The Mairuth Sarsfield Mentorship Program
for Underrepresented Writers
Call for Applications:
2022 Program - Nonfiction
Deadline: November 7, 2021
The Quebec Writers’ Federation is delighted to announce the call for applications for the Mairuth Sarsfield Mentorship. The mentorship, which is a component of QWF’s “Fresh Pages” initiative, is designed to help an aspiring Quebec-based writer or playwright who is Indigenous, Black or a person of colour to develop their literary writing.
The 2022 mentorship will go to a writer who has already demonstrated an interest in literary writing and who has a work of nonfiction—whether long- or short-form—in progress that they would like to develop. The selected writer will work with their mentor over the course of four months (February through May 2022) and participate in a public reading in early June 2022. Applicants should be prepared to dedicate at least 10 hours per week to their writing during that period.
The selected writer will also receive a free one-year membership in QWF.
Mairuth Sarsfield (1925-2013) was born and raised in the Little Burgundy district of Montreal. She achieved distinction in every arena she entered: as a best-selling novelist and a journalist; working for Canada’s External Affairs Department at home and abroad; serving as press secretary for the Canadian delegation to the United Nations and as a senior information officer for the United Nations Environment Programme based in Nairobi, Kenya. She also served on the Board of Directors of the CBC. Among the many awards and honours she received are the Chevalier à l’Ordre National du Quebec, the National Congress of Black Women Foundation's First Literary Award for her novel No Crystal Stair, and the declaration of “Mairuth Sarsfield Day” by the City of Cleveland for her work on the “For Every Child a Tree” environmental campaign, which led to thousands of tree-planting projects around the world.
These accomplishments were nothing short of remarkable for any woman in twentieth-century North America. The fact that Mairuth Sarsfield achieved them, and more, as a Black woman, ensures her role as an inspiration for all future generations of young people from marginalized communities. With this mentorship program, the Quebec Writers’ Federation is proud to shine a spotlight on Ms. Sarsfield’s life and contributions to her city, her country, and the world.
Applicants must live in Quebec and be Indigenous, Black, or a person of colour.
Applicants should have already demonstrated an interest in creative writing and have at least one or two literary works finished or in progress.
Applicants must be able to devote at least 10 hours a week to their writing during the months of February to May 2022.
There is no age or publication requirement.
Writers in a graduate writing program or already working with a professional editor or publisher are not eligible to apply.
How to Apply
Send the following to email@example.com or mail it to or drop it off in the QWF office (address below).
a cover letter describing the writing you’ve done so far and how the mentorship would make a difference in your writing life (maximum one page);
a 5- to 10-page sample of your writing drawn from one or two works in progress, at least one of which should be the fiction project you want to work on with the mentor;
a short statement about your background and writing experience, including the reason you are eligible for this initiative;
Deadline for applications: November 7, 2021 Notification of results: early December 2021 Mentorship period: February 1, 2022, to May 31, 2022 Public reading: June 2022
The 2022 Mairuth Sarsfield Mentor
Tara McGowan-Ross is an urban Mi’kmaw multidisciplinary artist and writer. She is the author of three books: Girth (2016), Scorpion Season (2019), and Nothing Will Be Different (forthcoming from Rare Machines, October 2021). She writes a biweekly newsletter on Substack (taramcgowanross.substack.com), hosts Drawn and Quarterly’s Indigenous Literatures Book Club, and freelances as an editor and creative.
You can connect with her at girthgirl.ca