Funding for Readings & Workshops




Organizations that sponsor readings and workshops in New York State or California, or Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, Seattle, Tucson, or Washington, D.C., may apply for grants to be used for writers' fees.

To support as many literary events as possible, we generally grant no more than $1,500 to organizations in New York State and California, and $500 to organizations in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, Seattle, Tucson, and Washington, D.C., during the course of our fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). Decisions on maximum grant amounts are based on the availability of funds and are made at the discretion of Poets & Writers.

Grants for readings or spoken word performances range from $50 to $350. Grants for workshops range from $100 to $200* per session. We encourage organizations to match our payments to writers, but this requirement may be waived if there are extenuating circumstances.

We make grants for writers' fee payments only. Grant checks are payable to the writer and sent to the sponsor, which is responsible for delivering them to the author. We do not fund administrative costs, publicity, transportation, or other expenses related to producing events. We do not fund in-school events, children's events, staged dramatic readings, or storytelling events featuring non-original or adapted works.

* In California, we generally grant no more than $500 total for a workshop series.

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Organizations that may apply for grants include: colleges, cultural centers, museums, libraries, correctional facilities, hospitals, small presses, community centers, senior centers, places of worship, bookstores, cafés, galleries, and theaters.

Nonprofit status is not required. If your organization has not previously received support from the R/W program, include a brief letter that describes your organization, the program for which you’re seeking funding, and publicity plans for the event. Please enclose publicity samples from past events. 

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Published poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, and performance poets are eligible to receive fee payments from P&W. If the writer is not listed in P&W's Directory of Poets & Writers, the organization must submit a bio for the writer that includes verifiable publication or performance credits for the writer's original works.

The project director and employees of the organization sponsoring the event are not eligible for funding.

Writers are paid as freelance consultants and as such are not employees of Poets & Writers.

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Due to the high volume of applications we receive, priority will be given to organizations that:

  • serve a culturally diverse audience
  • feature culturally diverse writers
  • feature writers who have not previously presented at that venue
  • present programs in rural or other underserved areas
  • have not previously received P&W support (If an organization has received P&W funding in the past, we consider whether it has followed the grant guidelines and returned reports in a timely manner.)
  • are able to match P&W's payment to the writer (not including in-kind contributions such as meals, lodging, and travel)
  • have a publicity plan and/or strong publicity samples from past events

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To request funds, complete a separate application for each writer to be presented. Fill out one application for an event that consists of multiple sessions (such as a poetry festival during which a writer reads several times or a multi-week workshop). Events must be open to the public, with the exception of events taking place in institutions such as prisons and nursing homes. All requests are considered on an event-by-event basis.

We consider applications from organizations only. However, we encourage writers to initiate events and let organizations know they can apply on their behalf.

Submit completed applications only. We cannot consider incomplete applications.

Be sure to include the writer's social security number and contact information, which we need in order to process checks.

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You must submit your application at least eight weeks before the proposed event. You are encouraged to apply more than eight weeks in advance, if possible, as we approve grants on a rolling basis. Applications received fewer than eight weeks before the event date will be declined.

You will be notified regarding the status of your application within four weeks of receipt. (Notification time may vary depending on the volume of applications received. If you have any questions about the event, filling out the application, or the status of your grant, please feel free to contact the appropriate office.)

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