Step Up to support authors facing financial hardship

10 August 2020

The Society of Authors (SoA) has launched Step Up; a call for donations to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to ensure it can continue to offer hardship grants to authors, as emergency funding runs low and the health crisis continues.

In March, ALCS joined the SoA, the Royal Literary Fund, Arts Council England, Amazon UK, the T S Eliot Foundation in partnership with English PEN, and the Literary Consultancy in an emergency, industry-wide, coordinated response to the economic impact that faced authors as a result of the pandemic.

After generating a combined £1.1 million donation for the Authors’ Contingency Fund, since March almost £1 million has been shared in grants of between £1,500 and £2,000. However, according to research conducted by the SoA, by May, 57% of authors had already seen a substantial drop in income as a result of Covid-19. As we wait to see if the UK is about to experience a second wave of infections, these losses look set to continue.

Announcing ‘Step Up’

To support these creators, the SoA is introducing the ‘Step Up’ initiative and is asking authors, supporters and others across the creative industries to Step Up as a community with pledges to make sure the Authors’ Contingency Fund can continue to provide vital support to authors in hardship throughout the health crisis and beyond.

These pledges include making purchases via fundraising links, organising sponsored activities and charity auctions, and making cash donations or remembering the Fund in a will.

Pledges can be made online at societyofauthors.org/fund, by tagging the SoA on social media with #StepUpForAuthors or by emailing publicaffairs@societyofauthors.org.

SoA chief executive Nicola Solomon said: “Step Up is about the collective power of the small donation and the sustainable difference it can make. This year, large donations from partners enabled us to help a huge number of authors facing financial hardship. They were there to help us in the moment, but they won’t sustain the Contingency Fund into the future. If we can unite authors and their supporters to each contribute a little if and when they can – by clicking the fundraising links on our website when they shop online at Blackwell’s, Hive, Waterstones, Argos, M&S and other retailers, by organising a sponsored activity or charity auction, by making a small direct donation if they can afford to, or remembering the Fund when they make their will – then a lot of small donations will add up to make a massive difference for authors in financial need. Everyone can make a difference.”