Grants for writers in need

Every December, we highlight a good cause that has special resonance for writers. In light of the cost of living crisis, this year we have chosen the Society of Authors’ Contingency Fund for authors in financial need.

Since 1963, the Contingency Fund has provided small hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty. It is available to writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others, whose author-related activities make up a substantial amount of their annual income.

Grants can be used for:

  • Making up lost income if you find yourself unable to work
  • Helping to cover a shortfall if a project falls through
  • Easing the impact on your writing career of illness or other domestic situation
  • Help with one-off expenses, such as the cost of a new boiler or if your computer is on its last legs.

Our commissioned research has demonstrated the dire financial situation facing writers, as average earnings continue to fall year-on-year and the median yearly income now stands at just £7,000. The situation has been made more urgent by the recent cost-of-living crisis that is affecting all of us.

We recognise that there are a diverse range of financial situations that our members find themselves in. If you are in urgent need of support, please submit an application by downloading the application form and emailing it to However, if you are in the position to do so, please consider donating to the fund to help your fellow writers avoid crisis and continue to create.

In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 health crisis, support from ALCS and other partners enabled the fund to distribute over £1.3 million to over 900 authors. Since then, the Contingency Fund has distributed around £400,000 to writers each year.

However, funding for the scheme will reduce to £80,000 in 2024, which is only around 20% of the amount needed to meet demand. Since 2020, the fund has received hundreds of donations from individual authors, and any amount you are able to give, however small, could prove life-changing for a fellow writer.

Rob Young, writer and Contingency Fund grant recipient (2020) said: “It is no exaggeration to say that this grant helped me, and my family, to survive. Writing is, was, and always will be a precarious profession but these are remarkable times. I have been a full-time writer for 22 years and the risk of losing all I’ve worked for is a raw and tangible thing.”

An anonymous grant recipient (2023) said: “This money will give me the time, space and security to be able to recover without fear or pressure of paying the bills for a few months. It is nothing short of lifechanging.”

Download the application form

Donate to the fund

Consider bequeathing to the fund in your will