Writing magazines, journals, unions and federal and state educational and creative councils list currently open grants, contests and fellowships that writers can apply for. Criteria and requirements to apply for the grants, fellowships and contests are also listed with these periodicals and organizations. For example, Poets & Writers magazine’s April 2010 issue list over 40 grants and contests that writers of fiction and nonfiction can apply for.
Money from Writing Contests
Unlike 10 to 20 years ago, many organizations that sponsor writing contests require entrants to pay a fee to enter their contests. Typical writing contests entry fees range from $10 to $25 each. A good way to offset reading fees is for writers to research contests they are genuinely interested in submitting work to and possibly being published in. Writers can also pay entry fees to contests that pay at least $1,000 in prize money.
Journals and other creative organizations like the Book Lovers Haven often print winning entries in their contests thereby giving winners additional exposure. Colleges and universities sponsor several annual writing contests. For example, the University of Utah Press offers $1,000 to the winner of their Agha Shahid Ali poetry contest. Indiana Review also offers $1,000 in prize winnings to the top writer in their poetry contest.
Money for Writers from Grants
Washington State awards up to $1,500 in grant money to writers through their Artist Trust program. The National Endowment for the Arts awards up to $25,000 to poetry and prose translators who are working to translate particular works into English.
Private and publicly owned foundations are good sources to check for open and upcoming grants, contests and fellowships that writers can apply for. Generally, created works have to be original and not currently under contract. Some organizations specify that the work has to speak to a particular life event or global challenge or triumph.
Fellowships and Writer Funds
Fellowships typically cover a writer’s living expenses for a stated period of time. Writers can live in an apartment or house that is nestled in nature so that they can create new books, poems, plays or short stories in a quiet environment. The American-Scandinavian Foundation awards up to $23,000 in fellowships to writers. Works must center around the study and research of new material. Translators are eligible to apply for the fellowship that requires recipient’s to reside in Scandinavia while they work on new material.
The National Writers Union as well as state writers unions, networks and organizations often have databases that writers can access to learn more about available grants, fellowships and contests. Professional writers who network with other writers and book lovers at conferences, seminars, fairs and festivals put themselves in places where they can learn about opportunities to receive money to help fund their creative pursuits.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are available to writers each year. Often these funds are not advertised in broad, general forums. Hence — the benefit of networking with other professional artists. Local, state, national and international magazines, journals and writing membership databases list open grants, contests and fellowships that writers can apply to. Creative unions are other good sources to contact for information about available funds for writers.