Dr. MacEwan Literary Arts Scholarship

This $7,000 scholarship is awarded annually to a young Albertan writer who shows extraordinary talent in an eligible literary genre and who demonstrates clear educational or training goals. 

Application Deadline
March 3, 2025

Who can apply

The AFA celebrates and supports diversity and is committed to creating equitable, inclusive, and accessible programs for all, free of barriers and discrimination. We recognize the unique contributions all artists make towards our community, and encourage applicants representing diverse communities, including Indigenous peoples, racialized communities, women, people with disabilities, and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

To be eligible for scholarship funding you must be a resident of Alberta. This means you:

  • are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or Protected Person with an open study permit from inside Canada
  • have had your primary residence in Alberta for one full year before applying
  • ordinarily live in Alberta for at least six months each year with the exception of attending a formal program of study

You must be 25 years or younger as of the application deadline.

You must be enrolled in an eligible writing training program.

Ineligible applicants:

  • International students in Canada on a visa without permanent residency status in Canada.
  • International students enrolled in a Canadian program/Canadian institution not located in Canada.
  • Non-Canadian students enrolled and studying via the Internet or through online courses.

What does this grant support

Eligible Training Programs

You must be enrolled in an eligible training program to receive this scholarship.

Eligible writing programs that will be accepted for assessment of educational or training merit are the following:

  • any level of undergraduate studies with a minor or major in literary arts or creative writing
  • a recognized program or appropriate mentorship, workshop, master class, or course with a focus on literary arts/creative writing

Graduate programs or their equivalents are ineligible for consideration.

Eligible Literary Genres

For the purposes of this scholarship program, eligible creative writing submissions that will be accepted for assessment of artistic merit are the following: 

  • short or long fiction
  • poetry
  • stage, screen or radio plays
  • literary non-fiction*
  • comic book/graphic novel script**

*Literary non-fiction is a form of non-fiction that uses inventive or literary techniques to produce work factually true and artistically elegant. Eligible works of literary non-fiction are the following written in a personal, identifiable voice:

  • history
  • narrative journalism
  • memoir
  • personal essays
  • travel writing

**A comic book/graphic novel script is a text-only excerpt from a projected book-length narrative that will use a combination of words and sequential art in experimental or traditional comic format. 

  • a script should include the sequence narration, panel descriptions, art notes and concepts, dialogue, as well as a prefatory plot summary
  • a script does not include the art

How to apply

We only accept applications through Grant Administration Tracking and Evaluation (GATE) Front Office online application system.

We must receive your online application through GATE Front Office no later than 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time on the deadline date, unless the deadline falls on a statutory holiday or a weekend when it will be extended until the next working day. Please give the system time to process your application so that we receive notification of your submission before the deadline falls. 

Please note:

  • applicants may submit only one application to this funding opportunity each deadline
  • the AFA does not accept incomplete applications

We do not accept separate applications for the same project.

GATE Front Office username registration

First-time applicants will require a GATE Front Office username and password. Email us at registrationafa@gov.ab.ca to obtain your login information at least five business days prior to the application deadline.

Please include:

  1. your legal name
  2. the funding opportunity to which you are applying
  3. your email address

Your user name and password will be sent to the email address provided.

Application requirements for minors

If an applicant is under the age of 18 years at the time of application, a parent or legal guardian must e-sign the Applicant Agreement in GATE Front Office as the designate for the scholarship.

As the designate, you are responsible for:

  • the completeness and accuracy of the application in full
  • receipt and use of funding
  • serving as contact person for any inquiries relating to the funding

What to include in your application

Your GATE Front Office application will include online forms to complete and attachments you must upload to your application.

Please note that applicants may be asked for additional information to determine eligibility or any other program requirements.

GATE Front Office online forms

  1. Applicant information: legal name and confirmation of your status (minor/Albertan).
  2. Contact information for the applicant or their designate.
  3. Applicant contact information: street and mailing address for the applicant.
  4. Project description: a brief project description (20 words) that includes the name of the educational program, and start and end dates of the training program.
  5. Applicant Agreement: this must be e-signed by the applicant or designate.


The GATE Front Office attachment section indicates that not all attachments are required for submission. This is because they are only required for certain types of project or scholarship applications.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all attachments listed below are submitted with the application.

