Last updated: 27 April 2020
Like all organisations, our response to the COVID-19 outbreak is evolving continually as we monitor advice from the Government and Public Health England.
While our priority is the health and safety of SoA staff, members and partners, we are working to minimise the impact on our core services, including:
- Membership services
- Grant giving and awards
- Estates management
- Community engagement
This page is designed to keep you updated on what any changes might mean for you. We will revise this information regularly to explain how we are adapting our working practices. See below to read about how the SoA staff team is adapting, and about our programme of free online events to guide you through the lockdown.
We realise that you may face financial difficulties as a result of event cancellations, illness and other issues caused directly or indirectly by the health crisis. We’ve compiled a list of funding, professional and other resources that we hope will be useful to you.
Regardless of how we all have to adapt in the weeks and months ahead, you will still be able to stay in touch with us via the usual methods:
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone 020 7373 6642
- Website societyofauthors.org
- And of course Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
SoA staff team
Our HQ in Bedford Row is now closed, with staff working from home.
We are working to minimise the impact on the service we provide to you. Our technical setup means that we can continue to provide a full advice and membership service, via email and phone, regardless of where individual members of staff are based. We are conducting meetings online or by phone, not face to face.
Some of our work areas will continue with minimal change, while others (such as our events programme – see below) are being radically redesigned to suit the new landscape.
While we are working to create a sense of ‘business as usual’ for you, these aren’t usual times, so do bear with us if this means some things take a little longer for us to deliver, or need to be delivered to you in a different way.
SoA @ Home Festival - April to July 2020
36 free online events for authors…
We are running a 12 week festival of free online events, focusing on professional development, debate, wellbeing, and interviews with Philip Pullman, Joanne Harris, Neil Gaiman and others – ambitious mix of online sessions to guide you through the lockdown.
We will open bookings and release tickets a fortnight at a time – click here to browse the current programme
With the rapidly changing nature of the coronovirus outbreak, information and advice from Government is constantly being updated.
You can find the current Government advice at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
If you have questions about cancellations or contractual difficulties caused by the health crisis, get in touch with our advice team.
For sound financial advice on what the Government’s support for freelance workers means for you, call the HW Fisher Tax Helpline (you’ll need to sign in to your SoA member account for details).
And there is clear, regularly updated information on the Citizens Advice website.
You can find more specific information via the links below.
- Authors’ Emergency Fund
Grants for writers in need from the SoA, ALCS, RLF, English PEN in Partnership with the T S Eliot Foundation, and Amazon UK.
- Creative Scotland have announced new funding programmes aimed at supporting individuals’ immediate needs due to lost income/work, and sustaining their creative practice through the Covid-19 outbreak.
- Bridging Bursary – a fund for those individual artists and freelancers who have lost income from their creative work and/or practice due to COVID-19. You can apply for between £500-2,500 to support your immediate needs.
- Open Fund – Sustaining Creative Development – Freelance and self-employed artists and creative practitioners in Scotland can apply for projects supporting the development of their practice. You can apply for between £1,000-50,000 though Creative Scotland expect most awards to be up to £15,000.
- Find full details of both schemes here
- Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund
The Film and TV Charity is partnering with BFI to develop a short term system of grants for workers and freelancers who have been directly affected by the closure of productions across the UK.
- Arts Council of Wales
Urgent response fund for creative freelancers in immediate financial difficulty in due to COVID-19. Round two closes on 6 May.
- Royal Literary Fund
Grants and pensions for writers in financial difficulty.
- Fleabag Support Fund
Providing grants to freelancers working in the theatre industry who are in urgent financial need and unable to work as a direct result of coronavirus pandemic, set up by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
- Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund
A £1.5 million fund offering grants of £1,500-£2,000 to freelance creative practitioners based in England and Northern Ireland who work in the visual arts and are experiencing severe financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Audio & Radio Emergency Fund
Grants of up to £1,000 from The Radio Academy to help those in audio and radio sector facing hardship due to pandemic
- SoA guidance on cancellations
We have published a guide for authors on what to do if contracts or engagements are cancelled – download (PDF)
- Tax advice for authors
Advice in brief from HW Fisher – tax support, your obligations and support for small businesses
- Guidance for freelancers
Resources from The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE)
- Guidance for employers and businesses
Government resources for employees, employers and businesses
- What happens if my speaking engagement is cancelled?
Advice on Coronavirus and contracts from the legal team at Harbottle & Lewis
- Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak
Some topical self-help resources from Pros-Consulte Group
- If you are in urgent need of mental support or help
Please visit our help pages for immediate support options available, including the Samaritans 24-hour helpline
- Every Mind Matters
Expert advice and practical tips on looking after your mental health and wellbeing from the NHS