Archive April 2020

We Need Diverse Books Emergency Fund Open for Applications

To help writers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be highlighting emergency funds available to writers. For more sources of support, read our running list of resources for writers in the time of coronavirus.

We Need Diverse Books is issuing grants of $500 to members of the children’s literature publishing community “who are experiencing dire financial need,” specifically diverse authors, illustrators, and publishing professionals whose incomes have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Writers and illustrators who have lost income due to canceled school or library visits, and who have published at least one book-length title for children or teens at a traditional publishing house, are eligible; children’s publishing professionals who have been furloughed or recently laid off from a publisher or literary agency are also eligible. All applicants must identify as people of color, as Native American, or as LGBTQIA+, or have a disability or belong to a marginalized religious or cultural minority; additionally, they must be U.S. residents and at least eighteen years of age.

Using online the online application system, submit information about personal finances, a statement of need, and a recent bank statement. Author and illustrator applicants must also list publication history and provide evidence of the cancellation of at least three school or library visits. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

We Need Diverse Books estimates that applications will be processed within two to three weeks. Applications will be capped at seventy but may be reopened after the judging committee has reviewed the first round.

We Need Diverse Books first emerged as a social media campaign and protest in 2014, which called out the publishing industry for the lack of diversity in children’s literature. We Need Diverse Books has since become a nonprofit organization with the vision to build “a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book.”

Upcoming Deadline for the Poetry London Prize

Submissions are open for the 2020 Poetry London Prize. This international award, given for a single poem written in English, is run by the British literary magazine Poetry London. The winner will receive £5,000 (approximately $6,170). A second-place prize of £2,000 (approximately $2,468) and a third-place prize of £1,000 (approximately $1,234) will also given. All three winning poems will be published in the magazine’s Autumn 2020 issue and on its website.

Using only the online submission system, submit poems of no more than 80 lines with a £8 entry fee (approximately $10) per poem, or £4 (approximately $5) per poem for Poetry London subscribers, by May 1. For low-income poets, limited free entries are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Poet, critic, and translator Ilya Kaminsky will judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The winners will be notified by July 17 and will be awarded their prizes at the Poetry London Autumn 2020 issue launch reading in September. Previous first-place winners of this competition include poets Romalyn Ante, Liz Berry, and Richard Scott.

BOMB Poetry Contest Open for Submissions

BOMB is open for submissions to its 2020 Poetry Contest. The annual award is given for a group of poems, and the winner will receive $1,000 and publication in BOMB Magazine.

Using Submittable, submit up to five poems totaling no more than 10 pages with a $20 entry fee, which includes a yearlong subscription to BOMB Magazine, by May 3. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Poet Simone White will judge. White is the author of several books and chapbooks, most recently Dear Angel of Death (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018); she teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. The winner will be announced on July 31.

Previous winners of the poetry contest include Savannah Cooper-Ramsey, Marwa Helal, and Daniel Poppick.

Published since 1981, BOMB Magazine features conversations between artists of all disciplines. The quarterly print publication is part of the larger nonprofit BOMB, which also produces online content.

Poets & Writers COVID-19 Relief Fund Open for Applications

Poets & Writers’ Board of Directors has established the Poets & Writers COVID-19 Relief Fund to provide emergency assistance to writers experiencing financial need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund will provide grants of $1,000 each to approximately eighty writers in April. As funding allows, a second round of grants may be awarded.

Writers who are listed in the Poets & Writers Directory as of April 10, 2020; who have received a mini-grant through the Poets & Writers Readings & Workshops program; or who have received the organization’s Amy Award, the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award, the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, or the Galen Williams Fellowship are eligible.

Submit an online application, consisting of a brief set of questions about eligibility and financial need, by Sunday, April 19. Visit the website for complete guidelines. Contact relief@pw.org with any questions. The initial cohort of applicants will be notified of the status of their application by the end of April.

Poets & Writers seeded the fund with $50,000 from the organization’s reserves; donors including Zibby Owens and Michael Pietsch have provided additional support. The emergency fund is an extension of an overarching mission 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.

Save Indie Bookstores Campaign Supports Businesses Affected by Pandemic

To help writers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be highlighting emergency funds available to writers. For more sources of support, read our running list of resources for writers in the time of coronavirus.

On April 2, the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) announced the Save Indie Bookstores campaign, a fundraising effort that will provide financial relief to independent bookstores impacted by the current public health crisis.

The campaign launched with an initial donation of $500,000 from writer James Patterson and continues to collect donations through the campaign’s website. Funds raised will be granted to independent bookstores to cover operating expenses. The amount of funding awarded per store will be determined by the final amount of money raised and by the number of eligible bookstores that apply for relief.

Independent bookstores with a physical address in the United States or its territories are eligible to apply for funding. Eligible bookstores will also estimate a business loss of at least fifty percent of sales and/or net income during any thirty day period from March 15, 2020, to May 15, 2020, due to the impact of COVID-19. Additionally, they must not have “any other immediate financial resources to draw from,” such as crowd funding in excess of $20,000 or significant cash reserves. To apply, bookstore staff may submit an online application through the campaign’s website by April 27. Visit the website for more information.

Since its inception, Save Indie Bookstores has raised more than $64,000 in addition to the initial $500,000 it received from author Patterson. “In these uncertain times, it’s up to all of us to do our part and to help those in need however we can,” Patterson said of the effort. “The White House is concerned about saving the airline industry and big businesses—I get that. But I’m concerned about the survival of independent bookstores, which are at the heart of main streets across the country.”

Deadline Approaches for the Catamaran Poetry Prize

Submissions are open for the 2020 Catamaran Poetry Prize. Sponsored by the literary nonprofit Catamaran, whose mission is “to capture the vibrant and creative West Coast spirit,” the annual award is given for a poetry manuscript written by a poet living in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, or Hawaii. The winning poet will receive $1,000 and their manuscript will be published by Catamaran.

