To help amplify the voices of QT2S, BIPOC & Disabled writers in Canada (including but not limited those who are physically/invisibly disabled, d/Deaf, blind, neurodivergent, chronically ill or suffering from mental health issues) I have created Spark, a foundation that will provide ongoing support to writers indefinitely.
Spark was born out of two monthly literary awards I had started in the Spring of 2019. It felt like it wasn’t enough. I understand that the intention was coming from a good place, but I didn’t feel qualified to do the work of judging who should win, and I felt bad that I was leaving too many writers out of the process. I couldn’t justify taking whatever funds I had and giving most of those funds to one individual, when I had hundreds of submissions sent to me of high quality. Also, if you have the opportunity help many writers over a long period of time, why would you not do that? Would you give a $1000 to one writer in a month, for one time only, or would you give $100 each to ten writers in a month, for a year?
I feel foolish that I didn’t make this decision sooner, but the quality of the work that was sent to me demanded that I made a change to benefit many for the long term. Like the Fund for Trans Writers (https://shootforthemoon.art/transwriters) we’ve set up monthly payouts indefinitely, but for now, we won’t be actively seeking contributions to support Spark. I feel like for now, the proper course of action is to fund this work myself and take whatever proceeds I have from the work that I do and put it into Spark. If you wish to make a contribution, you can make inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org but I’d rather you focus on supporting the Fund for Trans Writers. As we move towards charitable status, I’ll evaluate if we should proceed with fundraising, but if I can support Spark on my own, I’ll leave it as it is – I’d very much like the responsibility of attending to this myself.
One thing we will be focusing on to start with, is providing monthly payouts indefinitely to new/unpublished writers. A lot of the submissions I would receive were from people who had never been published before, or who were hesitant to submit their work thinking that they didn’t really have a chance of winning an award. Some of the submissions were heartbreaking in the best of ways – there was an earnestness in their voices that I wanted to amplify, not diminish. Spark, under this new structure, allows me to work with the writer and help provide access to other support services so that the writers have a chance to have a long career doing what they love.
I have been contacting writers who have submitted their work over the year to see if they’re interested in receiving monthly payouts to support their writing. I have prioritized those who have not been published, but there are writers I would like to speak with who are in challenging circumstances that could use the support. If you’ve submitted to any of the literary awards over the last year, I encourage you to email me again and we can discuss receiving monthly payouts for your work as a possibility.
One feature is that the writers will have the option of publishing their work on this website at any time. This way, if someone has work that they want to share but not necessarily submit anywhere just yet, they can post up their poetry/prose here, and I’ll be able to use this platform to share their work with as many individuals as possible. Instead of focusing on publishing as the goal, we’ll focus on process & feedback. I’m glad to announce that the first ten recipients of Spark have decided to post up a piece of poetry or prose that you will see published here by the end of August 2019 (We will begin to post up work by the 20th of August)
I’m sorry it took me so long to make this change. I wish I had thought of it sooner so I could have helped a lot more people but seeing the positive effects that the Fund for Trans Writers has had on people made the decision to take this path imperative. I’m glad I figured it out.
If you wish to become a recipient, you can email me at email@example.com with some of your work, and we’ll see what we can do.
Recipients of Spark (List will be updated every month)
Julie Crossman: $100.00 per month indefinitely
Saira Acharya: $100.00 per month indefinitely
Sarah Fischer: $100.00 per month indefinitely
Haydir Khan: $100.00 per month indefinitely
Soji Adebowale: $100.00 per month indefinitely
Mark (Marcus) Turner: $100.00 per month indefinitely
Sarah Mongillo: $100.00 per month indefinitely
Leni Strauss: $100.00 per month indefinitely
Rashmi Samarasekera: $100.00 per month indefinitely
SJ MacDonald: $100.00 per month indefinitely