2024 Mairuth Sarsfield Mentorship Program for Underrepresented Writers: Call for Applications

2024 Program—Young Adult Literature

Deadline: Monday, October 16, 2022

Montreal, September 20, 2023 – The Quebec Writers’ Federation (QWF) is pleased to announce the call for applications for the 2024 Mairuth Sarsfield Mentorship for Underrepresented Writers. This year’s mentorship will be in Young Adult Literature.

A component of QWF’s Fresh Pages Diversity Initiative, the mentorship is designed to help an aspiring Quebec-based writer or playwright who is Indigenous, Black, or a person of colour develop their literary writing and transition to the next stage of their career.

The 2024 mentorship will go to a writer who has already demonstrated an interest in literary writing and who has a work of young adult literature in progress that they would like to develop. The selected writer will work with their mentor over the course of four months (February through May 2024) and participate in a public reading in early June 2024. Applicants should be prepared to dedicate at least 10 hours per week to their writing during that period.

The selected writer will receive an $800 honorarium and a free one-year membership in QWF.

About Mairuth Sarsfield

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.

The 2024 Mairuth Sarsfield Mentor

Photo: Pierre Charbonneau

Raquel Rivera is a writer, performer, and author of books for children and teens.

Based in Montreal since 1999, she’s published five books for young readers. Prior to this she lived and worked as a copywriter in Washington DC, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore and taught English as a Second Language in Barcelona.

She also writes about books for Constellations, The Quebec Ministry of Education’s hardcopy library and online database of quality children’s and YA literature—selected by educators, for use by teachers, librarians, and the public.

Since 2019, Raquel has been working as a teaching artist in Quebec schools through ArtistsInspire (see her profile at artistsinspire.ca/artist/raquel-rivera/) and as a writing mentor for elementary and secondary students with the Blue Metropolis Quebec Roots program and its annual publication, The Place I Want to Be

Raquel is a first-generation Canadian of Puerto-Rican and Irish-American descent, and a longstanding learner of Indigenous history and culture of the Americas. Her writing and performance work explores the cooperation of cultures; no doubt the result of being raised in a mixed-culture home, in the context of yet another, dominant culture. 

Eligibility Criteria:    

  • Applicants must live in Quebec 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 2024.
  • There is no age or publication requirement.
  • Preference will be given to those who are not currently enrolled in a graduate writing program or working with a professional editor or publisher.

How to Apply:

Send the following to [email protected] or mail it to or drop it off in the QWF office (address below).

  • A cover letter describing the writing you’ve done so far and how the mentorship would make a difference in your writing life (maximum one page);
  • A 5- to 10-page sample of your writing drawn from one or two works in progress, at least one of which should ideally be the project you want to work on with the mentor;
  • A short statement about your background and writing experience, including the reason you are eligible for this initiative;
  • Your full name and a way to contact you.

Mairuth Sarsfield Mentorship
Quebec Writers’ Federation
1200 Atwater Ave., Suite 3
Westmount, QC  H3Z 1X4


  • Call for applications: September 20, 2023
  • Deadline for applications: October 16, 2023
  • Notification of results: early December 2023
  • Mentorship period: February 1, 2024 to May 31, 2024
  • Public reading: June 2024


Media contact:
John Wickham
Communications Officer
(819) 319-9210
[email protected]