If you dream of writing full time, but just don't have the money to make the writer's life a reality, grants for new writers may offer the aid to supplement your income until you get established. Application for grants are either competitive or noncompetitive.
Grant writers find that much like writing markets, the variety of grants available to new and seasoned writers offers a vast field of opportunities. It's important to read guidelines for the details as each grant has its own set of criteria. Grants can pay thousands of dollars for projects or may provide you with the opportunity to match your writing with a social cause. Competitive and noncompetitive grants for new writers are available for fiction and non fiction writers.
A competitive request for a grant is a process in which your application or proposal is evaluated by a review board, or in some cases a single reviewer. Each application is awarded points and competitively ranked. Applications which receive the highest scores are most often funded.
Noncompetitive grants on the other hand are awarded based on the legally defined formula (also known a formula grant). To receive funds from a noncompetitive grant, you may or may not have to submit a proposal. You'll have to review the individual guidelines to know for sure.
Resources for Grants for New Writers
- Funds for Writers- This is a great resource which offers not only information on grants but also writer's markets. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter offered to receive all the current news.
- Christopher Wood Isherwood Foundation - offers grants for fiction writers
- Academy of American Poets Book Awards
- American Antiquarian Society -Fellowships for aspiring writers of nonfiction historical works for general audiences (adults and/or children). Provides at least three $1,200 fellowships (plus travel allowances).
- The American Poetry Review /Honickman First Book Prize in Poetry - First Book Prize includes publication of a book of poems, $3,000 award, and distribution by Copper Canyon Press through Consortium.
- Federal Grants for Women Writers
Grants for Writers of Children's Books
The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)offers a great place to network for those who write children's books. Members also include:
- and other professionals who are involved with literature for young people
They offer a variety of valuable tools like conferences on writing for children to their membership of more than 19,000 and they award the following grants:
- General Work-In-Progress Grant - funded by the SCBWI and Dorothy Francis
- Work-In-Progress Grant for a Contemporary Novel for Young People -- funded by the SCBWI and Judy Blume
- Work-In-Progress Nonfiction Research Grant -- funded by the SCBWI and James Cross Giblin
- Work-In-Progress Grant for a Work Whose Author Has Never Had a Book Published -- funded by the SCBWI
- Barbara Karlin Grant
- Martha Weston Grant
- Amber Brown Fund
- American Institute of Physics - Winner receives $3,000 Science Writing Award for a book or article intended for children fifteen or under.
- Associates of the Boston Public Library - Nine months of financial support ($20,000 stipend) and a work space in the Central Library for an emerging writer.
- Lee & Low Books - New Voices Award for a children's picture book text by a writer of color. Winner receives $1,000, as well as a standard publication contract from Lee & Low books.
Finding the Right Grant for You
Researching grants, and identifying foundations, organizations, or government agencies which offer grants is a time-consuming project. However, it can more than pay off if you receive the funds. The resources in this article just scratch the surface of what is available. Consider this a starting point in your quest to securing a grant that's right for you as a new writer.