I felt as a writer feels: that the house is a vital, vibrant place to celebrate the arts. For young writers to be able to write in a house that holds the desk on which Obasan was written, and over which Joy’s sweet generous tutelage seems to reside, is both an honour and magical.

― Jane Eaton Hamilton, Writer, Novelist, Essayist & Poet (Writer-in-Residence, June 2016)

Residencies at Joy Kogawa House

Since 2009, the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society has hosted writers to live and work in Historic Joy Kogawa House. Residences are self-supporting and funding for them can be applied for through the Canada Council, provincial arts council, or other supporting agencies. On occasion, the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society may offer an honorarium to supplement the writer’s own funds.

Residencies typically run for two months, at a time convenient to the writer. While in residence, the writer progresses a full-length writing project while engaging with the community via a program of writing-focused activities.

The aims of the residency are to:

  • provide space, time, and resources for an author to write
  • offer members of the local community an opportunity to interact with the writer in residence
  • offer a voice and space for representatives from groups that may experience barriers or feel marginalized within mainstream society
  • reflect and build upon Joy Kogawa’s legacy as a writer and as a formerly interned Canadian of Japanese heritage

“It’s a place for us writers to free ourselves from the distractions of our normative environments for a couple of months. I can say from lived experience at Kogawa House that it did wonders for my writing.”

C.E. Gatchalian,

Click through the gallery of photos by our Summer 2020 Writer-in-Residence, Kate Metten.

Previous authors-in-residence have included poet and essayist Janet Marie Rogers, fiction authors Monia Mazigh, Nancy Lee, William Wai Liang Tham, and Deborah Willis, as well as writer and cultural critic Susan Crean, poet and scholar John Asfour, and writer, scholar, and translator Ava Homa, among others. To date, Historic Joy Kogawa House has hosted more than 45 writers.

“It’s a privilege for any writer to be given time and a place to write. The big bonus of being asked to do that at Kogawa House is the house itself which comes with a community. And with a mission — that being for us all to be mindful of the embedded injustices that still exist in Canadian society.”

Susan Crean,
Writer and Cultural Critic


Apply for Residency at Joy Kogawa House

If we’re open for applications, please read the guidelines and submit your application using the Submittable logo online portal.


FAQ About Residencies at Joy Kogawa House

Some of the following details are drawn from our application guidelines, which should be read in full before applying. We revise our guidelines annually and make them available when we are open for applications. If the current guidelines are not yet available or you have a question that’s not listed here, please get in contact.

Are there any minimum requirements to apply to be an author-in-residence?

 To be eligible to apply, you must fulfill all of these criteria:

  • Minimum of two professionally published or self-published titles (including but not limited to literary fiction or nonfiction, poetry, scriptwriting, and playwriting, or a hybrid form of writing) or two professionally produced plays or other performance pieces
  • Experience in professional teaching and/or other forms of public presentation related to creative writing
  • Currently working on a full-length writing project that will be the main focus of the proposed residency. This project must be intended for book-length publication or another form of public presentation
  • Willing to engage with the local writing community.
  • NEW FOR 2021 and 2022: Emerging writers who have not yet published will also be considered and are welcome to apply for a one-month residency in either November or December 2021 or 2022.
When is the author residency?

We are looking for writers to live and work at Historic Joy Kogawa House for residencies that take place over the next two years. Most residencies run for two months, although a one-month period is also available:

  • November 15 to December 31, 2020
  • January and February 2021
  • September and October 2021
  • November and December 2021
  • January and February 2022
  • March and April 2022
  • May and June 2022
  • July and August 2022
  • September and October 2022
  • November and December 2022

Be sure to indicate second and third choices for times when applying for a residence.

Writers of children’s literature are encouraged to apply for the July and August residency period and to participate in our annual summer neighbourhood reading program.

How accessible is the house?

Please visit this link to learn about the accessibility of the house.

Do you accept joint applications?
We welcome joint applications from two authors. If both authors are working on a collaborative project, a single application should be submitted. If both authors intend to pursue separate creative projects during their stay, separate applications must be submitted, which will be assessed individually.
How much time is spent engaging with the community as part of the residency?

The writer-in-residence is encouraged to engage with and energize the local writing community. As part of your residency application, please propose one community program for each month of your residency period.

What facilities are provided at the house?
We provide a fully furnished house that includes well-equipped kitchen facilities, laundry with washer and dryer, and linens. The master bedroom has a double bed and is located on the main floor. A single bed occupies one wall of the office space adjoining the master bedroom. Two further bedrooms, each with a single bed, are located on the lower floor.

Work facilities include two work desks, two office chairs, a printer, and a WiFi connection. A hard-wired media system with mic, projector, and projection screen is available for events and educational tours. We also have a long dining table with six upholstered dining chairs, up to 25 folding chairs, and 8 folding tables that can be used for group activities and public events.

Writers-in-residence should supply their own computers and other working equipment, including printer paper and toner cartridges.

What is the remuneration for the residency?
Writers may apply for remuneration through the Canada Council or other arts council. On occasion, the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society may offer an honoarium to supplement the writer’s own funds. Writers are responsible for submitting their own applications for funding to support their residencies.

The Canada Council offers funding predominantly in the program Explore and Create, through which writers apply for professional development (for activities such as mentorships, internships, apprenticeships, specialized training, workshops), as well as research and creation projects. Within the Research and Creation component, writers apply for expenses related to writing a book (subsistence, travel, research costs) as well as project development expenses, including residencies. All applications are submitted online, and grant proposals for Research and Creation is evaluated on the weighted criteria indicated in the guidelines (see Canada Council website for details). The maximum grant possible is up to $25,000. The Canada Council Research and Creation program has no deadline dates, but applications begin to be evaluated by Canada Council juries on April 1.

What is the application deadline? When are you open for applications?

Applications are open until 12:00 midnight (Pacific Time) on Monday, August 31, 2020.

At other times of the year, you may express interest in a residency at Historic Joy Kogawa House by writing to residency@kogawahouse.com.

Do you charge an application fee?
We charge a $50 application fee so that we can cover the costs of the application process. However, if you are experiencing financial hardship and you need to ask for an exemption from this fee, please feel free to get in contact.
Is the residency opportunity open to writers who are based in Greater Vancouver?
Yes. We welcome applications from writers who are based in Greater Vancouver. We welcome ideas from local writers about ongoing programs and public use of our live-work and small performance space at Historic Joy Kogawa House.

Discover More About Historic Joy Kogawa House

Read about our Current Writer-in-Residence or take a look at our Past Writers.

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