Application Guidelines

Welcome and thanks for your interest in our Readings & Workshops mini-grants. Before getting started on an application, please read the guidelines below and download the applicable toolkit or template. If you still have questions, please check our FAQ for answers or see below for contact information.

When you are ready to begin, click the APPLY button to get started!

Helpful tools

Toolkit for Applicants

Toolkit for Grantees

Template for Writers


Update: We have resumed funding in-person events that adhere to city, state, and federal protocols for COVID-19 safety. We will also continue funding virtual events through June 30, 2024. For more detail about virtual event funding, see below.


Organizations that sponsor readings and workshops in New York State or California, or Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, Seattle, Tucson, or Washington, D.C., are welcome to apply for mini-grants to be used for writers' fees.

  • In California, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, Seattle, Tucson, and Washington, D.C., mini-grants for readings or spoken word performances range from $50 to $350. Grants for workshops range from $100 to $200* per session. 

  • In New York, mini-grants for readings or spoken word performances range from $150 to $450. Grants for workshops range from $200 to $300 per session. ** 

These caps fluctuate depending on the availability of funds in each jurisdiction and the number of applications we receive.

Organizations are encouraged to match P&W’s payment to the writer. However, if your organization is not able to match or add to the request, we will still consider the application.

To support as many literary events as possible, we generally grant no more than $3,000 to organizations in New York State, and $500 to organizations in California, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, Seattle, Tucson, and Washington, D.C., during the course of our fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). Decisions on maximum grant amounts are based on the availability of funds and are made at the discretion of Poets & Writers.

We make mini-grants for writers' fee payments only. Grant checks are sent directly to the writer. We do not fund administrative costs, publicity, transportation, or other expenses related to producing events. We do not fund in-school events, children's events, staged dramatic readings, or storytelling events featuring non-original or adapted works.

* In California, we generally grant no more than $500 total for a workshop series.
**Our program in New York offers larger grants thanks to generous support from our funders.


Organizations that may apply for mini-grants include: colleges, cultural centers, museums, libraries, correctional facilities, hospitals, small presses, community centers, senior centers, places of worship, bookstores, cafés, galleries, and theaters. Nonprofit status is not required.

Events must be open to the public, with the exception of events taking place in institutions such as correctional facilities and nursing homes. 


Published poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, and performance poets are eligible to receive grant payments from Poets & Writers. A writer’s bio listing publication or spoken word performance credits must be included in the application to show that the writer is eligible.

The event organizer, board members, and paid employees of the organization sponsoring the event are not eligible for funding.

Employees and Board Members of Poets & Writers are not eligible for funding.

Writers are paid as grant recipients and are not employees of Poets & Writers.


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, priority is given to organizations that:

  • serve a culturally diverse audience
  • feature culturally diverse writers
  • feature writers who have not previously presented at that venue
  • present programs in rural or other underserved areas
  • have not previously received R&W support (If an organization has received R&W funding in the past, we consider whether it has followed the grant guidelines and returned reports in a timely manner.)
  • are able to match R&W's payment to the writer (not including in-kind contributions such as meals, lodging, and travel)
  • have a publicity plan and/or strong publicity samples from past events.

Virtual Events

Organizations should take into account these special considerations when applying for funding for virtual events:

  • Virtual readings should be live-streamed through an audio/video platform which is accessible to the public. If possible, we encourage recording virtual readings and archiving them through publicly-accessible platforms, such as YouTube or Vimeo. Virtual readings must have live audio and video components; we do not offer funding for podcasts or radio broadcasts.
  • Virtual writing workshops must include real-time online instruction of workshop attendees by a live facilitator, and can be open or closed to the public, dependent on workshop type.Virtual workshops must have live audio and/or video components.
  • Virtual events must be sponsored by an organization located in one of our R&W states/cities: California, New York State, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Seattle, New Orleans, Tucson, and Washington, D.C.
  • When completing the mini-grant application, the “Event Site” should be listed as the organization’s mailing address.
  • While we will consider virtual events that charge a fee, we prioritize applications for events that are free or low-cost.
  • If a request is approved, payment will be mailed to the writer approximately two to four weeks after the event.
  • Reporting for virtual events is the same as for in-person events: Event organizers and writers are asked to complete brief reports to let us know how the event went, how many participated, and so on.
  • As always, event organizers are responsible for ensuring that all publicity materials carry the appropriate credit lines and logos, and for uploading copies of these materials with their report.
  • Organizations are encouraged to match P&W’s payment to the writer. However, if your organization is not able to match or add to the request, we will still consider the application.
  • Applications for virtual events must be submitted at least six weeks in advance of the event date.
  • We encourage you to list your events on our free, online Literary Events Calendar.


We welcome applications from organizations submitted through our online system. When you are ready to get started, click the APPLY button at the top of the page and you’ll be redirected to our online grants management system at

Once there, register your organization or log-in with your existing e-mail and password. If you can’t remember your password, select the “Forgot Password?” link to request a temporary password sent by e-mail. (This can take a few minutes. Be sure to check your junk folder.)

If you are applying for more than one writer, complete a separate online application for each writer.

If an event consists of multiple sessions featuring just one writer (such as a poetry festival during which a writer reads several times or a multi-week workshop), submit one application.

We consider applications from organizations only. However, we encourage writers to initiate events and let organizations know they can apply on their behalf.

Our application requires that organizations provide us with the writer's bio and contact information (mailing address, phone, and e-mail). If a grant is awarded, we ask the writer to provide their Social Security number. In order to lawfully issue a grant, we must have this information.

All requests are considered on an event-by-event basis. If you need assistance, see below for contact information.


Please submit your application at least six weeks before the proposed event. You are encouraged to apply more than eight weeks in advance, if possible, as we approve grants on a rolling basis. Once your application is submitted, you will receive a confirmation e-mail. Be sure to add to your address book to ensure you receive communications regarding your grant application.

We typically review applications within four weeks of receiving them and will send you an e-mail indicating that your application has been approved, declined, or is still pending (usually because we need more information). If you have not heard from us a month after submitting your application, please call or e-mail to check on the status of your application.


For events taking place in New York State, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, or Washington, D.C., call (212) 226-3586 x-226 or e-mail

For events taking place in California, Houston, Seattle, and Tucson, call (310) 481-7195 or e-mail

For the latest on Readings & Workshops funding, events, and other program news, sign up for our quarterly e-newsletter, Readings & Workshops Presents.