12 Grants for Writers
Whether you’re an emerging or established writer, grants can be the crucial tool you use to finish a project, deep dive into research, or get a helpful leg up. Here are some grants from a range of organizations, including genre organizations, arts foundations, and national trusts.
PEN/America Heim Translation Fund Grant
The purpose of the PEN/America Heim Translation Fund Grant, which was established in 2003, is to promote the publication and reception of translated book-length world literature in English. Recipients will be awarded between $2,000 and $4,000 for the completion of a translated work. Applications are currently closed, but will open again in mid-2016. PEN/America also has a great list of other translation-related grants, awards, and residencies on their site.
The Speculative Literature Foundation
The SLF gives several grants each year targeting traditionally underrepresented writers. The Older Writers Grant is for writers over fifty starting out in their careers (two given at $500 each); the Gulliver Travel Research Grant gives $800 for travel coverage for research; the Working Class Writers Grant gives $750 to a working class, blue-collar, poor, and/or homeless spec fic writer. Their latest two grants are the Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds, which each intend to foster diversity in speculative fiction. Currently, they are accepting applications for the Older Writers Grant—applications are accepted through March 31—but make sure to check their website for all dates and eligibility.
The Writers’ Trust of Canada Woodcock Fund
The Woodcock Fund, available since 1989, is for Canadian authors who have experienced unforeseen financial crisis. As an “emergency fund,” it is not for supporting an author’s work, but for assisting them in a time of need. All grants are anonymous and there are no deadlines, they accept applications throughout the year.
John Carter Brown Fellowship
This fellowship is for academics, independent scholars and creative writers (including screenwriters and performing artists) who are working on significant projects relating to the literature, history, culture, or art of the Americas before 1830. The fellowship award supports two months of research and two months of writing. The stipend is $5,000 per month for a total of $20,000, plus housing and university privileges at Brown University. But this year’s deadline is soon—March 15, 2016.
The Sustainable Arts Foundation
The Sustainable Arts Foundation aims to assist writers supporting families, awarding $6,000 to writers, poets, and playwrights with at least one child under the age of eighteen. There are several recipients of this grant each year, as well as smaller Promise Awards for applicants whose work may not qualify, but still displays skill and potential. Applications are currently closed, but will probably open early 2017.
Go On Girl! Book Club
This nonprofit organization that promotes authors of the Black African Diaspora has two annual prizes for US citizens of African descent. The Unpublished Writers Award is for unpublished authors and the Aspiring Author Award is for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors attending a historically black college or university. Winners will receive $1,000 and invitation to their awards ceremony. Read more about GOGBC scholarships here. Deadlines for both awards are March 15, 2016.
The Horror Writers Association
The Horror Writers Association offers four writing scholarships and grants. The Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship is awarded annually to female horror authors, the Dark Poetry Scholarship is for horror and dark fantasy poets, the Rocky Wood Memorial Scholarship is for nonfiction works about horror and dark fantasy literature, and the HWA Scholarship is open to all authors of horror. They also provide one scholarship to their annual conference which is hilariously called the Scholarship from Hell. Applications opened February 1, 2016 and the deadline for all grants is June 1, 2016 (except for the Scholarship from Hell, which is March 15). Read more about HWA grants here.
The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund
This foundation awards small grants between $500 and $1,500 to feminists working in the arts. Applications for fiction and mixed genre works are open during December, and applications for poetry and nonfiction are open during June. Make sure you read through their submission guidelines, they will only consider funding projects already underway. There is a $25 fee for all applications.
The Cintas Foundation
Since 1963, the Cintas Foundation has awarded eighty-one fellowships in creative writing. This annual fellowship is awarded to writers from Cuba or of Cuban descent who demonstrate promise in the creative writing field of their choice. Applications are currently closed, but will soon open for the 2016-2017 submission cycle.
The National Endowment for the Arts
This prestigious, competitive grant awards several $25,000 grants each year for creative works of prose and poetry. These grants are highly competitive; according to the NEA, fewer than 5 percent of approximately 1,200 applicants will receive funding. They are currently accepting submissions until midnight on March 9, 2016.
The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
This professional organization offers more than a dozen grants and awards for creators of children’s books. Browse their listings for which one is a good fit for you. The Emerging Voices Award fosters diversity in children’s books, the Karen Cushman Award is for unpublished authors over fifty, the Jane Yolen Award is for mid-list authors, among many more. Whether you’re an author or illustrator, seasoned or new, there’s a SCBWI grant waiting for you. Award amounts and deadlines vary for each grant.
The Poetry Foundation
Each year, the Poetry Foundation awards five poets $25,000 through the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowships. These grants are awarded to US citizens or residents between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one to further their poetic work. The 2016 application period is March 1 to April 30.
Additionally, google your state or municipal arts councils for any grant opportunities. Many states have grants specifically for their residents, such as the Loft Literary Center (Minnesota) and Literary Arts (Oregon). These often offer smaller award amounts, but are also less competitive than national organizations.
by KM Bezner and Kjerstin Johnson