We Need Your Support
What a difference a year makes.
A year ago we wrote on this page about our ambitious plans for 2020, our fiftieth anniversary year. We laid out our commitment to empowering writers and strengthening literary communities as well as our plan to launch a fund-raising campaign that would help fuel new programs to make our vision a reality.
Everything changed in March when the global pandemic forced us to temporarily close our New York City headquarters, cancel our fiftieth-anniversary gala, and put our anniversary campaign on hold.
Since then we have been working from our homes. We responded to writers’ needs in relation to the pandemic by launching the Poets & Writers COVID-19 Relief Fund, which provided emergency grants to 150 writers; modifying the guidelines for our mini-grants program to support virtual events; developing a comprehensive online list of resources—financial, creative, and otherwise—for writers; and covering the pandemic’s impact on the literary world from numerous angles.
In April, The Poets & Writers Complete Guide to Being a Writer: Everything You Need to Know About Craft, Inspiration, Agents, Editors, Publishing, and the Business of Building a Sustainable Writing Career by Kevin Larimer and Mary Gannon was published by Avid Reader Press. We awarded the 2020 Jackson Poetry Prize to Ed Roberson and the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award to two writers from Oklahoma, Simon Han and Brent Newsom. Meanwhile, we have been able to publish Poets & Writers Magazine on schedule and keep our online resources up to date, and we are poised to launch Poets & Writers Groups, a new platform for creating, joining, and managing writing groups.
Following the murder of George Floyd on May 25, we added our voice to the global outcry for racial justice. We have committed Poets & Writers to becoming an anti-racist organization—starting with our editorial coverage and our program priorities. It has also meant taking a hard look at where we’ve fallen short. The work continues to make sure that our programs and our internal culture reflect our values.
Through it all we know that writers are watching, thinking, and of course writing. We are counting on the poems, stories, and essays you will produce to help us understand our times and ourselves, grow in empathy, and imagine a better future. That is why we remain dedicated to empowering writers and strengthening literary communities.
Poets & Writers is vital to the health of the literary community nationwide: We make information about writing and publishing accessible to all; connect writers with one another, with audiences, and with critical resources; and provide the validation and recognition writers need to carry on. To continue, we need your support.
The novelist Adam Haslett, a member of our 50th Anniversary Writers Committee, has said: “For there to be a real democracy of letters, writers need access to the institutions of letters, not based on their connections or savvy, but simply because they are writers. Poets & Writers is this access. And that is why it is vital.” Another acclaimed novelist, Tayari Jones, also a member of the 50th Anniversary Writers Committee, echoed this sentiment when she said, “Poets & Writers is a great leveler of the playing field.”
As 2020 ends, we know there are many pressing issues and important causes that demand your attention—and your financial support. If you share our commitment to writers and writing, please include Poets & Writers among the organizations you support this year. Join today with a contribution of $35 or more and we’ll send you a complimentary one-year subscription to Poets & Writers Magazine. (If you already subscribe, we will extend your current subscription.)
Better yet, become a monthly sustainer with a pledge of just $6.25 a month. For details, visit pw.org/friends today, and please be as generous as you can. Thank you.
Here’s to a 2021 filled with great reading and inspired writing!