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Giller Foundation Announces the Giller Mantella Scholarship for Black, Indigenous, and Racialized Students

black and red banner with text reading "Giller Foundation Announces The Giller Mantella Scholarship for Black, Indigenous, and Racialized Students" and "A gift to the imaginations of future readers and writers alike – Randy Boyagoda". Giller Prize logo top left, Open Book logo bottom left

This morning, the Canadian writing and publishing community got big news from one of the most significant organizations in its landscape: the Giller Foundation, administrators of the Scotiabank Giller Prize, arguably the most influential fiction award in the country, announced it has created a scholarship program for emerging writers looking to pursue higher education in creative writing. 

Partnering with prominent real estate and land development company the Mantella Corporation, the foundation has created the Giller Mantella Scholarship for Black, Indigenous, and Racialized Students.

High school graduates across Canada who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or racialized people and who are interested in pursuing post-secondary education in creative writing and literature will be eligible to apply. $10,000 be awarded to each of three selected students in order to support their literary studies. 

Created with the aim of supporting diverse and inclusive storytelling and publishing in Canada, the program has already received warm support from the writing community, with author Randy Boyagoda calling it "a gift to the imaginations of future readers and writers alike". 

Writer Ian Williams, a past Giller Prize winner, praised the initiative as well, saying it "will transform the lives of several racialized students across Canada, who no longer have to view a creative life as an inaccessible luxury. This is what good literary citizenship looks like."

The program's backers also shared their excitement, with Sylvia Mantella, Vice President Marketing, Sponsorship and Philanthropy at the Mantella Corporation, noting the company's desire to help support "the literary talent throughout our diverse communities" and Elana Rabinovitch, Executive Director of The Giller Foundation, noting that the program is meant to create opportunities for "students who may not have access to traditional financial aid and scholarships" and that they "hope the scholarship will make a meaningful difference in the lives of the recipients".

The program will begin accepting applications in March 2024 and will run for three years, administered by Scholarship Partners Canada, a division of Universities Canada, with the potential to be extended. Applicants will be asked to demonstrate the merits of their academic and extracurricular achievements, and to submit a 500 word essay describing their passion for literature and writing. Details of the selection process and jury have not yet been released.