(New York, NY) — PEN America today announced the reopening of its U.S. Writers Aid Initiative, a direct grant program for writers facing acute financial need. Part of the broader PEN America Writers Emergency Fund, the initiative extends one-time emergency grants to U.S.-based fiction and non-fiction authors, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, translators, and journalists.

“Amid the pandemic, writers struggled, losing teaching jobs, bookstore gigs, adjunct roles, and the other financial lifelines that help many writers stay afloat,” said Dru Menaker, COO of PEN America. “While the U.S. Writers Aid Initiative isn’t a panacea, it can provide crucial economic assistance that some writers, even with an economic recovery, still require. PEN America is a community of writers and their allies, and we believe in solidarity with those in need.”

Writers can learn more at PEN.org. Applicants will be asked to outline their professional history and indicate how a one-time grant will help them to cope with a financial crisis. During the first year of the pandemic, PEN America disbursed some $655,000 in funds to some 700 individuals, with grants ranging from $500 to $1,000. This cycle, PEN America will increase the amount of the grants available, up to $3,500 per applicant depending on need. Earlier this spring, the NYC Literary Action Coalition—of which PEN America is a convening member—found that some 27 percent of writers based in New York City reported losing more than $10,000 in income over the past year, and one-third had to cancel at least 10 income-generating opportunities.

PEN America’s U.S. Writers Aid Initiative, part of the PEN America Writers Emergency Fund, is made possible by generous support from the Lannan Foundation, The Haven Foundation, MacKenzie Scott, PEN America Members, and other donors. Questions may be addressed to [email protected]