Saskatchewan writers have supported and used the programs and services of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild (SWG) since its inception in 1969. One of the first writers’ organizations in Canada, the Guild is the pre-eminent writing organization in the province, serving writers at all levels of development. From the beginning, the Guild set itself a broad mandate: to improve the standard of writing in Saskatchewan by promoting professional attitudes toward the craft; to improve the status of writers by, among other things, encouraging publication, providing market and workshop information, sponsoring workshops and seminars, and speaking on behalf of both professional and non-professional writers; and to encourage liaison with other provincial and federal agencies concerned with writers and writing standards. Noted for its innovative edge, the SWG has implemented unique programs that now have a national profile in the writing community. Grain, an award-winning literary magazine, offers a national and international stage for fresh, previously unpublished writing. The Saskatchewan Writers and Artists Colonies provide a place where writers and artists can work their craft, free from distractions and interruptions.
From workshops to print and electronic newsletters, mentorships to manuscript evaluations, awards and scholarships to author readings, or just getting together, the Guild has been central to the development of writers and of a writing community in Saskatchewan. The SWG acts as an advocate for writers, encourages the development of young writers, and strives to improve public access to writers and their work. This collaborative approach has been crucial to new initiatives such as the Saskatchewan Book Awards, the Festival of Words, the Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre, and the Poet Laureate program. The SWG funds those local writing groups that form the backbone of Saskatchewan’s writing community. It has evolved into a professional organization of nearly 600 members, with an annual budget of over $500,000. The Guild has a staff of eight, split between its office in Regina and the Grain office in Saskatoon. Membership is open to all writers and to those with an interest in Saskatchewan literature.