About Readings & Workshops

Since its inception in 1970, and with major, sustained support from the New York State Council on the Arts, Poets & Writers has provided fees to writers who give readings or conduct writing workshops in New York State. The program currently supports hundreds of writers each year participating in events taking place throughout New York. The Readings & Workshops program also supports writers taking part in events in the state of California and the cities of Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Seattle, New Orleans, Tucson, and Washington D.C.

Go to the Application Guidelines.

Keith Brown from Urban Possibilities, one of five R&W-supported groups featured at our 2017 Connecting Cultures Reading in Los Angeles. See more photographs from this event here. (Credit: Craig Johnson.)

Special Projects

Within the broad range of the more than 1,800 literary events Poets & Writers supports each year, an important group stands out: writing workshops that reach underserved populations. Since Poets & Writers' earliest days, the Readings & Workshops program has helped bring workshops, free of charge, to thousands of underserved people, including seniors, teens, veterans, the homeless, the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, and residents of rural areas. Ongoing special projects with this focus include the United Neighborhood Houses workshops for seniors in New York City and the California Rural Libraries Tour in partnership with the California Center for the Book.

A documentary look at a writing workshop for seniors at the Goddard Riverside Community Center in New York City, which Poets & Writers has funded since 2001.

Poets & Writers also convenes literary community meetings that provide opportunities for writers and literary presenters to exchange ideas, compare best practices, strengthen local networks, and find potential partners. Additionally, each year Poets & Writers brings together teaching writers who work with underserved groups for retreats and meetings, where participants share resources, best practices, and writing prompts.

Our annual celebratory events include Connecting Cultures, a cross-cultural reading that celebrates the diversity of the literary community and the Readings & Workshops program, and Connecting Generations, an intergenerational reading that brings together teens and seniors from P&W–supported workshops.

Poets & Writers' Connecting Generations 16th Annual Intergenerational Reading at Barnes & Noble at Union Square, New York City, June 17, 2017. (Credit: Margarita Corporan.)



In New York State, the Readings & Workshops program is supported, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

In New York City, the Readings & Workshops program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

In California, the Readings & Workshops program receives support from the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

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In Detroit, Houston, and New Orleans, the Readings & Workshops program receives support from the Hearst Foundations.

Hearst Foundation logo

Additional support is provided by the Louis & Anne Abrons FoundationThe Cowles Charitable Trust, the Frances Abbey Endowment, and Friends of Poets & Writers.


If you have questions about the Readings & Workshops program, please contact the appropriate office:

For events taking place in New York State, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, or Washington, D.C., call (212) 226-3586 x225 or e-mail rw-east@pw.org.

For events taking place in California, Houston, Seattle, or Tucson, call (310) 481-7195 or e-mail rw-west@pw.org.