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

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.

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:

New Creatives – Screen South are open for applications for Call 4: Film and Audio. Applicants must be 16-30, based in the South East, and can be working across various art forms. There are commissions available from the BBC to create new projects using film and audio.
Deadline: 6 July (5pm)

Unlimited’s Grants for disabled artists will offer micro-grants of up to £1000 to artists in Unlimited’s Alumni. They have £50,000 in total to offer to artists, and a very simple application process. All decisions will be made by a small panel, where 50% minimum will be disabled people. They are also looking into mid and longer-term plans to support disabled artists.
Deadline: 6 July

DaDaFestUnlimited and the Granada Foundation are inviting D/deaf and/or disabled artists to apply for one of their 10 micro commissions of up to £1000 or one of four festival commissions of up to £2500. The commission will be presented as part of DaDaFest’s 2020-2021 season of activities. Applications open from 8 July.
Deadline: 20 July (5pm)

Search for Change have launched Common Ground – a programme of four £10,000 commissions for artists, makers or creators, and a professional development programme focused on cultural climate leadership. On Thursday 25 June (3pm) and Tuesday 7 July (11am) they’ll be running online briefings on the programme for aspiring applicants.
Deadline: 30 July (10am)

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)

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 29 June 2020