Grants for writers in need

Illustration © Antonio Rodriguez
Taking the crisis out of life's ups and downs

The Authors’ Contingency fund offers hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.

It helps writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others, whose author-related activities make up a substantial amount of their annual income. Grants range in value and are designed to meet immediate need.

In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 health crisis, we paid out over £1.3 million.

Click here to donate to the Authors’ Contingency Fund.

It is no exaggeration to say that this grant helped me, and my family, to survive. Writing is, was and always will be a precarious profession but these are remarkable times. I have been a full-time writer for 22 years and the risk of losing all I’ve worked for is a raw and tangible thing.

Rob Young, writer and Authors’ Contingency Fund grant recipient (2020)

What can a Contingency Fund grant be used for?

Our grants are there for a wide range of purposes. That could mean emergency relief to support you through the health crisis. Or it could mean help with an unexpected expense, so the inconvenience of a broken boiler, laptop or washing machine doesn’t become a crisis.

  • Make up lost income if you find yourself unable to work
  • Help cover a shortfall if a project falls through
  • Ease the impact on your writing career of illness or a domestic situation
  • Pay for a training course when you don’t have the funds
  • Help with one-off expenses, such as the cost of a new boiler or if your computer is on its last legs.

If you have any questions about the criteria or your specific needs, please email [email protected].

What the grants don’t cover

We are unable to offer grants for:

  • A specific writing project or to buy time to write (see the Authors’ Foundation)
  • Publication costs, or for authors who are in difficulty because they have contributed towards publication costs
  • Authors who are not yet working professionally and receiving income from author-related activities
  • Student tuition fees.

How to apply

Applications are open to all professional authors who are resident in the UK or British citizens – including all types of writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others – whose author-related activities make up a substantial amount of their annual income.

You do not have to be a member of the Society of Authors to apply.

To apply for a hardship grant from the Authors’ Contingency Fund, download the application form below and return it to [email protected].

We aim to assess applications within two weeks of receipt.

If you would like to discuss your needs in confidence or need help with an application, please get in touch for an informal chat on 020 3880 2230 or email [email protected].

About the process

Applications are processed in confidence by a panel of independent assessors – professional authors with first-hand experience of the challenges faced by creative practitioners, and administered by Society of Authors staff.

We receive more applications than we can support.

If you are in need of urgent support with your mental health, visit our help pages or call Samaritans free on 116 123.

Generously supported by the Royal Literary Fund –

About the Authors’ Contingency Fund

The Fund has provided small hardship grants to authors since 1963 with donations from authors and their supporters.

COVID-19 response

The incomes of self-employed workers from all sectors were hit from the start of the COVID-19 health crisis. Many writers, illustrators, journalists, translators, scriptwriters, and other creative practitioners were among them, with book tours cancelled, along with lectures, talks, performances and school visits.

Since March 2020, we have brought a wide range of organisations together to contribute over £1.3 million in combined resources to the Fund. Their contributions, along with many hundreds of personal donations from authors and their supporters, have enabled us to keep supporting authors impacted financially by the health crisis.

Contributors have included the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS)Creative ScotlandThe Literary Consultancy, the Royal Literary Fund (RLF), the T S Eliot Foundation in partnership with English PEN, and Amazon UK, and many private donors.

Click here to donate, fundraise or give while you shop.

Charity numbers 277018 / 327482 / 259845 / 212406