This month-long residency encourages the exploration of new ideas in journalism and experimentation in writing. Designed to challenge and stimulate, the program aims to inspire creative pieces of writing, which might otherwise be difficult to complete. A preeminent space for long-form journalism, this residency emphasizes the strengths of thorough and articulate reporting, distinctive storytelling, and literary devices.
Work created in this program has been published in many outlets including The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, and The Atlantic, and pieces have gone on to win National Magazine and National Newspaper Awards.
What does the program offer?
This residency gives writers time and studio space to work on their manuscripts, receive individual consultations with faculty, and participate in group discussions. Group sessions include time with editor faculty members and invited guest writers, as well as access to seminars focused on the craft of journalistic writing. During the four-week program, a series of outstanding guest writers and editors will be on hand for public talks and informal discussions.
Successful applicants will receive 100% scholarship to cover tuition, on-site accommodation, and on-site meals. In addition, accepted applicants will be eligible for a travel award to assist with travel costs, and a $2,000 CAD commission for the completed manuscript.
Who should apply?
Literary Journalism is designed for writers seeking a professional development opportunity in a community of peers with the guidance of an experienced writer/editor, as each participant prepares a long form piece (5,000-10,000+ words).
Participants should be experienced professionals, active in the diversified fields of writing, including print or electronic media. This program is open to fiction and non-fiction writers, journalists, freelance critics or curators, artists, and academics, with an emphasis on those who can write for a lay audience with logic, vigour, and charm—and those who have a portfolio to prove it.
We welcome writers from all backgrounds, and all gender identities and expressions.
Please note: This program is run in English and the commission is payable for an English language essay. Commission is paid in Canadian dollars and is subject to Canadian income tax laws.
Accepted participants are expected to be on-site for the duration of the program.
The Literary Journalism program is generously supported by:
Rogers Communications Chair in Literary Journalism Endowment Fund
Your program fee includes a single bedroom on the Banff Centre campus for the duration of your program.
Get connected with other artists on campus and focus on your projects in a creative environment while we take care of the day-to-day essentials.
Using a credit-based system to dine on campus, our flexible meal plans allow you to select meals according to your own needs during your stay.
The Regular Flex meal plan includes $30 credit per day, equivalent to lunch and dinner in Vistas Dining Room.
The program includes a commission of a $2,000 award for participants. To qualify for the award, you are required to arrive with a fully reported and typed first draft of your project, and must complete a final, publishable draft of between 5,000 and 7,500 words by the time you leave.
The program includes a $750 CAD grant towards your travel costs to and from Banff. This will be paid when you provide your travel receipts to us after you've arrived at Banff Centre.
This program offers opportunities to showcase your work-in-progress in one of our performance venues.
Access a wide range of publications, books, music and films in the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives, open six days a week.
A series of outstanding guest artists and curators will give public talks and hold informal discussions.
Enjoy special artist rates for ticketed performances or complimentary access to events.
Fees & Financial Assistance
Application fee: $65
*Participants accepted to the program will receive 100% scholarship to cover the Program Fee.
If you would like to be considered, please complete the Financial Aid section when uploading your supporting materials to SlideRoom.
*Writers requiring financial assistance will be awarded a scholarship to cover the full program fee. In addition, the program includes a $2,000 CAD commission award for work produced and a travel allowance of up to $750 CAD on production of the participant's travel receipts.
How to Apply
An outline of three to five pages describing the project the applicant proposes to work on in Banff, detailing both the reporting that has been done and the textual approach the applicant plans to take. The project is usually a deeply reported piece of narrative-driven non-fiction of approximately 5,000 to 7,500 words.
General subject matter varies widely from one project to another, and can be concerned with art, science, music, politics, medicine, culture, style, sports, history, personal history, geography, business, or biography, to list a few possibilities.
The time between acceptance to the program and the draft deadline should be used for research and manuscript development in consultation with one of two faculty editors. Once confirmed, accepted applicants will receive details about their assigned editor and submission deadlines prior to the program start date.
You are required to arrive with a fully reported and typed first draft of your project. For this first draft, writers will receive an advance on the full commission by the end of the second week of the program. Writers are expected to complete and submit a final, publishable draft of between 5,000 and 7,500 words by the end of the residency in order to qualify for the remaining amount of the $2,000 CAD commission payment.
The commission will be paid in Canadian funds with a Canadian cheque. The commission payment is subject to Canadian tax laws including a 15% withholding tax. For more information about receiving payment for work created in Canada and Canadian tax law, please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency.html or speak to a certified accountant.
Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity buys and exercises first right of refusal for non-exclusive rights to the material in order to fulfill the program's aim of making the work produced during this intensive editorial process available to the public.
The writers retain all copy and intellectual rights to their essays, which means the author may publish the pieces wherever they like for whatever fee, once Banff Centre has had first right of refusal. If your piece has already been sold to a publisher, please make sure to note this on your application. A large number of articles that have come out of this program have appeared in national and international magazines, newspapers, and journals, as well as becoming sections of books and the basis for radio and television features. With the commission fee, Banff Centre acquires second serial rights to the essays written during the program.
Participants are selected by impartial adjudicators on the basis of their submitted material. The eight successful candidates will be selected from the field of applicants on the basis of writing skill, literary merit, and the relevance and originality of their project idea. Projects can be risk-taking endeavours both stylistically and intellectually. Consideration will also be given to the likelihood that the writer’s work will benefit from the program.
Applicants will be notified as soon as adjudication is complete, approximately three to five weeks following the application deadline.
Applicants are usually accomplished, professional 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, the proposed project and writing skill.
Note: Past participants of Literary Journalism must wait at least one year before applying again, and should be working on a different project. Those accepted as participants to the program who subsequently find themselves unable to attend for the full program schedule are asked to withdraw and re-apply another year.
All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee is 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. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.