Writers’ Emergency Fund

The PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund is a small grants program for professional—published or produced—writers in acute or unexpected financial crisis. Depending on the situation and level of need, grants are in the range of $2,000. Apart from exceptional circumstances, the Fund does not give repeat grants within a three-year period. 

The Fund for Writers and Editors with HIV/AIDS, administered under the umbrella of the PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund, gives grants of up to $2,000 to professional writers and editors who face serious financial difficulties because of HIV or AIDS-related illness.

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 U.S.–based writers or journalists 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 receive a grant. Applications are considered at meetings of the Fund’s committee, which take place every 3-4 months.

In recent years, the PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund has distributed more funds than ever to U.S.-based writers who are facing acute financial crises, allocating an average of $60,000 to around 40 successful applicants each year. These grants are made possible by the generous support from the Lannan FoundationThe Haven Foundation, PEN America Members, and other donors. If you would like to support the PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund, click here to make a donation.

Next deadline: December 1, 2019.

How to Apply

1. Please be sure to review the fund’s full list of eligibility guidelines before applying.

2. If you meet the eligibility requirements, click here to download an application.

3. Submit your application via email, fax, or mail. The last page of the application provides instructions for how to submit the application to the Writers’ Emergency Fund.

For further information, please email PEN’s America Writers’ Emergency Fund Administrator at [email protected] 

Additional Resources for Writers

In an effort to provide further assistance to writers in need, PEN has compiled the following lists of resources. All organizations should be contacted directly as they are not affiliated with PEN.