Funding for writers during COVID-19


The impact of COVID-19 on writers, creative practitioners and the wider literature sector is unprecedented. Many writers, literature organisations and independent publishers have lost income overnight alongside creative opportunities being cancelled or postponed. However, there are a number of available avenues for writers and organisations to apply for funding, as funders seek to respond to this crisis.

We’ve collated as many of them as we could find here for you. If we’ve missed any, please do get in touch and we’ll add them to this list, which we’ll be updating throughout this crisis. 

Rolling deadlines

Arts Council England‘s Project Grants is an open access funding stream for arts, museums and library projects. The fund is for individual artists, community and cultural organisations. It supports a broad range of not-for-profit projects that create and sustain quality work, and help people to engage with arts and culture. An individual artist can apply for up to £15k.

Society of Authors, ALCS, Royal Literary Fund, TS Eliot Foundation, English PEN and Amazon UK have launched the Authors’ Emergency Fund. This is open to all professional writers who are residents in the UK or British subjects for whom author-related activity makes up a substantial amount of their income. Also open to writers across different genres including scriptwriters, poets, illustrators, translators and journalists. Grants are likely to be up to £2,000 and are designed to meet urgent need.

Royal Literary Fund is open for funding throughout the year for writers who are suffering financial hardship and have had several works published in the UK for a general readership, without publication being subsided by the writer or others. Self-published authors are ineligible for this funding.

The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund will offer grants to 18-30 year olds across the UK who are self-employed and / or running their own business. In conjunction with cash grants, the initiative – which has £5 million in total to offer – will include one-to-one support and guidance to anyone who needs it and who may be worried about their future.

Black Artists Grants, established by Creative Debuts gives £1500 monthly to black artist in the UK, with each artist receiving £500 each. This financial support is to help selected artists in whatever they want –  be that make new work, equipment, travels, travel, research, visit exhibitions or conferences, or to even just cover some life expenses. Recipients will be chosen monthly and every few months this selector will change.

Arts Council of Wales have announced a Resilience Fund which has £7m available for organisations and individuals who are the most urgent of risk. They have also relaxed requirements for those who have grant funding in place allowing them to respond flexibly to the new challenges they face.

Creative Scotland has launched three funding programmes: Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund for freelance creative professionals, Screen Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund for self-employed screen sector workers and the Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development for individuals and organisations to sustain their creative development in the coming months.

Arts Council of Northern Ireland have a Creative Support Fund which will offer £1m of support to creatives and individual artists in Northern Ireland. They are hopeful to open for this funding as soon as possible.

Specific deadlines:

Jerwood Arts have teamed up with Wolfson Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Linsbury Trust to announce a new funding programme. The Live Work Fund will offer financial and career support to music creators, performance makers and producers to enable them to adapt and thrive during these challenging times. Open to individuals and those with a collaborative practice based in the UK. Up to £20k will be provided to at least 33 participants.

Deadline: 16 November (5pm)

There are also other Government funds/support that is available to freelancers if none of the listed funds are suitable. Arts Council England have compiled a great list here:

For international writers, the Alliance of Independent Authors have created a comprehensive list of resources for writers, at the bottom of this webpage, which also lists assistance, advice and resources for independent authors:

Published 8 April 2020

Updated 9 November 2020