The Writers’ Emergency Fund is for acute emergencies only and exists to help writers in a difficult period in their lives. Most grants are given to those who have short-term medical or housing situations that they are financially unable to resolve independently. The Writers’ Fund cannot attempt to solve the complicated issues of chronic poverty or long-term medical expenses.

Basic eligibility criteria:

  • Candidates must be permanent U.S. residents and/or citizens.
  • The Writers’ Emergency Fund does not exist for research purposes, to enable the completion of writing projects, or to fund publications or organizations.
  • The Writers’ Emergency Fund is for writers whose primary professional occupation is writing.
  • Self-published authors or those published by vanity presses are not eligible.
  • Writers do not have to be Members of PEN America to apply or to receive a grant.

The Writers’ Fund uses the following guidelines when evaluating applicants’ professional credentials (combinations of these criteria are acceptable):

  • at least one book by a reputable publishing house. Authors published by self-publishing presses (Create Space, Xlibris, Author House, etc) are not eligible.
  • ten or more essays, short stories, or poems in literary anthologies or literary journals in the last two years
  • a full-length play, performed in a theater of over 250 seats by a professional theater company 
  • employment as a full-time professional journalist, columnist, or critic by a reputable print periodical OR 12 or more literary reviews in a nationally recognized print periodical in the last two years
  • editors and agents who have been professional for the last five years

Important: For forthcoming books, essays, short stories, poems, or articles, applicants must provide contact information for each publishing house or periodical; those published by vanity presses or self-publishing houses are not eligible for the Writers’ Fund.