There are hundreds of government and organization grants, awards, and scholarship competitions for writers.
It doesn't matter what you write -- novels, nonfiction, poetry, screenplays or plays there likely is a government grant program or competition for you.
The grant and scholarship programs that focus on writing offer:
Here are some examples of grant awards from programs that are currently open to writers and poets:
The list above only scratches the surface of the types of free governmnet grants that are available for writers. As you can see, the grants can be very specific as to who can apply. Some grants are open Internationally, while others are specific to country and even state or province. Some government or corporate grant competitions are open to any writing genre while others focus on writing form such as a full length book or playwriting.
There are two basic challenges in getting a government grant or scholarship. The first is, finding the programs you are eligible for and the second is positioning yourself to get the grant, fellowship or award. Let's look at both of these in turn.
Finding the Programs You Qualify For
Books: There are several books I recommend. You MUST get the current edition of the book otherwise you will frustrate yourself to no end by applying to expired programs. If you consult an edition that is several years old, you'll also miss out on new programs. The new programs are important to you simply because fewer people know about them, and therefore, there are fewer writers competing with you.
This is a very good resource for your library and is highly recommended.
The Writers Digest, Writer's Market is an indispensable guide for writers who want to get published. It also has a decent lists of competitions and awards. Be sure to check out our contest section ... because many grants are awarded to winners of the grant competitions!
The Internet: Doing grant research on the Internet can be a big game of hit or miss which can be very frustrating. If you are willing to search through thousands of listings ... simply enter the keywords ... grants, writers grants, scholarships, writers scholarships. You can narrow your search down by also specifying your country, for example "writers grants, canada"
In a Google search for writers grants ... Google came up with 451,000 listings. I narrowed things down by adding Canada and got 105,000. The same search for the US turned up 362,000 listings. With numbers like that to dig through, you can see why I highly recommend using one of the online services.
Yes ... you have to pay for these services. However, I think it is well worth it because they did all the work of going through the 451,000 listings, finding the actual grants, awards and fellowships and putting it in a format that is useful to you.
Some of the these services provide you with an ebook that is indexed. Depending on what format you get it in (pdf, Word) you could also search the ebook using keywords.
Personally I like the online membership services that allow you a month, 6 months or a year of access. With these services you can perform unlimited and detailed searches for the programs that are applicable to you.
I haven't found anything that is specific to writers, but who knows, you may also qualify for a small-business grant or an "arts" program ... so a universal database will likely work in your favor.
Here are several government grant directories along with a short description as to what you can expect.
Government Grants Directory
Getting the Money
Once you've located the program or competition you want to apply for, you either have to produce a full work (i.e. poem or screenplay) or you have to develop an application.
Start by reading ALL the fine print. What is required, when is it required and, what format is it required in. Are there fees involved or is the application free?
Ignoring or not complying with the fine print can disqualify you from the program, even if you have submitted a fee.
You may have to submit a short form application, a long form application or a full blown proposal. The key is to follow the rules and instructions meticulously. You don't want your application thrown out because you forgot to include something simple like a bio, or a resume ... or because you've included your name in the "page header" of your submission when the rules specifically have stated otherwise.
Some of the online services and books include detailed information on how to develop a grant proposal. Here is more information about writing grant proposals.
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