Elizabeth Venart Prize
The Elizabeth Venart Prize recognizes the unique barriers to literary creation faced by women and other marginalized genders—in particular the lack of time and space imposed by systems of gendered labour and gendered childrearing. The prize supports these writers as they advance works-in-progress. The endowment for the prize was established through the generous support of the Venart family in memory of Elizabeth Venart, a writer and mother.
Introduced in 2021, the annual Elizabeth Venart Prize ($1000) is awarded to an emerging writer whose work-in-progress shows promise and career-advancing merit. This $1000 prize helps finance the time, space, and professional development required to write, to revise and edit, and/or to submit work for publication. Submissions are open to women and writers of other marginalized genders (including but not limited to Two-Spirit, trans, nonbinary, and fluid genders).
Through this prize, WFNS seeks to provide emerging writers with a unique opportunity for focused, purposeful advancement of their writing projects and careers. Writers from across Nova Scotia — with projects in all forms and genres of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry — are welcome to submit.
Women comprise the majority of writers in Canada’s literary industry, according to a 2015 study by The Writers’ Union of Canada, yet they earn just 55% the income of writers who identify as men. The money awarded through the Venart Prize represents one small effort toward rectifying this gap in earnings and reaffirming the creative conviction of gender-marginalized writer in the face of an industry that systemically undervalues their labour. In doing so, the prize helps fulfill WFNS’s mission to foster creative writing and the profession of writing; to provide advice and assistance to writers at all stages of their careers; and to enhance the literary arts in our regional and national culture.
How does the prize work?
Recipients of the Elizabeth Venart Prize use the award to facilitate their literary endeavours during an agreed-upon “prize period.” Eligible activities include (but are not limited to) drafting new writing, revising existing writing, contracting and working with an editor, submitting writing for publication, and undertaking creative or professional training or mentorships.
During the prize period, WFNS also offers the prize recipient up to three private, supportive consultations — modeled on our Coffee Chats program — with an advisor from the WFNS Writers’ Council. Conducted in person or by videoconferencing, these consultations are intended to help writers assess and recalibrate their writing strategies, troubleshoot creative and professional challenges, and plan future career development.
The start and end dates of the prize period, the scheduling of any consultations, and the selection of any Writers’ Council advisor are determined by the prize recipient with the approval of WFNS.
As the prize is awarded based on the merit of the submitted writing sample and proposed work schedule, no budget or final report is required of a Venart Prize recipient.