Fats was starting to think that if you flipped every bit of received wisdom on its head you would have the truth. He wanted to journey through dark labyrinths and wrestle with the strangeness that lurked within; he wanted to crack open piety and expose hypocrisy; he wanted to break taboos and squeeze wisdom from their bloody hearts; he wanted to achieve a state of amoral grace, and be baptised backwards into ignorance and simplicity.” J.K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy

ARTISTS AT RISK CONNECTION (ARC) “collates resources—including emergency funding, housing opportunities, residencies, fellowships and grants, and legal, immigration, and resettlement services—in an interactive online catalogue to help threatened artists quickly identify programs for which they’re eligible. This exhaustive database is the first of its kind for artists-at-risk, who have typically had to piece together assistance through a combination of personal contacts, referrals, and web searches, often under dire circumstances.” Details  on ARC HERE.

Susanne Nossel (c PEN America)

“Artists face backlash when they push up against intellectual, social, and ideological boundaries,” said Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of PEN America. “While global campaigns and U.N. resolutions have been mounted to protect journalists and human rights defenders, threats to artists have gotten limited international attention. The Artist at Risk Connection brings together an extraordinary network of global organizations committed to augmenting the assistance available to artists who risk their freedom and their lives in the name of creative expression.”

Clearly some writer-readers are going through tough times.  If you need help, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to admit it and ask for it. It’s guaranteed that the day will come when you can play it forward.

I’ve listed just a few resources here to get you thinking and give you a place to begin. Run your searches by trade or professional association, art or craft, gender, language, national origin, and by your country or region.

Grants take time to get and there’s no guarantee that your application will be awarded.  If you are in immediate need of food, housing, healthcare or mental health counseling, reach out to the appropriate local government and nongovernmental agencies, social workers and social services, community hospitals and/or religious organizations. HERE is Open Counseling, International Listing of Suicide Hotlines. I can’t speak to hospice care outside the U.S., but in the States there are sources that don’t charge and others that will accept what your insurance carrier pays and not charge you further if you can’t afford it. You’ll have to do some digging.

Barbara Deming MEMORIAL FUND, INC. offers small grants to qualified feminist women in the arts and the next one will open for applications for Visual Art, Fiction and Mixed media from January 1-31, 2020. Details HERE.

THE HAVEN FOUNDATION offers direct financial assistance to qualified individuals – “a qualified person is dealing with a health crisis due to a recent chronic illness or chronic condition due to a recent injury or illness and where there is a question about returning to work. The Foundation’s Grant Committee will determine whether a grant offer will be made. Grants are for one year and may be renewed for up to four more years, provided that the recipient submits a supplemental application annually, and that such supplemental application is approved by the Grant Committee. Renewal grants may not be for the same amount as the original grant. The amount of the renewal is to be determined by the Grant Committee.”  Details HERE.

The PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund is an emergency fund for professional—published or produced—writers in acute financial crisis. Depending on the situation and need, the Fund gives average grants of $2,000. It is the Fund’s preference not to give repeated 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 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 receive a grant. Applications are considered at meetings of the Fund’s committee, which take place every few months.

In recent years, the PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund and Fund for Writers and Editors with HIV/AIDS 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 [as above], PEN America Members, and other supporters. If you would like to support the PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund, click here to make a donation.


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