Resources for Writers in the Time of Coronavirus

by Staff

As writers, teachers, publishers, and booksellers in our local, national, and international communities grapple with how to proceed in their creative, financial, professional, and personal lives during this time of uncertainty, we are compiling a list of resources we hope you will find useful. We will be updating this list as we learn of new resources and opportunities. (If you know about an opportunity, initiative, or helpful resource not on this list, please send an e-mail to 


Financial Resources

The Writers Emergency Assistance Fund, sponsored by the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), “helps established freelance writers who, because of illness, disability, a natural disaster, or an extraordinary professional crisis are unable to work.” Applicants need not be members of the ASJA but must have five published articles from regional or national publications or one book published by a major publishing house.

Authors League Fund offers assistance to “professional authors, journalists, poets, and dramatists who find themselves in financial need because of medical or health-related problems, temporary loss of income, or other misfortune.”

Carnegie Fund for Authors awards “grants to published authors who are in need of emergency financial assistance as a result of illness or injury to self, spouse, or dependent child, or who has had some other misfortune that has placed the applicant in pressing and substantial pecuniary need.”

The PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund is “a small grants program for professional—published or produced—writers in acute or unexpected financial crises. Depending on the situation and level of need, grants are in the range of $2,000.”

The Alliance of Artists Communities’ Emergency Funds for Individual Artists Participating in Residencies supports “artists facing an unforeseen emergency or triggering event to participate in artists’ residencies. The fund disburses mini-grants to artists who have already been accepted and scheduled for a residency, but who would not otherwise be able to participate due to a sudden change in circumstances.”

Artist Relief Tree is “set up to collect donations from those of us with the means to help. We intend to support artists, particularly freelance artists, in a small way. Unfortunately we cannot hope to replace artists’ entire fees or lost work, but we wish to provide hope, make a small difference, and show solidarity with colleagues and Friends.” A group of artists—Andrew Crooks, Marco Cammarota, Morgan Brophy, Rachel Stanton, Tehvon Fowler-Chapman, and Thomas Morris—organized the fund. Note: This group is not taking new requests for funds at the moment.

Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund, started by Luther Hughes, founder of Shade Literary Arts, seeks to “help at least 100 queer writers of color who have been financially impacted by the current COVID-19. Priority will be given to queer trans women of color and queer disabled writers of color, but I hope this relief fund will help as many queer writers of color as it can.”

The Creator Fund, from the e-mail marketing company ConvertKit, is offering financial assistance of up to $500 for artists and small business owners—the term “creator” is loosely defined. The mini-grants can be used for groceries, childcare, rent, mortgage or medical expenses. On its website, the Creator Fund is realistic about its limitations to meet everyone’s needs, but still encourages people to apply.

The Dramatist Guild Foundation’s Emergency Grants are available to “individual playwrights, composers, lyricists, and book writers in dire need of funds due to severe hardship or unexpected illness.” The grants, which typically range between $500 and $3,000, are intended to support expenses related to healthcare, childcare, housing, disability, natural disaster relief, and other unforeseen circumstances. Applicants will be notified in two to four weeks.

Substack, an e-mail newsletter platform, will administer a total of $100,000 to individuals “writing, or thinking about writing, on Substack” through its Independent Writer Grant Program. Individuals who are experiencing economic hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic can apply for grants from $500 to $5,000, in addition to mentorship from the Substack team. Applications are open through April 7. (It is free to join Substack and start an e-mail newsletter; if you decide to charge your audience a subscription fee, Substack takes 10 percent.) 


Location-Specific Financial Resources

The Boston Artist Relief Fund “will award grants of $500 and $1,000 to individual artists who live in Boston whose creative practices and incomes are being adversely impacted by Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).”

The Oregon Science Fiction Convention’s Clayton Memorial Medical Fund helps professional science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery writers living in the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska deal with the financial burden of medical expenses.

NC Artists Relief Fund, sponsored by Artspace, PineCone, United Arts Council, and VAE Raleigh, supports “creative individuals who have been financially impacted by gig cancellations due to the outbreak of COVID-19.” All donated funds “will go directly to artists and arts presenters in North Carolina. Musicians, visual artists, actors, DJ’s, dancers, teaching artists, filmmakers, comedians, and other creative individuals and arts presenters are experiencing widespread cancellations due to this global pandemic.”

The Safety Net Fund is offering financial support to artists who typically make their living offline, at in-person events and performances. To qualify, you must reside in the Bay Area (or near it, as some San Joaquin and Santa Cruz county zip codes are eligible), provide proof of an artistic endeavor in the last six months, cannot be eligible for unemployment insurance from the state, and must have earned less than $1,000 of income in the last thirty days.

