Emergency Grants for Writers (and Other Resources)

Page created March 14, 2020; latest addition made April 21, 2021.



  • The Alliance of Artists Communities emergency fund supports “artists facing an unforeseen emergency or triggering event to participate in artists’ residencies. The fund disburses mini-grants to artists who have already been accepted and scheduled for a residency, but who would not otherwise be able to participate due to a sudden change in circumstances. Emergency grants of up to $1,000 are available for eligible artists.” NB: In March 2020, it seems advisable to consult first with the relevant residency program to ensure that the residency will continue to be offered at this time.
  • Artist Relief will distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19; serve as an ongoing informational resource; and co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, designed by Americans for the Arts, to better identify and address the needs of artists.”
  • The American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA) Writers Emergency Assistance Fund “helps established freelance writers who, because of illness, disability, a natural disaster, or an extraordinary professional crisis are unable to work. A writer need not be a member of ASJA to qualify for a grant. However, applicants must establish a record of past professional freelance nonfiction writing over a sustained period of years, which means qualifications generally similar to those of ASJA members. WEAF does not award grants to beginning freelancers seeking funding for writing projects, nor does it fund works-in-progress of any kind.”
  • The Atlas Review’s COVID-19 Artist Relief Fund springs from “a modest budget from chapbook sales that we would like to donate back to the community….While we can’t offer much, we can at least send you enough money to help with groceries and bills. This is specifically for those writers who have been laid off, have fallen ill, or are currently a caretaker for a loved one. We especially want to prioritize BIPOC folks who live in vulnerable parts of the United States/world, especially those who live in food deserts or areas that lack consistent access to potable water.” (Thanks to David Gutowski for highlighting this one.)
  • “Since 1917, the Authors League Fund has helped professional authors, journalists, poets, and dramatists who find themselves in financial need because of medical or health-related problems, temporary loss of income, or other misfortune. Most of those we help suffer severe health problems but have inadequate insurance; some face eviction; many are older writers whose income has ceased through no fault of their own. The Fund exists to help professional writers continue their careers with dignity by providing no-strings-attached “loans” to pay for pressing expenses. Repayment of this emergency support is not required.”
  • The Booth Emergency Fund for Writers is “designed to provide meaningful financial relief to Oregon’s writers, including cartoonists, spoken word poets and playwrights.” Priority “for writers identifying as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who meet the eligibility criteria.” First application deadline: May 13. NB: The location-specific nature of this one reminds me to remind you to check with your local/municipal/state government and arts agencies for similar resources. I also caught mention of many other location-specific artist relief funds on the COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources list referenced above.
  • “The mission of Carnegie Fund for Authors is to award grants to published authors who are in need of emergency financial assistance as a result of illness or injury to self, spouse, or dependent child, or who has had some other misfortune that has placed the applicant in pressing and substantial pecuniary need. We accept applications from any American author who has written at least one book of reasonable length that has been published commercially and received reader acceptance.”
  • The Clayton Memorial Medical Fund “helps professional science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery writers living in the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska deal with the financial burden of medical expenses.”
  • Critical Minded COVID-19 Relief Grants for Cultural Critics from Underrepresented Communities provide “need-based, unrestricted relief grants of $500 to cultural critics in the US and US territories experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic.” (Deadline: June 15, 2020.)
  • “With book tours and launches delayed or postponed, the Disability Visibility Book Circle is offering one-time grants of $1000 for 15 disabled writers in the US who already have books published this year or plan to have books published in 2020 through June 30, 2021. The express purpose of this money is for writers to organize their own book event via video conference.”
  • The Haven Foundation‘s mission “is to offer interim financial assistance to freelance professionals in the arts who face crises. The Foundation’s reach is the United States, and its awards are granted with a view to helping individuals overcome temporary adversity and return to full-time work.”
  • The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF’s) Journalism Relief Fund “is open to women-identifying journalists in dire straits – journalists who have faced significant financial hardship, lost work, were recently laid off or who urgently need assistance to avoid severe, irreversible outcomes. This fund will provide small grants of up to $2,000 USD per request.However, special consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis to those who have greater financial need.”
  • The Jewish Book Council (JBC) X Canvas Emergency Authors Fund provides “$1,000 grants to help authors during these unprecedented times. Recipients decide for themselves how to best use the money—whether it enables the creation of new work, paying rent, reducing debt, covering healthcare, or supporting their families. Grants will be distributed based on need and as long as funds are available. Approved authors will be asked to contribute one piece to JBC in summer 2020. Details will be provided to the selected applicants before they accept funding. We are asking authors to apply only if a meaningful portion of their household income has been lost during this crisis.” Initial application deadline: June 1. “While we currently have limited funding to meet demand, we will continue to open up new opportunities as they become available.”
  • “The PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund is a small grants program for professional—published or produced—writers in acute or unexpected financial crisis. Depending on the situation and level of need, grants are in the range of $2,000. Apart from exceptional circumstances, the Fund does not give repeat grants within a three-year period.” (NB: The same webpage includes information about the Fund for Writers and Editors with HIV/AIDS and links to additional emergency resources.)
  • “Poets & Writers’ Board of Directors established the Poets & Writers COVID-19 Relief Fund to provide emergency assistance to writers having difficulty meeting their basic needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund will provide grants of up to $1,000 to an initial cohort of approximately eighty writers in April. If we are able to secure additional funds, we will provide another round of funding.” (Note eligibility criteria.)
  • The Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund was established “to help at least 100 queer writers of color who have been financially impacted by the current COVID-19. Priority will be given to queer trans women of color and queer disabled writers of color, but I hope this relief fund will help many queer writers of color it can.” Application here.
  • The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) Emergency Medical Fund (EMF) “was established to help genre writers pay medical expenses not otherwise covered by insurance. The fund is meant to cover only short-term (i.e. emergency situations that interfere with the ability to write).”
  • The UK’s Society of Authors Contingency Funds offer “grants for contingencies which can help professional writers who need a boost. The grants are managed in confidence and were endowed by other writers who know that a writer’s life has its ups and downs.” NB: “Specific grants are available for poets and women journalists.”
  • The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Emergency Fund “has been established to provide assistance to SCBWI members in times of emergency or hardship. The emergency or hardship could involve, for example, matters of health, family issues, or natural disasters that are in any way restricting or preventing an SCBWI member’s ability to work as an author or illustrator.”
  • Substack Independent Writer Grants: “These grants are designed as quick, supplemental cash payments for writers…and there are no strings attached. Writers can use the funds for whatever they’d like, including investing in office equipment or materials, research, funding their time, or peace of mind. Grants will range from $500 and up to $5,000, and recipients will also receive digital mentorship from the Substack team focused on best practices and insights to help grow their publications.” Prompted by the novel Coronavirus pandemic, this program has established a first-round application deadline of April 7.
  • We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) Emergency Fund for Diverse Creatives in Children’s Publishing: “Many diverse creatives have lost their livelihoods because of the pandemic, whether due to canceled school visits or due to layoffs and furloughs at publishers and literary agencies. We aim to bolster these groups during this time of crisis by giving grants of $500 each.”
  • The Woodcock Fund is a quick-access emergency resource that aids established Canadian writers who face an unforeseen financial crisis.” (NB: The Writers’ Trust has also established a Covid-19-specific, emergency relief fund for Canadian writers, with the most recent deadline that I’ve caught listed as June 15.)
  • The Barbara and Carl Zydney Grant for Artists with Disabilities “will distribute unrestricted cash grants of $1,000 to artists with a disability who have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis. The program is open to visual, media, music, performing, and literary artists who live in New York City (five boroughs).”