25 Of The Best Grants For Writers To Fund Their Craft

You’ve heard about government grants for writers, but you don’t know where to find them or whether you even qualify for any of them. 

True, some of them are for residents of a specific state. And some are for applicants of a specific demographic. 

But plenty of them only require that you submit high-quality work for their consideration. And the need-based ones don’t even require that. 

To help you find the best grant options for you, we’ve collected 23 of the best grants for writers living in the United States. 

25 Writers’ Grants to Fund Your Next Project

While many states have their own grants for resident writers, the grants listed here are for writers who live in the United States, regardless of their particular state of residency. 

Many are need-based while some are specificaly for female writers or writers of color. You’ll see the more specific ones grouped accordingly. 

Creative Writing Grants

Along with grants for fiction witers, these can include book writing grants and poetry grants, as well as funds for screenwriters, playwriters, and fiction freelancers. 

Carnegie Fund for Authors (US) 

This fund is open to any American author who’s published at least one book of reasonable length commercially (with evidence of reader acceptance) and whose current circumstances have placed them in need of emergency financial assistance. 

The Carnegie Fund is open to both fiction and nonfiction authors, even if their work has only been published in ebook or printed format. Applicants must provide documentation to support their claim of financial need. 

Elizabeth George Foundation

This foundation offers artistic grants to unpublished fiction writers, poets, and emerging playwrights, as well as organizations that benefit disadvantaged youth. 

They welcome writers of all ages and background, seeking in particular those who show passion for their work, talent in their use of language, and the discipline to write every day. 

You begin the application process by requesting a brochure by mail. The deadline for applications is July 1st.

Freelancers Relief Fund

During difficult times, freelancers face the prospect of financial hardship from canceled or postponed contract work without the benefit of paid sick leave or unemployment compensation. 

The Freelancers Relief Fund offers grants of up to $1,000 per freelancer to help cover lost income and essential expenses. If freelance work is your primary source of income, and you’ve lost 50%+, join their Freelancer’s Union to receive updates and apply for the grant.

Karen and Philip Cushman Late Bloomer Award 

The Late Bloomer Award is for authors over the age of fifty who write children’s literature but have not been traditionally published.

Newbery Award winner and Newbery Honor Book recipient Karen Cushman and her husband Philip Cushman established this grant with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). 

The winner receives $500 and free tuition to any SCBWI conference anywhere in the world. 

PEN American Writers Emergency Fund

PEN America has expanded its longstanding Writer’s Emergency Fund to support more writers at a time when so many face risks to their health and livelihood. 

The organization offers grants of $500 to $1,000, based on need, using a streamlined process to more quickly respond to the needs of writers. Fiction and nonfiction authors based in the U.S. can apply on their website

PEN/Phyllis Naylor Grant for Children and Young Adult Novelists 

PEN member and author of more than 140 books, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor makes this grant possible for authors of children’s and YA fiction.

The purpose of the  $5,000 award is to enable the winning author to focus on completing their latest novel and to let the author know that a panel of expert judges has faith in the quality of their writing. 

Submissions for each yearly cycle are welcome from April 1 to August 1 of the previous year. 

SFWA Emergency Medical Fund

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has established an Emergency Medical Fund (EMF) to help writers pay medical expenses not covered by their insurance policies. 

While only meant to cover short-term or emergency situations that affect the applicant’s ability to write, the fund helps SFWA members to meet critical needs when work is interrupted.

All requests must specify the recipient and the amount needed, along with a description of the writer’s situation. 

Speculative Literature Foundation (6 Grants)

The Speculative Literature Foundation offers six different grants, none of which charge an application fee. Give them a look if you enjoy writing speculative literature (fiction, poetry, drama, or creative nonfiction) or are researching for a current project in this genre

What the Fund (Worldwide)

This is a Patreon-supported fund created to support writers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Now more than ever, people depend on artists, writers, and other creatives to keep them entertained and to inspire them to create their own art. 

The program is open to any creator, anywhere in the world, whose income has suffered as a result of COVID-19. The fund also accepts donations via PayPal. 

Nonfiction Writing Grants

The following grants benefit nonfiction writers specifically, whether this involves ghostwriting nonfiction books, writing articles and blog posts, or journalism. 