The San Francisco Arts & Artists Relief Fund, cosponsored by the Center for Cultural Innovation, San Francisco Arts Commission, and Grants for the Arts, offers funds to “mitigate COVID-19 related financial losses that artists and small to mid-sized arts and culture organizations have suffered.” Individuals based in San Francisco who are eligible for, or currently on employment, are eligible for grants of up to $2,000. Organizations that conduct a majority of their work in San Francisco and operate on a budget of less than $2 million are eligible for grants of up to $25,000.

The Personal Emergency Relief Fund, sponsored by Springboard for the Arts, helps artists in Minnesota “recover from personal emergencies by helping pay an unanticipated, emergency expense.” Artists can request up to $500 for lost income “due to the cancellation of a specific, scheduled gig or opportunity (i.e. commissions, performances, contracts) due to coronavirus/COVID-19 precautionary measures.” 

Max Kansas City’s Emergency Grants offers grants of up to $1,000 to New York State residents who are professionals in the creative arts. “Individuals who have made their living through their art form either professionally or personally and demonstrate a financial need for medical aid, legal aid, or housing” are eligible.

The NYC Low-Income Artist/Freelancer Relief Fund, organized by Shawn Escarciga and Nadia Tykulsker, offers grants of up to $150 to “low-income, BIPOC, trans/GNC/NB/Queer artists and freelancers whose livelihoods are being affected by this pandemic in NYC.”

The New Orleans Business Alliance’s Relief Fund offers grants of $500 to $1,000 to “meet the needs of gig economy workers who have been directly impacted via loss of income.” Writers who live in New Orleans, earn more than 60 percent of their income via gig-work, and are below a certain income level are eligible.

Artist Trust’s COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund offers grants of $500 to $5,000 to “artists whose livelihoods have been impacted by COVID-19” and are residents of Washington State. The grants are intended to help artists who are coping with lost wages and earnings, lost income from canceled events and performances, medical expenses, rent and mortgage payments, food, utilities, and other living expenses.

The Indy Arts & Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, sponsored by a coalition of community funders and the Arts Council of Indianapolis, offers $500 grants to “individuals working in the arts sector and impacted by the current public health crisis,” especially those working at small to mid-sized nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. Applicants must live in Marion or one of the seven surrounding counties in Indiana.

The Cultural Relief Fund offers grants of up to $2,000 to individuals in the Seattle area for “emergencies related to the COVID-19 virus and to support the creative responses cultural workers offer in times of crisis.” The first round of funding is available April 1 through May 15. Applications are reviewed weekly; applicants will be notified within ten business days. 


Resources for Working Remotely

Zoom: “How do I host a video meeting?”

Vimeo: “How to plan a virtual event: Vimeo’s live production experts tell all”

Creative Capital: “Thinking About Livestreaming as an Artist? Read This First.” Artists Yara Travieso and Brighid Greene describe how to approach livestreaming and survey platforms available to writers: Instagram, HowIRound, Vimeo, Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and Zoom.


Resources for Booksellers

The American Booksellers Association’s Coronavirus Resources for Booksellers includes immediate steps to take during the outbreak, ABA initiatives during the outbreak, and opportunities for financial assistance.

Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) offers assistance “for the medical expenses of booksellers and to help booksellers in specific cases where store closure and/or loss of scheduled pay leads to the inability to pay essential household bills for an individual or family.”


Resources for Readers and Writers

The New York Public Library is offering expanded access to its online research databases. Research librarians and curators are also available for online consultations.

Audible has assembled a free collection of audiobooks, including literary classics and books for young readers. 

Many university presses and other not-for-profit publishers are collaborating with Project MUSE to offer free access to books and journals. 

Independent publisher Archipelago Books is unlocking access to thirty e-books through April 2.

As usual, the Academy of American Poets and the Poetry Foundation, among other organizations, offer free-to-access poetry archives.

The editors at Brightly, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House, have assembled “Reading Through It Together,” a set of educational resources and reading exercises for children and teens.

In partnership with Simon & Schuster, the Folger Shakespeare Library is sharing resources from its video and audio recordings archive—including footage of the Folger Theatre’s 2008 production of MacBeth—through July 1. 

The Sequential Artists Workshop (SAW) in Gainesville, Florida, is making five of its most popular online courses in comics and graphic storytelling available for free.

Calamari Press has made digital copies of all its book titles, as well as back issues of Sleepingfish literary magazine, available for free.

As usual, Poets & Writers offers weekly writing inspiration through The Time Is Now, which features writing prompts in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and Writers Recommend, through which authors share the rituals, art, books, music, movies, and habits that get them writing. 


Other Resources

COVID-19 Freelance Artists Resources is “an aggregated list of FREE resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines.”

Creative Capital’s List of Arts Resources During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Kickstarter’s COVID-19 Coronavirus Artist Resources

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Emergency Grants Page

BOMB’s COVID-19 Artist Resources

National Endowment for the Arts COVID-19 Resources for Artists and Arts Organizations