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Authors’ Emergency Fund for Coronavirus Hardship

The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), the Royal Literary Fund, English PEN with the T S Eliot Foundation, and Amazon UK have joined forces with the Society of Authors to support authors affected financially by Coronavirus. Collectively, they have pooled a £330,000 emergency fund.

As the COVID-19 health crisis deepens across the UK, the incomes of self-employed workers from all sectors have been hit hard. Many writers, illustrators, journalists, translators, scriptwriters and other authors are among them. Book tours have been cancelled, along with lectures, talks, performances and school visits. Others face indefinite postponements of contracts as broadcasters, colleges and other commissioning organisations close their offices.

In an ordinary year the Society of Authors (SoA) distributes around £95,000 to authors in need through its contingency fund charities. These grants of up to £1,500 are invaluable to authors but during the current health crisis, demand is already rising to a level that the Fund cannot meet.

The SoA has been approached by partner organisations who recognised an urgent need for an industry-wide coordinated response. The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) – sponsor of the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction, Royal Literary Fund (RLF), the TS Eliot Foundation in partnership with English PEN, and Amazon UK, have very generously contributed a combined £235,000 to the Authors’ Contingency Fund for the support of authors through the crisis. These donations have more than tripled the funds the SoA had expected to distribute this year, with the fund to be called the Authors’ Emergency Fund.

The SoA is talking to other partner organisations and funding bodies about the possibility of increasing this funding pot, to make it a truly sector-wide national initiative. The initiative has received widespread support across the sector with the Royal Society for Literature, the Association of Illustrators and the National Association of Writers in Education lauding the appeal. And we, of course, at the CWA lend our voices and our thanks for such a generous gesture.

Who can apply?

While money from some funders might have geographical or professional restrictions, the SoA aims to offer as broad a level of support as possible.

Applications are open to all professional authors who are resident in the UK or British subjects – including all types of writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others – for whom author-related activities make up a substantial amount of their annual income. This applies to anyone eligible for Full Membership of the SoA although membership of the SoA is not a requirement.

Grants are likely to be up to £2,000 and designed to meet urgent need with the possibility of review as the situation continues.

How to apply

The Authors’ Contingency Fund is open to applications now.

For full details on how to apply, eligibility and to download an application form visit societyofauthors.org/Grants/contingency-funds.

If you would like to donate contact Nicola Solomon at the Society of Authors or send a payment direct via BACS:

Account Name: Authors’ Contingency Fund
Sort Code: 40-07-13
Account Number: 01473727

Charity number: 212406

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