Literary Journalism

Program dates: July 6, 2015 - August 1, 2015

Application deadline: March 18, 2015

Off-site manuscript development: May 4, 2015 - June 26, 2015

Program Information

Faculty: Ian Brown - Rogers Communications Chair, Charlotte Gill - Faculty Editor, Victor Dwyer - Faculty Editor, Geoff Dyer - Guest Faculty,

'What works of literature might exist if more writers had a cabin of one’s own, surrounded by a community of artists to share, inspire, and to learn from."
—Craille Maguire Gillies, program participant

About Literary Journalism

Literary Journalism offers eight established writers of non-fiction an opportunity to develop a major essay, memoir, or feature piece for a $2,000 commission. More information about the commission can be found on the Details page.

A month-long residency in one of The Banff Centre's Leighton Artists' Colony studios enables writers to work on their manuscripts during individual consultations with faculty and during round-table discussions. Participants are required to arrive with a fully reported and typed first draft of their project, and must complete a final, publishable draft of between 5000 and 7500 words by the time they leave. The workshop emphasizes the strengths of classic longform journalism:  thorough and stylish reporting, the creation of a distinctive story-telling voice, the use of techniques such as scene and point-of-view, and—as always—captivating writing. 

New for 2015: Participants will also examine the possibility of turning their stories into digitally-enhanced productions, with visiting experts who specialize in adapting longform stories to new technologies.

Applicants are usually accomplished journalists and writers who have been published in national or international magazines, newspapers, anthologies, or literary journals. However, writers with less experience have also been accepted to the program based on merit. By placing writers in a situation designed to challenge and stimulate their creativity, the program encourages the exploration of new ideas in journalism and experimentation with writing a piece that might otherwise be difficult to complete. For examples of articles written by past program participants, please consult the following anthologies published by the Banff Centre Press: Why are you Telling me This? Eleven Acts of Intimate Journalism in 1997, Taking Risks: Literary Journalism from the Edge in 1998, and To Arrive Where You Are in 2000. Also see Cabin Fever: The Best New Canadian Non-fiction, published by Thomas Allen Publishers in cooperation with The Banff Centre.

Who Should Apply

This program is designed for established non-fiction writers seeking a professional development opportunity in a community of peers. If you are seeking a period of dedicated time to develop a specific piece, with the guidance of an experienced writer/editor, this residency is for you. Past participants of the program have represented thought-provoking writers across Canada, however international applications are equally welcomed. For more specifics, see the eligibility section.

Arrival and Departure Dates

Participants are should plan to arrive in Banff on Sunday, July 5, 2015, and depart on Sunday, August 2, 2015.

Want to Extend Your Stay?

Self-directed Writing Residencies run year-round and provide the time and space for focused work. Extend your stay before or after this program by applying for a Self-directed Residency.


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All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of The Banff Centre.