Please submit the following attachments:

  1. A letter by the applicant of no more than two pages in length that:
    • introduces the applicant and outlines their previous experience in the literary arts
    • outlines the applicant's interest in the literary arts
    • describes how the applicant will use the scholarship to develop their literary arts practice should the application be successful
    • introduces the applicant's writing sample submission
  2. A resume or curriculum vitae of no more than two pages in length that focuses on the applicant's artistic activity.
  3. A detailed description of the applicant's chosen literary arts educational or training program(s). Please note:
    • applicants who have been accepted into a specific course must provide proof of acceptance and a detailed description and schedule for the training program or course of study
    • applicants who have not already been accepted into a course must submit a detailed description and schedule for the preferred choice, with two alternate program choices, including detailed descriptions and schedules for each choice
  4. A scanned copy of one of the following to provide legal proof of age:
    • certificate of birth
    • driver’s license
    • passport
    • certificate of Canadian citizenship
  5. An original writing submission in one of the eligible literary genres. Submissions must be a minimum of 15 pages and must be double-spaced in a legible 12-pt. font.
    • creative writing submissions must be original and written solely by the applicant
      See "Format" below for submission guidelines
    • any application that includes a creative writing submission that is not original, plagiarized, or violates the Copyright Act of Canada will be ineligible
  6. A current and signed letter of reference, preferably from one of the following:
    • a high school, college or university instructor
    • a published author, professional publisher, or other professional working in the literary arts


Wherever possible, support material should be uploaded as an attachment into GATE Front Office (up to 4 MB)

For files too large to include as attachments in GATE Front Office, they may be submitted via email to the Literary Arts Development Consultant as email attachments or downloadable links:

  • please format your subject line: <your first initial, last name and project number>, e.g. "H.Lee LIPG-56-172631" 
  • please ensure link contains downloadable files (MP3 or MP4 preferred)

Alternatively, please mail a hard copy CD or USB to 10708 – 105 Ave, Edmonton, AB, T5H 0A1:

  • please include your first initial, last name and project number on the CD or USB
  • support material must be submitted or postmarked no later than 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time on the deadline date
  • if you require return of hard copy materials, please also include a self-addressed stamped envelope

How will my application be assessed

This funding is administered at the discretion of the AFA board.

Staff convene an expert panel to consider all eligible scholarship applications submitted to each deadline. The expert panel assesses the merit of each application both on its own terms and in relation to all other applications received for a given deadline.

Assessment of a scholarship application is based on the following general criteria:

  • the applicant's artistic ability based on the artistic merit of the writing submission
  • the merit and appropriateness of the proposed program(s) in the context of the applicant's literary arts goals and interests
  • the impact of the proposed program(s) on the artistic development of the applicant
  • the applicant's achievements and experience in the literary arts to date

All expert panel recommendations are reviewed by the AFA board and all decisions are final. Funding is not assured for any application.

Learn more about expert panels and how the AFA adjudicates funding requests for all programs.

When will I hear

Grant recommendations are made to the AFA board of directors. Successful recipients will be notified upon board approval, generally between four to six months from the application deadline.

All applicants, successful and unsuccessful, will be notified of the outcome. No expert panel comments will be provided.


  1. Only one $7,000 scholarship is awarded each year.
  2. The scholarship will only be granted if the successful applicant can prove enrollment in an eligible training program identified in the applicant's scholarship application.
  3. Failure to prove enrollment within 60 days of the award date may result in cancellation of the scholarship.
  4. The AFA, or our authorized representative, may examine a funding recipient's financial and other records to ensure that the funding is being, or was, used for its intended purpose. 
  5. If you have previously received an AFA grant, you must have met reporting requirements in order to be eligible to receive subsequent funding from the AFA.


Within 60 days of the award date, you must provide confirmation of enrollment to the eligible training program identified in your application via email to the Literary Arts Development Consultant . 

No other reporting requirements are associated with this scholarship. 

Helpful resources

The Dr. MacEwan Literary Arts Scholarship program was created by the Government of Alberta to provide a legacy for noted author and former Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Dr. Grant MacEwan. In addition to his extensive public service, Dr. MacEwan wrote more than fifty books on subjects that included nature, folklore, agriculture, politics, environment, literature, history and the people of Alberta. 

Visit the Help and Resources section of our website to:

  • download the new Front Office User Guide
  • read application tips for individual artists that will help you write a stronger application

For assistance with this scholarship application, please call the AFA at 780-427-9968 during regular business hours or email the Arts Development Consultant listed below. Toll-free calls can be made by first dialing 310.0000.

Apply now