television, or interactive digital media sectors.

This program does not fund:
- Writing for film, radio, television, theatre, or interactive digital media
- Manuscript evaluation
- Editorial services
- Publication expenses
- Expenses incurred after the publication of a completed work
- Works in languages other than English
- Works in other ineligible genres

Pre-Application Information:

This program runs from September 1, 2020 to January 15, 2021. OAC does not set deadlines in this program. Recommenders set their own schedules for review of applications.

This is a third-party recommender program. Using OAC’s online grant application system, writers apply to the publishers and organizations designated as recommenders for the program (a maximum of ten applications per year). These recommenders assess applications and submit grant recommendations to OAC.

See the list of recommenders:

Applicants may:
- Apply to up to ten recommenders per program year (September 2020 – January 2021); applications may be for the same project or for different projects
- Only submit one application per recommender per program year
- Be recommended for funding by more than one recommender per program year.

Nova Online Application System User Guide:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register for the online application system:

Jack Illingworth, Officer
Toll-free in Ontario: ​​​​​​​​​1-800-387-0058 ext. 7438

Rohana Buzamlak, Program Administrator
Toll-free in Ontario: ​​​​​1-800-387-0058 ext. 7416

Ontario Arts Council
121 Bloor Street East
7th Floor
Toronto ON M4W 3M5

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Ontario;

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