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"Poets & Writers grants are a kind of Osmocote or Greensand slow release fertilizer for America's literary landscape, strengthening the whole ecosystem." —Jane Hirshfield
Poets & Writers’ Readings & Workshops mini-grants program pays fees to writers who participate in public readings or teach creative writing workshops in diverse community settings. With major, sustained support from the New York State Council on the Arts, Poets & Writers has provided fees to writers in New York State since 1970. In 1990, the program expanded to California, and in 2006 we added eight additional cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Seattle, New Orleans, Tucson, and Washington, D.C.
"Receiving support from Poets & Writers is validating and affirming. There is no organization that I look to for this validation more. To be seen is glorious. Thank you!" —Imani Tolliver
Readings & Workshops mini-grants provide support and validation for poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers and give presenting organizations both the funds and the endorsement of a national organization to help connect their communities with contemporary writers. Poets & Writers supports an average of thirty literary events every week!
Readings & Workshops By the Numbers (2021-2022)
- Writers who received Readings & Workshops mini-grants: 760
- Dollars awarded to these writers: 254,000
- Percentage of these writers who identify as BIPOC: 50
- Literary events presented with our support: 1,590
- Audience members reached: 96,000
- Community-building gatherings hosted: 10
- Writers and literary presenters who attended these gatherings: 250
Any organization, group, or series—nonprofit status not required—can apply to pay a writer participating in a literary reading or teaching a creative writing workshop. Mini-grants go directly to the writer as payment for their participation. We fund applications from formal organizations that host writers (libraries, community centers, and many others), as well as informal organizations, like a reading series held in a café or a park. You’ll find everything you need to know about applying for funding and what happens once awarded a mini-grant in the links below.
If you are a writer, you may not apply for a grant for yourself. But you can suggest that a presenter do so! We have prepared an e-mail template that may help you introduce Readings & Workshops mini-grants to the organizations and presenters you work with.
- Applicant Toolkit (PDF)
- Grantee Toolkit (PDF)
- Credit Lines and Logos
- Submit Reports
"Poets & Writers helps me connect with my community so deeply. These are communities where the majority of attendees at events are people of color, especially Latinx and Spanish-speakers. Our people came out to support our work, came eager to connect with us as much as we were and are eager to connect with them. We got to dream together, to share the struggle and the joy together. We laughed, sang, and cried. Poets & Writers helped to make that communion possible." —Raina Leon
As part of our belief that literature is vital to sustaining a vibrant culture and our mission to help create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible public, funding priority is given to organizations that:
- serve a culturally diverse audience
- feature culturally diverse writers
- present readings in rural or other underserved areas
- offer workshops that reach underserved and/or historically marginalized groups
- are new to our program
The Readings & Workshops program also fosters the exchange of information and ideas—helping to knit together the multifaceted literary communities we serve by hosting community building and celebratory events, which include town hall-style meetings, retreats, check-ins, and readings. Learn more about these events and other highlights on our Readings & Workshops Highlights page.
Participants in Poets & Writers' Los Angeles Workshop Leaders Retreat. (Credit: Jamie Asaye FitzGerald)
Events like this informational meeting and check-in for writers and presenters in the cities of Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, Seattle, Tucson, and Washington D.C., are archived on P&W's YouTube channel.
Staff are available to talk with you about whether your literary event qualifies for support and to walk you through the application process.
For events taking place in New York State, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, or Washington, D.C., call (212) 226-3586 x226 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For events taking place in California, Houston, Seattle, or Tucson, call (310) 481-7195 or e-mail email@example.com.
In New York State, the Readings & Workshops program is supported, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
In New York City, the Readings & Workshops program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
In California, the Readings & Workshops program receives support from the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Additional support is provided by the Cowles Charitable Trust, the Frances Abbey Endowment, and Friends of Poets & Writers.