Using only the online submission system, submit a poetry collection of 60 to 100 pages with a $35 entry fee by April 20. Poet, playwright, and translator Zack Rogow will judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Finalists for the 2020 poetry prize will be announced on June 1. The winner will be announced by June 30, and their collection is expected to be published in November of this year. A book launch and reading, featuring the winner and finalists, will take place in the fall. Previous winners of the award are poets Susan Browne and Michelle Bitting.

Artist Relief Fund to Award $10 Million to Artists and Writers

To help writers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be highlighting emergency funds available to writers. For more sources of support, read our running list of resources for writers in the time of coronavirus.

Today a coalition of arts funders announced they will administer $10 million to artists and writers “facing dire financial emergencies due to the impact of COVID-19.” Eligible individuals can apply for an unrestricted grant of $5,000.

The fund is part of the larger Artist Relief initiative, organized by the Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, National YoungArts Foundation, and United States Artists. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation contributed $5 million to the fund, the other half of which was matched by various U.S. foundations.

Practicing artists who are twenty-one or older, able to receive taxable income in the United States regardless of their citizenship status, and have lived and worked primarily in the United States over the last two years are eligible. The fund is open to artists who work in the disciplines of craft, dance, design, film, media, music, theater and performance, traditional arts, visual art, and writing.

Using Submittable, submit a brief bio and description of your artistic practice and financial situation. Visit the website for complete guidelines and eligibility requirements.

The funds will be administered over the course of five application cycles during the next six months. Artist Relief coalition partners and representatives from collaborating cultural organizations across the country will review applications every week; once accepted, grantees will receive funds within two weeks. The fund organizers plan to administer at least a hundred grants every week.

In addition to the emergency relief fund, the Artist Relief initiative will serve as an informational resource, and will collaborate with Americans for the Arts to launch the “COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers” to assess and address the needs of artists.

“In hard times like these, we turn to the arts to illuminate and help us make meaning and find connection. Without immediate intervention, individual artists and the arts ecosystem of which they are the foundation could sustain irreparable damage,” says Elizabeth Alexander, the president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “As artists confront these new fiscal realities, we are proud to support this vital effort to address artists’ urgent needs. We call on others to join us in supporting artists so they may continue to be our lights, chroniclers, and connectors throughout this crisis and beyond.”

Carnegie Fund for Authors Open for Applications

To help writers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be highlighting emergency funds available to writers. For more sources of support, read our running list of resources for writers in the time of coronavirus.

The Carnegie Fund for Authors assists published fiction and nonfiction writers who are experiencing “pressing and substantial pecuniary need.” Applications are accepted from “American authors who have published at least one full-length work” of fiction or nonfiction with a mainstream publisher.

The fund typically disburses grants to writers seeking support due to “illness or injury to self, spouse, or dependent child,” but also provides assistance to writers experiencing “some other misfortune” due to an emergency such as fire, flood, or hurricane.

Prospective applicants must first provide their name, address, and e-mail in order to register for an account on the Carnegie Fund for Authors website. After the account has been approved by an administrator, writers may use the online application system or download an application to be submitted by mail. Applications must include documentation of the writer’s emergency situation, such as a letter from a doctor. Additional documentation may be required. Visit the website for complete eligibility requirements and application guidelines.

The Carnegie Fund for Authors grew out of an organization called the Authors Club, a community of literary luminaries founded in New York City in 1882, which kept aside funds for members experiencing financial distress. Over the years, Andrew Carnegie made significant donations to the club, which led the organization to establish a separate fund, the Carnegie Fund of the Author Club. By 1942, the Carnegie Fund for Authors had become its own entity and continued in its mission to serve authors in need.   

Writers Emergency Assistance Fund Open for Applications

To help writers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be highlighting emergency funds available to writers. For more sources of support, read our running list of resources for writers in the time of coronavirus.

The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) is granting emergency funds to established freelance writers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically those “who cannot work because they are currently ill or caring for someone who is ill.”

Writers who have published at least one nonfiction book with a major publishing house or published five articles in regional or national publications are eligible. There are no residency requirements, and writers do not have to be members of ASJA. Writers who have lost work because publishers and outlets are no longer assigning work, however, are not eligible at this time.

Using only the online application system, submit your publication record and documentation detailing your financial, medical, and household situation. Applications sent by e-mail or post will not be accepted. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

ASJA estimates that most applications will be processed in two to four weeks; a volunteer group of freelance writers reviews the applications.

Headquartered in New York City, the ASJA is the nation’s largest professional organization of independent nonfiction writers. The organization provides information, networking opportunities, seminars, and workshops, among other services, to its members. Since 1982 the ASJA has administered approximately $400,000 through its Writers Emergency Assistance Fund.

Deadline Extended for the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing

The deadline for the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing has been extended from March 31 to May 1 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This prize is given annually for a debut work of prose written by a first-generation immigrant that speaks to “some combination of identity, the meeting of cultures and communities, immigration and migration, and today’s globalized society.” The winner is awarded $10,000 and publication by Restless Books. Presented in alternating years for fiction and nonfiction works, the 2020 prize will be given to a fiction writer.

Using only the online submission system, submit a CV, cover letter, and novel or collection of short stories of at least 45,000 words by May 1. The manuscript must be written in or translated into English. There is no entry fee. Dinaw Mengestu, Achy Obejas, and Ilan Stavans will judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Past fiction winners of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing are Priyanka A. Champaneri and Deepak Unnikrishnan. Established in 2016, the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing is founded on the understanding that “the ethos of the modern world is defined by immigrants.”