The 2022 Mairuth Sarsfield Mentorship Program for Underrepresented Writers: Nonfiction

The 2022 Mairuth Sarsfield Mentorship has been awarded to Chanel Sutherland.

A call for applications for the 2023 mentorship will be issued in the fall of 2022.

The Mairuth Sarsfield Mentorship, which is a component of QWF’s Fresh Pages initiative, is designed to help an aspiring writer or playwright working in English who is Indigenous, Black, or a person of colour to develop their literary writing.

The selected writer will also receive a free one-year membership in QWF.

Image courtesy of Sarsfield’s granddaughter, Zinzi de Silva

Mairuth Sarsfield (1925-2013) was born and raised in the Little Burgundy district of Montreal. She achieved distinction in every arena she entered: as a best-selling novelist and a journalist; working for Canada’s External Affairs Department at home and abroad; serving as press secretary for the Canadian delegation to the United Nations and as a senior information officer for the United Nations Environment Programme based in Nairobi, Kenya. She also served on the Board of Directors of the CBC. Among the many awards and honours she received are the Chevalier à l’Ordre National du Quebec, the National Congress of Black Women Foundation’s First Literary Award for her novel No Crystal Stair, and the declaration of “Mairuth Sarsfield Day” by the City of Cleveland for her work on the “For Every Child a Tree” environmental campaign, which led to thousands of tree-planting projects around the world.

These accomplishments were nothing short of remarkable for any woman in twentieth-century North America. The fact that Mairuth Sarsfield achieved them, and more, as a Black woman, ensures her role as an inspiration for all future generations of young people from marginalized communities. With this mentorship program, the Quebec Writers’ Federation is proud to shine a spotlight on Ms. Sarsfield’s life and contributions to her city, her country, and the world.


  • Applicants must live in Quebec, write in English, and be Indigenous, Black, or a person of colour.
  • Applicants should have already demonstrated an interest in creative writing and have at least one or two literary works finished or in progress.
  • Applicants must be able to devote at least 10 hours a week to their writing during the months of February to May 2022.
  • There is no age or publication requirement.
  • Writers currently in a graduate writing program or already working with a professional editor or publisher are not eligible to apply.


  • View the last call for applications: October 2021
  • Deadline for applications: November 19, 2021 (extended)
  • Notification of results: December 2021
  • Mentorship period: February to May 2022
  • Public reading: June 2022

The 2022 Mairuth Sarsfield Mentor

Photo Credit: Camellia Jahanshahi

Tara McGowan-Ross is an urban Mi’kmaw multidisciplinary artist and writer. She is the author of three books: Girth (2016), Scorpion Season (2019), and Nothing Will Be Different (Rare Machines, October 2021). She writes a biweekly newsletter on Substack (, hosts Drawn and Quarterly’s Indigenous Literatures Book Club, and freelances as an editor and creative. Come hang out at

The 2022 Mairuth Sarsfield Mentee

Chanel M. Sutherland is the winner of the 2021 CBC Nonfiction prize for her story “Umbrella.” Born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Chanel moved to Montreal, Quebec when she was ten years old. She holds a BA in English Literature from Concordia University and is currently writing her first book, a collection of short stories that explore the Caribbean experience.

2021 Program – Fiction

Jurors: Oonya Kempadoo, Dimitri Nasrallah, Robert Edison Sandiford

Mentor: H. Nigel Thomas

Mentee: Lynda Bailey

2020 Program – Poetry

Jurors: Tanya Evanson, Kaie Kellough, and, H. Nigel Thomas

Mentor: Gillian Sze

Mentee: Faith Paré