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About the Readings & Workshops Program

Since its inception in 1970, Poets & Writers has provided fees to writers who give readings or conduct writing workshops. Each year, our Readings & Workshops program supports hundreds of writers participating in events in large cities and small towns throughout New York and California, as well as in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Seattle, New Orleans, Tucson, and Washington D.C.

By Penny Cooper

It was a late afternoon in June, and yet another sudden thunderstorm had just ended. The schoolyard in back of P.S. 139 was usually filled with kids, but now I was the only person there. The square-shaped schoolyard is probably about one hundred feet on each side, and the two entrances, one on each street, almost form a diagonal, the hypotenuse, they call it in geometry, that line of a triangle opposite the right angle.

I often walk through the schoolyard on my way home from food shopping on Sixty-Third  Drive, and on this day the air smelled squeaky clean.  Somehow the rain had lowered the humidity and I felt refreshed.  And then I saw it and could not believe what I was seeing.  Arched over the schoolyard, pastel stripes, glistening, suspended in the air in a semi-circle, glowing red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.  I was so stunned, I forgot to take a picture with my camera I never leave home without. I barely breathed.  I realized I was still holding my grocery bags since I didn’t want to risk putting them down.  The rainbow lasted only a few minutes, but I’ll never forget how enthralling it felt to be surrounded by a rainbow.

Several weeks later, the schoolyard held another surprise when I took the hypotenuse shortcut home.  It was mid-July.  I made my way through treacherous obstacles: kids on bikes, kids on noisy skate boards, kids playing catch.  When I stopped to watch a boy perfecting his jump shots I suddenly noticed there was a vivid, colorful mural painted on a concrete wall.  I assumed it was a recent school project, maybe painted by the older sixth graders.

There’s a cheery canary yellow sky painted from Booth to Wetherole Streets.  There are huge flowers and plants only a child could have designed, painted in pastel colors just like you’d find in a rainbow.  There’s a chubby little UFO with three windows in the yellow sky, and a cute friendly robot wearing clothes.  His T-shirt says, “P.S. 139Q” (the Q stands for Queens), and in his right hand he holds a flower.  This robot obviously isn’t here to destroy our planet. In the middle of the mural, about half-way between the streets, it says “P.S. 139” again, and in big, fat, capital letters resembling graffiti under that, are the words, “WHERE DREAMS BEGIN.”


Welcome! As of May 2014, the Readings & Workshops application process moved from paper to the web. This is where you can:

  • Apply for a Readings & Workshops grant
  • View the status of a request
  • Complete your event report

LOG IN for Sponsor or Writer Account


Don’t know your password? REQUEST A NEW PASSWORD.

SPONSORS: If you are a brand new applicant, REGISTER YOUR ORGANIZATION to begin using our grants management system. If you’ve been funded by us in the past, but have yet to use our online system or cannot remember your password, click REQUEST A NEW PASSWORD, enter your e-mail, and a temporary password will be sent to you.

WRITERS: You will need to access our online system to fill out an event report after your event has occurred. All writers can request a new password, if necessary, to access their account. Click REQUEST A NEW PASSWORD, enter your e-mail, and a temporary password will be sent to you.

A sponsor must apply for a grant on behalf of a writer; writers should not apply for themselves. Before applying, please review the GUIDELINES to make sure your event qualifies for a Readings & Workshops grant.

Need help? CONTACT US.

Readings & Workshops grant recipients are required to credit Poets & Writers and our funders on publicity materials.

Details here

If you’re a writer or an organization interested in learning more about the Readings & Workshops program, please check out our Guidelines and FAQ.

Poets & Writers is committed to making literature available to the widest possible public, including audiences that rarely have access to literary events. Learn more about the special projects we support that bring readings and workshops to prisons, clinics, homeless shelters, settlement homes, and more.

Learn how to host a successful reading or event, step by step, by downloading our helpful Poets & Writers Guide to Presenting Readings and Workshops.

Download the Guide

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