The Giller Foundation announced yesterday they will be making donations of $25,000 each to the Indigenous Literary Studies Association and Diaspora Dialogues, two organizations dedicated to supporting and nurturing authors of colour.
“Writers are the lifeblood of our creative communities and diversity is the vital spark that animates the world of literature,” says Elana Rabinovitch, Executive Director of the Giller Foundation. “Without writers from the Black, Indigenous and people of colour communities, our view of the world would be diminished and one-dimensional, our imaginations would go unfed, and we would cease to learn more about the world and ourselves.”
Since its inception in 2013, the Indigenous Literary Studies Association has hosted mentorships, literary awards, conferences, and other events in the interest of connecting newer authors with those more established, providing important resources for Indigenous creators to publish and promote their work.
Keavy Martin, President Elect of ILSA, remarks: "ILSA is thrilled to team up with the Giller Foundation in supporting the growth of Indigenous literary studies in Canada. This generous donation will allow us to create opportunities for more emerging scholars--and ultimately, for more readers--to engage respectfully and in transformative ways with the rich abundance of Indigenous literary art today."
Diaspora Dialogues, started in 2015, facilitates long and short-term mentoring partnerships between new writers and celebrated authors such as Lawrence Hill, Cherie Dimaline, Farzana Doctor, Rawi Hage and MG Vassanji. Through these programs, the organization has helped create over 400 new works of Canadian literature to date.
Helen Walsh, founder and President of Diaspora Dialogues, says: “We’re so grateful for this very generous donation from the Giller Foundation and their investment in opportunities for emerging fiction writers whose voices have not traditionally been heard, and for their continuing role in amplifying the voice of Canadian authors and books. Giller Prize-winning writers who have mentored for Diaspora Dialogues include Ian Williams, Lawrence Hill and Vincent Lam, and several DD program alumni have been nominated, including our program manager Zalika Reid-Benta."