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Ontario Arts Council (OAC)
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Recommender Grants for Writers

Until this program opens in Nova, the Ontario Arts Council’s online granting system, program information may change. This includes deadline dates and specific information on eligibility. Be sure to visit this page after the program opens in Nova, but before starting your application.



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

This is a third-party recommender program. Using Nova, 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.

Grants made from this program are made by OAC. Recommenders may not award grants in lieu of payment or impose conditions on applicants or grant recipients. See About Recommender Grants below for more information on the process.


Each recommender may identify priority applicants or areas of activity.

Deadline date(s)

This program runs from September 3, 2024 to January 15, 2025, 1:00 p.m. ET. OAC does not set deadlines in this program. Recommenders set their own schedules for review of applications.

Grant amount(s)

  • minimum $1,500; maximum $5,000

Applicants may:

  • apply to up to ten recommenders per program year (September 2024 – January 2025); 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


Due to the number of applications received and the limited funds available, grants awarded may be smaller than the amount requested.


If you are awarded more than one grant in a single third-party recommender program year, these grants will count as one grant toward your three-grant limit for 2024. The recommender programs are: Indigenous Visual Artists’ Materials, Exhibition Assistance, Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators and Recommender Grants for Writers.

Recent changes

  • The application questions and evaluation rubric have been reworked to better align with OAC’s current strategic plan.

Eligible applicants

You must be an Ontario resident and have a recent professional publishing history with, at least:

  • one traditionally published book (minimum of 48 pages) for which you have a publishing contract and receive royalties; or
  • three traditionally published short stories, comics, poems or other works for which you have 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).

Read the Guide to OAC Project Programs for more eligibility information.

Ineligible applicants

  • organizations
  • ad-hoc groups and 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 below for details.

The following may not be used to establish eligibility:

  • student or academic publications, including scholarly monographs and articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals
  • self-published work
  • work that you have done as part of your employment unless you are a professional journalist or a professional writer of narrative content or visual artist/illustrator for the comics, film, television, or interactive digital media sectors

What this program funds

Grants through this program fund the time and activities needed to begin new work or continue work in progress for the project(s) described in your application.

Eligible projects may vary in scale from chapbook-length poetry projects and feature magazine articles to full-length books. See the full list of Eligible genres, below.

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.

What 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, as listed below

Activity timing

The activities for which you are requesting funding:

  • cannot finish before you receive your grant results, which may be sent up to six weeks after the program’s closing date
  • must be completed no more than two years after you receive the grant results. You may continue to work on your funded manuscript after this date, but your grant must be fully spent by this time

Final report requirements

If you receive a grant, you must complete the project and submit a final report in Nova. See Terms and Conditions – receipt of OAC project grant funds for more information on reporting obligations.

In your final report, you will need to provide:

  • a description of the project undertaken and its outcomes, including details on any approved or minor changes to what had been outlined in the application
  • written, audio, video samples of the work created (optional)
  • documentation and/or an explanation of how you followed or will follow OAC’s Recognition Requirements for Project Grant Recipients
    • This could include social media screenshots or a description of how you recognized OAC or plan to do so in future activities or materials tied to the project.

To apply

  • Complete and submit an application in Nova.
  • Before applying, you must create or update your profile in Nova.

Your application will include:

  • basic information about your project
  • your answers to application questions
  • name of recommender you are applying to
  • artistic examples – up to 10 pages of your recent literary work, preferably including an excerpt from the work for which you are seeking support
  • support documents: a résumé of up to three pages summarizing your published and/or performed literary work. You may also note key works in other areas of your artistic practice

Complete instructions and requirements are in the application in Nova.

For details on creating a profile or submitting an application in Nova, see the Nova User Guide.

Recommender Deadlines and Contacts

The link below will direct you to a searchable database of recommenders for this program. Applicants are encouraged to begin by searching by literary genre to find recommenders that may be suitable for your work. You may view the recommender’s priorities and contact information by expanding their listing using the down arrow button. Applicants should review recommender’s priorities and websites to determine which recommenders are the best match for a particular project.

Recommenders marked as “regional” have an additional granting allocation that is only available to applicants who live in Ontario but outside of the city of Toronto. All recommenders have a general allocation from which they are able to recommend grants to writers who live anywhere in Ontario.

Once OAC is informed that a recommender’s allocation has been fully awarded, we will adjust their record to indicate that they are no longer accepting applications. 

About recommender grants

Recommenders are organizations authorized by OAC to receive applications, review them and make grant recommendations. OAC allocates a budget to each of the participating recommenders.

Recommenders notify OAC of their grant recommendations, which are reviewed by OAC for applicant and project eligibility. OAC then sends you an email letting you know that your notification letter is available online in Nova. If recommended a grant, you must enter your Social Insurance Number (SIN) and acknowledge your notification letter in Nova. OAC then sends the grant cheque by regular mail.


  • Recommender grants are outright grants to artists from OAC.
  • A recommender grant cannot be represented or designated as any form of payment either owed or advanced by the publisher-recommender for past or future writing. Under no circumstances can a grant be substituted for royalties or fees.
  • A recommender grant cannot be used to underwrite expenses that are the responsibility of the publisher. A recommender grant is not subject to an agent's commission. Any manuscript resulting from a project assisted through the recommender shall remain the artist's property. There is no obligation on the part of the recommender to publish a grant recipient's work.
  • An artist does not have to be under contract to the recommender at any time to qualify for a grant recommendation. An artist’s contractual obligations to their publisher/s may not prohibit them from requesting a recommendation from other publishers.
  • At no time does a grant recommendation place a grant recipient under any obligation whatsoever to the recommender. Nor does a recommendation or grant in any way oblige the recommender to the grant recipient.
  • The recommender must respect both the confidentiality of the application and copyright of the application and support material.

Conflict of interest

If you have a conflict of interest with a particular recommender you 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 those 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.

Eligible genres

Except as described in "Ineligible genres" below, 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 non-fiction, including but not limited to biography, memoir, history, cultural commentary, and arts criticism
  • poetry
  • young adult literature, including both fiction and non-fiction

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