First Book Manuscript Workshop Competition

Updated: September 2023


This workshop is designed for faculty completing their first monograph and is designed to provide specific and expert feedback to help the faculty member revise their first book manuscript for publication. The workshop funds an external specialist reader to read the manuscript and provide supportive feedback in a small seminar environment of 6-8 faculty. Seminar members will be selected by the faculty member and invited by the Office of the Vice-Principal Research (OVPR). All workshop attendees will receive the full manuscript one month prior to the event and will be expected to have read the manuscript and be prepared to provide constructive feedback. Post-Covid, the workshop will be followed by a celebratory meal. 


To support researchers in ‘book fields’ navigate the writing, revision, and acceptance of their first monograph. Additionally, the workshop model is designed to create an in-depth engagement with the manuscript with field experts in order to grow the international research networks of the chosen UTM faculty member and to build collegiality at U of T in the researcher’s field.  

The Workshop:

The workshop structure will allow the reviewers and author to respond to one another’s comments and collectively devise strategies for improving (and placing) the manuscript. The goal is to turn solid and promising manuscripts into first-rate, field-shaping books. The focus of the program will be on constructive, informed criticism of a scholar’s research. The invited external reader will present their responses to the book, while faculty participants will participate in a discussion based on their reading. The author will have a chance to respond to the presentations and the commentaries. This will be a closed workshop, and it will be recorded for the author’s benefit. 

The OVPR will handle invitations and scheduling with all participating faculty and the external reviewer identified by the author and provide honoraria for the external reviewer. 

In-kind support from the Collaborative Digital Research Space (CDRS): 

Tia Sager, the Senior Research Associate (SRA) for the Collaborative Digital Research Space (CDRS) and staff from the OVPR will provide additional support to the UTM faculty member in the following ways: facilitation of the workshop (scheduling, determining format of the workshop); providing a recording of the seminar for note-taking purposes; developing a revisions project plan and schedule; opportunity to participate in CDRS writing sessions; and consultation with the faculty member on future grant application prospects based on the manuscript research. 


Faculty completing their first monograph (not textbook); manuscripts should be near completion but still in a position to benefit from review. Faculty members should be ready to revise in the summer of 2024.  

Number of Workshops: We will be funding one workshop per academic year. 

Application Process:

Applicants should apply by writing a proposal and submitting it with a cover sheet by 5 PM (EST) by Friday, October 13, 2023. Please see below for details.  

Proposals must include the following components, saved as a single PDF

  1. A Cover Sheet, available at this link.  
  2. A 500-word summary of the book in development. Please indicate the argument and/or narrative arc, as well as the intervention that the book will make in your field. Additionally, applicants should identify a desired publisher for the manuscript, and indicate whether the work is under contract. If so, discuss what role (if any) the press and/or external readers have played, or will play, in providing feedback on the manuscript and its revision.  
  3. A 500-word narrative explaining why and how this opportunity will be important to the process of completing the work. Please indicate a schedule for completion, and how this seminar will aid in that goal. In this narrative, applicants should include a brief statement specifying their tenure and/or promotion timelines. 
  4. A C.V. 
  5. On the cover sheet, please indicate two scholars, external to UTM, who you would like as an external reader—a more senior person whose opportunity to know your work would be beneficial to your career and who is likely to provide substantive and useful feedback. Please indicate ranked order, as we’ll only be inviting one and need a back-up if the first person declines. 

Proposals must be saved in the above order as a single PDF and sent via email attachment to by 5 PM (EST) by Friday, October 13, 2023. File name should be: 2023_First_Book_Your First Name_Your Last Name. Email subject should be: “2023 First Book Manuscript Workshop”.  

Successful applicants will be asked to provide a list of prospective invitees to the workshop. This would be a list of 9 faculty members or other peers you would like to invite to read the manuscript, provide feedback, and participate in the workshop. You will be asked to provide names, titles, department affiliations and emails. We ask that most of these colleagues be from the University of Toronto, in order to build collegiality here, but since this a virtual workshop, up to 3 people on the list can be faculty members/peers from outside the University of Toronto. 

Adjudication Criteria and Process:

Authors and their book projects will be selected based on the strength of the application materials; the applicant’s track record; and potential impact of the book on the author’s career. The selection committee for both workshops will be composed of a group of 3-5 arms-length tenured faculty plus representation from the OVPR. 


Question about the content of the workshop should be directed to Tia Sager before January 15, 2024 and Elisa Tersigni after January 15, 2024 ( Question about the mechanics of the application itself, including deadlines, should be addressed to Rong Wu at


The opportunity is designed to support revisions over the summer months in 2024. 


Past Recipients:

2021-2022Yvonne SherwoodSociology
2022-2023Robin R.R. GraySociology
2023-2024Carrie AtkinsHistorical Studies