The Money Part
Since our founding in 1970, Poets & Writers has learned a lot about what writers need to thrive. You might say it boils down to three things: information, community, and cash.
Writers need access to trustworthy information about how to get published, and they need to connect with fellow writers for inspiration, encouragement, and support. From the pages of this magazine to our suite of online databases, we offer content and context to assist writers with both the craft and the business of writing. Online tools like the Poets & Writers Directory, started in 1973, and Poets & Writers Groups, a peer-to-peer networking tool launched earlier this year, help writers connect with one another.
But writers also need money. Virginia Woolf famously put a price tag on it when she said that a writer needed a room of her own and £500 a year—which, in today’s dollars, would be about $45,000.
In our fiscal year that ended June 30, 2021, our Readings & Workshops program distributed more than $185,000 in the form of mini-grants that pay writers fees for giving readings and leading writing workshops in New York, California, and eight cities outside of those states: Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, Tucson, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. We supported more than 700 writers who presented over 1,500 events in partnership with 215 presenting organizations.
In response to the pandemic’s economic impact on writers, we created the Poets & Writers COVID-19 Relief Fund, distributing $1,000 emergency grants to 150 writers in thirty-three states, thanks to generous donations from our board members, authors, and others.
As part of United States of Writing—an initiative to deepen our service to writers nationwide, especially those from historically marginalized communities—we offered special project grants for writers in Detroit, Houston, and New Orleans who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC). Grants of $500 to $1,000 helped thirty-six writers to curate and produce online literary programming to engage their communities during the pandemic lockdown.
In New York City, we are proud to be a part of City Artist Corps, working in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and others to distribute more than $15 million in recovery funds to the city’s independent artists, including writers.
And now we’re pleased to announce a new grant opportunity to help writers overcome barriers to professional growth: Open Door Career Advancement Grants for BIPOC Women Writers. Made possible by Reese’s Book Club’s the Readership, grants of $500 to $1,000 will help women writers of color cover the costs of applying to graduate writing programs, entering contests, and participating in writing retreats.
To be eligible, applicants must identify as both a woman and Black, Indigenous, or a person of color, must not yet have published a book, and must not be represented by an agent. The deadline for applying is September 30. Find details at at.pw.org/opendoor.
Poets & Writers is dedicated to serving writers because we believe a vibrant literary culture is essential to a thriving democracy. We’re especially focused on helping writers whose voices have too often been excluded from the conversation, those who have been kept to the margins, who have been most harmed by systemic racism and sexism and the cruel exclusionary patterns of our culture.
Help us continue to provide information, community, and cash to writers across the nation. Become a Friend of Poets & Writers today and join the thousands of writers and readers who support our mission. To learn about the benefits of becoming a Friend and to make a contribution, visit pw.org/friends.