Yes, there are available grants and fellowship programs for black writers in the United States of America. The truth is that there are loads of initiatives that are geared toward supporting black writers but funding has become a major setback for such initiatives.
Interestingly, there are some organizations that have dedicated funds to support black writers who are geared towards taking their professions to a global level, and perhaps also help in solving some of the major challenges confronting black communities in the United States of America or all across the world.
Although most of the grants issuing organizations are open to only black writers, it is important to note that some of them may be open to all writers, but they usually give preference to black writers who are talented. Having said that, here are some of the available grants for black writers in the United States of America you should consider.
Available Grant Programs for Black Writers
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Speculative Literature Foundation Diverse Writers Grant
One of the grant opportunities that are available to black writers in the United States is the Speculative Literature Foundation Diverse Writers Grant.
The Speculative Literature Foundation Diverse Writers Grant makes available $500 in form of grants or financial aid to support black writers and also other minority writers who are talented and need support to continue on a writing project even if they are not making money yet.
One good thing about this grant is that it is designed for black writers who may be struggling to access grant opportunities.
- All those applying for this grant must belong to a minority group (black community preferably)
- Applicants must be working or writing in the speculative literature genre
How to Apply
To apply, you are required to fill out the application form on their website and also upload all the required documents as stated on their website. (https://speculativeliterature.org/grants/slf-diverse-writers-and-diverse-worlds-grants) Please note that you will be required to submit a cover letter and a sample of your writing project.
Earnest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence
Another grant opportunity that is available to black writers in the United States of America is the Earnest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.
African Americans who are in the literary arts industry are encouraged to apply for the Earnest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. This grant is designed to help writers in minority groups accomplish professional development and also help them with all the creative writing skills that will place them at the forefront of their industry.
The work that is submitted must be published by a Black author (an African-American author).
How to Apply
The application process is simple and straightforward. Applicants are required to first print the registration form from their website (https://ernestjgainesaward.org/literary-award-criteria-registration), then mail 8 copies of the filled application forms to the Earnest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.
Sustainable Arts Foundation
The Sustainable Arts Foundation is yet another grant opportunity that black writers in the United States can take advantage of. The Sustainable Arts Foundation gives out a whopping $5,000 in grants to individual writers or artists who are mothers or fathers (those who have children).
Twenty (20) winners are shortlisted and announced once a year. Although this grant is open to all writers, it is important to note that fifty percent (50%) of all applicants who are awarded the grants are black writers. Please note that this grant is given to writers who are in the niches of young adult fiction, illustrated children’s books, fiction, creative nonfiction, graphic novels, and poetry.
All eligible applicants must have at least a minimum of one child and the child must be under 18 years old. Please note that in some cases, a writer with children who are older than 18 years may be eligible if they have special needs or if they have one form of disability or the other.
How to Apply
To apply, you are required to fill out the application form on their website and also upload all the required documents as stated on their website (https://apply.sustainableartsfoundation.org/)
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Emerging Voices Grant
If you are looking for grants and you are a black writer and your niche is in children’s literature, then you should consider applying for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Emerging Voices Grant. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) awards grants to upcoming writers who are trying to carve a niche for themselves in children’s literature.
- Applicants must belong to minority ethnic groups in the United States
- Applicants must be writers or writer-illustrators who are above 18 years of age and are in the children’s book genre
- Applicants are required to submit their manuscripts.
How to Apply
The application process is simple and straightforward. Applicants are required to create an account and then apply online at https://www.scbwi.org/awards/grants/on-the-verge-emerging-voices-grant Applicants are required to submit an autobiographical statement of 250 words or less describing how their writing will impact children in underprivileged communities.
Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction Grant
Another grant opportunity that a black writer who is in the nonfiction writing genre can apply for is the Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction Grant.
As a nonfiction writer, you can receive a whopping sum of $40,000 in grant money from the Whiting Foundation for creative nonfiction works. The main objective of this grant is to encourage writers to create new, imaginative nonfiction works that require deep research and add value to American culture.
To be eligible for this grant, you must be strictly a non-fiction writer.
How to Apply
The application process is simple and straightforward. All applicants are required to submit the following: the initial publication proposal and which must be nothing less than a 25,000-word count of the original manuscript draft, a clear statement of how you intend to make use of the grant, your current CV, a dated and signed a publishing contract, a list of any other writing grants, financial assistance, artist fellowships, and any other funds the applicant have received in time past.
Writers Emergency Assistance Fund
The Writers Emergency Assistance Fund is yet another grant opportunity that a black writer can access. The American Society of Journalists and Authors establish the Writers Emergency Assistance Fund to help freelance writers who are experiencing unprecedented financial hardship as a result of illness or natural disaster. Since the Writers Emergency Assistance Fund was established in 1982, they have successfully given writers a total of $400,000 and still counting.
To be eligible for this grant, the writer must qualify for membership with the American Society of Journalists and Authors and have at least 5 published articles and one book published by a national publisher.
Applicants must have:
- Examples of published works, such as book covers or copies of magazine articles
- A CV or biography
- A completed W-9 tax form
- The first two pages of their IRS 1040
- A copy of their IRS Schedule C
- A copy of the most recent bank statement from all accounts
- Copies of bills, medical expenses, and other financial obligations
- Documentation of illness or disability if applicable
- Documentation of natural disasters if applicable
How to Apply
To apply, you are required to fill out the application form on their website and also upload all the required documents as stated on their website (https://www.asja.org).
It is important to state that aside from the foundations listed above, there are other foundations that are not specifically giving grants to black writers that you can also consider. For example, a black writer can apply to foundations that are awarding grants to black people in the field of arts.