The SLF $500 Diverse Writers and $500 Diverse Worlds Grants

Open for submissions April 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020  June 1st – August 31st

The SLF annually offers, since 2014, two diversity-centered grants: Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds, both intended to foster the creation of speculative fiction work rich in diversity.

  • The $500 Diverse Writers grant is intended to support writers from underrepresented and underprivileged groups, such as writers of color, women, queer writers, disabled writers, working-class writers, etc. — those whose marginalized identities may present additional obstacles in the writing / publishing process.
  • The $500 Diverse Worlds grant is intended for work that best presents a diverse world, regardless of the writer’s background.

Writers may apply for either or both grants. Please note: your project does not need to center on identity issues. We also do not expect or want work that simply attempts to check off all the boxes in a tokenistic way, but rather are looking for writing that offers deep characterization, complex cultural landscapes, and strong literary quality overall.

For example, an excellent novel is Nicola Griffith’s award-winning Slow River, which features queer women protagonists; another is Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series, whose white male protagonist deals with a host of personal disability issues, while ethnic, gender, and other issues play out in the cultural background. Other examples of diverse worlds include:

Samuel R. Delany’s work — gender, race, orientation, class
Karen Lord’s The Best of All Possible Worlds — gender, race, sexual orientation
N.K. Jemisin’s The Killing Moon — race, religion, sexual orientation
Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice — gender
Malinda Lo’s work — race, gender, sexual orientation (YA)
Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon — race (MG)

  1. The grants are designed to foster new, in-progress work (rather than recognizing already published work). We intend that grant funds will facilitate completing the work.
  2. Preference will be given to book-length works (novels, collections of short stories). Nonfiction, poetry, and editorial projects are not currently eligible.
  3. This grant is open to all levels of publishing experience, worldwide. The grant jury will be primarily English-reading, although works that incorporate other languages (as in Keri Hulme’s The Bone People’s use of Maori) are welcome.
  4. Typically grant applications are open for a limited reading period annually, from April 1 – June 30, and grant recipients announced on August 15.  In light of current events, we will be accepting applications June 1 – August 31, 2020, and the 2020 grant recipients will be announced October 15, 2020.

This grant is made possible by the contributions of two donors, Ellen Wright (Senior Publicist, Hachette Book Group) and Faye Bi (Associate Publicist for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), who ran a marathon to raise enough funds to support three years of this grant!

Thank You!


Application Process Overview:

Our diversity grants will be awarded by a jury of SLF staff members on the basis of merit. Factors considered will include:

  • a one-page written description of the project in question (no more than 500 words).
  • a writing sample (up to 5000 words of fiction).
  • a bibliography of previously-published work by the author (no more than one page); applicants need not have previous publications to apply.
  • Diverse Writers grant only: a brief statement as to what aspect(s) of your background are relevant in terms of diversity: writer of color, female or trans, queer, disabled, working-class, etc.

If awarded the grant, you agree to offer a brief excerpt (500-1000 words) for our files, and for possible public dissemination on our website.

PLEASE NOTE: This grant, as with all SLF grants, is intended to help writers working with speculative literature. If you’re not sure what areas that term encompasses, we recommend referencing our FAQ (question #2).

Diversity Grant Application Procedures

  1. Send the 3-4 items listed above to our diversity grant jury as attached .doc files, at Include a brief cover letter with your name and contact info (e-mail, phone in case of emergency), and please note which grant(s) you’re applying for. If you have questions, please direct them to Malon Edwards, our Grants Administrator,, or to Mary Anne Mohanraj, Executive Director,
  2. Diversity grant applications typically are considered from April 1st to June 30, annually, but given current circumstances we will be accepting applications June 1 – August 31, 2020. Applications received outside that period will be discarded unread.
  3. The grant recipient is typically announced by August 15th, annually, but the 2020 grant recipients will be announced October 15, 2020. All applicants will be notified of the status of their application by that date.


To see a list of all previous Diverse Writers & Diverse Worlds grant winners, click here.