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Grants for Writers in Need

The Society's charitable trusts award occasional grants to authors who find themselves in financial difficulty. Information about the trusts - the Francis Head Bequest, Authors' Contingency Fund, John Masefield Memorial Trust, and Margaret Rhondda Awards - is given below.

Grants cannot be made for education or research costs.

The Francis Head Bequest

Mrs Head, a well-known literary agent, generously established this trust in her will for the benefit and assistance of professional writers (writing in the English language) who were born in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, and who are over the age of 35. She particularly wished to help authors who are unable to maintain themselves or their families owing to illness, disability or an accident, but the terms of the trust are reasonably wide.

The Authors' Contingency Fund

A number of grants are made each year to professional British authors who are in financial difficulty or for the financial relief of their dependants. In association with the Contingency Fund are occasional awards for poets and women journalists:

  • The John Masefield Memorial Trust provides grants to British poets or their dependants who are faced with financial problems.
  • Margaret Rhondda Awards assist and support women journalists who are in needy circumstances.

Please note: These trusts are only open to professional writers. Membership of the Society is not a requirement.


This Fund offers regular payments to a small number of SoA members who find themselves in financial hardship. Awards are given by a committee to long-term SoA members who are either aged 60 or over or are completely incapacitated for work. The fund currently distributes £2,000 per annum to each recipient.

Awards are granted at the discretion of the P.D. James Memorial Fund Committee (formerly known as the Pension Fund Committee). The Committee consists of the Chair of the Management Committee (currently Daniel Hahn) and six other members of the Society, three of whom were elected by the Management Committee and three by the members of the Society.

Applications are currently open until 30 October 2015. Find out more and apply

How to apply

To apply for these charitable funds, please download the guidelines and application by clicking here and post your completed application to Sarah Baxter, The Society of Authors, 84 Drayton Gardens, London SW10 9SB. The assessment process takes up to three weeks.

Please contact Sarah Baxter with any queries on 020 7373 6642.

Further help and assistance

The Royal Literary Fund is the main charitable trust providing financial help to authors. See www.rlf.org.uk for information or contact the secretary, Eileen Gunn, at 3 Johnson’s Court, off Fleet Street, EC4A 3EA. Telephone: 020 7353 7150.

Turn2us is a new independent charity that helps people access the money available to them – through welfare benefits, grants and other help. Their free, accessible website is a comprehensive and invaluable resource that helps you find sources of financial support, quickly and easily, based on your particular needs and circumstances. In some cases, you can make online enquiries to grant-giving charities listed on the site. For further information visit www.turn2us.org.uk

The Professionals Aid Council is a national charity helping professionals and graduates in need of financial support. It makes modest grants to individuals and families, who despite degree-level or equivalent education, find themselves struggling financially. PAC can offer small weekly grants and other help towards various living expenses. In addition, their education fund can give small grants towards education costs for children, and help those pursuing professional qualifications. For further information, visit www.professionalsaid.org.uk




An annual subscription (£95 or £68 if you're under 35) entitles you to unlimited advice on all aspects of the writing profession.


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