Poets & Writers Announces COVID-19 Relief Fund

New York, NY—April 10, 2020—Poets & Writers, the leading national resource for creative writers, has 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 individual writers in April, with additional grants to be made as funds become available.

In late March, Poets & Writers’ Board of Directors allocated $50,000 from the organization’s reserves to seed the fund. Additional contributions have been received from Zibby Owens, host of the popular books podcast Moms Don’t Have Time to Read, and Michael Pietsch, CEO of Hachette Book Group and a Poets & Writers Board member, among others. Poets & Writers is continuing to seek additional contributions.

“We know that writers have been hard hit by the economic slowdown we’re experiencing,” said Elliot Figman, Poets & Writers’ executive director. “I’m very pleased that we can offer some direct financial relief to writers who suddenly find themselves in dire circumstances,” he said. “I am deeply grateful to Zibby Owens and Michael Pietsch for helping us get this off the ground.”

Given limited funds currently available, at this time eligibility is limited to writers with a prior affiliation with Poets & Writers, including the more than ten thousand writers listed in the Poets & Writers Directory, those who have received a mini-grant through the Readings & Workshops program, and those who have received an award or fellowship administered by Poets & Writers.

Eligible writers were invited to apply today; grants will be made on the basis of financial need and funds disbursed by the end of April.

The fund announced today is just one of a number of steps that Poets & Writers has taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide social distancing measures now in place to slow its spread. “We’re doubling down on the things we always do to give writers information, resources, and opportunities to connect—and adapting these measures to fit the unprecedented circumstances we currently find ourselves in,” said Figman. Poets & Writers has compiled a list of resources for writers, which is updated regularly; it has modified the guidelines for its Readings & Workshops mini-grants in order to support virtual events and modified its Literary Events Calendar to help writers promote online readings and events; and its editorial staff is covering the pandemic’s impact on the literary community from multiple angles, including a series of short essays called Postcards from the Pandemic. More information about these initiatives is at pw.org.

About Poets & Writers: Poets & Writers was founded in 1970 and has been the primary source of trustworthy information, professional guidance, support, and inspiration for writers for fifty years. Our work is rooted in the belief that literature is vital to sustaining a vibrant culture. We focus on nurturing literature’s source: creative writers. Our mission is to foster the professional development of poets and writers, to promote communication throughout the literary community, and to help create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible public. In celebration of its 50th Anniversary, Poets & Writers affirmed its vision for the future: to empower creative writers and strengthen literary communities throughout the United States. Learn more at pw.org.


Alyson Sinclair, Publicist
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