FUNDING KNOWHOW Authors' Emergency Fund

In these uncertain times, our Funding KnowHow series continues with KnowHow editor Eleanor Pender taking a look at The Authors' Emergency Fund, announced on 20 March.

The last two weeks have taken many of us by surprise. Our current circumstances have had a decided impact on author events, book launch tours and commissions across the creative industries, impacting writers and self-employed workers of all kinds. Book tours have been cancelled, along with lectures, talks, performances and school visits.

On 20 March, the Society of Authors, The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, the Royal Literary Fund, English PEN with the T S Eliot Foundation, and Amazon UK joined forces to help support authors affected financially by the coronavirus.

Who can apply?

Applications are open to all professional authors who are resident in the UK or British subjects – including all types of writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others – for whom author-related activities make up a substantial amount of their annual income.

Grants are likely to be up to £2,000 and designed to meet urgent need with the possibility of review as the situation continues.

The Authors' Emergency Fund is unable to offer grants for:
  • Publication costs/those who are in difficulty because they have contributed towards publication costs
  • Student tuition fees
  • A specific writing project (see the Authors’ Foundation)

How to apply

You need to complete an application form - download this from the Society of Authors website - and return it via email to with a covering letter. The covering letter needs to briefly lay out the circumstances surrounding your application. It can also be as long or as short as you feel is necessary. The main purpose is to give the assessors a sense of your current situation and needs.

You can return your form by post, if need be. You need to email to let them know in advance. According to the Society of Authors, they are working to notify applicants about the outcome of their application within around three weeks. 

Do note, that membership of the Society of Authors is not a requirement.

Do feel free to contact a member of staff at the Society of Authors in confidence for an informal chat. You can call on 020 7373 6642.

More information 

You can find more information on all the partners' websites. The fund is being administered and accessed by the Society of Authors. Any questions regarding the application process and how this relates to your own personal circumstances should be sent to them.

Main image courtesy of the Society of Authors

Based in Bristol, Eleanor lectures in digital communications and chairs YA and middle-grade events at festivals including Bath Children's Literature Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, and YALC. She is currently working on a young adult fantasy novel. Find her on Twitter at @twice_ell.


Do you have any suggestions for KnowHow? If there's something you'd like to know how to do or know more about, tell us. Email KnowHow editor, Eleanor at

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