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.

Ruth Harrison and Eva Lewin from Spread the Word will be running a free Zoom workshop for London based writers on Wednesday 12 August, 6:30-8;30pm. They will talk you through the changes to the fund and the different questions in the Project Grants form to help you think about what you need to have in place for Projects Grants funding. Once you have attended the workshop, you can send your draft application to Spread the Word for 30 minutes phone feedback. Limited spaces. Please go here to book your space, by midnight, Sunday 2 August.

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:

Phakama are looking for creative ways for artists to move their practice to digital formats and to reach out to participants who are feeling isolated. They are offering seed funding of £500-£1000.
Deadline: 30 July 2020

Royal Society of Literature have opened for their 2020 Giles St Aubyn Awards for first-commissioned works of non-fiction. This year, there are three awards available: £10,000, £5,000 and £2,500. The aim of the awards is to provide financial support for talented new writers to complete their first non-fiction book.
Deadline: 31 July (5pm)

Trinity and Cambridge Junction have come together to offer a £3000 commission to a D/deaf or disabled artist to create work for an online audience. As well as the fee, they will also provide the selected applicant with producing support, marketing and digital content support and a platform for sharing their work.
Deadline: 14 August

Common Call is a grand fund powered by Do it Now Now. Their COVID Fund is specifically aimed at supporting Black-led social enterprises and charities so that they are able to survive and even thrive in the COVID period. Grants are open to UK based organisations that identify as Black or Mixed with Black. They’re offering between £1k-£3k to applicants and are specifically looking for organisations that are creating impact in deprived communities. They’re running a session about the fund on the 15 August
Deadline: 31 August (7pm)

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 31 July 2020