Grants for Writers

The path to becoming a successful writer or to completing a masterpiece can be tough. The difficulties faced by writers include financial hardship, distractions and other circumstances that can prevent a writer from finishing their work. However in many countries there is relief available in the form of writing grants.

Grants are available for writers for many different reasons and purposes. Some grants are provided by governments and regional arts councils. Other grants and awards have been established by private individuals and private organizations.

Historically grants have helped many famous writers get established. JK Rowling is an example. She was reportedly a single mom, living in Edinburgh, and determined to finish her first Harry Potter novel when she requested a grant from the Scottish Arts Council. She eventually received the grant, and went on to complete her Harry Potter book and have it published.

Here are some situations where a writing grant could be of real and practical assistance.

  • You are facing an emergency or crisis situation (see below).
  • You are struggling financially as a writer.
  • You are working on a special project or manuscript that will take months to complete, during which time you will be without income.
  • You really need to get away to a quiet mountain retreat in order to write at your best.
  • You are a writer of a particular cultural or ethnic background, and there are grants established to support the development of writing from this group of people.

Are you wondering what you actually receive if you win a grant? With some writing grants it is as simple as receiving a check. With others you might receive a fellowship and you will be aligned to the organization for the duration of the fellowship. If you are granted a residency you will usually be provided with accommodation for a number of months and you will receive a monthly stipend.

It is a good idea to spend some time researching the various grants that are available to you. By doing this you will be able to identify those that are the most appropriate, and apply to the ones that you have the best chance of receiving. You can and should apply for multiple grants. The demand for writing grants is highly competitive and you may not receive your preferred grant.

Following are some resources for writing grants.


Emergency Grants for Writers

Are you facing a crisis or an emergency right now? Some grants are especially designed to help writers and artists facing extreme circumstances.

PEN Writers’ Emergency Fund is an emergency fund for professional writers in acute, emergency financial crisis. They provide grants of up to $2,000.

The Haven Foundation, a nonprofit organization making grants to freelance writers and artists experiencing career-threatening illness, accident, natural disaster or other emergency or personal catastrophe.

The International Writers Project at Brown University provides support to writers who face personal danger and threats to their livelihood in nations throughout the world.  Each academic year the Project sponsors a resident fellowship for one writer who feels unable to practice free expression at home.  Fellowships cover the costs of relocation and the writer's expenses in the U.S., and provide an office on the campus of Brown University for ten months.


Writing Grants, by Country





New Zealand:


Other Countries: check the web site for your government or regional arts council.

Additional Resources for Writing Grants

PEN online database of 1,500 grants awards fellowships and residencies.

Writer's Market (Book)

Funds for Writers

The Grantsmanship Center Funding Sources


About the Author: Gary McLaren

Gary McLaren is the author of 'The Indie Author's Guide to Publishing Ebooks'. He manages several web sites for professional writers including Worldwide Freelance and Writers Unplugged.

Gary McLaren

Gary McLaren is the author of 'The Indie Author's Guide to Publishing Ebooks'. He manages several web sites for professional writers including Worldwide Freelance and Writers Unplugged.

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