ASJA Writers Emergency Assistance Fund

The American Society of Journalists and Authors created this fund to help professional freelance writers who cannot work because they’re currently ill, disabled or because they’re caring for someone who is.

Writers who can’t work due to a natural disaster or an extraordinary professional crisis are also welcome to apply.

While you don’t have to be an ASJA member to be considered, you will need to provide proof of having worked as a professional freelance nonfiction writer for a number of years. 

Coronavirus Rolling Grant for Freelance Journalists

The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) established this rolling grant specifically for professional journalists who write groundbreaking stories on the coronavirus and its impact on the world — especially work that exposes wrongdoing in the public or private sector. 

Grants average $5,000 but can go as high as $10,000, with the first half paid on approval and the second on receipt of the finished project. 

PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History

If you have a nonfiction work in progress that “uses oral history to illuminate an event, individual, place, or movement,” this grant pays $10,000 annually to support the project’s completion.

Visit the website for complete guidelines on how to apply and what to expect. There is no application fee.

Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant

This $40,000 annual grant goes to as many as eight writers of meticulously-researched creative nonfiction.

Whiting welcomes artfully written works of history, cultural or political reportage, philosophy, criticism, the sciences, biography, memoir, food or travel writing, graphic nonfiction, and personal essays. 

Projects must be under contract with a US publisher to be considered. Writers of underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

Grants for Writers of Color

Most of the grants in this post welcome applicants of color, but the following three have the specific aim of recognizing new writers of color and supporting them in their work. 

Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Grand 

This $2,000 grant supports emerging writers of color with crime fiction writing and career developoment activities. Unpublished applicants are preferred, though they also accept those with several pieces of short fiction and/or up to two self-published or traditionally-published books. 

The work sample you submit for the grant application must be unpublished, and the submission period for 2020 ends on June 8th. 

Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence 

This grant honors Louisiana’s famed storyteller, Ernest J. Gaines, in its ongoing support of emerging African-American fiction writers. The annual $15,000 award helps its recipients cover expenses while focusing on their writing. 

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation sponsors each winners travel to Baton Rouge for an awards ceremony attended by Ernest Gaines, with an author reading and reception. 

Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund

This fund is for queer writers of color only. Their stated goal is to raise $100,000 to help at least 100 writers, and they dispense funds for writers according to the amount they receive in donations. 

At this time of this writing, they’re able to dispense a minimum $100 and a maximum $500 to every approved applicant.

Grants for Female Writers

Daisy Pettles’ Women Writing Residency and Grant 

This grant supports female writers of 40 years or more with a $1,000 grant and month-long rent-free residency in the Daisy Pettles Writer’s House in Bedford Indiana.

The house is handicapped-accessible and all on one floor, with wide hallways and doorways and a walk-in tiled shower. 

Published and unpublished writers of all backgrounds are welcome to apply. 

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship

If you’re a female writer of horror novels, the Mary Shelley Scholarship awards $2,500 a year for winning writers to spend on approved writing education. 

The aim of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) is to encourage more female writers to enter the horror genre and aid in its continuing development. They have another scholarship open to all HWA members, regardless of gender. 

Money for Women by the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund 

As the oldest ongoing feminist granting agency, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund supports feminist writers and visual artists. Named after feminist writer Barbara Deming, the foundation is in its fourth decade and is still proudly feminist and willing to take risks. 

Grants for Parents

Sustainable Arts Foundation Award

If you’re a parent of a child under 18 years of age, and you’re a writer or artist, you’re welcome to apply for this award for timely and transformative works of art and literature.

The Sustainable Arts Foundation makes annual unrestricted grants to individuals, at least half of which are applicants of color. 

They also support artist residencies. The foundation is based in San Francisco, California. 

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Did you find some grants for writers that might work for you?

Now that you’ve looked over 25 of the best grants for writers, which ones are you most likely to apply for? And what could you do today to get closer to applying for one of them? 

If you weren’t sure, before reading this post, where to find funds for writers, I hope you now have a few to focus on, either to finance your continuing development as a writer or to help cover expenses while you finish a work in progress. 

May your efforts yield a rich reward for you and your readers. 

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