Application Guidelines

Welcome and thank you for your interest in applying for a Readings & Workshops grant. Before beginning the application process, please read the guidelines below and review the FAQ.

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

If you have previously registered, you may then enter your email address and password to begin an application or continue to work on a draft you saved.

If you’ve been funded by us in the past but have not yet used our online system, or if you cannot remember your password, click the APPLY button, then select "Forgot Password?" to request that a temporary password be e-mailed to you.

If you have never received a grant from Readings & Workshops, click the APPLY button, then follow the link to register your organization.





In response to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, and in the interest of continuing our support of writers, we will temporarily make mini-grants to support virtual live literary events. Our guidelines (below), funding priorities, and application process remain essentially the same, but event organizers should take into account these special considerations when applying for funding for virtual live events:

  • Virtual readings should be live-streamed through an audio/video platform, which is open to the public (i.e., not password-protected, behind a paywall, etc.). 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.
  • Although we will support virtual events, sponsoring organizations must still be 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 sponsoring 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 weeks after the event.
  • Reporting will be handled as usual: 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.
  • For the time being, we will not require sponsoring organizations to match our portion of a writer's fee.
  • We have shortened our application deadline to four weeks in advance of the event date.
  • We encourage you to list your events on our free, online Literary Events Calendar, which can now accommodate listings for virtual events.


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., may apply for grants to be used for writers' fees.

To support as many literary events as possible, we generally grant no more than $1,500 to organizations in New York State and California, and $500 to organizations in 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.

Grants for readings or spoken word performances range from $50 to $350. Grants for workshops range from $100 to $200* per session. We encourage organizations to match our payments to writers, but this requirement may be waived if there are extenuating circumstances.

We make grants for writers' fee payments only. Grant checks are payable to the writer and sent to the sponsor, which is responsible for delivering them to the author. 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.


Organizations that may apply for 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 prisons and nursing homes. 


Published poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, and performance poets are eligible to receive fee payments from Poets & Writers.

The project director and employees of the organization sponsoring the event are not eligible for funding.

Writers are paid as independent contractors and are not employees of Poets & Writers.


Due to the high volume of applications we receive, priority will be 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


Applications are submitted through our online system. To begin, please click the APPLY button at the top of this page.

If more than one writer is presented, complete a separate online application form for each writer.

If an event consists of multiple sessions but 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 social security number and contact information, which we need in order to process checks.

All requests are considered on an event-by-event basis.


Please submit your application at least eight 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. Applications received fewer than eight weeks before the event date will be declined.

We typically review applications within four weeks of receiving them. You will receive 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-225 or e-mail

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