Poets & Writers to Expand Work in Detroit, New Orleans, and Houston with Support from Hearst Foundations

New York, NY – January 24, 2019 – Poets & Writers, Inc. is pleased to announce the launch of an initiative to expand our core programs to better serve writers coast to coast, especially writers of color and other historically marginalized groups. The Hearst Foundations awarded Poets & Writers a grant of $150,000 to pilot this project in Detroit, New Orleans, and Houston.

Paul Dinovitz of the Hearst Foundations said, “The Hearst Foundations identify and fund outstanding nonprofits to ensure that people of all backgrounds in the United States have the opportunity to build healthy, productive, and inspiring lives. Poets & Writers is an excellent example of a nationwide entity offering critical support, information, and resources designed to enhance skills and expand access to the arts.” 

Poets & Writers has a long history of supporting literary events in these three cities, as well as other parts of the country, through mini-grants offered by its Readings & Workshops program. The Hearst Foundations grant will expand the funds available for mini-grants and enable Poets & Writers to engage more deeply with writers in these cities over the next two years. Poets & Writers will draw on its decades of experience and existing relationships with writers and literary organizations, as well as its digital tools and resources, to help build stronger, more connected local networks that will support writers and create opportunities for more people to encounter contemporary writers and writing.

“We look forward to being a more active partner in strengthening the literary communities in each of these cities,” said Poets & Writers executive director Elliot Figman.

“It’s awesome to have more funds directed to the Houston literary community,” said Justin Jannise, the editor of Gulf Coast, a literary magazine affiliated with the University of Houston. “We are a vibrant city with so much potential for growth, and we are so pleased that Poets & Writers acknowledges that they can do more for writers here.”

Delia Tomino Nakayama, a New Orleans-based poet, commented that writing can be lonely, even isolating. “Writers need a supportive community,” she said, “but for a lot of writers I know it can be hard to plug in. I think this could make a big difference to writers here.” In Detroit, Justin Rogers of InsideOut Literary Arts was just as enthusiastic. “I am excited about the impact that this project will have on the literary community at large,” Rogers said.

Poets & Writers launches this new initiative as the organization, which was founded in 1970, plans to celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2020. “We’re grateful to the Hearst Foundations for making this possible,” said Figman, “and as we approach Poets & Writers’ 50th Anniversary, we hope this is just the first step toward helping more writers.”


Founded in 1970, Poets & Writers has been the primary source of trustworthy information, professional guidance, support, and inspiration for writers for nearly 50 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. Learn more at pw.org.