Writing grants for the Canada Council

Caleigh Minshall

My newest project is to help write a grant for the Canada Council for the Arts for Book Publishing Support. The deadline is, scarily enough, December 1 (just two weeks!), so I’ll be spending the next two days on this grant and hopefully have it sent off to Tim by Tuesday evening (France time).

I’ve helped with a few grant applications before. The first was the Canada Book Fund application for internship funding, which obviously worked out pretty well since here I am, interning with the Quill. I also helped with an Ontario Media Council application and another grant application to the Ontario Arts Council for the Devil’s Artisan.

What generally happens is that Tim sends me the questions and parameters for the grant application, and I write a rough draft that tries to meet all of the parameters and answer all of the questions. I send this draft back to Tim, he looks it over, and between the two of us the application gets written and we ideally get the funding!

The good news is that the Inksters keep all of their previous grant applications, which can provide a very helpful guideline when I’m preparing a new one. For example, for this Canada Council grant, Tim also forwarded me a copy of the 2008 application the Porcupine’s Quill made. Of course, over the past two years, some of the questions have been altered and most of the information has changed dramatically – but the old application does give me a feel for the appropriate tone and content.

Actually, as a small side note, Tim’s grant applications seem to be quite beloved by the publishing industry. The covering letter from a recent application to the Canada Council (for the DA) included this gem: “The members of the peer assessment committee found the application itself to be the wittiest and most pleasurable in the entire competition; appreciation was roundly expressed for the human element you bring to your work.”

High praise! And one of the things I’ve learned while doing this is that formal academic writing – the kind I did for all four years of my university career – pretty much flies out the window when you’re dealing with real people instead of literary theory. Respect and a sense of humour seems to be good enough for most people I’ve met in the business.

In other happy news, the National Post included an interesting article about George Walker the other day so you can check that out by visiting the Google cached web page (for some reason I can’t access the actual web page on the National Post‘s site).

And finally, a bit of personal news for those of you who are curious! My other job in France is going wonderfully and I’ve even managed to sneak in some travel time, too. A week and a half ago I visited my good friend Irene in Freiburg, Germany. The Black Forest was full of red autumn leaves and it reminded me of home:

Irene and I in the Black Forest.

About Caleigh

Intern at the Porcupine's Quill.
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5 Responses to Writing grants for the Canada Council

  1. steve says:

    Here is the link to the actual National Post article. I like the archived link you have better, the photo shows the entire studio discussed in the text.

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  5. Franco says:

    Hello Caleigh,

    Hope you had luck with your grant.
    I am currently in the process of writing a grant for Emerging Theatre Artist and was wondering if you could offer me any tips or help.
    Any advice would be appreciated.



The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.